Author Topic: Battery not charging - 2018 model  (Read 4012 times)

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zsiros

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on: July 10, 2023, 10:17:23 am
Hello everyone

I got my first issue with my RE classic 500, 2018 ABS model with 9000kms (1st owner bought it in 2020). Battery stopped charging, went for a 300km trip, after the first stop, the battery was so weak it did not start with the electric starter, kickstarted it without an issue. The next day when returning, it got weaker and weaker until it did not even try to turn it over with the electric starter, thankfully the kickstarter saved the day. I got pretty lucky this time as it finally died about 5m from my parking space.

When it comes to electronics I am a total newbie, but I want to learn to fix my own problems with the bike. What I did so far is check the fuses, battery connections, and if there are any visible wire damage and/or plugs unplugged. Did not find any issues so far. Is there a fuse somewhere else on the line, or just the fusebox?

I am getting a new battery soon. Gel or li-ion? Or should I stick with the same type?

What do I need to check on the bike? I was thinking of going from the engine alternator wires up the the battery, checking if it's even giving a charge and where it stops. Any known problem areas with these bikes as far as the charging goes? Can it be just a faulty battery? The previous owner did not ride it a lot and stood up to 6 months in a garage. He only did 3k kms in 2 years.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2023, 10:51:47 am by zsiros »


Richard230

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Reply #1 on: July 10, 2023, 02:40:51 pm
Lately I have had issues with Chinese batteries bought during the past couple of years. They never seem to last and will not hold a charge for very long. But that was only during the covid years. The little lithium battery that I have had installed in my 2011 Bullet since 2012 is still having no problem getting my bike started using the electric starter and the bike's charging system seems to be able to keep it charged up while running.

As far as your problem goes, you should place a volt meter across the terminals of the battery and check the voltage while the engine is running. If you are seeing over 14 volts, but not over 15 volts (14.4 volts when revved up is typical), then your charging system is OK and your battery probably needs to be replaced.
2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM Duke 390, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


Gian4

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Reply #2 on: July 10, 2023, 04:29:10 pm
Hi
There are a few things I would check.  1) Check the battery wire connections.  They can become lose or even break due to vibration.  2) Check the fuses.  There is a fuse alternator connection is fused.  If that fuse blows it will not charge.  3)  Get a cheap voltmeter and check if you are charging.  There are plenty of videos on You Tube that show how.  It's quick and easy.    4)  It also could be your battery but I would check these things before buying a new one.  Hope this helps.
Gian4


axman88

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Reply #3 on: July 10, 2023, 05:14:46 pm
If a single diode in the rectifier has failed, charging system power output can drop sufficiently to not keep up with the running loads, and the battery starts discharging.  I would check the rectifier regulator, (procedure attached).  Failure of the rectifier is not uncommon.

Because the rect/reg test is dependent on the presence of a good stator (and rotor) to give a good result, it's prudent to test the Stator if a bad result is gotten from the Rect/reg test.  I attached a jpeg with with procedure also.

It's not impossible for the rotor to lose magnetism and cause low output, but my impression is that this failure mode is less common.

As already suggested, probably the most common failure mode is simple loose connections, at connectors.  If I'm checking these, I'll disconnect, give them a shot of contact cleaner, then connect/disconnect a few times to clean off the oxide, then finally give a little smear of dielectric grease to keep corrosion out as I reconnect.    This stuff works well:   https://www.amazon.com/CRC-Plastic-Contact-Cleaner-Aerosol/dp/B000BXKZVA  Make sure to use one that is represented as compatible with plastic.  This stuff can also do a nice job of cleaning switches.
I use Permatex dielectric grease:  https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-81150-Dielectric-Tune-Up-Grease/dp/B000AL2RI2/ref=asc_df_B000AL2RI2/


If a battery is allowed to remain in a state of charge below 50%, it can lose capacity to sulfation, an irreversible, internal chemical process.   https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu-804b-sulfation-and-how-to-prevent-it

Voltage tests to determine state of charge should be done at least 3 hours after riding or charging, otherwise a surface charge can remain, that will give false good results.  Finding a voltage of less than 12.2V on a Lead/Acid battery would have me looking for my charger.

