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Discussion Starter #1
Possible I need another Regulator/Rectifier ??? It's the same problem I had this Spring - battery run down after 45 min ride, making re-start difficult or impossible. I thought the problem had been fixed with a new R/R (at $160!).

I took the bike back to the shop for diagnosis ("maybe they can get to it by this Saturday"). I can't afford to keep buying regulator/rectifiers - at least at dealer retail prices. I did a search on this forum and read that folks are putting in GXR600 rectifiers, sometimes used ones for as little as $20-30.

1. Does the GXR600 R/R work better than the SV one?

2. Isn't buying a used R/R taking a big risk? - a bad one looks the same as a good one.

3. One poster had installed a "muffin fan" (whatever that is) to cool the R/R. I am thinking about cutting out some ventilation ports on the side plastic to increase airflow. Maybe it's possible to relocate it? Anyone have any mods that worked?

4. What does Suzuki say about this? Shouldn't there be a technical bulletin for a recommended replacement or fix?

5. Anyone have any ideas for an emergency jump set up I can carry with me? (I was thinking of wiring two 6 v lantern batteries together in series. I have already installed pigtails to my battery to allow for jumping the bike without having to remove the seat (also for trickle charging).

More significantly, I have lost confidence in my bike. I am ready to dump it and start looking for something more reliable. If I wanted BS electrics, I would have bought a bike from the 70's.

I love my SV, but if this keeps up, it's hello Honda, or BMW, or even Triumph. (It's pretty bad when you consider a Triumph to have a better electrical system than the bike you own.) I plan to contact Suzuki.
 

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Sorry to hear about your problems but I don't think this is indicative of a serious or frequent Suzuki problem. I have not read of this being common and perhaps something else is wrong that is causing the regulator to fail. Hope you are able to permanently solve your problem but don't indict Suzuki for having bad electrics over this. Thanks, Mike.
 

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R & R problems are not unique to SVs or Suzukis. I suggest electrical accessoris to use more electricity and reduce the amount that the RR has to dissapate as heat
 
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As camberthrust said, maybe the RR is a symptom not the cause. That said, I don't know what the problem could be besides the basic stuff -a poor ground path, or corroded / loose contacts somewhere. My gut feeling is that such a problem would be on the AC side and not the DC side. I'm no sparky, but I wonder if a problem with the generator (maybe one phase low) could stress the RR enough to toast it.

BTW, a muffin fan is like the tiny fan on your computer, roughly the same size and shape as a muffin. I don't know that you need to hack holes in your bodywork since all you're trying to do is keep air moving across the RR's heat sink (finned part). I don't recall what the RR's mounting is like, but if it mounts to a flat plate you might try using some heat sink paste between the back of the RR and the plate to improve the heat transfer.

:)

EDIT: to expand on what RandyO said, the SV's charging system is running all the time. Whatever power it doesn't need is dissipated as heat, so increasing the load would result in less excess juice and less heat (heat being like kryptonite to electrical components...). An easy way to do this would be to upgrade your headlight bulb to something brighter, which would also have the happy consequence of making you more visible.
 

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R/R units break randomly. you had some bad luck. it's unlikely you'll have to buy another one. although you could go through 4 more in a row if you get ultra-uber-unlucky. there are people with 50k+ miles with the original R/R.

if the new R/R is less than a year old, it might be under warranty and perhaps you can get a new replacement without paying again.
 

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I have an ignition module heat sink off a late 80's Buick Road Master... it's a real close fit to the SV R/R and it's pretty massive.  I have no worries about mine cooking!

EDIT: I'm also running much less lighting than stock... SOOO my R/R is also generating lots of heat ;)
 

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wee twin said:
3. One poster had installed  a "muffin fan" (whatever that is) to cool the R/R. 
A muffin fan is a little fan like you see in a computer.

I live in Phoenix too...no electrical problems yet.
 

