Electrical Problem Can't Identify - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 18 Old Feb 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm Thread Starter
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Exclamation Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Hi. My '02 K1200 LTC has an interesting problem, I may have caused.

I've charged it many times, but last time I left it on over night. Yeah, oops. OK, it charges the battery, but when I accelerate or just pump the throttle at a standstill, the headlights, dash lights, stereo, turn signals, heaters - they all flicker!

While the flicker is going on, the engine is running fine, the computer readout is working fine. No problems with the brakes, just the other electrical items.

I replaced the battery, the connections are clean and tight, the ground connections are fine and untouched. No wires are missing.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is my alternator shot? Voltage regulator? I'm at wit's end with this.
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post #2 of 18 Old Feb 16th, 2013, 10:34 pm
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeusCoarsegold
Hi. My '02 K1200 LTC has an interesting problem, I may have caused.

I've charged it many times, but last time I left it on over night. Yeah, oops. OK, it charges the battery, but when I accelerate or just pump the throttle at a standstill, the headlights, dash lights, stereo, turn signals, heaters - they all flicker!

While the flicker is going on, the engine is running fine, the computer readout is working fine. No problems with the brakes, just the other electrical items.

I replaced the battery, the connections are clean and tight, the ground connections are fine and untouched. No wires are missing.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is my alternator shot? Voltage regulator? I'm at wit's end with this.
I do not understand your first statement... charged what? how? left what on over night? What charges the battery? how do you know?

You can tell if the heater is flickering? how?

Running UP the engine speed should cause MORE power *to be able* to come out of the alternator. It would not surprise me if your headlights, seat heater and stereo are all on, you may be running off the battery. Rev up the engine, the headlights very well may get brighter, if that's your definition of "flickering", that's probably normal and fine. If you are talking about the lights getting DIMMER, or actually blinking between normal and dim (or normal and brighter) while at a steady speed, yeah, something ain't right.

Put a voltmeter across the electrical system in such a way that you can hook it up and let it sit -- alligator clips or similar. Engine off, with a good battery, you should be at 12.6v (assuming you are measuring at the battery or something that is always on). Engine off, accessories on, somewhat lower than 12.6v, but not too much lower. Engine on, maybe 2k rpm, you should be running 13.5-14v or so. If you are seeing the value bump around, that's probably not good, and probably pointing at a voltage regulator, as a problem with the alternator usually will be jittering around so fast, you won't see it on a meter (though may hear a whine in the radio) OR you have a bad connection someplace where the vibration is causing a problem. NEVER rule out bad connections until after a problem is FIXED, you can not easily prove the there isn't a bad connection.
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post #3 of 18 Old Feb 16th, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

My initial thought is a bad common ground for those circuits.

Don't forget the Hot and Ground junction points behind the battery, their under the shock adjuster. It may also be the connection, connector or wires coming from the alternator. The only other thing that comes to mind is something to do with the load shed relay. Maybe a loose connection in the circuits related to that.

Good luck. Wiggle wiring or try a contact cleaner on suspected connections. An infrared thermometer can check for bad connections, increased resistance means increased heat.

53 MPG and life just keeps getting better

2001 Triumph Sprint ST [sold]
2000 K1200LT 'Nimitz'
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post #4 of 18 Old Feb 16th, 2013, 11:34 pm Thread Starter
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Exclamation Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Sorry for my bad start.

Charged the battery, bike was sitting a few months.

OK, now I start it up, (the engine), headlight is on, brights work (headlights), stereo, seat heaters, all of it works. When I accelerate, they act like there's a loose power connection. I can tell when the bright headlamp is on, there's a blue indicator light in the dash board. It flickers off, on, off, on, etc. I've noticed less heat in the grips and seat, turn signals don't work, stereo is off, the emergency flasher button (which is also lighted) flickers. The electrical power to these peripherals is not constant. But the engine and computer display works fine.

This happens standing still when I rev the engine to high RPM, too.

Again, all connections I can see from under the seats are tight and clean.

