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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rohnsman's Avatar
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    Last riding season I had some electrical issues. I finally replaced the regulator/rectifier and battery and later took the bike to my Yamaha dealer who replaced some faulty wiring and finally seemed to get things sorted out. All was fine for the rest of the summer and fall.



    But now I'm finally getting back on the bike this spring (well... if you can call this spring, we've had a really late spring here in Idaho this year, lots of rain and cold days, not great for riding). Today I took the bike for about a 15-mile trip across town. Coming out of a store I got back on and found the electric starter would crank, but not fire the engine. (Thank God my '93 still has a kick starter! I can't believe you guys with newer bikes ride without one!). After kick starting, the bike runs fine, though the turn signals are weak, signs the battery is drained. By the time I got home, the starter would not crank at all.



    Best I can figure, the lights are draining the battery as I ride and the charging system isn't charging the battery. I can put the battery on a float charger at home and it recharges, but take it out for a ride and the battery will drain.



    Where would you start to run down this problem? (Don'tcha just hate electrical issues??! - )

  2. #2
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Hey Truelight,



    Sorry to hear about the recurring electrial gremlins.



    Here's a couple of places and things to check before a more thorough in-depth check is needed. i.e. this is what I would check first if it was mine.



    There is a lot more to check than what I'm about to mention, but it's a starting point.



    1) Battery terminals clean? On mine, I have to clean them 2-3 times a year because of corrosion. Even though you are hooking up a battery charger and it charges the battery, you could still be having a poor connection.



    2) Check Battery electrolyte level in each cell. Even with a newer battery, this could still be an issue. I had low levels occasionally. I would re-fill cells and charge the battery. Battery showed proper charge level at first then die out. Over time it worsened and the culprit ended up being a bad battery. And the battery was only a year or two old.



    3) Check voltage. If you have a voltmeter or multimeter, check voltage on the battery terminals both prior to starting and after it's running. Voltage should be over 13 when running. If your not getting 13v at battery terminals, then place voltmeter leads into the wires leading to the terminals. If your getting at least 13v, it's charging but the battery isn't taking or holding the charge.



    These basic checks can rule in or out the battery and/or terminals.



    If all above is ok, with the history of faulty wiring, you could then start tracing bad wiring by conducting ohms checks at point A and B of a particular wire.



    These are some of the things I would start with prior to checking the more in-depth items, (battery load test, stator, rectifier/regulator).



    Again, I can offer help if you want and check things out for you.



    Kris
    Hidden Content A ride in the woods helps me relax and release tension. The fact I'm dragging a body should be entirely irrelevant?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rohnsman's Avatar
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    Good tips ! I will try these things when I have time to spend with the bike. They all sound within the scope of my -limited- skills.



    Hows the paint job going on your bike? I'll be anxious to see the results. You have me seriously thinking about trying a vinyl wrap. Doesn't loo prohibitively expensive and if I screw it up, I can always tear it all off again, huh?



    Let me know if you'd like to meet for lunch one day and we can chat about out respective projects.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member mrlmd's Avatar
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    What kind of battery did you buy last year? If it's an AGM or VRLA they must be put on a charger and fully charged before first use or they will prematurely fail and not hold a full charge ever again, after you start the bike only a few times. The guys in the battery stores don't tell you that, they just tell you to hook it up and you're ready to go. YOU must fully charge it first and not rely on them having done it. That's on a 2 amp charger, like overnight. Charge up your battery now and get it load tested to see if it's any good. If it sat over the cold winter and wasn't periodically charged or on a trickle charger, it may have gotten deeply discharged and may not recover and hold a charge. A fully charged battery at rest should read 12.6-12.8V, and you could do your own load test by connecting a volt meter and hitting the starter button and seeing how low it drops. If it goes down to or below 10-11V, it's probably shot.

  6. #5
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    A 2 amp/hour charge rate is way to much for a TW battery. Batteries need to be charged at a rate no more than 1/20 their rated capacity. The TW battery is rated at 7 amp/hour. 2 amp/hour could easily cause the electrolyte to boil, releasing hydrogen gas that is extremely dangerous.



