Strange electrical problem


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octane94
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Strange electrical problem

Post by octane94 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:58 pm



I have a strange problem with my 1977 GL1000. I have had this motorcycle for about 15 years and outside of regular maintenance, it's never given me any problems. I'm not that great with electrics, so this one is puzzling me.

The bike will be running just fine, no problem at all. I shut it down, no indication anything odd is happening. A few minutes later, I go to start it up - I switch it on, headlight comes on. I hit the starter switch - and EVERYTHING goes dark. Headlight goes off, dash lights, everything. The starter doesn't even click. Cycling and jiggling the keyswitch doesn't fix anything.

A couple hours later, I go to try again, and miracle of miracles, it's fixed itself! I start it up, everything is fine. It will run for days, maybe weeks...and then out of the blue, BAM it happens again.

All of the fuses are good. The battery terminals are tight. Wiggling the starter switch makes no difference.

Please help this electrically challenged guy get his ol' reliable back to reliability!



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virgilmobile
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by virgilmobile » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:11 pm

The weakest link in power is the dog bone fuse located in the trap door of the starter solenoid.
They hairline crack.Theres a replacement in the door lid if it's OEM.
To confirm this...When it's dead..leave the key on..Probe the starter solenoid post that comes from the battery.It should have volts...then probe the 2 red wires on the solenoid.There probably dead.They feed the bike.The dogbone fuse is in between them.

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AZgl1800
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by AZgl1800 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:45 pm

if it still has the OEM dog bone fuse, and it is open,

O'Reilly's Auto has them in stock, at least at my local store.
They are Labeled HONDA and in a clear plastic covered pack.

Any Honda dealer should have them in stock.
~John

See you at NASR-11 July 10th, 11th, 12th 2018

http://www.northamericangoldwings.com/c ... 9-nasr-11/

SnoBrdr
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by SnoBrdr » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:05 am

AZgl1800 wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:45 pm
if it still has the OEM dog bone fuse, and it is open,

O'Reilly's Auto has them in stock, at least at my local store.
They are Labeled HONDA and in a clear plastic covered pack.

Any Honda dealer should have them in stock.
Or the best to do is to replace it with a modern blade fuse holder.

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octane94
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by octane94 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:06 am

SnoBrdr wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:05 am
AZgl1800 wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:45 pm
if it still has the OEM dog bone fuse, and it is open,

O'Reilly's Auto has them in stock, at least at my local store.
They are Labeled HONDA and in a clear plastic covered pack.

Any Honda dealer should have them in stock.
Or the best to do is to replace it with a modern blade fuse holder.
Yes, I should mention that I already did this several years ago. I checked my blade fuse as well as all of my other fuses, and they are good.

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AZgl1800
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by AZgl1800 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:44 am

I have also replaced all of my fuses with plug in blade style, neater, and more reliable.
~John

See you at NASR-11 July 10th, 11th, 12th 2018

http://www.northamericangoldwings.com/c ... 9-nasr-11/

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DenverWinger
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by DenverWinger » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:29 am

I've seen corrosion do strange things on battery connections even when they're tight, couldn't hurt to undo your battery connections, clean them up a little and reconnect..... A corroded battery connection often behaves like this.....
They say 98% of all Hardleys ever made are still on the road..... The other 2% made it home. :lol:
(I stole this from somebody on another GW site...) :roll:

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virgilmobile
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by virgilmobile » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:13 am

It's a great improvement to change to blade fuses..The test procedure does not change.
Use the frame as the ground for the test probe.Start at the battery connection with the key on and the bike dead...Follow the voltage path to isolate where it fails.
Also...yes..the battery negative cable can seem tight at the frame and not be good.
This will show by using the frame for the ground and probing the battery positive cable and finding no volts.

