Sunday, October 11, 2009

Total Loss Ignition System installed.

Took me about an hour or so once I collected all the stuff and tools. Easy.

I bought yesterday a 125 Amp Hour Marine Deep Cycle Battery at Walmart, a pair of battery cables and a plastic storage box; got out of there for less than $120. Not too bad.

Assuming the figure I've read online of a Ural normally using 8 amps/hr, I should have with a fully charged battery about 15 hrs of riding time in terms of range before I have to recharge. Since I plan to run with the headlight on (it's the law here), we'll see what actual ranges come out to.

Cleaned up trunk, ready for install

Here's the marine battery in the plastic box I bought for it, all wired up

A closeup of the exit point of the battery cables to the motorcycle's small battery

View of motorcycle's regular battery, hooked up inline with the marine battery

Here's what you'll see when in traveling mode

Battery box with cover on, note the vents for battery gases

Yeah, it takes up some room in the trunk but the peace of mind I am hoping it'll give me in terms of not having to deal with another failed alternator should make it worth it. The battery weights 68lbs so it's ballast with a useful function!

The box is anchored to the bottom of the sidecar with a couple of steel bolts with locknuts and washers to help spread the load.

Now, to wait for the new timing gears to get here so I can put them on and reassemble the engine parts I took out.

Update: Researching the matter still, but have decided for now to isolate the smaller battery to prevent it from being "deep cycled" along with the large battery. It'll be the onboard "spare" which gets me perhaps 20 Amp/Hrs or maybe 2 hrs of riding time w/ headlight, probably 1 with headlight on.

Shopping for voltmeter to monitor the battery as well. Thinking also of wiring a switch into headlight circuit so I can cut off headlight when running low on juice.

Update: Small Battery isolated. It'll be the onboard spare. Just have to rig up some quick disconnects so I can isolate either battery easily.

Update: A very informative link to an article written by Ed Paynter who has been running a TLES system for over two years and over 35,000 Km! LINK

Update: 22FEB10:  Today I bought a second 125 amp/hr battery, same as the first one and hooked it up in parallel to the first battery.  Why you ask?  Because I've learned a few things using my TLES system.  Yeah, the 125 amp/hr will do what I want but to get the range I want, I have to drain it down to 10.5 which is full discharge.  This is bad even for a deep cycle battery, which turns out you're not supposed to discharge below 20% which correlates to 11.6 volts!  See chart below:

I ran my power usage requirements and desired range/operating hrs by the folks at a couple of places who sell deep cycle batteries and the consensus was I should be running a 255 amp/hr battery based on these requirements:

8 amps/hr usage (headlight on), and run it for a max of 12 hours run time.  I did not factor in amps consumed by the electric starter since it's hard to quantify without an ammeter.  Suffice to say, I use kickstart whenever possible (which means after the fifth kick or if I am in a hurry).

By hooking up a second 125 amp/hr battery in parallel, I retain 12 volts for the system and about 250 amp/hr of capacity.  I've tracked usage with the headlamp on and gotten about 200 miles range and drained the battery down to 10.8 volts.  I am hoping for about 400 miles and still be at 11.6 volts or above with two batteries.  We shall see.

My new TLES setup, yep, lost a lot of space in the trunk.  But can still fit all my tools!  I foresee a large ammo can bolted onto the side of the sidecar in my future though, for more lockable storage if the above arrangement works out as I hope.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I suggest that the next time the alternator fails that you simply switch off the bike immediately and get it towed. Have you thought of putting a voltmeter on the bike to get an actual reading of activity at the battery? I have a very reliable charging system, and I put a voltmeter on it anyway. So did Sojourner. My thought is the more information I have, the beeter off I am.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...

Yep, looking for a voltmeter even as I type though, not analog....I need to know when it approaches 10.5 volts as thats when it'll start causing problems with the ignition system.

RichardM said...

Pretty cool setup. Is the kick starter designed for regular use? I was originally looking for an older airhead with a kick starter but others on forums mentioned that the kickstart on later models were not designed for regular use. Do the Urals have that problem? Kick starting should significantly extend your range.

redlegsrides said...

Richard, yep, kickstarter designed for regular use....thanks for reading and commenting

Chris said...

I've been looking at this Digimeter to monitor my battery.

cpa3485 said...

I am impressed wig your mechanical abilities. Looks like an excellent way to get around a recurring alternator issue. Hope it all works out to your liking.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Sojourner has a really cool digital unit that comes in either blue or red (numbers) and fits flush with a dash. Mine uses calibrated LEDs. Had I seen hers forst, I would have gone with that one.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

1weekender said...

Nice install Dom. Hope this works well. Would this be considered Farkle?


redlegsrides said...

cpa3485, thanks for thinking my mechanical skills amount to much....

Jack, I think I've found one...just making sure its waterproof.

Phil, nope, not farkle...the voltmeter itself is farkle though....the TLS is more like part of the bike. Although, I suppose it'll come in handy to power future farkles....

Anonymous said...

enjoying reading your blog.
to extend your range it mite be an idea to install LED lighting. This would certainly give you a lot more range although i think 15 hours is more than enuff hehe


redlegsrides said...


yeah, the led headlamp idea has been floated about on the ural forums....finding one is another story....I'll get the baseline first then invest on LEDs if I can find them.

Unknown said...


Looks like just the emergency backup system you need. I've noticed some smaller solar panels are now available, perhaps a few to "recharge" your battery, to extend your range

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

redlegsrides said...


thanks for the comment re solar panels...might be future farkle purchase if I end up going long term with this TLS.

irondad said...

Well, looks like you have been experiencing many adventures! Did you make the mistake of saying you wanted a project bike?

You might have room in the sidecar for one of those small, RELIABLE Honda gas powered generators. :)

Seriously, your mechanical abilities are putting me to shame these days.

redlegsrides said...

Jury is still out on those "mechanical skills" you're attributing to me. Got the bike mostly put back together tonight but damned if I can get the starter to work! Something in the way I wired the wires that used to go to the alternator I am sure but too damn tired right now to work on it close!

redlegsrides said...

post updated. added second deep cycle battery to achieve desired range WITH headlight on while on pavement.

Nazar said...

I too put a voltmeter on it. And it's information help me control and check my system.

redlegsrides said...


thanks for the comment. in light of experience and knowledge, I was using up the batteries past their 50% capacity and so was reducing their cycles of life.

you're supposed to only drain them to 50% to prolong life cycles but then again, didn't run it like this long enough to make a difference to the batteries in question.

Alex White said...

Charlie6, good advice. How much time will it work on 50%?

redlegsrides said...

Alex White, it's been a while but looks like the range would be 100 retrospect, not a long distance solution but OK for short rides around town