HELP: Electrical Problem

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by Steve, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. Steve

    Steve Guest

    I'm having a difficult to track down electrical problem on my 1990 ZX-6.
    Here's what happened the other day:

    - didnt ride for about 1 week
    - went out, bike started fine, rode for about 5 mins.
    - bike started dying like it was running out of gas, cant remember if
    power/lights/etc. started flickering

    - pulled over as bike died
    - tried to restart
    - battery was acting like it was dead (motor would barely turn over)
    - push started it no problem
    - drove straight home no problem except that headlight went out

    - out 2 days later to garage
    - bike wont start....battery seems weak, barely turns bike over
    - hooked up to 500mA slow charger for 1hr.
    - bike starts fine and now headlight works again! MAGIC!

    At this point, I dunno if battery is being overcharged or undercharged or
    just cant hold a charge. So here's what I tried:

    - checked charging system by running engine to 4000rpm
    --> 14.5V on voltmeter
    - checked alternator wires for continuity
    --> 3 wires and full continuity between them
    - tried to check rectifier/regulator according to manual
    --> rectifier readings were all backwards from manual
    --> ie/ when it was supposed to read inifinty it had a reading
    and when it was supposed to have a reading it read infinity
    --> I am not much a mechanic so I am assuming I got something
    backwards or the manual is backwards so guessing this part is
    --> regulator....where the heck do I get 3 12V batteries to test
    this?? should I bother??

    Note that over the winter I charged the battery with a 2A car trickle
    charger for no more than 6hrs at a time 2X a month so not sure if I damaged
    the battery. Hate to buy another new seems like I buy one every
    spring...without knowing part of the electrical system is not damaging the

    If anyone has suggestions or tips they are greatly appreciated.

    Steve, Aug 23, 2003
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  2. Steve

    Steve Guest

    (Kaybearjr) wrote in
    I should have mentioned it is a digital multimeter...I will try this
    suggestion too.
    this was fine

    digital multimeter...but maybe Haynes was using analog so they got it
    backwards ??
    looked fine here
    not too sure on this...the charger says 2A charger and there is only one
    indicator on it...a light that comes I have to assume it was 2A.

    i'll look into this but not sure I can get one for my bike...what brand
    do you recommend?

    great! thnx a lot for the help.

    Steve, Aug 24, 2003
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  3. Steve

    bob prohaska Guest

    Sounds good, but where'd you measure it? Battery, Regulator, somewhere else?
    That's odd. Does the meter have a diode test range? Best use that
    if available. Most digitals do.

    Could the meter leads be switched? Red in "common"?
    You lost me here, how are three batteries used to test a regulator?
    That's a lot of charging for a typical motorcycle battery, but if it started
    the bike once the battery can't be too bad.
    I'd urge you to try following the fault finding chart provided by Electrex:

    bob prohaska, Aug 25, 2003

  4. What's your battery reading with the engine at lower RPMs ?

    Last time I went through this exercise, the alternator brushes
    had reached their wear limits and while I was still getting
    some charging, it had definitely dropped off at lower RPMs.

    What's the battery voltage after you shut the bike down ?

    If you've lost one cell on the battery, your charging
    system may be able to bring it up to correct voltage, but
    it'll drop off quickly when you shut down the engine. (At
    14+ volts, this seems unlikely but not impossible)

    Also, what kind of shape is your starter in ?

    Might also be an intermittant short in the wiring, though
    I'd expect this to blow fuses.

    Not sure what to make of your reversed readings on the rectifier,
    but if the battery voltage rises when you run the engine, then
    I'd assume you had your leads reversed when you took the readings.

    You might also lash up a voltmeter so you could see what's
    happening as you're riding. This'd tell you if you were getting
    big fluctuations in voltage or a slow steady drain.
    r_kleinschmidt, Aug 25, 2003
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