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Thread: Electrics cut out completely while riding - likely causes?

  1. #16
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    25th March 2004 - 17:22
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    You will reach for a multimeter many times in your life once you have one. Don't even need to be terribly accurate for most people. Just keep 240v for electrician.

    YouTube will teach you enough for automotive use.

    Over say 15v when revved to 3000rpm and your regulator is stuffed. Less than 13.5 when revved and I'd be expecting a burnt alternator (which you can then test as an AC voltage on stator connector unplugged when running) or perhaps a stuffed battery or misbehaving component dragging things down.

    Probably just the battery but its worth being educated. Jaycar have a range for many price points.
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  2. #17
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    Trickle charger is another good friend to keep the battery healthy for periods when bike is unused for extended periods.

    I use Ctek for the Jeep and bike, keep an eye on Repco for good sales.

    Sent from my SM-N986B using Tapatalk

  3. #18
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    15th October 2009 - 17:33
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    So I picked up a cheap multimeter from Bunnings and checked it out, was reading 14.3 around about consistently when running, revving up to around 3000 it stayed pretty much the same, maybe a .4 increase? (bearing in mind red line is 6500.)

    Thing is the bike still isnt starting as eagerly as I would have expected with the new battery, but so far it hasnt not started.
    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
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  4. #19
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    25th March 2004 - 17:22
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    That sounds like the charging is working nicely.

    It could be interesting to see what sort of volt drop you are getting to the starter when turning over. The starter relay is supposed to ensure a decent path from the battery to the starter and back via ground. Sometimes the cables can be a bit weedy added to corrosion.

    Check specific forums to see if upgrades are common.


    Cleaning the starter button can help in some cases. Yes it is off the relay to motor cct but any drag on the system pulls the battery down. Measure how much it drops while turning over is interesting (quite a bit) and can check for improvement.
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  5. #20
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    always check your earth too!

  6. #21
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    15th October 2009 - 17:33
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    So everything's been going ok for the last month or so with my normal daily-ish commuting rides, then I did a Ride Forever course on Monday (around 300kms), after that when I went to start the bike on Tuesday morning not enough charge.

    Bike started with the jump starter straight away, managed a few more starts on Tuesday and Wednesday after a couple of rides, then not enough charge again this morning (Thursday). Checked the voltage on the battery (not running) last night and it read 13.3 and again this morning when it read 13. Should have checked the bike while running again but left it too late. Battery is now on a charger being charged overnight.

    Bike has quite a few electrical accessories - I disconnected the only accessory connected directly to the battery (fog lamps which I very rarely use) straight away.

    Bike came with factory heated grips and USB port. I also had a couple of LED driving lights and a supplementary brake light installed a couple of years ago by an auto electrician. All these accessories are only live when the key is on. They've all been working normally, except for one of the LED driving lights which has recently stopped working. These have a separate inline switch as well (which I switched off when I noticed the failure)

    Not sure what to do next.
    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
    - The Simpsons

  7. #22
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    3rd March 2008 - 11:55
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    Start by disconnecting the positive lead from the battery, set your multimeter to measure DC current (on the highest range and work your way down), and put it in line between the battery and battery lead.

    If there is anything more than a few mA with the key off, that's why your battery is going flat.

    As suggested previously, it would be worth measuring both the DC and AC volts across the battery. If there's a crook diode in the rectifier you'll get some AC volts indicated, and the battery won't be charging properly.

    Having said that, if it's showing 13V not running, that suggests that the battery is holding charge. Quick way to check is turn on the headlight and see if it still sits around 12V, anything less it's got a capacity issue.
    Riding cheap crappy old bikes badly since 1987

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  8. #23
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    So put the charged battery in.

    First start was fine, dropped to 9-ish volts when starting then happily ran, was showing 14-ish volts while revving around 3000 (redline 6500).

    Switched off and tried to start again, this time dropped to 3 or 4 volts when pressing the starter and wouldn't start.

