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Hi All,

I know there are many posts about electrical problems. I couldn't seem to find one that helped me....

The other day I went to start my bike. IT was completely dead. no lights, nothing. I took my battery to the shop. They charged it up and said it held a charge. Put it back in the bike. I got a half hearted attempt at starting. Immediately after the first attempt no lights would turn on!

I have checked the fuses and checked all connections. They look fine. I have a battery tender hardwired to the battery. It appears to keep a charge (green light). About a month prior the bike completely shut off on me whileI was riding. I coasted tot he side and restarted the bike.

I am not electrically inclined so any rudimentary advise would be super helpful!

Thanks!
 

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How old is the battery? if approaching 4-5 years it's on borrowed time or, if not used regularly and allowed to discharge for long periods, virtually dead.

Maintenance chargers just monitor their terminal voltage and that can give a satisfactory reading for the charger to pronounce it "charged".

Did the shop just measure the voltage? or did they use a proper load tester?

Here's an illustration of a battery that gives a fine voltage reading at the terminals, and yet when asked to supply the tiny 1 watt bulb built into one of those electrical testing screwdrivers the voltage collapses to almost nothing:


 

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Hi All,



I know there are many posts about electrical problems. I couldn't seem to find one that helped me....



The other day I went to start my bike. IT was completely dead. no lights, nothing. I took my battery to the shop. They charged it up and said it held a charge. Put it back in the bike. I got a half hearted attempt at starting. Immediately after the first attempt no lights would turn on!



I have checked the fuses and checked all connections. They look fine. I have a battery tender hardwired to the battery. It appears to keep a charge (green light). About a month prior the bike completely shut off on me whileI was riding. I coasted tot he side and restarted the bike.



I am not electrically inclined so any rudimentary advise would be super helpful!



Thanks!


Hi there

I’m going to say that before launching yourself into an electrical fault finding nightmare pop a new, fully charged battery on the bike. You may find the the old battery has failed...

Hope this helps

Chris


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Hi All,

I know there are many posts about electrical problems. I couldn't seem to find one that helped me....

The other day I went to start my bike. IT was completely dead. no lights, nothing. I took my battery to the shop. They charged it up and said it held a charge. Put it back in the bike. I got a half hearted attempt at starting. Immediately after the first attempt no lights would turn on!

I have checked the fuses and checked all connections. They look fine. I have a battery tender hardwired to the battery. It appears to keep a charge (green light). About a month prior the bike completely shut off on me whileI was riding. I coasted tot he side and restarted the bike.

I am not electrically inclined so any rudimentary advise would be super helpful!

Thanks!
Before you pull the trigger on a new battery, get a meter and try a few electrical checks. To do that is free and will save you all the hassle of spending money on a battery you don't need. It is true that the fault may well lie with the battery but if you do a bit of testing first, you don't lose anything.

First of all, when you install the battery, be sure that its connections are clean and tight. Many members on here have had their bike die suddenly because they hadn't tightened the battery connections.

1 - Don't check fuses visually - a fuse can appear good but still be blown. Take it out and put a meter across it, set the meter on the continuity setting, a.k.a "beep mode" or "diode test". If the meter beeps, the fuse is fine. For power to be cut off completely, fuse#11 (30A) would be the suspect. Another thing I've seen happen is fuses working their way out of their contacts, perhaps due to vibration, so when you put the fuses back in, push them firmly home.

2 - Visually check the engine ground (this is the thick black cable from the battery to the engine) and make sure that it is spotlessly clean and tight, and the engine end of the cable is in a place where corrosion can occur, so also make sure that the cable is not rotting away from its connector. Do the same with the thinner wire that is also connected to the same engine bolt. This is the ground to the whole wiring harness. It may have a plug connector a little higher up, check this too.

3 - With a fully charged battery, set the meter on the 20 volts DC range and with the black meter probe wedged or tied to a ground point (battery negative is fine), find the ignition switch connector (should be in the headlamp bucket, 6 wires), and test those for voltage (don't unplug he connector), You should get a reading of either zero or full battery voltage. There are only 4 of the 6 wires to check, touching the red probe on each wire. This is what you should get:

IGNITION SWITCHED OFF
White - full voltage
Green - zero
White/Blue - full voltage
Blue/Yellow - zero

IGNITION SWITCHED ON
White - full voltage
Green - full voltage
White/Blue - full voltage
Blue/Yellow - full voltage

Two comments in your original post make me think that this is not a battery issue, firstly how you said the bike died suddenly then restarted, and the fact that you had the battery load tested and was told it is fine. There's also your battery tender which appears to support that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How old is the battery? if approaching 4-5 years it's on borrowed time or, if not used regularly and allowed to discharge for long periods, virtually dead.

