This being August and all, I thought I'd appeal to this august group with an issue I'm having on my 1971 R75/5.

Over the last 6 months or so, my starter didn't always engage when I pressed the starter button, but by being more deliberate or pushing the button in a slightly different position, could start the bike. Now even this doesn't work so I figured a little cleaning was in order. I removed the two screws holding the switch to the handlebar, and pulled the switch away from the housing just far enough to visually inspect the wires - no obvious broken wires - and I sprayed some contact cleaner and compressed air around the wires. I still had nothing when the starter button was depressed, so I put it back together, kick started the bike and went for a ride. About an hour later I stopped for gas and thought the idiot lights looked a little dim and the turn signals didn't blink steadily. On the way home the bike sputtered a few times and eventually quit on me. I somehow got the bike restarted and made it home and noticed a weak headlight - I had turned it off for the ride home suspecting an electrical issue, and no tail or brake light. A voltmeter showed a dead battery. I charged the battery overnight - voltmeter read 12.4 or thereabouts, and I went for a ride closer to home and had the same issue - within 30 minutes or so, the headlight was dimmer and the blinkers didn't blink.

Believing in the "what did you do last?" theory of troubleshooting, is it possible that the issue is related to something I did when I removed the starter button? When the starter button worked intermittently, I did not have this problem. I'm a pretty novice mechanic, especially when it comes to electrical issues, but wonder how to proceed. I figure I should replace the switch, but would like to know how to proceed so I can go farther than an hour from home until I replace the switch.