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Classic, Vintage & Veteran For Coventry and Meriden Models. Anything pre-Hinckley goes.

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Old 12-03-2012, 10:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Faulty charging system?

I have a 70' Trophy with all stock charging system. Also running a Boyer ignition system. My gel battery is only about 1 year old but doesn't seem to be keeping an appropriate charge. I usually keep the bike on a trickle charger and battery reads over 12 volts when I put a volt meter on it. But after a couple of weeks of short trips around town the battery without charging in between wasn't keeping the bike running while at idle. Battery was reading about 9.75 volts at this point. A night on the charger and battery was reading over 12 again and running great. Put the volt meter on while at idle and twisted the throttle and read over 13 which (I think) tells me the rectifier is working properly and the battery should be charging. Zenor diode tests properly. Am I missing something? Are my short trips around town not enough to keep the battery properly charged? Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you hit the nail on the head, at low revs you have to much being drawn from the battery to allow it to charge. With points fitted you may not have noticed it but the Boyer can be sensitive to low voltage. Nothing wrong with keeping it on the trickle charger, but a good hard ride would do it more good.

Rod
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johngreco View Post
Put the volt meter on while at idle and twisted the throttle and read over 13 which (I think) tells me the rectifier is working properly and the battery should be charging. Zenor diode tests properly. Am I missing something?
The rectifier may not be working properly.It would still give you that result if it only gave 1/2 charge.If one of the 4 diodes is blown,you will get 1/2 charge.

Try testing it with the headlight on.At 3000 rpm,you should be getting about 14V.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you are running a real gel cell battery (not AGM or Lithium) that may be your problem.
Gel batteries have a very different charging program then the usual batteries used on bikes and they also need a specialized charger. They have been typically used in the past on race bike total loss systems, but IMHO are really a poor choice for a street bike.

The AGMs work very well and lots of people use them. I am currently running a lithium-ion battery with a Typanum reg-rect on my TR6C. So far no problems since June, but it is experimental.

What is the exact information on your battery..brand name and model number? It sounds like it is rapidly self discharging which is a prelude to failure.

Start by testing your battery. Charge it up to a least 12.8 volts no load, let it sit for an hour and check it. Now let it sit for a couple of days and check it again.

Last edited by motobob; 12-04-2012 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Your battery is shot, buy a new one.
Get the new one tested first before taking it away.
I had two (poor quality ones) that failed the battery test.
Its worth paying a little more for a good quality battery.
If the vendor is any good he can advise you.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Start with a simple charging system test.

Does the headlight get brighter as you rev up from idle?
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Would rather suspect that the battery has suffered by being wrongly charged. Gel, if it is a proper gel, batteries hate being on the wrong type of tender or charger & will quickly suffer & will not hold a charge.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I need to correct myself. It's not a true gel battery, rather an AGM battery. So I don't think I've damaged it with the charger. It's Westco brand, which I consider to be a quality battery.

I have done most of the charging tests mentioned in the replies. I will perform the one or two that i haven't, but nothing thus far has given me readings of 14 volt output. If I rule out the battery (which I've replaced once before thinking it was the problem; this has been an ongoing issue for a while) I'm going to replace the rectifier which appears to be the original unit.

If I go that route, any opinions on replacing it and the Zenor diode with a Sparx regulator rectifier? I'd prefer to use the single phase (I don't know what that means) unit that looks like the Zenor diode to preserve the original look as much as possible.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It's easy to test the rectifier.You can test each diode separately with a multimeter.

The other way is to connect your battery charger to the rectifier in place of the stator leads.The battery should charge.Reverse the polarity of the charger leads,and the battery should still charge.If it charges both ways,the rectifier is OK.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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<I'd prefer to use the single phase (I don't know what that means.>
Unless it's been changed yours will be single phase. A single phase alternator has 6 coils and a three phase has 9 coils. With single phase you get gaps in the output after rectification, the extra coils with three phase help to fill in the gaps.

<Put the volt meter on while at idle and twisted the throttle and read over 13>
A voltage rise generally means your alternator is charging. But do you normally ride with your lights on John? If so what is the voltage with the lights on? Normally we measure the voltage at 3000RPM.
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