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March 05, 2015, 02:45:57 PM

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Author Topic: Charging  (Read 67 times)

Tom 60 Chief

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Charging
« on: February 27, 2015, 10:42:05 PM »
My wife and I took a 100+ mile ride on the beast a week or so ago and at about 25 miles from home the ammeter started showing a very large discharge.  A quick check didn't show anything obvious so headlight off and home on the battery.  After finding no wiring or switch problems with the ignition or headlight switches and circuits, I checked DC amps at the battery by putting an ammeter between the positive post of the battery and the dis-connected ground wire, zero.  Off with the rectifier for a bench test because it is easy and usually the problem.  I normally test rectifier diodes with a high ohms setting on an analog multimeter, but just for grins I did it using the method from the original period Lucas service manual (pic).  In the rectifiers picture the left one is a good original Lucas #47132 that I am saving for if I ever decide to restore this machine to totally original condition.  The middle one is the common Lucas #49072 that came off this machine and is electrically open on all the diodes and is the cause for my current (pun intended) problem.  The one on the right is a Radio Shack #276-1185 25amp 50volt full wave bridge rectifier.  An original Lucas is about $80, replacement Lucas $40 and the Radio Shack one is normally $4.00 now $2.00 because my local store is closing.  I cut a copper disc for some additional cooling, added a wire from the positive terminal to ground and painted it black.  We now have a fully operational charging system but it remains to be seen if it is sturdy enough to hold up to the vibration and heat.  Regards to all.  Tom

High On Octane

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Re: Charging
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 11:58:39 PM »
It's scary to think that all those old vintage Brit bike correct restorations are still running Lucas electronics on them.    :o    You never know when the Prince of Darkness will rise in smoke.   ;D

I always figured that Radio Shack would have something to replace a rectifier, but last time I went in there neither one of the kids had any idea what I was talking about and tried selling me a .5 amp circuit board capacitor.    :-[

Have you tested the running voltage at the battery since replacing the rectifier?
Scottie J  ~  Bulldog Kustoms Denver  ~  1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer / Corn Fed ~  1959 Enfield/Indian Chief

Tom 60 Chief

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Re: Charging
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2015, 07:46:57 PM »
Hi Scottie,  I haven't posted for a while but I have been keeping up on your continuing motorcycle drama.  Good stuff. 
Lucas says their normal alternators put out a maximum 9.5 to 10.5 amps (6 volt system) but in reality with diode, wiring terminal and wiring resistance it is more like seven or eight amps.  The #2006 sealed beam headlight I use draws 6.45 amps on low beam and 8.2 amps on high so there isn't much room for error.  My Chief uses the light switch to control alternator output e.g. with the light switch in the 'off' position (ignition and brake light), only two of the six alt. coils are routed through the rectifier to trickle charge the battery, the other four coils are rendered electrically 'open'.  In the 'pilot' position (tail light added) the alternator routing remains the same.  In the head light 'on' position all six coils production is routed through the rectifier.  My alternator puts out 6.5 to 7 volts and meets the 2.5 amps minimum on 'off' and 3 amps minimum with the headlight on, this is with the new rectifier set up.  This is checked between the output terminal of the rectifier and the disconnected wire that goes to the negative post on the battery. 
I think Radio Shack people are hired as sales reps and generally aren't very component savvy.
I have had very good luck with Lucas electrics, the only consistent problems have been wires coming loose or breaking off,  likely more a result of vibration than design.  If you want some really crappy electrical components try some of the older British Wipac garbage, or, anythng 60s or earlier Italian.  I've owned several older HD motorcycles with Delco electrics that I couldn't go on any extended ride without some electrical component failing or falling off.  Anyway, I think all the older electrical systems were at best sketchy.  Tom

High On Octane

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Re: Charging
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2015, 09:14:28 PM »
Yeah, that's why I upgraded to 12volt.  I needed something modern that wasn't going to leave me stranded.  Ironically, I've been stranded several times from the electrical failing due the 2 stripped out bolts on the primary mount that took me a year and 3 stators to find out.  LOL  I'm pretty sure I have all the electrical bugs worked out now.  Knock on wood.   ;)
Scottie J  ~  Bulldog Kustoms Denver  ~  1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer / Corn Fed ~  1959 Enfield/Indian Chief