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Old 03-28-2012, 02:44 PM   #16
apt13 OP
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thanks for that, and it is helpful, what i'm getting just a faint click of the relay (which i can feel when i touch the relay). there is no sound or movement from the solenoid. at least not that i can feel or hear. i am familiar with hearing the "clunk" of the solenoid with no starter action. (i know it's silly differentiating between a click and a clunk).

so what you are thinking is that the solenoid is getting "energized" but not doing anything? so the fault may lie somewhere in the wiring to the solenoid or the solenoid itself?
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:17 PM   #17
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You've jumped from the battery lead to the small lead on the solenoid, and it worked. Right? If so, the solenoid is good as is the starter.

After re-reading the OP, my guess is the plug for the relay is not making a good contact with the relay. When you jumpered the contacts, the starter worked everytime. That pretty much eliminates my original thought of dirty contact somewhere else. I'm now wondering if the plug contacts are loose or spread apart and not making a good connection. I'm guessing your jumper wire is thicker than the spades on the relay. It may have spread the contact when you pushed it in, or one of the plug contacts may be slipping back when you plug in the relay. Check for loose contacts in the plug. Make sure they're all at the same level while you're at it.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apt13 View Post
thanks for that, and it is helpful, what i'm getting just a faint click of the relay (which i can feel when i touch the relay). there is no sound or movement from the solenoid. at least not that i can feel or hear. i am familiar with hearing the "clunk" of the solenoid with no starter action. (i know it's silly differentiating between a click and a clunk).

so what you are thinking is that the solenoid is getting "energized" but not doing anything? so the fault may lie somewhere in the wiring to the solenoid or the solenoid itself?
Almost.

Note that there's a big difference between the tinny click of a small relay like the starter relay and the hearty click that you will hear from the starter solenoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian View Post
You've jumped from the battery lead to the small lead on the solenoid, and it worked. Right? If so, the solenoid is good as is the starter.

After re-reading the OP, my guess is the plug for the relay is not making a good contact with the relay.....
I think this is the key.

If jumping to the solenoid works every time, then the solenoid and starter is probably OK.

It seems that the solenoid is not reliably getting power. As you surmise in part, the fault may well lie somewhere in the wiring to the solenoid - remembering that the solenoid is energized by the starter relay. Faulty starter relay? Clean/re-clean all contacts, and check/recheck all grounds. Rewire?
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:20 PM   #19
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Relay 101

A relay is an ELECTRICALLY OPERATED SWITCH.

In the simplest form, it's got four wires - two to operate the switch, and the two that are switched.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but here's how I understand what's happening here:

You've pulled the starter relay and applied 12V to the output of the relay (at the plug) that powers the starter motor.

And when you do this, the starter always works as it should.

Correct?

If so, this tells you that the problem is ahead of that connection. It could be as SS says, and the relay is bad. Perhaps it's not up to the task - is it a 30 Amp relay? I've heard of relays not surviving well. I'd trust Rick's $10 relay, but any good automotive supply should have them. Try a battery/starter/alternator shop or rebuilder.

Anyway, before running off for another relay, let's test yours. You know, proper troubleshooting tech - don't just swap parts hoping one of them will fix it - but actually test things to see if they're working or not. Use the process of elimination to remove large blocks of items from the list.

Here's how to test the relay:

You want to know if the relay will provide the voltage necessary to activate the starter. So operate the relay by applying 12V to the one of the four terminals that commands the switch. So how do you figure out which one that is?

By the wiring diagram on the case of the relay. The command side will have a stylized drawing of a coil - a cylinder with a few windings of wire around it. It won't really matter which side is hot and the other ground. These relays use an electromagnet to activate the switch, and that's what makes its distinctive SNAP!

The switched side looks like a line with a gate - either open or closed. That's the switch.

There are numbers beside the terminals in the drawing, and if you look at the terminals on the underside of the relay, they've got those same numbers.

So what you want to do is apply 12V to the terminal that activates the relay while it's plugged in.

If it works every time, then the problem is up-stream in either the wiring, switch, or something even farther away.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:39 PM   #20
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I would call that lesson relay wrong oh wrong. It points out exactly how to fall into a trap thinking that the relay is good when often it is not. All that test does is test to make sure that the switch is opening and closing. It does not test the switch. The switch is a set of points. Think about ignition points. They can open and close and still not work. So can the points in a relay. The points get pitted or become poor conductors in a variety of ways. There is step two to testing the relay. The points open and close but now we need to know if there is a voltage drop through the points. Doing a voltage drop test across the relay contacts is hard to measure accurately because just the tiniest voltage drop makes a difference. The voltage drop can be happening sporadically as well. A new relay is the best way to find out if it is the relay. Just last year I cleaned up my starter relay contact points with a point file and that fixed it for about a half year and then it started acting up again. I wouldn't do that to a customer. I replaced three starter relays in a few months last year. I always think it is funny when sometimes things come in groups like that. Of course, it can be other things too! I have seen the starter button itself act up more than a couple of times myself!
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:29 AM   #21
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Yeah, I've noticed it too, that different things come in groups - for a while it's starters, then it's transmissions, then forks...

