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Headlights & Dash run at 1/2 power - Any Ideas

Old 06-16-2012, 07:50 AM
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Headlights & Dash run at 1/2 power - Any Ideas

Hey all, on my 98 Hawk I have found since I bought it three years ago that the headlights and dash lights run at like half the brightness that they should. I only know this because on a handful of times it has snapped up to full brightness at night for a few miles then back off. And that is super rare that that happens. I have checked connections and all seem ok. Battery seems to charge fine, bike runs decent (although I wonder if I am also getting less spark because of this) and I just can't really ride at night because the lights are too dim. I also had the bike die on me yesterday, completely dead. The fuse in the starter motor blew while I was riding and I lost all electrical until I got towed home, tore the bike down a bit and found the bugger. To me this is an indication that there is an issue with the regulation of the electricity. I am leaning towards it being the regulator/rectifier but wanted to get some other input. Thank you so much all for your help!
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:16 PM
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Yes, you should look at a new R/R... But you should also take an ohm-meter and check your wiring...
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:30 PM
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The starter motor does not have a fuse, but the starter RELAY does contain the main fuse for all the smaller gauge wiring. It will usually blow when the regulator is bad. This is quite common on our machines. See the thread in the Knowledge Base about Mosfet Regulators before looking for a replacement unit, and be sure to examine the wiring for heat damage. You may need a new battery as well since a bad regulator can cook a good battery.

The intermittent brightness of the headlight is from the regulator overpowering the system. Many here find the headlight to be somewhat weak. Fix the charging problem first and then evaluate headlight options.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:39 AM
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Thank you so much guys. I didn't have time to track down a MOSFET unit this time, picked up an aftermarket, over sized SH model with a large heatsink. Part came in, tore the rear end apart at my office in the parking lot, swapped it out and we are good to go! Headlight actually works, can see the dials clearly and it is actually charging the battery. So nice to be able to fix things on my own without paying a shop to troubleshoot and change out a part. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:33 PM
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Since you are using a stock type replacement unit, I suggest coating the connector and terminals with dielectric grease. It will keep moisture from corroding things, and also makes unplugging easier. You could also grease up the 3 wire stator plug. The end result would be longer lasting components and a healthier battery.
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