And now for the opposing view
Okay, not trying to stir the pot here, just trying to point out the differences between the Omega and EnduraLast kits. I for one prefer the design of the Omega and this is why:
- The BMW and Omega systems only generate the current that they need. That's why they have the wound rotor and brushes. So does every car on the road. Motorcycles have suffered the woes of fixed output alternators for years. Only the most expensive and heavily taxed electrical systems get air cooled, variable output alternators (Gold Wings, BMWs).
- The Omega has a greatly improved (automotive) diode block compared to the stock BMW system. The stock diode board and ground harness in the Airhead is a sorry joke and that's why the bike's charging system has earned such a poor reputation. I retrofitted a GM diode block to my 88 GS, rewired the battery feed. It solved all the problems with the stock system except the available current.
- Yes, the BMW and Omega diode board is mounted inside the engine. So is the diode board in all of our cars (inside the alternator case and THEN bolted to the engine).
- The EnduraLast system puts out 450 watts--ALL THE TIME. That's the problem with almost all motorcycle charging systems (not just the EnduraLast). Every watt that you don't burn running lights, grips or whatever, has to be burned by that voltage regulator. Turn off the headlight and the regulator has to burn 60 more watts. How? It shunts it to ground. That's why the heat sink is so large. For those who believe that the EnduraLast does away with diodes, it doesn't. They're in the regulator block and fail and overheat just like the stock one. In fact, they are ALWAYS passing full output so in reality, they will run hotter than the Omega or Thunderchild board.
- In all fairness, the EnduraLast DOES do away with brush replacement. For heavy off road use, the extra reliability of doing away with the brushes, the brush holder and all the interconnects should add to vibration-related reliability.
- On the other hand, the nature of a fixed output system (such as the EnduraLast) means that reliability will suffer in sustained high speed, warm weather riding. If you're not sucking all that extra wattage to run your lights, electric vests and such, the regulator can overheat and fail. My Goldwing used to nuke a regulator like clockwork, every 60K. It was always after a high speed, long mileage trip.
So I'm just trying to present both sides. I've now got Bcostell's old Omega system (got here tonight--thanks a million!). I guess for off road or long distance, low speed slogging, the EnduraLast is a more rugged design. For typical American road touring with occasional off road use, the Omega system is a more elegant solution that addresses the weaknesses in the stock BMW design (diode block and ground harness). YMMV.