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Charging and single cylinder issues

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louis_sutton
Laser Shark
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Posts : 205
Location : north london

Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by louis_sutton on Wed 17 May 2017, 11:27 pm

Evening all,

This is long winded-.apologies, I've got a weird problem with the bike and if anyone makes it to the end, I'm just trying to sense check my thinking...

My voltage meter does two things. Shows charging, and when it registers not charging for thirty seconds (either ignition off or at idle), flashes colours to show the health of the battery.
Red/ Gn Flash -above 15v
Green 13.2v
Green 'Blink' 12.5v
Yell 'Blink' 12.1v
Red 'Blink' 11.8v
Blank (No Display) below 11.8v

So.
Bike gets wet.

Voltage meter starts showing battery not charging when riding and with headlight on (it would normally show a solid green). But it's flashing to show a healthy battery (and with system running with no charge, that battery should be struggling, leading to a red instead of the green flash I was getting).

Could mean three things

Either the battery isn't being charged (unlikely given the green flash, so it's getting some charge at least)
Or something is pulling so much power the voltmeter doesn't register the difference between input/output at the battery terminals as enough to represent a charge.
Or the alternator is shot.


Then I figure out turning the headlight off results in voltmeter showing battery being charged as normal. So generator should be fine (with a possibility that it's not in fact fine, but is putting out a reduced charge).
Could mean two things

Either the headlight is drawing so much charge it's canceling the charge from the generator
Or something else has increased consumption and turning the headlight on (which is a high draw anyway) is pushing the system over the edge and preventing the battery charging.

When I got a bit of a good run (ie not in the city), system showed as charging, even with headlight on.

Then, when drenched on way home, it started running on one cylinder, even with the battery charging.

That suggests to me (given headlight is working perfectly well) that I may be looking at an excessive draw from the ignition system to the left cylinder (pulled the cap off when I got home and bike carried on running on one cylinder). 

And this draw is based on the bike getting wet. Spark plug is ok, drain hole in cylinder head is clear.

Ht lead seems fine, all resistance measurements for the coil are ok.

So it could be the coil breaking down (which I've had before), and it dried out enough to show normal readings before I was able to test it.

But then I found some serious scorching on the alternator plug.

Makes me wonder if the alternator is giving way leading to the scorching, but would that diminish charge sufficiently to result in these symptoms? I had a reg rec die on me a while ago (replaced with an electrex world reg rec), hence the voltmeter installation, so wondered if the scorch could have come from that and is unrelated to the current (no pun intended) problem. If the alternator was shot completely the voltmeter should show it.

Still need to check over the reg rec thoroughly and the resistance reading for the alternator,-but (and thanks if you've stuck with me this far), have I missed anything obvious?

I'm running an agm battery, relatively new, daily run is a three hour round trip, sixty miles. It's a gammatronix volt indicator.

I'd enjoy the challenge, if it didn't mean the horror of the train and tube to work...
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Jameshambleton
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Location : Bedale, North Yorkshire

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by Jameshambleton on Thu 18 May 2017, 8:43 am

1. Dont trust the voltage meter and they should only be used as a guide only, always use a multimeter. 

2. Voltage at low revs (idle) is lower so it can't provide enough current so the voltage is also lower but shouldn't drop below 13.2v so this explains your green light. 

3. Check the connection onto the coil coming from the loom, I had the exact same problem of it in the wet one day and one of the terminals had corroded into a lovely green state so I just put a new connector on it and it's been good for the last 7 months. Though I did decide to cover the connection in coppergrease ideally you'll want to use rubber grease. 

4. scorching is obviously heat caused by high resistance, clean the connectors with your nail, screw driver if you're feeling posh uh... contact cleaner and keep an eye on it as this will also be causing a loss of voltage.


Last edited by Jameshambleton on Thu 18 May 2017, 10:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Drago76
Squiddy
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Location : Riga,Latvia

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by Drago76 on Thu 18 May 2017, 9:18 am

too many information, too little facts.
i advice to:
buy and put normal voltmeter, who shows exactly woltage, instead of flashing or non flashing colors.
verify that voltmetr with multimeter to be sure, it shows more or less right.

try to swap coils. if after swap you get another cylinder shut off, then problem is in coil/ if the same cylinder shut off after swap, take look to low-voltage loom, and ignition module.

clean scorched contacts / connector, and make a good connection in that, and then look further, how is situation with voltage.
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louis_sutton
Laser Shark
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Posts : 205
Location : north london

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by louis_sutton on Thu 18 May 2017, 9:42 am

Thanks for the suggestions gets, much obliged. I think I'd beg to differ that there's a few facts there, but appreciate more diagnostics to do. That detail all came from one ninety minute ride home yesterday and was more about checking my thought process than looking for answers as there are too many possible contributing factors.