I think you misunderstood me - I was recommending testing the relay in situ, not out of the socket. Without a load on it you can't know for sure if it's really working.
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:23 AM   #22
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thanks guys, i really appreciate the help once again. i'm trying to be more methodical this time around, haha. as last year in the other thread i was extremely impatient and doing too many things at once and confusing everyone, including myself!

the relay testing ideas are a bit confusing. if i am hearing the relay "click" every time i hit the start button, isn;t that telling me that the relay switch is "activating", hence the click. but we just don't know if the correct voltage is going through the relay. is that what we are saying?

i assume we are getting enough down to the starter from the relay box, because when i take the relay out, and jump the connectors at the relay box, the starter starts every time.

i'll go ahead and get another relay and see what happens. i guess there is only so long i can dance around the relay, haha.

still not sure why starter relays vary so much in price between different shops. was hoping to order all the random bits i need from one place, but its hard to pay 30-40 bucks for something when i know i can get it for 10 bucks somewhere else.

also, i do know that the problem might not be the relay at all, so i'm still "accepting other offers" for ideas, haha.

it's nice to keep learning.
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:59 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apt13 View Post
the relay testing ideas are a bit confusing. if i am hearing the relay "click" every time i hit the start button, isn;t that telling me that the relay switch is "activating", hence the click. but we just don't know if the correct voltage is going through the relay. is that what we are saying?
I just refurbished my starter bushings and ended up rebuilding my solenoid to cure a lazy starter so i have so recent experience in this box The relay is a two part switch, the active part, the click you hear, is a low current side that engages a much higher current latch. The high current latch could be so pitted it won't pass enough current to engage the solenoid; in my case the latch in the solenoid was so pitted it wouldn't spin the starter. Seems like you've ruled out the high current wires by jumping them at the relay, and, the solenoid engages and spins the starter so you've eliminated that as a culprit. what's left is one side of the relay.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:14 AM   #24
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"now when i put everything back together, the bike still starts randomly. when it does start it starts with authority as if nothing is wrong. but more often i just hear the click of the relay".


What do you mean when you "put everything back together"?

Do you mean just connectors?

Do you mean tank,covers etc?

Do you move the handlebars to reconnect stuff?

Do take the tank off? and then back on?

Is a wire or wires that isn't pressed up against something(frame,other wire bundle,etc) when apart and working

everytime, become touching the frame or straining at a connector?

Can it be heat related?

After several tries at starting is something heating up and then making a good enough connection to work?

Are there any connectors that you can take apart and solder the wires together even spade connectors ?

Can you hard wire the relay in?(I've never done that so I don't know)

You always go back and make them connectors again.

Feel around the wires are any warm/hot when starter not working?

Use your nose can you smell any "burning"?

Can you make a push button switch to hang on your handlebars for a while and see if that works all the time.

I spent 20 years as a field service engineer working internationlly back in the 70s/90s and have solved

wierd/intermittent problems like this using every one of these technics....Al
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:24 AM   #25
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hi rusty, thanks for the list. here's some quick answers for ya.

i get the same results when the tank and covers are off as i do when they are on. by "putting it all back together" i mean that all connections are back on and all covers and tank are on. but like i said, i get the same results either way. there is no difference.

i do not remove the handlebars for anything. no need to.

nothing appears to be touching or rubbing anything abnormally when the tank is on. i get the same results on or off.

i do not notice anything heating up or burning and don't smell or feel anything burning or hot.

as for making extra push buttons and soldering and hardwiring, i'm afraid that's a little out of my comfort zone at the moment. haha.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:25 AM   #26
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have you hard wired "jumpers" on all safety switches?....Al
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:30 AM   #27
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Have you checked for any voltage drops on the postive cable between the battery & starter/solenoid. Put a volt meter on the battery:
1. Read the voltage;
2. Push the starter button, see the voltage at the battery;
3. Put the postive test lead on the cable where it connects to the starter/solenoid;
4. Push the starter button, see the voltage at the cable where it connects to the starter/solenoid.

If there is any difference, no matter how small, between the reading found in # 2 & # 4, replace the positve cable.

I've had this intermittent problem on other bikes, even bought a new battery, but it turned out to be corrosion in the cable itself that under load would just drop the voltage, by like .1 or .2 of a volt but it was enough that the bike wouldn't start.

To my mind you have a connection/cable issue somewhere in the starter circuit.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:45 AM   #28
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What about the neutral light, Any difference when the bike is starting and not starting; there is a diode in the starter circuit.



I know you have a new clutch ,but, the clutch switch cable has a connector doesn't it,pull it apart and jumper it .

Can you jumper/bypass the starter switch using pin 85 and 85b?

I am going by the schematic, not by years of hands on experience with airheads,so,if you think I'm wasting everyones time please let me know.

I don't want to be "that guy" ....Al
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:59 AM   #29
apt13 OP
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all the dash lights and everything work properly, haven't noticed anything funky with the neutral light or anything.

i have a new clutch switch (not a new clutch). i don't think i understand what you mean by jumping this switch?

hmm, what i jumped at the relay box is 87 and 30. i didn't try 85 and 85b. i might have tried it last year in the old thread as it sounds familiar. i can't remember what the pin numbers are at the top of my head. i plan on opening it all back up later and giving it another go.

please keep the ideas flowing. more info the better. thanks a bunch!

i went ahead and ordered a new relay from motorrad elektrik so hopefully it will be here soon and we can try it out.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:16 AM   #30
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if you look at this schematic.

http://www.omnilex.com/public/bmw78/78r100wire.jpg


upper left corner is the starter switch, the wires go to a connector block.

can someone tell me where this connector block is? headlight bucket?

I have a /5 and the headlight bucket is actually drawn on the schematic!

Gotta Loves those /5s!!!!............Al
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