'94 XR650L battery draining/electrical issue


15 replies to this topic
  • pjpoo

Posted December 19, 2006 - 06:42 PM

#1

Bottom line, it was a bum bike when I bought. Started up and seemingly ran well. I bought when my foot was broken (lowsiding my streetbike on the track), so I couldn't ride. 2 weeks later I went to start it up and there was barely any juice. The starter barely turned over.

I bought a Deltec Battery Tender Jr from Cyclegear. It performs a bulk charge, and then maintains with a float charge.

The battery charged up. I left it off the charger for a week and checked the voltages. The battery was good, so I threw it on the bike. I got my gear ready for riding and went back out to the bike 30 minutes or so later. Battery was low on juice and could barely turn the starter over...

So something seems to be draining the battery, a short or something running hot. No? I'm new to electrics, and I just bought a multimeter.

Any advice, recommendations on troubleshooting, or pointers in general?

There is some other pertinent facts, such as a Cyclegear battery in place of the stock battery, and the wiring moved to the airbox. I'll have some pictures and relevant facts posted here later tonight.

  • Kyle_E

Posted December 19, 2006 - 06:56 PM

#2

O.K. here goes, I just went through a major overhaul of my electrical system and spent countless hours learning about the 650L electrics. It is a pain for sure and not the easiest to understand if your not an electrician or have limited tech skills. If you have a drain from the battery you can check this by using your multi-meter to see if there is any current flow from the negative side of the battery. Remove the negative cable and check to see if there is a current draw from the negative terminal to the cable by putting the meter leads in between and checking DC amperage. You can also check to see if you battery is being charged by removing the main 20 amp fuse and using your multimeter to see what type of current and voltage is going in to the battery, should be about 14-15 volts DC and 13 amps at 5000 rpm. There is a way to check your stator to see if it is grounding out and your rectifier to see if a diode is bad, but the space it would take to explain it here wouldn't be enough. I suggest you go to the Electrosport website and do some reading, also check for an article called the stator papers on a suzukin GS website. Both are very informative and will give you some basic principles to understand all this. Before doing anything I would check to see what the voltage is at the battery with the engine running, it should be about 14.4 volts DC. This is a simple test with your meter, put it on Vdc and connect positive to positive and negative to negative. The voltage will be less when the engine is not running and more when it is if it is charging. I would then check all my connections, spray them with Electric Cleaner (get it from any auto parts or radio shack, smear them with dialectric grease and make sure they are all the way together with a good tight fit. Check your grounds, especially the one connected to the frame on top of the airbox to make sure it is not corroded. This will cause you all sorts of electrical problems. I could go on and on, but try these and let me know if it corrects the problem.

  • Kyle_E

Posted December 19, 2006 - 07:00 PM

#3

Oh by the way, don't give up. Once you get it sorted out you will be happy you did and look back on it as a great learning experience. I was very frustrated at first but really got into the electric part of it and have a much better understanding of how it all works now. "it's not the destination, it's the journey." Good luck. PM me if you want and let me know how it is going.

  • pjpoo

Posted December 19, 2006 - 10:32 PM

#4

Ok, I was going to try some quick diagnostics.

I ensured the battery was at full charge. It was 12.65 V and then I hooked it up to the bike and immediately attempted to start the bike. The starter would barely turn over. It would turn maybe twice a second, if that, and really slowly. It sounded strained.

Then I took the battery and connected it directly to the starter. Same situation.

This seems to indicate a bad starter. Would the starter suddenly go bad? The bike started up several times when I first bought it. Then two weeks later, nada...

  • XR650L_Dave

Posted December 20, 2006 - 09:29 AM

#5

Could still be a bad battery- it could be showing a full charge but still lacking in current capacity.

Try connecting to a car battery via jumper cables.

Dave

  • pjpoo

Posted December 20, 2006 - 09:35 AM

#6

I jumped it once with my SV1000. Seemed I had to have the SV running to get the XR starter motor turning enough to get it to fire up, and even then, it took a bit to get going. I don't quite recall if it was still turning over slowly and with much effort as I noticed last night.

So...jump it again with battery hooked up, and then check voltage levels on the battery while the bike is running?

