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Old Apr 24th 2019, 03:55 PM   #1
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I Ride: 1993 Ducati 900 Superlight
Question Intermittent Battery Light

Recently the battery light on my 1993 900 Superlight has been coming on intermittently while riding. It will stay on for maybe 15 minutes; then go off & not come on again for an hour. Admittedly, diagnosing electrical issues is not my strong suit.

So I proceeded to cleaning the battery terminals & all connectors to the terminals, I checked/cleaned the battery ground. Next I traced the various wires from the alternator & the regulator/rectifier & cleaned all of the connectors. At this point there was no obvious problems.

So I verified the battery voltage after a few hours off of the charger. Good. Next I noted the voltage at the battery at idle, as well as at 3,000 rpms (& above). Voltage increased from about 13.5V to 15.5V. This suggests that the alternator is doing it's job. (However, I might mention that during this test the battery idiot light was not on).

Finally, I decided to see if any of my work resolved the issue of the battery idiot light intermittently turning on while riding. After 3 miles into the ride, the light came on & remained on for 15 miles. Then it switched off for the next 35 miles. When I got home (the light was still off), I checked the voltage at the battery which was 13.25V.

So, I am perplexed. Is there an intermittent problem somewhere in the alternator or the regulator/rectifier? A bad connection or short to ground? A faulty battery idiot light? Any ideas would be appreciated. Oh, the only thing I forgot to check was duc96cr's suggestion to check the wire from the positive terminal of the battery & the solenoid. I'll do that tomorrow. Thank you!!!!
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Old Apr 24th 2019, 11:00 PM   #2
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15.5v is pushing the boundaries a fair bit for the high end limits.
Normal max should be in the mid 14v for most bikes.
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 05:10 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by 990Glen View Post
15.5v is pushing the boundaries a fair bit for the high end limits.
Normal max should be in the mid 14v for most bikes.
Does that suggest a faulty regulator? And if so, would the excessive voltage to the battery cause the battery idiot light to come on?
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 03:26 PM   #4
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Well, it appears that I have stumbled on the cause of the intermittent battery light issue. By rechecking the voltage output at the battery, the output was as follows: 12.5V @ 1,100 rpms, 15.8V @ 3,000 rpms & 16.0V @ 4,000 rpms. These seems to be way excessive. And, finally, when I removed the headlight for easier access to the regulator/rectifier wiring, I discovered that the plastic electrical connector to the headlight was partially melted. So, unless I have missed another contributing factor, the problem appears to be a faulty regulator/rectifier. Does this sound correct?
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Old Apr 25th 2019, 11:32 PM   #5
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It looks that way.
Perhaps a better place to ask the question before you start spending would be
a classic bike forum. There will be a lot more experience of this sort of thing there
compared to what is essentially a modern sports bike site.
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Old Apr 26th 2019, 06:43 AM   #6
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I Ride: 1993 Ducati 900 Superlight
990Glen: Good point. Thank you for the suggestion.

Thinking ahead...since my regulator/rectifier will likely need to be replaced, I would appreciate any recommendations on a new unit. It seems like there are 2 aftermarket options: the Electrex RR51 or the ElectroSport ESR510s or the ESR515. Thank you for your help.

Last edited by kitjv; Apr 26th 2019 at 06:57 AM.
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