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Turn the key...Nothing

Old 08-10-2013, 08:39 PM
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Turn the key...Nothing

So this is a problem that would occur every few weeks but is now happening more often. I turn the key to the on position and I don't get any power to anything. None of the lights come on as if the battery is missing. After about 5 to 10 minutes the electricity would flow, lights come on and I can start the bike. Now when I turn the key the bike stays dead.

The only thing I can imagine would be affecting the bike is the amount of rain we've had lately. I don't have a garage and I commute on the bike despite the weather.

I would appreciate any input and help.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:49 PM
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Pop the seat off, lift the battery cover, take off both positive and negative battery connections, clean the posts on the battery and clean the connectors (a wire brush works well), re-install and make sure the connections are tight. Once you do this, and you still have the issue, check the voltage of the battery. You might have a crappy battery. You could also have a loose ground somewhere. Start with the basics first though.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:01 AM
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Battery is good. After cleaning I get 12 volts from the terminals and the wires coming off them. I'll have to check each connection from the battery until I find a spot with no voltage reading. Does the service manual have the voltage values for each part?
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Booker909 View Post
Battery is good. After cleaning I get 12 volts from the terminals and the wires coming off them. I'll have to check each connection from the battery until I find a spot with no voltage reading. Does the service manual have the voltage values for each part?
And how does that indicate it's "good"?! A properly charged and "good" SLA battery should read 12.8 to 13 V fully charged... At 12 V it's at around 50% charge... A 12 V system, does NOT mean you have a 12 V battery regardless of what it says on it... It means that at the minimum, at all times, the voltage should never, ever go below 12 V during operation...

The accepted range is 12 V +/- 20%, ie anything outside 10.6 to 14.4 for voltage supplied to the electronics, is considered harmful for high voltage or "unreliable" for low voltage... Ie, below 10.6 V the electronics might fail to work, and above 14.4 V they might go *poof*... +/- 10% is considered "normal" range, and is where the voltage should ideally stay, ie 11.8 to 13.2, but since a SLA battery is ideally charged at 13.2 to 14.5 V, the system on a bike is designed to work in a best case of both... Meaning, charge voltage should be 13.2 to 14.5 V when the bike is running, and at no time, should the electrical system when running drop below 11.8V...

So, if you draw around 15 A (or at the most up to 25 A actually) for a short period from the battery when starting, what do you think that does to those 12 V? It drops like a stone... Normally, a good battery has around a 1.5-2 V drop at that load, meaning 13-1.5 = 11.5 V at best, which is "not normal", and 12.8-2 = 10.8 V at worst, which is "unreliable", but that's just for a short moment, so it works... A less than good battery will drop below that by far... So, the only way for you to know anything about the condition of the battery, is to measure voltage as you apply a load to it...

Ie measure voltage with the bike turned off, turned on, running... Note them down... Then, clip the test leads to the battery terminals, and measure the voltage as you try to start the bike... Then do the same after giving the battery a fresh charge... If the results are the same... And if the voltage drops below 10.6, and sits below 12.8 with no load, the battery is crap and needs replacing...

No, the manual does not have a chart like that... It assumes the reader have basic knowledge of how a motorcycle electric system works, and only gives the information you would need for fault finding, besides the basics...

Lemme know if you need help with those basics... PM if you like...

Last edited by Tweety; 08-13-2013 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:01 AM
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Could be a short in the battery causing it to short whenever there is a load but read 12 volts when off. Put your meter on the battery and turn the key. If it goes flat then you will need a new battery.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:34 AM
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If you had a bunch of corrosion on the terminals, that stuff can and will travel down into the wires creating a large headache!
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:21 AM
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Thanks for that explanation Tweety. I was unable to try that since nothing was happening but will have to give it a shot now. I took the fairing off and uncovered a mess. One of the previous owners really tore into everything on this bike and I've been redoing it all ever since I got it. The wires to the ignition were cut and then put back together with electrical tape. I don't know if they were just coming loose or if the humidity was shorting them. I used some cold shrink to keep them together and hopefully keep the weather out. Everything comes on now which is a relief.
Now it's just a matter of why I'm blowing a fuse when I try to connect a turn signal. This bike didn't come with any signals or a horn.
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