"" Help! strange electrical problem left me stranded - Page 2 - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
 1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #26 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-10-2017, 10:56 PM
Senior Member
 
po18guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,652
 
Garage
My impression is that, once 'excited', the alternator will produce enough juice to keep the bike running once running. A bad regulator will allow either an overcharge, which fries the battery, or an undercharge in which you are using the battery up and it is not being re-charged as you ride. A wiring problem, such as a poor ground connection, can do the same thing, as it prevents full voltage from recharging the battery, or from reaching the gauges, ignition, lights, etc, eventually shutting the bike down due to low voltage.

A mosfet regulator is far more refined than the OEM unit, and will solve and prevent all such troubles, but still needs the rest of the system, wiring mainly, to be in good shape. A quick check of the ground connections, a battery charge and perhaps a temporary regulator replacement should get you home.

1987 EX500-A1<br />K&N/Dynojet kit<br />Webcam 245 cams<br />Cobra F1 slip-ons<br />3rd airbox snorkel<br />Tapered rollers<br />Prog. Springs<br />Russell braided line<br />Galfer pads<br />Avon Super Venoms
po18guy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #27 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-11-2017, 10:04 PM
Ex-500.com Vendor
 
ducatiman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 12,149
 
Garage
I'm very interested in the dealers findings and comments. Until hands and meters are applied...anything is possible.

Custom Carb Service

**Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba.... Hunter S. Thompson**
ducatiman is offline  
post #28 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-12-2017, 2:45 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 58
 
The dealer did exactly what Jack predicted above. They wanted to replace the battery (which I may or may not need). They were going to use an wet battery rather than the gel type I have. They were then going to charge me $100/hr to do tests. I told them I would pick up the bike and do the work myself--which seemed to surprise them. So, I will be picking up the bike on Friday. With luck I will get it home and do the tests next week.
brucewood is offline  
 
post #29 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-15-2017, 8:39 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 58
 
I finally picked up the bike yesterday. I spoke with the mechanic and he insists the problem is a dead battery. I asked him the same thing I asked O_E_M above, "Would the bike really suddenly lose power on the interstate over nothing more than a dead battery?" He insisted it would. His explanation was that unlike cars, the bike did not generate enough power to keep the spark/engine going if there was a bad battery.

Anyway, I finally got the bike out of that place. I'm going to do the tests myself and try to see what's actually wrong. The mechanic tested nothing more than the battery (and charged me fifty bucks for it). There could be something else going on.

That said, now I keep wondering: is what the mechanic said about the motorcycle depending so much on the battery true?

Thanks again to you all for the help. I'll probably have more questions when I start working on the bike next week.
brucewood is offline  
post #30 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-16-2017, 1:12 AM
Senior Member
 
one_evil_monkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: North Carolina, US
Posts: 10,905
  
Garage
@brucewood
Sorry, been busy as hell with some customer work.

YES, the failing battery will do it.
I thought I had here, but guess not...

The alternator on this bike doesn't "run" squat.
The BATTERY does.
The alternator makes AC power, it goes to the regulator/rectifier.
Where it's rectified (convertered) to DC power and then regulated to usuable voltage for bike... 12vdc.
The R/R gets the AC, makes it DC.... the excess DC is shunted off to ground. That makes heat. Heat kills the R/R.
This is where MOSFET R/R is great upgrade. It's digital switching.
A worthy upgrade period.
Buying a custom length harness and MOSFET R/R from Duc, supporting a long time member.

Now.... whatever R\R you're using.... the juice goes right from the battery.
Why? The WHOLE electrical system is keyed right off that bastard.
That stupid ass little battery.
Switch on..... boom...... lights on.... why? battery.
Starter....hit that switch.... boom... battery.... the relays for starting curcuit all up through the jumction box... yup ..... battery...
Bike fires.... HEY..... ignition coils get their 12vdc from.... yup... the BATTERY.
The CDI grounds the coil and it fires.... but the coils need the 12vdc from... the BATTERY.

It runs it all.
The "alternator" on this bike does nothing but make power... but it has to run through the regulator. And what does the regulator do....
Monitor the BATTERY'S voltage..... when the battery voltage drops below a certain point, the regulator kicks in. Allowing about 14 volts to the battery.
The whole bike needs 12.... the other 1-2 are there to keep the battery topped off so it has enough ass to refire the bike next time it needs to be started.

If it were an automobile, the battery wouldn't do a thing EXCEPT start the engine. Once started, the alternator powers it all.
But this ain't an automobile.
THIS is an EX500. And it's alternator doesn't do anything but feed the battery through the R/R so the battery can feed the whole bike.

