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This description of my experience with a charger system failure on my 2015 R1200RT which I hope may in future be of help to others. (Anyone with an R LC 2014+ model and charging system problems could make use of this also.)

During this Covid epidemic my wife has not been keen on outings on the motorcycle. Quite rightly notes that any accident could be more of a problem due to limited hospital resources, which should be for others. Nonetheless, I on occasion go out on short outings alone.

My standard outing on the old highway to Cuernavaca last Wednesday is a lovely 100KM outing in the woods on a black asphalt road full of twisties. At specific times with next to no traffic at all. (Google maps can be very useful.)

Great outing, but close to entering the city again, the yellow battery warning on the dash lit up. Then it went off. Then it lit up again and did not go off. Then the red one lit up, just minutes away from home.

My first idea was the battery must be dead. Without any testing, after checking it was a little over two years old and actually a very cheap one, I called and a great supplier here brought a new one over and installed it free of charge right at my parking spot. US$80 all included.

The motorcycle tech guy checked for adequate charging with his multimeter. He showed and told me it looked like the motorcycle was not charging. I didn't really want to believe that, but a short test ride the next day proved him right: The yellow battery indicator lit up again, so I returned home promptly.

The Haynes manual suggested checking the charging system fuse: Under the driver's seat the two main fuses are in a small cylinder. You dislodge this from it's plastic holder rod. Open by dislodging the two clips each side with a small screwdriver. Check each fuse. Of course these are not for the charging system, but it's good to know where they are.

Under the seat, at the edge of the ECU, aluminum coloured box right there, but on the right hand side, a cable afixed there holds the charging system fuse. 50 amp it seems. You may need to remove the plastic belt there if it has never been touched. Dislodge the cable and remove the plastic cap. Then you can measure continuity with a multimeter.

I discovered on YouTube that my multimeter has a setting for continuity. It has a symbol for it. Go figure. Small triangle with a line going in. Like an arrow. Seems to be a symbol of a diode or something. You put the black probe on the COM side and the red one on the VOhm connector. Test for continuity at the fuse.


According to the Haynes manual, only reasonable manuals if you want to fix your motorbike, that's one thing to check. However in my case that was not the problem.

Now rather worried, because after reading up, I discovered the alternator is in an impossible place, way inside the engine and gearbox. I.E: Some people think you should get a new bike rather than have to fix that. Enterprising people say it is a very complicated and expensive thing to repair. Repair shops ask for home deeds and such before starting the repair.

So my search for answers on the Internet continued and gave fruit, using very adequate search words. (Can't remember what they were.)

So I found the bible for this problem, fruit of a very knowledgeable and kind British biker form the www.ukgser.com forum crowd:
https://www.ukgser.com/technical/ni...f charging system (R-series, '13 on) V1.0.pdf

This 13 page PDF file is the "Diagnosis and repair of charging system problems" bible, written by Nicholas Van den Berg with Andrew Hamer.

Brilliant and detailed and clear explanation of the whole charging system. Crystal clear images and procedures.

So basically you follow that guide. In short, you check the battery, check charging. If the battery isn't at fault, next thing is to get the major worry out of your mind: Check for continuity between the three yellow cables coming from the alternator into the regulator/rectifier under the seat and above the rear tire.

In my case for the RT it is quite a bother removing the regulator/rectifier. Very little space. Best thing would have been a small "T" shaped tool to remove the two screws. Removing the plastic belt holding the cables first is a good idea. Removing the sensor arm top bolt in front is necessary to take the regulator / rectifier out. Easier to remove the cables from it when it's outside. Push the pin in each to remove the socket. Then you're free to check the damn yellow wires for continuity.

If you don't find continuity between the three yellow cables going to the regulator rectifier, you're basically &/$""$%&()=??=)(/%$"!. So you can swear, cuss, cry and consider terminal options and such. Or you can breathe deeply and continue on with the other tests indicated, because it can still be a wiring problem... It seems.

If you find continuity among the three yellow cables as I did, you can be at peace with the world. Now you need to carefully do the tests on the regulator/rectifier. I made a little table and did all the multimeter measurements on a desk: Most were off range. Ordered the Regulator / Rectifier immediately.

It's a system and it works. You just have to read with care and follow indications.

