Electrical

KLR650 Charging System Is the KLR charging system adequate? The following are some observations I collected during a Happy Trails/Poncho Villa Copper Canyon tour in November, 2002.

I started the morning from Madera, Mexico. I was on ‘Trigger’ my 1994 KLR 650 with a stock charging system. I used my Garmin III+ GPS with voltage reading selected as an option. This voltage is read from an accessory outlet wired to the battery. The RPM range for cruising was 4500 to 5000 due to gearing being a 14 tooth on the countershaft sprocket (1 tooth down from the stock 15); I could attain all the voltage I needed at 6000 RPM. However this is not a desirable cruising RPM.

Headlight is stock wattage 55/60 watts with a cut-out switch wired into the low beam wire. Handlebars were equipped with aluminum hand guards with stock KLR wind deflectors trimmed to fit and Symtec heated grips. I used very light gel pad gloves because they allow for a great feel for the bike off road.

My jacket was a First Gear Trekker with the liner removed. I wore a pair of light-weight poly props top and bottom and a long sleeve T shirt. I used a Gerbing Jacket Liner with a Heat-troller temperature controller from Warm & Safe Products. On the bottom I wore First gear Voyager over-pants with jeans underneath. One nice thing about this combination was that I needed no rain gear since this First gear clothing is “Waterproof.” The Gerbing cut down on having to take bulky extra clothing.

After clearing the frost off of the bike, I started out with the Heat-troller set at the highest position, grips on high and headlight on high beam. At cruising RPM I was running at 11.6 volts. By flipping the light switch to low beam (the headlight is turned off) the voltage varied from 12.1 to 12.4 volts. After several miles I was plenty warm and dialed the Heat-troller to mid range. The voltage went as high as 13.5 so I opted to turn the headlight switch back to high beam (turning the headlight back on) and the voltage varied in the high 12s. At one point my hands started to get a slight chill, but it never became an issue. The Gerbing worked exceptionally well and the Heat-troller was priceless. I could go from squirming because of the heat to turning the Heat-troller all but off as the weather warmed.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Tim Bernard.


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