1200LT pulling my hair out!! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 4:48 pm Thread Starter
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1200LT pulling my hair out!!

I have a 2003 LT. I posted before that I am have a battery draining to dead. It used to take several days then two days and then the same day I charged it. I have noticed that when I connect the bike leads with the ignition off I get an arc connecting the battery lead.
Posted this before and it was suggested to connect a meter in line to the negative lead and pull fuses until the drain stops. Well I was ready to do that but I decided to cheat. I pulled all the fuses from every bank. Then with the ignition off I struck the negative lead to the battery terminal. It still arcs! A little less then with the fuses connected but still there.
I have had the battery on a battery tender for several weeks after it started dying the same day I rode it. Just for grins I had the dealer check it three months ago on the million dollar BMW battery tester and it tested fine. Today I went to the auto store and had it tested the battery is not putting out 11 amp. The bike will not even click when you try to start it and the ABS blinks to show low voltage.
So which is the chicken which it the egg. It I pull all the fuses with the ignition and radio off and strike the negative lead on the battery I should not get nothing right! The only other thing I can think is that there is a short in the wiring harness somewhere that bypasses being fused? Or could the battery be shorted inside?
I do remember at one point in July I took a jump from a running car when the problem first appeared. Someone told me that was REALLY bad for the bike since it runs on 20 or so amps and car runs at 200. But the bike was fine for 2 months after that after. I would think if that was the real problem I would have had immediate issues with the bike the very next day!
In looking around I see some things about the starter and alternator but how could they be the problem with the ignition off.
I did find out why the bike is running warm the last month I road it. BMW fuses the radiator blowers separately. The left blower fuse was blown.
The only accessory I have on the bike is fog lamps that I viper clamped off the head light leads. I even cut those wires and I still have the problem.
I talked to BMW about running it on the bike computer. They said it would not run down electrical problems I was on my own!
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post #2 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 4:56 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Similar experience a couple months ago. Finally stopped for some corn on the way home and wouldn't turn over. Fortunately the farmer had a nice slope down to the barn where the battery charger was. Popped the clutch while rolling toward barn and varoom. Made it the last 2 miles. Bought a new battery and no problems.
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post #3 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 5:04 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

You never told us how old the battery is???
If it's more than 2-3 years old, why are you "beating yourself up"
with your spark test theory?
If your battery has gone dead more than once or twice that alone could cause internal battery damage.

Instead of pulling your hair out, pull your wallet out and get a new battery.


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post #4 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 6:01 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wkane4
I have a 2003 LT. I posted before that I am have a battery draining to dead. It used to take several days then two days and then the same day I charged it. I have noticed that when I connect the bike leads with the ignition off I get an arc connecting the battery lead.
Posted this before and it was suggested to connect a meter in line to the negative lead and pull fuses until the drain stops. Well I was ready to do that but I decided to cheat. I pulled all the fuses from every bank. Then with the ignition off I struck the negative lead to the battery terminal. It still arcs! A little less then with the fuses connected but still there.
I have had the battery on a battery tender for several weeks after it started dying the same day I rode it. Just for grins I had the dealer check it three months ago on the million dollar BMW battery tester and it tested fine. Today I went to the auto store and had it tested the battery is not putting out 11 amp. The bike will not even click when you try to start it and the ABS blinks to show low voltage.
So which is the chicken which it the egg. It I pull all the fuses with the ignition and radio off and strike the negative lead on the battery I should not get nothing right! The only other thing I can think is that there is a short in the wiring harness somewhere that bypasses being fused? Or could the battery be shorted inside?
I do remember at one point in July I took a jump from a running car when the problem first appeared. Someone told me that was REALLY bad for the bike since it runs on 20 or so amps and car runs at 200. But the bike was fine for 2 months after that after. I would think if that was the real problem I would have had immediate issues with the bike the very next day!
In looking around I see some things about the starter and alternator but how could they be the problem with the ignition off.
I did find out why the bike is running warm the last month I road it. BMW fuses the radiator blowers separately. The left blower fuse was blown.
The only accessory I have on the bike is fog lamps that I viper clamped off the head light leads. I even cut those wires and I still have the problem.
I talked to BMW about running it on the bike computer. They said it would not run down electrical problems I was on my own!

