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Misc: Charging Systems Series ‘C’ Rapide Battery Not Charging


timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Just to ensure a full understanding. The Alton replaces the dynamo and fits in the same place. It produces the 12 volts to charge the battery. It plays no part in the ignition system other than to keep the battery charged. You could use a coil and distributor, if you could find the parts, or any other ignition system which is either self contained or requires 12 volts.
 

Comet Rider

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Danno,
I see that you are in Hertfordshire,
The local section is meeting tomorrow in Stevenage, at The Fisherman.
If you want to come along around 8 PM we can give you a hand in identifying things, and a bit of help in diagnosis

Neil
 

ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I had a RITA with a JG on a Miller converted to 12 volt. That did not work very well. The RITA sucked up more electrons that the JG and Miller could make. So over to an Alton. Which was good during the day but after an hour or so night ride the turn signals wouldn't flash. So now an Alton and a BTH.
Steven
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
There is also the BTH magneto instead of coil about the same cost as Boyer
 

Robert Watson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
That's where I had mine until one day on a VERY hot day in Northern California the whole plot stopped charging......... Sitting out there in 100+ degrees trying to cool down and then get at the regulator only to discover a wire unplugged from the regulator convinced me in this case to take function over form and it is now mounted where it is all accessible!
 

BigEd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
That's where I had mine until one day on a VERY hot day in Northern California the whole plot stopped charging......... Sitting out there in 100+ degrees trying to cool down and then get at the regulator only to discover a wire unplugged from the regulator convinced me in this case to take function over form and it is now mounted where it is all accessible!
I am particularly interested to know where Robert has mounted his regulator. The Vincent twin doesn't have much spare space to fit accessories. (No space to spit through looks good.) Why am I particularly interested in a different location for my regulator? A salutary tale follows if you have time to read on.
I have the charging system using a 300+ Watt alternator and separate regulator that I bought from Timetraveller around 2009. It has been an excellent system supplying an abundance of power for over 40,00 miles. My regulator is mounted under the battery tray. It has three wires to spade connections.
I have just refitted the front and back ends of the bike back on to the engine unit after reassembling the engine. I told my wife I was going to go to the petrol station just a mile away for fuel. If it felt OK I would take it for a longer ride to a local bike meet to start bedding in the new pistons. It felt good going to the pumps, no pops, bangs or funny noises.:) Putting the bike on the stand at the pumps I noticed smoke issuing from the battery area. (Thinks to self: "This is not a good place to have a fire!") I quickly pushed the bike away from the pumps and began ripping wires away from the battery. No fire ensued and so erring on the side of caution I decided to push the Rapide back home, only a mile. Almost immediately somebody on a Harley who was on the way to the same bike meet stopped to ask if I was OK. I said I was OK and would get out another bike when I got home and go to the meet.. A little further down the road another guy on a Honda stopped to ask if I was OK. (Only a mile but I was getting less OK. ) He insisted on helping me push the bike home! You meet some great people on a motorcycle.
Moving swiftly on to the why did this happen .......... Back home after the bike meet, I started to check the wiring. No obvious short but what I did find was that there was no continuity in the earth wire to the regulator, still attached at both ends so an internal break. Checking in the fitting instructions there was a note to say that without the earth there is no regulation. I started the engine and sure enough there was 15+ Volts output from the alternator and 15+ Volts unregulated input to the field coils in the alternator rotor. The regulator was fried and so was the battery. Maybe it would be a good idea to make it easier to check the condition of the three wires to the regulator.
On a positive note, I already have a spare regulator bought several years ago. I have a battery on order arriving tomorrow and I took the bike out for a 15 mile run and it still feels good. On second thoughts, it is a Vincent and it actually feels great.:D Now where should I mount that regulator?
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
If there is an ammeter in the system that should have been showing that the system was charging flat out. When I first started supplying these systems the pins on the base of the regulator had a certain layout and it was possible to find three pin plugs which would fit over the spade terminals on the base of the regulator. This meant that it was easy to remove the wires and to ensure that they all went back onto their correct terminals. What appear to be the same regulators now have a different terminal layout on their bases so it is back to three individual connectors. I have had several enquiries over the years from people who have lost their original wiring diagrams and have struggled to replace the wires to the correct terminals. The system will not work without the wires being in their correct locations.
The last few kits I have supplied use a different alternator, a Nippon Denso rather than an Iskra. These can produce 40 amps rather than the 30 amps of the Iskra and have the regulator built in. The alternator also has a slightly smaller diameter than the earlier ones. It has proved to be necessary to modify some parts of the old kits to fit the new alternators and as one example one poor potential customer has been waiting for his kit for months. I have been waiting for over seven weeks for some minor parts to be made with a weekly promise that 'next week we will get on with them'. If you read this you know who you are so please accept my apologies for the long delay.
 

