Author Topic: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?  (Read 2015 times)

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Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« on: April 11, 2020, 09:03:17 PM »
Bike is a 2000 Quota 1100 ES, with stock Ducati Energia regulator.

I had noticed my low beam head light was out.  Put a new one in, then days later noticed it was out again. 

So I connected my voltmeter to the low beam + - wires, turned on key, and it was around 12 volts.  Then I started the bike, and geez, it climbed and climbed to over 17v and I turned the bike off. 

So then I connected the voltmeter to the battery + -, bike off was 12.7v.  Started bike and it went up and up and up and again I turned the bike off as it was hitting 17v. 

So I did a lot of searching and reading.  Found this excellent diagram: https://postimg.cc/GHtvzQtp and lots of references to bad ground connections.  So I unbolted the regulator, everything was clean and tight, but I sand papered stuff, put di-electric grease on ground connection, and ran a new clean and greased ground wire from the regulator to an engine bolt. 

I also checked the headlight relay ... just visual ... it was clean, no corrosion, no visual issues, added a little grease on the connectors anyway.

Back to battery charging test and a bit different.  At idle it would read around 14v, but if I took the rpms to 3000 or so it was up at 16-17v so I turned it off again.  Before even at idle it went up into the high 16s. 

That diagram talks about testing the black wire on the regulator ... so I attached my voltmeter to do that test, this is (as I understand it) testing the reference voltage the regulator is seeing (what it thinks the battery voltage is).  Started the bike again, and seemed bizarre to me, this was reading around 11.8v.  Idle or 3000 rpms, stayed around 11.8v.

I tried this with the headlight on high beam (which was connected and working) and on low beam (which at that time was not connected at all) and no real change (voltage was bouncing around 11.8v, sometimes 11.6v sometimes 12.0v, but mostly 11.8v).

So not understanding all this exactly ... is the regulator OK?  If it thinks the battery is at ~11.8v, then it thinks it should charge that battery up! 

So is my issue with the input to the regulator (via that black wire)? 

Is there some test between the battery and headlight relay, and between the headlight relay and the regulator that I could do to check that out.  Visually it is all good (clean tight connectors, no signs of over heating, wiring good no exposed or rubbed wires). 

Guess I was expecting to see that same voltage on that black input to the regulator as I saw at the battery ... like it would start at high 12's and go up to 17, but instead, it was pretty steady around that 11.8v number. 

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Offline Guzikid

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2020, 10:24:01 PM »
  How old is the battery? To make sure the battery is good you'd probably need it tested with a special tester we use at the shop. If it checks out ok, and all connections are good and tight, I'd really suspect a bad regulator.  I believe, with battery connected in the bike and your volt meter set to DC volts, you should see in the upper 12's at idle and in the low 14's at 2500-3000 rpms across the battery terminals for the charging system to be working correctly.  The Kid

Offline Murray

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2020, 10:45:05 PM »
The ducati system uses the mounting bolts of the regulator to provide the earth refereance for charging and provide the current draw for the charging system. So I suggest as a starting point to give the bolts and thier mounting points a meeting with a wire brush and maybe where the bolts sit into the regulator with some wet and dry or similar product.

Do not use WD40 or similar as a final assembly agent as it leaves a coating that insulates, if you want to use it as a rust cleaning agent go ahead just make sure its gone before final assembly.

From memory the system doesn't charge at idle you should see a step in voltage at about 1300 rpm as rpm climbs the system should hit 14.5 volts +-0.1 volt and then hold that through to redline, can for the life of me remeber when it hits this number 4000rpm maybe numbers measure at the battery. Also check the yellow connectors from the actual generator clean tigh free of corrsion. The Gen should produce with no load  70? volts AC @ 5000rpm. Might be worth googling Ducati 900ss monsters mid to late 90's all used the same system.

The other things that can provide scources of wierdness are the relay sockets filling up with road grime and the main earth lead of the battery where it joins onto the frame.

Having said that you regulator may be toast and it will most likely be the regulator however the above are simple easy and cheap (guzzi content) to check and will bring the charging system to a grinding halt.

It might be worth chasing the feed line through the battery I found a sheared off/corroded pin in one the molex connectors on my 1100 sport quiet a while ago although by the time the quota 1100 came around I think Guzzi had finally stopped using the stupid things.

