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Old 11-21-2014, 06:45 PM   #1
oxygenrace OP
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Battery charging running heated gear

I have a wr250r. I want to know if my battery will still be charged by the alternator when using heated gear running off the battery. Is there a way to test this with a multimeter?
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Old 11-21-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
GoNOW
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Yes, but you need a meter that will do at least 10 amps DC.

1) Set the meter to the amps DC scale.
2) Disconnect the negative wire from the battery.
3) Connect one lead from the meter to the negative of the battery, and the other to the negative wire you disconnected.
4) Turn on the headlight. The meter should read a negative number. If it reads a positive number, swap the meter leads around.
5) Start the bike, if it's a kick start, use that. If it's electric, you will need to remove the meter and connect the battery back up. The meter can not take the load of an electric start running through it. Once the bike is running, connect it up like before.
6) The meter should show a positive number.
7) Turn on your heated gear, if the meter changes to a negative number, you are using more power then the bike can make at idle.
8) Rev the motor, if the number goes positive, then the bike can keep the battery charged, but only at higher RPMs. If your riding is going to at mostly high RPMs, and very little idle, then you may be OK. But I would install a little LED Red-Yellow-Green battery indicator on the handlebars so you can keep an eye on it. Especially if the bike is electric start only.
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Old 11-21-2014, 07:53 PM   #3
showkey
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AMP meter fuse is likely to blow lights, fuel pump etc ??????

Much easier method, use the same multi-meter but use the voltmeter.
Connect the volt meter to the battery.
Start the engine, operate all the heated gear. Run the engine at different speeds.

Monitor the voltage:

More than 13.5 volts the battery is being charged.
Less than 13.5 volts the battery is being discharged.

It's that simple fool proof
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Old 11-21-2014, 09:21 PM   #4
victor441
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As was said if you monitor voltage that will tell you if the alternator can't keep up with the additional load and give you plenty of warning before the battery is drained...a 3 color LED voltage indicator on the bike works well, is under $20, and easy to install


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Old 11-21-2014, 09:48 PM   #5
GoNOW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by showkey View Post
AMP meter fuse is likely to blow lights, fuel pump etc ??????

Much easier method, use the same multi-meter but use the voltmeter.
Connect the volt meter to the battery.
Start the engine, operate all the heated gear. Run the engine at different speeds.

Monitor the voltage:

More than 13.5 volts the battery is being charged.
Less than 13.5 volts the battery is being discharged.

It's that simple fool proof
You won't see 10 amps into or out of the battery on such a small bike. Goldwing, sure. But not a small bike like a WR.

Your voltage readings are a guess, an educated guess, but far from fool proof. Checking pressure at the tap will not tell you how much water is flowing out. Amps is the only way to be sure, even if it is the harder thing to do. I have seen bikes with electrical systems that will not hold 13.5V at idle, bone stock and without any other gear. A lot of smaller single cylinder bikes barely keep up with running the headlight at idle.

The OP didn't say what year the WR was. If it's EFI, then it might not run without the battery connected. If that's the case, I use alligator jumpers or ends on my meter leads, with one clipped to the negative battery post, and the other to the negative wire, so that when I unscrew and remove the negative way from the battery, the current will continue to flow through my meter and there will not be an interruption.

That's if I didn't have an inductive pickup for my meter. I have one, so I just clamp it around the wire and take a reading. Dead simple. But I am assuming the OP does not have one.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoNOW View Post
You won't see 10 amps into or out of the battery on such a small bike. Goldwing, sure. But not a small bike like a WR.

Your voltage readings are a guess, an educated guess, but far from fool proof. Checking pressure at the tap will not tell you how much water is flowing out. Amps is the only way to be sure, even if it is the harder thing to do. I have seen bikes with electrical systems that will not hold 13.5V at idle, bone stock and without any other gear. A lot of smaller single cylinder bikes barely keep up with running the headlight at idle.

The OP didn't say what year the WR was. If it's EFI, then it might not run without the battery connected. If that's the case, I use alligator jumpers or ends on my meter leads, with one clipped to the negative battery post, and the other to the negative wire, so that when I unscrew and remove the negative way from the battery, the current will continue to flow through my meter and there will not be an interruption.

