The BSA A7-A10 Forum

Technical => Lucas, Electrical, Ignition => Topic started by: wortluck on 28.09. 2016 18:35

Title: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 28.09. 2016 18:35
Hi all

The '62 GF A10 has a strange problem - as follows:

Battery is a brand new, charged Westco AGM item which works very well.  The problem I have is  that I regularly lose all the electrics which momentarily come back on occasionally then go off.  I know the battery is good from testing and the fact that the horn works very well when the power returns.  Most recently, I can get the horn but not the lights, then all goes dead again.  I've checked as much of the wiring as possible but it all looks intact??  Apart from a broken wire somewhere, I'm at a loss - any ideas.

NB:  The horn buzzes as if it's trying to work.  If it's an earth problem, could I have details on how to do this successfully.

Cheers
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: duTch on 28.09. 2016 19:49

 dodgy switch?
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: polly on 28.09. 2016 21:12
Its most probably a problem between the battery and the brown wires to the ammeter or maybe the ammeter its self.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: polly on 28.09. 2016 22:23
If correctly wired that is.....the only wired unit thats just battery and earth is the stop light  .so I would imagine that if when this happens [the complete failure] the stop light still works then chances are its not an earthing problem  . Its possible its wired the norton way and the horn is direct from the battery and not via the ammeter ,if this [the horn and stop light] are both part of the failure then its an earth problem.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: a10gf on 28.09. 2016 22:51
Some quick thoughts :O)

How does the ammeter behave when the blackout occurs? Going to zero = fault (open circuit) after ammeter, going heavily in drain = short somewhere.

When power ok, wriggle and bend cables, switches etc all around the bike and see if you can forcefully trigger the fault, to locate to some specific area to investigate further.

Drive with a multimeter (V) connected to the battery and see if the blackout comes with a sudden voltage drop (= probably some short to frame somewhere, or some serious internal battery failure)

The elimination method and see if the problem stops or continues:
- disconnect A from the regulator (with a fully charged battery, drive for a while)
- short the ammeter
- connect extra cable from battery to ammeter
etc etc, experiment (following the wiring diagram) until the culprit is identified.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: duTch on 29.09. 2016 09:30

 In addition to a possible dodgy switch, what regulator do you have? I ask because I had a similar issue not so long ago.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 29.09. 2016 09:48
Cheers all, loads to respond to:

1.  Have checked switch and all seems to be good there.
2.  Regulator is solid state +ive earth.
3.  Ammeter does not move unless lights come on when it drops as it should - ammeter is brand new also.
4.  Have wiggled wires all over but cannot get the fault to show consistently.  I've done this by keeping my finger on the horn and going round the wiring until horn sounds.  Unfortunately, I just can't get one spot.
5.  The stop light does not work when electrics are off.

Although this has happened before, it's not been quite as catastrophic as now.  I know people have additional earths here and there and that's not a problem so long as I can diagnose correctly.

One other possible symptom - when the horn eventually sounds and I switch the lights on, I then lose everything??
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: a10gf on 29.09. 2016 10:27
^^^ Looks like you have some interesting archeological (electrological :O) digging to do.

Ref my previous post, be sure the regulator is not the problem source, get it out of the equation. Did you do tests with regulator disconnected?

Do you have a voltmeter? If not, get one. Use it to find excatly where the power loss occurs.
Start at the battery. If getting constant voltage there during a blackout, move along according to the wiring diagram.

it's not been quite as catastrophic as now
That's 'good', as the more often it happens (or getting constant) it will give you better opportunity\time to find the fault :O)

Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 29.09. 2016 12:46
Just one other piece of info which may help.

Previously, when I've turned the lights on, they switched on dim then, after about 5-10 seconds they came on full as normal???  I'm seriously not making this up.  Before that, I would lose the headlamp only but it came on after I turned it to full lock on the left hand side.  I checked then for wiring problems and found none.

Looks like I'm going to have to do as advised and work from the regulator/battery onwards - hopefully I'll sort it before the next riding day!!
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: Slippery Sam on 29.09. 2016 12:50
Did you do anything before this happened - added wires, adjusted your horn, changed regulator, or even just had the battery off for charging?  If so go back to that (and un-do if needed).  You mentioned charging the battery - was this because it went flat in normal use?
One suggestion was to eliminate the reg.  Alternatively you could check if the reg is working (6V +) accross battery.
As well as wiggling wires:
check all connectors (there aren't many) - have a good look, clean each and grease (electrolite). Also do this with earths - remove clean re-fit.
If reg has been on and working for a while - it shouldn't be reg wiring - but I'm sure on my Wassel solid state reg (+ earth 6V) - the loom Black goes to reg red and loom purple goes to reg black - which is a bit counter intuitive (I could be wrong here so someone correct me please).