Online Kiwi_Roy

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2020, 11:10:59 PM »
The black wire at the regulator is normally about 0.6 Volts lower than the battery, this is the Voltage drop across the headlight relay.
What you are seeing is what destroys the regulators, too much Voltage drop, it causes the regulator to overcharge until it melts the leads off the internal diodes.
Do you have after market headlight relays, I am trying to understand why the headlight is blowing.
Perhaps it's time to change to a direct connect regulator, they measure the voltage at the battery terminals instead of downstream of the relay.
The black wire from the case to battery negative is far too small, I always recommend an extra ground wire from the regulator case to a timing cover bolt.
Actually your bike is even worse the Voltage reference is taken downstream of not one but two relays The Start relay and the Headlight relay try wiggling them in their sockets and see if it improves
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/schematics/2000_Quota_1100_ES.gif
Look at the red/black wire to the regulator.

Here is a diagram of the regulator. Click on it to zoom in.
NB, I may have drawn the Zenner diodes backwards Z1 conducts with the left hand end 7 Volts more positive than the right hand end, part numbers were illegible.
The Voltage chart in Red was drawn with bench power supply connected from Black wire to chassis.
If you have any comments please send me a PM rather than discussing it here -  Roy


And here is a sketch comparing a direct connect fitted to later bikes. There are some good 3rd party ones available.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 05:47:20 AM by Kiwi_Roy »
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2020, 11:10:59 PM »

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2020, 11:18:10 PM »
Battery is fairly new, like 2-3 months.  Not sure how long this has been going on, maybe the over charging killed the previous battery.

As for the regulator and connections ... on the Quota there is a ground wire to one of the mounting bolts ... it goes into the OEM wiring harness so it isn't something a previous owner added.  I did sand paper the regulator mounting points, and applied di-electric grease ... and added a new clean ground from the regulator to an engine bolt (with di-electric grease) ... so the regulator should be nicely grounded. 

The relays are all sparkly clean and new looking, no road grim, clean as can be there, looks like a new bike in that area. 
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2020, 11:25:06 PM »
Dielectric grease is not proper for that application.. right Wayne?
dielectric grease is for. It is NOT a electrical conductor. It used to shield metal parts from corrosion - however, if you have strong metal to metal contact, use can still use it on the connectors. If you have a weak or not very strong metal to metal contact - then this grease will inhibit electric current.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2020, 11:28:49 PM by fotoguzzi »
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2020, 11:26:17 PM »

Do you have after market headlight relays, I am trying to understand why the headlight is blowing.
Perhaps it's time to change to a direct connect regulator, they measure the voltage at the battery terminals instead of downstream of the relay.
The black wire from the case to battery negative is far too small, I always recommend an extra ground wire from the regulator case to a timing cover bolt.


I'm not sure if the relays are OEM or not, any easy way to check? 

To change to direct connect, can I do that with the same regulator (just rewire it properly)?  Or do I need to buy a new/different regulator to do that?

And the test I did at the wires that connect to the low beam headlight bulb ... they tracked exactly the same as the over charging at the battery.  That big increase from 12v up to 17v.  Should that have blown a fuse vs. going up to 17v? 

I guess I could disconnect the hi beam and check to see if those wires do that same 12v->17v increase when running. 

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 11:37:44 PM »
Dielectric grease is not proper for that application.. right Wayne?
dielectric grease is for. It is NOT a electrical conductor. It used to shield metal parts from corrosion - however, if you have strong metal to metal contact, use can still use it on the connectors. If you have a weak or not very strong metal to metal contact - then this grease will inhibit electric current.

Wow I've been dumb!   :grin:   I've been putting that on battery terminals and electrical connectors thinking it helped protect and conduct. 

All the contact points are super shinny and sand papered, but I'll clean that grease off tomorrow. 
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2020, 11:51:07 PM »
You cannot use the Ducati Energia as direct connect because the reference pulls too much current (~15mA) and will flatten the battery although its a get you home trick I have used a couple of times.
The black wire in the loom is too small, it has to carry 30 Amps if the regulators not grounded, I advocate a short wire from the regulator case to a timing cover bolt.
Make sure your main ground is well connected to a gearbox bolt.
Vaseline is Gods gift to electrical connections.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 05:48:56 AM by Kiwi_Roy »
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Offline Murray

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2020, 11:55:24 PM »

Vaseline is Gods gift to electrical connections.

Tends to melt in high tempretures.

