Need help with Electrical Problem

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Jed
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Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby Jed » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:41 am

On my second day out this season (2010 R12R, 40K mi), after a short 40 mi ride, I stopped the engine for about 5 minutes to run into a store. When I tried to restart, when I hit the starter button (no starter) but the OBC screen went suddenly blank. When I turned the key to "OFF" the Tach and Speedo needles started twitching at the bottom of their range.

A few hours later I tried again and the screen stayed blank and the Tach and Speedo needles did a similar weird little dance. I trailered back home and put the battery on a trickle charger for 5 hours or so. After 5 hours, same symptoms so I got out my multi-meter and tested across the battery posts to get a DC voltage of 13.5. The bike ran fine and started with authority previously. The bike had been on a tender for the previous few weeks of storage.

Any idea where I should start looking to troubleshoot this issue? Thanks in advance for your help.

Jed

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mogu83
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby mogu83 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:44 am

I'm sure someone with a better memory than mine will pipe up, but this sounds similar to the problem the early R1200Rs had when the antenna ring (security system) went bad. Do a search on antenna ring and see if the symptoms fit your problem. The early bikes had a recall to replace all the rings but that was early on.
I'll assume your using the right key.

Good Luck, bad time of year to have your bike crap out,
Harry
Harry Costello -- Jersey Shore
2007 R1200R
1974 + 75 CB125S
1971 R75
2011 Sportster
BMWMOA 57358

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dbrick
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby dbrick » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:53 am

I would R&R the battery cables, both the big ones (starter, ground) and smaller one(s). Inspect the cables to make sure they're intact and have not begun to corrode internally - corrosion isn't certain, but when it appears it's almost always right at the end where the cable is clamped into its ring connectors. Physically clean the cables' ring connectors with sandpaper, as well as the surfaces on the bike to which the connectors are fastened. Finally, R&R the big connector behind the instrument cluster that connects the cluster to the bike's wiring. Clean the contacts with DeOxIt. Check the contacts on the starter relay; it's under the seat, and is the only relay on the bike.

If there are accessories connected to the bike's electrical system, disconnect them while you assess the system's health. This will remove from the equation the possibility that the fault you're seeking is accessory-related. If the bike runs consistently well with the accessories disconnected, then you can reasonably assume the bike's electrical system is OK. If upon reconnecting the accessories, the bike begins to misbehave again, then the fault is likely in one of the accessories.

The VOM measured voltage at the battery posts doesn't tell much - any battery can deliver decent voltage when there's no load on it; the real test is what's the voltage when a big load (like the starter) is applied. Batteries die, and its possible your bike's is...but the cables may as well be checked first, as you can do that without buying a new battery. Having a good-condition fully-charged battery, and good cables and connectors, are all necessary to do effective troubleshooting.
Last edited by dbrick on Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
David Brick
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2007 R1200R
priors: R50, R50, R69, R69S, R65, FJ1200, K75S, R1100RSL

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dbrick
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby dbrick » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:55 am

Thanks, Harry. I'd forgotten about the antenna ring possibility.
David Brick
Santa Cruz CA
2007 R1200R
priors: R50, R50, R69, R69S, R65, FJ1200, K75S, R1100RSL

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deilenberger
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby deilenberger » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:16 pm

Jed,

The antenna ring symptoms are considerably different from those given. EWS is displayed loud and clear in the LCD display. The needles do nothing. Nothing happens. It is basically dead. That isn't your problem IMHO.

The symptoms here sound like a bad battery connection of some type - or a defective battery. There have been instances on the R1200XX batteries where an internal conductor cracks. At very low currents it will read what appears to be full battery voltage - but once some current is drawn (like turning the ignition on) - the crack resistance drops the battery voltage to nothing. Same thing can happen if any of the battery cables are loose at EITHER end. Worth checking the cables also.

I'd be curious what the battery voltage is with the ignition turned on. ALL the symptoms point to that IMHO.
Don Eilenberger - NJ Shore
2012 R1200R - I love this bike!

Jed
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby Jed » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:38 am

Thanks all for your help. Turns out it was a dead battery. I guess seven years is long enough for the original battery when given no care at all. The bike winters in my basement, but other than that I did nothing to extend the life of the original battery. I tested then old battery just before installing the new and got 9.5v and 4.5v with ignition on. Once the new battery was connected (Westco Plat AGM WCP14 from Beemer Boneyard), the bike sprang back to life.

Sorry to have imposed with such a simple problem, I'm obviously not much of a wrench.

I've got a bunch of follow-up questions if you don't mind:

1) Is it safe to use a "Battery Tender Plus" on this thing?
2) Is it best to leave the bike on the tender as much as possible?
3) What is a reasonable life-span to expect from a battery?
4) What is the consensus on "best" batteries for an unmolested R1200R 2010?

I'm riding about 8K miles a year, mostly short & local and relatively slow speed stuff. There are no electrical accessories on the bike.

Thanks again for your responses and help. I will go through the bike and re-tie a bunch of the overly-tight wire-ties. I guess I need more wrench-time with my R12R.

Cheers,
Jed

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dbrick
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby dbrick » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:03 pm

Glad you found the problem, Jed.

1) There are several different types of battery chemistry, and each likes a sightly different charging/maintaining profile. Thus, the kind of tender you should use depends on the kind of battery you installed.

2) Some do, and some plug it in from time to time depending on how much they ride the bike and how strong the bike's battery is. For example, I don't usually connect the charger/maintainer unless the bike has sat unridden for a month or more.

3) If you plotted the number of battery failures against time, you'd have a small number right away (DOA, or soon thereafter), then the plot would flatten and rise slowly over the next two years, then start to trend upwards more steeply. Few batteries last > 5 years, but some do. A rider's evaluation should include the question "How tolerant am I of a battery failure?" While one can buy a battery easily enough, some of us are more averse to sudden failure, and don't relish the idea of the bike not starting (which perversely often happens just after you've packed for a trip). For myself, I'm failure-averse, and tend to replace batteries earlier (say, 3 - 4 years on) even if they're still performing. That said, as I mentioned in my April 16 post: batteries die, at various times and for no apparent reason. Just because it's new or newish isn't a guarantee that it'll continue to work; conversely, just because it's old doesn't mean it'll die tomorrow. But the chance of battery issues increase with time.

4) My '07 now has a MotoBatt MB12XTU; I bought it from Tom Cutter: http://rubberchickenracinggarage.com/. The case was slightly smaller than the battery (a Yuasa, I think) that was in the bike previously, and I had to fiddle with the hold down. It was worth the trouble: it cranks the bike very briskly, recharges quickly, and retains its charge for a long time.
David Brick
Santa Cruz CA
2007 R1200R
priors: R50, R50, R69, R69S, R65, FJ1200, K75S, R1100RSL

KeithB
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Re: Need help with Electrical Problem

Postby KeithB » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:19 am

7 years!?!?!
You are fortunate it lasted that long!
At least it was an easy fix. :-)


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