Is it worse to NOT have enough load (watts)? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-29-2018, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Is it worse to NOT have enough load (watts)?

Greetings...

I've have spent HOURS looking through various forum posts regarding installation and use of LED headlight bulbs. Somewhere (and I'll be darned if I can find it now), I read a post (possibly by our dearly departed GW) that the Wee needs SOME load to function properly. Here's where I get confused...I'm an electronic idiot! The more stuff I read, the more I get confused! :-)

I THINK I understand the basic difference between a stator and a regular alternator...an alternator can put out more charge based on load, a stator sort of puts out a "set" charge, correct? By that I mean it will put out a full charge at road speed, say 4000+ rpm, but at idle, there's less watts being produced by the stator and the battery will start to draw down.

If the stator is putting out a full charge at road speed, any excess watts go to the voltage regulator or rectifier (or whatever the heck it's called), ending up as excess heat. More load equals less heat to the rectifier; less load equals more heat to it, right?

Everything I can find says my '13 Wee's stator puts out ~290 watts. Using the load values here: Calculating Excess Electrical Capacity - Learning Center - Powerlet Products, it looks like these are the "common operating loads":

High Beam 55 watts
Low Beam 55 watts
Number Plate 5 watts
Brake/Tail 21 watts
Instrument Panel 2 watts
Computer 25 watts
Fuel Pump 60 watts
Cooling Fan 60 watts
Electronic Ignition 50 watts

With just those items, it appears there's a load of anywhere from 278 watts to 333 watts, depending on what's running (60 watts less if cooling fan isn't running, but, more importantly, 60 watts MORE load if it comes on). With just those "common items", it appears that the Wee's stator is going to be close to or slightly over its capacity...which may not be a bad thing if one keeps an eye on the voltmeter (yes, I have one installed). Shouldn't have much excess wattage to slough off to the rectifier as excess heat.

So in anticipation of looking for some extra watts so I can run things like heated grips (I already have Oxfords, which I think are ~30 watts each) and perhaps a heated jacket liner and/or heated gloves, I've done the following. I also have a pair of 10W Cree aux lights that I use on occasion. I swapped all the turn signal bulbs to LED; also swapped out the brake / tail light to an LED, as well as the license plate light. It looks like swapping from standard H4 bulb (55/60 watts each) to LED bulbs (18.6 watts each) would save a sufficient amount to allow me to run those additional goodies without putting a MEGA watt load on the 290 watt stator. ([I]Refer to the attached photos on some figuring I did and please DO feel free to correct any mistakes or misconceptions I may have plugged in there...) It's cold here...and snowing...otherwise, I'd be out RIDING instead of obsessing over "watt's up"!

The question is, then...with the LED bulb upgrades...and riding in the summer when there's no expectation of using heated gear, which would equal extra load...are all those extra watts that I'm now not using going to cause problems down the road, re: cooked rectifier? (And yes, I've read tons about the updated Mosfet rectifier and perhaps considering an Electropsort stator...trying to consider the simplest things first).

Interestingly, the article I cited above states:

Motorcycle manufacturers have been increasing the alternator output in response to the growing number of electrical appliances available. Most bikes can handle a few 40 watt heated garments without any problems.

According to Widder Canada Inc. “Today’s motorcycles of 500cc or larger can usually handle three (heated) garments together without overtaxing the charging system. Three garments would be equivalent to turning on a 100 watt headlight. Most larger bikes would have no problem riding two-up with both rider and passenger each wearing the full set. Another aspect to consider is that the items will not necessarily be on all the time, or if the thermostat is adjusted to less than full capacity, there will be less draw.”

The Gerbing’s web site states: “…the electrical output of the typical motorcycle continued to increase as motorcycle engineers attempted to satisfy the growing demand for electrical accessories. The result is that all but the smallest bikes can now provide the power needed to generate the needed heat.”

Sorry to be so dense...maybe y'all can shoot me some "watts" and help me see the light! :-) I just want to make sure I don't end up in a smoking dead mess out in the middle of nowhere somewhere down the road...all this DOES make me yearn for that 700w alternator on my R1150GS!