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AZgl1800
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by AZgl1800 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:38 pm

Spray this, or another brand terminal protector product on the battery posts and terminals.
less than 7 bucks at AutoZone: https://www.autozone.com/test-scan-and- ... /55918_0_0
or at the cheapest world market there is, only 12 bucks at Amazon :lol:

I use it faithfully, twice a year on my Gold Cart's batteries.
there are six 6 volt batteries in it, and due to the fact that it gets recharged every time I use it, they outgas a lot.... Deep Cycle batteries are horribly expensive, I watch them close, and keep them topped with distilled water.




~John

See you at NASR-11 July 10th, 11th, 12th 2018

http://www.northamericangoldwings.com/c ... 9-nasr-11/

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by WingAdmin » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:13 am

Do you own a multimeter or voltmeter? If not, you might want to look into buying a nice, cheap one to diagnose this problem. I'd suggest an autoranging one if you're not familiar with them.

https://www.amazon.com/Neoteck-Multimet ... 641&sr=8-3

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by jeffk » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:15 am

Sounds to me like your starter button is shorting. If everything is good until you hit that start switch I would start there. You will need a wiring diagram. Clymer manual or here on this site.

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octane94
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by octane94 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:28 am

It happened again this morning! I got on the bike, switched it on, hit the starter, and everything went dead.

Out of pure frustration, I got off the bike and kicked it, and wouldn't you know, it came back to life!

Now I'm totally confused. I'm going to go buy a multimeter today. What should I be measuring?

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octane94
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by octane94 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:29 am

jeffk wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:15 am
Sounds to me like your starter button is shorting. If everything is good until you hit that start switch I would start there. You will need a wiring diagram. Clymer manual or here on this site.
But why would the starter button make EVERYTHING die? Headlight, dash lights, everything?

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by WingAdmin » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:09 pm

If you can get it to happen again, start by putting the meter leads directly on the battery, and go from there. The meter should be set to DC. You'll see the battery voltage on the meter. Then start moving away from the battery - go to the master fuse and see if you have battery voltage on both sides. If so, them move further from there, and so on.

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by jeffk » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:55 pm

A dead short to ground in your starter can shut the entire bike down. I had a similar problem as yours and it was my starter switch. This was on my 76 cb750a and that has a similar set up to the 75 76 wing. You can bypass your switch and kill button assy and see lf your problem goes away. Something between your switch and your starter solenoid is shorting.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by virgilmobile » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:29 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:09 pm
If you can get it to happen again, start by putting the meter leads directly on the battery, and go from there. The meter should be set to DC. You'll see the battery voltage on the meter. Then start moving away from the battery - go to the master fuse and see if you have battery voltage on both sides. If so, them move further from there, and so on.
Do this with the key ON and the bike dead.
After the initial battery voltage test move the meter negative lead off the battery and to the frame.This will test the ground cable...Then proceed to the other wires.

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by SnoBrdr » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:49 pm

octane94 wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:29 am
jeffk wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:15 am
Sounds to me like your starter button is shorting. If everything is good until you hit that start switch I would start there. You will need a wiring diagram. Clymer manual or here on this site.
But why would the starter button make EVERYTHING die? Headlight, dash lights, everything?
The headlight is supposed to go out when the starter is engaged.

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octane94
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by octane94 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:01 pm

OK I went to Harbor Freight and got a meter. I turned the bike on, started it, shut it down. Turned it on, started it, shut it down. I must have done this 20 times, and finally got it to die again. So now the bike is sitting with no power again.

I think I'm doing something wrong. I read some instructions and I think I have the meter set right. I put the red wire on the battery + terminal and the black wire on the battery - terminal but the meter is still showing zero.

My meter
My meter


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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by WingAdmin » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:05 pm

Your meter looks right. You said giving the bike a kick fixed it before. Do it again and see if you can get the power to come back on like before, then measure your battery again with the meter.

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by jeffcosmo » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:26 pm

I've had this happen a few times. Every time this has happened, it was a connection, usually battery cable, that has either become loose, or electrically non-conductive. The fix has almost always been to disconnect the battery, clean the terminals and cables, and reconnect.

Every time.

Cosmo

P.S. I have never had anything else do this.

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by virgilmobile » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:41 pm

"But why would the starter button make EVERYTHING die? Headlight, dash lights, everything?"

