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Rear electrical gremlins

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I'm having a weird issue with my bike, starting this afternoon, and it already got me pulled over by the police once.

Anything above idle-1/4 of a turn of throttle and the rear tail light goes out. I tried cleaning the bulb connections, but the bulb itself is still in working order. The only exposed wiring(not in the sheath) is all good-nothing exposed. Can't really say whether its wiring further in the sheath or if it's something else. It's just weird that it only works at idle.

I have done the free power mod. Connections at battery are good.

It's difficult for me to test because I can only reach so far and hold a meter with another hand.

Should I just trash can the rear assembly and get the edge?

Right rear turn signal is also intermitenly working.

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Probably a loose/broken ground wire. But if it is just the tail light it coud be in the ignition switch. The Tail light is on a separate cirduit that is just tail.

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It's just the tail light.

The ignition switch wiring is fine, I just had it apart to hook up a wire to power my GPS.

I'm going to go with it's probably bad wiring somewhere in the wires or the light socket.

Anyone having a wiring diagram of the rear tail light wiring?

I may just order the Edge so I can get rid of the CRT television set on the back of my bike.

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Hmmm, just had it apart and now there is a problem?? The way that switch works is key ON, red connects to orange then power is fed back thru the switch to power the tail light. Key in PARK, red is connected directly to the tail light.

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Only wire I messed with was the orange wire, and I didn't even cut it. Sliced away some insulation, soldered on the GPS power wire, wrapped it up in 3M 88 Electrical tape.

Didn't touch any other wires. I'll test it but I doubt its the ignition switch. Especially since I can smack the rear fender and the light will flicker on and off while riding :smirk:

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Ok, I took it all apart, cleaned all the connections with Deoxit(greatest stuff in a can sold IMO).

Had it working, but the front brake lever wasn't activating the brake light. So I took the switch off the front perch, tried it by hand, no go. Took the wires, connected them, brake light lights up.

Well, I went inside, sprayed the Deoxit into the switch, let it dry for about 1/2 an hour, put it back on the bike. Turn the key on, no tail light. Squeeze the front brake lever, I get brake light. Bulb still checks out(continuity and works in another bike of mine). Can I ground the Black/with white tracer direct to the subframe/battery to rule out a grounding issue?

Kinda hoping someone on here can give me a quick response, my friend wants to go riding at 12:30. If I don't get it done by then, I'm going to have to have him come over, and we'll load it into his truck and then go riding on private property(with permission).

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Black with white stripe is a ground wire, You can ground it any place on the frame. But keep in mind the aluminum sub frame is anodized aluminum and may not be a good ground point. When tesing grounds you have to verify what you are uswing for ground is electrically conneted to battery negative. Or just use a test wire to the battery.

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Black with white stripe is a ground wire, You can ground it any place on the frame. But keep in mind the aluminum sub frame is anodized aluminum and may not be a good ground point. When tesing grounds you have to verify what you are uswing for ground is electrically conneted to battery negative. Or just use a test wire to the battery.

I'll run a test wire right to the battery, it's only a couple inches away from the connection for the rear tail light.

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Moral of the story: Bulbs can be gremlins :smirk:

Well, I finally broke down and tested the bulb for continutity since the jumper still didn't work.

Brake light filament=worked fine.

Tail light filament=no go. Luckily I had a pair of bulbs in the stockpile in the garage, put one in, worked perfect.

So I guess I can't assume the bulb filament is good just because it's physically in tact :bonk:

All that damn work just for a bad bulb.

Well at least the rear tail section is all clean, and has clean electrical connections now. And I replaced the one turn signal, and soldered all of those connections, and taped them up really nice since I had the tail section off(kind of hard to tape it good when its on the bike (yeah I know I should use shrink wrap but I don't have any)

Not a single turn signal on the bike is matching, but whatever, they get ripped off on trees, and I had a bunch in the garage that friends gave me for free(they took them off their street bikes to go for the LED's.

Only thing that concerned me was that at the rear bulb socket I only had 11.92 volts-while the battery tender was connected(engine off). The battery is less than a year old. I would have thought it would have been up at least 12 or more volts.

Checked the voltage at the battery and it's 13.3V bike off, battery tender disconnected. Guess there's a good amount of loss in the lighting system. Oh well.

I also cleaned all of the rear plastics since I had them all off.

Fresh oil change, cleaned and re-oiled the air filter, adjusted and lubed the chain, bike should be running good today!

