Few problems will stop your ride as quickly as an electrical failure. You can limp back to camp with a cut tire, blown shock, or any number of other problems, but when an electrical component gives up, the ride is over. One of the most common failures is in the rectifier and regulator system. Luckily, the power pros at RMSTATOR have developed a highly reliable and easily installed fix called the REVOLT.
RECTIFIER and REGULATOR EXPLAINED
Evan Grist is an engineer at RMSTATOR who’s built a career diagnosing and designing improved electrical systems for powersports. He was the perfect person to walk us through the often-mysterious world of vehicle electronics, beginning with a simple explanation of the terminology.
The terms rectifier and regulator are used to describe two components of your ATV or Side x Sides electrical system. Evan explains, “The components are often called regulator, rectifier, voltage regulator, etc. but they not at all technically interchangeable as they are 2 different functions. A RECTIFIER converts the Alternating Current (AC) produced by the stator into Direct Current (DC) that can be passed to the battery. A REGULATOR maintains voltage, limiting the output of the charging system to protect the battery. The rectifier and regulator functions are combined in a modern unit, because some of the same components can help do both jobs. This makes for a very powerful and efficient charging output.”
THE REVOLT ADVANTAGE
What are the performance and reliability advantages of the REVOLT system?
The primary feature of the REVOLT is supreme reliability. However, there is a secondary benefit thanks to the efficiency of our rectifier design. Many customers with poor OEM charging systems also benefit from an increase of charging current, with an increase up to 1V (14.5V at the battery). We don’t advertise that since it’s not the primary goal of the REVOLT, and the regulator unit itself cannot produce any more power output than the stator and flywheel can generate. The REVOLT performance improvements come from higher efficiency and premium quality components. REVOLT solves the root cause of OEM failure by improving the rectifier function and limiting heat generated in the electronics, which leads to premature failure. The REVOLT system does that very well.
What is the REVOLT designed to fix that OEM parts do not?
In our 20 years of experience (much more if you combine all of our experts in this field), 90% of voltage regulator rectifier units fail in the rectifier portion. The rectifier components are always in action when the engine is running and the OEM Diodes (one-way gates that only allow electrical current to pass in one direction, making them ideal for converting AC to DC) generate massive amounts of heat as they pass and block current continuously. When we looked at improving these units the answer was clear. We needed to improve the rectifier function, and lower the heat being retained in the electronics. That is what REVOLT was designed to do.
How did you get around the Diode heat generation problem?
We decided to completely remove failure-prone diodes from the equation. REVOLT We call it the 'RECTIVATOR”. This results in massive power dissipation and heat generation improvements in the housing. REVOLT is over 50% cooler than many OEM and competitor units! It’s also why the system is Patent Pending, and comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
Do multiple accessories such as sound systems, light bars, etc., contribute to rectifier/regulator problems?
This is somewhat counterintuitive. You would think adding accessories (load) would cause the charging system to have to work harder and lead to failures. The truth is mostly the opposite. Powersports OEMs have been increasing available power to accommodate multiple accessories, and for the most part it works. Ironically, the problem comes when you’re NOT using many accessories. A powersports stator will generate as much power as it can based on the engine RPM, and the rectifier portion of the VRR (voltage regulator rectifier unit) will do its job, converting it to DC and supplying all that current to the battery regardless of load. However, with only minimal load on the battery, the regulatorTypically, that is done by returning the power to ground, and through heat dissipation. The regulator portion will actually have an easier job if there is a good load on the battery, as the load of accessories will typically pull the voltage down below the regulation threshold, reducing heat buildup.
Carefully choosing accessories is important. There is no benefit to adding more accessories than the charging system can support. If you cannot maintain battery charging, or at least prevent discharging (over 13VDC at any RPM with all loads engaged) you will never have a reliable system. Another big problem is with both aftermarket and OEM accessory components, and installation tools and techniques. Often times the wire is too small for the load, cheap connectors are used, no relays are used, the switches have high resistance, and other factors all cause excess draw on the charging system, which can lead to battery and regulator failures.