Also headlamp and turning handlebars issues - does that not narrow it down a bit to wires going in and out of the headlamp casing?  There should be a few earths inside too (headlight fitting, switch casing and an-other).  Also a chance of chaffing where wires go in and out.

I'm not an A10 authority and still learning - but wiring is wiring - a lot of the time a bad connection can cause all sorts of issues.

Good luck and keep us posted.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 29.09. 2016 13:40
Thanks for all the info coming in.

I hadn't done anything to the bike that I could undo, although I did change the battery to a Westco because the old lead acid item was faulty.  I know vibration can kill batteries quickly, so changed to Westco as they came highly rated.

Regarding the regulator, when the electrics are working the bike charges really nicely (especially after cleaning the commutator and brushes).

I would agree about the headlamp issues and turning the handlebars, but I've already had everything apart and checked connections.  I guess I'll need to get the seat and tank off and just go through everything systematically.  The electrics have been crap on the bike since day 1, despite having a new loom and having it professionally fitted!!
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: metalflake11 on 29.09. 2016 13:59
Check the fuse holder, mine packed up this year, and to look at it you'd never know it was defunct. Intermittent problem just like yours.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 29.09. 2016 14:17
Errr wot fuse holder???

By the way, I've pulled out an old mutimeter which I've never used so I've looked up some instructions.  It's very simple but, according to the instructions, to test continuity I set the switch to the lowest ohms setting and hook it up to the circuit I want to test.  If the reading is low, continuity is there, if it's high, there's a problem - does this seem right to you?
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: metalflake11 on 29.09. 2016 14:28
Dear me!...........New loom, professionally fitted, and no fuse! Poor show that.

If you're near Manchester I'll re-wire it/sort it out at cost for you.

Can't help with your multi-meter question I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 29.09. 2016 14:40
Cheers metalflake11, really appreciate the offer!  I'm across the M62 at Wakefield so a bit of a jaunt unfortunately.  Also, I'm wanting to get to grips with the vagaries of old British iron electrics, so I'll persevere for now keeping the lump hammer in a locked box!!

Must admit that when the fuse wasn't put in I was a bit surprised - was told I wouldn't need it as it wasn't on originally and never really presented any problems for the 6v system???

I'm going to give the electrics a mauling this weekend and will let you know what I come up with - if anything.  The only question I have at present is whether to fit additional earths as I understand that my machine struggles to earth through the headlamp cowl because it has to pass through the ball bearing grease on the yokes?!
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: metalflake11 on 29.09. 2016 14:58
An earth from the cowl to the frame  wont do any harm, and might indeed cure the problem.

I really would put a fuse in though Wortluck, for now one between the battery earth and the frame earth. (I always use 10 amp fuses.)

Hope you get there, but if you get really stuck I do mileage like Wakefield before breakfast most weeks! *smile*
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: Slippery Sam on 29.09. 2016 15:52
Errr wot fuse holder???

By the way, I've pulled out an old mutimeter which I've never used so I've looked up some instructions.  It's very simple but, according to the instructions, to test continuity I set the switch to the lowest ohms setting and hook it up to the circuit I want to test.  If the reading is low, continuity is there, if it's high, there's a problem - does this seem right to you?

Yip - low resistance = continuity (connected) and high resistance = open circuit (not connected).  Somewhere inbetween could suggest a partial short or partial open circuit depending on what you're expecting.  Mind on the lowest ohm setting a reading might be miniscule resistance so could still be a decent connection.  I use the scale one or 2 up from lowest (usually about 0 to 200 ohms).
I was just about to suggest a new loom - at £50 and about a couple of hours to fit - it could save a lot of heartache - but if that's already been done - you will almost certainly find something simple and easy to fix.
Remember trust nothing, check, clean and test everything - that's less than a couple of hours work end to end and worth it.

Keep patient and stick in.
Raymond.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 29.09. 2016 16:09
Cheers gents, much appreciated - wish I had time to get in a bit of riding before breakfast though (would do a smiley but friggin' MS Edge won't let me for some reason!)

I've got a 200 ohm setting so I'll use that.  I'll also stick in an cowl/frame earth and fuse as metalflake11 suggests.  I'm guessing the fuse locates between the positive terminal on the battery and the earth on the frame.

As always, thanks for taking the trouble!
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: Greybeard on 29.09. 2016 18:42
...would do a smiley but friggin' MS Edge won't let me for some reason!...

Yes, that's what I discovered when I tried using it.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: BSA_54A10 on 30.09. 2016 08:56
Errr wot fuse holder???

By the way, I've pulled out an old mutimeter which I've never used so I've looked up some instructions.  It's very simple but, according to the instructions, to test continuity I set the switch to the lowest ohms setting and hook it up to the circuit I want to test.  If the reading is low, continuity is there, if it's high, there's a problem - does this seem right to you?