The LT has circuits that are always hot & not fused. They are very low current draw but can still cause the arch that you describe. I would definitely change out the battery and go from there.

Jim Davidson
2007 R1200RT
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post #5 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 6:07 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hp1bmw
The LT has circuits that are always hot & not fused. They are very low current draw but can still cause the arch that you describe. I would definitely change out the battery and go from there.
+ 1 I have a quick disconnect on the negative side of the batt. and no matter which fuses I pull it still sparks when I connect it back. Like Hans said try a new batt.

Dave Selvig
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post #6 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 6:20 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

One I can think of is the radio. It has juice to it direct from the battery and it is fused at 10 amps but the fuse is on the back of the radio. Seriously the ONLY way to find a bad drain current is with a meter. The arc when you connect tells you nothing.

I have a friend who spent a few hundred at the dealer trying to track down his current drain. No joy. I spent 15 minutes with a meter measuring the key off current drain while I started disconnecting a rats nest of wires and found an antenna amp that was drawing 150 milliamps. Once I disconnected that it settled down to just a few (5-7) milliamps, which is normal.

Just change the battery but get a meter and track down and disconnect anything in excess of 10 miliamps.

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post #7 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 8:10 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

As others have said, this is a job for someone who knows how to use a multimeter, and trace the problem to the source. Will likely take some time, and pulling of all the Tupperware and unplugging a lot of connectors. Having the electrical diagrams for the bike will be just about necessary.

Another thing: Jump starting the bike from a running car is NOT wrong. In fact you WANT the car to be running to supply the full 13.7 volts to overcome resistance in the jumper cables, and supply at least 12 volts to start the bike. I did it several times to my and other's motorcycles. The person who talked about amps knew nothing about electrical circuits at all, period. You could jump the bike from a semi or bus if they are running on a 12 volt battery system. Only the VOLTAGE has to match. The source can be capable of supplying thousands of amps, the device being driven by that voltage determines the amps drawn. Look at it this way: The bulbs in the instrument panel use a fraction of an amp, although the battery is capable of supplying a couple hundred amps for a short time.

The electrical supply into your home is probably protected by a 200 amp breaker, the supply is capable of supplying a thousand or so until the wires overheat. Yet, you can plug in a 4 watt night light, it will not burn out from over current, when what the light it is plugged into is a 15 or 20 amp protected circuit. Same with jumping your LT from a running car. Both systems run at around 13.7 volts engines running, so there is no way any other 13.7 volt supply can harm the bike (unless you hook the jumper cables up backwards!).

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post #8 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 8:20 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Thank you for all your follow up comments. The battery is a BMW factory battery and it is 9 months old.
As far as the radio fuse. I checked the manual again is it is fuse 8 listed in the travel book provided for the bike.
I have been through every visible harness directly under the seat. I did find one location where the ground wire had either worn or burn off a 1/4" of the outer casing. I could not tell which. I taped it off to make sure it was not contacting the frame.
I remember someone in some posting mentioning an electrical problem being solved because the ground strap was not connected on the lower part of the bike near the foot peg. got up under the bike I didn't see anything.
As far as the spark with the battery all I can base that on is my experience with cars. I never had that happen when I have cleaned terminals on a car battery and replace them. That is all I have to relate it too.
Thank you all in advance for any advice or interest that you are showing a fellow rider!
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post #9 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 8:27 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Before anyone notices... I forgot to mention the battery has a one year warranty and yeah I will be returning it to the dealer.
Thanks for the last post about jumping from a car that really help set me straight on the issue!
You guys are the best!
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post #10 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 8:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

I have what I think is the 170 page manual for the bike that shows everything from unpacking to filling up the tires. It does not include anything about wiring and harnesses. Were do you get that from?
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post #11 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 8:46 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

The Clymers Manual is the only one that I know of with all the wiring diagrams for all the KLT series bikes. I got the internet download manual that was junk. Then when I had to get serious about some of the innards and electrical sections of the bike I had to spring for the manual. I think I got it from Amazon.com somewhere around $40 bucks. My LT is a '99 model, first year, but with many upgrades so it thinks it about a '99.9 model.