That's if I didn't have an inductive pickup for my meter. I have one, so I just clamp it around the wire and take a reading. Dead simple. But I am assuming the OP does not have one.
WR250R so EFI, no kickstarter, same bike from 2008-2015 with a 350W stator which pretty much makes the OP's question a moot point with a properly operating charging system.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:06 PM   #7
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ammeter vs. voltmeter...(voltmeter wins for a modern vehicle with an alternator)

http://www.autometer.com/tech_faq_an...px?sid=1&qid=5
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Old 11-22-2014, 02:40 AM   #8
GoNOW
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Originally Posted by victor441 View Post
ammeter vs. voltmeter...(voltmeter wins for a modern vehicle with an alternator)

http://www.autometer.com/tech_faq_an...px?sid=1&qid=5
Yep. This is why I have a volt meter on my bike. However, oxygenrace question was not the batteries current state of charge, but if it was charging or discharging. Without knowing battery type or charging characteristic of the bike, counting the electrons going into or out of the the battery is the most accurate way.
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Old 11-22-2014, 06:53 AM   #9
concours
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Originally Posted by GoNOW View Post
Yep. This is why I have a volt meter on my bike. However, oxygenrace question was not the batteries current state of charge, but if it was charging or discharging. Without knowing battery type or charging characteristic of the bike, counting the electrons going into or out of the the battery is the most accurate way.
A voltmeter tells all you need to know... heated gear on, measure battery voltage, rev engine to cruise speed, measure voltage... 13.0 or greater? NFP, ride on....
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Old 11-22-2014, 06:55 AM   #10
showkey
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Originally Posted by GoNOW View Post
Yep. This is why I have a volt meter on my bike. However, oxygenrace question was not the batteries current state of charge, but if it was charging or discharging. Without knowing battery type or charging characteristic of the bike, counting the electrons going into or out of the the battery is the most accurate way.
This comes up all the time........
Sorry your confused on charging system operation.......voltage is a perfect indicator of charging or discharging. If you can not raise the voltage above the target battery voltage there is no current flow. 13.5 is chosen because a fully charged battery is 12.8, most modern charging voltage will be about 14.0 . Obviously if your voltage is 13.0 your will have very little current flow to the battery. There is a reason amp gauges left reality with DC generators.

The clamp on amp meter is a good tool but not needed in this case. It is the perfect tool to find parasitic draw problems. It could be used here in charging system but not the best or easiest to use.

As for blowing the fuse it was starting and running of the lights, EFI fuel pump etc .......not blowing on charging. But 350 watts is way over 10 amps. As mentioned 350 watts is more than enough to run the vest if the RPM is up. Long idle times in traffic causes some concern.

+2 on the charge light indicator perfect easy way to monitor charging especially if your stuck in stop and go commuter traffic.

Edit note typing the same time as concours
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Old 11-22-2014, 02:01 PM   #11
GoNOW
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I am not confused at all. Just a bit more experience solving bike and watercraft electrical issues in the shop.

I just checked the battery in my KTM. It reads 13.52 volts. So it must be charging. Wrong, as the bike is not even running. It's a LiFePO4 battery and they live at higher voltages.

A lead acid battery fully charged voltage is 12.6V. Assuming the battery is good, and we don't know that.

I could point to a dozen bikes and watercraft that won't charge the battery to 13.5V at idle.
In fact, that was common problem we would see in the shop. Someone would think they would be helping there watercraft by starting it and letting it idle for 2 minutes every month. It was good for the fuel system and lubrication, but at idle, they put about 1 amp into the battery, some less. So the battery would never recover the starting discharge and go dead after a few months.

My TW200 has a loosing battle at idle. About 0.25 amp loss from the battery. But since it's such a low loss, and the bike does not idle for hours at a time, it does not cause a problem.

Take the case with a farmer and his Kawasaki mule. He installs after market lights on it. The mule has a large battery. A quick check and the voltage does not drop below 13.5V at idle with the lights on, so all should be good right?
Wrong. The lights draw just more then the charging system can handle at idle, but because of the large battery, it takes 30 minutes for the voltage to drop down past 13.5V. Since the mule is used as a work light, it's often left idling for hours. The trip home to the barn charges the battery somewhat, but it can't recover all the way. In the end, the battery last less then a year and the farmer does not know why.

This is all experience talking.

I don't know what type of battery the OP has and I don't know his riding habits and the charging characteristics and I am not willing to assume if I don't have to.

Sure, if the bike was in my shop, I would put a volt meter on it and see if the voltage would go up when I raised the RPMs. It's a good indicator of charging system status and if it can keep up with the load. However, it's still not counting the electrons and only an educated guess assuming all else is good. If the bike came in for a charging related problem, amps and volts are the numbers I am after.

Yes, 350 watts is far over 10 amps. It's almost 30 amps, and only around 5k RPMs. However, you will never see that at the battery unless something is very, very wrong. Most of that power is used up with the lights and EFI system. After startup, the battery is quickly charged. For the most part, batteries will only take so many amps while charging unless forced. This is not the place to go into the electrical/chemical reaction in batteries, I could type an entire page on the topic, but it would put people to sleep.

The battery will be fully recovered from the starting draw in 1-2 minutes, the time depends on the charging system, but likely 1-2 minutes if the bike has just been started before and does not need extended cranking.
Power flowing into the battery will then be just a trickle, to just an amp or two. Far under the 10 amp limit of most meters.

