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Old 03-19-2013, 10:32 PM   #1
ultrachrome OP
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Madrona, Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 274
HID headlight sometimes kills bike?

I have a five month old 50W Morimoto ballast direct wired to the battery with 14AWG wire and a Panasonic micro relay on a 10 second time delay. So the ballast is never powered on until the bike (990SMT) is fast idling and the ADVmonster voltmeter is displaying 14.4VDC.

The ballast is fused at 10A and has never blown the fuse.

On three occasions, the last two occurring in the past week, the bike has stalled at the moment the relay comes on. Both the bike and ballast restart immediately without issue.

The bike is ridden to work daily. Battery is 12.6-12.7 when the key is turned and the voltmeter displays 14.4V at all RPMs 2k and above.

Any ideas as to why this is happening? Am I at risk of damaging anything if I ignore it?
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:51 PM   #2
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Gold Coast
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Undo battery terminals, scrub lightly with stainless steel brush, put terminals back on, tighten. Coat with dielectric grease.

(Best guess, either that or you need a new battery soon).

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Old 03-19-2013, 11:46 PM   #3
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: The Northwet
Oddometer: 178
Question More info if ya would, ser

Are you running any extra lights/doohickeys/didgewidgets (it's like a thingamajig but without the whijawhatsit) on that bike? Here's the reason I ask:

I installed a headlight killswitch on my V-Star 650 precisely because the stator doesn't push enough zap at idle. At 1500 RPM, it throws 165 watts while the bike is drawing 175. Kick the carb heaters on and that can suck down 230 watts. With the headlight off, I get 55w back which at least gives the battery a chance. Once I'm rolling, I hit the headlight and LED switches so I'm visible and legal. That ballast kicking on might be a bit too much for your electrical system at idle, causing it to steal some from the battery.

I see the 990SMT is rated at 450 watts, but that's max output. What does the bike draw at idle? What does the stator put off at idle? If you know those two figures, you can find out if you're in the red or the black.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:49 AM   #4
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Gold Coast
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Yabut - the battery SHOULD take up the slack. It isn't - so - dirty contacts or a battery on it's last legs ?

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Old 03-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #5
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Location: Sonoma, Calif.
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Could be radio frequency interference affecting the ECU....HID lights are known to sometimes cause RFI
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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Location: El Dorado Hills, CA
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Could be radio frequency interference affecting the ECU....HID lights are known to sometimes cause RFI
Much stranger things have happened. So, if nothing else works, you may have to put a faraday cage on the ballast and ground the cage to the frame. Or, try ferrite choke on the leads to the bulb.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
ultrachrome OP
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Madrona, Seattle, WA
Oddometer: 274
Sorry for the lack of response. My thread subscription was set wrong.

No other accessories are running. I have heated grips, jacket, and some Rigid Dually's but all are off when the HID lights up.

I may go to a switch instead of the time delay and see if that does it. Flipping it on after I'm moving would be fine.

The other day, I held the revs at 3k as the ballast kicked and the bike did seem to flinch for a second. It might be too much too early.

I'll double check the terminals. They were clean a month ago when I was wiring up my grips.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:46 PM   #8
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: The only county in Illinois with no train tracks
Oddometer: 5,349
OK, I know you are aware of this but I'll put it down so we can start at the beginning-

The most likely culprit is probably one of these 3 issues-
1) battery voltage drops below a threshold and stops a necessary electrical component
2) you have a part failing that stops working when voltage falls below a threshold
3) As mentioned also, there is now an RF issue affecting electrical components.

The first thing is some of these voltage drops that happen in this type of situation can be faster than what a digital voltmeter can display. I'd suggest locating an analog meter, preferably one with a 15V range and see if the needle drops and how much when the ballast kicks in.

You can also try hooking up a car battery with jumper cables- with the car not running of course- and see with an attached battery if the engine remains running.

If you haven't done anything to the bike before the trouble started, my first hunch is that the battery might be starting to fail but these sort of things are virtually impossible to figure out without actual fiddling on the afflicted vehicle.

Here is an example- I had a tow truck once and I thought the ignition switch was going bad as sometimes it would turn off right away and other times it would run for close to 30 seconds with the key off before the engine turned off. And it wouldn't do it all the time, sometimes it would go a long time without an issue and then it would do it several times in a day. However, it always eventually turned off and I did not want to buy a new ignition switch (this was the old style where the switch and the lock are one unit) and then I have to either have a key for the door and one for the ignition or buy new door cylinders too.

Anyway, to make a long story short I had replaced the heater core and also the heater fan. The previous owner had wired the old fan motor direct to the battery with a toggle switch as the old resistor block was bad too. Anyway, when I rewired everything I had wired it into the ignition circuit so -when the fan was running- and you switched the truck off the blower motor would continue to spin and become a generator and keep the ignition working until it slowed down. Rewiring the fan to the ACC circuit eliminated the issue but it took a long time for me to put 2 and 2 together and figure out the running-on issue started when I fixed the heater. Anyway, spend some time going over if you have done any work at all about teh same time the stalling issue started.
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