Be careful with batteries. No rings, watches or bracelets on the hands or fingers when working around them. Just my .02 cents worth.

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post #12 of 32 Old Nov 25th, 2011, 10:25 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

I had similar symptoms to yours and it was a defective BMW battery, replaced under warranty. Find out for sure whether your battery is good or bad

On any bike that was having battery problems I would want to know what the dc charging voltage is. If the alternator is not up to snuff it could be allowing the battery to remain in a constant state of slight discharge and over time this will damage the battery. I'm not sure how sensitive the charge light is on the bike for detecting a weak alternator, make sure your light is working when you turn the key on.

After a full charge and then setting for a while the battery should read around 12.5 volts, might want to turn the key on and off for a few seconds to confirm it is holding in that voltage range, low level load test. When you start the bike it should be somewhere between 13-14 volts from idle through revs, mine is quite stable at all rpms at 13.9 - 14. Record the number so over time you can see if anything is changing.

Get a multimeter, even if its a cheap one to check the basics, DC and resistance (ohms). I saw them at harbor freight last week for $4.99 and free with a $10 purchase.


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post #13 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 6:34 am
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

You really need to use a meter to find or confirm that you even have excessive amp draw, spark test will not do it. There's no sense in pulling fuses or connectors if you don't know the amp draw is excessive. It can be a fault in the battery but to keep from guessing put a meter on it, I don't think a $5.00 HR meter will be very accurate in the milliamp range but it's got to be better then a spark test.

If you do find that the amp draw is excessive and pulling fuses doesn't drop it a print will be your friend. you need a schematic with the number standard on the wires. anything with a 30, other then a relay, indicates 12V+ all the time. start there. A15 indicates switched 12V+, go there next. A hot short to ground will be easy to find after the smoke settles so I wouldn't focus on a short to ground as the draw.BUT, before even getting into this and pulling what's left of your hair out, put a meter on it. If the amp draw is in spec. get a battery.
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post #14 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 8:13 am
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

This is very interesting...... Does this apply to firing up your bike from a car battery (not connected to the car) I.e. the car is not running??

It is 12v of course and capable of delivering mega humph because it normally fires up a 2500 cc diesel. Does the bike simply take what it needs rather than having all that humph!?

Thank you for your help in this matter..... And I hope OP gets his sorted.

Cheers

Stuart



Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
As others have said, this is a job for someone who knows how to use a multimeter, and trace the problem to the source. Will likely take some time, and pulling of all the Tupperware and unplugging a lot of connectors. Having the electrical diagrams for the bike will be just about necessary.

Another thing: Jump starting the bike from a running car is NOT wrong. In fact you WANT the car to be running to supply the full 13.7 volts to overcome resistance in the jumper cables, and supply at least 12 volts to start the bike. I did it several times to my and other's motorcycles. The person who talked about amps knew nothing about electrical circuits at all, period. You could jump the bike from a semi or bus if they are running on a 12 volt battery system. Only the VOLTAGE has to match. The source can be capable of supplying thousands of amps, the device being driven by that voltage determines the amps drawn. Look at it this way: The bulbs in the instrument panel use a fraction of an amp, although the battery is capable of supplying a couple hundred amps for a short time.

The electrical supply into your home is probably protected by a 200 amp breaker, the supply is capable of supplying a thousand or so until the wires overheat. Yet, you can plug in a 4 watt night light, it will not burn out from over current, when what the light it is plugged into is a 15 or 20 amp protected circuit. Same with jumping your LT from a running car. Both systems run at around 13.7 volts engines running, so there is no way any other 13.7 volt supply can harm the bike (unless you hook the jumper cables up backwards!).

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post #15 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 8:57 am
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

You can jump start a motorcycle off any other 12 volt vehicle system, as long as the other system has a larger battery. The LT (or any other bike) will only draw as much current as it needs. You will not harm your system as long as you know how to connect jumper cables. As David pointed out, current flow is dictated by load applied and not by stored energy in the battery.


