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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everybody,

I'm looking for some advice with an ongoing battery issue.

My Bike:
2010 Triumph Speedmaster
Airbox eliminated, AI and O2 sensors removed, remapped with TuneECU, cocktail shaker pipes
YTX12-BS Yuasa battery
-less than 2 years old
-has died and been recharged ~30 times

The problem:
The bike won't start about once a week. I charge the battery, it lasts for a few days, and dies again.
Sometimes the bike will die when I pull in the clutch, downshift, or snap the throttle open too quickly
The lights pulsate at low RPM's (eg at idle)

Steps I've taken:
Unplugged and checked every single fuse. This stopped the light pulsations....
With a multimeter and help from the column I linked below, I determined that the battery does not leak, has appropriate output, and that the rectifier works fine.
The AC motor winding continuity test was normal.

The AC motor winding "resistance test" was abnormal (no resistance between 1 wire and the other 2)
The AC motor winding has continuity to ground (abnormal as well)

I popped off the stator cover to have a look (attached photos). Looks normal to me but I also have no idea what abnormal would look like.

My Questions:
Why did unplugging and reinserting the fuses solve the pulsating lights?
What does an abnormal resistance test indicate?
Do the pictures of the rotor/stator look normal?
Why the heck does my battery keep dying?

Post I used: How do I check my Alternator?

Thank you for any and all help. Cheers.

729314
729317
 

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My Questions:
Why did unplugging and reinserting the fuses solve the pulsating lights?
What does an abnormal resistance test indicate?
Do the pictures of the rotor/stator look normal?
Why the heck does my battery keep dying?
I can't answer your questions but will share a bit of what I experienced on my 2009 America.
Biggest issue I dealt with was related to the smaller battery we got stuck with. For the first transition generation of EFI on our twins Triumph decided to use a smaller battery and share the battery tray space with the ECU. This made charging of the battery more critical. The OEM rectifier/regulator was marginal at best for me. It was in spec, but just barely. The charge voltage was not stable and peak charging was not at RPM's I would be traveling at! I ride mostly for work & errands so I have lots of cranks and not a lot of miles in between.
I replaced the rec/reg with an aftermarket MOSFET unit and the charging voltage is a bit higher and far more stable now. I do still get the dreaded click when hitting the starter button after too many short rides and a number of cranks, but much less now.
 

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What procedure are you using for the alternator test? If it's showing continuity to ground from the leads, that looks like a problem based on forum alternator troubleshooting.

Out of curiosity:

Have you load tested the battery?

What voltage does it read after the bike has started and run for a while both at idle and cruise RPM's?

How do you know the regulator is working fine? Pulsing lights can be a sign that it is on the decline.

If you're using a lead acid battery and havent been keeping it on a tender while not in use, I would suspect the battery to start with. I was not getting good mileage out of mine before I switched to shorai lithium ion.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I ride mostly for work & errands so I have lots of cranks and not a lot of miles in between.
I replaced the rec/reg with an aftermarket MOSFET unit and the charging voltage is a bit higher and far more stable now. I do still get the dreaded click when hitting the starter button after too many short rides and a number of cranks, but much less now.
I too ride mostly for work and errands, outside of the occasional weekend jaunt. It’s reassuring to hear similar usage gives you a similar problem.

I’ve been thinking about getting a Lithium Iron battery, but I’m concerned that I’ll end up having the same issues down the road. Perhaps I should give a MOSFET-style unit a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To test continuity to ground, I placed one lead of my multimeter on one alternator phase, and the other lead on the bike frame. I don’t know if this is the correct way to do this, so please do correct me if it’s not.

I have not load tested the battery. I’m not sure how to do this.

After starting and running at idle for ~20 minutes, it’s in the 12.6-12.7 V range.

After disconnecting the alternator-rectifier connector to test everything, it dropped to the 12.2 V range in about 20 minutes and then wouldn’t start after I killed it. I’m not sure if this is a normal rate of discharge.

When I rev it to ~3k rpm, the voltage jumps into the low 13’s.

To test the rectifier: I put one multimeter lead on a single phase coming from the alternator. I then touched the other lead to each of the connectors for the rectifier. I had equal continuity between each of the connectors and for each phase. I assumed this meant it was working fine.

I too suspect the battery. I’m hesitant to switch to the Lithium Iron just in case it is a circuitry issue.
 

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To test continuity to ground, I placed one lead of my multimeter on one alternator phase, and the other lead on the bike frame. I don’t know if this is the correct way to do this, so please do correct me if it’s not.

I have not load tested the battery. I’m not sure how to do this.

After starting and running at idle for ~20 minutes, it’s in the 12.6-12.7 V range.

After disconnecting the alternator-rectifier connector to test everything, it dropped to the 12.2 V range in about 20 minutes and then wouldn’t start after I killed it. I’m not sure if this is a normal rate of discharge.

When I rev it to ~3k rpm, the voltage jumps into the low 13’s.

