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Offline trampgeo

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How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« on: January 29, 2014, 04:24:17 am »
OK I'm really "getting into the weeds" here with this one.

The TT is advertised to have a fancy charging system that puts out a variable amount of power depending on how much is needed at any time.  It seems to me that the amount of power required can be measured one of two ways:
1) There is a current sensing circuit that measures how much current is being drawn by the motorcycle and the alternator circuitry puts out more power as more current is being used (current sensing).
2) The battery voltage is monitored and when it drops below a certain level the alternator puts out more power until the the voltage rises back to a higher level (voltage sensing).

There is a reason that I want to know about this.  I have a headlight modulator that that powers the headlights directly from a battery connection.  The headlight power socket is used as an input to tell the the headlight modulator only whether high or low beam is selected.  If the charging system uses current sensing, the power used by the headlight bypasses the current sensing circuitry and can possibly gradually drain the battery over time.  Does this make sense?

Is there anybody out there that understands how the alternator/charging system of the TT works and explain it to me?  I am not an ee, but I am not stupid - as long as you leave my wife out of the conversation.

BTW the afternoon temps have been in the mid 70s this past week in Arizona.  Nice riding weather.

-Larry Johnson

Offline 3pot

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 05:36:46 am »
Hi Larry

Here is a piece from the visordown website which explains the Explorer/Trophy alternator:

"A 950w alternator nestles behind the cylinders and employs a free-wheel device so on reverse loads it keeps spinning (and producing power) and avoids the kind of forces that tend to trouble fast-spinning bearings. Besides, putting an alternator this size on the end of the crankshaft would have made the engine very wide. An external flywheel sits under the nearside engine casing where the alternator ‘should’ be. Not only is the alternator capable of powering a small hamlet, but so too is the battery – just the job if you’re going to leave your bike idle for weeks or months in between rides or plug heated underclothing in for hours at a time."

Read more: http://www.visordown.com/road-tests-first-rides/first-ride-triumph-tiger-explorer-1200-review/20167.html#ixzz2rlMIGKHC
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Offline DonTom

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 06:06:57 am »
*Originally Posted by trampgeo [+]
The TT is advertised to have a fancy charging system that puts out a variable amount of power depending on how much is needed at any time.
And so does every other make of vehicle. That is what the voltage regulator does.

Older ones might work very simple, such as charge to a certain voltage and then stop charging until the load brings the voltage back down again, and then restart the cycle over and over.

More modern charging can be very fancy. Such as having charging pulses widen when the battery is low, and have the pluses thin out to almost nothing when the battery gets well charged. And then there are multiple stage charging, where the entire charging system changes by the state the battery is in (a very common design with the "converters" that charge house RV batteries). And these also might use pulses in some stages of charging (often four different stages that change as the battery is being charged).

But IAC, the bottom line will be the SAME. You will need more RPM's to keep it charged when you get past a load limit. The difference in how the charging works is what makes a difference in how long your battery lasts. But adding loads will be just like with any other charging scheme.

Don't let the high tech stuff of how it works confuse you, it does the basic same job under various loads.

Where adding lights CAN be a BIG problem when not done correctly can be with my old 1984 Venture. Not because of the way it charges, but there is a computer to tell me when a lamp burns out. If you have an indicator for when lamps burn out, adding lamps in parallel can burn out whatever detects it. But if a relay is used to run direct from the battery, there is still no issue.

-Don-  Reno, NV
1971 Black BMW R75/5/* 1984 Red Yamaha Venture* 2002 Yellow Suzuki DR200SE* 2013 Blue Triumph Trophy SE*2016 Orange/Black Kaw Versy 650 LT*2016 Orange Moto Guzzi Stelvio* 2017 Gold/Black Harley FLTRU RoadGlide Ultra*2017 Zero 6.5DS* 2017 Zero SR13 w/Pwr Tank*2020 Energica SS9

Offline Queensland Ken

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2014, 06:47:55 am »
I was trying to fathom the charging circuit out last week.
The electrical diagrams in the service manual leave a lot to be desired.
A box showing a 3 phase alternator and other box showing a Alternator Control, ridiculous !!!

If I were to do any additions / alterations, I'd make the totally separate to the bike's circuits.

I know there are voltage sensing circuits on the ECM and the ABS computer.
Also know that it is a 3 phase alternator, how it regulates the current I don't know, (yet)
(on a FJR the RR bleeds off current to neutral)

With the little info in the service manual, it's kind of specific about the "state of charge", So I could nearly be confident that it Voltage.
If the Trophy does use voltage sensing, it could explain the "Low Battery" and shutting down the Audio when starting sometimes.
2013 Trophy SE
2013 Stelvio NTX
2007 FJR 1300

Offline DonTom

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2014, 07:10:36 am »
*Originally Posted by Queensland Ken [+]
down the Audio when starting sometimes.
Perhaps if the RPM's fall too low to charge and then drain the battery below an expected voltage, otherwise the regulation should keep the battery charged well enough to not get such a message.

I've had the "low voltage" warning after starting even though my TTSE was on a battery maintainer overnight.  But with such a high tech bike as the TTSE, I expect a few bugs once in a great while. I just ignore them until it happens too often. Such as my "rear tire battery low message". But I have seen that message  three times now so I am now just beginning to believe it. But the PSI still reads as well as it always did. I will tell the dealer about it when I take my bike in for the unrelated recalls. 

