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Discussion Starter #1
Searching it seems that a burning smell or whine from the engine at idle are signs of stator failure. Others suggest a volt meter to monitor the stator.

I have an extra power port connected directly to the battery and have ordered a voltage meter I can plug into it.

What voltage would indicate a stator issue? I.e <12.5V

I do a lot of solo rides on backroads in the middle of nowhere and don't want to get stuck.

WB
 

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I have an permanently mounted voltmeter on my 900. Stator failure was sudden - everything checked OK until imminent failure was occurring - when I started the engine in preparation for taking a ride there was a rather loud whine from the stator area, and although when the engine was revved to about 2000 rpm voltage was still OK, at idle it dropped to 11.6, when it previously had been in the 13.8v range at idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok Based on the service manual I think my voltage display should read as follows: please let me know if this is correct.

1) ignition turned off 12.0-12.8 volts (if below 12 volts battery needs replacement)
2) engine running at idle near battery voltage. While riding with engine reving higher than idle 14.2 -15.2 volts anything outside this range indicates a problem i.e. Rectifier, stator problem or too much load (too many electrical accessories connected)

The $8 for a voltage display is well worth it for the peace of mind. If the stator does fail I will have a little time to get somewhere until the battery dies.

WB
 

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Searching it seems that a burning smell or whine from the engine at idle are signs of stator failure. Others suggest a volt meter to monitor the stator.

I have an extra power port connected directly to the battery and have ordered a voltage meter I can plug into it.

What voltage would indicate a stator issue? I.e <12.5V

I do a lot of solo rides on backroads in the middle of nowhere and don't want to get stuck.

WB
Been there, done that even with a volt meter. Sometimes stators just quit producing completely and you are running on battery before you even realize it. You just have to hope you notice the voltage dropping in time and have enough battery to get to a good stopping place. Not saying a meter is worthless. Quite the opposite, just be aware of just how fast things can go downhill before you even realize that there is a problem.

I looked at my meter shortly after leaving a gas station and it was showing 14.4 volts at highway speeds as it always did. ~20 miles later, the battery was dead before I even got to the next exit. That time, the stator was completely fried and produced no output at all. I was a bit luckier the next time my stator failed. I saw that the output was low (below 12 volts) and had time to get off the road and to a gas station just before hitting the Tejon Pass in California. I was able to get help from a friend in Bakersfield. The voltmeter saved me for sure, that time. You do NOT want to get stuck on that mountain pass!
 

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In case of low voltage I would take a few minutes to disconnect some fuses.

The fuel pump as I recall, cuts off bellow a certain voltage.

I have thought a few times of adding a switch for the high beam just for this particular reason. If battery is running low, I'd like to turn off the ~55W light bulb.
With the switch2 in OFF position, turn ON high beam on handle bars for no light.
@Sabre-t
So once the engine is running, at what voltage does it turn off? You mentioned the VM indicated below 12V...
 

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I've also thought of adding a switch to actually switch off the headlamp if the voltage were to drop below what it should be. I was lucky - and blessed - that the warnings about my impending stator failure happened just before starting out on a ride. If it had failed while on the road here there is quite a distance between any sorts of service stations or other facilities, since nearly everything is forest.
 

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In case of low voltage I would take a few minutes to disconnect some fuses.

The fuel pump as I recall, cuts off bellow a certain voltage.

I have thought a few times of adding a switch for the high beam just for this particular reason. If battery is running low, I'd like to turn off the ~55W light bulb.
With the switch2 in OFF position, turn ON high beam on handle bars for no light.

@Sabre-t
So once the engine is running, at what voltage does it turn off? You mentioned the VM indicated below 12V...
The first failure, when the bike started stuttering, I looked at the voltage meter and it was at 5V. I was really surprised it was still running at all. That was a Honda Sabre, though. Other bikes, or even the same bike with different accessory draws or something like a minimum fuel pump voltage would be different.

The other time I noticed that the voltage was dropping rapidly and I managed to get into a gas station before it dropped below 10V. I had a friend in the area and we jumped the bike (same bike) to charge the battery. I was able to ride it to his house, about 40 min. away with a couple of recharges along the way. Never let it get much below 10V for that. Like you said, I pulled some fuses to limit unnecessary draw.
 
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