    Maximum charge rate should be 0.35 amp/hour, or 350 milliamp/hour. I use a charger intended for radio control models that allows setting charge rate, voltage, battery type, and time.



    A less expensive option is a Hobbico 12V charger for sealed batteries used to power electric starters for model airplanes. Output is 120 milliamp/hour. Costs about $12. Cut the plug off and solder on alligator clips. Charge rate is low enough little worry about overcharging, but it is not automatic so don't just leave it hooked up all the time.



    If you have a bunch of old wall warts around, see if you have one with a 12 volt output at 350 milliamps or less. Output should be written on each one. They make dandy motorcycle battery chargers for the cost of a pair of alligator clips. They probably won't put a complete charge on a battery, but they'll put enough of a charge to make it run.



    Anywho, back to the OP. How was this battery stored all winter? Did you leave it in the bike in a cold shed? If so, I'd consider death by neglect a likely scenario. If you kept it warm and charged all winter I'd suspect the dealer repaired your wiring with crimp terminals and one of them isn't making contact, because crimp terminals are a sorry excuse for lazy technicians. If there are crimp terminals used for repair, replace with twist, solder, and shrink tube. Other than that, I'd check all wire connections for cleanliness, as stated a couple posts up.




  7. #6
    Senior Member Rohnsman's Avatar
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    OK...here's the problem "by the numbers..."



    Using a voltmeter --



    Battery with key off - 12.36 V



    Battery with Key on / lights on, engine not running - 11.55 V



    Battery when starter is cranked - 10.55 V



    Battery with engine running at idle - 11.85 V



    Battery with Engine revved - 13.5 V



    So... what does this mean? The other day when I took the bike for a 30-minute ride it would crank the starter but not fire the engine when I came out of a store to ride home. (Thank goodness for the kick starter!). By the time I got home, the starter would not crank at all. Leaving the bike plugged in to my cheap Harbor Freight float charger brought it back to 12.6V by the next day and the bike turned over and started just fine. This is a new battery just bought last year and it was on the float charger all winter. I started it several times over the winter and it always started fine. It's a ride (with the headlight on) that seems to drain the battery. I checked the fluid levels - all good, and the connections, all clean.



    Any thoughts on why the bike isn't keeping the battery charged when taking it for a ride?

  8. #7
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    Take a look at your ground cable where it attaches to the regulator mounting bolt.



    That aluminum-to-copper-to-steel connection can get a little funky. Shine it all up.



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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  9. #8
    Senior Member Rohnsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizrdbrth View Post
    Take a look at your ground cable where it attaches to the regulator mounting bolt.



    That aluminum-to-copper-to-steel connection can get a little funky. Shine it all up.


    I'll take a look at that. Unfortunately, this is a '93 and I would not be surprised at all if it spent time sitting outside in the weather for many of those years. The wiring and connectors are kinda crusty and I've been cleaning them up as I can. Completely re-wiring the bike would probably do it a world of good, though that's a bit beyond my level of expertise.



    In my experience, it's not wear and tear that kills motorcycles, it's letting them sit and "rot" from neglect. (I guess that's true of people too though, huh? )

  10. #9
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Seafoam Deep Creep. Expensive, but readily softens corrosion of wire connectors. Use sparingly--a little goes a long way. Q-tips loosen corrosion after a bit of a soak in Deep Creep. Rinse with Deep Creep. Reassemble with electrolytic grease to prevent future corrosion. Do a few connections each time you twiddle with the bike. Won't be long before all your connections are clean and tight, and most electricsal problems will be prevented.




  11. #10
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    What he said. I buy the larger squeeze tubes of dielectric grease rather than those tiny little thangs. The cap opening is large enough to "dip"" a male connector into. So you can kinda point the tube into tight spots where the wires are short, grab the end of a wire, dip and reconnect.



    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

    Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.

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