Maintenance chargers just monitor their terminal voltage and that can give a satisfactory reading for the charger to pronounce it "charged".

Did the shop just measure the voltage? or did they use a proper load tester?

Here's an illustration of a battery that gives a fine voltage reading at the terminals, and yet when asked to supply the tiny 1 watt bulb built into one of those electrical testing screwdrivers the voltage collapses to almost nothing:


Thanks for all the feedback! Update! Ok so the battery is a little over a year. I double checked with the shop. I was wrong - they just did a voltage measure... not a load charge!

I took out the Blinker relay and starter relay (little confused - the Hella Blinkgerber is the blinker relay correct?). The starter relay is rusted to hell (see pics). I cleaned it up a little bit but probably need a new one. After I cleaned it up I got neutral, oil and brake lights and a "CLICK" which sounded like it came from the Hella Blinkgerber relay when pushing the start button. NO HEADLIGHT and the lights were all dimmer than usual.

I need to buy a voltage meter and see what the battery reads.
 

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Resting battery voltage only tells you the state of charge of the battery. You need to check the voltage when cranking over the engine to determine if the battery is holding or maintaining the charge. That is a proper load test for the battery.
 

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I took out the Blinker relay and starter relay (little confused - the Hella Blinkgerber is the blinker relay correct?).
Correct. You can tell its the blinker relay by the fact that it only has 3 wires. Later models only have 2.

The starter relay is rusted to hell (see pics). I cleaned it up a little bit but probably need a new one.
Don't bother cleaning the starter relay because its not worth the effort. Bin it and get a new one. They are very cheap and available from any car parts store. These relays are very troublesome as they fill with water sprayed up from the rear wheel. When that happens the bike will crank by itself, constantly. You need a 5 pin changeover relay (cost around $5) and get a sealed one. You can't open those up but it will never suffer from moisture problems.

After I cleaned it up I got neutral, oil and brake lights and a "CLICK" which sounded like it came from the Hella Blinkgerber relay when pushing the start button. NO HEADLIGHT and the lights were all dimmer than usual.
That's because all the starting voltage is fed through that relay. It normally feeds the lights but when you press the start button the relay activates and switches the power over from the lights to the starter solenoid and the engine cranks. When the engine starts and you let go of the start button the relay switches back over to feeding the lights. The corrosion you have between the relay contacts will prevent both lights and starter from operating, so get a brand new SEALED relay.

I need to buy a voltage meter and see what the battery reads.
The meter is very useful to have around when troubleshooting electrics. It tells you whether voltage is present or not, or the resistance of some components, or it can find breaks in wires with the continuity setting. Placed across the battery with the engine running it can also give you some idea of the health of your charging system, but it won't test batteries. You need a load tester for that.
 

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Felony, I suppose you could use the starter to supply the load for a very rough test, however for a proper test the battery has to maintain 9.5 volts at half the CCA rating of the battery for 15 seconds. This determines how much load you need to supply, so you would need to know the current draw of the starter motor - this will vary from bike to bike as it depends on things like friction in the engine (machining tolerances, oil grade/viscosity and temperature etc.) which will vary the load on the starter and in turn how much current the starter draws. A proper load tester has its own meter that you can read directly from and a switch to bring in the built in load. Needless to say you need to start with a fully charged battery, and if it passes the load test, put it on for a top up charge. Using a multimeter would be useful for a recovery check, during cranking the battery voltage will drop considerably even with a new battery, but should recover to its previous voltage after about 20 seconds. This is the 'bounce back' test and the load tester will also show what happens when the load is taken away. So yes, I agree that you could at least get some idea by cranking the engine but the results won't mean much. The starter motor I think is 900 watts free running so should draw 75 amps but since the CCA rating of our batteries is around 210 it falls around 30A short.
 

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It's a high possibility that your original stock regulator-rectifier is slowly killing the battery by undercharging it, fairly common on these bikes.

Another thing you can check is the connectors for the regulator-rectifier, one in the headlight bucket (easy access) and one on top of the airbox (very difficult access). See if they look burned, replace them or direct-wire the connections if the connectors are burned.

If the problem is with your charging system, fix it and replace the battery at the same time.
 
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