What is the most common problem found with OEM parts?
Many OEMs will reuse existing parts that may not be a good match for the vehicle. For instance, we often see a new model come out with a more powerful charging system, but an existing undersized regulator is used to save cost. Guess what is doomed to fail? Other times the charging system output is inadequate for the additional electronics and accessories used on new vehicles. RMSTATOR specializes in finding a solution to these problems!
What did it take to create the REVOLT system?
The REVOLT regulator rectifier was designed with a joint effort between myself (an Electrical Engineer based in Colorado) and an engineering team at the 3IT department of Sherbrooke University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Original electronics development was done in Quebec. A first prototype run of 50 units was completed by our manufacturer here in Colorado, and were sent to testers across the world. We had units on Motorcycles, ATVs, SXS, and Snowmobiles from California to Florida, across Canada, Australia, France, and Mexico! We tested in all climates and conditions. All REVOLT units are also tested on our in-house test bench to ensure perfect operation before they are packaged. Today all production manufacturing is done in the U.S.
How does it dissipate heat and run cooler than OEM? Larger fins or fin spacing? Better components inside? Sealed or epoxy encased circuit board?
It runs cooler due to the improvement of the rectifier design and premium electronic components used, but also a very efficient heatsink design that we call our Frostbite housing. When designing the for REVOLT, we wanted to stay with a common connector configuration and footprint with slotted mounting holes, allowing it to fit on as many applications as possible. However, the primary goal was to improve the housing for maximum heat dissipation. You’ll notice our housing has many more (2-2.5x) cooling fins that are much thinner compared to other regulators. More cooling area wasn’t totally necessary thanks to our improved electronics, but there was an opportunity for increased efficiency, and we were going to take it. It never hurts to keep improving! Less airflow requirement also lets you mount REVOLT in places you wouldn’t even consider with a typical reg-rec unit (under fairings, behind seats, etc.). We also use a premium automotive grade epoxy to seal in our electronics, making it completely impervious to oil, gasoline, grease, and water, and the connectors are rubber sealed as well. I wouldn’t recommend submerging any voltage regulator if you could help it, but REVOLT has survived that with no problem! No amount of mud or rain is going to hurt it, that is for sure!
Is the REVOLT a direct replacement for the OEM rectifier, with the same connectors, and are the connectors sealed?
On many vehicles, REVOLT is a direct replacement. With the slotted mounting holes, common footprint, and standardized connectors, it is truly plug-and-play for hundreds, if not thousands of powersports vehicles. In addition, we include adapter harnesses at no cost for many more applications. All connectors are completely sealed, and we include a mating set of connectors, seals, and terminals with all REVOLTS so a customer can swap their factory wiring to plug right in to REVOLT if we don’t have an adapter available. This truly makes it compatible with any vehicle if you are willing to find a suitable mounting location and swap connectors. Dielectric grease is included with every order, and we always recommend using it. Just use a bit to cover the terminals, and when the connectors are pushed together, the terminals will scrape off the grease for a good connection, yet leave a coating protecting where the wires are crimped in place. This can prevent lots of issues in the future due to moisture build up. Do it right the first time, and don’t worry about it later!
Replacing the stock part with another stock part just buys you time. RMSTATORs patent pending REVOLT system is designed not only to replace your defective OEM components, but to permanently solve your problem. RMSTATOR is so confident in the REVOLT it comes with a Lifetime warranty! Your OEM part didn’t burn up by accident and it’ll likely happen again, and at the worst possible time. The highly innovative REVOLT system can prevent that. It’s a massive leap forward in rectifier technology!
Thank you, Evan, for all the great information and excellent explanation!
REVOLT SYSTEM KEY FEATURES:
- Patent Pending System permanently solves your voltage regulator problems
- Plug-And-Play Installation
- Completely sealed for all contaminants and fluids
- Operates at much higher efficiency and more than 50% cooler than OEM
- USA manufacturing
- Lifetime Warranty!