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Why diode boards fail

by Bruce Schadel, June 2013


At 51,000 miles, I noticed the alternator light on my ‘92 ‘GS glowing at idle. Time for a new diode
board (again), I thought. When I removed the board, I found that both of the upper rubber mounting posts were broken--the stud end bolted to the board had come unbonded from the rubber. It was clear from the discoloration of the metal that those studs had gotten very hot. This occurrence is not uncommon as many Airhead owners know, but others who have written on the subject seem not to have noticed what I have.
The problem has been discussed extensively, but my observation suggests that solid mounts and a
bunch of ground wires with soldered lugs are not really going to fix it.

In the world of electricity, current times resistance equals power. If the resistance is in a bad
connection, power is wasted there as heat. Power from the alternator is supposed to replace the
power supplied to the bike and therefore keep the battery charged. But the bad connection I refer
to is at the point where the diode board is bolted to the studs.The voltage drop there causes the
the regulator to flog the alternator more to maintain the desired voltage at the battery. And that makes even more heat at the bad connection.

In the case of the two diode boards I have, the high resistance was on

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