Voltage test request - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,481
Voltage test request

I've asked this before but with no results but here goes again:

I'd appreciate it if others could do three simple voltage tests and report the results:

1) Check battery voltage if above 12 volts.

2) Check voltage while cranking the engine for about 3 seconds without starting.

3) Place one volt meter lead on each end of the starter cable, one on the starter relay end cap and the other on the starter end cap. Measure voltage while cranking for 3 seconds with out starting.
Normk is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 04:26 AM
5th Gear
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,711
Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to make the measurement at this time. However, looking at the wiring diagram, I wouldn't expect much of a voltage drop across an electrically sound cable (if Mr. Kirchoff and Mr. Ohm are to be believed).

A static (no current flowing) resistance measurement between the two points mentioned (starter relay connection and starter motor connection, if I understand correctly) might be informative.
Damocles is offline  
post #3 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,481
A common diagnostic issue is trying to separate a bad battery from other causes. I have several measurements of starter cables on Gen1 bikes but would like a large data base including variations in voltage measurements.

The idea is to allow measurement of the starter current by calculation of voltage drop across a known resistance. IME, the starter cables are very uniform in construction so one can take that as the known resistance. Voltage drop will allow a comparison of starter current/draw which should help anyone who has a voltmeter to determine the starter current.

If one checks starter current, finds it in the normal range, then measures battery voltage during cranking, it will provide an indication of a good or weak battery. Of course the fact that a DC electric motor provides the load adds some interesting dynamics.

That's why I continue to look for measurements to try to confirm that this can be developed into a workable test for those who lack an accurate ammeter and/or accurate adjustable load device.

It's a few minute test because all it takes is to remove the side stand switch/starter relay cover to gain access to the starter relay (solenoid). The battery voltage can be measured from the battery side of the starter relay.
Normk is offline  
 
post #4 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 01:38 PM
5th Gear
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,711
Unless I misunderstand the connections (i. e., with, say, the voltmeter positive probe on the starter relay end of the cable, and the voltmeter negative probe on the starter connection), I wouldn't expect to see much voltage drop across the low-resistance cable.

Most likely, I misunderstand.

What voltage drops have you measured across the starter cable, Normk?

Alternatively, Harbor Freight sells a very low-priced clamp-on multimeter; should be good for directly measuring the current flow.
Damocles is offline  
post #5 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,481
The voltage and resistance are very low. I'm seeing voltages in the 0.04 volt range, reflecting about 65 amps at 9.75 battery volts in the case of my present bike, showing the battery is getting weak.

I have a couple of high end ammeters but knowing that most people don't own them or have meters of known quality, am looking for other ways to provide help. Someone in remote South America will likely have a multimeter but not ammeter.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Unless I misunderstand the connections (i. e., with, say, the voltmeter positive probe on the starter relay end of the cable, and the voltmeter negative probe on the starter connection), I wouldn't expect to see much voltage drop across the low-resistance cable.

Most likely, I misunderstand.

What voltage drops have you measured across the starter cable, Normk?

Alternatively, Harbor Freight sells a very low-priced clamp-on multimeter; should be good for directly measuring the current flow.
Normk is offline  
post #6 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 07:34 PM
Moderator
 
klr4evr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Fort Sask , Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,560
Garage
Send a message via Skype™ to klr4evr
My battery isn't fully charged right now. Should I charge it first. Have run the KLR because I was on vacation only to return to a puddle of fork oil on the floor.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

<--- Please fill in the 'Location' on your personal profile page. User CP/Edit Your Details

This information makes it much easier for other members to answer/comment on your posts.
klr4evr is offline  
post #7 of 14 Old 07-13-2014, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,481
Even better if you wouldn't mind doing the tests before and after charging the battery.The battery being low should provide an indication of the difference when we compare with the charged results.

I'm hoping that we can identify a suitably accurate means to help people diagnose a weak battery without having to own special tools other than a multimeter.

When we get some examples, I'm certain that others will weigh in with thoughts to help tune the model.

Regardless, nothing lost in trying and we may learn something useful.

I'm used to having all the shop tools so some of these things are quite outside the box.




Quote:
Originally Posted by klr4evr View Post
My battery isn't fully charged right now. Should I charge it first. Have run the KLR because I was on vacation only to return to a puddle of fork oil on the floor.
Normk is offline  
post #8 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 07:28 AM
4th Gear
 
larry31's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,063
Voltage readings.

Just a couple of thoughts on diagnostics. With typical voltage meter / indicator.
To tell if a battery can't handle any kind of load....

Test 1
Meter on battery terminals.
Crank engine.
If voltage is low, the battery can't handle the load. ( Charge and test again.)
If voltage still low, the battery is probably bad.

Test 2
Meter on battery terminals.
Put headlights on.. Hi Beam.
Compare voltage with ignition off to on with hi beam.
If voltage drops below 12 volts. ( Charge and test again.)
If voltage still low, the battery is probably bad.

Test 3
Check the battery's electrolyte level. Auto parts shops carry testers for testing battery's. ( Not for sealed batteries.)

Test 1 will test the starter load, which is very high current.
Test 2 will test battery load at a lower current load.

Sometimes there could be a small current drain even with the ignition switch off. That could take a battery charge down over time. Some bikes have very small drain because of their computerized circuitry. Should not drain a battery down unless left for a long time.
( A month or more.)

I put one of these on all my bikes, and my Kubota tractor... http://www.kuryakyn.com/products/872/led-battery-gauge
(Rugged, water resistant/proof?)