Yes, it sounds complicated.... reality... nope. Pretty simple.
A simple load test with a simple multimeter could confirm a bad battery.
A simple charge test with a simple multimeter could check for bad R/R.
Depending on what you want to spend on meter.... less than $20 could've done that. For what you spent on mechanic's fees... well, you could've had a pretty nice meter.

If you want to add a bit of security... I reccommend a Gammatronix voltage light. eBay for like $20.
Wire in to battery...
Green = good overall system voltage
Yellow = below good
Red = something's crapped.

tl:dr
Amazing I haven't even been on in three weeks and this isn't resolved.
PUT A BATTERY IN IT!


O_E_M

Last edited by one_evil_monkey; 4-16-2017 at 1:17 AM.
one_evil_monkey is offline  
post #31 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-16-2017, 8:56 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 58
 
Thanks so much for the explanation. I understand a lot better now. I grew up riding kick start trail bikes and just kinda assumed the ex500 was like those, except with a convenient electric starter, along with a battery to power it and the lights when the engine wasn't running... That's what I get for assuming.

I'm definitely going to look into the voltage light or a meter of some sort. I want to prevent this from happening again. I had very little warning. If I hadn't stopped for gas when I did, I would have had zero warning and the power loss would have taken me even more by surprise.

Believe me, it burns me up about the fifty bucks. I told them not to do anything but once I'd driven all the way up there to pick it up, they sprung the "diagnostic fee" on me. I would have been a lot happier if they'd just called it a storage fee because I left the bike there nearly two weeks.

So now I'm going shopping for multimeters and chargers ...

Thanks again for your help!
brucewood is offline  
post #32 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-16-2017, 8:56 AM
Ex-500.com Vendor
 
ducatiman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 12,149
 
Garage
"Amazing I haven't even been on in three weeks and this isn't resolved."

he just got the bike back from the out of state dealer *yesterday* !

also note the best battery in the world will fail yet again if the charging system is inop
I think we can rest assured @brucewood knows what he's got to do now

Custom Carb Service

**Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba.... Hunter S. Thompson**
ducatiman is offline  
post #33 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-16-2017, 11:49 PM
Senior Member
 
one_evil_monkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: North Carolina, US
Posts: 10,905
  
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by ducatiman View Post
"Amazing I haven't even been on in three weeks and this isn't resolved."

he just got the bike back from the out of state dealer *yesterday* !

also note the best battery in the world will fail yet again if the charging system is inop
I think we can rest assured @brucewood knows what he's got to do now
Agreed. Only saying it was amazing it's been 3 weeks and it's still a question, not a "resolved".
Can't say "relplace the battery" so many times.

O_E_M
one_evil_monkey is offline  
post #34 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-19-2017, 7:05 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 58
 
Okay, I just did the test. It seems to have been nothing more than a dead battery, as both O_E_M and the dealership mechanic said.

I charged up a new battery, put it in. The bike started right up. I let it warm up. I put the multimeter on the terminals and put the engine at 3k rpms. The voltage hovered around 14.7. If I turned on a blinker it dropped into the high 13 volt range. If I let off the accelerator, it dropped to low 14s, occassionally the high 13s.

Does this sound right to you all? This is my first time doing a test like this.

If this means the problem was indeed nothing more than a bad battery, I am both relieved and disturbed--relieved because it was such an easy fix, disturbed because I must find a better way to monitor the battery's condition--either with one of the volt meters/lights mentioned above, or by regular testing.

Ducatiman, do you know if those mosfet regulators will make the bike any less dependent on the battery? I'm still considering installing one for added insurance but if it eliminated the danger of the bike acting like that because of a dead battery it would be a huge plus for me.

I was reading the ex500 wiki page on batteries and it warns the bike will run roughly with a dead battery but mine went completely berserk and then simply would not run.

Thanks again to you all.
brucewood is offline  
post #35 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-19-2017, 7:27 PM
Ex-500.com Vendor
 
ducatiman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 12,149
 
Garage
Your posted readings are ok, indicate the charging system is outputting.

No, the Mosfet voltage regulator and battery serve separate, though related functions....the Mosfet is simply a modern upgrade for the stock regulator...with a super long, reliable service life to provide consistent charging voltage to the battery. Its not intended, nor implied as a cure for battery issues.

I'd repeat your test one more time...an hour into a *long* ride...a "hot" test...just to verify all still well under real world, heated riding conditions. OR....simply get that onboard voltmeter hooked up to constantly monitor.

All things considered, you lucked out. But a good shop, as you were traveling interstate... stuck on the road, would have given you instant priority, had you wrapped up and on your way in less than an hours time.
mischief likes this.

Custom Carb Service

**Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba.... Hunter S. Thompson**
ducatiman is offline  
post #36 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-19-2017, 9:12 PM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 58
 
Thanks for the information and tips. I will do the heated test tomorrow.

