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LED's - Headlight & Other Bulbs / Regulator-Rectifier affects [INFO]

This area is for sharing Maintenance Procedures & Information related to the Yamaha Virago Electrical System.

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What Virago you Own: 1996 Virago Special XV1100SH
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"

LED's - Headlight & Other Bulbs / Regulator-Rectifier affects [INFO]

Post by ViragoJoe » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:17 am

Like most, I too, love the Brightness of LED's. But, at what cost?! Not talking about the cost of the bulbs themselves. The cost of replacing Regulator/Rectifiers and the work associated to replace them.

I was under the impression (like other folks) that I was doing my electrical system a favor by lowering the power consumption of my Virago's electrical system. After doing several deep dives into the Internet. I have been doing a disservice to my electrical system and wondering why, I've replaced a couple Regulator/Rectifiers along the way. A real PITA!

Here is what I have found:

"It's normal for an OEM shunt-type regulator/rectifier (RR) to get quite hotespecially when the load being drawn by the electrical system is "low". The RR is simply converting excess stator output wattage (that isn't needed to run the bike and charge the battery) to heat. That's why there are cooling fins on most RR's."

Depending on the location of the regulator rectifier, the part can easily overheat. ... Ground connections are important for good voltage, and if there is faulty voltage, the regulator rectifier can run hot. Bad grounding, corroded battery connection and poor or loose battery connections will cause faulty voltage. To help assist in eliminating faulty voltage. Run a ground wire from one of your Reg/Rec mounting screws directly to the Negative Battery Terminal.

With the use of LED lighting it provides more unused energy created by the Stator that must now be gotten rid of. As the Regulator side of the Regulator/Rectifier Shunts the excess wattage energy to ground causes the Reg/Rec Thermal Temperature to rise. Reaching temps to 200° ~ 250°F that can really burn you. The internal components fry.

The halogen headlight burns off some of the current and it won't need to be sent to the Reg/Rec to get rid of it. So, the Reg/Rec doesn't have to work as hard for the Headlight and other incandescent bulb are burning off that extra energy produced by the Stator. At lower RPM 's the Stator isn't producing the full 40 volts. So, lets say we turn off the Headlight and remove other light bulbs. When we get to 3,000 - 4,000 RPM's the Stator is at full capacity and driving 40 volts to the Reg/Rec. The Reg/Rec doesn't have the assistance from the Headlight and the other bulbs to help burn off the current. So, it has to now dump almost all the Stators Voltage to ground causing the heat factor to increase at the Reg/Rec to the point of thermal failure of the Reg/Rec components. What's worse, It seems all motorcycle manufacturers place them always near a heat source. Our exhaust systems are right there near the R/R. The exhaust plenum mixing chamber is right there near the left passenger foot peg. Plus the larger Virago Reg/Rec's don't have cooling fins. In addition, located in a place with minimal air flow to help cool them, sitting behind the left passenger foot peg bracket. I believe the Yamaha Electrical Engineers felt that the foot peg bracket would be sufficient to absorb the heat transfer. Bad idea.

That's why in 1997 they developed this superseded Reg/Rec at the tune of $334.95 with a newly added Ground Wire:
Click Images to Enlarge
Air flow is still an issue in that area.

So, think twice about going with a lot of LED bulbs! I've gone back to incandescent bulbs, I'm sorry to say!
Really miss that Bright Headlight on those lonely dark roads with deer about.
1996 XV1100SH Virago Special
"Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!!"

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