Did I blow this "load shed relay"? Is there something wrong with my alternator? Has anyone seen this problem before?
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post #5 of 18 Old Feb 16th, 2013, 11:49 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Maybe my best question, is: Can a 10 amp battery charger set to "manual" (meaning a constant 10 amps not tapering off as the battery voltage comes up) destroy a load shed relay or the alternator if it was left on over 24 hours?
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post #6 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 12:12 am
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Check your ground connections first, behind the battery.
What is the voltage on the battery? How old is it?
Have you checked the ground to your headlight? Corrosion is common there.
Does your headlight stay on for a period after you turn your bike off? That is a sign your load shed relay is bad.

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying " I'll try again tomorrow".


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post #7 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 1:54 am
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

One question re: load shed relay.

Have you located the allen bolt in front of the battery compartment and had a chance to
tighten it??

My bike displayed the some of your symptoms and once the bolt was tightened all was good.
This bolt is extremely difficult to find and get at. I however did not charge the bike up or
anything regarding the battery it was just years of riding on a 2002 LT and time!

Look into this thread . . . and read up!!

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52278


Dan Finazzo
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Last edited by dfinazzo; Feb 17th, 2013 at 2:08 am.
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post #8 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 10:37 am
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

If you have a voltmeter it would be helpful to post some readings. Now voltage will not tell us everything, you need current also, but it will give everyone a solid reference point.

Voltage with ignition off.
Voltage with ignition on, not running.
Voltage with bike running at idle.
Voltage with bike running and RPM over 1500, no need to go higher you don't get more voltage.

John Baker

2005 BMW K1200LT
1979 Suzuki GS1000E
1978 Honda CB350
1975 Suzuki GT380
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post #9 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 1:28 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

OK, I'll be looking for that starter motor hex bolt, I hope its that easy. It would explain how acceleration is moving the motor/ground connection. I'll report back soon. Thank you so far.
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post #10 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 1:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Got the panels off both sides, seat, glove box, and the gas tank is pulled away, and I still can't get to that screw, but its so loose, its 30 degrees fallen out of the threads. Whats the best way to get to it?
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post #11 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 2:43 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Do you know how little space there is where that screw is located? It had fallen out, but because the area is so tight, it stayed there, hanging out of the hole.
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/T...rewHanging.jpg

Here's my baby all torn apart:
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/MyBabyTornApart.jpg

Here's the screw that I can't get my fingers onto, to tighten it up:
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/TheLooseScrew.jpg

I had to glue a strip of rubber onto a screw driver, then spray it with adhesive to grip the side of the screw, to turn it, to tighten it.
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/FrictionBar.jpg

Once its in as far as I can go, I suspect I'll have to cut an allen wrench to get it in there, to tighten it enough. Has anyone done this?
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post #12 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 3:16 pm
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Cool Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Glad you found the culprit! The best tool to tighten that bolt is a ball-ended Allen wrench.
Good luck!
John
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeusCoarsegold
Do you know how little space there is where that screw is located? It had fallen out, but because the area is so tight, it stayed there, hanging out of the hole.
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/T...rewHanging.jpg

Here's my baby all torn apart:
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/MyBabyTornApart.jpg

Here's the screw that I can't get my fingers onto, to tighten it up:
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/TheLooseScrew.jpg

I had to glue a strip of rubber onto a screw driver, then spray it with adhesive to grip the side of the screw, to turn it, to tighten it.
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/FrictionBar.jpg

Once its in as far as I can go, I suspect I'll have to cut an allen wrench to get it in there, to tighten it enough. Has anyone done this?

John & Marilyn Fisher
'00 K1200LTC "Katie"
'95 Triumph "Tigger"
'12 Triumph 800XC "Tigger II" (RIP)
'12 Triumph 1200 Explorer "Shadow Tigger"
Hillsboro, Oregon

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post #13 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 3:21 pm
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Sorry - forgot to mention how to get to the screw:

You need to do is pull out the battery then the battery box

1. Get an allen screw driver with a ball end - allows you to attack at an angle!!



2. Cut an allen wrench up and jury rig ways to drive it

I believe with the looseness you described this is the root cause of your problems - this
should resolve your issues!!

John Zeiler and I worked on my bike a few years ago during the STC in the Smokies after a
hard day of running very high RPM's - once John checked the wiring diagram that he always
carries around he concluded that the symptoms were this loose screw. John is on record
here on the site of telling many many riders of this problem - and I believe this has solved
more than 90% of the issues . . .good luck!!

