atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5701: So, let's talk about charging circuits.

Sat down at the workbench with the multimeter and manual (still open to the page from yesterday when I quit work in disgust) and tested the latest R/R. Tested fine, so I installed it. Double-checked my connections, hooked up DMM, started bike.

Voltage: 12.9V.

Revved engine up to 3,000 RPM. Voltage: 13.8V.

Returned to fast idle (2,000 RPM) and switched off high beam. Voltage: 14.1V. And as I let it run, the voltage climbed a bit higher.

The battery is charging.


It is not charging around idle speed, but above idle speed it's making more than enough juice to charge the battery. I further expect that since it's been a while since I did charge the battery that the low reading I'm getting at idle is a reflection of the battery's charge state and not how much juice the magneto is making.

So, I shut everything off and began tucking wires away. You know, having that main battery wire running so close to the starter solenoid is probably a bad idea, so let me move it--


In the process of trying to move the wire which runs to the battery and supplies current for everything other than the starter, an old tear in the vinyl boot covering the bullet connectors allowed that bullet connection to touch the negative terminal on the starter solenoid, making much sparks and smoke and blackening the vinyl in spots. I got it separated before the wire got hot enough to melt the insulation off, but as I was doing that ZAP CRACKLE SHIT it touched something else.

Once clear of grounds, I took a few moments to restart my heart and take stock of the situation. The boot covering the bullet connector was no longer a reliable insulator. I pulled the fuse out of the holder, then wrapped a shop cloth around the bullet connection and disconnected the negative terminal on the battery. Now, that insulator--I could wrap tape around it, but that's half-assed; was there a way I could replace it?

I kept coming up empty, until I remembered that I've got several rolls of heat-shrink tubing in the supply cabinet. I bought it at Harbor Freight some time ago and used about 3/4" of it in 2011 but otherwise it mainly takes up space, because it's all too big for what I usually work on.

Got it out and looked it over. The 1" size would do, so I snipped a 1.5" hunk off of that and grabbed the heat gun. I also took a similar length of the 3/8.

Sat back at the bike and tried to get the 3/8" on, but it wouldn't fit. The 1" fit over the old insulator with just a fraction of a hair to spare. The heat gun shrank it down, and it's not going anywhere, and it's now keeping that connector well-insulated.

Tucked the wiring in the way I wanted it--with that battery wire well away from the solenoid!--and then tried to put the battery back in. Of course it fought me every step of the way--aftermarket batteries are a little taller than OEM, and hit the air box--but eventually I got the bike put back together, all wires routed and safely tucked. Started her up and checked the voltage; it's still charging, so this little contretemps didn't roast the regulator (thank GOD).

...and there's dark clouds to the northwest. There's thunderstorms coming. Of course. I still have to adjust the clutch, and in the time it's taken me to write this post the storms have advanced from the NW corner of the county to "just about on top of me", which means even if I had been ready to take the bike out, I would have ended up getting soaked.

Well, how long have I been trying to fix this thing? Let's see, got it legal on pot day. May 7th was when the problem became obvious, and the next day I found that the charging system wasn't working. So it's only been six weeks that I've been trying to get this thing fixed., and now it is.

The rain petered out before it got to us. I'm probably still not going to ride the bike today, though, as I have other chores that need tending to. Argh etc.

* * *

Someone has been linking to my Photobucket, because I'm getting a "bandwidth exceeded" message. There's no way for me to find out which image, apparently. But you get 10 GB of BW per month, and I've exceeded that. *sigh*

* * *

There's a guy in the neighborhood who owns a souped-up Subaru. I think it's an Impreza wagon; the Impreza is the model on which the WRX STI is built and it sounds like he put a WRX engine into it.

But when he's just driving down the street, it sounds exactly like an air-cooled Beetle, and I've had to train myself not to look out the window when he drives by.

I know: first-world problems.

* * *

Well, today is warmer--pleasant--and more humid than it has been for a while. I'll probably have to run the AC tonight, and maybe tomorrow, as Mrs. Fungus prefers it cooler than this when trying to sleep (and I do too, but I'd tough it out if left to my own devices). I guess we'll see.

Anyway, bike's buttoned up, and I just need to do a few adjustments to have her ready for the road, finally. Maybe after I attend to my other chores I can do that.

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