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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, troubleshooting and thought someone might have run into this before.

I turned ignition (key) to on, lights came on, hit the starter button and they went off and stayed off. Couldnt push start the bike. Lights would come on only after several attempts to push start... then i'd hit the starter, same thing, lights go off and... nothing.

After a few iterations, the lights stopped coming on at all. Turned ignition off and on, no lights. I checked the battery. Not at all dead.

Then I got my jumpers, jumped the starter motor directly from a car battery. She starts right up, beautifully, like nothing at all is wrong.

Then as I take her for a test spin around the block, I check the starter button. Press it while Im riding along, to see if I can hear the starter motor start to spin... and boom... its like I've hit the kill switch. Everything goes off and the bike just sputters and dies.

Back to square one. Any ideas whats going on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
should add two things...
previous owner disabled the sidestand switch.
checked fuses, and theyre all good too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
my current idea, tell me if it sounds insane...

when you engage the starter relay, it disengages normal electrical circuits (e.g. lights go off). im assuming it opens up that circuit. is it possible for that starter relay to get stuck in an intermediate position or something?
 

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50 to 1 odds that this is a bad battery. How old is yours, and what type is it?

Almost the same set of symptoms struck me last summer. I rode to work with no problems. Stepped out for lunch, turned key to on, hit starter, and electrical went dead. Tore my bike apart right there next to the picnic tables thinking I had a short somewhere, because the lights were on (in daylight, hard to notice if they were a bit dimmer than usual). Eventually gave up and put it back together, got a jump from a coworker and it fired right up. Above about 4000 rpms, the Tach was bouncing erratically and the gauge cluster was cutting off and on like it was being electrocuted, but the engine sounded fine. Rode her home on the shoulder of the highway because I worried the Regulator/Rectifier was to blame and might be over-volting, wanted to keep her just loping along around 3000 rpm, only 40 mph.

Got home, grabbed my busted up voltmeter, battery showed voltage in the mid 12's. But when I pressed the starter, it would drop to around 6 volts and do the same thing it did at lunch time.

My battery was just about a year old, and it was an AGM from Batteries Plus, so I didn't expect it to be going bad so soon, but I got a new one anyways, and all the problems went away.

Test the voltage of the battery when you hit the starter and see if you observe something similar to what I saw. Check the voltage with the ignition off. Should be in the mid 12's. Then observe the voltage when you switch the ignition 'On' and the headlights and fuel pump start to draw power. If it dips below 11, the battery should be replaced. Then observe what happens when you try to crank it. I'm betting it drops significantly, but even on a bike that starts, anything below 10 Volts when you're cranking can indicate a battery at the end of its life. (This all assumes you're not testing a battery that's been sitting unused and allowed to discharge. If that's the case, hook it up to a charger to allow it to top off first, then run these tests after allowing the headlights to draw on the battery for about two minutes. That will give you a more accurate indication of battery capacity than just testing it right after disconnecting the charger.)

Good luck!
 

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Good advice from above. BTW, he has a 1gen SV, no electric fuel pump to prime. The 1gen SV does not have headlight relays that would turn off the lamps while cranking and then go on after the motor starts. The starter relay has nothing to do with cutting off any circuits. It only energizes when the start button is depressed to send power from the battery to the starter motor. If the battery is too low, the relay may only click, but not enough power to turn the starter motor. The relay coil can burn out and not work at all or the contacts can weld themselves closed and not disengage power from the starter motor.
 

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Well I recently had a similar problem and it turned out that there was a little corrosion on the underside of the positive battery cable. It was hard to see but I took some sandpaper to it and it fixed it. Did you look at the underside of the positive cable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bit the bullet and shelled out the $ for a new battery. Solved the problem. Thanks Marlin!

(PS: no corrosion on cables)
 
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