I was riding hard on 290 headed to downtown Chicago. The bike started to bump and I lost power. Eighty miles an hour in the fast lane and breaking down is the worst but since Iím a guzziphile, I did not panic. Pulled to the inside shoulder and shut the bike off. Hmmm, bumped started it a couple of minutes later and it ran for about a mile, just enough to get me out of traffic.
The voltage regulator had failed. I got a van ride home with the bike, after attending that nights cycle club meeting. Great thing about Chicago area, you could go to a bike function every night of the week if you wanted.
I took the stock voltage regulator to my neighbors house, he is an electrical engineer with a comprehensive lab. We hooked the regulator up to an AC power source and looked into the function with an Oscilloscope, you could see on the wave generated by the voltage regulator that one of the diodes was not functioning in the bridge. It was a nice wave but at the bottom right of it there was a small vertical spike. My buddy said that was what he expected to see. We discussed different ways to make a voltage regulator battery charger and then decided to remove the plastic potting compound that encapsulates the board. Itís hard and brittle, but using a very small router bit from the dremmel set we machined away the majority of the plastic in a drill press and then used Zip Strip to eat away the rest of the plastic. Worked pretty well, except the front of the board is also encapsulated in the resin. So we could see the back of the board but no components. By now the regulator is trash.
I had talked to a couple of Ducati guys because the regulator on my bike is a Ducati energia unit, Ducati gets a little more for the unit than Guzzi but I still didnít have 200+ bucks and couldnít wait a couple of weeks for a unit. Although Harpers had stock and wanted to ship for next day. Sorry Alice I was broke. The Ducati guys mentioned an American made regulator called Tympanium. Found them on the Web. The distributor is Moores Cycle out east. www.moorescyclesupply.com or something. I ordered the basic regulator, I think it was 42.00 and 6 bucks for shipping. It arrived with a stick of Big Red gum. That was cool.
I was surprised at how small the Tympanium unit is. About a third the size of the Duck/Guzzi unit. I had to make a bracket to fit it in the space where the old unit sat. Just used a piece of steel strapping cut down with a bolt cutter and ground smooth. Iím really good with the bolt cutters. Got it mounted up under the fairing. The only thing that didnít fit right up was the wire that used to run to the alternator warning light. The Tympanium doesnít have this circuit, so I tied that wire up and left it alone. What are you going to do if you alt goes out any way. Thatís right youíre going to ride till the battery goes dead and then cell phone for a ride. I had to modify only one wire from the bike, from male to female because I was short on connectors.
Results, It was charging at 13.88v when we tested it, good solid riding for a week has shown no problems. IĎm happy with the results. Cheap voltage regulator that doesnít get that hot, probably more reliable. IĎm thinking about buying a spare for my Lemans I. (Like itís been out of the garage in three years) I would like to get a unit that incorporates the alternator light out feature though just to keep the original appearance.
Mooreís Cycle Supply
49 Custer Street
West Hartford, CT. 06110