Does anyone have experience with the "Sparx" 3 phase alternator setup? It comes with new rotor, stator, and a electronic unit similar to the Tympanium. I'm replacing my rotor on my '72, since it isn't the welded type. I was planning on a welded type Lucas rotor and RM23 Lucas stator as an upgrade, and get rid of the zenor and rectifier. I have that setup on my MKIII, along with a Tympanium, and have never had any charging issues. I try to use my headlamp during the day, since that is the law in the area I live in. Would a three phase make that much difference? Is the rotor with the Sparx kit a welded type? I know that Jim Noll's British Bike Connection sells these, so they must be a good product, but I wonder about the rotor quality. Could one of you engineering types explain the basic operation of three phase?
#1. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 0
While not rocket science, 3 phase can be tough for some to wrap their head around, and describing the complete operation is full of physics and trigonometry jargon. try this...
The lucas alternators units are connected in the Y configuration, and have a 6 diode rectifier like in your cars alternator......or triggered scr's to function as the aftermarket rectifier/regulators to do the converting to DC and regulation.
If that's wetted your appetite, we can speculate on the source impedance and it's affect on output load capability. I have wrapped my own alternator coils with different turns and wire sizes to test my theory on this. I hope one day to finish my "spin machine" so I can test them as well as the gauss of the rotors....
Hope the rotor fits on your crank OK.....!
#2. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for the info; after going to that site, I guess I'll just go with the idea of "it's better". Maybe that's why I studied accounting, our answer would be "do you want the three phase to be better?". You bring up another good point on the fit of the rotor. These are the things I would like to know before I part with the $$$. I remember an ARD CDI magneto reviewed in the Norton News that would not fit correctly on the camshaft taper. While I respect and appreciate anybody who attempts to make any of these products, I've gotten a wide variety of quality.
#3. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 2
I have bought two of the sparks kits and both of them I had to bore the rotor to fit the crank( glad I have a lathe ). In all fairness I have sense talked to the supplier and was assured that this was now fixed. I have one of the bikes running with it and have great lights and a well charged battery even though we are a headlight state.I would recomend it as a good bargin.
#4. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 2
I installed the Sparks system on one of my Commandos and was happy enough with it that I installed another on a second bike. The instructions are a bit sparse and the rotor fit so tight that I couldn't get it on my crankshaft until I ran a hone through it. The regulator/rectifier has 5 wires (3 Alt,1 Pos,1 Neg).You use the 4 wires that go to your stock rectifier and run 1 new wire to the 3 wire stator. I made an angle bracket and mounted the regulator to the shock bolt with the regulator positioned lying flat under my seat. Make sure you have a new (soft) primary case gromet. It makes it a lot easier. I also installed a 14 Amp battery from a Yamaha FJ1100. The base dimensions are about the same and the battery is only about 3/4 inch taller. Then I added a Hella halogen headlight. (Wow! So this is what these roads look like at night). The high beam is incredible compared to what I've had for the last 24 years. And its nice to actually charge your battery as you drive. They claim that it puts out enough juice to run hand warmers if you wanted to. Overall installation was easy. Reliability is good so far. Only time will tell. $225 for the three pieces seemed pretty good.
#5. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 1
Another worry I have about these high output alternators is the small guage wires in the original wiring harness. Having more current available means owners will add more load such as a high output halogen headlight. I didn't have much trouble 15 years ago adding the Lucas three phase 180watt alternator and a 55/65 watt halogen. However SPARX has a 220 watt system and if adding a 100 watt halogen, it might be a little different.
#6. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 5
I've never seen any advice on what wire to use, but all my bikes are currently running home brewed wiring harnesses. I use 14 gauge in all of them, and solder all bullets, spades, etc. A number of friends have plugged a new Boyer, or whatever into a nasty old oily harness, and when the results aren't that good, they complain about the "crappy Lucas electrics". If I wanted reliabilty, a nasty old harness would be the first thing to go.
#7. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 5
Try this for wire + load ratings
My view is that hind sight engineering is fine, but flawed. The lucas systems were cheap and functional. The components were cheap in England and I suppose they were meant to be changed as necessary as they wore out, and were not meant to last a life time. But all layers of the distribution system into and throughout the US has raised the price of a $2 switch to $35, and then lack of "value" for the money leave them viewed as cheap/junk ....
As the demands of the owners on the electrical sysem outgrew its original design parameters the lack of the system to run a halogen in continuous daytime use leaves the battery flat, and the enery hungry boyer(with hot rod coils)/ritas don't help.
