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1985, alternator, voltage regulator, xlx

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  #1  
Old 25th August 2012
morkrazy morkrazy is offline
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Default 85 xlx bad voltage regulator?

so now that my bike has been running well my battery is dying. i noticed a cracked ring terminal on the negative battery cable and replaced it thinking great 87 cents fixed it! so i jump started it after riding home 30 miles from work and took a 20 mile ride. the head light didnt seem to go dim but when i pulled back into the garage the battery was still dead. it surely should have gone up from the 11 volts it had when i jumped it but it was at 10.2 volts!!! arghhh!! i pulled out the service manual and the only test in there that made any sense at all was to unplug the regulator and check the voltage out of the alternator as RPM increases it was 6 volts at idle and about 60 volts around 3000 rpm (just a guess because i dont have a tach) the battery is only 2 weeks old and it's a Deka AGM battery.
is there a likely culprit other than the voltage regulator? it seemed to go down over night? judging by the wiring diagram there is nothing between it and the battery. i just dont want to go buy a new one and find out that it isn't the problem.
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  #2  
Old 25th August 2012
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There are 3 circuits in the regulator. One prevents the battery being drained while the bike sits overnight. Could be that circuit is toast.

Ooops, this applies to the reg that goes with the gen. I do not know about the reg that goes with the alt.
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  #3  
Old 25th August 2012
morkrazy morkrazy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMick View Post
There are 3 circuits in the regulator. One prevents the battery being drained while the bike sits overnight. Could be that circuit is toast.

Ooops, this applies to the reg that goes with the gen. I do not know about the reg that goes with the alt.
i dont know anything about the internals the manual just says to replace it if it shits out. i do see a moderate increase in voltage if i hit the throttle here in the garage, which makes my test ride earlier make less sense. i just tried starting it again it was at 12.02 v and went up to 12.3 v but i would have guessed that it should be reading more like 14.2 while running like a car does in order to make up for the current draw as it runs. am i wrong? of course the manual tells me to check amperage while sitting and compare it to the specifications in the chart- and late 1984-85 isn't listed in the specs! this is a harley manual! sheesh!

Last edited by morkrazy; 25th August 2012 at 02:41.. Reason: missed something
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  #4  
Old 25th August 2012
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One of the local indie mechanics says that solid state voltage regulators are like light bulbs - they may last for years or thay may go bad quite soon.

I always keep a spare good reg in the shop. If i suspect the current one has gone bad i just swap in the backup. This is the best, easiest and most reliable test.

It is worthwhile IMO for you to do the same. Buy a new one, swap it in, if it does not solve the problem then you have a known good spare which will be handy some day.

I also have a spare generator and solenoid. My spare battery just recently went down to the weak category on my load tester.

An IronHead owner needs this stuff. Got a birthday coming up? This is your request list
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  #5  
Old 25th August 2012
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nickstoyz nickstoyz is offline
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I had basically same problem on my 80. New battery. I had generator and regulator checked and they both were good according to the shop. all my wiring was good. So I went with a new regulator and problem solved. 50 bucks.
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  #6  
Old 25th August 2012
morkrazy morkrazy is offline
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it still runs down the road... hmm J&P cycles is about 90 miles from my house and they have this reg listed at 56 bucks the closest dealer wants 120 ... i may have to risk a ride if they are open on saturdays!
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  #7  
Old 25th August 2012
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Yea i did all the testing i could from info from this great bunch of people and everything was good! But still my battery wasn't charging but staying around 12V. Go out next day nothing!! And after the shop checked everything to confirm my tests I was dumbfounded!! They checked each part of my charging system seperate. So I decided to buy the cheapest part the regulator and sure shit bang 14+ volts. And i figured if it wasn't the regulator its always nice to have a spare. Good luck to ya.
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Old 25th August 2012
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Hmm, $65 dollar savings. How much will it cost you for a truck to come pick you up if you do run out of juice on the way, or on the way home if it turns out that's not the problem.

Well that probably is the problem. And after you get it, if you want a working spare i can sel you mine for $10 plus cost of shiping from Canada. It still worked when I dismantled my '85 it just has some insulation missing on the wires that needs heatshrink to fix.

I don't know if you can go 90 miles on a battery. Probably not if you have your headlight on. Also not if you still have it at 12v. Charge it fully to something over 13V.

Yes it should be more like 14V when running. That is not to allow for current draw of running bike, it is because of internal resistance of battery, it needs a bit more voltage than 13V in order to push through and charge it to 13 (or 13.5 or whatever it is when fully charged).

And yes the late 84/85 regulatores are completely diferent that the earlier regulators for generator. The generators models are just plain regulators. The Alternator models are rectifiers (convert AC - DC) and Regulators (regulate voltage down to 14V)
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  #9  
Old 25th August 2012
morkrazy morkrazy is offline
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I chickened out and decided unwanted to sleep in, I ordered it last night so it should be here on Tuesday unless by some miracle they ship it on a Saturday I'll get it Monday. One of my buddy's wanted to order some stuff and he's a gold member so we just put it on one order. I did put it on the trickle charger before I went to bed and it's reading 13.8 v this morning.... But I guess I'll do laundry instead
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Old 10th September 2012
morkrazy morkrazy is offline
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So I replaced it two weeks ago and everything was great. Went riding around with some buddys for a few hours this afternoon and on our way back the bike just died, poof! Couldn't roll start it even. I got a jump start and rode a few more miles to my buddy's house to eat, needed a jump start to get home again. When I pulled in I got the multimeter out and I'm only getting 10.6v to the battery! WTF! I haven't even thrown the box away yet! Could it have smoked that easily?
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