Is my stator fried? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Is my stator fried?

[This is a repeat post. I apologize if that is a breach of the rules. I think because the big stator thread is sticky, new posts tend to go unnoticed.]

I have an '07 900 Classic LT. Just got it at the end of May, with almost 23,000 km on it. It's now just over 25,000 (approx. 15,600 miles). So I'm not familiar with what the "usual noises" would be, but after reading this thread, decided that maybe I could hear a whine, and maybe, given the mileage, I should do a test. All I have done is check the stator output, because that's pretty quick and easy. At idle I got 18v on all 3 reads. Revved up (to ?? - pure guess work), I got 33-34v on all 3. So I'm thinking the stator is shot?

More questions:
Since I don't know how long this has been going on, should I assume the regulator is also likely damaged? I probably won't get to try those tests until the weekend.

Related to that, my multi-meter has a diode testing option, would that be usable for checking the R/R?

I have no symptoms other than the whine, which is only occasional. Or at least, I only hear it occasionally. But as my wife likes to point out, my hearing is not always so good. No surging lights, no sign the battery isn't charging. So am I likely to do further damage by riding it until the parts come in?

The plug at the regulator was caked in oily dirt. While I was checking the voltages, there were actually a couple drips of oil from the R/R socket. I see no sign of an oil leak, my regular parking spot is clean, and I don't think oil can get from the engine into the regulator. So my theory is the oil got in there during an oil change. Make sense?

Is checking the voltage across the battery terminals useful? (With the bike running) Or does that just tell me what battery is putting out?

Lastly, has anybody had any experience with RM Stator (http://www.rmstator.com )? For the VN900 they sell both the Ricks stator and regulator, but also their own make for a fair bit less. Since they are in Canada (Quebec), ordering from them also saves me cross-border shipping and the outrageous foreign currency charges that Visa applies. But if they're crap then it could be short term saving!

Cheers.

2003 Vulcan 1600 Classic
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 05:17 AM
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Mine is a 2006 LT with 13K miles. started hearing a similar sound from the front side (i think from front right side) since last week. but no symptoms of stator issue, like no electrical or battery issues. Recently changed the pads so thought it could be from the pads since it is very new and will be OK after some time. Will have to ride and see.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 05:14 PM
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Hmm, did you do the checks in order on the sticky? the 18v accross three what?

1 You should be doing a battery check
2. voltage regulator check
3. Stator check

takes like 15 minutes to do all checks,

Check battery for charging should not go over 15 v
then check voltage regulator for shorts, last is check the 3 leads from stator for at least being in the 30 range, then have someone turn idle up or hit the throttle and see if the 3 leads to the stator jump to like 50 range in high idle

report back what you find, if that 18v was checking the battery you have an issue some place

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enderbyte View Post
All I have done is check the stator output, because that's pretty quick and easy. At idle I got 18v on all 3 reads. Revved up (to ?? - pure guess work), I got 33-34v on all 3. So I'm thinking the stator is shot?
You did switch to AC voltage correct? If my memory is right you should be in the 50v range at 4000 to 5000 rpm. You can also check for a short to ground on the 3 white wires once you unplug it from the rectifier. I checked battery voltage across the terminals on mine and at idle I get 13.5v and above idle anywhere from 14.2 to 14.6 volts. Before I replaced my stator I was at low 12v at any rpm. There is a facebook group called Vulcan 900 custom classic LT that has a good write up of the removal process as well as a video link. Lots of good info posted from that group...

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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The readings I took were the stator output; I took 3 readings across the 3 pairs of white wires after unplugging from the regulator. So my readings were about half of the expected voltages. Yes, I had the meter on AC.

I will get the other tests done tomorrow and let you know what I find.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 05:47 AM
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You need to set the meter to the 250 v range. A good reading is 54v or higher at 3000 rpm. After installing my Rick's stator I was getting 128v, but I was estimating rpm, I don't have tach. But before you start buying parts, make sure you've done all the tests. That way you won't be chasing parts throughout the process and spending excess cash.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up

Well, it looks like I had the mechanical equivalent of Google Syndrome - read about a symptom and you have the disease. Now it's all good again.