Not good advice but 0 Ohms = complete circuit
Infinte ohms = open circuit.
I generally set it high as you can generate resistance simply by poking the probes hard against the terminals, it is called the piso electric effect.
Set to a very low level you can actually end up reading the resistance of your skin.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 30.09. 2016 13:12
Well bsa-bill, weird things are happening as, following your post, my smileys seem to have started working  *eek* *smile*

As for the electrical problem, it seems my nice, new Westco battery is the issue - working intermittently  *dunno*.  When I attach wires with a small bulb attached, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes is very dim - a bit like the rest of the bike electrics  *pull hair out* *pull hair out*.  Incidentally, as suggested by metalflake11, I've now run an earth from the cowl.

I going to pull in a refund for the battery as it's only six weeks old and done less than 300m.  Can anyone suggest a (preferably) sealed battery that can withstand the vibration  *angry* *conf2*

Apologies for all the smileys (if they work) but I'm making up for previous posts *beer*
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: Slippery Sam on 30.09. 2016 13:31
Quote
Not good advice but 0 Ohms = complete circuit
Infinte ohms = open circuit.
I generally set it high as you can generate resistance simply by poking the probes hard against the terminals, it is called the piso electric effect.
Set to a very low level you can actually end up reading the resistance of your skin.

Not sue if a high resistance setting is best for this application as you'll see nothing inbetween (partial short or a resistance when there should be none).
Also any slight reading on a low setting will not be a piso (Pieso) electric effect.  That is something completely unconnected and is a charge generated by a mechanical pressure - like a clicky cigarette lighter which crushes a crystal to generate a spark.

I'm looking forward to finding out what's causing the problem now.
Raymond.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 30.09. 2016 14:24
It looks like the battery, Slippery Sam, didn't suspect it at first as it's only six weeks old and covered about 300m.  When I attach a small bulb to the battery, it has three modes - not working, working and working a bit.  Battery was from BatteryPitStop and I'm working with them for a return/refund/replacement  *bash* *contract*.

Any suggestions for a sealed battery that can take the vibes?

I like my new found smileys - no idea how they suddenly started working  *dunno* *eek*  I'm on Edge Win10 Acer laptop
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: metalflake11 on 30.09. 2016 14:27
Give the battery terminals a good clean Wortluck? It might just work as it should then.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 30.09. 2016 15:35
Will do pal, but I'd be surprised if it made much difference as the battery's virtually new.  By the way, what sort of item do you use/can you recommend.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: metalflake11 on 30.09. 2016 15:38
The terminals can get a coating on them, give them a bit of a tart up with some wet and dry or a small wire brush.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 30.09. 2016 15:44
I'll give it a shot, cheers.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 30.09. 2016 16:43
Complained about the 'failed' Westco battery and was told to dispose of the old one and they'd send a new one out  *smile*  Hopefully, this one won't be the abject crap that the first one was, otherwise it'll be a proper rant on the phone.  I can't see any other problems with the electrics other than the battery not performing  Also, when I was doing my tests, I found a sharp tap on the battery brought it back to life again  *dunno2*

Any recommendations regarding batteries?  Always used to use Yuasa on the japanese bikes of the past but the A10 is a completely different beast.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: Greybeard on 30.09. 2016 18:03
I bought this one from Paul Goff; WESTCO 6V AGM BATTERY it lives in a fake lead acid battery case. I am very happy with it.
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 30.09. 2016 20:25
It's the same as mine Greybeard, just hope the replacement is as good as yours.

Cheers *grins*
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: metalflake11 on 30.09. 2016 23:06
Complained about the 'failed' Westco battery and was told to dispose of the old one and they'd send a new one out  *smile*  Hopefully, this one won't be the abject crap that the first one was, otherwise it'll be a proper rant on the phone.  I can't see any other problems with the electrics other than the battery not performing  Also, when I was doing my tests, I found a sharp tap on the battery brought it back to life again  *dunno2*

Any recommendations regarding batteries?  Always used to use Yuasa on the japanese bikes of the past but the A10 is a completely different beast.


Sounds like a loose connection in the battery itself, new one on me! Just goes to show, never too old to learn.

Well you found the problem by the sound of it, well done to you!
Title: Re: Complete electrical failure - intermittent
Post by: wortluck on 01.10. 2016 09:04
Almost definitely a loose connection in the battery - I did test it for continuity and that was intermittent too.

One possible contributing reason for failure was losing the metal battery strap on a run, so it was bouncing around under the seat for quite a few miles.  *eek*

I decided to use an old black leather belt as a strap as it allows a bit of movement and you don't risk cracking the battery casing.  It fits really well, going through the front and rear slots of the battery tray.  I've also bought a really thick rubber mat for it to sit on so hopefully no repeat.