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2020, 12:34:13 AM »

The black wire in the loom is too small, it has to carry 30 Amps if the regulators not grounded, I advocate a short wire from the regulator case to a timing cover bolt.
Make sure your main ground is well connected to a gearbox bolt.

Yup, added the regulator case ground today.  Already had the main ground to gearbox bolt (thanks to a previous owner).

So at this point, are my options:
1. Buy a new replacement Ducati regulator and hope/assume that will make things charge properly
or
2. Buy a different regulator and do the direct connect option

And if I go option #2, is the Shindengen FH020AA a good one to get for direct connect? 

I still feel like I have a bit of a mystery going on with that reference voltage coming into the regulator.  I understand the ~0.6v difference there vs. measuring at the battery terminals, makes sense.

But, if the battery terminal voltage (when running) is 14v, why is that reference input still ~11.8v? 
Seems like I should see:
Battery    Ref Volts at Reg
12.7            12.1 ish
13.5            12.9 ish
14.0            13.4 ish
14.5            13.9 ish
15               14.4 ish

And at some point the regulator should reduce the charging going to the battery. 

What could be capping or limiting that reference voltage at ~11.8v when the battery measurement is like 14v-17v?

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Online Kiwi_Roy

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2020, 01:06:04 AM »
The problem is right there, the headlight circuit carries quite a high current and the resistance between battery and the reference point is not stable, theres a dirty joint or something so the battery is going up and down to compensate.
The regulator is trying to hold it's black wire steady, it doesn't care about the battery, that's the problem with this scheme.
I would try swapping out the Start relay and the headlight relay to see if that made it better, the Start relay Normally Closed contact is weaker than a normally Open one

I will take a look at the Shindengen (Japanese) FH020AA there are a lot of cheap Chinese knock offs on the internet.
I suggest you view this guys video on how to spot a genuine one https://www.roadstercycle.com
Actually the FH020AA is a shunt regulator (shorts out the alternator)
The Ducati Energia is a series regulator (open circuits the alternator)
I sent you a PM with a different idea
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 01:21:59 AM by Kiwi_Roy »
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Offline Brian UK

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2020, 02:06:53 AM »
If the reference voltage to the regulator is low because of a high resistance connection somewhere, then no regulator in the world can work properly.

Think about it. The regulator uses that reference voltage and only reduces the alternator output when it sees that reference getting up to 14v. In your case it's never getting there, so the regulator keeps the alternator at full output.
I would remove that reference wire and replace with a new one directly from the ignition switch (the switched side). Having it also connected to other circuits which load the voltage is never a good plan.
Brian.

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2020, 05:35:20 AM »
If the reference voltage to the regulator is low because of a high resistance connection somewhere, then no regulator in the world can work properly.

Think about it. The regulator uses that reference voltage and only reduces the alternator output when it sees that reference getting up to 14v. In your case it's never getting there, so the regulator keeps the alternator at full output.
I would remove that reference wire and replace with a new one directly from the ignition switch (the switched side). Having it also connected to other circuits which load the voltage is never a good plan.
Thats exactly what I was trying to say, Brian nailed it.
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/schematics/2000_Quota_1100_ES.gif The quota has the headlight fed through two relays in series.
Fuse 4 - Start relay (19) NC - Headlight relay (29) NO then the red/black wire goes all over the place. It's actually taped into the wire that goes from headlight relay to the connector (14) up front. if you change the headlight at all or even apply the brake it effects the battery Voltage. I have often pointed out if the Tach starts playing up chances are you not charging.
I'm not a big fan of tapping into the ignition switch either as that changes with age also. Perhaps a temporary wire from fuse 5 or 6 to a female bullet connector and plug the black wire into that leaving the other pin (charge light) also connected. I have done this a couple of times on the road when the system stopped charging.
 
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 06:31:43 AM by Kiwi_Roy »
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2020, 08:11:32 AM »
The black wire at the regulator is normally about 0.6 Volts lower than the battery, this is the Voltage drop across the headlight relay.
What you are seeing is what destroys the regulators, too much Voltage drop, it causes the regulator to overcharge until it melts the leads off the internal diodes.
Do you have after market headlight relays, I am trying to understand why the headlight is blowing.
Perhaps it's time to change to a direct connect regulator, they measure the voltage at the battery terminals instead of downstream of the relay.
The black wire from the case to battery negative is far too small, I always recommend an extra ground wire from the regulator case to a timing cover bolt.
Actually your bike is even worse the Voltage reference is taken downstream of not one but two relays The Start relay and the Headlight relay try wiggling them in their sockets and see if it improves
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/schematics/2000_Quota_1100_ES.gif
Look at the red/black wire to the regulator.

