Flickering Electrical - Suzuki Burgman Forum
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Flickering Electrical

This is a more specific continuation of this thread: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=54893#p506371

BACKGROUND:
The flickering may have started after I had a parking lot-style drop: I had been riding for a few hours on back roads, pulled over to take a break. Was stopped, engine running, put my feet down, right foot slipped, bike was 90 on it's side and I was hands-and-feet in the gravel. Bike ran fine after getting it upright, didn't notice any flickering, but wasn't riding at night either.

ISSUES:
I'm having issues with the headlights, running lights, dash lights, etc. flickering. Seems worst at low RPMs and when the bike is cold (maybe the first 10 minutes of riding).

I've also had the electrical quit once within that first 10 minutes: the scooter stuttered/lurched, every light on the dash went on (lots of indicator lights!), every light on the bike went out, then the bike started back up. That happened leaving the parking garage and the bike was fine getting me home, but I've not dared ride it since (imagine that happening at 70mph in the fast lane on the highway...).

SHOP SUGGESTION/DIAGNOSIS:
The weekend before this "sudden stall" happened I brought up the flickering lights with my mechanic and he checked the electrical. The R/R is apparently failing (voltage is low...he figured I'd be okay to ride until it came in). However, he says the flickering may not be the R/R but a loose connector. He suggested since the fall hit the cowling hardest, to take it off and check all the wiring (still need to do that).

Per the link above, I have the battery tray off and checked what I believe is the frame ground connector: white plastic socketed connector (single blade), one end leads to negative terminal of battery, the other end leads into the wiring harness on the left side of the bike. Looks fine.

QUESTIONS:
--While I'm in here, anything I should do to the frame ground connector as a maintenance item? Blade contacts look clean and no black marks or any indication of a short.

--Any multimeter tests I can perform?

--Anything else I should specifically look at while I have the battery tray out?

--Anything under the front cowl I should look at specifically?

--Do you think it is, or is not, simply the R/R?
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

Did you check if the battery has lost any acid?

If the battery lost a significant amount of acid, it would also loose a lot of its capacity, and thereby its ability to even out the fluctuations from the R/R - especially since the OEM Suzuki is not the best in that department.
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

Maintenance free lead acid batteries are leak proof in all positions.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

My second-hand B650 did not come with a sealed battery.

Anyway CalvinFold has already aired his suspicion of the battery, but he doesn't write anything about it being checked in any way, only that he had the shop order a new sealed gel battery, but nothing about it being installed yet.

In my book, charging system troubleshooting starts out with a battery that has been fully charged, then tested for cranking amps and slow discharge (leaving the headlights on for some time) and then charged again.

From there on, you measure the battery voltage with engine off, at idle and through the rpm range.

The OEM cheapskate regulator-rectifier is infamous for unstable regulation, which get attenuated by a week battery that can't smooth out the ripples. Mosfet regulators are much better at regulating, but everything starts and ends with a good battery, that will only remain good if the rest of the charging system is OK.
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

Calvin, The black wire with the white connector that branches off the large black ground wire is the ground to the wiring harness. That is the one I'm pretty sure you checked. For the problems that you are describing that is the one I would check. My lights and the dash would not come one until I plugged it up.

The large black wire goes down and bolts to the engine next to the starter. It is the one I would call the frame ground but it really only comes into play when you are starting the bike. To get to it you will probably have to remove the tunnel cover/floorboard piece.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

A stator puts out about 70 to 85 volts of AC current. Then the regulator cuts the 70-85 Volts AC down to the normal 12.5 to 16.5 Volts of AC. The rectofier takes that AC and thru a "Half Wave" diode setup converts it into ripple pulse DC. It is not clean DC so it is pushed to a battery that has a steady voltage the when the ripple is at the low side the battery "Boosts" it up.

There are different types of "Battery" used in electronics. Most times its "B" battery which is ripple pulse. In telephone use, can you imagin talking with ripple pulse voltage. NO wont work. Telephones use "A" battery, filtered almost pure ripple-free voltage. You would not belive the size of the rectofiers in a telephone exchange or how many there are.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

Well, got the new R/R, installed it, bike showed the clock, but when I turned the key to the ignition position to start it, no headlights. Check fuse in dash, and both left-side (under seat) main fuses.

Plugged in old R/R. No clock at all, no headlights, no start. Plugged in new R/R again...no clock, no headlight, no start.

The bike started before I took the left side apart to get at the R/R...anything I could have disconnected accidentally?

Could the battery have gone south suddenly (since the last start)?

Does anyone have a list of electrical checks (and instructions) that can be made with a multimeter? I'm going to have the shop ship me my new battery, since that could be part of the problem. But would be nice to check the old one here-and-now.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

New Info:

Battery has 12.37v across the leads. I would think I could get headlights and an attempted start with that much voltage?

Also:

Why on Earth is the R/R for the Burgman so HUGE? The on my PC800 was only about a third as big.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

Why not jump start the bike from another battery? - that way you know instantly whether it is a flat battery preventing you from starting.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flickering Electrical

Don't have another battery...and when I do, it will be mine and brand new, why not put it in the bike?

Also, jump-starting a motorcycle is generally a no-no unless you are desperate. Heck, on some modern cars they advise against it these days. No clutch, so can't start it with the "roll down a hill and pop the clutch" trick I did on the PC800 once.
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