There's lots to learn about batteries.  I recommend the online Battery University.   https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu-201-how-does-the-lead-acid-battery-work.

I personally wouldn't go for a lithium option.  The charging system isn't really designed for Lithium and the amp-hour/dollar ratio is unfavorable, even considering a much longer promised service life, which may or may not be delivered.  AGM is worthwhile, in my opinion. 

I got three years out of the last cheap Sigmastek battery.  That's just $10/year.
https://batterysharks.com/yuasa-ytx16-bs-battery-replacement.html

  We'll see how the one I just put in my latest project lasts, it was even smaller and cheaper!


zsiros

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Reply #4 on: July 10, 2023, 10:03:05 pm
Thanks for all the suggestions!

I will check everything tomorrow and return with the results. I have already ordered a gel battery, as this one has been discharged for a day now and I don't trust it anymore. I have to invest in a charger for such occasions. Given that the battery is 5 years old at this point, I hope it's just that.



axman88

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Reply #5 on: July 10, 2023, 10:27:57 pm
Thanks for all the suggestions!

I will check everything tomorrow and return with the results. I have already ordered a gel battery, as this one has been discharged for a day now and I don't trust it anymore. I have to invest in a charger for such occasions. Given that the battery is 5 years old at this point, I hope it's just that.
Lots of folks in forums will state that 3 to 5 years is about all you can expect from a motorcycle battery.
   -  The batteries are small and don't have much reserve capacity,
   -  The charging systems are crude, prone to either starve for charge or overcook the battery, depending on your riding style, and the luck of the draw,
   -  The environment the batteries live in is hot and there's a lot of vibration, which isn't great for them structurally, and
   -  A lot of bikes spend a lot of time sitting patiently, waiting for their riders, which isn't good for a battery, because it goes downhill if not kept charged.   Lead / Acid self discharges, it's just the nature of the chemistry.

There are dumb chargers, which will obediently do as they are told, but overcook a battery if you aren't careful.
There are trickle chargers, which will do the same thing, only slower.
There are smart chargers, which are great for batteries in good condition, but can refuse to charge serviceable batteries once they start to go down hill.
And there are battery maintainers, which are smart chargers with a "Float Charge" feature that allows them to remain connected without overcharging.  Some also have a "desulfate" setting, but I'm not sure how, or IF that works.

Max charge rate should be 1/10 to no more than 1/5 of the rated amp hour capacity of the battery.  That's 1.2 to max 2.4 amps of charging current for a battery rated at 12 amp-hours.  Charging at too high a rate can tear a battery apart, internally.


zsiros

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Reply #6 on: July 12, 2023, 09:00:17 am
Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like a faulty battery. I measured the voltage after I replaced it with a new one. Here are the voltage numbers:

  • Bike off: 12.63V
  • Ignition/headlights on: 12.32V
  • Bike running at idle: 12.44V
  • Rpm at around 2000: 12.54V - no photo as I ran out of hands to use

I did not try to keep it at 3000 rpm as per the photo as I have an AEW Goldstar exhaust and live in an apartment. While it has a good sound, no sound is good if it wakes you up.

Are these numbers okay? Thanks for all the help!


Haggis

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Reply #7 on: July 12, 2023, 10:47:54 am
Your voltage should rise to around 14 volts when you rev up the engine.
You dont need to hold it at higher revs, the voltage should rise quickly.
Yours are not.
You need to check out your charging system.
Probably your R/R that has packed in.
There are checks you can do on the alternator output as well.
Small video of my charging voltage today.
https://youtu.be/HZnwuxKs-Ck
« Last Edit: July 12, 2023, 11:41:59 am by Haggis »
Off route, recalculate?


zsiros

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Reply #8 on: July 12, 2023, 12:37:15 pm
Your voltage should rise to around 14 volts when you rev up the engine.
You dont need to hold it at higher revs, the voltage should rise quickly.
Yours are not.
You need to check out your charging system.
Probably your R/R that has packed in.
There are checks you can do on the alternator output as well.
Small video of my charging voltage today.
https://youtu.be/HZnwuxKs-Ck

