Saturday, October 5, 2013

Electric Stater System Troubleshooting Part 2: Yes, Small Wires Limit Current


After reading and talking with some friends, I realized my earlier conclusion that the starter motor had a short is not the case. Because it turned slightly, the current is providing some torque. Therefore, it isn't shorted. If the starter motor did have a short, it would not have turned at all when I hooked the battery straight to the motor.

With that, I went out, found some containers that looked like they would do the job, and drained the engine oil and the coolant system. (Afterwards, I learned my lesson on how to find appropriate hazardous waste containers and dispose of them properly).



Draining the engine oil and coolant:


I unbolted the oil drain plug, and oil started gushing out. 



That's about 2.5 Liters of engine oil. When I replace the oil filter, I'll add 3 Liters to compensate for the oil lost with the filter.







Before I replace the coolant, I will definitely go through and clean out the coolant tank. 


Finally after draining the oil and coolant, I could remove the hoses blocking the starter motor and proceed to unbolt the motor. 


I exposed the starter relay so I could bypass all the switches and directly start the motor with a screwdriver. 


This is what the starter relay had been sounding like the whole time when trying to start the motorcycle with the starter switch. It would sometimes turn the motor slightly, then revert to clicking repeatedly.


I tried bypassing the relay and switches with a screwdriver. Surprisingly, it worked! Because the starter motor was no longer in the engine and didn't require as much current to turn, bypassing the switches worked.
It also worked using the switches. So the added load of the engine was causing the relay to flicker. 


The solution was staring me in the face. 


Ben and Dgonz thought maybe the thin alligator clip wires were limiting the current, and suggested moving it closer to the motor. 


That fixed it completely! The starter motor can now turn the engine without sketchily using a screwdriver to bypass the switches. So what was wrong with this motorcycle!? Turned out to just be the battery. Before investing any more money into this project, I'm trying to get a title. Once I get a title, I'll replace the battery and make some carbon fiber fairings.



In the meantime, I went and picked up the KLR 650 my Dad drove down to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania last year on our way over to Boston for school. I got to spend a great weekend with my Dad's side of the family. 


Of all things to cruft, a helmet isn't one of them. Investing in a good helmet can save a life. 


Fueling up. This was actually the first time I ever put gas in a vehicle by myself. I have this goal to never put gas in a vehicle that doesn't get over 50 MPG. So far I'm abiding by it.


Somewhere between Syracuse and Boston
Back in Boston... with two motorcycles
The ride was fantastic! Passing semi-trucks was absolutely terrifying, but near the end I think I got the hang of it. The wind is sometimes hard to deal with. My heart jumped every time I saw flashing blue and red lights. Toll booths are a bit hard on a motorcycle. I decided to ignore what other's might think as I'm taking for ever digging money out of my pockets and just focus of being safe. I can never be too safe. This ride was the first time I had ever ridden a motorcycle on the road without my Dad, and for an extended period of time. I've never driven that far in a car. All in all, it was a fun ride and I made it back safely.

1 comment:

  1. After reading and talking with some friends, I realized my earlier conclusion that the starter motor had a short is not the case. Because it turned slightly, the current is providing some torque. Therefore, it isn't shorted. If the starter motor did have a short, it would not have turned at all when I hooked the battery straight to the motor. cable manufacturers

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