    This may no longer be relevant but tried the current thing earlier, couldn't register any draw in line with the battery with the key off (with the positive connected and the multimeter held between the negative terminal and lead...I'm assuming I did something wrong though, shouldn't there be some draw happening? Or maybe it's the cheap multimeter).
    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
    - The Simpsons

  9. #24
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    25th March 2004 - 17:22
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    Battery is knackered surely?

    But charging system appears to be working so happy days there.

    Attach some jumper leads to a car battery (don't bother starting the car or that nonsense) and it will fire right up with sod all drop i suspect. Car batteries are of course huge by comparison.

    There should be no drain if the ignition switch is working with current test ideally. There could be a tiny amount in some systems to retain a clock but not much. So good.
    I've been told. Dreaming`s free.
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  10. #25
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    15th October 2009 - 17:33
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    Battery is only a month or so old, and is showing 13-ish volts on the meter. I had it charged overnight last night at a local bike place and the lights were all green.

    Did some more research online (always dangerous lol) and found a recall for Honda motorcycles for 2014 which now has me wondering.

    Honda has determined that a defect within certain starter relay switch assemblies can cause an increase in resistance across the main fuse, potentially interrupting battery voltage to the electrical system which can cause the engine to A) not start or B) stall while riding. In an extreme case, the increased resistance at the main fuse can cause the starter relay switch to catch on fire.
    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
    - The Simpsons

  11. #26
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    So got some more advice which agreed with the battery being knackered (even though it's a new one) theory, was going to take it out and then thought I'll just try it one more time to confirm...and it started, dropping to 9 volts. Then tried again, it started again, this time dropping to 7 volts.

    Anyway might talk to someone else about it over the weekend.
    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
    - The Simpsons

  12. #27
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    Next idea was to measure the difference in voltage from the starter motor to the battery. I didn't suggest that as it's harder to get to. So one lead on battery + and one on starter input. Push starter. The idea is you will have a thick wire with a grunty relay connection between the two. There should be very little difference so any difference will show on the meter.

    If you were losing 0.5v over this connection it would should as 0.5v. Pretty good.

    If as suggested the relay is dicky then this may show higher drop so bigger number. A small battery will drop more voltage as it tries to breach the gap.

    I've never done this measurement but the logic is sound, just I cant tell you the expected numbers. You might come up with the idea of bridging the high current side of the relay as a test. Mucho sparks, don't try that.

    You could however initiate the low current side. This takes the ignition switch and push button out of the equation and that on older bikes is a known weak area I've fixed before. You aren't bridging them in this case, you'd need a wiring diagram to find how to throw the switch.

    Older bikes were easier to get to solenoid connections, newer ones have encompassing plugs with fuse as well getting in the way.
    I've been told. Dreaming`s free.
    Think I'll go, back to sleep.
    Everybody listen, voices in my head
    Everybody listen, do yours say, what mine says?

  13. #28
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    Ended up going back to Colemans where I bought the new battery a month or so ago and explained what was happening and they were happy to swap it for another one excellent service there.

    So far, touch wood, that seems to have solved the issue.

    Thanks for all the great advice.
    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
    - The Simpsons

  14. #29
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    25th March 2004 - 17:22
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    Batteries can be queer things especially in slightly marginal conditions. Like tiny size compared with a car.

    I'd still do those voltage drop measurements if you can . You can even unplug and run a thin wire out to get a measurement of volts as there's no current just temporary squashed into a plug.
    I've been told. Dreaming`s free.
    Think I'll go, back to sleep.
    Everybody listen, voices in my head
    Everybody listen, do yours say, what mine says?

  15. #30
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    Possibly a bit late to the party, but if you're still having trouble it might be worth getting a Yuasa (or a Katana, which is a half-price Yuasa made with recycled materials according to the guy at the local battery shop).

    I've abused multiple Yuasas over the years. They're tough buggers, it takes a lot to kill them. When they do finally go it tends to be a graceful down-curve with plenty of warnings before the bike finally won't crank.

    I've never had one suddenly cut out while riding.

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