I'll check it, thanks!


axman88

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Reply #9 on: July 12, 2023, 03:30:54 pm
I agree with Haggis.  Your measurements (assuming you left the headlight ON when the engine was running) suggest that the charging system is contributing, but only a little.  My guess would be that a diode in the rectifier has opened up, but there could also be a (less likely) issue with the stator, or even with the rotor.  Years ago, we used to be able to test, (but not neccessarily replace), individual diodes in rectifiers, but once manufacturers started packaging regulators in the same module, that ability was gone.

I'd verify the resistance of the windings, and do the checks of the stator AC voltage so I knew how far upstream the fault was.

It can take a while to get spares from India.  The good news is that all the parts are reasonably priced.  Or, if you aren't on a budget, quality and service from Hitchcocks is excellent.


zsiros

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Reply #10 on: July 14, 2023, 09:51:09 am
The weather finally cleared up, and I got a chance to get some measurements off the bike. What I measured was the cable that is coming from the alternator and attaches to the regulator. Started the bike and got tried all the combinations, here are the readings:

  • 3.52V
  • 4.27V
  • 0.25V

Are these measurements right? Attached are the pictures of the readings and one picture of how and where I get these, to be sure that I have measured in the right spot.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2023, 10:27:43 am by zsiros »


zsiros

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Reply #11 on: July 14, 2023, 09:56:00 am
I also measured for continuity from the connector to the ground, I got no reading and measured for continuity on the regulator part of the connector where I get the measurements of the attached pictures.

Are these signs pointing at a fault in the alternator? Anything else I should check?


Haggis

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Reply #12 on: July 14, 2023, 01:59:03 pm
The three yellow wires put out AC .
You are trying to measure DC.
Disconect the connector and measure in AC between any of the three pairs of yellow.
You should see a fairly high voltage, like over 20v ac.
You need to disconect the R/R and then measure from the five wires, 3 yellow, red, black,  the diodes for forward and reverse function.
There are loads on YouTube showing how to do this.
Off route, recalculate?


zsiros

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Reply #13 on: July 14, 2023, 02:39:56 pm
The three yellow wires put out AC .
You are trying to measure DC.
Disconect the connector and measure in AC between any of the three pairs of yellow.
You should see a fairly high voltage, like over 20v ac.
You need to disconect the R/R and then measure from the five wires, 3 yellow, red, black,  the diodes for forward and reverse function.
There are loads on YouTube showing how to do this.

Ah, you live you learn. Thank you, will measure again. Found the videos, did not know I was trying to do it on the wrong connector, which explains why there were not enough cables.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2023, 02:47:14 pm by zsiros »


zsiros

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Reply #14 on: July 15, 2023, 07:54:01 am
Re-did the measurements; this time I did it right. The AC voltage from the alternator is okay and is 20V+ on each combination at idle, rising to 40-50V when I rev the bike. The regulator is all over the place, measured with the diode tester. With positive bias (negative multi m. to the positive regulator) 1 of 3 did not give any measurement. Turned it around to measure negative bias and I got readings, as far as I am aware, there should be none, right? With the negative regulator cable + positive multi m cable. I got no readings on 2 of them, and the negative bias was all over the place.

Is it safe to say it's the regulator at this point, or must I dig deeper? Could anyone point me to the right regulator, or should I check the part number? Does Hitchcocks supply the part as well?

Thanks!



Haggis

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Off route, recalculate?


zsiros

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Reply #16 on: July 21, 2023, 04:34:15 pm
I ordered one from India, should be here next week. It surprised me how fast they reacted, and I even asked the exact model I had to ensure I got the correct part. I'll post when I get it and test everything again.