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Are you sure it isn't situational? I had this problem twice and traced it back to the way I was ridding, in traffic too much at low speeds. This drained my battery on both occasions. Now that I am cognizant of this I have taken small and simple steps (much more simple than getting rid of my entire bike) and I have not had the problem since. However, I feel your pain I have had some serious electrical problems (all cause by a hotwiring thief thought) and they are a bitch to source out.
 

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Hey guys i would like to point a misconseption on here about the charging system. It is wrong to think that the more electrical load you have the less heat you make. Your alternator would make enough power for the load on the system. The less load you have the less work the system has to do and the less heat it makes. ALL THE POWER that your bike would use MUST run across the R\R. The less power your bike need the less CURRENT would flow to your R\R so it would make less heat. AMPS is what you realy need to look for. An SV650 alt would make 300watt which would be about 20amps. 300 divide but 14.3v would make it 20.9amps. One H4 light on low would use about 5.2amp a fuel pump would use about 4amp each 1157light bulb would use 1.8amp and i can go on and on. First make use you have a good battery as a weak battery makes the alt work hard and over heat. Check ground and power wires and clean the connection just for fun :). you also could have gotten a bad R\R. Yes i know all about it cause i run an auto shop and we do our own alt and starter rebuilding and we sell lots of batterys. Seen most of what you can see out there on cars ( use MOST as i just might see something new some day). So the more load you got on your bike the hotter the R\R would get and the faster the alt would go bad. If you got any Qs about it i would be more then happy to answer.


newbe
 

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wanabe said:
Hey guys i would like to point a misconseption on here about the charging system. It is wrong to think that the more electrical load you have the less heat you make. Your alternator would make enough power for the load on the system. The less load you have the less work the system has to do and the less heat it makes. ALL THE POWER that your bike would use MUST run across the R\R. The less power your bike need the less CURRENT would flow to your R\R so it would make less heat. AMPS is what you realy need to look for. An SV650 alt would make 300watt which would be about 20amps. 300 divide but 14.3v would make it 20.9amps. One H4 light on low would use about 5.2amp a fuel pump would use about 4amp each 1157light bulb would use 1.8amp and i can go on and on. First make use you have a good battery as a weak battery makes the alt work hard and over heat. Check ground and power wires and clean the connection just for fun :). you also could have gotten a bad R\R. Yes i know all about it cause i run an auto shop and we do our own alt and starter rebuilding and we sell lots of batterys. Seen most of what you can see out there on cars ( use MOST as i just might see something new some day). So the more load you got on your bike the hotter the R\R would get and the faster the alt would go bad. If you got any Qs about it i would be more then happy to answer.


newbe
That would be the case in a car, which use variable-output generators (as you know, since you're a mechanic). Bikes (most of them, at least) use a stator & regulator/rectifier. The stator makes AC based solely on the RPMs of the engine, not the electrical load. In a generator, AC is made (and converted to DC) depending on the load, but in a stator, the load is irrelevant to the AC produced. One of the jobs of the R/R, as stated by nc_sv650, is to burn off the extra electrons as BTUs, so they don't get fed into the battery, frying it. Given that the current produced by the stator is unrelated to the electrical load, but the draw at the battery is, more load --> less energy to be dissapated as heat by the RR.
 

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wanabe said:
    Hey guys i would like to point a misconseption on here about the charging system. It is wrong to think that the more electrical load you have the less heat you make. Your alternator would make enough power for the load on the system. The less load you have the less work the system has to do and the less heat it makes. ALL THE POWER that your bike would use MUST run across the R\R. The less power your bike need the less CURRENT would flow to your R\R so it would make less heat.
           newbe
as Elo already posted, most bike charging systems are nothing like a cage charging system, a car charging system is regulates the amount of electricity made, the system in the SV is nothing but a magneto, the more rpm, the more electricity is made

ask someone with a VFR how hot the RR under the seat gets, and how the best whay to cool down the gonads is to turn on the heated grips
 