  • XR650L_Dave

Posted December 21, 2006 - 09:57 AM

#7

I'd take the jumper cables from the other battery straight to the starter. If you have a bad battery that can be a load on the jumping battery.

Go to ground near the starter, and to the starter + post.

D

  • pjpoo

Posted December 22, 2006 - 12:14 PM

#8

I just took my dual sport battery to the auto store and it tested fine under load...

Today I have off so I want to make some headway on this problem. When I'm done eating, I'll try starting the bike with my street bike battery, dual sport battery (which I've already done).

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  • pjpoo

Posted December 22, 2006 - 02:08 PM

#9

It's not the starter. My street battery get's the bike going.

My XRL battery doesn't turn the starter motor over. The auto store guy says it tested fine under load... the battery is the Cyclegear OEM replacement for the XRL...

When the bike is idling, the battery has 14.5-14.65V. When I roll on the throttle it drops down to 14.2-14.3.

After I shut the bike off, the voltage slowly seemed to be dissipating. I'll go back down and check in a bit to see if it really was or not...


Edit: By the Electrosport fault finding diagram (http://www.electrosp...lt_finding.html) this means there's no problem with the charging system. I'll go check the battery to see if it has further dissipated in voltage while sitting on the bike.

But why would the battery have gone bad from just sitting on the bike if everything is good in 2 weeks?

Also, the load test the guy at the auto store used: he had a portable test unit hooked up. He applied a load and watched the voltage drop due to the load, and the released the load and watched the voltage immediately recover to the starting level. Is this the appropriate way to test the load?

  • cleonard

Posted December 22, 2006 - 02:44 PM

#10

It's not the starter. My street battery get's the bike going.

My XRL battery doesn't turn the starter motor over. The auto store guy says it tested fine under load... the battery is the Cyclegear OEM replacement for the XRL...

When the bike is idling, the battery has 14.5-14.65V. When I roll on the throttle it drops down to 14.2-14.3.

After I shut the bike off, the voltage slowly seemed to be dissipating. I'll go back down and check in a bit to see if it really was or not...


Those voltages that you measured are good. Perhaps slightly high, but this is not the starting issue.

Look for corroded metal in the connections. You need good metal to metal connections from the battery to the starter motor. Another possibility is the starter relay is shot. Try one of you jumper cables on the t terminals of the relay. If it turns over well then it's the relay.

  • pjpoo

Posted December 22, 2006 - 02:50 PM

#11

Those voltages that you measured are good. Perhaps slightly high, but this is not the starting issue.

Look for corroded metal in the connections. You need good metal to metal connections from the battery to the starter motor. Another possibility is the starter relay is shot. Try one of you jumper cables on the t terminals of the relay. If it turns over well then it's the relay.


I'm not sure what the T relay is...(I don't have a manual either and have yet to find one for download)

Also, I connected the dualsport battery directly to the starter and it still wouldn't barely turn the starter over. So either through the relay, or with a direct connection...it doesn't turn over. Maybe it is the battery?

When I jump the bike I connected my street battery directly to the starter.

Come to think of it...some of the connections may have a bit of corrosion, and these would be the same wires i used from the dualsport battery to the starter in direct connection. I'll check those out...

The bike went from a coastal area to a dry, high desert. So maybe without the humidity, the corroded connections can't get the current through...

  • pjpoo

Posted December 22, 2006 - 05:04 PM

#12

Ugh...so I don't know what's up.


I check over connections and nothing looked corroded. The battery voltage was sitting at 12.8 or so volts. I say, "What the heck!" and go to try to fire up the bike on it's own battery power. The starter gets the motor turned over! I turn it off, and try it again. It starter stumbles and I watch the multimeter. I have to let the battery recover to at least 12.5 V and then I try again and it barely gets the bike started....

It seems that if the voltage is below 12.5-12.6 it doesn't want to turn over. However, I know I had the battery above that before and I couldn't get it to turn over, but I may have had the headlight on.

