Recharge Problems - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Recharge Problems

I've spent the past few hours looking for this issue and can't find any reference so here goes:

3 weeks ago I was leaving work and my '07 900 Custom wouldn't start. The starter would spin, but not engage. This is my 4th season on the bike with 20,000+ miles on it so I figured I needed a new battery. 40 minutes and $95 dollars later it fired right up and I drove it home.

On an extended trip that weekend (two days later), same problem. I let it sit a half hour and it started up. Had to push start it once that day but otherwise it started every time.

Got back from the trip and started running some tests. I get 12 volts across the battery no matter what rpm I'm running. The stator resistance seems to check out (though I'm using a cheap analog gauge), but my tests show that I'm only getting 2-4 V/AC off the alternator (should be 54+) . I'll have it checked out by professionals but it looks to me like the rotor's shot.

Since this is a $500+ service I'm wondering if the 900 is prone to this problem. Anyone else have this? Is it a maintenance issue or do these things just go bad for no reason?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 07:35 PM
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Yes, your stator is bad.
Yes, it is a common problem.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 08:17 PM
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Yes, your stator is bad.
Yes, it is a common problem.
A weak battery will take a stator out. The constant demand by the battery overheats the windings of the stator and it will fail prematurely.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 08:44 PM
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A weak battery will take a stator out. The constant demand by the battery overheats the windings of the stator and it will fail prematurely.
Could you explain that a little more as I do not quite understand.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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If a weak battery will take out a stator, what might a regulator plug full of water do? One of the things I discovered and will be asking my mechanic about is water protection for that plug. When I unplugged the reg to test the alternator circuits about a 1/4 oz of oily water ran out of the plug. I had ridden home in a downpour a couple days before this problem surfaced.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2010, 10:53 PM
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Steve, read this, I discovered the same thing....

https://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/s...ead.php?t=9569

2009 VN900 Classic LT.
Nova Scotia, Canada.
Cobra luggage rack.
Kuryakyn Grand Tourer luggage bag.
Kuryakyn air filter cover.
170/80/15 Metzler rear tire.
Fire and Ice passenger floorboards.
Stage 2 debaffle (screens left intact).
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2010, 04:46 AM
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Could you explain that a little more as I do not quite understand.
sfair, in most cases a lead acid battery will begin to fail because over time material has flaked off of the plates and accumulated at the bottom of the battery. These piles of residue build up until they touch the bottom of the plates and when they do, they start slowly shorting out the battery. The battery begins to loose the ability to keep a charge at the level where the regulator is happy. Thus the regulator demands power (voltage & current) keep coming from the alternator. The windings in the stator begin to overheat and the insulation fails thus shorting, or burning out, coils within the stator. SteveJB's problem sounds like it started with the regulator however. The stator and the regulator can be tested easily with a VOM before spending a lot of money.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2010, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Sojourner, what you're saying makes a lot of sense to me. If you're right, the problem probably started by keeping the original battery too long and storm water in the reg was the last straw. The book calls for a digital VOM and mine is analog. Testing the stator with my meter was a bit sketchy. The spec for resistance is .11 - .17 ohms. "Significantly less than that" means a short in the windings. I can't read hundredths on my $12 WallyWorld special.

I seem to be in the middle of an electronic mojo right now. Trailer lights won't work so I'm not getting this to a shop 'til I fix that! Must be that pesky Perseid meteor shower
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2010, 09:10 AM
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sfair, in most cases a lead acid battery will begin to fail because over time material has flaked off of the plates and accumulated at the bottom of the battery. These piles of residue build up until they touch the bottom of the plates and when they do, they start slowly shorting out the battery. The battery begins to loose the ability to keep a charge at the level where the regulator is happy. Thus the regulator demands power (voltage & current) keep coming from the alternator. The windings in the stator begin to overheat and the insulation fails thus shorting, or burning out, coils within the stator. SteveJB's problem sounds like it started with the regulator however. The stator and the regulator can be tested easily with a VOM before spending a lot of money.
But a permanent magnet excited shunt regulated alternator ALWAYS outputs maximum power at the rpm it is running at, so how can a weak battery cause the stator to burn out? I am still missing something.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2010, 09:52 AM
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But a permanent magnet excited shunt regulated alternator ALWAYS outputs maximum power at the rpm it is running at, so how can a weak battery cause the stator to burn out? I am still missing something.
Ohms law, W(P)=VxA. If the battery is fully charged the regulator is satisfied and tapers off the current (not the voltage), thus reducing the work the alternator needs to do. Can you envision an alternator/regulator being the same as a Battery Tender? If the battery cannot maintain 13.8VDC then the regulator thinks the battery still needs to be charged and continues sending current to the battery thus overworking the alternator and boiling the electrolyte out of the battery at the same time.
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