Author Topic: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?  (Read 3244 times)

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Offline scottly

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2018, 06:16:34 pm »
Totally forgot to share pics; apologies!
How about some pics of the battery and charging system components like the regulator and rectifier?
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Offline RAF122S

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #51 on: December 06, 2018, 11:10:15 pm »
Give us models off of the Reg/Rect if they are not clearly visible in the picture when enlarged.  Is it running stock coils or are they something else. A peek at them would be good. They are up under your tank on the backbone. Going to need to check them to see if they are 3 ohm or 5 ohm coils. That with lower revs can be enough to cause issues too. Pull your headlight and check the bulb to find out the size headlamp wattage you are running.

While LED headlamp bulbs in a stock housing are not legal, that could be a way to have a 25W bulb with high output, if it focuses the light in a usable way for your reflector. Otherwise, putting a new LED headlight in when you have sorted out the rest of the system is a good idea.

I wonder if the stock components were relocated under the tail cowl or he replaced the reg/rect. with an aftermarket unit.
If aftermarket, I hope it has survived. Running known good wiring from the alt. coils or isolating that wiring and running voltage checks on it will tell you if you have resistance in those circuits. Vintage Connections has a good quality crimper for mechanical ratcheting crimps that are gas tight and do not require soldering. Superior to soldering. They have connectors if you want to use the stock bullet connectors which work well when clean.

Scott and others can guide you well and we can help you figure out where things are sideways on your bike.
Hopefully it is kick starting very easily in the mornings. Being in warm LA area, is a positive in that regard. If it is in good tune it should be kick starting very easily.

Charging your battery to full charge and putting it on a battery maintainer is advised if you are only taking short hops of 10 minutes. Hopefully you are able to do this.
What brand battery did you purchase?

Time to get a book to document what you find about your bike and to take notes on what you change and what components are on the bike. It can help you in the long run.

Nice bike.

Welcome to the SOHC/4 family.
As you have seen we have our dysfunctional relationships as evidenced in your thread already. Most everyone wants to be helpful though.
Just disregard the bickering.
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Offline BobbyR

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2018, 08:52:33 am »
This is true Cal. The main jet on my 750 k8 was 110 and they all had a flat spot. This I read was to mollify the EPA and the engine was "leaned out" compared to some of the early models. I realize we are talking about a 550 and I used my jetting as an example to say you can go up without doing harm. I had to replace the gaskets this spring and had  the head off. With 20 years of running 120's there was no carbon to speak of on the heads. I did expect there could be a lot. Around town I pick a gear that will keep the motor at about 4K for charging and throttle response and not just go into 5th and potentially lug the motor. Most of us have become accustomed to our cars with tall overdrives.

As you know from the "POD wars" jetting is very important I neither like them or hate them, I prefer the airbox and enjoy my old girl.
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Offline BomberMann650

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #53 on: December 07, 2018, 12:01:35 pm »
Reddits "justrolledintotheshop" has taught me a little something about carbon build up.
It's not the gas that does it.  Volkswagens are notorious carbon collectors.  Seemingly on account of their crankcase oil rebreather system.
I know its for the environment, but damn.  There's got to be a better way to collect crankcase vapors!
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Offline Deltarider

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #54 on: December 07, 2018, 01:21:02 pm »
Reddits "justrolledintotheshop" has taught me a little something about carbon build up.
It's not the gas that does it.  Volkswagens are notorious carbon collectors.  Seemingly on account of their crankcase oil rebreather system.
I know its for the environment, but damn.  There's got to be a better way to collect crankcase vapors!
I was to comment with something cynical on the EPA now run by Andrew Wheeler and the 'carbon' (= coal) industry he has always worked/lobbied for making millions, but... sorry, I can't. SAD! Anyway, if I ever acquire a CB550 with this blowby gas recirculating thing on it, the first thing I'd do, would be to disconnect that breather tube from the airfiltercase. There's nothing positive to say about it. Interestingly enough, when you study the fiches at CMSNL you'll see that even the later CB650 European models at least had this different than the US models.
Leaning the CB's (like the CB550K3) was a mistake and they ended up with horrible carbs. These simple engines have to be at 6% CO or they won't run right.
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Offline scottly