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post #16 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 11:09 am
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

sounds like an internal short, what is the battery voltage when it is charged - I had a battery acting similar which was 12 volts fully charged, tech told me battery was "dead" and replaced it under warranty, problem solved - it was less than six months old. I have a car battery in the sidecar, like others, to start and run the V Star. I was really surprised to see how small the battery in the LT is - the K1100 has a much larger battery

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post #17 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 11:46 am
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wkane4
I have what I think is the 170 page manual for the bike that shows everything from unpacking to filling up the tires. It does not include anything about wiring and harnesses. Were do you get that from?
As noted, Clymers has a pretty good electrical section in their manuals. There is also an electrical service manual available from BMW that covers every thing in detail.
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post #18 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 12:14 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Good old "Ohm's", Voltage equals current times resistance.

In the past I heard voltage, and resistance, and current mentioned by themselves so many times that I came to view them as independent entities.

Another mis-concept I made up was that since the plus line was fused, in automobiles, current flowed from plus to minus.

And of course, larger diameter wire had more copper so current had to surmount a larger mass, more resistance.

Bob

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post #19 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 2:00 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcanara
This is very interesting...... Does this apply to firing up your bike from a car battery (not connected to the car) I.e. the car is not running??

It is 12v of course and capable of delivering mega humph because it normally fires up a 2500 cc diesel. Does the bike simply take what it needs rather than having all that humph!?

Thank you for your help in this matter..... And I hope OP gets his sorted.

Cheers

Stuart
Yes, it applies. The size of the battery is of no concern, just that it is a 12 volt battery. It could be the size of a house, and it would start or jump the LT just fine.

You are correct, the LT takes only what it needs from ANY 12 volt dc source. Even the LT battery is capable of putting out a couple hundred amps easily. It is rated for 19 Amp Hours, which means it will supply 19 amps for one hour, 190 amps for 6 minutes. That is theoretical though, 190 amps would probably overheat the battery in a minute or two.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
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post #20 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 2:03 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
Good old "Ohm's", Voltage equals current times resistance.

In the past I heard voltage, and resistance, and current mentioned by themselves so many times that I came to view them as independent entities.

Another mis-concept I made up was that since the plus line was fused, in automobiles, current flowed from plus to minus.

And of course, larger diameter wire had more copper so current had to surmount a larger mass, more resistance.

Bob
Larger wire has far less resistance than smaller wire. The higher the current (amps) the larger the wire needs to be to keep the wire from heating up.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
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post #21 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 2:52 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
Larger wire has far less resistance than smaller wire.
Really?
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post #22 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 2:52 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Guess I forgot to tie the wire thing up?

The problem with 13V is that to do work the current has to be rather high.

I envy countries with 240V AC.

Bob

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post #23 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 3:02 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

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Really?
Yup.

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post #24 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 4:00 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

As other have explained your conception of AMPs is a bit off. The only reason a motorcycle has a lower CCA rating that a car is because of the battery size. When jumpimng another vehicle, you are more likely to damage the vehicle used for starting than the one that will not start. So that’s not your issue.

As other have also stated a “Short” implies a circuit completed from positive to negative with little or no resistance. In most cases this will cause a blown fuse or smoke and fire, not a slow battery drain. That being said, it is always possible a component is stuck in the on position due to a faulty switch or relay, but that would mean that switch or relay would have 12V at all times even with the ignition off. Again I don’t think this your problem.

The arc when connecting most new car and motorcycle batteries is normal. Mine does the same thing. A properly positioned Volt/Ohm meter would tell you how much current is being drawn and you could compare that to anyone else here on the forum who is willing to test it.

I concur with others; you probably have a defective battery. I just replaced my 9 month old battery and solved a similar problem.
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post #25 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 4:10 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
Guess I forgot to tie the wire thing up?

The problem with 13V is that to do work the current has to be rather high.

I envy countries with 240V AC.

Bob
Well Bob... Think of me.....I have 24Volt system into a 240volt IInverter..... Solar and wind.... That certainly makes you think of what you plug in.

Thank you for your comments and clearing up my battery query.....I hope I did not divert the OPs thread.

