2020/07/17 – Free power mod (Greasy Fingers)

I’ve been beating myself up because I haven’t been getting things done, and sorting out the charging system on my DRZ was one of them.

In fact, that’s part of why I didn’t commit to a group ride this weekend up at the northern end of the island.

To be honest, the bike never did leave me stranded, but there were times when it really seemed like there was barely enough power to run the starter (and times when I helped the starter with a combo bump/starter start). My moto-dash has a USB charger with a voltmeter in it, and while it wasn’t very accurate (bad ground through the forks, which may mean I need to do the steering stem bearings again), it would read anywhere from 13.2 as a high, to 12.2 as a low. The charging system was running as the voltage displayed was 1/4 volt higher with the motor running than it would have been with just the key on.

It basically behaved like the bike ran off the charging system, but started off the battery.

To a cut a pointless long story short, I ran a ground wire from the radiator mount to the USB charge which probably picked up about 0.2 volts (the voltmeter was consistently reading low by about that much). Then I cut the plug off the regulator and ran 14 gauge wires directly to the battery, once I put it back together and tried it out, the voltmeter started displaying 14.5 / 14.6 volts (if anything, a bit higher than it should be).

Anyhow, very happy to be able to count on having battery power. That also means I can go back to counting on the bike to charge my electronics (not that I’ve needed it this year).

Still can’t really believe that rerouting the wires made that much difference. I had tried swapping both stators and regulators (tried that at least twice). The reason I can’t believe it is that I poked multi-meter leads into the wiring on the regulator side of the plug and it only showed 12.9 V or so… so the suggestion that the wiring harness was causing the voltage drop did/does not make much sense. That said, there is no arguing with the results.

(August update, it’s looking like the battery is pretty weak, even with the charging system working hot-damn, I’m still getting some weak starts.)