Finally going out for the first time today in years with 2 of my other buddies riding.

The damn speedometer hasn't been working, so I'm relying on my GPS for speed right now. I've already torn into the speedo and fixed stuff once, it's time to dump that for the Trailtech Vapor. In fact, I may remove the speedo cable before I go riding. 1/4 of a pound weight savings!

Thank you Noble for helping me out!

Edited by 06wrx

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Reporting back after riding today. Tail light is out yet again. :smirk:

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Bulbs can give false indications when viewed visually. Testing with a meter is a better way. Fuses can also look good but test bad. Your observation on the voltage at the lights is quite common. All wires have resistance and automotive applications allow quite a bit of voltage drop to save wight and cost of larger wire. Powering high current loads with better wire and relays can raise the voltage at the loads. Also the ground wire returns have to be upgraded for full affect. Headlight brightness can really benifit from improved voltage. Headlights would like 13 volts but lucky to see 12 most of the time.

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Bulbs can give false indications when viewed visually. Testing with a meter is a better way. Fuses can also look good but test bad. Your observation on the voltage at the lights is quite common. All wires have resistance and automotive applications allow quite a bit of voltage drop to save wight and cost of larger wire. Powering high current loads with better wire and relays can raise the voltage at the loads. Also the ground wire returns have to be upgraded for full affect. Headlight brightness can really benifit from improved voltage. Headlights would like 13 volts but lucky to see 12 most of the time.

Any idea as to why it would have gone out again?

Brake light filament is still A-OK, but tail light filament-no continuity.

Could the vibration be too much for it? I was riding pretty hard yesterday. Maybe it will just be better to go to an LED unit so I don't have issues anymore. It's really getting risky for me because I don't need a ticket for the tail light being out right now. I'm in the application process for a police department and a ticket wouldn't look good.

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Must be vibration. What taillight are you running? Also look for heavy duty bulbs. Some bulbs are better than others.

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Must be vibration. What taillight are you running? Also look for heavy duty bulbs. Some bulbs are better than others.

Stock. and I just used a standard automotive bulb.

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Well tonight on the way home, I again noticed the tail light was out. I kept riding. Then the bike shut off. Completely shut off. No headlight, no tail light, no dash, no nothing. Couldn't even bump start it.

Couldn't get a hold of any of my friends, so I was forced to push it 2.5 miles down a road to my friends house, while it was getting dark. Exactly 162 cars passed me and not a single one stopped to ask if I needed help or if I was okay.

Now it's out at his house, in his garage. Friends want to go riding tomorrow. I'm thinking the main fuse blew and I'm thinking the rear tail light had something to do with it. I took the tail light cover off when I got to his house to find the bulb very "loose" in the socket.

I am going to order an Edge tail light and LED turn signals tonight. What kind of fuse is the "main" fuse? Hopefully I have one.

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I suspect you are right. Main fuse blew because of a short in/around the tail light. Was the spare fuse missing from its storage location near the fuse? I would call it a standard size 20 amp blade fuse.

Cars always pass me dead on the side of the road too. But it annoys me most when motorcycles go by too. Last time I needed help it was a farm worker that stopped to help

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I suspect you are right. Main fuse blew because of a short in/around the tail light. Was the spare fuse missing from its storage location near the fuse? I would call it a standard size 20 amp blade fuse.

Cars always pass me dead on the side of the road too. But it annoys me most when motorcycles go by too. Last time I needed help it was a farm worker that stopped to help

No, it wasn't missing...the 20 amp spare was there. I just didn't have a 10mm wrench or socket to remove the plastic side panel. My tool kit fell apart, and I lost the tools on a trail. Looking at buying a rear fender mounted tool bag, Edge tail light, LED turn signals, and a Trailtech Vapor.

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hopefully it was only a blown fuse....

Rode it from about 10am this morning till about 2pm mostly in mud and slop(it's been raining/snowing here all morning). It ran great, and the tail light actually worked the entire day.

Maybe I'll be able to hold off on the LED taillight/turn signals.

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And I'm back to report after riding yesterday, I stopped to take a break to find the rear tail light out again. I took off the front brake switch wires and connected them together so I'd have a rear "tail" light to at least get me home without getting stopped by the police again.

I ordered the Edge and got 4 LED blinkers off of eBay. They should be here Friday(but I'm leaving for the weekend Friday afternoon, so I won't be able to know if the Edge "fixes" my tail light issues until Sunday night or Monday.

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