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RandyO said:
ask someone with a VFR how hot the RR under the seat gets, and how the best whay to cool down the gonads is to turn on the heated grips
Amen ... I just sold my '86 VFR before I bought the SV. I actually wound up mounting my R/R on the pillion footrest bracket with a case fan to boot. :)

Actually, I found that for the VFR, almost any 7-lead R/R from a bike of approximately the same size or bigger would work as a replacment. Not long before I sold the bike, I eBayed myself up a used CBR R/R for $20 shipped, and that worked beautifully. I only had to swap two wires in the wiring harness. It's a nice alternative to spending $160 on a new one. Heck, you could go through 8 used ones off eBay for that much money!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow, thanks for all the responses. I'm somewhat of a re-entry rider and I guess I was a little naive about what to expect since the "old" days. (I got carried away with alloy frames, tubeless tires, pointless ignitions, water cooling, etc.) I would have hoped that electrical systems were better designed and more reliable by now. I don't mind doing a lot of my own wrenching, but I am really not into frustrating electrical problems - especially during primo riding weather. Thus the rant.

Maybe it is just bad luck - hey, could be worse, I still have a house.

I'm pretty sure that the battery and terminals are good, so at this point, I hope it is the RR. If not, I'm going to have to learn a lot more about the electrical system on this bike than I really wanted to. Sounds like I can improve my luck by adding a stereo - or maybe a siren::) Maybe what I really need is 15 amp muffin fan (pancake fan?). Seriously, it seems like you could simply add another resister/heat sink somewhere??

I still am considering cutting some vents in the side panel. Might as well, they need painting anyway.
 

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As noted earlier heat is the usual suspect. You might check to see if the bike has the R/R configured correctly (as per a stock bike).
By configured I mean mounted, heat sunk etc.
The shop should be able to check your generator output.

Good Luck
 

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just barely still on topic here, but maybe it will help you (even though I dont even know what the r/r looks like or its size)

www.newegg.com is a pretty good place to buy computer heatsinks and fans.  No way are you gonna find a 12v computer fan that draws 15 amps, though.  The 80mm Vantec Tornado (one of the highest output and loudest computer fans you can buy) that puts out 85 cfm draws less than 1 amp.

Computer componant cooling was a bit of a hobby of mine for a while, so if you let me know about what size you need, I could make you some recommendations for new heatsinks and a fan.
 

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alright guys i have just learned something new about motorcycles . So im better off installing extra lights on the bike and that should make it run cooler the R/R i mean. Why not use an alt on a motorcycle?? is there a good reason for it?? no i dont know much about motorcycles yet but im learning ;D. Thanks for teaching me and giving me more ideas on what to read about.


newbe
 
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As I said earlier, I'm no sparky, but I believe an alternator generates AC while a generator generates DC, so we do actually have an alternator. Automobile alternators also have a RR but I think nowadays (since the '70s?) it's part of alternator assembly. I had a Camaro ('69 vintage) that used a mechanical voltage regulator mounted on the inner fender. Earlier cars (until ~'50?) used a DC generator and some bikes (long ago) used starter generators- a starter motor than didn't disengage once the engine started, and instead became a generator.

The question that remains is that why aren't motorcycle charging systems more intelligent? It takes Hp to generate watts and wasted watts = wasted Hp.

:)
 

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nc_sv650 said:
The question that remains is that why aren't motorcycle charging systems more intelligent? It takes Hp to generate watts and wasted watts = wasted Hp.

:)
That's a good question, for sure. I think the answer is simplicity. With the charging system the way it is, there are the fewest possible moving parts (which likely --> less weight moving with the crankshaft or less metal surrounding the crankshaft, both of which are good things), and the part most likely to fail is a solid-state electrical component (i.e. the R/R), which is easily replacable.

Or maybe that's just the way it's always been done. :) Not necessarily the best answer, though ...
 

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agreed.
motorcycles are good because they are simple.
simple is easy to maintain yourself.
simple breaks less often.
 
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