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Old 23rd October 2009
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cantolina cantolina is offline
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Exclamation My Sportster isn't charging! What do I do??

Here's a quick method of checking out your charging system...the FSM has more detailed tests, but some of them are difficult for the backyard mechanic to actually do, so here's a method you can use to pinpoint your problem!

Ya got 3 sections to your charging system, basically...Stator, Voltage Regulator, and Battery...

To continue, you MUST charge your battery fully, and its best to load-check it to ensure its ok....

If your static battery voltage is below 12.4-12.6 volts or better (12.8 is considered a full charge)...its either not charged enough, or its shot....

Start by checking voltage, both static and running...

IE: on my bike, the static voltage right now is 12.76 vdc...while running, its 14.16 vdc....that's as close to perfect as I could ask...

If the running voltage is not higher than the static voltage, there is a problem...period.....the regulator is SUSPECT...

If the voltage is above 14 vdc or so, your regulator is fried, and it needs to be replaced...

But wait...

Go to the stator connector located at the bottom of the frame, RH side, front....disconnect it at the rubber connector...

Connect your multimeter, set at resistance, to both leads of the stator connector (the side that goes into the primary)...if you read no resistance....the stator must be replaced...

Check resistance from each lead to ground...if either of those reads no resistance, the stator must be replaced...

Assuming the stator has checked out so far, start the bike and read VAC across the terminals...it should read about 18-21 volts per 1000 RPM's...

If the VAC reading is outside of these parameters significantly, the stator must be replaced...typically, it will be lower if there is a problem...

You have just troubleshooted the entire charging system, assuming all connections are clean and corrosion-free....This test is predicated on this assumption....

If you've followed these instructions, you know the problem....if you DON'T know the problem yet, you either did something wrong (volts AC, volts DC), or you have corrosion or a short you didn't find yet....

This is a COMPONENT test..not a complete system test...

Good luck!
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~Chuck

"entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"


Occam's Razor...

in English: "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity."
My definition: "The simplest answers are the most likely"

~NRHS machined 1200 conversion, shittin and gettin...

XLF Tuning Stickies

Charging system troubleshooting





Last edited by cantolina; 10th January 2014 at 17:09..