Which brings me to another point. The bike has an Acerbis headlight and aftermarket turn signals. The high beam switch turns the headlights on or off. With the bike idling and the headlights on, the battery is running at 13.2-13.2 V. Rev the motor and the voltage goes up to the mid-14's. Turn it off and then it runs fine around 14.6 V.

When I got the bike the turn signals worked fine. I haven't been worried about them so only today did I mess with them. The fronts go on solid and the back do not light up at all now.

Ugh! So it's not the battery nor the charging system. It looks like the headlight is too much for the stock system. If it's on, the bike won't start. And if it's off, I better hope the battery is absolutely topped off in charge to start....

Suggestions? It looks like I need to "fix" the turn signal wiring for one...

  • lhark

Posted December 23, 2006 - 09:14 AM

#13

That headlight shouldn't be the problem. You're always going to see a voltage drop, when you turn on a higher-draw load. I used the DHH Acerbis on my L for years, even with a smaller capacity battery, with no problems.
You could have a bad spot in your starter, where the brushes don't make good contact with the commutator, but that wouldn't explain the battery running down. How many miles are on the bike?

  • pjpoo

Posted December 23, 2006 - 09:33 AM

#14

I'm on the net way too much....surfing and eating breakfast right now!


Well, I don't think the battery is running down. If it's not turning over well it drains the battery some. The bike has unkown mileage as the stock gauges are not on it. The PO told me 5k, but I'm pretty sure that's BS.

If I turn the ignition on, and have the headlights on, then the bike won't have enough charge to start, seemingly. With the bike off, and good battery charge, say 12.7-12.8 volts, I forget exactly, but the headlight will bring that down the low 12's or maybe even into the 11's. And you can see the charge dropping at a steady rate. You can't leave that light on for long at all without bringing the battery down. I'm gonna go fiddle with the bike some right now...I'll make sure to remember to see the voltage of the battery with the light on and the bike not running...

  • pjpoo

Posted December 23, 2006 - 10:56 AM

#15

Battery @ 12.62 V. Ignition on. Battery now @ 12.50 V and dropping 0.01 V every second or so. Headlight on. Battery @ 11.70 V and dropping steadily.

Ignition off to let battery recover. Battery @ 12.60 V or so. Ignition on. Tried to start bike. Starter would barely turn over. Tried a few times with no success.

Then I jump the starter directly with the battery, using the same cables I use to jump from my street bike. No luck.

Connect cables from street bike to starter. The starter turns over well and within 1-2 seconds, the cold bike fires up. Battery voltage starts to increase and then levels out as the bike idles/runs.


According the Electrosport fault finding diagram, the system seems to be fine if the headlight is off. However, should the bike not be able to start with the headlight on? After all, the stock headlight would be on at all times... If the headlight is on, then the bike battery doesn't have an acceptable voltage when idling or running.

Also, following the Electrosprt Fault Finding diagram (http://www.electrosp...lt_finding.html) is a bit difficult since I have no manual for the bike. I don't know what certain parts are supposed to look like. Also the fault diagram uses some different verbage. For example, "generator closest to the engine," which I have no clue about. "Rotor" and "brushes inside of generator".....it's a bit confusing. This makes it seem like the generator is the starter, but then there would be no reason to have the stator connected to the starter motor, nor is the starter used once the bike is running.... I have no clue where the stator is. Or what the rotor is supposed to be. Keep in mind I'm not a complete dumbass...

Here's what I'm working with: http://www.socalsvri...41/IMG_1892.jpg
You might have to copy and paste to get it to work in the address bar. The battery is on a box just below the picture frame, just below the airbox. That black rubber box on top has a couple wire bundles of connections right next to it, which is not completely clear from the picture.

:thumbsup:

  • lhark

Posted December 26, 2006 - 08:23 AM

#16

It still sounds to me like you have a bad battery. If you can jump start it directly to the starter, and it turns over fine, the starter should be okay. You should experience draw, measured by the meter, with the headlight on. Most of the Hondas I've owned have a connection to the starting circuit, that shuts off the headlight, when the starter button is pushed. How much voltage is your streetbike battery/system? If you don't have that much at your XR battery, before you hit the starter button, it makes sense that your battery doesn't have enough voltage to turn the engine over.....no matter what the load test said earlier...





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