Another battery question: if I test on a fairly regular basis with the multimeter, will I be able to see if the battery is going bad ahead of time? Or do batteries go bad suddenly, giving little or no sign ahead of time?

I ask because i'm reading reviews of these inexpensive voltmeters and a lot of the reviewers complain about them not working very long. With a volt light I might not know if it's working or not--until the bike goes nuts again.

Or if any of you have a rec for a brand/type of voltmeter that's been reliable for you, I would like to hear about it. I will also search the site and read earlier posts. If it matters, I ride mainly long distances and I go through a lot of rain. And when I'm away I can't always park it in a garage. So this thing will have to be very water proof.

Ducatiman, it would have been nice, stumbling on a good shop. Unfortunately my experiences with shops have been consistently bad and with dealerships even worse. If I ever break down again and I can't figure out what's wrong, I'm going to talk to the tow truck driver and other locals and see if there is a secure parking/storage area where i can keep the bike until I can line up a trailer to avoid having to deal with shops/dealerships.

But you are right. I was very lucky. Had the bike lost power that way while I was in a serious traffic situation I could have been in real trouble.

Thanks again.
brucewood is offline  
post #37 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-19-2017, 9:47 PM
Ex-500.com Vendor
 
ducatiman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 12,149
 
Garage
A batterys' ability to crank the bike over normally is a daily, quick indicator of its condition. As they age, they rightfully demand more "attention". Various factors dictate life...identical batterys can offer varying lifespan....so many factors.

My own habits...at the very first sign of impaired cranking, after a battery has served a few years duty....I do not hesitate, do not pass go, do not collect $200....automatic replacement.

AGM, wet acid, sealed wet acid, gel...many types, brands, choices abound.

Within service, I'm currently using Signal Dynamics Heads Up LED Voltage monitors on both my Ducati and VFR. I prefer LED (green amber red) readings rather than processing digital numerical readings while riding, which I personally find distracting. Some like numerical, some LED...buy ANY voltmeter is better than NO voltmeter. I installed the LED Vm's on both bikes with the Mosfets...going into season #7 on both....issue free (other than a grounding error on the Duc...my fault, corrected long ago)

PS upon the ground error on the Ducati...the LED did its job! Went instant red (indicating a loss of charging voltage) Otherwise, I would have blindly ridden onward...and guess what...would have been stranded, no doubt.

I have since installed same on a good friends' local EX. So far so good...no faults. Greatly preferable to "riding blind".

http://www.signaldynamics.com/heads-up-voltage-monitor/

note green led light on Duc panel, bike at 1000RPM idle
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sdvoltmonduc.jpg (104.4 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg voltages.jpg (65.5 KB, 5 views)

Custom Carb Service

**Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba.... Hunter S. Thompson**
ducatiman is offline  
post #38 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-20-2017, 4:51 AM
bpe
Senior Member
 
bpe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Atlanta,GA
Posts: 2,314
 
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by ducatiman View Post

My own habits...at the very first sign of impaired cranking, after a battery has served a few years duty....I do not hesitate, do not pass go, do not collect $200....automatic replacement.
^+1

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006, 0 miles. Miles as of January 2017 88652. It is a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bpe is offline  
post #39 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-23-2017, 9:02 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 58
 
Thank you once again, Ducatiman. Is the voltmeter difficult to hook up?

Believe me, in the future, if a battery gives any sign, I will be replacing it.

That said, when I got stranded, I had very little warning. The bike failed to start once, at a gas station, about five minutes before it quit altogether. There were zero indications that anything was wrong before that. If I had not stopped for gas when I did, I would have had no warning at all, and this would have taken me completely by surprise.

I'm reading up on checking/inspecting batteries (a subject I know next to nothing about). If possible I'm going to work a battery check up into the regular maintenance routine.

For the record, I got a a yuasa agm battery, because they're supposedly good.
brucewood is offline  
post #40 of 40 (permalink) Old 4-23-2017, 9:39 AM
Ex-500.com Vendor
 
ducatiman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 12,149
 
Garage
Not particularly difficult...but a tedious job. You need to find a solid ground and a switched positive (on /off with ignition key) On the EX I installed it in...I removed, opened up the *instrument panel, chose my spot to mount the LED, drilled as directed...fit perfect, still in service, zero issues...Green is good.

Its on my friend Kate's EX...we call it the "worry meter".....if it goes red...start worrying! A few years ago I posted an installed pic.

*Installed every one I've done inside instrument panels...Duc, VFR and EX. A bit tricky, but no biggie.

whenever I service a bike..EX, CBR, GSXR...I incorporate a quick check of battery and charging system

Yuasa AGM are reliable...use in my VFR.

Custom Carb Service

**Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba.... Hunter S. Thompson**
ducatiman is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome