Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

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RK6
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Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:34 pm

I've spent 4 evenings in my garage swearing and replacing bits of my bike without any real clue as to what's going on so it's time to ask for some help.

Last week my bike decided that enough was enough and didn't want to start. At first I thought it was just a dead battery but it wouldn't start after a full charge and it has since killed a brand new battery.

For clarity, it was running very well last week and before you ask, no I haven't fecked it. :log

R1's are notorious for destroying solenoids so I sourced a new starter relay online but again, it made absolutely no difference. It just keeps cranking for a few seconds before buzzing it's head off so I take the battery out, charge it overnight then rinse and repeat with no luck.

I lost patience on Sunday and attempted jumping it off my car (with the engine off) but it was just cranking constantly without firing up.

Last nights brain fart was that maybe my charger was goosed so I borrowed a mates, charged both batteries, got real excited this evening and BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Same again.

It will however bump start extremely easily which is boggling my fragile little mind. :confused

Does anyone have any idea what could be going on or what I should check next?

I do have a fancy Voltmeter that I picked up a couple years ago but it's basically just an ornament as I can't do anything other than check the voltage drop of a battery with it. :oops

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by Feckdeamon » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:04 pm

Try removing the starter motor and spinning it by connecting + jump lead to the terminal and - to a metal bit of the body. Need to fix it down as it'll give a fair kick if it's working properly.

Sounds like it could be sticky or seizing up, especially if the bike will bump start easily but won't start on the starter motor.

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:11 pm

Feckdeamon wrote:Try removing the starter motor and spinning it by connecting + jump lead to the terminal and - to a metal bit of the body. Need to fix it down as it'll give a fair kick if it's working properly.

Sounds like it could be sticky or seizing up, especially if the bike will bump start easily but won't start on the starter motor.
I'm fairly sure it's turning as it sounded like it was going nuts when I jumped it from the car but i'll have a proper look tomorrow.

Cheers. :2up

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by willian » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:23 pm

Feckdeamon wrote:Try removing the starter motor and spinning it by connecting + jump lead to the terminal and - to a metal bit of the body. Need to fix it down as it'll give a fair kick if it's working properly.

Sounds like it could be sticky or seizing up, especially if the bike will bump start easily but won't start on the starter motor.
^^^^
What he said, watch yourself while turning the starter over if it's not attached to anything securely, they spin up really quick!

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by al » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:36 am

Check the voltage between the battery's +ve terminal and a pont on the chassis away from the battery (not the -ve terminal on the battery).

Try starting the engine and watch the voltage. If it drops significantly then you want to check the main ground connection -ve from the battery to the chassis.

Let me know if you need a second pair of eyes to try and get to the bottom of it.

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:29 am

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian) wrote:Check the voltage between the battery's +ve terminal and a pont on the chassis away from the battery (not the -ve terminal on the battery).

Try starting the engine and watch the voltage. If it drops significantly then you want to check the main ground connection -ve from the battery to the chassis.

Let me know if you need a second pair of eyes to try and get to the bottom of it.

Big Kneed Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian) (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).
Ace, non-intrusive (read: non-destructive) testing is always a winner. Presume you think the earth could be could be shorting against something which is preventing power getting to the starter?
Feckdeamon wrote:Try removing the starter motor
Had a look at the bike this morning to see how best to get my starter out. Looks like i'll need to rip the thing to bits if the earth checks out ok. Tank off, airbox off, throttle bodies out and even then it's going to be a complete PITA to get at. :eek

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by Dave » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:08 am

I assume you looked at the condition of the cable fixings/plugs etc for corrosion

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by al » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:18 am

RK6 wrote:Ace, non-intrusive (read: non-destructive) testing is always a winner. Presume you think the earth could be could be shorting against something which is preventing power getting to the starter?
If there is corrosion etc at the main earth point then there will be a voltage drop/resistance to the starter circuit which will result in the "clicking" when you try and crank the engine. The voltage drop may not be significant enough to effect your instruments when you turn the ignition on which gives the impression that everything is ok.

A short on the +ve side of the starter circuit would generate a lot of sparks and you would know about it and also blow the main fuse.
RK6 wrote:Had a look at the bike this morning to see how best to get my starter out. Looks like i'll need to rip the thing to bits if the earth checks out ok. Tank off, airbox off, throttle bodies out and even then it's going to be a complete PITA to get at. :eek
Check all the cables in the starting circuit first including the +ve connection on the starter. Give all the bolts a good spray of WD40 before trying to loosen them off (especially the bolt on the starter depending on where it is located).

There are checks you can do before resorting to removing the starter motor.

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:24 am

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian) wrote:If there is corrosion etc at the main earth point then there will be a voltage drop/resistance to the starter circuit which will result in the "clicking" when you try and crank the engine. The voltage drop may not be significant enough to effect your instruments when you turn the ignition on which gives the impression that everything is ok.

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).
Excellent, thanks for clarifying. :worthy

I'll hunt down and check the main earth point tonight.