To test the rectifier: I put one multimeter lead on a single phase coming from the alternator. I then touched the other lead to each of the connectors for the rectifier. I had equal continuity between each of the connectors and for each phase. I assumed this meant it was working fine.

I too suspect the battery. I’m hesitant to switch to the Lithium Iron just in case it is a circuitry issue.
Oof, yeah you've definitely got a problem. Checking continuity on the R/R won't tell you much, you need to see what voltage it's putting out to know anything.

That voltage is definitely too low. I would have tested ground back to the post, but it probably doesn't matter much. It's concerning that you have continuity from the alternator leads to ground and from one to another. Everything I've read here says that is a sign of a shorted connection. If you know what you're doing, you could probably find the fault and repair it, but I imagine it would be a lot easier to just get a used stator and slip it in. You should see above 13.5-15 volts downstream of the regulator.

Here is the troubleshooting procedure: Using a multimeter set the ohms x 1 ( ohmmeter) scale check that there is a small resistance in the stator coil winding by connecting the probes between each of the black/blue wire terminal pairs on the alternator side of the connector, making a total of three checks. Also check for continuity between each terminal and ground (earth). If the stator coil windings are in good condition the coil resistance readings should be similar to those given in the Specifications at the beginning of this Chapter, and there should be no continuity (infinite resistance) between any of the terminals and ground (earth). If not, check the fault is not due to damaged wiring or connectors between the connector and stator, which is in the alternator cover on the right-hand side of the engine. If the wiring and connectors are good, the alternator stator coil assembly is at fault and must be replaced with a new one.

Of course, being constantly undercharged, the battery could be bad too. If you have a local auto store, they can load test it for you free of charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Using a multimeter set the ohms x 1 ( ohmmeter) scale check that there is a small resistance in the stator coil winding by connecting the probes between each of the black/blue wire terminal pairs on the alternator side of the connector, making a total of three checks. Also check for continuity between each terminal and ground (earth). If the stator coil windings are in good condition the coil resistance readings should be similar to those given in the Specifications at the beginning of this Chapter, and there should be no continuity (infinite resistance) between any of the terminals and ground (earth). If not, check the fault is not due to damaged wiring or connectors between the connector and stator, which is in the alternator cover on the right-hand side of the engine. If the wiring and connectors are good, the alternator stator coil assembly is at fault and must be replaced with a new one.
I did perform both of these tests initially. I just went back to double check, but I gave my multimeter manual a quick read and realized I had made a mistake: I did not know that to measure resistance, the circuit must be off.

The stator phases all have equivalent resistance between them. They do not have continuity to ground. This, combined with the equivalent voltages between the phases and the pics above, seems to rule out the alternator as the source of the trouble.

No offense taken. Your comment inspired me to read the multimeter manual and fixed my measurement technique.

It would appear to be a rectifier vs battery problem now.

Measurements of the battery voltage across the terminals:
Everything off: 12.67 V
Kill switch and key turned to "on": 12.36 V
Starting the bike: Dips into 10 V range
Idle: ~1000 rpms 12.76 V
2000-4000 rpms: ~13.3 V

When you say 13.5-15 V downstream of the regulator, do you mean measuring across the battery terminals like I listed above?

I suppose my next step is to get it load tested. If it passes, that really leaves the rectifier as the only possible issue.
Then I'll probably mimic MattyMo and buy an improved rectifier.

I'll be sure to update with the results. Thanks!
 

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I'm pretty sure your rectifier is causing the issue. Continuity only tells you that that electrons have a flow path. You need to know the voltage it's putting out. Testing closer to the r/r is ideal as you won't get voltage drop from the wiring or any other items which may be drawing power, but testing at the battery is fine in my opinion (for what that is worth). I'm all for the mosfet regulator. They're a little pricey but handle excess load better, give a better charge, and stay cooler.

Definitely still do the load test, just in case your battery is dead due to being undercharged for so long.
 

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If your battery drops to 10v on start, I suspect it's on it's way out but I have a LI battery so I can't verify what voltage drop you would see. Load testing with a starter shouldn't drop a 12v battery more than 1v on a car, but I can't tell you if that rule applies to a smaller motorcycle battery.
 

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It looks like a good LA battery should not dip below 9.6 volts during a 10 second period of cranking. Unplug the wiring connector going to your fuel tank so the bike wont start, then turn the starter over for ten seconds. If voltage stays above 9.6 during that period, you should be good to keep the battery and can forego the auto store load test.

I would still leave the battery on a tender until your new R/R arrives.
 

