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T3 Sport / Touring Forum For the discerning Hinckley Sporting Enthusiasts. Open to all lovers of the original T3 Sport Models including the Trident, Sprint, Sprint Exec, Daytona, Trophy, and Speed Triple.

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Old 11-16-2012, 07:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New electrical problem...

I'm beginning to think that the ghost of Lucas Electrics is haunting my bike! Went to start it today and by the second try, the battery was spinning the motor too slowly to start it and was obviously dying fast. Now I keep the battery on a CTEK "smart" charger (and have done so for years) and have never had a problem with it to date. Thinking something may have gone wrong with it, I hooked up my old Yuasa battery to "boost" the bike and it started - although it was spinning more slowly than I would have expected. I let it idle on the choke till it was warmed up and turned it off. I tried starting it again and it did quite nicely. So ... I got ready for my ride and went to start the bike. It turned over very slowly and by the third try (Only a few seconds per try) it would barely turn the engine. I pulled out my multimeter which indicated 12.3 V at the battery, which wasn't bad considering three tries at starting the bike. I suspect that either the battery is no good but zooms quickly back up to 12 + V. each time (Not very likely, I think); or, the starter is dying (Possible), or, there is a really bad ground connection somewhere along the line that is keeping full voltage from reaching the starter. Lights are all quite bright and when it was running, the charging voltage at 2,500 r.p.m. was around 14.3. So is there a good way to test the starter without removing it from the bike? I'm going to check the various connections but the way my luck normally runs, it will probably be the starter. My plan for this winter was to add a 10 Ga. wire to each wire going from and to the alternator, starter and battery to increase their carrying capacity. But first, I need to resolve this problem.

Then I can work on the coolant leak it has developed. When it first started today there was steam coming up from the left side near the front of the engine for a few seconds. It had that lovely coolant odour but I didn't see signs of a leak on the floor. Oh well, it was due for a flush and fill and probably some new hoses anyway!

Andy
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Won't hurt to check the ground, but it sounds to me like your battery isn't holding a charge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DEcosse
<...>Record your battery voltage under the follow conditions
1) Ignition off, unloaded battery.
2) Ignition on, headlights on, not running
3) Bike started, running at idle

For condition 1, should be at least in the high 12.x range if fully charged.

In condition 2, your voltage should not drop much below 12.0 at worst. (It may continue to drop – hopefully slowly! – as your lights will be discharging it. However this should be a slow decline)
If it does drop immediately into the 11’s, your battery is insufficiently charged – if it was just charged from a battery charger however, then it indicates your battery no longer has sufficient capacity to retain charge/supply current to load and should be replaced.

Condition 3 is what we are most interested in with respect to charging capability.
Voltage should be at least in the 13’s at all engine rpm. You may detect it will fall off slightly as you raise engine rpm. This is not atypical performance.<...>
Cheers,
-Kit
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for digging that up Kit. Looks like I'll be busy this afternoon. Hate to think it could be the battery as it's less than 3 years old and I've always had a battery tender on it. Then again, that's preferable to a new starter! I'll try those tests and if it looks ugly, I'll take the battery in for a load test.

Andy
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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+1 battery
I would try a Motobatt. Works for me.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like a cell is gone/going. Three years, thought you get more but that's life. I like the idea of battery tender but these (and I have one)
are always giving a little to the battery, I had mine on my old Betsy (lead acid) and it completely evaporated the acid out of it. (yes my fault for not checking)
So sometimes, I wonder are we aging our batteries unconsciously by hooking them up all the time?

Last edited by crooky; 11-17-2012 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Added more txt
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crooky View Post
Sounds like a cell is gone/going. Three years, thought you get more but that's life. I like the idea of battery tender but these (and I have one)
are always giving a little to the battery, I had mine on my old Betsy (lead acid) and it completely evaporated the acid out of it. (yes my fault for not checking)
So sometimes, I wonder are we aging our batteries unconsciously by hooking them up all the time?
Well, in theory (At least according to the advertising!) a battery tender should maintain the life of the battery by ensuring it doesn't get too low, overcharged or sulfated. But how does one check the tender to make sure it's working as advertised? I'll be checking things tomorrow (I hope - ran out of time today.) and hopefully determine for sure whether or not it's the battery. It was a DEKKA which is a brand that has received a lot of good ratings on this forum and others. But it could have had a problem from day one, so who knows?

Andy
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:33 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Three years is more than I've ever gotten out of a battery, but then again I think it's more than I've ever gotten out of a motor as well. YMMV.

Cheers,
-Kit
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by darthandy View Post
It was a DEKKA Andy
My last battery was a DEKA EXT15L. Is this what you have?

lasted 4 years with the Projecta Automatic 12V 1600mA
2 Stage Battery Charger.

I now have the motbatt, two years and counting.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Assuming the battery is the problem, I would strongly recommend going with either a sealed lead/acid (AKA gel, AGM, VRLA, maintenance-free, non-spillable, etc.) or lithium battery. Lithium is, IMHO, superior to lead/acid in almost all ways, but also a lot pricier and easier to damage if your charging system goes tango uniform.

Cheers,
-Kit
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes Kit your 100% right, there could be nothing wrong with his battery.
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