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voltage regulator failure

Old 06-05-2005, 09:01 PM
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voltage regulator failure

These questions are getting embarrasing for me, but... I got home from a short ride today and noticed smoke coming out from under the rear cowling on the right side, specifically from the voltage regulator. After pulling the cowling I see a small slice in the voltage regulator with some oil leaking below. I'm pretty sure I haven't hit it. A few weeks ago I did electrical work on my taillight, specifically integrating the rear signals into the dual-fillament bulbs. There are a couple of connections unused after doing this 1) for the license plate lamp and 2) the negative returns from the turn signals. Also the converter only uses one of the brake light wires, the other is a taped, unused lead. Anyone know if a regulator can fail in this manner? Or are these unused connections acting as open circuits that are messing up my voltage and led to this problem? Feel free to abuse me for complete ignorance and once again I appreciate the help.
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Old 06-05-2005, 09:58 PM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

The regulator rectifiers on vtr's are prone to over heating and failing. I believe the replacements now have cooling fins. I just saw a couple on Ebay a couple of hours ago. Get bidding.
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:48 AM
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Yes, that's a normal failure. Sometimes there is no bubbling or leaking, but sometimes they look just like your.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:56 AM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

Ah, I guess I should have searched the archives first. Thanks for the info. Is the problem related to the design of the regulator? Or do they just wear out over time from use? My bike has 16K miles and it this something we should follow and expect to replace every so often? Also, with potentially overheating, any way to fix that or is it a SH quirk. First time it's happended on my bikes.

From the archives it looked like others were recommending aftermarket regulators? Do folks think the OEM regulators are inferior? Because the aftermarket aren't really cheaper, unless you go Ebay as North suggested. But considering that and a salvage yard, and the potential that all regulators are an their way to certain death, I'd sleep better with good protection.

Lastly, how does this failure affect performance? I haven't checked to see whether I was undercharged or overcharged. But could the failure have happended a while ago and just recently smoked? Could it cause intermittent or weak spark?

Thanks!
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Old 06-06-2005, 08:22 AM
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All opinion below:
-Honda regulators are shitty.
-Aftermarket regulators are no worse.
-Don't know if the new ones (with cooling fins) are any better.
-There is no reason why you couldn't mount a small PC cooling fan if you were so inclined.

More factually based:
-Sometimes parts go bad.
-A regulator consists of three diodes. It ain't complicated and is always overpriced.
-They often fail due to resistance. You should check battery and stator connections for cleanliness and tightness when you replace one. Don't forget the downstream stator connector under the seat.
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:44 AM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

I think there is a thread way back here where a guy glued a pc fan to it. That was a pre-cooling fin R/R though.
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:45 AM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

I disagree with the quality of the Honda VR. Is it possibly a riders lack of maintenance and trying to continue to use a 4 ro 5 year old battery is the root cause of the VR failures. COmon, replace the dang battery before it reaches its last leg and save the expense of a VR. Also apply a small CPU heat sink fan or as i did just apply a small cpu heat sink without the fan to distribute the heat. There is plenty of air moving around the rear cowl and all the heat sink needs is air moving across it.

This is an ancient topic just like the cam chain tensioners topic.

Two philosphy's
1) Ride till something breaks, then complain about paying the high cost of the repai
2) Be pro-active, do regular maintenance and save money in the long run.
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Old 06-06-2005, 10:49 AM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

I think there is a thread way back here where a guy glued a pc fan to it. That was a pre-cooling fin R/R though.
Exactly what i did.

1)Cut a heat sink (Radio Shack) to fit the depression on the VR
2)Apply white heat sink compound between the heat sink and vr to allow better heat transfer
3)Mix up some JB Weld and apply carefully around the edges of the heat sink and VR and it will be bonded forever and ready to transfer heat away form the device.

Easy to do.
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:11 AM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

Interesting assertion but they just as often fail when the battery is good and continues to be good after replacement. And if the quality is fine, why did you do the mod?

Originally Posted by Thumper";p=&quot View Post
I disagree with the quality of the Honda VR. Is it possibly a riders lack of maintenance and trying to continue to use a 4 ro 5 year old battery is the root cause of the VR failures. COmon, replace the dang battery before it reaches its last leg and save the expense of a VR. Also apply a small CPU heat sink fan or as i did just apply a small cpu heat sink without the fan to distribute the heat. There is plenty of air moving around the rear cowl and all the heat sink needs is air moving across it.

This is an ancient topic just like the cam chain tensioners topic.

Two philosphy's
1) Ride till something breaks, then complain about paying the high cost of the repai
2) Be pro-active, do regular maintenance and save money in the long run.
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Old 06-06-2005, 03:15 PM
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good point schmitty. just replaced mine, battery was 2 months old. checked R/R before i replaced battery too, so dont get any ideas
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:55 PM
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Re: voltage regulator failure

I'd agree not running an old/worn battery would help elevaite the stock Honda RR failure rate like Thumper says... but this seems to be the weak part on many sHawk's and VFR's as well... as documented to death on many sites include this and Runzero....

I admittedly was bad and ran my old Katana with the same battery for forever (6 years maybe?) and never had an electrical issue... could have been luck.

This is a great bike, but the stock RR just seems to be a pretty common problem no matter what the cause. I replaced mine with one from www.ricksmotorsportelectrics.com the price was reasonable, and it comes with cooling fins (make sure to ask for one with fins though). I've only had about 2K on it and no real hot weather rides with it yet, so can't give the "it's the greatest ever" review of this part.... but I've been happy so far....

..... and my battery was about 4 months old when the RR kicked on me... pushing this beast uphill 3/4 a mile in 85 degreee weather absolutley sucked!!!!!

J.
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