Do You Have The Power?
The Nomad, Classic and Drifter have power to spare with their alternators (the Nomad more so). But how can you tell when you're reaching the limit? Easy!
- Ammeter (stand alone or as part of a continuity/voltage tester).
- A couple of feet of 12 gauge or larger wire
- 10 mm wrench to remove your seat and negative battery cable
Turn a few things on (headlight is good) to drain the battery just a bit. We want the charging system to be pumping out some juice here and if the battery is already fully charged the alternator won't be working hard enough for our purposes.
Remove your seat. Remove the negative battery cable and hook your ammeter in series between the cable and battery (one wire to the cable the other to the negative battery terminal)
Get ready to start your bike.
Touch the negative battery cable to the battery terminal while you're cranking the engine over. Using just your small jumper wire to the gauge could do damage, mainly to the ammeter..
Once the bike is running pull the battery cable away from the terminal. All power will now be running through your jumper cable and ammeter. The ammeter should be showing a charge.
Start turning things on and watch the rate of charge fall.
When "everything" is turned on, high beam, turn signals, spotlights etc. run the engine up to a normal cruise speed (much easier if you have a tachometer) and determine the excess amperage available. Is there enough left to power that heated vest, gloves, another set of lights, a radio or whatever? If you're still charging at idle you're golden! If you have to run the engine up a bit to produce enough charge it'll be something to consider while riding in town.
Remember you need at least 2 amps left to charge the battery.