Sunday, June 28, 2009

Breakdown

7 comments:

  1. Being a mechanic ... did your charging system fail? Being a Harley mechanic, I could give you troubleshooting for a Harley but not your Honda without being there. I'd bet the either the regulator or altinator fail but I wouldn't have a clue where to look for either. Good luck and keep us informed

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  2. Hey amigo, no surprise, you're right on the money (even if you'd have to hunt for it behind all those metric bolts).

    News from the shop today is that the regulator/rectifier, which I replaced in August, is working, but not kicking out as much voltage as you'd expect. It should still be charging the battery, though. The battery, on the other hand, is toast. Out of acid. Dead-ski. Kaput. It could just have been a bad battery.

    But how would a 10-month old battery be shot? Did it get boiled by too much charge from the R/R? It could be a bad R/R, and/or possibly a bad stator powering the R/R, and/or, well, who knows. Anyone want to put money on the wiring harness?

    Paul, our local mechanic at Santa Fe Motorsports -- a guy who had plenty of legit reasons to pass this job up -- suggested that with a new battery and a trickle charger that we'll use when in proximity of an outlet, this little dead battery won't be the reason R2 doesn't make it to Alaska. Not saying anything about the other possible reasons, of course.

    In particular, I'll be curious whether a deeper root cause of R2's various electrical anomalies is revealed. (The brake-light switch for my front brake, which as you know had mysteriously had stopped working, also started working again yesterday morning.)

    In any case, thanks to Paul's help, we hope to be back on the road to Flagstaff mañana. It might seem strange to be excited to be back on the road without complete confidence that we've gotten to the bottom of things, but since they don't present safety issues while riding (just inconvenience and expense), I'm inclined to just keep an eye on it for a while. Well, that, and have a map of the nearest motorcycle shops to our path! ;)

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  3. By the way, you're not planning to open up any West Coast expansion shops anytime soon, are you?

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  4. To better days ahead on bikes that just roll happily along without a care in the world!

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  5. Quick qestion ... is the battery a maintenance battery? ... Caps on the battery that you put water in or non-maintenance where the top is sealed? If it is a maintenance battery you need to make certain that the electrolite(sp) is maintaned and at the correct level. Fill with distilled water only. A maintenance battery will loose water and will "open" up electrically and fry the charging system. If you have a voltmeter you should have around 14 volts at the battery at 2000 rpm on the engine.
    About the West Coast operation of HHC ... let's see how the Mountain division does ... we do have a loosely associate division in the MidWest ... Illinois ... but he's much grumppier then me and probably wouldn't work on a Honda :-) Keep us posted!!!! Don't know how to post as BoneDanny from HoltHammerCycles so I'm posting Anonymous ... I'll figure it out later.

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  6. shoot, wish i would have read this earlier! my awesome cousin is in santa fe! i imagine you are on the road... let me know if you are not!

    also, i know you have a whole "broken motorcycle" experience to deal with, but could you please leave your fade in and out comments up for another second or two? i must be getting old... :^)

    good luck guys!!!

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  7. Hey Dan, yeah it was a maintenance battery, so I probably could have seen signs of trouble earlier than I did. (My new battery is a maintenance battery, too.) It seems, though, that the stator must have given up the ghost just in the last 24 hours, since we picked the bike up in Santa Fe, since it was still generating charge at that point, and wasn't at all at the end of the day yesterday. The problem with the R/R appears to be a little more subtle: the diodes seemed fried only in one direction (which, if I'm remembering the conversion process from the alternating current kicked out by the stator and the direct current used by the bike correctly, would mean that at best only half of the stator's charge would be getting through the regulator, or worse, that half the time it was pulling instead of pushing current).

    In any case, I'm just glad Greg could even source parts (new ones, at that) for the bike. We're hoping to be back on the road again tomorrow. We'll have to rename this trip a tour of great motorcycle shops through the great southwest! (Zen and the Art of... what was that last bit again?)

    Hey Jayme, no worries about making the connection with your cousin. If we get stuck back in Santa Fe again, however...!

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