Low voltage ECU starter lockout - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Low voltage ECU starter lockout

Ok, there have been a few threads on this over the years. Last week my Scrambler (2016) left me stranded at work with an unfortunate clicking sound. It was pretty cold, around 20F in the morning, warming up to maybe 30F or so.

After pushing it up the hill to bump start (unsuccessfully) 3 times, I gave up and got a jump. After the requisite internet search, I figured out that indeed, the ECU was locking me out.

In the interest of science, I did a little experimentation with my marginal battery. With my garage at a temperature of 40 to 50F or so, I got one or 2 starts before the ECU started intervening. The threshold between start and lockout was between 11.4 and 11.5 volts, measured after the fuel pressure and gauge init, just before hitting the starter button.

95% of the usage is to and from work, a 10 minute 4.5 mile ride. I would hope this is enough to keep the battery up, but maybe not. The battery in my ZR-7 (same battery, also 2 years old) was better, but not by much.

While a new battery is in my future, I'm looking for a little insurance. does anyone have an opinion on this device:
https://www.amazon.com/Wagan-EL9796-...+jumper+cables

The price is right, and I can wire it into a battery tender extension. At least I know all the cars in the parking lot have cigarette lighter sockets

Cheers,
Steve.

Last edited by tenex1; 12-15-2018 at 12:17 AM. Reason: I'm a dope, I wrote 13.4 volts, I meant 11.4 volts
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 05:29 PM
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When I lived in Boston my commute to work was within the city, 2.5miles. I never road my bike to work. If I had your commute, I wouldn't crank up the bike either. But, that is just nutz that the ECU would lock out at 13.4V. All those other bike models and brands that have ECU and don't have this wonderful feature. Just how fragile is a Triumph ECU for the twins? Don't think this feature is on any other Triumph model. No opinion on that starter boost.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 07:07 PM
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A better option for emerg starting is an actual jump start battery like this:



https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B071KX5VCX/...5-fb19e6f8bfdd

No need to find someone to aid you. And, you can take it to any other car/bike when it's needed. Also some have USB ports to run/charge your phone etc. and some even have built in flash lights...all very useful in remote areas etc.

Another thing you might consider....pull your starter relay out, pop the plastic cover off to see how the contacts operate, note where the actuator contacts sit relative to the cover housing. Drill a small hole directly through the cover outside the actuator plate contact....refit it all back on bike. Now, whenever the battery is marginal, ECU cutting it out, you can overide by poking a platic straw/wooden stick etc through the hole to gently force the contacts together...Full battery power now reaches the starter solenoid. It also bypasses the Triumph idiot safety defeats....so ONLY DO THIS WITH NEUTRAL SELECTED!!! This has fired up my bike a few times on cold mornings. I keep the wooden push stick taped to the relay, taping over the open hole as well.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 10:04 PM
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My take....short commute doesn't give the battery a chance to replenish, particular if used every day without supplemental charging. Wouldn't it be best to simply hard wire a battery tender lead, then regularly (not necessary every day, but periodically overnight) charge it. Tender is an easy connect/disconnect in a few seconds once a hard wire lead is installed. Should keep your battery nicely charged up for those frequent short trips.

Am I missing something here?

Through the winter this has been my approach, so the bike is always ready to go should the temps rise. You're a brave sole riding when temps are in the 20s!

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2018, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenex1 View Post
95% of the usage is to and from work, a 10 minute 4.5 mile ride. I would hope this is enough to keep the battery up, but maybe not. The battery in my ZR-7 (same battery, also 2 years old) was better, but not by much.

It takes more than a 4.5 mile ride to keep the battery up. It will fade from full charge over some time as the battery gets a little more depleted after each run.


Quote:
The price is right, and I can wire it into a battery tender extension. At least I know all the cars in the parking lot have cigarette lighter sockets

It would make more sense to use an automatic battery tender at home, if the bike is kept in a garage. The tender can then be plugged in after each run or once a week. My keyless ignition draws a tiny current even with the bike switched off, and this will flatten the battery in about two weeks of being stored, so I have fitted the Powerlet socket to the bike and modified the battery tender cable by swapping the battery connectors for a Powerlet plug. The bike gets plugged in if its going to lay idle for more than 2 days. Of course there's no need for you to do that, battery tenders come with a tail that attaches to the battery with a small connector so you can just plug right in, but the Powerlet socket has a few advantages for me.


There is also a couple of things you can do to preserve battery power so that the battery stays up for longer:


Change all lighting for LED, including the headlamp - especially the headlamp.

Fit a MOSFET regulator for more efficient charging.
Set the engine idle speed to 1100rpm so that the bike gets some charge at idle.
Fit a headlight control module, to keep the headlamp off until the engine has started.


