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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think that my alternator is heading south @ 83,000mi. Recently, I've noticed my headlights are flickering while parked and while running down the road. I'm going to check with my meter what the current is while @ idle. Any idea what the results should be? I have a appointment @ the local dealer for them to check it out, still in warrenty until May 2011. Thanks
 

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i just have the cheap Honda marine volt meter but it usually reads about 13.5 volts at idle, not sure how accurate that is but it tells me what i need to know

my first alternator went out at 69,000 the second one at 204,000

since u don't have a volt meter installed its good to know that if your alternator goes out while riding the first clue will b when the radio just shuts off for no apparent reason, if that happens start looking for a place to get off the road because a few miles later the entire bike will shut down when the battery gets to low to run the fuel injection system
 

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alt voltage

My 01 reads over 14v on my battery bug unless im at idle with brake modulator flashing, then it drops below 14. You can see some flicker in the headlights at idle, but no other time. Original alternator with 75K.
 

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Usually when you lights flicker it's the battery going south. But check the alternator output first.
 

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Flickering lights can certainly happen due to an alternator failure, but that is not the typical symptom. An alternator's output usually just drops when it fails.

Flickering lights is an indication that the voltage to them is rapidly rising and falling. The first thing to do is to tighten the battery cables. You would be amazed how frequently this happens on motorcycles.

At idle, your voltage at the battery should measure in the range of about 13.2-13.5 volts, higher if the bike was just started. If it is in the 12s or lower, you may have a problem.

Keep in mind that it is not unusual for lights to flicker slightly when a load is suddenly place on the electrical system, like hitting the brakes or when using heated clothing. This is normal. But if it is happening on its own with no apparent reason, it's worth checking out.
 

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let the bike sit overnight put in neutral turn on key hold throttle wide open this put the bike computor in open loop and will not start crank starter with volt meter hooked up should not be below 10.5 volts while cranking if so the battery is going bad. hope this helps. :thumbup:
 

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A battery and charging system test always starts with a battery test 1st. But before that can be done the connections at the battery need to be inspected. Once the battery test good, then you can test the charging system. It takes a good battery to excite an alternator.
 

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I agree with Techdude2000 that you should check the starter button first. Before I knew better on my '89 GL-1500, I directed the high pressure water from the car wash at my handlebar switches. The starter button contacts eventually developed corrosion on the contacts which were closed when the button was released. When the starter button was depressed, it opened the contacts that fed power to the headlights so it removed that electrical load thereby feeding more battery voltage/current to the starter motor.

The headlights started off by occasionally flickering and eventually would go out completely and this most often happened when I hit a bump. That is a little unsettling to say the least when you are wizzing down a curvy country road on a moonless night and suddenly both headlights go out. :eek:4: After the lights went out with me stopping the bike and fiddling around with a volt meter and checking all the fuses, I found out that they often came back on when I re-started the bike. I finally figured out that if I wiggled the starter switch while pulling out on it, the lights would return. I ended up replacing the entire right handlebar electronic switch cluster and its wiring harness to fix the problem. I have not researched if Honda retained that same headlight interruption method with the GL-1800 but I expect they would. Please let us know if you find this fixes your problem. Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am flickering in all lighting! Headlights, taillights and trunk and saddlebag lights. The battery is one year old, Yausa from Hal and no problems in that area. Thanks for the info, good info! Larry M, it's a symptom (pulseing)while cold start or warm, moving or not, at idle or cruiseing at 75mph.
 

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Chef, in that case, you might just have a battery or alternator issue. Checking the running battery voltage and the connections on the battery are the best starting points. After that, I would check the main ground under the gas tank.
 

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Is is a steady flicker, or just when it wants to do so? Does it flicker like power is up then down in cadence or just random?

The alternator would be a steady up and down, but a short in the running light circuits could cause random or erratic power loss and not be severe enough to blow a fuse. Just touching ground. Uh er do you have a trailer hook up??
 

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maybe u could swap batteries with someone just to see if that has any effect

the original battery in my wing was still working fine at 206,000 when i replaced it with another brandnew Yuasa that didn't last 60,000 miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well the culprit finally rear'd it's head! I was headed to a destination 20mi from home when suddenly, the Tach quit working, the ABS light came on and the Speedometer started acting crazy. As I pulled into a parking lot the Wing died. I tried to restart and the Battery didnt have enough juice to start. I make a phone call and have my truck and trailer delivered to haul back home, while waiting I retry starting and the Wing starts and idles for about a min. and dies again, tried restarting and the Battery was discharged again. I have always thought since beginning this thread that my alternator was going south so I bought one from Hal back in December and decided to ride the Wing until the alternator quit. I replaced the alternator and recharged the Battery after getting the Wing back home and have ridden to work and back this week with no flickering lights. I am taking my old alternator to a Local Alt/Generator rebuild company and have rebuilt for future backup.
 

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Glad to see that you got it solved. I have a question however.

Doesn't this bike have an idiot light in the instrument cluster that comes on when charging voltage is too low?
 

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Glad to see that you got it solved. I have a question however.

Doesn't this bike have an idiot light in the instrument cluster that comes on when charging voltage is too low?
nope no idiot light for the alternator

the first real clue i ever got when my alternator went out TWICE was the radio shut off, when the radio shuts off u can still go a few more miles untill the entire bike shuts down because of low voltage

after the first alternator failure i installed a voltmeter so when the radio shuts off i can take a look at the actual volts to know whats going on
 

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A good voltage regulator is worth the money it costs. It allows you to know for certain what's happening with your electrical system. My digital meter shows 14.4 volts consistently when underway or after the engine cranks and the system gets through it's wakeup call. So many electrical problems can be traced to a weak battery or poor cable connections. Many seem to think the battery cannot be bad since it's not old, etc. It is absolutely necessary for the battery to provide the correct amount of available voltage for things to work properly. Batteries can go south for no apparent reason, at any time. Part of the reason is that many are not properly charge initially before delivery or installation. Clean tight cable connections are also imperative, and these need to be checked regularly as a part of the routine maintenance we should all be doing.
 
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