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #55 on: December 07, 2018, 08:17:49 pm »
Reddits "justrolledintotheshop" has taught me a little something about carbon build up.
It's not the gas that does it.  Volkswagens are notorious carbon collectors.  Seemingly on account of their crankcase oil rebreather system.
I know its for the environment, but damn.  There's got to be a better way to collect crankcase vapors!
I was to comment with something cynical on the EPA now run by Andrew Wheeler and the 'carbon' (= coal) industry he has always worked/lobbied for making millions, but... sorry, I can't. SAD! Anyway, if I ever acquire a CB550 with this blowby gas recirculating thing on it, the first thing I'd do, would be to disconnect that breather tube from the airfiltercase. There's nothing positive to say about it. Interestingly enough, when you study the fiches at CMSNL you'll see that even the later CB650 European models at least had this different than the US models.
Leaning the CB's (like the CB550K3) was a mistake and they ended up with horrible carbs. These simple engines have to be at 6% CO or they won't run right.
Getting a bit off-topic, boys. ::)
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Offline TwoTired

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #56 on: December 07, 2018, 11:41:43 pm »
Reddits "justrolledintotheshop" has taught me a little something about carbon build up.
It's not the gas that does it.  Volkswagens are notorious carbon collectors.  Seemingly on account of their crankcase oil rebreather system.
I know its for the environment, but damn.  There's got to be a better way to collect crankcase vapors!

Way to compare apples to oranges!
VWs have a flow through breather system.  SOHC4s don't.  No where near the volume of particle comparison.  And not a carbon problem for the SOH4.  Despite those that clutch at straws and rely on innuendo instead of science for vilification.

Honda ifentified the need for de-coking even on models that didn't have the crankcase recirculator.  ...Which provides the very nice benefit of evacuating water vapor from the crankcase.  Who likes brown mayo?

Lloyd... (SOHC4 #11 Original Mail List)
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Offline magner

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2018, 04:50:30 pm »
Alright y’all finally got my multimeter and tested the bike out! Charged the battery and it read 12.45 with the bike off; 11.9 when I turn on electronics, and it doesn’t budge from 11.89 when i start the bike, or rev it up to 4000. So it looks like y’all are right and  my charging system isn’t doing it’s job at all!

Offline magner

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2018, 05:02:39 pm »
Welcome to the SOHC/4 family.

Thank you so much! When I get home tonight I will try and get as many pictures as I can take that will be of help! I also have a video of the multimeter reading while starting and revving the bike if it is of any help.

Offline scottly

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #59 on: December 08, 2018, 05:36:13 pm »
Don't bother with the video. ;) If this were a stock wiring harness, we could tell you exactly where to check voltages etc, but since your bike is not stock, we have no idea where to look. For all we know, the PO never installed the components required for the charging system to work. See if you can find a device with 3 yellow wires: this will be the rectifier.
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Offline Ichiban 4

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #60 on: December 10, 2018, 07:06:03 pm »
Hi guys! LOL
Don't usually weigh-in on these extended technical/philosophical conversations..but simply wanted to add that after about 20 years of riding my '77 550K..found that the best way to maintain/preserve battery life..was to get a higher cranking-amps battery (from stock 12 Amp hour to 20 Amp hour AGM..and put on Battery Tender maintainer when not being ridden). I can ride all day in stop-and-go traffic..no problemo.

I agree whole-heartedly w/opinons expressed on this thread..that these bikes were not engineered haphazardly by Honda.  Perhaps @ the end of the 550 SOHC4 era..they (Honda) were not thinking much in terms of maximum electrical efficiency.  But the higher capacity batteries solve a lot of that problem..from my experience. And as has been said many times on these forums before..putting these old bikes on battery maintainers during the interim..usually solves most of the battery problems..especially with the 500's and 550's

My two cents here..