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
One issue is that many machines have very poor wiring, especially the connections. With modern day crimp connectors it is easy to do quick repairs, some of which are very weak (and look absolutely unsightly on the old bikes) This unfortunately is where most have problems ..........Also the importance of good earth points is critical, this was something very lacking on most all early machinery, the manufacturers struggled to come to grips with the importance of this as well. Because so many owners have equipped their bikes with all manner of electrical devices, the load on the electrical system is under much more strain. The need for proper connections is a must, and soldered joints give excellent results. Multi pin plugs are ok so long as the quality is good, it is not uncommon for the wires to separate from the pins when the plugs are separated, especially on small plugs where the male/female pins are very small.........You actually need a special crimping tool to do some of these plugs..........The wiring is probably one of the most neglected parts of old bikes.
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
A bit OT, but an earthing wire should be installed between the headlight shell and the UFM, so that the earth path is not through the steering head bearings.
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Interesting stuff.
Couple of pics here of the Lucas Rita under the front cowl.
The ignition’s fine, just need to address the charging. The Alton is around £420 so could manage that.
If it works well with the Rita then that would be good otherwise don’t mind changing it.
Pazon has mixed reviews and as mentioned, may not be worth the high price.
Don’t think there’s anything available from Boyer Bransden.
 

Attachments

greg brillus

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I make my own wiring looms and always run an earth wire from the frame/battery/headlight shell. I also run extra earth wires to the horn and magneto kill switch if it has one. I don't like relying on the handlebars for the earth, too many paint layers in the way. Taillight......... I generally dremel some of the paint away where the bolts pass through so as to make a good connection. The taillights cop a flogging when riding, you see how much it all bounces around when you follow someone.
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
I had a RITA with a JG on a Miller converted to 12 volt. That did not work very well. The RITA sucked up more electrons that the JG and Miller could make. So over to an Alton. Which was good during the day but after an hour or so night ride the turn signals wouldn't flash. So now an Alton and a BTH.
Steven
Yes, the turn signals I have fitted don’t always flash. Either just stay on or don’t flash at all.
Not sure though what the BTH is. Is it an electronic ignition?
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
On my own bike I use the original earthing point at the rear of the UFM and take one wire from battery negative, another from the headlamp earth and another from the alternator regulator, all to that one point. So the electrons have a choice of wires or frame parts to travel through. Others can tell you better than I what the BTH is but my understanding is that it is a generator with an electronic replacement for the contact breakers, which are used on both coil and magneto systems, plus external coils to give you the spark voltage.
 

ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Yes, the turn signals I have fitted don’t always flash. Either just stay on or don’t flash at all.
Not sure though what the BTH is. Is it an electronic ignition?
The BTH is the new electronic magneto. Actually it is an almost self contained CDI unit, the coils being mounted separately from the charging/triggering unit. It fits in the original magneto position and resembles a magneto. So now your ignition is entirely independent of the state of your charging system and/or battery. Just like it was when it left the factory.
https://www.bt-h.biz/fm2rv--flange-mounted-twin-cylinder-16-p.asp
https://vocspares.mamutweb.com/Shop/List/Ignition-equipment/37/1 PR22/bth/1 on the VOC spares web site.

Dead easy to install and setup. I took the RITA off the Shadow and packed it away, I'll keep as a back up. I found my BTH used on evil bay and took a chance. I'm seriously considering one for the Comet in the future, currently it has a Boyer, with the drawback being if the ignition being dependent on the state of the charging system and battery, though the Boyer uses less juice.
Steven
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
It fits in the original magneto position and resembles a magneto.
Ok thanks.
Where would the Alton generator go?
Just a little confused with magneto, dynamo....
I can see a black, round housing behind the rear cylinder that says 6 VOLT (R side)
and also an alloy housing behind the gearbox dipstick (L side).
Just wondering if that’s actually two units.
 

ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Nope, same unit. That is the dynamo, it generate the electricity that charges the battery that feeds the ignition circuit. The dynamo is cylindrical in shape and is clamped to the cases behind the rear cylinder. The housing behind the gearbox dip stick is where the dynamo enters the primary case to be driven from the primary chain as it passes over the clutch sprocket. The Alton would replace the dynamo.
Steven
 

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