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:58 pm

Right, I've checked the voltage between the +ve and the frame which was as per the battery but after one push of the starter it dropped right down to around 8/9V then quickly recovered to around 10V before slowly climbing back to 11/12V. The main earth point however looks to be OK. The exposed copper in the ring connector is very slightly oxidised but it's nothing worth shouting about and more importantly, the connection itself looks to be solid. I couldn't get it off for a proper look under the bolt as that would involve removing a fair amount of stuff but I'm fairly confident that it's OK.

I also checked all visible connectors for corrosion while I was there and to my eye, they looked fine. I even did a resistance test on every fuse I could find and they all beeped like crazy so nothing to report there either.

It does seem weird that the bike is chewing through a fully charged battery in a matter of seconds. I tested the battery before hitting the starter and it was sitting at circa 13V, hit the starter, bike turned once or twice then BZZZZZZZZZ. Rechecked voltage and it was down at 10V and never quite fully recovered to 12.8V which is what the manual deems to be healthy. The next time I hit the starter it just buzzed/clicked straight away without even attempting to turn the motor which (to me) indicates a dead battery. I realise that a failed start is a current draw without the benefit of a return charge from the generator but killing a battery in one failed start seems pretty mental. :eek

I keep thinking that I could just have a dud battery but I did attempt jumping with my car the other day and it just kept turning over without firing up so that kind of rules that out.

Amps and Volts - 1
Rowan - 0

Guess I better start thinking about checking the starter motor now. :(

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by Gazza » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:23 am

For your battery voltage to drop so rapidly just doesn't sound good. Battery sounds goosed. Maybe a short in the system goosed it as I've never heard of a brand new goosed battery before. Maybe attempting to start with your car goosed it. Either way It shouldn't die off so quickly.

Try leaving your lights on for a while and seeing what happens.

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by Zathos » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:46 am

When the charged battery drops voltage after an attempted start is it hot?
Dumping a fully charged battery will generate a lot of heat, in both the battery and the main leads.

If it is hot, you have a dead short somewhere (possibly the starter motor)

If the leads are cold, then the battery is goosed.

Personally I would be looking at a short within the starter motor, but try the heat thing first. Just be careful if it is a dead short that is a lot of energy flying about.

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by al » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:16 am


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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by al » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:10 am


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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:54 pm

I didn't notice any heat so I'm guessing (read: hoping) that the battery is goosed. It was one of the Motobatt replacements rather than an OEM.

I'll go buy a new one this evening, get it fully charged and start my diagnosis again. Hopefully that'll shed some light on the problem but if it doesn't work, at least I've discounted another potential quick fix before ripping the bike apart.

Cheers for the links and suggestions folks, it's much appreciated! :cool

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by al » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:37 pm

I have a spare battery gathering dust in my garage.

Let me know if you need a hand before you kill another battery.

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:43 pm

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian) wrote:I have a spare battery gathering dust in my garage.

Let me know if you need a hand before you kill another battery.

Big Kneed Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian) (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).
What makes you think I'd do that?! :anon

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by al » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:11 pm

With a fully charged battery:
Pull the fuel injection fuse (15A).
Disconnect the Regulator Rectifier (ideally both connectors but the one with the two wires if you can only manage one).
Connect the multimeter directly to the battery terminals, switch the ignition on and crank the starter for 4 seconds and record the minimum voltage.
Connect the multimeter +ve lead directly to the +ve stud on the starter motor. Connect the -ve lead of the multimeter to the chassis as close to the starter motor as possible. Crank the starter for 4 seconds and record the minimum voltage.

If the difference between the two voltages is greater than 1 volts then you have a problem with the cabling to the starter (either the +ve cables or the ground from the battery to the chassis).

If either of those starting voltages was less than 8-9 volts then the problem is with either the battery or the starter. Swap batteries and repeat (ideally with a known good battery). If the voltage drops below 8v then the problem is most likely with the starter.

If the bike passes all of the above tests then the fun really begins and the next place to look is the charging system.

The problem with the charging systems on modern bikes is that they are designed with a very fine ballance on between just enough power and too much. If one component in that ballance starts to fail it can take the other components of the system with them so changing out just one failed component doesn't always fix the problem as the other damaged components end up damaging the component you have changed out.

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian).

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:01 pm

You're not filling me with a huge amount of confidence... :log

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by Dave » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:02 pm

Big Kneed Al (master of the emergency stop & "stand up" comedian), for all of our sakes, please don’t give RK6 instructions like that.
Pushing starter button and looking at voltage gauge is not a one man operation.
And someone will need to count from one to four for him.

I can offer to help…that is holding the camera while RK6 is playing with electrickery.
I am no good at wires, or counting

Also no way am I going close enough to read a dial or be within contact distance of someone flapping their arms/legs about.

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Re: Wizards of amps and volts, I call upon thee.

Post by RK6 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:17 pm

Don't worry Dave, i'm done with flapping around. I'm at the "drop a match in the tank" stage. :log

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