Guaire

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Reply #17 on: July 22, 2023, 03:13:29 pm
I would not replace the regulator/rectifier with the stock part. I have always used these from Jack at RoadsterCycle.
I don't buy Chinese batteries.
My favorite AGM is Interstate Factory Activated. Or, Yuasa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ8zvV1Ti-A&t=18s

http://roadstercycle.com
ACE Motors - sales & administration


zsiros

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Reply #18 on: July 25, 2023, 02:10:09 pm
I would not replace the regulator/rectifier with the stock part. I have always used these from Jack at RoadsterCycle.
I don't buy Chinese batteries.
My favorite AGM is Interstate Factory Activated. Or, Yuasa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ8zvV1Ti-A&t=18s

http://roadstercycle.com

Seeing how I got the wrong part from India today, I might try to order it from somewhere else... I'll take a look, thank you.


muezler

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Reply #19 on: August 29, 2023, 07:29:43 am
Hi All!

Sorry for trying to take over, but I have a similar problem with a similar bike, but I think with a different cause.
Bike is a 2017 Bullet 500 Euro 4 with 9.000km on the clock with a none charging problem.

What I did so far:

-Measured the voltage on the battery while running......11.96V so no charging at all
-Tested all diodes in all directions on the R&R unit according to the Hitchcocks manual......0,48V all in spec
-Resistance on the coil on all 3 phases is with 0,62ohm within spec range
-No short on the 3 phases when measured against engine case

but here is comes
-When measured AC voltage from the coil I have 1,9V - 3V coming out......so it must be a weak rotor magnet?  :o

Can it be that the rotor has lost its magnetism all of a sudden with so little mileage on the clock?
Or can there still be a other cause for this very low voltage coming from the coil?

Thanks in advance
Muezler
« Last Edit: August 29, 2023, 07:34:59 am by muezler »


axman88

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Reply #20 on: August 30, 2023, 04:29:27 pm
I believe that AC voltage from a stator needs to be measured with the circuit open ended, (Rectifier disconnected) from one coil to the other.  If you did that, and there's no issue with the electrical meter, and the stator coils all ohmed out in spec., that does strongly suggest the rotor magnetism is a problem.

I recall seeing numbers in the high 50s, VAC, when I made that measurement on an IB Bullet.

Luckily, like all our RE spare parts, a new rotor is not all that expensive.  This is the correct rotor for my C5, you should verify it's right for your '17.    https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/20044


AzCal Retred

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Reply #21 on: August 30, 2023, 09:06:07 pm
but here is comes
-When measured AC voltage from the coil I have 1,9V - 3V coming out......so it must be a weak rotor magnet?  :o
Can it be that the rotor has lost its magnetism all of a sudden with so little mileage on the clock?
Or can there still be a other cause for this very low voltage coming from the coil?


The AC system output voltage depends on 3 things: rotor magnet strength, RPM and stator coil integrity.

There isn't any good way to measure magnetic field strength for the layman. Axman88's recommendation as to just obtaining a new rotor is a reasonable solution.

AC voltages measured at the case leads depends on engine RPM. Spin it up a bit and you should see between 30 - 60 VAC OPEN CIRCUIT depending on RPM, rotor condition, coil condition, etc.
The Reg/Rec massages this high AC voltage and makes (supposedly) 14 VDC. The Boyer Power Box in fact regulates very well, flatlining at 14 VDC in use at any RPM above slow idle. Both of my OEM R.E. IB Bullet Reg/Recs "regulate" at 16 VDC and are battery eaters. I cheated one by using an invincible 18V NiMH tool battery. The bulbs are on their own... :o ;D

The coil integrity (insulation condition, wire continuity) determines how much of the coil is "working" for you. A broken wire blocks the circuit path. A shorted section makes the coil effectively have less turns and produces a lower voltage output depending on where the short is. The "fix" is generally a new stator unless you are an electrical hobbyist.

Worst case just buy the Lucas 120 Watt lash up.  Don't forget to upgrade the voltage Reg/Rec at the same time. :o :)

A trifecta of Pre-Unit Bullets: a Red Deluxe 500, a Green Standard 500, and a Black ES 350.


axman88

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Reply #22 on: August 31, 2023, 04:58:36 am

There isn't any good way to measure magnetic field strength for the layman.