Remember that we are not checking the charging system, but trying to answer the question if the charging system can keep the battery full, with extra heated gear, at various rpms.




Quote:
Originally Posted by showkey View Post
This comes up all the time........
Sorry your confused on charging system operation.......voltage is a perfect indicator of charging or discharging. If you can not raise the voltage above the target battery voltage there is no current flow. 13.5 is chosen because a fully charged battery is 12.8, most modern charging voltage will be about 14.0 . Obviously if your voltage is 13.0 your will have very little current flow to the battery. There is a reason amp gauges left reality with DC generators.

The clamp on amp meter is a good tool but not needed in this case. It is the perfect tool to find parasitic draw problems. It could be used here in charging system but not the best or easiest to use.

As for blowing the fuse it was starting and running of the lights, EFI fuel pump etc .......not blowing on charging. But 350 watts is way over 10 amps. As mentioned 350 watts is more than enough to run the vest if the RPM is up. Long idle times in traffic causes some concern.

+2 on the charge light indicator perfect easy way to monitor charging especially if your stuck in stop and go commuter traffic.

Edit note typing the same time as concours
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Old 11-22-2014, 04:28 PM   #12
showkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoNOW View Post
I am not confused at all. Just a bit more experience solving bike and watercraft electrical issues in the shop.

I just checked the battery in my KTM. It reads 13.52 volts. So it must be charging. Wrong, as the bike is not even running. It's a LiFePO4 battery and they live at higher voltages.

A lead acid battery fully charged voltage is 12.6V. Assuming the battery is good, and we don't know that.

I could point to a dozen bikes and watercraft that won't charge the battery to 13.5V at idle.
.
Not worth the time or effort to retrain you........but you KTM needs a voltage above 13.52 to start to see any amp flow to the battery.
Agree charge at idle will be very low or not at all. Agree running at idle does not charge the battery on most cycles ATV PWC etc and voltage at idle will be lower or Equal to the battery voltage?
There will be no amperage until, the charge voltage is above battery voltage. Thats why the ( voltage monitors ) aftermarket charge light indicators have five different colored lights to give the rider an indicator at all the different rpm.

I am done......

These guys all have it wrong too:

http://www.genebitsystems.com/david/...agemonitor.htm

http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/e...bCwxoC0QPw_wcB

http://www.clearwaterlights.com/infopg_cvs.html

http://www.webbikeworld.com/r4/clear...oltage-sentry/
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showkey screwed with this post 11-22-2014 at 04:39 PM
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Old 11-22-2014, 04:46 PM   #13
16VGTIDave
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I'm surprised that this hasn't been mentioned yet: Disconnecting the battery when the engine is running can cause all kinds of expensive havoc. Computers, TCI modules, electronic voltage regulators, digital dash, etc can be damaged by the >possible< voltage spikes and arcing caused when the battery is disconnected and re-connected. Modern electronics won't tolerate this. Worse yet, the component may not fail until months later.

I've seen this happen on cars and aircraft, and got this info from an electrical engineer working for an avionics company.
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Old 11-22-2014, 05:46 PM   #14
justlookin
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350 Watt System

My WRR is ridden year round. I run complete Warm and Safe heated gear - 90W jacket, pants and gloves . Also running a Trail Tech Hid dual headlight setup with a helmet light - no problems. The WRR has a 350w output charge system. I figure there is about 200w of surplus wattage to use for extras. Charging system was one of the reasons I chose the WRR.
I have one of those LED volt lights on my KTM because I have to be much more conservative with additional loads. Is there somewhere in the states that these lights can be purchased? Had to have mine shipped from Great Britain and would like to purchase more for my other bikes.
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Old 11-22-2014, 06:25 PM   #15
victor441
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My WRR is ridden year round. I run complete Warm and Safe heated gear - 90W jacket, pants and gloves . Also running a Trail Tech Hid dual headlight setup with a helmet light - no problems. The WRR has a 350w output charge system. I figure there is about 200w of surplus wattage to use for extras. Charging system was one of the reasons I chose the WRR.
I have one of those LED volt lights on my KTM because I have to be much more conservative with additional loads. Is there somewhere in the states that these lights can be purchased? Had to have mine shipped from Great Britain and would like to purchase more for my other bikes.
Signal Dynamics is selling them again for $30, I'm using one and it works well, especially like that once it goes solid green it dims to half brightness after a minute or so and stays that way until there is a change of state/voltage.
Mine alerted me to an overcharging problem once and a friend had his alert him of a charging failure and he was able to limp home with the lights off.
(FWIW both are Joseph Lucas (AKA Prince of Darkness) equipped British bikes ;-)


victor441 screwed with this post 11-22-2014 at 06:54 PM
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