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Discussion in 'Airheads' started by benthic, Jan 8, 2012.
...so we're wondering why the key in the ignition switch is 'hot'
I was thinking the blinker housing was hot...the switch looks to be well grounded.
yes it does and you could be right.
but why the arcing & sparking when the key-ring /dangling key brushes the headlamp support with the switch in the on position (as I understand it)?
the sparking is when the dangling key touches the turnsignal stalk - you can just barely see the charred spot just to the right of the tip of the key in this foto:
Ah... thanks for aiding my meager understanding and poor reading skilz..
'course if you'd have stuck to OEM parts...
Spite? You mean because I'm a period correct guy and my turn signals work without fireworks? That hurt.
I don't understand. The turnsignal stalk is hot and insulated from the headlight ear (chassis)?? And the helmet lock key contacts the stalk/housing, shorts and blows the fuse?
that appears to be the question...
Voltmeter. One leed on ground, the other on the stalk. Turn the blinkers on.
I'd say one of the wires in your blinker has some torn up insulation or wasn't installed right at the factory.
The older blinkers (such as my alu 74 R90/6 ones) (negative-)earth through the stalk to the frame. There is no negative wire.
On your aftermarket the stalks appear insulated from frame/earth, but inside the indicator the stalks may actually be connected to one side of the +/- wires (the intended negative) so they can be used on bikes that earth through the stalks, they may or may not also be able to be wired for positive or negative earth (different aftermarket vintage looking blinkers are different).
You may have hooked them up wrong. Being insulated stalks, depending on how they are wired and the switch/flasher they might work just fine wired the wrong way, but the stalks might be hot, and earthing against the dangling key...
A quick check around with a volt meter should solve it.
It seems hard to imagine for me that the key/ignition is hot without it already shorting out as it is bolted with metal to metal to metal to earth. I think the stalk is hot.... and btw, I am terrible at auto-electrical stuff
edit- in other words, the solution might be to just switch the wires inside the blinkers/indicators... and if it is not, then there might be some very telling smoke that will help diagnose the problem...
+1. This was my first thought.
Fixed it! I picked up a test light on the way home and yes, the turn signal stalk gets "hot" everytime the light bulb comes on. Both turn signals do this. The fastening screw seems to provide the conduit for the electricity. I insulated the tab with electrical tape and was diligent about isolating the screw. I think I have stopped the hotness in the turn signal stalk. The test light indicates no power flowing into the stalk. victory!
Everything is working again now. i'm going to do something else with the helmet lock key anyway - i didn't like the dangling.
thanks for the help everyone!
Yeah, what Ontic said...
This is a temporary fix that will cause you headaches.
The insulated, center contact of the bulb holder must be positive. The shell of the bulb holder must be negative and may or may not be grounded to the stalk (and/or the chassis ground).
Somehow I'll betcha that the polarities got reversed on installation: the center contact is negative (ground) and the shell (and turn signal body) are positive and hot. There appear to be fiber insulating washers on the turn signal stalk bolt, which is the only thing that kept to from blowing from the beginning. By isolating the bulb holder shell with electrical tape the problem is being masked and may appear again.
Connect the wires to the bulb socket so that the center contact is +positive and the shell is -negative, which is the standard procedure. You may have to run an additional ground wire from the shell and stalk body or eliminate the insulating fiber washers where it bolts to the headlight ear.
You'll be happier and the Universe will be more in synch... :eek1
IOW reverse the connectors, and
oh, that won't do at all ...
I didn't know the signals could be installed wrong. when i got them, they didn't come with ANY installation instructions, just 2 wires hanging out, so i connected them to the 2 wires coming from the bike. I'll play around tonight, and hopefully get the hotness back
Live and learn, Spencer. With auto electrics, the ground is always negative and is "grounded" to the chassis. One German vehicles, the wiring color code for the ground id always Brown. The "other" wire is +12v and is "hot". THE BIG EXCEPTION being British vehicles in the 1960's and earlier. The Brits, being typically contrarian, adopted a "Positive Ground" standard. Ack basswards.
Incandescent bulbs don't care about polarity (which end is positive and which end is negative), but the sockets can. The shell is always the ground. Motors care about polarity. LEDs care about polarity. Electronics care about polarity (and be careful, you can let the Majickal $moke out).
No playing around with Mrs Fish to get hotness back til you get (this problem with) the bike straightened out. :eek1
Many American cars of the 1950's had positive ground. Some even had left hand threads on the wheel lug nuts. We also had 6 volt systems back in the day. Wow, what a treat it was when you got 12 volt headlights! But actually people used to be able to use their eyes and we didn't have bright street lights. You learned to drive using the equipment you had.
Hmmm, I didn't remember that-- I knew about 6V electrics but not about positive ground US-made vehicles. I thought positive ground was a British unnovation.
I think it was more common with the Brits. Everybody would know about it but many of the Plymouth and Dodge cars had Positive ground. I had to change the polarity on my 1950 Plymouth Special Delux because I couldn't get the right battery or some reason. I forget what you did to the Generator but the polarity on the coil had to be changed.
I think there were others but I remember the Plymouth because it was one of my best cars of all time. It was wrecked by a housemate of mine who took it one night because he was drunk. The car had a broken steering box and would only steer to the right. He didn't know about this and drove it into a sugar cane field. My friends pulled it out and took it to the junk yard so I wouldn't have to see it. Boy what good friends those were don't you think?
ALL FIXED. i switched those 2 wires for each turn signal and lo and behold, the bulb sockets no longer get "hot", and thus, the turn signal housings no longer get "hot".
quite a lot of BS for such a small and simple problem!
Thanks for the help everyone!