Forget going to any garage or repair shop before doing these tests, unless you have a mechanic you would trust 100% on a trip to Hawaii all expenses paid alone with your wife for a month. (At least that's my philosophy, ever since some very professional garage "fixed" my front forks and they exploded in my face mid freeway due to excess oil.)

Now I'm waiting for the part and my bike is on hold until it arrives.

Will post results when that's done...

Dr. Rolando Montaño Fraire
Viajes en moto
www.rolandomontano.info
 

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Nice information and thank you for the link. It is something to download and put in the BMW GS Information Folder I keep.
 

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Been through this with our 2014 Blood Bike in the UK. Did the tests had found the pdf you showed. Its easier to get the rectifier off if you remove the rear mudguard. Anyway did the tests, ordered a new rectifier, only to find it didn't fix the problem. Had to have the Alternator replaced, cost around £2000 at a reduced rate. All good now, so hope the rectifier sorts yours out. The job was a lot harder as the garage had to replace loads of bolts that refused to come undone.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Been through this with our 2014 Blood Bike in the UK. Did the tests had found the pdf you showed. Its easier to get the rectifier off if you remove the rear mudguard. Anyway did the tests, ordered a new rectifier, only to find it didn't fix the problem. Had to have the Alternator replaced, cost around £2000 at a reduced rate. All good now, so hope the rectifier sorts yours out. The job was a lot harder as the garage had to replace loads of bolts that refused to come undone.
I do hope this is not my case... We'll see. Alternator cables showed continuity. Nothing to do but wait and see if the rectifier does the job. Thanks for your comment and experience.
 

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Good luck, but I had exactly the same experience, but the windings in the alternator were burnt, so they were working but not consistently, the dash readout was showing a charge, but at the battery there wasn't 14 volts. I have a new rectifier sitting in my garage which wasn't needed :)
 

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Well, the problem persists and it may be the alternator is bad. Replaced the regulator/rectifier. Dash showed healthy battery and for a while 14.1V charging. Then back to 12.1V and later the yellow battery indicator on again after a short ride to test this. There is continuity in the alternator cables, but will have to be diagnosed by someone more knowledgeable. I hope the alternator is not the culprit, but from what you tell me, it may be the case. Very expensive and complicated repair. We'll see. Thanks for your messages. Good day to all.
 

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This issues has happened to many 2014 RT's. It is the $1800 alternator. The motor needs to be pulled from the bike. This happened to my friends while he was traveling across Europe. You need a few specialty tools to get the motor apart.... so we pulled the motor from the bike and took it to the dealership and they put the new part in for $250ish dollars. It is a major PITA...
 

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Sorry to hear it wasn't the Rectifier. Like I said, our alternator replacement cost us £2k and that was with reduced labour rates as it was a Blood Bike. Did the clutch at the same time. When we did the maths, it was worth doing because the bike had only done around 48k miles, so lots of life left in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, it looks like this will be the case. A further test of the alternator with the engine running should offer a more definitive answer. Rather depressing. Bike has 80K KM so I figure it would also be worth the repair, but would take a lot of time and work. This is not something that could have happened due to use of the bike: It is like new in every respect. Never forced or misstreated. Occasionally it is hot here, so according to the document that could be the case, but a motorcicle this expensive should be able to withstand a few hot days. It does seem unfair, considering how perfectly cared for it is. Anyway...
 

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There have been a string of alternator failures of that era of bike. It is nasty and expensive. Your trouble shooting did not mention voltage while running at the battery terminals (should be 14.2 steady through all rpm range). Also yes continuity between alternator leads is good but you need to check continuity from a lead(s) to engine case. Generally if it has over heated and grounded a leg of the three phase alternator you will get a dead short to the bike from the alternator stator. One or all three will show continuity to ground. This can really heat up things and open up a wire. An expensive mess and even S bikes have this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There have been a string of alternator failures of that era of bike. It is nasty and expensive. Your trouble shooting did not mention voltage while running at the battery terminals (should be 14.2 steady through all rpm range). Also yes continuity between alternator leads is good but you need to check continuity from a lead(s) to engine case. Generally if it has over heated and grounded a leg of the three phase alternator you will get a dead short to the bike from the alternator stator. One or all three will show continuity to ground. This can really heat up things and open up a wire. An expensive mess and even S bikes have this problem.
To be clear: I must measure continuity from each of the three alternator wires at the wire harness connector in the regulator/rectifier to the engine case. There must NOT be continuity between any of the three alternator cables to the engine case (ground). ¿Is this correct?