Cheers

Stuart

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post #26 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 4:18 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzzmusician
Yup.
So if I measure 1' of 28 gauge wire and 1' of 8 gauge wire the resistance reading will be different? or if I measure an 8 gauge wire from connector to connector with half the strands broken the resistance will read differently from the same with unbroken wire?
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post #27 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 5:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Wow you boys really get going with one another!!! Ha
I replaced all the fuses notice the left radiator blower fuse was blown 4 A.
Installed the battery and jumped it from the car.
Took her out for a great ride of about 75 miles! God do I miss her!!! I noticed the ABS lights blinked on and off the whole time of the ride which if I read the book correctly, means the voltage on the bike is low. Brought her back turned off and nothing when I tried to restart.
Called the dealer and I am shipping the battery for a replacement Monday.
I did notice before I shut off the bike it was running hot. Outside temp was 66... Bike temp was at 60 percent on the gauge. The right blower was blasting. Checked the left blower nothing!!!!! Opened set checked fuse it was fine. What the heck? I really do think the blower vents are the worst design of the bike. When you are riding in August and you have to sit at a stop OMG the bike is like an oven ALL pointed at your legs.
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post #28 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 6:04 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wkane4
As far as the radio fuse. I checked the manual again is it is fuse 8 listed in the travel book provided for the bike.
Yes that is one of TWO fuses for the radio. The 10 amp is pugged into the rear of the radio. That is why you have to disconnect the battery to do a radio reset or pull the stingray and the 10 amp fuse.

Hope you get it all sorted out.

John
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2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
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Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #29 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 6:09 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by New2rt
So if I measure 1' of 28 gauge wire and 1' of 8 gauge wire the resistance reading will be different? or if I measure an 8 gauge wire from connector to connector with half the strands broken the resistance will read differently from the same with unbroken wire?
Yes and Yes. 1 foot of 8 gage wire =0.001 ohms. 1 foot of 28 gage wire = 0.065 ohms.

Kind of a moot point for short runs but make the wire longer with higher current and start looking at "I squared R" losses at 12 volts it doesn't take much to drop a lot of voltage.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #30 of 32 Old Nov 26th, 2011, 7:27 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
Yes and Yes. 1 foot of 8 gage wire =0.001 ohms. 1 foot of 28 gage wire = 0.065 ohms.

Kind of a moot point for short runs but make the wire longer with higher current and start looking at "I squared R" losses at 12 volts it doesn't take much to drop a lot of voltage.
Interesting, I knew when getting into long runs it had a bigger impact.
I use .2 on the ground and .3 on the hot when doing voltage drops and guess this holds true if the wire gauge is properly sized for the amp draw.

I did some figuring for voltage drop between 8 and 20 gauge with a 10 amp load and the voltage drop difference is approx. .5 volts. not huge but....

Thanks
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post #31 of 32 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 4:20 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

The voltage drop @10 amps between 1 foot of 28 gage vs. 8 gage is 0.64 volts but the power loss is 6.5 watts vs. 0.1 watts. That is where the difference really comes in. That 28 gage wire is dissapating 6.5 watts of power (ie heat) that could be used elsewhere.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #32 of 32 Old Nov 27th, 2011, 5:03 pm
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Re: 1200LT pulling my hair out!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
The voltage drop @10 amps between 1 foot of 28 gage vs. 8 gage is 0.64 volts but the power loss is 6.5 watts vs. 0.1 watts. That is where the difference really comes in. That 28 gage wire is dissapating 6.5 watts of power (ie heat) that could be used elsewhere.
To be honest, 10 amps with 28 gauge wire would be a bad idea anyway, I was just throwing that number out there.

I originally questioned the resistance difference between wiring we would find on our bikes.
Without getting into hundredths or thousandths of an ohm or a meter to accurately measure it, for all intents and purposes you will see a reading of 0 or .1 on most meters.

This all stemmed from the fact I use voltage drops to check wiring, connectors, etc, never resistance (taught that way)
I was thinking about measuring resistance, load applied, then calculating what the voltage drop should be but to avoid a math headache I'll stick with .2 and .3 as acceptable.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
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