Replacing the regulator – FH012 to FH008

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Shindengen FH008 FH012 rectifier regulatorWhen it comes to electrics/electronics, we are all oh-so familiar with the fact that for the most part, things either work or don’t. But occasionally we get the mighty frustrating intermittent fault that dances between the two, then we also get the rare as hens teeth, slow failure. The one that takes an absolute age to travel from 100% working to finally broken, the kind of behaviour more befitting a mechanical part than electrical. Well that’s what I’ve just had!

Back in August of 2010 I fitted the Shindengen FH012 rectifier / regulator and I think it’s fair to say that it began its slow decline within a couple of years. The once steady 14.2V at 4,000rpm slowly ebbed away, a few millivolts here, a few millivolts there, year on year. By last autumn the charging circuit was giving me about 13.6V (idle) and 13.9V at motorway speeds.

After the incident with the stuck starter solenoid a couple of weeks ago, it seemed to shave off another 0.1-0.2V. On the return leg of our trip the Sparkbright battery monitor would dip from green (OK) to amber (not OK!) when the fan cut in …… such that I was turning the headlights off when we hit slow traffic in order to keep the thing charging.

Each year I’d checked the alternator, wiring, connectors and battery and everything tested just fine …… so was it the regulator? Time would tell I figured! In January I bagged a brand new Shindengen FH008 but hadn’t got around (galloping laziness!) to trying it out. So before the main Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Shindengen FH012 rectifier regulatorpower/ground cables were replaced it seemed only fit and proper to test the new regulator, then decide what to do about sorting the charging system.

The quickest test was to simply crimp some spades on the FH008 leads and plug them directly into the Furukawa sockets on the charging loom and see what happened – 14.4V (idle) and 14.5V at 4,000rpm is what happened! Most definitely the regulator rather than the alternator or wiring then.

The old loom was removed and inspected – all still in excellent condition. Even so, new cables, connectors and sheathing were ordered from the original suppliers and in went the FH008, back in the original location. With the bike buttoned up and a healthy voltage at the battery, it just left a moment for my eye to linger on the right hand side of the bike. Somehow it looks odd, naked, empty without the old rec/reg in front of the clutch, I’ll get used to it I know, but for now I do miss it!

Measured voltage at battery:

Idle (lights / fan OFF)  – 14.4V  and at 4K – 14.5V

Idle (lights ON + fog lights ON) – 14.3V and at 4K – 14.4V

Idle (lights / fan ON) – 13.9V and at 4K – 14.2V

Idle(lights / fan / fog lights + everything else* ON) – 12.8V and at 4K – 13.6V

* GPS / Intercom / K1 Camera / Heated Grips (high) / Cruise Control / brake lights


CGI dashboard – 1

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dashboard, instrument panelSlowly getting more parts of the Capo into CAD/3D …. finishing the dashboard motor off (after almost 2 years!) gave me the nudge to get the circuit board done. Here’s a work in progress, only a couple more chips to fit. Then the inlay and case / lens will see it polished off. Can I keep up the momentum or will galloping apathy step in … hmm who knows! 😕

AlternatorCapo charging system  ….. a new page going up shortly with a fair bit of (new) info regarding alternator output, waveforms, voltage, current and how those are affected with the attachment of different technology regulators – plus how exactly those regulator-rectifiers do the job of producing rectified DC. Pitched at electrical newbies I’ll be running through each of the components and what they do electrically (hopefully) in a way that makes sense, including why some wires can be thin and work just fine and why some regulators get hot and others don’t.


RecReg takes poll position

Ok folks, with over 80 votes on the poll – ‘What part(s) have you had fail on your Caponord’ – I’ve decided to close it and publish a new one. So firstly a big thank you to each and everyone of you that took the time to participate, I really appreciate it. Click on the image to get a better view of the list.

Well the data certainly mirrors the perception I get from hanging around the AF1 forum … no big surprise then what the top 5 causes of vanishing bank balances and roadside tears are;

•RecReg • Coils&leads • fuel connects • wheel bearings • instrument panel •

I was surprised that the clutch slave cylinder seal and starter solenoid didn’t appear to score very high … maybe they are not so prone to fail as I’d thought. Mind you, I still carry spares in the tool kit just in case! Other items listed include a couple of the ‘Y’ coolant hose, a couple of rear shock failures – including the nitrogen unit on the RR shock (gulp!) and a head gasket! In fact that’s the only engine failure listed …. that Rotax engine is most definitely bullet-proof , especially in the de-tuned Capo version.

So all in all, we can quite rightly blame the Italian electrics for most of our woes, or can we? The RecReg is made in Japan, the coils in France, the brown connectors in ……. well do I need to go on? Ok, the Italians connected them all together with a less than perfect wiring loom, but hey, it’s what gives the Capo character right?

So on to the next poll ….. are you a weekend-wonder or a four seasons mile-muncher, does your Capo spend more time on the center stand than wearing out its tyres? Go on, let us know what mileage your Capo has racked up over the years!