Al/Ichi
Al Summers

Present: '77 550K
Past: '73 CB450(twin), '72 CB175, '68 CB350, '58 Ariel Square 4 (1000cc), '58 Matchless Typhoon (650cc single), Whizzer Motorbikes '48 -'55 (Pacemaker & Sportsman)..Vespa, Lambretta scooters..etc.

Offline magner

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #61 on: December 12, 2018, 09:51:27 pm »
See if you can find a device with 3 yellow wires: this will be the rectifier.

https://imgur.com/a/ARAvsad

Apologies for the delay! Here are a ton of photos that I hope are helpful, as I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for. I definitely CAN NOT find anything that looks like the reg/rec units I've seen...

Thanks y'all
Andy

Offline calj737

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2018, 03:56:57 am »
A picture from the left side of the bike, focusing on what’s beneath the seat will help.

The stator lives under the left side of the engine cover, the round metal cover below the pistons. The wiring then passes behind the shift cover and exits through a notch on top. There will be a large diameter cable there too, that’s the starter motor wiring. Yes, the PO modified the wiring to some extent.

Most of the pictures you took are of the coils (beneath the tank). Move farther back from there, above your battery (is that it mounted below the swing arm?)
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Offline scottly

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #63 on: December 13, 2018, 09:32:50 am »
In the last pic, there appears to be a shallow aluminum box, filled with black epoxy: this is probably the reg/rect. There is a plug next to it with three white wires, which may be the wires from the rect to the yellow stator wires? Any markings on the other side of the box? What are the colors of all the wires going to the box?
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Offline magner

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #64 on: December 13, 2018, 10:44:40 pm »
A picture from the left side of the bike, focusing on what’s beneath the seat will help.

The stator lives under the left side of the engine cover, the round metal cover below the pistons.

https://imgur.com/a/O2039x5

Updated album! I apologize for my terrible pictures, my garage has one tiny light and no electricity otherwise... what should I start testing/what am I looking for next?

Offline calj737

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2018, 03:22:36 am »
In the last pic, there appears to be a shallow aluminum box, filled with black epoxy: this is probably the reg/rect. There is a plug next to it with three white wires, which may be the wires from the rect to the yellow stator wires? Any markings on the other side of the box? What are the colors of all the wires going to the box?
Yeah, I see what you see, Scottly. Doesn’t look like the appropriate RR type for our bikes. It will be interesting to see where/what wires trace to that.
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Offline BomberMann650

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2018, 11:50:30 am »
It appears whoever rewired that bike tried to give a second sh!t about it.

Thing with three white wires looks generic as can be.
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Offline scottly

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #67 on: December 14, 2018, 04:52:03 pm »
The part with three white wires appears to be only a rectifier, not a combination regulator/rectifier. You will have to unbolt it to see if there are any marks on the other side.
The black thing is a blade-type fuse holder; the cap slips off and the fuse is under the cap. Is the red wire from the rect connected to it?
The round thing with the two posts is the starter solenoid; the post with several wires is connected to the battery plus terminal.
There a two groups of wires that enter under the shifter cover; one has three yellow wires, which should be connected to the three white rect wires. These are the Stator wires.
The other group has a green wire and a white wire. These are the Field coil wires. The green wire should be connected to ground, and the white wire would normally be connected to the regulator. What is the white wire connected to?
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Offline HondaMan

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #68 on: December 14, 2018, 07:14:06 pm »
A VERY IMPORTANT question: under your "HONDA" timing cover, what type of ignition is in there? Is it points? Is it Dyna S? Is it the [cheap] Chinese 2-sensor trigger unit from eBay?

If you have anything but points under that cover, there will not be enough electrical power generated to support the bike with the tiny battery.
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Offline calj737

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #69 on: December 15, 2018, 05:23:38 am »
A VERY IMPORTANT question: under your "HONDA" timing cover, what type of ignition is in there? Is it points? Is it Dyna S? Is it the [cheap] Chinese 2-sensor trigger unit from eBay?

