Bad battery, or bad alternator? - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Bad battery, or bad alternator?

Hey guys, ran into a problem with my '07 America this week.

Three days ago, it started, rolled about ten yards, then died, and when I tried to restart, I got the infamous solenoid clicking. I jump-started it to diagnose it as a drained battery, then pulled it and hooked it up to a charger until it was full. When hooked it in, the charger said it was at about 40% charge. I put the battery back and it ran okay for two days, maybe some throttle lag in the mid-range. This morning, on the way to work (in the rain, awesome) it sputtered and died. When I tried to restart it, I got a clicking solenoid again, and though it would sporadically turn over, it wouldn't start.

The battery isn't original, it's a Yacht brand put in about 18-24 months ago. The headlight, neutral light, and turn lights are all pretty bright with the key in. I haven't had a chance to use the alternator test feature on my charger yet, but once I figure out how to get it out of this furniture store parking lot, that's my next step. Any ideas at this point though?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 03:09 PM
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My guess would be the battery. If you get it started, you can check the charging system. The lights should get brighter as the revs rise off idle if it is charging.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 03:20 PM
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have you a multimeter? the regulator/rectifier is a known weakness. this case definitely sounds like it's the battery, though. batteries plus and auto parts stores should be able to test it for bad cells.

edit: for the record, my r/r tested just fine but when i replaced it, my troubles vanished. HERE's the best bet. i see this guy's kit raved about in every motorcycle forum. ya know, for future reference.

Last edited by steve0suprem0; 11-30-2012 at 03:22 PM.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 01:34 AM
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Direct wiring the reg/rec fixed my charging problems. I basically did the wiring part of this upgrade without upgrading the reg/rec:

Slinky, I found out the rule of thumb about lights brighter as it comes off idle doesn't hold true for these charging systems:

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 09:30 AM
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first of all you have to check charging, if that is good then battery is bad
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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I fully charged the battery on a home charger, it started, ran for a few blocks, and died again. Now it won't start even with a jump, but it will turn over. Got a new battery on the way.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 03:19 PM
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do you live in a place where you can't easily access an auto parts store? your battery is probably only part of the problem.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 12:35 AM
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I have not done any mechanics for 20 years, but I had some thoughts about the symptoms.

If I remember correct:
The battery is only really used to start the vehicle.
Once started, then the alternator does all the work and also charges the battery.
You say the engine dies once started, that makes me again think of the alternator and circuit all the way to the spark plug.
you then say that once stopped, then jump leads dont help.
Does that mean the engine does not turn or does not fire ?
If its fire, then again im at the point of ignition.
If it does not turn, then I would look if there is any power at the starter.
Im also wondering about ignition system or short, as the dieing when riding and the no jump start, makes me think the power is being disconcted as if the key was turned.
If the engine will not turn or even make any noise (starter relay) and when you rode it died, then my head takes me to power delivery Vs power generation.

All that said, I barely remember where I am, so I may not be on point, but who knows... even a broken clock is right twice a day,

I just saw you said it turned over.
Im now working back from the spark and not from the battery.

I should read properly.
I saw you also had clicking solenoid, and that is usually lack of charge , solenoid or starter motor.
You also mentioned rain and that could be electrical short.

I know this does not help, but it may be one fault caused another and now the symptoms are combined.

I think your bettary may be damaged, but I feel it was not the culprit but a victim.

Last edited by TKLondon; 12-05-2012 at 12:50 AM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 12:44 PM
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If your bike is in the rain or water from washing the switch could be an issue. I have seen guys switches shorted out inside the switch. I had a battery test ok but had no power or lights, the battery was bad.
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