Headlight / wiring issue - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Headlight / wiring issue

I'm having electrical issues with my Bates dual headlights, and know almost NOTHING about electrical.

My headlights were working fine until last week when one of my low beams burned out (high beams still worked so I used those the rest of the day). The next morning I replaced both bulbs with new ones and was back on the road.
The following day my brother looked in his mirror and noticed that my headlights were out. As soon as we pulled over the lights were back on, and were fine the rest of the day.
Over the past couple days, when I turn my key on, sometimes the lights will come on, sometimes I need to start the bike before they come on... ?????
Yesterday leaving work, I turned my key on and the lights came on like normal, I pushed the start button and the bike started, but the lights turned off at the same time. They wouldn't work the entire ride home. I got home and put in a brand new battery and the lights came on when I turned the key on, and again when I started the bike. This morning when leaving for work the lights don't come on at all.

I originally thought it was a dying battery because the bike was getting slower to start and after I turned my bike off when I got gas early last week, I turned it back on and went to reset the trip meter, but it was already at 0.0, and I noticed the clock was way off. With a brand new battery the headlight issue is still there.

I'll take the light off again tonight when I get home and look around, but other than a loose plug (which I've already checked), I'm not sure what else I should be checking. Any ideas?

All other lights and electrical work fine.

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post #2 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 10:47 AM
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Sounds like something is loose. If it were a dying battery, it would probably still run the lights and the bike wouldn't turn over.

Check every connection related to the headlight that you can find. Also, if the trip meter is reset you have lost power from the battery completely to the tach. Check fuses, wiggle all wires you can find while the bike is on but not running. Ground wires, fuses, battery connections, if its a wire get your hands on it.

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post #3 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRig
Sounds like something is loose. If it were a dying battery, it would probably still run the lights and the bike wouldn't turn over.

Check every connection related to the headlight that you can find. Also, if the trip meter is reset you have lost power from the battery completely to the tach. Check fuses, wiggle all wires you can find while the bike is on but not running. Ground wires, fuses, battery connections, if its a wire get your hands on it.
Also, I have had relays go bad (not on this bike) so tap those also. They are under the seat.

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post #4 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 11:10 AM
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Check the headlight wire @ the starter switch.

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post #5 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 12:33 PM
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Had that same issue. Next time you notice the the lights off, thumb and release the starter switch so it springs back fast. If that kicks them on, you probably have dirty or loose contacts.

Your new bulbs didn't burn out either did they?

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post #6 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRig View Post
Sounds like something is loose. If it were a dying battery, it would probably still run the lights and the bike wouldn't turn over.

Check every connection related to the headlight that you can find. Also, if the trip meter is reset you have lost power from the battery completely to the tach. Check fuses, wiggle all wires you can find while the bike is on but not running. Ground wires, fuses, battery connections, if its a wire get your hands on it.
I swapped fuses, even though the ones in there looked good. When I get home tonight I'll pull the headlight and unravel all the wiring and check it carefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRig View Post
Also, I have had relays go bad (not on this bike) so tap those also. They are under the seat.
Not sure what the relays look like, but I'll get out the manual and check under the seat tonight as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmb View Post
Check the headlight wire @ the starter switch.
Not sure which wire this is. I'll probably figure it out when I take it all apart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewebay1 View Post
Had that same issue. Next time you notice the the lights off, thumb and release the starter switch so it springs back fast. If that kicks them on, you probably have dirty or loose contacts.

Your new bulbs didn't burn out either did they?
I just turned the key on and the lights did not come on - I thumbed the starter switch rapidly a few times (quicker than needed to start the bike) and one of the times the lights flickered... so you're probably correct - something in there must be loose or gummed up. What's recommended to use for cleaner?

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post #7 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 02:05 PM
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike!! Reading through it all now.

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post #9 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdtoney View Post


I just turned the key on and the lights did not come on - I thumbed the starter switch rapidly a few times (quicker than needed to start the bike) and one of the times the lights flickered... so you're probably correct - something in there must be loose or gummed up. What's recommended to use for cleaner?
Electronic cleaner would be ideal but the WD40 works as well. I've used both

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post #10 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Well you guys were right (as usual!!), it's the starter button. I still don't know if something is loose or dirty though.
I got a screwdriver and some WD-40 from the maintenance guys and opened up the starter switch. I sprayed it with WD-40 while pressing the starter button in and out a few dozen times. I turned the key on and the lights still didn't come on, but I slowly moved the starter button up and down (not in and out) and the lights turned on and off . I didn't take it apart enough to see if the switch was just dirty, and I didn't see any broken wires or solders, but if I move the button down slightly the lights turn off, if I move the button up the lights also turn off, but if I move the button somewhere inbetween the lights turn on. Does that seem more like something is dirty or broken?
At least I have the blue Hi Beam light to tell me when the light turns off and on so I can reach over and tap it to keep my lights on for the ride home tonight.

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post #11 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 03:36 PM
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At this point it could be a broken solder connection or the contacts, you probably won't know until you take it apart...

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post #12 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 03:59 PM
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I'm guessing the spring under the contacts are no longer doing their jobs. I believe it's a spring if I remember correctly...

Pop that sucker open to clean the contacts good and stretch that spring a tiny bit.

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post #13 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 04:54 PM
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These 2 picts should help a little...

Broke
broke (Small).JPG
Fixed
fixed (Small).JPG

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post #14 of 14 Old 08-08-2012, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Problem solved!

I opened up the switch when I got home and cleaned it again. I didn't see any broken wires or loose solders, but still when I moved the starter button up and down the lights turned on and off...

My fumbling fingers couldn't get the starter button out to investigate further, so I put it back together and went to nd4spdbh's permanent fix.

I've turned the ignition on and off a number of times and even wiggled the starter button up and down - the lights come on and stay on every time!!
SUCCESS!

Thanks everyone for all your help! That's why I love WT!!!

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