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FYI, I did take one more step to reduce the battery drain when turning the key on. I replaced the headlamp itself (not the lens/reflector assembly) with an LED unit. Better light output and less power drain when turning the key "on" before starting the motor.
At first I had gotten one of the headlight cut relays that plug in between the socket and the headlight. You then flash the high beam after cranking to energize the relay turning on the low beam. Worked, but I did have to remember to turn the headlight on. Like the LED headlamp better, need to give the relay or "headlight control module" a better home than the shelf.

edit: Not directly power drain related but from working on it over time. I got very tired of needing multiple tools to get to the battery. I replaced all of the fasteners to the battery with SS Phillips screws.
Brennan, you may be right for overall use but I went to the LED for better light output and less battery drain immediately after turning on the key and the ECU verifying voltage before allowing the starter to engage.
 

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FYI, I did take one more step to reduce the battery drain when turning the key on. I replaced the headlamp itself (not the lens/reflector assembly) with an LED unit. Better light output and less power drain when turning the key "on" before starting the motor.
At first I had gotten one of the headlight cut relays that plug in between the socket and the headlight. You then flash the high beam after cranking to energize the relay turning on the low beam. Worked, but I did have to remember to turn the headlight on. Like the LED headlamp better, need to give the relay or "headlight control module" a better home than the shelf.
Interestingly enough, a lot of people may think they're doing their charging system a favor by getting LED lighting, but in reality, their lights are drawing less power, which means their battery is using less charge current and the R/R has more current to burn off. All of this is alleviated by using the MOSFET R/R.
 

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edit: Not directly power drain related but from working on it over time. I got very tired of needing multiple tools to get to the battery. I replaced all of the fasteners to the battery with SS Phillips screws.
Brennan, you may be right for overall use but I went to the LED for better light output and less battery drain immediately after turning on the key and the ECU verifying voltage before allowing the starter to engage.

Speaking generally. I have an LED bulb and am running the OEM R/R for the time being. No problems so far, but I know I'm not doing the regulator any favors. IMO, LED is the only way to go!
 

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It would appear to be a rectifier vs battery problem now.
Weak regulator-rectifier will prematurely kill batteries and cause "battery problems". There's no reason to not replace the r-r with a MOSFET unit, and replace the battery at the same time. Chances are pretty good that will solve the problem, and if not, it should be done anyway on general principles. As mentioned, the OEM r-r is marginal when new and gets worse over time.
 

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Perhaps I should give a MOSFET-style unit a shot.
Just decide if you want to switch to LiON or not, because the MOSFET R/Rs, for example Rick's, come designated for either the normal or LiON batteries (slightly higher voltage on the latter). I wouldn't want you to get the R/R for the stock and then switch to a LiON battery. Like Balto said, replace both the battery and the R/R as a set.
But before you do that, anyone know if the matching LiON-suitable R/R is really necessary, or only recommended, for a LiON battery?
 

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Just decide if you want to switch to LiON or not, because the MOSFET R/Rs, for example Rick's, come designated for either the normal or LiON batteries (slightly higher voltage on the latter). I wouldn't want you to get the R/R for the stock and then switch to a LiON battery. Like Balto said, replace both the battery and the R/R as a set.
But before you do that, anyone know if the matching LiON-suitable R/R is really necessary, or only recommended, for a LiON battery?
It depends on the battery. Shorai advertises their batteries as a drop in replacement which can be used with OEM charge systems. That being said, there is a special break in process that needs to be followed for optimal life. It's worth reading the product information on, there is a lot there.

As far as the current battery goes, if it load tests well, there is no reason to replace it along with the R/R. The load test is definitive. The battery would only suffer damage if it was left in an uncharged state for a prolonged period of time in the case of an undercharging R/R.

But there's a good chance that it will test bad after 30 low voltage discharges.
 

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Shorai advertises their batteries as a drop in replacement which can be used with OEM charge systems
Brennan,
Just took your advice and read through Shorai's website. It looks like their LiON battery should work if the stock charging system is at 13.1V or higher at idle, as the charge on the battery should not go below 13V.

Citizen11, it looks like your charging system is at 12.76V at idle. The Rick's Hot Shot R/R, non-LiON specific, for my '14 Scrambler is the same recommended for your Speedmaster, and I'm at [email protected] idle on my OEM R/R. Looks like you wouldn't need the LiON special, and can save the $10.

Thanks for the insight, Brennan.
 

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Ricks has some helpful videos that show you how to test stuff and to look out for melted connections etc etc. Aftermarket Motorsport Parts & Kits Superstore - Charging, Starting, Ignition
They do have 2 regulators; One for lead acid (14.5V set point) and one for Lithium (14.0V set point)
I got my regulator from him before he marketed the lithium one and his 14.5v regulator is working fine with my LiFePO4 deltran battery.
In all my research, I deduced that 14V should be the right charging voltage for cars and bikes, no matter the battery. Basic to Advanced Battery Information from Battery University
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Definitely still do the load test, just in case your battery is dead due to being undercharged for so long.
I got it load tested at my local auto parts store and it checked out just fine. Looks like I'll be replacing the rectifier. I may also go the LiON route, as I want to relocate the battery to create an open space under the frame. Thank you everybody for your input and advice over the last few days. It was immensely helpful.
 
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