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Solving the mystery of my ignition system?

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DRZ400S 2003

You have some time?? No need to read if you are not knowledgable about electrics!! A while ago in another thread we tried to figure out what a mechanic in Venezuela did to my bike.. Noble helped me out a lot.


It turned out that the mechanic had installed an alternative ignition system, what Noble thought could be a conventional system with a transistorized signal amplifier and switching circuit. The mechanic had to grind away a magnetic strip at the rotor to make this work. I have now a new, more simple module and another ignition coil.

This system ran perfectly.. The only thing that happened is that the system seemed to have 'burned' my original regulator and then a new (cheap) replacement, because twice after a day of use suddenly the bike started hesitating. Voltages seemed to be too high, which ment i have to drive with fan and lights on. This has worked fine ever since.

I now have a new original drz400 regulator, but before installing i want to share some pictures with you and try to figure out exactly what system i am running now and try to find out once more if someone knows what could have been the problem ('burning the regulator'). I want then to double check all the ground connections and will solder all the cable connections.

This is the ignition coil:


This is the module:


This module just uses 4 cables. White is connected to the white at the ign. coil, orange/white connects with the red cable at the ign. coil. Green and blue are connected to the alternator. This system is not including throttle pos. sensor or switches, but that doesn't seem to matter!

I now have the following questions:

1. What kind of ignition system am i running? If i need a replacement what kind of module and what kind of ignition coil should i buy?

2. Any idea what would have caused the regulator to fail twice?? (leading to the voltage problem..)

3. Why is the ignition coil now connected to the module with two cables, when in the original system the coil is connected only by a white and the other is ground.. (i got this out of the wiring diagram) In the picture you see the (not connected) black/white cable at the ignition coil. Isn't this an important ground connection? Could this be faulty?

Any other insight is welcome. I appreciate your help a lot!!

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A few things come to mind. I would solidly bolt all of those devices to the frame of the bike or bolt jumper wires through the mounting points and bolt those to the frame. The mounting bolt holes may be grounding points. If you have a ridiculous amount of luggage your RR may not be getting enough air to cool itself.

You should also get your hands on a multi-meter and go through the testing yourself. Not all mechanics are equal when it comes to electrical testing so they could mess up the testing. You need to find out what the AC output is of that stator. It should be above 75 Volts AC line to line at 5000 RPM (just run it fast as you don't have a tach). When I say line to line I'm talking about the 3 identical cables that come out of the charging half of the stator. I don't know what the normal voltage would be from the stator on a DRZ would be (75 is minimum), it is possible you are getting too much voltage out of it.

Take a minute to look into your battery and top it up with good clean water.

Is it possible the first guy connected the output of the RR backwards and reverse charged the battery? Check the battery terminals to see that the + terminal is still + and - still - by checking the battery voltage with the bike turned off.

Lastly, running the bike with the RR disconnected may have been what killed it.

Have you checked in on Horizons Unlimited? Somebody may be able to meet up with you and sort things out.


Edited by SteveROntario
Made one test clearer.

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I will check all mounting points! We were indeed heavily loaded, but not that bad. I have a multimeter and have checked voltage output, which seems perfect. I have not mentioned again that there was a new stator installed. I still want to believe the possibility that the old RR couldn't handle the fresh new voltages coming from the new stator and that the new cheap chinese RR was not 'strong' enough (i don't know how many watts it is made for).

I tend to believe that the new RR will solve everything and will stay working. Just like to hear some insight on the (ground) wiring before i install it.


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the stock system grounds one side of the coil (which is designed for CDI) and pulses the other with a negative pulse (-190v)

if the red from the ignition (+12V) connects to the coil then the one on your bike might be the older design that uses a coil designed for 12V primary and switches ground on and off. So one side of the coil stays at +12V and the other is grounded or not by the ignition module. It may not be a CDI module but instead a 'amplifier module' or 'transistorized ignition' or 'pointless ignition'. A disadvantage of this system as I see it would be the timing advance curve is controlled by the module and this one may or may not have a desireable curve for a DRZ if it even has advance.

Some of what you have said suggests you sometimes run with headlight and accessories turned off. This may put extra strain on the regulator as it has to dispose of unneeded energy.

Edited by slowriding

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