Ageing Gracefully



2017 Yamaha XT250
1990 Honda NX250 (Green/White)
2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 (Orange & White )

My KLR Page..http://www.powers31.info/2011_KLR650.htm

Mod's to KLR:
Power socket, L.E.D. Battery Indicator, Camera bag holder
Custom Saddlebag frames .
Louder horns, Firstgear Onyx tail bag.
Custom Aluminum Skid Plate.
Cut down seat with Custom pad.
Go Pro Camera mount.
Doo-Hicky
larry31 is offline  
post #9 of 14 Old 07-14-2014, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,481
Those have been reliable methods but am interested to see if we might add another dimension.

FWIW, auto parts stores in many areas won't test batteries or won't test bike batteries and those which will may not be reliable. IME, bike shops tend not to have high end battery testers because of cost and that there are few if any which are specifically intended for bike use.

There are two main types of battery testers in use today:

1) The most popular is the electronic "smart" battery tester which uses light loading combined with cycling of the load and comparing the voltage reaction (drop and recovery) of the battery to that of look up pages. Many vehicle and battery manufacturers insist that these types of devices be used for battery diagnosis because they are considered to be more reliable than the older type load devices.

These devices apply a relatively low current load to the battery which is often in the area of 15 amps or less. One can often identify these by the relatively small cable size compared with the older load type units.

One advantage to these is that they are fairly "idiot proof" since the operator has no means to control the test load applied to the battery. For this reason it is less likely to overload and damage battery or tester, or to have a battery explosion.

2) Load type chargers apply a high current which is in the same range as that of starting loads. These duplicate the actual starting load on the battery and compare that to the voltage which the battery is able to maintain.

The smart type testers are able to identify (the better ones) such battery issues such as sulfation, low specific gravity, etc. There is a problem.

I both sold and used this equipment for many years and having worked as an electrical specialist in the trade have a view of both sides of the device. I spent some time with an engineer who was involved in the development of "smart" battery testers and had to spend several hours showing him the problem with these testers before he grudgingly accepted the fundamental problem.

My automotive, truck, marine and ag customers were required to have and to use a recognized smart tester but in order to achieve reliable results, they also had to use a real load type tester. Here's why:

First, I'm not considering the low end "toaster" type load testers which cannot be adjusted for load. These can produce reliable results in the hands of a very informed technician but are not what is wanted for professional use. I'm referencing the units which use an adjustable carbon pile to allow the load to be tailored to the battery's size.

Clip a smart tester to any of many batteries I've tested and it will run through the test procedure resulting in a pass. Put the battery into the car or boat and it won't crank the engine. Hook up a load type tester and the battery fails. Seems like one tester maps the battery's performance in the real world and that this is the load tester, right?

So, why should that not tell the tale completely? I kept asking that engineer this question but he's always return to the data which showed that the smart tester was able to test factors invisible to the load tester so produced more comprehensive results.

I'd go back to my point which was that the battery wouldn't start the car and that was what we wanted to determine. The smart tester did not agree so unless we could convince the car that it was making a mistake, we needed to listen to the load tester. Ever talk politics with your brother-in-law? Yep!

So, the shops have and use both testers. They will usually stick on the smart tester because it's lighter and easier to use. If the battery fails, it will be replaced. If the battery passes, they will load test it and only pass the battery as good if it passes both tests.

A fairly common battery defect is a broken buss bar or other internal connection. This problem can pass a small current but as soon as a high load is applied, the voltage drop across the small contact area becomes so excessive that the battery literally open circuits. The small smart tester load does not challenge this type of problem so the problem is not evident to the testing. The load tester does challenge by applying a high load so the problem is evident. Seems simple when one comes into the concept from the point of an explanation but a number of very good techs chased their tails for hours trying to determine what was going on.

My advice is to rely on actual loading of the battery such as connecting to a similar and known good bike rather than to rely on a smart tester. The smart tester can be excellent as a secondary test to indicate battery issues of other types but if your intention is to start the bike then it's best to use a test which actually duplicates that action.

Bike batteries are a real can of worms as they often fail in ways in which one will never see an automotive, truck, marine or ag battery failure.

Not disputing anything anyone has said. Simply attempting to add some more information.

If someone wishes to have a quite reliable and well accepted test procedure, copy Larry31's post as it will serve you well in most cases. That's what techs generally tend to do. I'm looking for some additional fine tuning in addition.

Thanks for posting that, Larry. I go on too long for some peoples' taste so appreciate that procedure coming in anther post. It's likely better written that I would do also so a double bonus. :-)
Normk is offline  
post #10 of 14 Old 07-15-2014, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,481
Harbor Freight have these inline ammeters on sale:
http://www.harborfreight.com/20-Amp-...ter-67725.html

These are generally used by removing the fuse from the fuse box, plugging the fuse into the socket on the meter and then plugging the meter into the fuse box. The meter displays the current in the circuit which is protected by the fuse.

I like the mini fuse type because it will fit into an ATO fuse socket so will cover both mini and ATO fuses. An adaption which makes this even more versatile is to add a pair of jumper clips to a mini fuse inline fuse holder and plug in the ammeter. Slip in a maximum 30 amp fuse and you're good to go for testing.

These are a great addition to anyone's tool box.
Normk is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Request for the moderators Normk How To's & Tech Guides 0 07-07-2014 08:42 PM
Voltage Meter Suggestions Snakeboy66 1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods 19 04-14-2013 06:12 PM
Charging voltage??? slim40 2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions 1 03-07-2011 08:29 PM
voltage rectifier(regulator) ssknightrider 1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods 0 03-08-2010 09:57 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome