VT1100 Charging Problem? - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 03-05-2010, 01:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default VT1100 Charging Problem?

My '97 Spirit 1100 has been running well for the past 2 weeks (since I bought it). Today I thought I'd check the charging system for any problems ----maybe that was the wrong move. My father always told me not to go looking for trouble. It will most often find you! The resting voltage on the 9 month-old battery is 12.3 Volts. The bike starts up and runs fine and the voltage goes up to 13.3 Volts. So far so good. When I rev the motor it drops to 12.3-12.4V. (???). Is this normal? I removed the seat and battery and went looking for the 3 yellow wires. I couldn't find them. Am I looking in the wrong spot or are they hiding in some kind of wire sheath?

On cold starts the bike starts but sounds like the motor is not turning over as fast as our 750 Aero. As I said, it has a 9-month-old wet cell T-battery. Maybe I should replace it with an AGM battery?
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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welcome to the club! last year I had to replace my stator and RR.

start with the yellow wire connector. It s/b under the left side cover. If it is melted you can just cut the connector out, but you may not want to solder the wires yet. small wire nuts will give a good temp connection. Give this a try and check the charging voltage when the engine is running. You should see between 13 and 14.5 when rev'ed

If not, next, search for the electrosport trouble shooting chart.

Oh btw, a battery at 12.3 is about 90% dead. charge it soon or you will be stranded!

Keep us posted,
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey All™,
Welcome to the world of owning a VT1100c. The charging system on this bike, IMO, is it's odd weak spot. I've had my total wiring system checked, cleaned and greased, and it can still be a problem. The R/R was checked, and was fine. I replaced the stator and some connections, and it's still not completely "normal" IMO. I've found out that mine doesn't like cold weather at all. If the temp is below 45-50 degrees, and if you try to start it, and it doesn't crank within 10-15 seconds, it'll kill the battery. I have a volt meter on mine, and it tends to, for some reason, charge the "best" at idle, once it smooths out. To make it easier to crank when it is cold, I'm using hotter plugs, and thinner oil. Good luck, it's a great bike, but not so much a cold weather bike.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is a photo from a Haynes manual that I found on the internet...it may be the config of your bike. The white three pin alternator connector "B" should have yellow wires.

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Old 03-05-2010, 05:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My 1100 has been like that for years now and I've had no issues with it so far. It charges higher when it's idling and goes down a little when I rev it up. It starts and runs perfect and hasn't left me stranded.
I may get a new stator this summer, but I guess if it runs and starts good, I may as well keep it the way it is. Atleast I'll have the new stator on hand when/if it leaves me stranded.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: VT1100 Charging Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bondo
The bike starts up and runs fine and the voltage goes up to 13.3 Volts. So far so good. When I rev the motor it drops to 12.3-12.4V. (???). Is this normal?
I see there are other answers but YES, in all probability, that IS NORMAL.
That's pretty much how both my last 2 bikes have worked.......when the battery is at or near full charge.

I think there are other recent threads here covering that very thing.

If you connect a charger to the battery (with the bike OFF) and it either: Draws very little current OR the green "charged" light comes on......then your charging system is working and you need to find something else to worry about.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verdeva
Oh btw, a battery at 12.3 is about 90% dead. charge it soon or you will be stranded!
That depends on: Exactly what kind of battery it IS and how accurate your meter IS.

If it still turns the starter, it can't be THAT dead !!
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PainterD
My 1100 has been like that for years now and I've had no issues with it so far. It charges higher when it's idling and goes down a little when I rev it up. It starts and runs perfect and hasn't left me stranded.
I may get a new stator this summer, but I guess if it runs and starts good, I may as well keep it the way it is. Atleast I'll have the new stator on hand when/if it leaves me stranded.
It's normal for The Shadow's charging voltage to drop slightly at higher RPMs.

It's caused by the design of the charging system, which is really quite primitive due to the use of permanent magnets in the alternator.

In essence the voltage regulator sees the higher alternator voltage @ higher RPMs and dumps too much of the excess voltage to ground, resulting in a lower output.

The regulation of bike's alternators are pi$$ poor since it depends on an on - off switching process rather than a true smooth regulation of the alternator's field current as in a car's system.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: VT1100 Charging Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Easy Rider 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by bondo
The bike starts up and runs fine and the voltage goes up to 13.3 Volts. So far so good. When I rev the motor it drops to 12.3-12.4V. (???). Is this normal?
I see there are other answers but YES, in all probability, that IS NORMAL.
That's pretty much how both my last 2 bikes have worked.......when the battery is at or near full charge.

I think there are other recent threads here covering that very thing.

If you connect a charger to the battery (with the bike OFF) and it either: Draws very little current OR the green "charged" light comes on......then your charging system is working and you need to find something else to worry about.
In my book 12.3 to 12.4 V is way too low even with a fully charged battery.
Should be at least 13.0 V +
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm going with the guys who say this is "normal" --- basically because it results in less work for me as I'm basically lazy!

BTW this is my 1000th post. Do I get an award or, at least, a gold star?
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