And needless to say, as soon as I got home, i broke out the multimeter...
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Beresford
the 900
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Posts : 1431
Location : not that far from Kirkistown

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by Beresford on Thu 18 May 2017, 10:11 am

The gammatronix voltage indicator lamps have a very good reputation. Is yours not accurate?
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ANDYC
the 900
the 900

Mechanic
Posts : 750
Location : Windsor

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by ANDYC on Thu 18 May 2017, 10:40 am

First impressions would point me to the altenator connection, scorching can be caused by arcing too.
Make sure it is clean and tight.
Water causing HT ignition problems is an endless struggle against the elements, and as far as I'm concerned an needless one. Fitting stick coils from a late Fireblade (929/954 on) solves this problem.
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louis_sutton
Laser Shark
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Posts : 205
Location : north london

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by louis_sutton on Thu 18 May 2017, 11:56 am

Hehehe. Stop showing off Andy. Stick coils would be a goer if I weren't having to upgrade for the ulez, so I'm pinching pennies for that (and my cx, which is slowly starting to look like it might actually run)

I'm picking up a better multimeter later. The gammatronix appears to be working perfectly, but part of tonight's work is to check it with a multimeter attached to the battery too. Assuming my colleagues don't force me into the pub as they know I'm a bit miffed.
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ANDYC
the 900
the 900

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Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by ANDYC on Thu 18 May 2017, 1:18 pm

You know you want some!!! Very Happy
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eternally_troubled
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Location : 'ere be fens. (near Cambridge)

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by eternally_troubled on Thu 18 May 2017, 10:33 pm

louis_sutton wrote:...the pub...

This won't help with fixing your bike but, hey you'll feel better :)

On a more practical note:

I'd fix the bad-connection in the alternator wire first (if I've correctly read your post) - if one of those connections is bad then you'll be running on one-phase only which really isn't enough to charge the battery and have the headlight on.

Also, if the connection was 'on the way out' then a day or two of driving rain certainly might finish it off!

If you are really belt-and-braces (and you don't mind soldering) then remove the alternator connector completely, solder the wires together the same way that they are in the connector then use heat-shrink and insulation tape to insulate the wires and loom it up again. If you do this then the problem with the connector cannot come back. If you need to replace the alternator in the future you just whip out the knife, remove the tape and heat-shrink and unsolder the connections.

While you are there you can do the normal coil resistance/earth-insulation tests on the alternator coils with the multimeter.
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louis_sutton
Laser Shark
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Posts : 205
Location : north london

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by louis_sutton on Mon 22 May 2017, 9:40 pm

Right.  Well, huge thanks once again for the input all.  After finally managing to extricate myself from the boozer, some frantic work over the weekend (when a five year old's birthday party made the thought of electrocuing myself seem attractive), I managed the proper checks.

Resistance; reg/rec fine.  Coil/HT lead and cap, fine.  and then I had a close look at the connector block from the alternator.  That connector I originally (after a very quick look) thought was scorched, was more like eroded to nothing.  I dread to think how much heat went through it.  Wires cut and a bullet connector, rubber cover etc installed as per the OEM bullet connectors you find elsewhere.  That all seems to be working fine.

Really I now need a very very rainy day so I can start checking over the single cylinder issue - couldn't quite bring myself to ride past the house very slowly whilst my mate sprayed me with a hose...

Silver lining, whilst I was on a stool by the bike thought I might as well swap out the neutral switch - and now I have a working neutral light too.  Happy days.

If it weren't for the ULEZ I'd want coils on sticks, but I'll have to settle for a newer bike in 2019 instead! 

Enjoy the weather everyone, and see you at the Bikeshed show if you're going!
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louis_sutton
Laser Shark
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Posts : 205
Location : north london

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by louis_sutton on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 8:19 pm

and finally, for posterity's sake, it appears to be fixed.  Having ridden through the deluge of a few days ago, it would appear that it was the burnt out connector from the alternator that was causing the problem.  Having bypassed it with a replacement connector, it ran through the rain perfectly well.  Serves me right for not checking it when I replaced the reg rec, and only thought to check the wiring and connnectors to the reg rec itself!
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Jameshambleton
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Location : Bedale, North Yorkshire

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by Jameshambleton on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 9:03 pm

louis_sutton wrote:Serves me right for not checking it when I replaced the reg rec, and only thought to check the wiring and connnectors to the reg rec itself!

You'd be surprised in all honesty. 
My vfr the stator wires go straight into a plug that connected directly to the reg/rec so it goes stator- connector- reg/rec- connector - loom/battery , unlike the cb500 that goes stator- connector - main loom- connector- reg/rec- connector - loom/battery.
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louis_sutton
Laser Shark
Laser Shark

Posts : 205
Location : north london

Re: Charging and single cylinder issues

Post by louis_sutton on Tue 13 Jun 2017, 12:33 pm

I hate electrics

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