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Negative sparks when connecting - short somewhere

Old 08-19-2011, 07:20 AM
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Negative sparks when connecting - short somewhere

My 98 Hawk sat for a couple weeks while I was under the weather, and when I tried to start it, the battery was completely dead (didn't even register a bump on a multimeter).

The battery is only a couple months old.

I recharged it and set about bolting it back in. Positive terminal first; then when I was attaching the negative, I got sparks. I left it on for about ten minutes and then decided that wasn't the smartest thing to do.

So, I went back out to the garage to take the battery back out, and I noticed that the right-side subframe (that supports the seat) had actually gotten very hot!

Obviously I have a short somewhere. Any suggestions on where to start looking first? I'm hoping it's a bad ground from the actual negative cable, but that might be wishful thinking.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:34 AM
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I feel for you. I HATE electrical problems. Check both negative and positive cables from the battery to be sure the insulation on them is good.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Old Yeller View Post
I feel for you. I HATE electrical problems. Check both negative and positive cables from the battery to be sure the insulation on them is good.
So do I. I had an 82 Kawi GPz 750 with that kept blowing fuses. I did a lot of voltage drop testing, unwrapped a bunch of wiring harnesses, replaced and cleaned switches and connectors, etc. I finally got the problem fixed, but I never did precisely isolate which connectors, switch or whatever was the source of the problem.

Sigh.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:52 AM
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I did the same with my old VX800 at one time. good luck with the multi-meter. Hope you find it quick.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:45 AM
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Negative ground from battery is solid. Damn.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:26 AM
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A bit more information; if this sounds familiar to anyone, lemme know what you found. Turns out that the green ground wire leading to the regulator / rectifier is getting hot within 30 seconds or so of connecting the battery. Bad R/R or something else?
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:45 AM
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A small spark from the battery terminals when connecting the cables is completely normal. I wouldn't give it a second thought!
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by JamieDaugherty View Post
A small spark from the battery terminals when connecting the cables is completely normal. I wouldn't give it a second thought!
If that were all it was, I'd be ok with it. But I'm getting quite a bit of sparking, and as I just wrote, extreme heat buildup in the wire leading to the R/R -- and eventually heat in the seat subframe itself. So I think something is not right here.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:37 AM
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Did you check your power lead to your ignition switch? The switch should have everything shut down.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Old Yeller View Post
Did you check your power lead to your ignition switch? The switch should have everything shut down.
Not yet, but that's a good idea. The fact that the wire to the R/R gets hot within half a minute or so suggests there's a short somewhere -- the R/R itself may be fine.

What's going to make this difficult (among other things) is I can only leave the battery connected for a couple minutes at a time before things get too hot.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:43 AM
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Disconnect the R/R and see if you still get a spark. If not, replace the R/R. If yes, keep looking.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:36 PM
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If it is the OEM R/R I would test that first. Easy to do and very possible culprit.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:43 PM
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Kai_ju, I unbolted the ground to the r/r, and still saw sparking from the battery. I then undid the connector to the r/r, and the sparking disappeared. Wish I wasn't so ignorant about electrical issues, but what does that tell me?

lazn, do you know of any instructions for testing the r/r?

Thanks all.
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:05 PM
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Sounds like I need the R/R, then. Just have to keep riding my Yamaha WR250 in the meantime. Just need to live without torque on demand for a while ....
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Tormoz View Post
Kai_ju, I unbolted the ground to the r/r, and still saw sparking from the battery. I then undid the connector to the r/r, and the sparking disappeared. Wish I wasn't so ignorant about electrical issues, but what does that tell me?

lazn, do you know of any instructions for testing the r/r?

Thanks all.
I know you are past the point of diagnosing now for this problem, but in the future using the ammeter function of a multimeter is what I use for something like this. On a later model superhawk with the lcd meters you should see only about 50-75 milliamps max (.050-.075 A) on an ammeter connected between the negative batt terminal and its associated cable connector. Anything above that indicates a short.

A time consuming but logical and sure fire way to narrow it down is momentary disconnection/reconnection of various electrical connectors to isolate to an area. (Obviously you'd have to do that in short bursts if it's drawing 10 Amps or more!!)
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:52 PM
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Hold on there, nothing is final until our resident guru, Tweety, gives his input. Wait for it...
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:12 PM
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Time for an R/R swap.. ebay a MOSFET one and do the conversion.

Try to get one with the plugs included (I lucked out that way) or if you can't either get a premade kit from Eastern Beaver, or if you are comfortable soldering the individual plugs end up cheaper from Jasonmotoelectrix
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankenFine View Post
I know you are past the point of diagnosing now for this problem, but in the future using the ammeter function of a multimeter is what I use for something like this. On a later model superhawk with the lcd meters you should see only about 50-75 milliamps max (.050-.075 A) on an ammeter connected between the negative batt terminal and its associated cable connector. Anything above that indicates a short.

A time consuming but logical and sure fire way to narrow it down is momentary disconnection/reconnection of various electrical connectors to isolate to an area. (Obviously you'd have to do that in short bursts if it's drawing 10 Amps or more!!)
Well ... I WAS in fact trying to do exactly what your said with the ammeter function of my multimeter, but somehow I bumbled getting the probes in place and burnt out the internal fuse for the ammeter. The instructions mentioned something about "discharging" before doing this, but I honestly don't know what I was supposed to discharge.

Good advice, though.
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by lazn View Post
Time for an R/R swap.. ebay a MOSFET one and do the conversion.

Try to get one with the plugs included (I lucked out that way) or if you can't either get a premade kit from Eastern Beaver, or if you are comfortable soldering the individual plugs end up cheaper from Jasonmotoelectrix
I was thinking along those lines ... Jasonmotelectrix has a complete kit for around $120 on eBay at SHINDENGEN MOSFET FH012AA REGULATOR/RECTIFIER KIT | eBay .
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Old 08-25-2011, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Tormoz View Post
I was thinking along those lines ... Jasonmotelectrix has a complete kit for around $120 on eBay at SHINDENGEN MOSFET FH012AA REGULATOR/RECTIFIER KIT | eBay .
Just got this MOSFET R/R and hardware yesterday. I'm anxious to put it on, but it's quite a bit larger than the stock one. Has anyone installed one of these on there Superhawk before, or something similar in size? Where did you put it?
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Tormoz View Post
Just got this MOSFET R/R and hardware yesterday. I'm anxious to put it on, but it's quite a bit larger than the stock one. Has anyone installed one of these on there Superhawk before, or something similar in size? Where did you put it?
That's the one I got, I mounted it in the stock location, rotated to fit, I used only 1 bolt though..

The hard one to fit is the one with 4" fins on it..
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by lazn View Post
That's the one I got, I mounted it in the stock location, rotated to fit, I used only 1 bolt though..

The hard one to fit is the one with 4" fins on it..
Great, thanks for the info!
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Old 08-28-2011, 12:29 PM
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It's done

Turns out it was in fact the R/R. Thought I'd post a few pics of how I attached it.

I bought the MOSFET R/R kit on eBay that I mentioned earlier in this post. A bit more at $119.00, but I wanted to have all the connectors, etc., ready to go. They seem very solid.

I was able to put it where the factory R/R had been, and reused one of the already drilled holes (but had to use a different bolt because the original one was too short for the new R/R).

So far, so good: no sparks, no frame getting hot. Thanks for the advice I got here!
Attached Thumbnails Negative sparks when connecting - short somewhere-img_0908-medium-.jpg   Negative sparks when connecting - short somewhere-img_0907-medium-.jpg   Negative sparks when connecting - short somewhere-img_0909-medium-.jpg  
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