You can also bypass the ECU low voltage threshold. Personally I'm not a fan of doing this but many people have done it without issue. The ECU provides the ground to the starter relay, and if the battery voltage falls below the threshold the ECU refuses to provide the ground and disables the starter. All that is needed is to disconnect the Yellow/Brown wire from the starter relay and replace it with a wire going straight to ground. @Forchetto also came up with a great solution with no need to play with wiring, just a hole drilled into the starter relay and a button installed, to manually force the relay contacts together for 'emergency' starting.
Forchetto likes this.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felony View Post
When I lived in Boston my commute to work was within the city, 2.5miles. I never road my bike to work. If I had your commute, I wouldn't crank up the bike either. But, that is just nutz that the ECU would lock out at 13.4V. All those other bike models and brands that have ECU and don't have this wonderful feature. Just how fragile is a Triumph ECU for the twins? Don't think this feature is on any other Triumph model. No opinion on that starter boost.
Well, looks like my brain is in moron mode today. I measured 11.4 to 11.5 volts, not 13.4 to 13.5, sorry about that.

11.4 isn't too unreasonable, I just wish the battery lasted a little longer than 2 years.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 06:34 AM
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Battery life varies, but my batteries usually last 5-7 years. Those short rides aren't doing the battery a favor. My bikes when parked are always on a charger.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornado99 View Post
A better option for emerg starting is an actual jump start battery like this:



https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B071KX5VCX/...5-fb19e6f8bfdd

No need to find someone to aid you. And, you can take it to any other car/bike when it's needed. Also some have USB ports to run/charge your phone etc. and some even have built in flash lights...all very useful in remote areas etc....
My original plan was to just keep a 5 to 10 ampre-hour gel cell battery in my office just in case. I like the charging cable because it doesn't have a battery to maintain, and I can just leave it in my tail bag. In the good old days your maintenance overhead was the number of spark plugs in your garage. Now it's the number of rechargeable batteries you need to maintain. I hate batteries.

Ironically, the big pain was removing the seat. I had to use the factory supplied tool kit (Allen wrench) in the dark, and I had to borrow a quarter to take off the side panel to boot. I now have a large ball driver (and a quarter) in my tail bag.

Either way, I'm gonna leave a battery tender pigtail on the bike so I can use a tender/remote charger as required. The cigarette lighter charging adapter looked like a really clever idea, but seems like the construction leaves a little bit to be desired.

BTW, anybody using a Deka ETX12 battery in an A/C Bonneville? I think I'm done with Yuasa batteries for now.

Cheers,
Steve.

P.S. I appreciate to suggestion of an emergency starting battery, but I'm an old model airplane guy and I've seen so many defective cheap Lithium Polymer batteries burn up I'm afraid to leave one unattended in my bag.

Last edited by tenex1; 12-15-2018 at 08:59 AM. Reason: added info
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenex1 View Post
Ironically, the big pain was removing the seat. I had to use the factory supplied tool kit (Allen wrench) in the dark, and I had to borrow a quarter to take off the side panel to boot. I now have a large ball driver (and a quarter) in my tail bag.

Tool free fasteners are available.


https://www.tecbikepartsusa.com/Triu...-cnc-sps-s.htm


Quote:
BTW, anybody using a Deka ETX12 battery in an A/C Bonneville? I think I'm done with Yuasa batteries for now.

Don't blame the battery, Yuasa are arguably the most reliable in the AGM category. Not done a price comparison but you would not benefit otherwise since the Deka has exactly the same specs as the Yuasa YTX12. The slightly (physically) larger YT12 used on the 2009-2010 EFI models can supply higher CCA (210 as opposed to 180) but is 15mm taller.


Quote:
P.S. I appreciate to suggestion of an emergency starting battery, but I'm an old model airplane guy and I've seen so many defective cheap Lithium Polymer batteries burn up I'm afraid to leave one unattended in my bag.

At the end of the day these are just trickle chargers, and what you are not told in the adverts is that you have roughly a 30 minute wait whilst enough power transfers to provide cranking, which can only be done by the bike's battery. You would do better IMO by looking at how your battery is charging, for example on a short run such as you do, how much of that is spent, say, waiting at junctions or other situations where the engine is idling? If you can use ways to preserve battery power and give the battery the odd overnight charge you won't get any problems throughout the battery's life, whats more it doesn't cost anything.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post




At the end of the day these are just trickle chargers, and what you are not told in the adverts is that you have roughly a 30 minute wait whilst enough power transfers to provide cranking, which can only be done by the bike's battery. You would do better IMO by looking at how your battery is charging, for example on a short run such as you do, how much of that is spent, say, waiting at junctions or other situations where the engine is idling? If you can use ways to preserve battery power and give the battery the odd overnight charge you won't get any problems throughout the battery's life, whats more it doesn't cost anything.
Strange...each time I've needed to jump a bike or a car with my portable power pack, it got it going in under a minute or so. In fact most of these newer ones have some funky self-defeat function on the cable connector that shuts off output if not used within 60-90 seconds. Regarding keeping the battery juiced...mine seems to hold full charge more than 6+ months. I can keep it in my side bag on the bike and even in my jacket pocket for powering my helmet cam when recording all day.

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