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Thread: Intermittent dash lights

  1. #1
    Registered User beano08's Avatar
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    Intermittent dash lights

    Boy, I hope I'm not wearing out my welcome here. But I'm having an issue with my dash lights. If you recognize my handle, I just replaced my rotor. Everything seems to be fine in that regard. I had this issue before I took things apart. I know there's a crack in the wire running to the neutral switch. The neutral light had been intermittent since I got the bike. Could this cracked wire cause the dash to go out? I was freaked out to see the gen light glow dimly but it went out went I put the bike into gear. Does this make sense to anyone?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Sorry to say, I don't recognize your handle, why don't you put the model/year of bike you have in your signature line for us?

    If the generator like goes out when you put the bike in gear, do you suppose that you might have the two wire switched somewhere?
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

  3. #3
    Registered User beano08's Avatar
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    I think that's better. When the lights are operating properly everything is hunky dory. My first post was on an iPad, maybe it was unclear. Basically I'm wondering if a bad neutral switch wire (I know for sure the wire is bad) can cause all idiot lights to be out. Come to think of it, this started after I was playing with the wire trying to get the neutral light to work, which it did.
    "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
    1976 R75

  4. #4
    Heartbeat of my R100GS Guenther's Avatar
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    It could be a mechanical problem with the neutral switch.

    With ignition off and in neutral wiggle the shift lever a bit without changing gear. Again do this test in 1st and 2nd gear. Does the neutral light flicker while you are doing that?

    If so the switch might be failing or, the washer under the switch has an incorrect thickness thus not giving a solid on/off.

    If this test doesn't show a failing neutral switch, check the two wires coming off the switch. One is directly connected typically to ground on the gearbox. The other one ends in a connection in the headlight bulb.

    /Guenther

    Edit: Thanks to James' reply a correction - the test should be done with ignition ON and motor NOT running!
    Last edited by Guenther; 10-30-2017 at 04:41 PM.

  5. #5
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    Beano08, If I read your post correctly, you are wondering if a fault in the neutral light wiring will affect the other lighting and indicators in the instrument pod, yes? On a /6, I would say no, that circuit is dedicated to indicating that the transmission is in neutral. That is all it does. A wonky neutral light should not take out the other lights in the pod.

    I like Geunther's idea of of manipulating the wires with the motor not running to see what happens. If it were me, I would try it with the key turned to "lights on" but the ignition off.
    1973 R75/5

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by beano08 View Post
    Boy, I hope I'm not wearing out my welcome here. But I'm having an issue with my dash lights. If you recognize my handle, I just replaced my rotor. Everything seems to be fine in that regard. I had this issue before I took things apart. I know there's a crack in the wire running to the neutral switch. The neutral light had been intermittent since I got the bike. Could this cracked wire cause the dash to go out? I was freaked out to see the gen light glow dimly but it went out went I put the bike into gear. Does this make sense to anyone?

    Thanks!
    When you replaced your rotor, did you unhook your negative battery cable before removing/installing the front cover? If not, you most likely shorted out the diode board. That can make your dash lights act wonky.
    Last edited by fxray; 10-31-2017 at 04:03 AM.

  7. #7

    Lets not forget!

    The circuit board in the instrument pod is 40 years old and they were unreliable when they were new. If all your indicator/dash lights are blinking out or not working it could very well be the circuit board decided to fade away as the charging system was refreshed.

  8. #8
    Registered User beano08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fxray View Post
    When you replaced your rotor, did you unhook your negative battery cable before removing/installing the front cover? If not, you most likely shorted out the diode board. That can make your dash lights act wonky.
    I was very careful to unhook the cable every time. The bike is actually charging beautifully. Over 14 volts at 2-3k rpm. This looks unrelated

    Quote Originally Posted by 69zeff65 View Post
    The circuit board in the instrument pod is 40 years old and they were unreliable when they were new. If all your indicator/dash lights are blinking out or not working it could very well be the circuit board decided to fade away as the charging system was refreshed.
    Yeah that's my concern. Although the problem arose just before I even opened the cover up. Maybe it was just a coincidence. I opened up the headlight, everything looked pretty good in there. I've had my fill of electrical trouble shooting lately. How much are those LED boards? Are they hard to install?
    "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
    1976 R75

  9. #9
    I read somewhere (?) that someone (?) was making replacements for these boards. I think it said with LED lighting built in.

    Anybody?
    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://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  10. #10
    Watch This!!! junkjohn's Avatar
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    I think it is www.katdash.com good luck.
    John Simonds
    2016 Honda CRF 250L 2008 R 1200 GSA
    1975 Norton Commando 850 Roadster Mk 3
    If it ain't broke, fix it 'till it is.

  11. #11
    Registered User beano08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I read somewhere (?) that someone (?) was making replacements for these boards. I think it said with LED lighting built in.

    Anybody?
    http://katdash.com/ I think this is what you're talking about. How hard would something like this be? I've never been into the gauge cluster. I've heard it can be tricky though
    "Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
    1976 R75

  12. #12
    Tourmeister gr8ridn2's Avatar
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    I installed the Katdash instrument light package. It was a simple process with good directions provided. I have had this LED kit for almost a year and am delighted with the improvement it provides in terms of lighting brightness and reliability.

    I have recommended this upgrade to friends experiencing similar issues with their airhead instrument lighting and they are satisfied with the kit.

    Customer support is very good should you experience any issues with this product.

    I have no personal stake in this supplier, just a satisfied customer.
    2018 R1200RT W - Continent traveler
    2016 S1000XR - Smile Maker
    1976 R90/6 - Just Plain Fun

  13. #13
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Katdash

    I have installed two KATDASH units in my BMW RS and RT. They are easy to install. Just be careful when putting the instrument housing back together not to over tighten the screws holding things together. They are fragile and age makes them even more so.
    I ended up replacing both housings with units from Sibenrock because the screw mounting bosses had broken out over the years of changing light bulbs as well as age and over-tightening. St.

  14. #14
    Here is another recommendation for the Katdash replacement for the instrument cluster lights. Kat attended the recent celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 77RS bikes and she spent a good bit of time explaining her LED based replacement board. I found the instructions on her website to be very clear.

    http://katdash.com/

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