Heck the original early systems were without regulation and like in my early atlas, the head light on switch, also kicked in the extra alternator coils!!! Source power design = expected demand load
Now who's the dummy if you change the equation....? engineers of 35 years ago?
The stock battery alone is capable of burning up the harness, irregardless of either 120W, 180W or sparx 220W alternator. The battery can provide way more than 220W(at least for a while). That is why you have a fuse, which should be only 12-15 amps max slow blow US rating. As long as it is voltage regulated the extra capacity of the charging source is of no concern.
Someone might put a 100W halogen and consider it an "upgrade" and others might think of it as "brain fade", unless they do rewire the circuit to match the load. Smoke will be otherwise be let out and $2 switches(costing $35) will certainly protest.
We all know lucas electrics run on the smoke principle, once you let the smoke out they don't work any more.
One of my sayings is...and it definitely relates to technical things that cost you $$$
Good skill is better than good luck.
#9. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 8 Fri Dec-05-03 04:53 PM by dynodave
The alternators using a shunt type (zener) causes a constant/full load to the engine. This is because the electrical power is made irregardless, and only where it gets uses changes.
I have not seen the exact circuitry but if I'm right...
The scr triggered style should only load the engine based on what the regulator/rectifier calls for. When this style is not conducting the coils act like they are not connected to anything, and therefore cause little magnetic drag. There is still drag but it is due to the core's eddy currents and not the "electrical" load.
The more modern type of device is better, even on the low powered alternators, but as a whole is offensive to the pureist because it is one technology step newer than our bikes.
For me...in 30 years, I've never had a zener go bad, or a rectifier go bad, so I've not needed to "upgrade". (added.... except on my kawasaki and Ducati)
#10. "RE: Alternator Upgrades" In response to Reply # 7
If your going to use a Halogen lamp, especially a 100 watt unit, you really should wire it with two relays. One for the high beam and one for the low beam. This will save your handlebar and toggle switch (and keep the smoke in) while giving the bulb a full 12 volts. Run a separate heavy wire from the battery to the relays (use a fuse) and to the headlight and use the blue/white and blue/red wires to engage the relays. Even on a modern bike, this trick can brighten the headlight by quite a bit, so imagine how it helps a 30 year old wiring harness.
P.S. - Also make sure you run a good ground, preferably out of the headlight bucket and to the cylinder head.
I fully agree with most all you said, including the added/improved "grounds" from the head light for the 100w head light.
The board has been so quiet recently, so I'll stir the pot...
bigger engine ground
Small point but...IIRC, the only electricity returning from the engine lump is the spark, (add ignition coil primary if points) not counting e-start.
E-start neutral light has both wires to&from switch, and the lucas alternator is located "in" the primary, but has no electrical connection to it. Is the sparx different?
I've mentioned earlier that I do my own wiring harnesses. One of the things I put into them is lots of grounds. In fact, I do a separate harness for the ground. It is all done in red wire, in the British tradtion, and covered with black heat shrink tubing. Along this harness, I put a heavy soldered on ring terminal on the upper head steady plates, and have another one soldered on the Boyer wire. I have a ground ring on the rear "bulkhead" (for lack of a better description) where the rectifier mounts, and make sure the tailight is well grounded. Inside the headlamp shell, I solder a large ring onto this ground harness, and connect it to the shell's mounting bolts. That's a direct wire from the battery to the headlamp shell. I've never thought that little push in bullet thing on the Lucas shell ground was all that clever.
I believe the Sparx is pretty much the same as the high output
Lucas, but with a solid state regulator/rectifier. I haven't
used one, but have used the three phase Lucas alternator with
the three phase Podtronics regulator/rectifier. The
connections are the same, three wires to the alternator and a
positive to ground and a negative to battery.
The ground I referred to in my previous post was from the
headlight to the chassis/head.
Trying to fit a Sparx 3 phase alternator to a Mk III Commando. 3 wires come out of the alternator and connect to 3 of the 5 wires coming out of the new regulator. The red and black wire coming out of the regulator go to the electrics on the bike. I assume that the red goes to ground or earth, but where does the black wire go? On the Mk III there are 3 wires coming off the rectifier and the centre one goes to the battery and the other 2 go to the ignition warning light unit. Can I join the black to all three or do I have to discard the ignition warning light unit and connect all of the circuits including the battery to the black wire?
Also the rotors are still tight. The UK supplier advised me to hammer it on.I am going to get it measured and then hone it if necessary.