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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was having trouble with my 2009 America just going click when trying to start. Battery and everything else was good. Finally figured out that due to a design flaw in some of the models and years, the headlight remains on while pressing start button which draws too much juice and causes CPU to stop starting process with a click. Solution was to install a toggle switch on headlight assembly so I could turn headlight off when starting. No more problems even in freezing cold weather. My bike is kept in an unheated garage and there is no electric to plug in a battery tender.
 

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I've got a 07 model and have never had this issue, i'm not sure why. Maybe a newer battery is able to supply the extra juice needed to start with the lights on.
 

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That is certainly a creative way to do it.
I feel the bigger factor was Triumphs decisions when transitioning to EFI for our twins. Like locating the ECU and a smaller (than previous or later years) battery in the battery tray. And then making that smaller battery choice work with the ECU required 12.6VDC voltage threshold to engage the starter. And on top of that they have the headlight come on when the key is turned on rather than after the motor is started.
The fact that the headlight cut relay doesn't work is saying the ECU is saying NO to the start request.
There has been a plug in device for the headlight that does much the same. I had one installed for a while(it's now in the pile of bits I need to list for sale). It is an extra relay that is triggered by the "high beam" selector. The headlight does not come on when the key is turned, but rather after starting the motor you rock the low/high beam selector to high momentarily to activate the relay and the headlight comes on. I have since changed to an LED lamp which has greatly reduced the battery load when turning the key on as well as providing better light output. Chaging the rec/reg for a MOSFET unit has also greatly improved the previously very marginal charging system.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've got a 07 model and have never had this issue, i'm not sure why. Maybe a newer battery is able to supply the extra juice needed to start with the lights on.
Before I figured out the excess electrical draw, I had tried fully charged new battery, and bike would start at that point, but after I stopped somewhere and tried to re-start; click. Again, it isn't every model and year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is certainly a creative way to do it.
I feel the bigger factor was Triumphs decisions when transitioning to EFI for our twins. Like locating the ECU and a smaller (than previous or later years) battery in the battery tray. And then making that smaller battery choice work with the ECU required 12.6VDC voltage threshold to engage the starter. And on top of that they have the headlight come on when the key is turned on rather than after the motor is started.
The fact that the headlight cut relay doesn't work is saying the ECU is saying NO to the start request.
There has been a plug in device for the headlight that does much the same. I had one installed for a while(it's now in the pile of bits I need to list for sale). It is an extra relay that is triggered by the "high beam" selector. The headlight does not come on when the key is turned, but rather after starting the motor you rock the low/high beam selector to high momentarily to activate the relay and the headlight comes on. I have since changed to an LED lamp which has greatly reduced the battery load when turning the key on as well as providing better light output. Chaging the rec/reg for a MOSFET unit has also greatly improved the previously very marginal charging system.
You've explained the problem in perfect detail or as I like to call it a "design flaw". Glad your solution worked, but I think my solution is easier as it requires less labor, parts, and cost. Installing the $4 toggle switch was all I had to do. :)
 

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I've got a 2007 America and the lights definitely turn off when you try to start it, so it must just be the later EFI bikes that didn't do this, like you say a bit of a design flaw on behalf of Triumph. Good plan with the toggle switch though, certainly cheaper than fitting extra relays. (y)
 

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I've got a 2007 America and the lights definitely turn off when you try to start it, so it must just be the later EFI bikes that didn't do this,
The EFI models have the same headlight cut relay set up. But it is now part of an electronic nanny that has requirements that must be met before the ECU will allow us to engage the starter motor. There were several compromises made when transitioning from carbs to EFI. And many of us with the first couple years of that transition have had to deal with them!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The EFI models have the same headlight cut relay set up. But it is now part of an electronic nanny that has requirements that must be met before the ECU will allow us to engage the starter motor. There were several compromises made when transitioning from carbs to EFI. And many of us with the first couple years of that transition have had to deal with them!
EXACTLY! The large Triumph dealership that I went to was aware of these problems but had no idea how to remedy. I got lucky and figured out the easy fix by installing a toggle switch. My hope is that frustrated bike owners and dealerships will learn of this. There's still alot of these affected bikes out there. Possibly why I see so many for sale with very very low mileage. :)
 

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I have a 2011 Speedmaster and it has just started to happen to me. Is there anyone on this forum that works for Triumph as I would be interested to hear what they have to say on this matter. Usually if it us a manufacturing fault they will have come up with a solution. I like the idea of a toggle switch as an easy solution but you would have thought Triumph would have had some modification in place by now.
 