There is NOT 14.2V at the battery. It reads 12.1V and then goes down as it is used. However, sometimes it goes up a bit and on occasion it shows 14.2V
 

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12.1 volts while the bike is running is an indication that one leg of the three phase alternator power is down. Just a clue to help. Now to determine if it is the regulator or alternator. If you unplug the alternator connector and put your meter on either ohms or continuity (if you show zero ohms this equals a positive for continuity) on continuity when you go between one wire in the connector and hold the other meter wire to the engine case (ground/earth) then the internals of the alternator, the stator, are now proven to be incontact with metal in alternator. Not good. Check all three legs because one leg may be isolated by having an internal wire melt and now open. Each part of diagnosing this needs to be added together. But it seems to me that your stater has failed and this is hinted at with the failure record of the 2014/15 bikes. BMW should step up and help you but I seriously doubt if they will now that the bike is 7 years old. This is going to end up with you paying a large bill to have a new alternator installed, sorry. But, it is what it is and just look ahead for more miles of fun on your bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As per your very kind help and indications, disconnected regulator-rectifier agan and tested each of the three cables coming from the stator to the engine case. All three are in short. It seems this is definite. Just ordered the part. Found a replacement one at a far better price. Should arrive next Friday. Will report on that here once I receive it. Have found a workshop that will do the work, because I really don't feel it is something I can do myself. There is the advantage of far lower labour costs here in Mexico and it is an experienced garage, currently with four BMW bikes in repair with the engines down. I hate it to be taken apart, but it cannot be avoided. Was hoping it would be years before anything like this was needed. But as you sugest, must look ahead to miles of fun once this is resolved, hoping the repair does not generate other problem, as has been my experience before. Thanks again for the help and comments. Happy riding.
 

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Please keep us advised. A riding pal had his S1000RR alternator fail and debated about using an aftermarket part. Some of the photos of the aftermarket part were indicating the coils were no where what the OEM parts was. I wish you well on this and am seriously interested in the outcome. Have your shop make sure no wiring is rubbing or contacting where it should not on the new part. Yes, shop time here is about 140$ per hour at a dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, will keep you posted as this moves forward. At the end I'm planning to do a recap and post that. Least one can do with all the help received.

Labour cost will be aproximately Mx$5,500 it seems. May be more, but that's the estimate. That's about US$270.

Part ordered was the following: Amazon.com: Stator for BMW Motorcycle R1200 GS | R1200 R | R1200 RS | R1200 RT 2012-2018 | OEM Repl.# 12318356824 12317724032 12318526908 12318556028: Automotive about US$290 with delivery.

Will probably not do anything to the clutch for now, since I've found out that can be done without removing the engine, so can wait and reduce the expense for now.
 

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Interesting article. Does not bode well. There is no way things are going to work out if they don't fit with minimal air gap. The S bike stater I have on hand that failed was burn to a crisp and so was the rotor. The rotor was blue as could be. I suspect the magnets in it were weak or trash. The kit comes with a new rotor when ordered from BMW. In exchange they get plenty of money.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This thread, this forum and your help continues to be of invaluable help.

I have read the indicated thread: It seems very clear the part is not correct for my R1200RT 2015.

I have cancelled the order with Amazon. Think it will not be a problem because it has not been sent and i asked to cancel only a few hours after ordering, thanks to your help.

The shop offered to rewind the original part here, so probably that is the route I will take. (US$1,250 for the part is not something I can afford. It basically renders the bike uneconomic.)

Thanks again for your invaluable help.
 

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Your rewind offer sounds like a good solution. I'm sure the shop that does that will inspect the old unit and find the problem, thus helping them do a good job. Glad you could cancel the mail order unit. These things have to be exactly right to work well and produce the original power output. wish the best, beech
 

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The shop offered to rewind the original part here, so probably that is the route I will take. (US$1,250 for the part is not something I can afford. It basically renders the bike uneconomic.)
Sure agree with Beech, the rewind seems the best path forward and I am sure hoping that will get you back on the road with good electrical power and still some money to buy a cold drink while on the road! 😊

Best of luck!

Larry
 
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