I did all the tests this time:
Battery voltage (disconnected) - 12.8.
Voltage across battery terminals with bike idling - 14.5
No short to ground on any stator leads.
Rectifier tests good. High resistance (infinite) one way, low resistance the other way.
Stator output at high revs - 54v. At idle it was 22, which is low, but since the charging volts at the battery were good, I'm going to write it off to a cheap digital meter.

@ErnieC, it might take me 15 minutes to do those tests next time, but today it was more like 90! But my starting point was "Hmm, how do I get to the battery?"

So color me noob, but I did learn something!

Thanks for the help.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-21-2013, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enderbyte View Post
Well, it looks like I had the mechanical equivalent of Google Syndrome - read about a symptom and you have the disease. Now it's all good again.

I did all the tests this time:
Battery voltage (disconnected) - 12.8.
Voltage across battery terminals with bike idling - 14.5
No short to ground on any stator leads.
Rectifier tests good. High resistance (infinite) one way, low resistance the other way.
Stator output at high revs - 54v. At idle it was 22, which is low, but since the charging volts at the battery were good, I'm going to write it off to a cheap digital meter.

@ErnieC, it might take me 15 minutes to do those tests next time, but today it was more like 90! But my starting point was "Hmm, how do I get to the battery?"

So color me noob, but I did learn something!

Thanks for the help.

All of those readings are good! But for future reference, let me answer a couple of things.

Is a voltage reading at the battery useful?

Yes, very! A healthy battery should produce around 12.8 volts. (Below 12.4 volts is nearly dead and is the point at which sulfation starts, which is a bad thing. Below 12 volts usually means one cell is completely toast and it's time for a new battery! Probably because at some point in it's life it was allowed to go below 12.4v!) However your charging system really should be above 13.5ish and below 15v. Most run in the mid 14v range. (Each bike is different, check the service manual for the appropriate range, I don't have mine handy for the 900 and I don't remember it). High voltage is USUALLY an indication of a regulator issue. Low voltage is USUALLY an indication of a stator issue. However it COULD be other issues, which is why you double check with the other tests to know FOR SURE what the issue is before you replace parts!

Note that a good test involves load as well. A stator that is beginning to fail can usually maintain voltage under a light load, but flip on the high beams or turn on an accessory and it may dip. At any rate, it eventually WILL lose the ability to maintain charging voltage and you'll be left with a flat battery on the side of the road somewhere!

Is low AC Voltage from the stator at idle bad?

Nope. This is why all except for these newer higher-end inverter-generators (speaking of portable generators) run at 'full speed' all the time regardless of load. They use the same stator and rotor design. The rotor must be going a certain speed (usually 3600rpm's, though on our bikes it may be 'geared down' by being smaller in diameter in our engines so 3k engine RPM's may mean 3600 rotor RPM's) in order to produce the full voltage. If you were able to modify your old portable generator to run at idle, you'd probably find it produces way less than 120 volts at idle even without a load.

The regulator/rectifier units job is to take those three 54VAC sources and turn them into a 14~VDC supply for the bikes electrical system. Because it's stepping down the AC current into low voltage DC current, it evidently possesses the ability to do so in a wide range of voltages! However, at idle when you're read 22VAC, there is still less 'power' available, so with accessories charging voltage may drop some. That's okay too, within reason, after all that's the battery's job! That's why the crucial tests are done 'at speed' when the alternator (stator+rotor) are at operating speed.

Also, those voltages can be very finicky at idle. It's one of the reasons I always harp on the need to keep your idle at 1000 RPM's, like the manual says, even though lots of folks lower it. They hear all of those big loping twins and adjust theirs down and are running too low of an RPM, which means too low oil pressure (even if not low enough to trigger the light) and too low stator output!

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-21-2013, 08:34 PM
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Portable generators run at a particular rpm to produce the required 60 cycles/sec.

Remember that this problem can start out intermittant, so a check one day that shows good might not repeat the next day.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-21-2013, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfair View Post
Portable generators run at a particular rpm to produce the required 60 cycles/sec.

Remember that this problem can start out intermittant, so a check one day that shows good might not repeat the next day.
Heh. Guess I was wrong again! What I get for listening to what people tell me

But you would agree low voltage at idle is acceptable, right? I think most folks experience the same thing. I know mine runs about 36VAC at idle.

"8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

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