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I have a 2011 Speedmaster and it has just started to happen to me. Is there anyone on this forum that works for Triumph as I would be interested to hear what they have to say on this matter. Usually if it us a manufacturing fault they will have come up with a solution. I like the idea of a toggle switch as an easy solution but you would have thought Triumph would have had some modification in place by now.
If the headlight remains on while you are pressing the starter button, then you have the design flaw problem. Triumph is aware of the problem, but has chosen to pretend it doesn't exist. That was what my local dealership told me. Hence, no re-calls or fixes from them. :( Installing the toggle switch is the easy and low cost solution, another is to put in a Lithium battery as they have almost twice the CCA of a traditional battery. Downside with a Lithium battery is they cost MUCH more, the warranty on the ones I looked at were the same as traditional battery, you need a special battery charger, and if you like to ride in cold weather like I do, Lithium batteries do not work well in cold weather.
If the headlight on your Triumph goes off while you are pressing the starter button, then you have a different problem. Battery, dirty connections, charging system, solenoid, relay, etc. My first suggestion would be to have the battery load tested, not just fully charge it and assume it is tip top. Also, make sure battery connections are clean. If that doesn't solve problem, it would be worth the money to take to dealer so they can do diagnostic test on your bike and find exact problem instead of wasting time and money trying this and that.
 

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I'm sure the light stays on while starting, the battery is off the bike at he moment and hooked up to my charger, I will try it again and if I have the same problem I will go to the local triumph dealer and see what they say.
 

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I'm sure the light stays on while starting, the battery is off the bike at he moment and hooked up to my charger, I will try it again and if I have the same problem I will go to the local triumph dealer and see what they say.
The headlamp cannot stay on whilst the starter button is pressed, as the start button activates the starter relay (aka headlamp cutout relay). The relay throws over when activated and diverts the power from headlamp to starter solenoid. It is impossible, with the stock setup, for the headlamp and starter to operate simultaneously. The ECU controls the starting process by supplying the ground to the starter relay - The ECU prevents starting by simply removing the ground connection, so you hear the click of the starter relay first throwing over, then back, aborting the start procedure. People have various fixes for the click start, one of them is cutting off the starter relay ground wire and replacing it with a wire directly to ground, but with this method you lose the clutch safety function. The best fix is to add a diode in line with the clutch switch, cut the starter relay's ground wire to the ECU and divert it to the diode. That way, all remains functional but the click start failure is eliminated.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ripper, what you explained is how the system is supposed to work, but as I mentioned, some bikes (like mine) had flaw that had headlight on while pushing start button. All I know is I put toggle switch on to fix problem and I have not had any issue since. I explained that this fix is only if you have a bike that has the headlight on while pushing start button. Your solution is excellent fix for the other design problem which has to do with low voltage. That problem was partially created by putting a computer module inside the battery compartment which necessitated use of a smaller size battery than what the bike should have. Unfortunately, the module cannot be moved out of the way or relocated so you can put in the proper size battery.
 

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Ripper, what you explained is how the system is supposed to work, but as I mentioned, some bikes (like mine) had flaw that had headlight on while pushing start button. All I know is I put toggle switch on to fix problem and I have not had any issue since. I explained that this fix is only if you have a bike that has the headlight on while pushing start button. Your solution is excellent fix for the other design problem which has to do with low voltage. That problem was partially created by putting a computer module inside the battery compartment which necessitated use of a smaller size battery than what the bike should have. Unfortunately, the module cannot be moved out of the way or relocated so you can put in the proper size battery.
James, I was not criticising your solution in any way, I was replying to Arnie1's comment in which he is not sure whether his headlight stays on. I also think that if your headlamp stays on whilst the starter button is pressed then you have serious wiring problems which would turn your solution into a sticking plaster. The only way this would happen is if someone had hacked your wiring to shreds and changed everything. The headlamp comes on with ignition, but extinguishes when you press the start button. It comes back on when you let go of the start button. Meanwhile, the City light (small bulb in the headlamp which doubles as the front parking light) stays on, but this bulb is very low power, so its current consumption is insignificant.

As I stated previously, assuming that your bike has stock wiring, it is impossible for the headlamp to be on whilst the start button is being pressed since the power for the headlamp is shared via the start relay and gets diverted away from the headlamp to the starter solenoid. If it wasn't set up like this, your starter would be spinning constantly.

The size of the battery is not the issue, they are both 10ah batteries, in fact the smaller battery (according to the data sheets on the Yuasa site) is actually rated with a higher CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) rating. The issue is solely the ECU, which, by accident or design, produces an arbitrary low voltage threshold below which it refuses to allow starter operation. This seems to vary a little from bike to bike so I tend to think its a flaw in the design of the ECU circuitry. There is still plenty of power, more than enough in the battery to start. There will always be the people who say "I have a carbed bike and this has never happened". Well, they forget that carbed bikes do not have an ECU to control the starter, it is all hard wired.