Here is a diagram of the regulator. Click on it to zoom in.

And here is a sketch comparing a direct connect fitted to later bikes. There are some good 3rd party ones available.


Thanks for that. Saved in my "Roy's Guzzi Stuff" file. :smiley:
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2020, 09:53:56 AM »
I'm sure I am repeating what has been said.

1. That regulator uses a reference/sense wire usually from the headlight. Low reference voltage, high battery voltage.
2. There used to be some after market regulators that sensed from the large BATTERY wire, eliminating that issue somewhat. I have not looked into though for a long while.
3. 17 volts will cook a lead acid battery pretty fast. If it is a water cell battery, simply top off the water. AGM or sealed, may be damaged.
4. ADD A VOLTMETER TO THE DASH. A simple LED type meter can catch problems early.
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Offline Guzzidad

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2020, 06:17:31 PM »
    Unplug your headlight bulb and see if regulation returns to normal. That's what happened to my bike. The bulb was causing a 2V drop. I now power a $6 relay from Autozone with the headlight wire and ran a separate line from the battery to the contacts of the relay. Been running it like that for several years now. The relay fits inside the headlight bucket, and, the headlight is brighter.

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2020, 07:23:57 PM »
    Unplug your headlight bulb and see if regulation returns to normal. That's what happened to my bike. The bulb was causing a 2V drop. I now power a $6 relay from Autozone with the headlight wire and ran a separate line from the battery to the contacts of the relay. Been running it like that for several years now. The relay fits inside the headlight bucket, and, the headlight is brighter.

Hum, I had the low beam unplugged and the high beam plugged and switching between low and high didn't make any difference.  But I did not try also unplugging the high.  But seems like if I had switched to low beam that took the high beam out of the picture?  I could try it with the high beam also unplugged and see. 
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2020, 07:34:28 PM »
Without the bike running turn on the key and measure the Voltage between Battery + and the Voltage reference socket.
So the key is On, headlight is On and you are looking for a Voltage of around 0.5 to 0.7 Volts, note this down.

Then, Wiggle the first two relays in their sockets, note the Voltage.
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2020, 01:01:33 AM »
Without the bike running turn on the key and measure the Voltage between Battery + and the Voltage reference socket.
So the key is On, headlight is On and you are looking for a Voltage of around 0.5 to 0.7 Volts, note this down.

Then, Wiggle the first two relays in their sockets, note the Voltage.

Sounds good, will do on Monday. 
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2020, 02:18:33 PM »
OK, strange numbers, not sure I did this right.

On the regulator, the black wire is the reference voltage "in" (my term).  I disconnected that plug (2 prong plug, black and white wires on regulator), and put my black wire from my meter into the plug that goes back into the wiring harness (red wire, matches to black wire on regulator), leaving the black wire going into the regulator just hanging unplugged.

Then connected my red meter wire to the + terminal of the battery.

Key off, v=12.5.  Key on (with high beam light on), and the v=261.  Yes, two hundred and sixy one.  Key off, volts back to 12.5.

While key on, I wiggled all the relays around in their sockets and no change to that 261v reading. 

Then to double check previous work ...
- connected meter black wire to reference voltage "in" wire (from wiring harness)
- connected meter red wire to reference voltage black wire going to regulator (so meter is in-line on the reference voltage line)
- key on, headlight on, bike not running, v=11.8.
- start bike, volts drop to 11.6
- rev bike up and down, volts pretty steady at 11.6
Question - could my meter being in-line like this be messing up this voltage?

then ...
- hooked regulator back up as normal
- took wires off high beam light and connect meter, so will check voltage at high beam light
- turn on key, meter reads (shoot, didn't write that down, 12.something, normal)
- start bike, v goes to 14-14.5 at idle, gentle rev it to maybe 2,500 rpm and hold it there, v go to 15.5, 16, 16.5, basically overcharging, and it climbs and climbs while at steady rpms.

- so headlight wires follow the over charging that the battery terminals show
- but the reference voltage into the regulator always reads 11.6-11.8v and does not mimic what is at the battery or head light bulbs

I've ordered new relays from Dan (dpguzzi), not sure if that will do anything.