Dan Finazzo
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post #14 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 3:27 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Well, I'm an air traffic controller by profession, not a mechanic, so I've never heard about the ball end allen wrench. Maybe that's why this screw came out, they couldn't tighten it up enough with that tool and it vibrated out.

I had to modify an allen wrench to make it fit, after the sticky rubber on the screw driver got the hex bolt as deep as it could:
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/5...nWrenchMod.jpg

And it worked, the Hex Bolt is tight. Very tight! That's after turning it about 1/6th of a circle (60 degrees) at a time since that's all the room I had.
http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/TheScrewIsTight.jpg

Now I'm going to put it together and start it up, and see if it cuts out at a stand still. Wouldn't that be something if I fixed it and it didn't cost me any money!

You guys are my heros! I'll bet this solves the problem. And SHAME ON YOU BMW, for making this the weakest link of the electrical system.

Last edited by ZeusCoarsegold; Feb 17th, 2013 at 3:32 pm.
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post #15 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 5:21 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

The "rev-ing it in the driveway" test passed! YEEE HAAAAA!!!!!

Now to wash up, put on the mirrors, and road test it.
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post #16 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 6:38 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

I'm GOLDEN! Thanks to all of YOU! Thank you VERY MUCH!!! The problem is fixed, didn't cost me anything, had NOTHING to do with the battery overcharge and replacement, and I would have paid the BMW dealer about 800 bux or more for them to find the problem and they would have suckered me into some parts at their usual exorbitant price, and I got it fixed without spending a dime!

My hat is off you to ALL of you! Thank You Very Much!!
Next time you're in Coarsegold, CA, stop by for a beer! My keg is always flowing for my friends.

http://www.ZeusPhoto.net/Files/BMW/StopByForABeer!.jpg

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post #17 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 8:34 pm
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

While I was out riding today I was listening to The Tap Brothers, Click and Clack. Their brain teaser from last week was a guy's car that ran fine, suddenly won't start--can't get the starter to engage. He keeps trying, hears a click but won't turn over. After many, many, many, many attempts he turns the key and it starts. Swearing he will never turn it off until he gets home, he heads home and makes it.

When he is home he looks at the dash board and everything is functioning the way it should, no warning lights, except for one thing in the dash board. He sees it and immediately knows what is wrong and fixes it himself.

He saw the clock blinking at him, knew he had a corroded battery connection! By constantly trying to start it he was having the electricity hammer the corrosion, diminishing it until enough current passed through it to get the starter working.

Bob.

PS: go on line and look for battery tender jr, should find one for about $20-25. Last year I didn't get the ignition switch all the way to off. Went to start her, DEAD, DEAD battery.

I put 100 amp charger on the battery and waited till the current started dropping, also touching the battery to make sure it wasn't getting hot. Then I connected the battery tender to charge her all the way up.

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post #18 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2013, 9:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Electrical Problem Can't Identify

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
While I was out riding today I was listening to The Tap Brothers, Click and Clack. Their brain teaser from last week was a guy's car that ran fine, suddenly won't start--can't get the starter to engage. He keeps trying, hears a click but won't turn over. After many, many, many, many attempts he turns the key and it starts. Swearing he will never turn it off until he gets home, he heads home and makes it.

When he is home he looks at the dash board and everything is functioning the way it should, no warning lights, except for one thing in the dash board. He sees it and immediately knows what is wrong and fixes it himself.

He saw the clock blinking at him, knew he had a corroded battery connection! By constantly trying to start it he was having the electricity hammer the corrosion, diminishing it until enough current passed through it to get the starter working.

Bob.

PS: go on line and look for battery tender jr, should find one for about $20-25. Last year I didn't get the ignition switch all the way to off. Went to start her, DEAD, DEAD battery.

I put 100 amp charger on the battery and waited till the current started dropping, also touching the battery to make sure it wasn't getting hot. Then I connected the battery tender to charge her all the way up.
Thanks Bob. I have one of those Battery Tender Jr.'s, works great on everything I've tried it on. I let the bike sit from September last year to about the middle of January (last month) so that's what killed the battery. And ya know, tightening up that starter motor bolt also sealed up an oil leak! Time to change the oil, windshield, and fix the 500 watt amp. Did I mention I have subwoofers in my trunk? That bike ROCKS!
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