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1996 Honda Shadow VT1100C
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey ya'll,

Yesterday, I went out to try to start my bike (one in my profile pic) and noticed it wouldn't start at all. I did all the standard troubleshooting steps. Switch on, key turned, clutch in, kickstand up, even threw it into 1st and it still won't start. Pulled out the multimeter and saw that I'm pulling less than 12 volts from my battery. I didn't leave the key turned on the bike or something but I figure, alright I don't know why, but the battery is dead Jim. So I take out the battery and charge it up overnight (my charger has a maintainer function so it doesn't overcharge the battery) and put it back in the next day. Sure enough, she turns over no problem. Feeling my problem is solved I take her for a quick ride just to get the fluids running since it was a few weeks since I rode her. As soon as I get home and park her in the garage, I pat myself on the back and call it a day.

The next day, I figured let's go for another ride and try to start the bike and it won't start again. Pull out the multi-meter and yet again low voltage and draining upon key turn. I don't have any accessories on the bike that could leech the battery, and I bought my Motobatt MB16A AGM battery in October 2020 so it can't be dead already right? After doing some research, I found that the possible source of my battery being leached could be due to my voltage rectifier/regulator going bad. So I'm thinking about replacing that to start. I also read that the connector for the stator could be bad as well. So if anybody has any experience with having problems with their charging system, help a brother out if you would please? Thanks in advance!
 

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'83 VT750C
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2,138 Posts
If you do a quick search on this thread, or just look through, for ‘no start’, ‘battery’, or ‘charging issues’, there are a few things to try. Though it usually doesn’t happen, batteries can go ‘bad’ right out of the box sometimes. You may also have a parasitic drain on it. Any accessories installed? Before replacing anything, get the bike running again using your charger, or even jumping it off a car battery (non-running). Then put your meter on and check the voltages at idle and after you rev it a little. If you’re seeing 14v or so with the bike running, the charging system is working. A new battery might be all it needs at that point.
 

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2003 VT1100C Spirit
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746 Posts
From your description -- and the fact that you can ride the bike with no power issues once it's started -- I suspect the battery has a shorted cell. I had a high end YUASA battery go bad at 1.5 years. The YUASA before that lasted something like 8 years and was only getting weak before I replaced it.

So yeah, batteries can die young.
 

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99' Valkyrie/North Central Indiana
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9,752 Posts
I would hardwire the 3 yellow wire connection regardless what your situation turns out to be but Yuasa and Napa would be choice of battery brands. My Napa (06') was 11 yrs. old as it was in my bike when I purchased it on 1/13.
 

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2003 VT1100C Spirit
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746 Posts
Here's what the 'three yellow wires' look like that are mentioned by h13man. They go directly from the alternator (Stator) to the voltage regulator (Rectifier). This connector is the Achilles heel of Honda motorcycles. I replaced mine with high capacity bullet plugs...

Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Electronic engineering Electrical wiring
Food Ingredient Recipe Electrical wiring Machine


Yours may be perfectly fine, but it's worth a look. FYI, this is from my '03 VT1100 Spirit which does not have any added accessories. (Honda does offer a repair kit, but it's for an early model Gold Wing.)
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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17,909 Posts
You can put a meter on the battery and watch the voltage as you unplug the regulator main connector. If it rises a lot there is the problem.
I am suspecting the 3 yellow connector, or a failing stater. Do this test=


Put your meter across the battery and see if at rest it is at least 12.5 volts. May need a charge first.
Then watch it while you crank it for 10 seconds and it should be above 9.5 to 10 volts.
Then while running see if it can stay up to 13.5 to 14.5 volts as you rev it above 3000 RPM.
That will tell the basic health of the battery and charging system.
 
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Here's what the 'three yellow wires' look like that are mentioned by h13man. They go directly from the alternator (Stator) to the voltage regulator (Rectifier). This connector is the Achilles heel of Honda motorcycles. I replaced mine with high capacity bullet plugs...

View attachment 298937 View attachment 298938

Yours may be perfectly fine, but it's worth a look. FYI, this is from my '03 VT1100 Spirit which does not have any added accessories. (Honda does offer a repair kit, but it's for an early model Gold Wing.)
I'm betting that's on the stator side of the connector? I think the real problem with these is Shendengin has/had a wire crimping problem. The 3 I've redone all had the worst damage at the crimp on the stator side, not the male/female spade connection.
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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I should clarify what I said above. With the engine off, look at the battery voltage first, then disconnect the regulator and see if the voltage changes. It should stay the same. That means the regulator diodes are not causing a draw.
 

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1996 Honda Shadow VT1100C
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you do a quick search on this thread, or just look through, for ‘no start’, ‘battery’, or ‘charging issues’, there are a few things to try. Though it usually doesn’t happen, batteries can go ‘bad’ right out of the box sometimes. You may also have a parasitic drain on it. Any accessories installed? Before replacing anything, get the bike running again using your charger, or even jumping it off a car battery (non-running). Then put your meter on and check the voltages at idle and after you rev it a little. If you’re seeing 14v or so with the bike running, the charging system is working. A new battery might be all it needs at that point.
I should have put in the original post, but I did check out the "bike won't start" thread before I posted since I figured I would get smacked with that beforehand :D. I don't have any accessories at all on the bike that would drain the battery neither. I will try jumping my bike and see if it's the battery though. Thanks Troy.
 

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1996 Honda Shadow VT1100C
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
From your description -- and the fact that you can ride the bike with no power issues once it's started -- I suspect the battery has a shorted cell. I had a high end YUASA battery go bad at 1.5 years. The YUASA before that lasted something like 8 years and was only getting weak before I replaced it.

So yeah, batteries can die young.
You make a good point. I'll look at getting a new battery just in case I just got a dud. Thanks dude!
 

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'83 VT750C
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2,138 Posts
Most people don’t search beforehand, though even then the search engine isn’t the best for digging up the best info. Let us know what you find! Our money’s on the battery, but stranger things have happened…
 

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1996 Honda Shadow VT1100C
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would hardwire the 3 yellow wire connection regardless what your situation turns out to be but Yuasa and Napa would be choice of battery brands. My Napa (06') was 11 yrs. old as it was in my bike when I purchased it on 1/13.
Hey I was looking at some Yuasa's and I noticed that the terminals were reversed with the negative being on the left and the positive being on the right. I'm assuming you had to move your terminals in the bike to make that work?
 
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