-Don-  Reno, NV
1971 Black BMW R75/5/* 1984 Red Yamaha Venture* 2002 Yellow Suzuki DR200SE* 2013 Blue Triumph Trophy SE*2016 Orange/Black Kaw Versy 650 LT*2016 Orange Moto Guzzi Stelvio* 2017 Gold/Black Harley FLTRU RoadGlide Ultra*2017 Zero 6.5DS* 2017 Zero SR13 w/Pwr Tank*2020 Energica SS9

Offline KenSmith

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2014, 10:35:12 am »
*Originally Posted by 3pot [+]
Hi Larry

Here is a piece from the visordown website which explains the Explorer/Trophy alternator:

Not only is the alternator capable of powering a small hamlet, but so too is the battery – just the job if you’re going to leave your bike idle for weeks or months in between rides or plug heated underclothing in for hours at a time.


This is exactly the opposite of what Triumph told my mechanic. They claim the bike should be put on a Battery Tender every night. I think the Triumph marketing folks are making promises the Triumph engineers are not prepared to back up.
Ken Smith
Corbin, Kentucky
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2013 Triumph Trophy SE - Going Soon
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Offline DonTom

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2014, 11:18:28 am »
*Originally Posted by KenSmith [+]
They claim the bike should be put on a Battery Tender every night.
That is best, but of course is not always possible. But when possible, use it! Your battery will last a lot longer. Right, now, all four of my cycle batteries are using such.

These battery maintainers or tenders should be no more than 13.4 volts and should switch off when they get up there and back on again when they drop a few tenths. The idea is NOT to charge with much current, not cause too much heat, but to keep the battery fully charged so  sulfation will not be a problem. It is also helpful to prevent the battery from getting too cold in the winter, which the tender will also do.

Note where it says at the end:

"Battery Minder and Battery Tender are examples of two such products, designed specifically to prevent sulfation and extend battery life by as much as several years."

It become less important if the bike is used every day, but it still helps to use the battery maintainer every night, when possible, for the max battery life.

-Don-  Reno, NV
1971 Black BMW R75/5/* 1984 Red Yamaha Venture* 2002 Yellow Suzuki DR200SE* 2013 Blue Triumph Trophy SE*2016 Orange/Black Kaw Versy 650 LT*2016 Orange Moto Guzzi Stelvio* 2017 Gold/Black Harley FLTRU RoadGlide Ultra*2017 Zero 6.5DS* 2017 Zero SR13 w/Pwr Tank*2020 Energica SS9

Offline Papermaker

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Re: How does the alternator/power system work on the TT?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 07:00:57 pm »
 Hi Larry--

I took a look at the alternator section of the shop manual.  There's not much info in there but here's what it said and my take on its operation.  The alternator is a typical car type design with internal voltage and current regulator.  Note; voltage regulators often have voltage control, over voltage protection and over current protection.  The alternator can't, according to the manual, be disassembled but what looks like the sprag clutch can be repaired or replaced.  The sprag clutch declutches during engine deceleration allowing the alternator rotor’s mass to decelerate independent of the engine.  Removing the rotor mass during deceleration reduces the alternator drive gear load.  I think it's a load of house stuff if someone is telling you that it allows the alternator rotor to glide during deceleration.  Anyone who understands how much HP it takes to spin an alternator knows that they don’t coast or glide.

You asked about the head light modulator draining your battery.  The voltage section of the regulator monitors the battery voltage and increases or decreases the alternator’s primary excitation voltage which increases or decrease the amount of magnetic flux that the alternator’s secondary windings are exposed to.  As flux increases alternator output increases.  The other variable in alternator output is the rpm of the rotor.  The more lines of flux that are cut by the rotor per minute the higher the output will be.  The current regulator protects the alternator from over current situations (shorts).  A headlight modulator draws less current from the electrical system then the stock headlight because the monitor turns the headlight as it flashes.

As Don mentioned a battery monitor, trickle charger or other charger type devices can keep a battery at full charge.  A fully charged battery minimizes battery sulfation.  The sulfuric acid is forced into solution instead of being deposited on the plate.  Spongey lead plate suflfation in a typical lead acid battery reduces plate surface area reducing current capacity reducing battery life.  Batteries also fail due to vibration, heat/cold cycles and owner abuse.  Traditionally the internal resistance of the battery determines the amount of current flow that flows during charge which determines the charger’s output voltage.  A simple way to determine your charger type is to measure its output when it is disconnected from the battery.  Typically a voltage level above the 13.2 – 13.8 VDC uses internal battery resistance to regulate current flow.  A fully charged battery’s internal resistance reduces the amount of current flow to the minimum needed to maintain a battery at full charge.

Ken, my bikes shows the low battery warning, even when the battery is fully charged.  I think that a volt meter section of the ECU monitors/measures the battery voltage which at times drops below a Triumph specified voltage.  I’ve measured the battery voltage during start up and it often measures a couple of tenths above 10 VDC.  This voltage level is not low enough to trigger the low voltage warning.

I am very jealous of your ambient temp, Wisconsin saw -19 F the other night with highs below zero.

--John

 



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