Of course the most practical solution, if someone doesn't want to start hacking wiring, is to keep the battery topped up so that the low voltage threshold is never reached. Not everyone has access to a battery tender, but there are a couple of things that can be done to ease the problem:

  • Use an Easy Start headlamp controller, which goes inline with the headlamp bulb, keeping it off until the engine is running, or change to a low power LED headlamp bulb, or both even.
  • From the factory, the idle speed is set to about 900rpm, which is too low. The battery does not charge when the engine is idling. Raise the idle speed to between 1000-1100rpm.
  • With EFI twins, your handbook tells you to use the enrichener (choke) on the first notch on every start, regardless of the engine and ambient temperatures. Use it, its not a choke and affects sensor signals sent to the ECU on startup.
  • If you can stretch to it, swap out the regulator/rectifier for a MOSFET type. This will charge the battery far more efficiently when riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Impossible but true. Completely stock bike. Headlight would stay on while pressing start button. I had Triumph dealership check my bike and they are the ones that told me that set-up was normal but part of design flaw. They did not tell me there was a wiring problem to be fixed, otherwise they would have been more than delighted to fix and make money. Dealer also told me about the smaller battery design flaw. My Kawasaki which is also a 900cc bike uses the larger battery. You're trying to equate cca with voltage. They are 2 different things. Size of battery does matter. The smaller battery has fewer plates in it. If you think a smaller battery is the same or better, see if the battery in your bike will start your car.
 

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Impossible but true. Completely stock bike. Headlight would stay on while pressing start button. I had Triumph dealership check my bike and they are the ones that told me that set-up was normal but part of design flaw.
Well I call BS on what the dealer told you. There is no design flaw, its deliberately made that way so that the headlamp will extinguish while the starter is operative. Plus, please educate me as to how a changeover relay can make both contacts simultaneously without being full of water - which incidentally these relays are notorious for. Sounds like you have big wiring problems and its not the relay either.

They did not tell me there was a wiring problem to be fixed, otherwise they would have been more than delighted to fix and make money.
Really?? I just helped to fix the lights on a member's bike, the headlamp didn't work at all. It turned out to be a broken ground wire, but his dealer had told him to get the 'proper', eye wateringly priced 'Triumph' bulb and 'maybe' it will work then.. Most dealers seem to take advantage of people not knowing things. This has always been rife on these forums. You will soon find out just how lazy and not arsed they can be.

Dealer also told me about the smaller battery design flaw. My Kawasaki which is also a 900cc bike uses the larger battery.
So? Ducatis, even the 1200cc models all use the smaller battery. Engine capacity means nothing. My son in law manages a Duicati dealership so I get my batteries cheap. FYI the starter motor on Triumph air cooled twins is 900 watts.

You're trying to equate cca with voltage.
No I'm not. I happen to know a bit about what I'm talking about. I was quoting the actual specs, from the manufacturers own data sheets - you know - the chaps who actually make the batteries? I didn't mention voltage. The thing that matters with starting is the CCA rating. Its you that is getting confused - the current draw by the headlamp can bring the battery voltage down to below the low voltage threshold and prevent the starter from operating. And that happens with the larger battery too.

The smaller battery has fewer plates in it.
No it doesn't. Same number of plates, same number of cells. The 'bigger' battery is actually the same width and height as the smaller one, if memory serves. Its just 15mm deeper which prevents it from fitting into the battery box. Also FYI, Triumph went back to the larger battery with the CANbus models. Unfortunately it did nothing to prevent the 'click' starts.

If you think a smaller battery is the same or better, see if the battery in your bike will start your car.
A battery made for deep discharge like Lithium variants could probably start a car, but I digress. You are comparing apples with oranges here, the smallest car battery is around 50Ah and you are comparing it to a 10Ah bike battery. The electrical systems of a car are much more power hungry than the basic electrics of a bike. I was comparing two 10Ah batteries. Go to the Yuasa site and compare the YT12 (smaller) to the YTX12, you will find the YT12 has a CCA rating of 210A but the bigger YTX12 has a rating of only 180A. Error? I don't know but that's the info I got when I visited the site.
 

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All I know is what was happening with my Triumph and what worked to fix it. END.
Fine, I'm not knocking that, but I post information on these threads to help everyone. Its up to them whether they take or leave it but I do my homework to the best of my ability before I jump in.
 
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