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I'm having an electrical problem with my 2000 Spirit 1100. Looking for possible diagnoses and a detailed how-to on checking it.

Symptoms:

When the weather is cold (40 F and below) my bike is a hard beast to start. If it doesn't crank on the first couple of tries, the battery dies very quickly, making a chattering sound. (When I crank, I put it in neutral, turn off all accessories, and use full choke). I have tried using a trickle charger all night, but it does the same thing. It shows full charge before I try to crank. When it dies, I can hook up a set of jumper cables to a car or use my portable battery boost and it fires right up. Seems as if it isn't getting enough amps without it. After I ride to work, it usually fires right up when the temperature rises. Yesterday I had to get jumped off, though (I had been out of town for a week and hadn't ridden it. And it is only a half-mile ride to work).

Attempted fixes:

Put a new battery in it last April. Did fine until the weather started getting cold this winter.

Today I took it to my local Honda shop to have the battery tested. They said the battery appeared to be fine, but that I had a negative output when the bike was running. They thought it may be the stator, but that they would have to keep the bike a few days to run tests on my charging system. I'm just kind of leery about it being my charging system, since the problem happens even when the battery shows full charge with the trickle charger.

Additional information:

Since I purchased the bike a year and a half ago, I have added the following electrical devices (but the problem started before I added anything):
Cigarette lighter (wired into the tail lights)
Stebel airhorn (direct wire to battery, relay to horn)
55 watt Kuryakyn spotlights (wired into tail lights)
H-4 headlight bulb
Comagination headlight modulator and taillight modulator
Trailer hitch wiring harness connector (wired to tail lights/brakelights/turn signals)
J&B CB/intercom/weather radio (to tail lights)
Seems like a lot, but usually the only thing I have turned on is the spotlights and modulator. And I turn them off before I crank up.

Possible problems:

Bad charging system (stator?)
Ground issue with starter?
Bad battery
Something shorting out and draining the battery

So, doctors of Shadowelectricalology, in your collective wisdom and experience, what can I do to check this out? I have an analog multimeter, but will need good directions on how to test. The floor is open for suggestions.
 

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Just thinking out loud here...

I had a battery that failed after just a few months. My charger thought it was fully charged, but the starter would turn over slowly. That battery read 12.5 or so volts across the terminals, but as soon as a load was applied (like the starter) the volts would drop way off.

Just because you replaced the battery last spring and your charger thinks it's fully charged doesn't mean it's a good battery.

I'd make SURE the battery is good before I'd suspect the charging system. I know you said you had it tested, but a second opinion never hurts.

Good luck!
 

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I would think you have a ground problem somewhere that is draining your battery, looks like you have a lot of stuff hooked up to the tail light wiring? the auxillary light bar I would get Gonzo's wiring harness and wire your lights thru the battery and either the low or high beam of the headlight (I have mine on the low beam) cause I don't use them unless at nite (for the most part), you have a lot running via the electrical, just my 02 cents and by the way I sure ain't no electrican either.
 

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I agree with all about making sure the battery IS good (load/no load). And I agree with Eldorado that you may have a "ground" somewhere in all your electrical stuff. Since you mentioned this was "started" before you added this "stuff", that leads me to think of some "rubbed/pinched wires". Maybe in the headlight "wiring mess"/ignition switch wiring/starter switch.
I'd be starting there.

I'm no electrical expert and "meters" make me jumpy. So, I can't help with "where/what to connect too. :oops: Maybe Gonzo can tell ya where/what.

Bullzeye
 

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Battery

The battery needs to be tested with a device that will put a load on it. It is not unusual for an almost new battery to go bad. My daughter had a battery that was one month old and you could charge it up but an hour later it would show only 10.5 volts. Disconnect the negitive battery lead and place an ammeter in series between the negitive post and the negitive lead to establish that there is no drain on the battery with everything off. If there is, you will have to find what is doing it by pulling one fuse at a time until the drain goes away. Connect everything back up, put a volt meter across the battery, start the bike and slowly increase the RPM while watching the volt meter. When the RPM gets in excess of 2000, you should be getting about 13.5 to 14 volts across the battery which will check the charging system. On short rides, make sure you keep the RPM's up so the battery will charge.
 
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