Also, from looking at the wiring harness, there is no evidence of modifications, wires go into the loom, come out later, loom looks fine, no rub marks or odd kinks.  I have not pulled all the relay wires, things pretty tight there, no lose wires, nothing cut/crimped/added.

Only electrical mod is extra ground wire on - battery terminal to transmission case. And then the extra ground I added directly from the regulator to an engine bolt.

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Offline moto-uno

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2020, 02:51:49 PM »
  Are the voltage regulators that expensive or hard to come by ?   Peter

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2020, 04:41:40 PM »
On the regulator, the black wire is the reference voltage "in" (my term).  I disconnected that plug (2 prong plug, black and white wires on regulator), and put my black wire from my meter into the plug that goes back into the wiring harness (red wire, matches to black wire on regulator), leaving the black wire going into the regulator just hanging unplugged.

Then connected my red meter wire to the + terminal of the battery.

Key off, v=12.5.  Key on (with high beam light on), and the v=261.  Yes, two hundred and sixy one.  Key off, volts back to 12.5.


Sounds like an auto ranging voltmeter, and it is displaying 261 MILLI volts. As in .261 volts. As in about 1/4 volt.
Probably a pretty normal voltage drop.

It is an odd failure mode for that regular to internally fail in constant overcharge, but I think that is what you have.
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2020, 06:01:20 PM »
I'm still thinking it is not the regulator.

My understanding, the regulator gets a voltage (reference voltage), then based on that, it "sends out" the right amount of electricity to charge the battery. 

So if that reference voltage is say 14.5v, then the regulator would not "send out" as much.  If that reference voltage was 11.6 then the regulator would "send out" more. 

My reference voltage is 11.6-11.8, so based on that I would expect a regulator to charge the battery ("send out" a lot).  And I'm seeing that at the battery ... volts go up and up and up ... but that reference voltage coming back into the regulator stays at that 11.6-11.8 low range.

If that reference voltage went up to 14.5v and the regulator was trying to charge at 16v, then yes, toss the regulator. 

The relays are in that "battery to regulator" reference voltage path ... so one theory is the relays are doing goofy things and new relays will fix this.  And relays are cheap.   :grin:   And even if that doesn't fix it, I don't feel bad spending ~$25 to replace old so-so design relays with new better designed ones. 

Here are the relays I ordered:  http://dpguzzi.com/relay.htm

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2020, 06:05:56 PM »
Sounds like an auto ranging voltmeter, and it is displaying 261 MILLI volts. As in .261 volts. As in about 1/4 volt.
Probably a pretty normal voltage drop.

It is an odd failure mode for that regular to internally fail in constant overcharge, but I think that is what you have.

Ok, I will check that again and see.  I don't think my multimeter auto changes the units like that ... as I'm seeing 12.5v then turn key on and the same display shows 261.0.  But that makes A LOT more sense than 261 volts!   :grin:

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2020, 06:13:27 PM »
  Are the voltage regulators that expensive or hard to come by ?   Peter

An exact replacement is ~$155 from MGCycles and in stock.  But you can't return them.  So I want to sort out this input reference voltage first. 

Also, from my searches, seems like a lot of people dislike the originals (Ducati Energia) and opt to put on a different one.  But then you gotta rig up the mount properly and do some work on wiring connectors and all that.  Personally, I'd rather stick with the one that will bolt directly into the existing mounting holes and has the exact same electrical connections.  Lazy mechanic.  :grin:

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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2020, 06:20:27 PM »
Hum, had a thought, is an OEM properly working regulator designed to max out at say 14.5 volts?

So even with my "bad" 11.6-11.8 reference voltage (which is a big lie) a new regulator would not put out more than it's designed max (like 14.5)?

That could get me going again ... but again, my understanding is a regulator takes some breaks  :grin: ... meaning, at some point, the reference voltage is "good enough" and the regulator stops charging the battery.  And then when the battery needs a bit more, the regulator gives it a bit more.

Seems the way my bike is now a new regulator would be running at it's max all the time, thinking the voltage is 11.6-11.8 and so then charging at it max (like 14.5) all the time. 

Maybe that isn't so horrible? 
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Re: Quota over charging, regulator bad or something else?
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2020, 05:51:30 AM »
Tends to melt in high tempretures.
Electricians have been using it on electrical contacts since Adam was a cowboy.
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