Imagine if you will...
A battery with plenty of power...Turn on the key and a small amount is drawn out of it through all those wires.Even wires that are not in the best condition can pass enough power to light it up,..Now you push that start button...You just have demanded 10 times the power .....well one of those wires that could carry 8 amp just won't pass 80 amp and it just quit/arced out/lost connection/etc..
Kick it and move that connection a bit and the power comes back..somewhat.
You have to isolate which connection is bad.
Do not dismiss a connection just because it looks ok and seems tight.

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octane94
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by octane94 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:45 pm

I think I've found the problem!!!!!!

I started whacking around on things with the handle of a screwdriver, and when I hit the battery, everything turned back on! I took my meter and measured the battery then, and got 11.42 volts.

I took the battery out of the bike and measured it, and it was 12.11 volts. But there was NO power coming out of the battery until I whacked it. Is it possible for a battery to break inside somehow and cause this???

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virgilmobile
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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by virgilmobile » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:18 pm

If you measured for volts at both of the battery posts and not on the cable or connector then yes it's possible that the battery has a cracked cell link bar or end post connection.
Note:A12 volt battery is just 6@ 2 volt cells attached together by a thin strip of lead.Its very rare that one of these strips or end posts fail but it's possible.
If you measure no volts on the wire then there's still a probability that the wire is not making good connection with the battery mounting post.

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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by Mean Wing » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:31 am

I was having a very similar problem with my '78 GL 1000, and spent months troubleshooting it until I finally found the culprit. Though I'm no rocket (or mechanical) scientist, I'll try to explain it in terms that make sense to me. But, they might not be the correct ones, so I apologize. At random intervals, when engaging the starter switch, the negative (-) battery terminal would build up a resistance and actually create a block between the battery (post) and the attached wire. Fiddling with it, tapping it with a screwdriver, or simply attempting to tighten the attachment screw would work 50% of the time. On the other occasions, leaving it alone for longer than a few minutes would do it, as well. However, the final fix came when I bridged the attachment screw directly to the battery post using a small (slightly bent) metal bracket piece (see pic). It's as if the lead terminal (attached to the battery post) is defective, or has impurities in it, and, on occasion, builds up a resistance that prevents any connection to be made. So, now I just jump over that problem with my DIY fix--an oval-shaped bracket plate, with two holes in it, that I found at Lowe's. :D



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Re: Strange electrical problem

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:25 am

Mean Wing wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:31 am
I was having a very similar problem with my '78 GL 1000, and spent months troubleshooting it until I finally found the culprit. Though I'm no rocket (or mechanical) scientist, I'll try to explain it in terms that make sense to me. But, they might not be the correct ones, so I apologize. At random intervals, when engaging the starter switch, the negative (-) battery terminal would build up a resistance and actually create a block between the battery (post) and the attached wire. Fiddling with it, tapping it with a screwdriver, or simply attempting to tighten the attachment screw would work 50% of the time. On the other occasions, leaving it alone for longer than a few minutes would do it, as well. However, the final fix came when I bridged the attachment screw directly to the battery post using a small (slightly bent) metal bracket piece (see pic). It's as if the lead terminal (attached to the battery post) is defective, or has impurities in it, and, on occasion, builds up a resistance that prevents any connection to be made. So, now I just jump over that problem with my DIY fix--an oval-shaped bracket plate, with two holes in it, that I found at Lowe's. :D
You had resistance between the battery terminal and the battery lead - enough that the terminal has partially melted, and has also melted the plastic case of the battery!

Typically when you have this kind of problem, filing both the terminal and the battery screw lead until they are both showing bright, shiny metal, then screwing the back together.

Often with wet cell (flooded) batteries, the types that have vents, this is caused by the vent hose not being in place. The corrosive gases emitted by the battery, instead of being plumbed overboard by the battery vent hose, instead collect around the battery terminal, because the vent nipple is right next to it. Those corrosive gases do exactly that - corrode - the terminals, causing resistance and ending up in the situation you see there.



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