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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Varying voltage

Hey guys/gals,

I've been troubleshooting an apparent voltage regulator problem. During a ride I noticed my voltage meter was only reading 12vdc. Before I got home it jumped back up to 14vdc. I checked voltage at the battery with bike running and it matched the voltage meter at 14vdc. I shut the bike down, waited a while and restarted it. Voltage dropped to 12vdc. I checked voltage at the battery. It read about 12.4vdc, so it still matched the meter. That tells me the meter is accurately reflecting system voltage.

I performed stator ground and resistance tests. Stator passed both. I checked stator output at idle and at 2000 rims. AC voltage output is within specs via the service manual.

I checked milliamperes draw test and it is also within specs. Everything seemed to be pointing to a bad voltage regulator so I replaced it. After I replaced the regulator, I tested the bike. The bike ran at 14vdc for two minutes then dropped back to 12vdc. I had to rev the bike to 1700 rpm to get voltage back to 14vdc. I checked voltage both times at the battery and found the voltage meter is still reading accurately. In other words, the new regulator didn't change anything.

I am at a loss. I have not load tested the battery and it is coming up on five years since I installed it. I just have a hard time believing a failing battery could drag down a voltage regulator like that.

Has anyone run into this before? If so, what was the root cause?

Thanks!

Eric "JoeSquid"
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joesquid View Post
Hey guys/gals,

I've been troubleshooting an apparent voltage regulator problem. During a ride I noticed my voltage meter was only reading 12vdc. Before I got home it jumped back up to 14vdc. I checked voltage at the battery with bike running and it matched the voltage meter at 14vdc. I shut the bike down, waited a while and restarted it. Voltage dropped to 12vdc. I checked voltage at the battery. It read about 12.4vdc, so it still matched the meter. That tells me the meter is accurately reflecting system voltage.

I performed stator ground and resistance tests. Stator passed both. I checked stator output at idle and at 2000 rims. AC voltage output is within specs via the service manual.

I checked milliamperes draw test and it is also within specs. Everything seemed to be pointing to a bad voltage regulator so I replaced it. After I replaced the regulator, I tested the bike. The bike ran at 14vdc for two minutes then dropped back to 12vdc. I had to rev the bike to 1700 rpm to get voltage back to 14vdc. I checked voltage both times at the battery and found the voltage meter is still reading accurately. In other words, the new regulator didn't change anything.

I am at a loss. I have not load tested the battery and it is coming up on five years since I installed it. I just have a hard time believing a failing battery could drag down a voltage regulator like that.

Has anyone run into this before? If so, what was the root cause?

Thanks!

Yes, I had the same problem on a 2012 a couple of years back. It was very intermittent, problem was the voltage regulator.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:29 AM
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:20 AM
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My 2013 with less than 10,000 miles is doing the very same thing. Yesterday when i started the bike it was reading a tad over 10 volts, i bumped the regulator with my dead blow hammer handle and it went up to 14 plus volts. It does this from time to time. I am going to replace it but feared what happened to you, the new one doing the same thing. I have tightened my battery cables, but that did not fix it. Let us know if you find the problem and i will do the same.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:21 PM
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I noticed this off an on last year, on my 2012. It would drop down around 10, idiot lights lit on dash, and within 5 miles it would pop back up to 14. Twice it went to 16 for almost a mile, then back to normal. Over the winter, I had the bike torn down for some repairs, and put a new 600CCA battery in the bike. Second ride this year, voltage drops to 12 and stays there. By the time I got home, bike was at 10.5 VDC. Pulled the voltage regulator, tested the stator to be operational, and ordered the Cycle Electric voltage regulator. Once installed, fired the bike up to an instant 14.4 VDC. Two more rides with NO fluctuation. Harley's regulators are not the best design, and the Cycle Electric regulator mounts up higher on the front frame tubes to get it away from the heat of the oil cooler. My $.02.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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I had the battery load tested out of the bike and it passed just fine. I'm going to go back through the charging system tomorrow to ensure I didn't miss any loose connections then will perform static checks again.

Tiny, I replaced my VR with a "no name" brand off Amazon. I'll look into Cycle Electric voltage regulator.

Dragon, I'll keep you abreast of everything I find. Your symptoms match mine, although I did not try your form of positive motivation on my VR. I will have to give that a try if for no other reason than to see if I get the same result as you.

Eric "JoeSquid"
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 06:25 AM
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You might look at the regulator connections. I have seen some poor contact on the pins. Clean and put di-electric grease on them. Also, check the ground straps, been a known problem also.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 07:41 AM
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You might look at the regulator connections. I have seen some poor contact on the pins. Clean and put di-electric grease on them. Also, check the ground straps, been a known problem also.
Sage advice. Rule of thumb I came up with years ago, was any time you can describe an issue by using electrical and WTF in the same sentence ... Check for ground issues (first..). Because when a system is forced to back feed looking for a proper ground all sorts of crazy/random shit happens.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 07:50 AM
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I had a similar issue on my '12 and it was the regulator. I would look at the cheap Amazon one as your suspect. I dealt with this year's ago and don't have a great memory of the exacting details, but you should be able to pull DTC's for voltage issues and you can even Ohm test the terminals on your VR and compare to a known good one. Just a couple different ideas. Good luck, this can be a shitty problem to figure out sometimes. I didn't see what year your bike was, but Harley recalled many VR's somewhere around 2011-12 model years. Many more than those were affected.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 07:48 PM
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Are any of you running FP3? I have read that some guys running that are having intermittent problems with the voltage with that.

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