Heated gear usage, is this normal for a Strom electrical system? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Heated gear usage, is this normal for a Strom electrical system?

Used heated gear with my 07 DL650 today. Heated gear, heated gloves, dual controller. It was 44 this morning, so I cranked it all about 75% up and sweated to work.

While riding, at 30, 50, or 70 MPH (have some street, highway, and interstate riding to work each day), I noticed that the voltmeter jumped a lot non-stop, from 13.7V to 14.4V. Not too worried about that.

I did notice though that even though the voltmeter was above 12V, the headlights developed a strobe effect. Not really bad, but maybe a 5% increase/decrease cycle. Wife called me at work this morning and said she noticed it in her rear view mirror since she was in her car in front of me for a while.

At stop lights, it would fluctuate between 11.9V and 12.4V. Giving it a little juice while stopped would kick up to around 13V. I'm not running anything else electrical sensitive as an accessory like add-on lights or anything.

Is this normal with the electrical system on a Strom? I ask because my lights are constant on the intensity on my HD when using the same heated gear; and did not know if on the Strom it was a sign of a weakened electrical system. Thanks.

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post #2 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 09:14 AM
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When I run heated gear on my 05 DL650, I run; just the jacket liner, or jacket liner & heated grips, or just heated grips, or on very cold times - jacket liner, grips, and gloves. I tend to not like the bulkiness of the gloves, so those are a last resort.

I have installed a switch to turn off my right Headlight, and do this if I'm running more than one heated gear item at a time. If I'm running all 3, it's pretty much only on the freeway. Almost all of my commute is on the freeway.

My voltmeter stays higher than what you reported on yours. I could probably bea llittle more aggressive on running stuff after I get off of the freeway, but there's enough rresidual heat to get me to work.

Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 09:17 AM
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I'd be more concerned with it being 44 in early august.....holeey crap

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post #4 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 10:18 AM
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The controller cycles power to the heated gear, so that likely explains the surging you see in the headlight. Is your heated gear connected direct to the battery, or did you tap into a circuit someplace? It may be better directly connected, just don't forget to turn it off.

Electrical output of the Stator is pretty low on these bikes. I rarely use two pieces at the same time like gloves and jacket liner, but if i do, i have them both set fairly low so it doesn't drain the battery.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 10:38 AM
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headlight modulation is usually due to voltage drop in the wiring. Heated gear should be re-wired directly to the battery (both ground and power) through a relay. Use at least 16 gauge wire if you can. This will get all the voltage to the heating elements and won't modulate your headlights.

Then also, your stock wiring will be greatly improved if you also install wired relay to headlights to run them straight back to the battery too. Known weakness on this bike, it will eventually develop connector burning from the high headlight currents through the stock wiring harness.

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post #6 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 10:38 AM
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I put grip heaters and other doodads on a relay-controlled circuit wired to the battery -- basically, the relay switches power to the circuit on when the key is on and (most importantly) switches off when the key is off.

Otherwise, my battery would be dead pretty much every day. I have the short-term memory of a squirrel.

Anyway, this partially depends on where you're getting power for your electrics and it's partially just something that happens when you have intermittent loads on a primitive electrical system like a V-Strom's As noted above, the controller just switches the power to the heating elements off and on intermittently to regulate heat -- it doesn't change voltage or current. Higher heat setting = more on time. You see the same thing if you watch your headlights closely when your turn signals flash.

Cars use a very different type of alternator and regulator (field regulated rather than the permanent magnet/stator) that responds much more quickly and can put out a lot more current at idle, so you don't see nearly as much of a dimming effect with intermittent loads.

It also sounds like you are at or near the outer limits of what your bike's electrical output can handle.

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Last edited by bwringer; 08-15-2014 at 10:42 AM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 10:45 AM
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BugMagnet has it. The controller cycles part of each second, on for 3/4 of a second and off for 1/4 of a second in this case. When on, power available to the rest of the bike drops so a fast acting voltmeter drops and the headlights lower in intensity. It doesn't matter whether the heated gear is connected directly to the battery or not. You will see that variance.

I added HID lights because I run heated gear. The brilliance of the arc has little variance from 9V-16V, the 35W lamps only use 40-44W each with a digital slim ballast and the kit includes a headlight relay to take it easy on the bike's marginal headlight wiring. Also, the 4300K lamps produce a white light and more of it than the stock headlights. V-Strom reflectors do a good job of controlling the beam so I've never had oncoming traffic flash their lights at me. They are not DOT legal though. Some people retrofit HID projectors that have their own reflector built in but it's a more involved retrofit. HID kit ballasts are a bit of a crap shoot. They like to die early but those not having an early death will outlast the stock halogens.

I've put a 1000 microfarad electrolytic capacitor and a diode in series between the voltmeter leads and run the leads directly to the battery through a relay and a fuse. That buffers the voltmeter's gyrations a little. The cheapie voltmeter on my old bike that was part of a 5 function device was not a quick to respond as the Datel in my new bike so the gyrations in the Datel were an unpleasant surprise.

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post #8 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody. What is sounds like is that what is happening is "normal" for the circumstances and not a "problem indicator". I'm currently wired to the auxiliary fuse panel, and it looks like moving it to battery is not a better solution based off what greywolf mentions.

I'll just make sure to only crank both gloves and jacket when going down the interstate, and swap them as needed in town due to the voltage drop at the lights. I just didn't want a surprise popping up on next month's BRP and surrounding area trip when it may have been something I could have prevented if it was a electrical problem popping up.

Much appreciate the feedback.

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post #9 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 12:58 PM
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To me this seems like an early symptom of corrosion resistance within the Headlight circut, something well documented on this forum..

Wiring in a Headlight relay would probably stop the flickering lights....IMHO

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post #10 of 13 Old 08-15-2014, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gryphon51 View Post
Wiring in a Headlight relay would probably stop the flickering lights....IMHO
Nope. You can't turn 100+ watts of heated gear on and off without incandescent headlight brightness varying. My voltmeter showed over one full volt of difference between on and off and that will be easily noticeable.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informa...-you-have.html
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