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Testing the Diode Board Bike Index Page

Description

The diode board is basically an assemblage of 11 separate diodes connected


together in one package. The main function of the board is to rectify the
alternating current produced by the alternator and turn it into direct current
that can be used to charge the battery and run the rest of the bikes electrical
system. It also has a secondary function, which is to supply, via a separate
set of three diodes, the field coil that provides the magnetic field, which is
used to generate the output from the alternator. In order to do this, the diodes
are arranged as shown below.

Each Diode is a 'non return valve' for electricity and so should pass current in
one direction but not the other .In order to test the diodes, you need some
form of continuity tester. This can either be a bought tester or a perfectly
satisfactory alternative can be made using a battery, a bulb, a couple of
crocodile clips and a few bits of wire arranged as shown below. Click here for
a note on analogue multimeters.
First remove all connections from the Diode Board. It is actually easier if you
remove the board from the bike. Now, referring to the diagram below:-

Connections:

1. B+ Positive line to battery - Thick Red or Black wire (T)


2. Not normally used
3. Thick Wire from alternator to diode board (1 of 3) (U)
4. Thick Wire from alternator to diode board (1 of 3) (V)
5. Thick Wire from alternator to diode board (1 of 3) (W)
6. Wire from D+ on voltage regulator (S)
7. Thin Wire from alternator to diode board (Y)

Procedure
1) Connect the negative clip (marked -) on the continuity tester to terminal
number 1 then connect the Positive clip (marked +) to each of terminals 3,4 &
5 in turn. In each case, the bulb should light (or the continuity tester should
indicate a circuit).

2) Swop the clips so that the positive clip is attached to terminal 1 and the
negative terminal connects to 3,4 & 5 in turn. Now the bulb should NOT light.
(The Continuity tester should not indicate a circuit).

3) If you examine terminals 1 & 2 you should find that they are firmly fixed to
one of the two metal frames of the diode board. Got to the other metal frame
and attach the positive clip to it. Now again attach the negative clip to each of
terminals 3,4 & 5 in turn. In each case the bulb should light (I'm going to
ignore the bit about the continuity tester from now on, I'm sure you get the
picture!)

4) Now attach the Negative clip to the same metal frame and attach the
positive clip to terminals 3,4 & 5 in turn. Now the bulb should NOT light.

The preceding four stages test the main rectifier diodes. If the results are not
as shown, this indicates that one of these diodes is dead. There's no point in
going any further, it's not practical to replace them so you might just as well
bite the bullet and order a new diode board. If you've got this far without
hitting the problem, then move on to the field diodes.

5) Attach the negative clip to terminal 6 on the diagram and once again
connect the positive clip to terminals 3,4 & 5 in turn. The bulb should light.

6) Now put the positive clip onto terminal 6 and the negative clip to 3,4 & 5 in
turn. The bulb should NOT light.

That deals with the three field diodes. This just leaves the last two diodes
which connect the centre of the 'star wound' alternator into the circuit.

7) Finally connect the positive clip to terminal 7 and the negative to terminal 1.
The bulb should light. Now move the negative clip to the same metal frame as
mentioned above. The bulb should not light.

8) connect the negative clip to terminal 7 and the positive clip to terminal 1.
The bulb should not light. Move the positive clip to the metal frame and the
bulb should light.

This completes the diode tests.

It is possible to replace one of the small diodes if you're handy with a


soldering iron, and it is certainly a lot cheaper than replacing the diode board.
I'd suggest a diode rated at least 4 amps at 100 volts for the job. I have done
this. It lasted for at least 20,000 miles and was still going strong when I got rid
of the bike. The only thing you have to do is make sure that you put it in the
right way round.
R. Frankham Bike Index Page

25/11/2000 (Modified to HTML 15/1/03)