Cheers!
Attached Images
File Type: png Wee_elec_values1.PNG (42.2 KB, 20 views)
File Type: png Wee-elec_values2.PNG (79.2 KB, 17 views)
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Bendmac/Central Oregon

2013 Wee Adv...

EnduroGuardian bash plate/highway pegs/radiator guard;
AdventureTech LLC peg lowering mounts/mirror extenders/fork brace/shifter relocation kit, 2" extended front brake line;
Saddleman Gel-Channel Tech seat;
Barkbuster Storm hand guards;
Oxford heated grips;
Blue Seas 5025 6 circuit fuse block;
12v weatherproof power port;
Eastern Beaver headlight relay kit;
Cree LED lights;
Signal Dynamics voltage monitor;
Kisan signalMinder
PWD Stebel horn kit;
"Home grown" tool tube;
"Sasquatched" (Adventure Power Sports) rear shock
Madstad bracket and 22" screen
Roadstercycle SH775 R/R upgrade
SW-Motech bar risers
Mr. Ed's Moto custom seat
Superbright LED headlight bulbs and other bulbs converted to LED

Last edited by bendmac; 12-29-2018 at 09:48 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-29-2018, 09:29 PM
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The problem with the 650 is the shunt type regulator. It shunts excess stator current to ground. It gets hot and the prevailing theory is that the stator overheats also leading to failure.

Reducing the electrical load will cause more heat because the stator outputs the same wattage regardless of the load.

The solution is to install a series type regulator.

Here's a forum thread: Series regulator upgrade, SH775 or SH847


I bought the SH847 kit from ROADSTERCYCLE scroll down the page for the kit. I bought the mounting bracket also.
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-29-2018, 09:37 PM
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I enjoyed the spreadsheet. We had a thread about this same issue a few months back, but from an overtaxing the stator standpoint and not from problems with using too little current. I had one opinion and there were some compelling arguments against mine. You are welcome to find and read it.

Personally, I believe it is worse to over tax a stator (or any charging system including an alternator) than it would be to shunt power the stator was providing that the bike was not using.

I think what you have done is a step in the correct direction personally. I recommend running a voltmeter on the stroms anyway to monitor the questionable stators these bikes are blessed with.

Another data point would be my Tenere. It has led lighting (except the headlights) and the same electronic draws a strom would have and runs a stator that puts out double the wattage. The stators on Teneres never fail. On mine, I run a heated jacket liner and GPS. The Tenere has an air scoop for the voltage regulator and it seems to run cool to the touch when I ever check it.
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-30-2018, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link, Spec...

So after reading through all 37 pages in that forum link, I THINK I understand things a little better!

I sent an email to Jack since I can't quite decipher which kit it is that I need on his site...when you ordered the SH847 kit (plus the mounting bracket), is that pretty much "plug and play"? No searching for the Triumph harness, having to order additional stuff from Eastern Beaver, etc? I don't mind paying a little extra if those funds get me everything I need and prevent having to shop around for "additional parts". Nothing like jumping into something mechanical and then finding out you need that littttttle something extra... ;-)

Cheers!

**edit**

WOW! Talk about customer service! I emailed Jack at Roadstercycle, after hours, on a Saturday, and on New Year's weekend, no less...and he answered back in less than a 1/2 hour! :-) He answered all my questions and gave me some additional installation advice.

That said, looks like I'll be going with his SH847 kit...he flat out earned this sale!
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Bendmac/Central Oregon

2013 Wee Adv...

EnduroGuardian bash plate/highway pegs/radiator guard;
AdventureTech LLC peg lowering mounts/mirror extenders/fork brace/shifter relocation kit, 2" extended front brake line;
Saddleman Gel-Channel Tech seat;
Barkbuster Storm hand guards;
Oxford heated grips;
Blue Seas 5025 6 circuit fuse block;
12v weatherproof power port;
Eastern Beaver headlight relay kit;
Cree LED lights;
Signal Dynamics voltage monitor;
Kisan signalMinder
PWD Stebel horn kit;
"Home grown" tool tube;
"Sasquatched" (Adventure Power Sports) rear shock
Madstad bracket and 22" screen
Roadstercycle SH775 R/R upgrade
SW-Motech bar risers
Mr. Ed's Moto custom seat
Superbright LED headlight bulbs and other bulbs converted to LED

Last edited by bendmac; 12-30-2018 at 07:03 PM. Reason: add a late update
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-30-2018, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendmac View Post
Thanks for the link, Spec...