Actually, we do have access now to very reasonably priced Gauss meters like this one from Hojila.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/394645582845    I don't see a minimum frequency spec. so I assume this gadget can measure static magnetic fields.  EMF meters can quantify magnetic fields, but generally have a frequency range that they are calibrated for, and don't give useful readings in a static field.

Or, one could cobble up something that can quantify a magnetic field by rigging up an auxiliary circuit for their multimeter, based on commonly available packaged Hall Effect sensors, like is described in this science experiment.  https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Elec_p030/electricity-electronics/measure-magnetic-fields#:~:text=Once%20you%20have%20assembled%20your,the%20front%20of%20the%20sensor).

And, any DC clamp ammeter, like the UNI-T UT210D, that I've been recommending for general purpose moto diagnostic work, has a built in Hall Effect sensor in the jaws that may, or may not give useful results when exposed to a magnetic field in a systematic way.

One could rig up something even simpler, like a pull force test on a piece of iron.  But it's not THAT simple, because the pull strength varies non-linearly with distance, and the deflection during the test needs to be practically nil.   ( This suggests another, remote possibility, that the rotor/stator fit is incorrect, and there's too much gap between stator and rotor.  I have no idea if different diameters exist, though)

The rub of testing a questionable rotor is the calibration.  If rotor specifications EVER included the expected intensity of magnetism they were supposed to produce, it would have been over 100 years ago, at the dawn of automotive electrical systems when they had just a couple of poles.   We don't know what the field strength of a good RE UCE rotor is supposed to be.

The first step I'd have to take in measuring the magnetic field of a questionable rotor would be to acquire a presumably good rotor.  Because I'm methodical, the next step would be to mount it on my engine, and verify it produced the specified output in service.  Only then would any magnetic field readings taken from it have much usefulness, or be worth taking.  Obviously, most people would stop at the point they had their new rotor mounted and pumping out electrons, and save themselves the cost of the gaussmeter, and the time spent taking readings and making sense of the results.

Such experiments only make sense if I expect to encounter multiple dubious rotors in the future, or am part of a larger community of geeky science /engineering nerds, who are acutely interested in the results.  I don't think either of these is true.

If I'm wrong, and people are acutely interested, here's a range of magnetic field strengths one might have available in their home shop.

0.5 Gauss – Earth’s magnetic field at its surface
100 Gauss – A typical refrigerator magnet
1,100 Gauss – Magnetic rubber grade Y
3,700 Gauss – Ceramic magnets
11,000 Gauss – Samarium cobalt grade 2:17 magnet
12,500 Gauss – Alnico grade 5 magnet
13,000 Gauss – Neodymium grade N42 magnet


AzCal Retred

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Reply #23 on: August 31, 2023, 05:48:31 am
The propeller heads aeons back have determined that magnetic field strength is a squared function, it falls off rapidly with distance. That's why the rotor needs to be as close to the stator coils as possible and as centered as possible. My ammeter readings at fast idle were a lot less "lumpy" after a careful stator/rotor alignment session.

https://socratic.org/questions/how-does-distance-affect-magnetic-force
The equation for magnetic force is similar to Coulomb's Law (if you are familiar with it). But the key point is that the force is inversely proportional to the distance squared (i.e. it obeys an inverse square law with distance).
What that means in practical terms is the following:
If the distance between two magnets is doubled the magnetic force between them will fall to a quarter of the initial value.
If the distance between two magnets is halved the magnetic force between them will increase to four times the initial value.
If the distance between two magnets is increased by five times the magnetic force between them will fall to one twenty fifth of the initial value.



A trifecta of Pre-Unit Bullets: a Red Deluxe 500, a Green Standard 500, and a Black ES 350.


muezler

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Reply #24 on: September 15, 2023, 06:59:36 am
Update:

After replacing the rotor and coil I finally have a working charging system again.

Thanks to all


zsiros

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Reply #25 on: September 18, 2023, 05:04:50 pm
It took a while, but I finally had the time to fix her up. A new regulator fixed the issue and it's running perfectly now.

Thanks for all the help :)