If you have anything but points under that cover, there will not be enough electrical power generated to support the bike with the tiny battery.
Sorry, but that is simply not accurate. Whether he has points or electronic ignition is rather irrelevant to the size of the battery. What is relevant is the running rev range he rides at. If he operates the bike mostly above the 2,500rpm threshold of the 550, then his bike will be always be in a surplus charge state, and not drawing down the battery. Even if he operates below that during some periods of traffic, regeneration of the storage is possible.

Having said all that, I would not choose a battery that small either, but I would not point a finger at his ignition as to the primary concern over battery size and call it emprical evidence.
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Offline BomberMann650

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #70 on: December 15, 2018, 04:30:20 pm »
A VERY IMPORTANT question: under your "HONDA" timing cover, what type of ignition is in there? Is it points? Is it Dyna S? Is it the [cheap] Chinese 2-sensor trigger unit from eBay?

If you have anything but points under that cover, there will not be enough electrical power generated to support the bike with the tiny battery.
Sorry, but that is simply not accurate. Whether he has points or electronic ignition is rather irrelevant to the size of the battery. What is relevant is the running rev range he rides at. If he operates the bike mostly above the 2,500rpm threshold of the 550, then his bike will be always be in a surplus charge state, and not drawing down the battery. Even if he operates below that during some periods of traffic, regeneration of the storage is possible.

Having said all that, I would not choose a battery that small either, but I would not point a finger at his ignition as to the primary concern over battery size and call it emprical evidence.

If magner added an OMP Vrrem4-sohc to the system, it wouldn't matter much what else is in the bike.  That part would deliver reliable voltage.
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Offline magner

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #71 on: December 15, 2018, 05:49:05 pm »
Is the red wire from the rect connected to it?
What is the white wire connected to?

The red wire from the rect goes straight into the post of the starter solenoid with the other connections; the fuse on the blue wire that also comes out of that solenoid post is for a quick connection to a battery tender. The aluminum unit has no markings on the bottom or anywhere! I can see the green and white field coil wires but I will take off the shift cover tomorrow to see what the white connects to.

The ignition is points but it looks like it might be a newer replacemt unit.

Should I go ahead and order a new reg rec unit? Will it be a pretty easy swap?

Offline scottly

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #72 on: December 15, 2018, 06:06:37 pm »
First find where the white field is connected.
Your points and plate are stock TEC stuff; put the cover back on.
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Offline Deltarider

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #73 on: December 16, 2018, 12:39:37 am »
Your points and plate are stock TEC stuff; put the cover back on.
I'm with Scottly and I invite everyone here to have a close look at your (Magners) OEM points plate. You do not often see them so tidy. Bravo! All the little rings are still there, the crossheads are not battered, the little felt looks like new and look how both breakerpoints and plates are more or less in the middle of their adjustment range. This is how Honda designed it. Honda also intended to use genuine Honda parts only.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 04:29:47 am by Deltarider »
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Offline PeWe

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Re: '76 Honda CB550F: Suggestions for Better Battery Life?
« Reply #74 on: December 16, 2018, 03:14:38 am »
The felt (drained with grease) must have contact with the rotor. Old rotors can have scores or old residues that will file the points bakelite causing less gap quicker than needed.
The rotor can be refreshed by sanding it if surface look or feels rough.  I used grit 400, 800 on mine making them to look much better.

Stock charging system work fine. I do not trust the later cheap China made regulator- rectifier. Burns the voltage to correct level, short to ground?

My bike has a LED that show actual voltage when parked as well as when engine is running. This told me that I had to adjust my stock regulator since I saw some occasional overvoltage.
LED H4 (maybe 30W) headlight make it possible to ride longer periods on less than 4000 rpms without getting too low voltage as happen with std halogen H4 that take 55W.

I charge my batteries every month (min every 2:nd) 1-3 days with CTEK charger, MC mode, max 1 A. I think 0.8A. I have an extra battery (cheap GEL) on the shelf that must be maintained. My CB750 K2 project will get it.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 03:52:26 am by PeWe »
CB750 K6-76 1005cc JMR Billet block.
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