So after reading through all 37 pages in that forum link, I THINK I understand things a little better!

I sent an email to Jack since I can't quite decipher which kit it is that I need on his site...when you ordered the SH847 kit (plus the mounting bracket), is that pretty much "plug and play"? No searching for the Triumph harness, having to order additional stuff from Eastern Beaver, etc? I don't mind paying a little extra if those funds get me everything I need and prevent having to shop around for "additional parts". Nothing like jumping into something mechanical and then finding out you need that littttttle something extra... ;-)

Cheers!

The 3 wires from the stator need to be spliced into the new regulator.

The OEM connector won't fit the new regulator. I soldered and used heat shrink but some use wire splices. Leave enough slack to route and connect!

The kit will have the connector and the harness going back to the battery. The mounting bracket makes it easy to fit the new regulator, its bigger than the OEM.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-30-2018, 09:37 AM
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My 04 hasn't had any changes or upgrades to the charging system. I did add a voltmeter and the the EB headlight relay kit. Then the extra cut-out switch for one headlight. Then I went the LED route.
I noticed on the voltmeter than my bike charges at 14.5 at idle. That is even with 2 GPS and the heated grips and the Gerbing running. When I turn on the LED running lights the voltage drops a little.
I believe that folks fret too much about what the system can provide. Even on airhead beemers with a 270 watt system I ran gerbing vest and gloves an managed to not have the battery die.
Probably the series regulator change could be done for comfort of mind but not entirely necessary. I've got 99.5K on the system and have changed the battery once, wasn't quite dead, in 8 years I've had the bike.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-30-2018, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendmac View Post
...
I THINK I understand the basic difference between a stator and a regular alternator...an alternator can put out more charge based on load, a stator sort of puts out a "set" charge, correct? By that I mean it will put out a full charge at road speed, say 4000+ rpm, but at idle, there's less watts being produced by the stator and the battery will start to draw down.

If the stator is putting out a full charge at road speed, any excess watts go to the voltage regulator or rectifier (or whatever the heck it's called), ending up as excess heat. More load equals less heat to the rectifier; less load equals more heat to it, right?
I am responding mainly to correct the common mistaken impression, expressed above, that power not used by the loads ends up in the regulator. When I first saw that notion stated on this board, I knew it could not be right because the regulator simply did not get hot enough. (My work has resulted in assessing lots of heat dissipation concerns in electronic systems.) So I undertook the study and analysis necessary to develop the understanding outlined next.

First, a few fundamentals necessary to understand this, put in lay terms:
1. Voltage is the force exerted upon electrons (or other charged particles.) It is analogous to water pressure or the force of gravity; it tends to produce charge flow (aka "current") if such flow is allowed. It is not power or current. Just as you can have plumbing pressurized with all the faucets off, or a heavy object sitting on a shelf, there need be no current (or water moving or things falling) just because there is a force tending to move the charge (or water or things.)
2. Current is the flow of charge. It is not, by itself, power. For example, current can flow indefinitely in a superconductor loop without power being used to keep it flowing. Or, a satellite can keep falling around the earth, in a stable orbit, without power used to sustain its motion, (if it is well out of the atmosphere.)
3. Electrical power is the product of voltage and current. It is usually stated in units of Watts, which is the product of voltage (in units of Volts) and current (in units of Amperes, often called "Amps".)
4. Current or voltage can be AC, which means regularly alternating in direction, or DC, which means steadily in one direction. The motorcycle loads need DC voltage and current. The battery provides DC voltage, and is charged by DC current or discharged by DC current.

The motorcycle magneto (which is the combination of the stator and the rotating permanent magnets enclosing it) generates a set of 3 AC voltages proportional to engine speed. The magneto output current, collectively among its 3 windings, is limited to about 28 Amps at all engine speeds. (The limiting mechanism is the stator inductance, whose impedance increases directly with frequency which is proportional to engine speed.)

