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Thread: Electrical or Battery Problem

  1. #1
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    Electrical or Battery Problem

    I am trying to trouble shoot a battery or electrical problem. Fully charged, I am measuring 13 volts on my battery, but it doesnÔÇÖt crank my engine. My BMW charger lights do not indicate any battery faults.

    One trouble shooting tip that IÔÇÖve seen is to check the amps between the negative post and the ground wire with the positive side connected. This is suppose to be less than 2.0 milliamps and IÔÇÖm getting 2.8 to 3.0 milliamps. Should an extra milliamp be a problem? Even so, a fully charged battery should crank the engine right?

    I replaced the battery 1 1/2 years ago with a BMW battery. This is an expensive battery, but the first one lasted 5 years and at the time I was figuring for that kind of life it was worth the extra $. I really donÔÇÖt know if its the battery or my electrical system.

    Before the this issue, the only electrical component that is not working on my bike were the heated grips; otherwise everything on my ÔÇÖ04 R1150RT was working fine.

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Charge battery and wait at least an hour - overnight is better.

    Use a volt meter to check battery voltage:

    1. Key off - standing voltage
    2. Key on - not cranking
    3. While cranking

    Report back

    I would expect at least 12.7 in 1.

    Depending on lights, etc it might drop to the high 11s key on.

    Much less than 10 cranking means:

    A. The battery is losing it ...
    or
    B. The starter has excess starter motor drag - loose magnets or bad bushing ...
    or
    C. Your engine is locked/locking up.

    Hope for A
    C sucks.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  3. #3
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    +1 on Paul's ideas.

    Also, check for a loose connection at the battery or the starter solenoid -- there may be enough contact for a few amps to run the lights, etc., but not enough to allow a couple hundred amps to flow to the starter.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

  4. #4
    Lucky MotorradMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 109418 View Post
    One trouble shooting tip that IÔÇÖve seen is to check the amps between the negative post and the ground wire with the positive side connected. This is suppose to be less than 2.0 milliamps and IÔÇÖm getting 2.8 to 3.0 milliamps. Should an extra milliamp be a problem?
    Don't worry about the 3mA load, it isn't your present issue.

    How long has it been since the bike started normally?
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  5. #5
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    I ride my RT every day to work and one Monday about 3 weeks ago, it acted like it had a low battery when I tried to start it in the morning. The engine would turn over, but just barely. It’s been on a trickle charger ever since. The weather has finally cooled off and I had a chance to work on it today. Before I tore into it, I tried the starter and it acted just like last time: slow engine turnover and then stopped with clicking. I’m thinking it’s the battery. I believe that the dash lights went dim as well. Thanks for the ideas. I’ll be trouble shooting the next few days and will check the voltage next time during the attempted start.

    And BTW, I found a 4A fuse out. According to my schematics this should be the grip heaters. It probably when out during my last 40 degree rainy day ride.

  6. #6
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Charge battery and wait at least an hour - overnight is better.

    Use a volt meter to check battery voltage:

    1. Key off - standing voltage
    2. Key on - not cranking
    3. While cranking

    Report back

    I would expect at least 12.7 in 1.

    Depending on lights, etc it might drop to the high 11s key on.

    Much less than 10 cranking means:

    A. The battery is losing it ...
    or
    B. The starter has excess starter motor drag - loose magnets or bad bushing ...
    or
    C. Your engine is locked/locking up.

    Hope for A
    C sucks.
    +1

    If you want to test the quality of the connections from the battery to ground and to the starter, make test 3 twice. The first time pout your DVM probes directly on battery posts. The second time touch one lead to the transmission housing and the other to the threaded post on the starter. The readings should be the same. If any connections are corroded the voltage on the second measurement will be lower than the first.

  7. #7
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    ItÔÇÖs definitely the battery. I removed the battery from the RT, fully charged it, then checked the voltage at 0hr, 12hr, and 24hr. The results were 13.6v, 12.7v, and 10.6v. IÔÇÖll get a new battery. Thanks for the comments and advice.

  8. #8
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    You didn't ask, but I'd replace it with an Odyssey battery.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  9. #9
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    In my opinion, Odyssey batteries are worth every penny. It would be my first choice. UB (Universal Battery) would be my second choice.

  10. #10
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    I'm not sure of their quality compared to other brands, but I just replaced mine with a $79 westco. Zero issues.

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