If the magneto output is left open, so that no current can flow, there is negligible power delivered through the stator. The product of voltage and current is zero because the current is very close to zero.

If the magneto output is shorted, so that no voltage can appear across the stator terminals, the stator ouput power is zero. The product of output voltage and current is zero because the output voltage is very close to zero. If the stator windings were made with superconductors, the magneto with shorted output would convert no mechanical power to electrical power. Average torque applied to its rotor would be zero.

Unfortunately, the stator is not made with superconductors; the windings are made with copper and have some resistance. It is about 0.1 Ohms per winding, meaning that about 0.1 Volts must be applied to each winding just to get an Ampere of current to flow. Because of this resistance, the 28 Amperes of current flow from the stator dissipates over 60 Watts in the copper windings regardless of whether the output is shorted or delivering useful power to the loads. It is that 60+ Watt power dissipation which stresses the stator on stock bikes.

The stock, shunt regulator (sort of) shorts (or "shunts") the stator output as necessary to keep excessive power from reaching the 12V DC bus and destroying the battery and (most of) the loads. While that "shorting" occurs, about 50 Watts is dissipated in the regulator because it does not truly short the stator output at zero Volts. It uses diodes to convert the AC stator output to DC, and those drop a couple of Volts when conducting current. This 50 Watts is also dissipated when the regulator is not shunting but passing stator current to the DC bus. So the stator resistance and regulator are always consuming over 100 Watts when the stock bike runs.

The series regulator, instead of shunting the stator output to avoid excess DC bus power, blocks current flow between the stator and the DC bus. During this blocking, negligible power is dissipated in the stator or in the regulator's AC-to-DC conversion devices. So, for a typical bike load of a couple hundred Watts, the stator dissipation is reduced by about half. Likewise, the regulator dissipation is reduced. This reduced wasted power will translate to a small gas mileage improvement which you will be able to see if you measure it carefully before and after replacing the shunt regulator with a series one.

The bottom line here is: While there is 400W available from the magneto, that much power is not consumed when the loads do not take 400W. A significant fraction of the 400 available Watts, nearly a third, is wasted and converted to heat in the shunt-regulated system at all times when riding. (It drops a bit when idling.)

To answer the thread title's question: There is very little difference in regulator or stator dissipation, with the shunt-regulated system, between the stock load, a load closer to 400W (heated gear, etc.), or a load reduced by use of LED headlights. However, with the series-regulated system, regulator and stator dissipation are substantially reduced when the loads consume substantially less than 400W. (And conversely, when the loads take all of the available power, the series regulator yields no significant reduction in stator or regulator dissipation.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bendmac View Post
Everything I can find says my '13 Wee's stator puts out ~290 watts. Using the load values here: Calculating Excess Electrical Capacity - Learning Center - Powerlet Products, it looks like these are the "common operating loads":

High Beam 55 watts
Low Beam 55 watts
Number Plate 5 watts
Brake/Tail 21 watts
Instrument Panel 2 watts
Computer 25 watts
Fuel Pump 60 watts
Cooling Fan 60 watts
Electronic Ignition 50 watts
The incandescent headlights consume about 55 Watts for each filament. (Many V-Strom's have dual headlights.) I doubt the computer takes anything like 25 Watts. I suspect the pump and fan figures are a little high, and may represent peaks rather than averages. The usual stock loads take only about half of the available 400W from the magneto. (I have measured the loads by temporarily replacing fuses with a current meter. I do not have the results at hand.)
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-31-2018, 12:33 PM
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There's some interesting and potentially valuable info regarding stators and regulator/rectifiers in this topic I started earlier in 2018. It's apparently it's not all about current and watts.
https://www.stromtrooper.com/#/topics/404322

Last edited by Bikehigh; 12-31-2018 at 09:59 PM. Reason: To fix link
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-31-2018, 07:31 PM
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There's some interesting and potentially valuable info regarding stators and regulator/rectifiers in this topic I started earlier in 2018. It's apparently it's not all about current and watts.
https://www.stromtrooper.com/#/topics/404322

Not a direct link.......

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