The little ride that wasn't....

Discussion in 'Tejas and the Gulf States' started by yzfcathy, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. yzfcathy

    yzfcathy Weeble

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    Ft Worth to Big Bend Nat’l Park and beyond, the ride begins.
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    I could pack light since I&#8217;ll only be gone a few days. I am trying out my Gerbing jacket and taking along my laptop. I&#8217;m bundled up like Ralphies&#8217; little brother in A Christmas Story. (Y&#8217;all watched that 5 times last week, right)?
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    Next I plug myself into all the electrics. 12V, 263Ma, 18,395 watt accessories. I wonder if there is enough juice for the headlight. I wonder if it will be as luminescent as a &#8217;68 VW bug. I start the bike and turn everything on. Seems the headlight is working and so is everything else. Umm, it&#8217;s getting warm already, sweet!
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    It&#8217;s a beautiful day, albeit chilly as I roll out of town. I&#8217;m feeling like a piece of &#8220;Wonder Bread&#8221; in a toaster stuck on &#8216;Dark&#8221;.
    Doh! It&#8217;s getting hot, my arms are overheating. This toaster must be a garage sale special, a leftover house warming gift from the trailer park days no doubt.
    Where is that thermostat, oh, there it is, ahh much better.
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    I settle into the ride. It is clear and cool. The wind is a bit blustery. What a great day to ride on the last day of the year. I wonder how I survived before without this electric jacket, so cozy.
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    My first fuel stop is <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Brownwood</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">TX</st1:State></st1:place>. I find an inviting gas station, with indoor plumbing and everything. I pull up to the pump and shut off the bike. I am about to step off the bike and see I&#8217;m still plugged in so I turn off the thermostat and unplug so I can get the tank bag off. I should have turned off the thermostat before the bike, new routine, not so new rider. Doh!
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    I gas up and turn on the key to reset the trip ODO. Here is where things go awry.
    The ODO isn&#8217;t reading normally. I try to reset and it&#8217;s locked up. Hmm, that is weird.
    I try to start the bike and nothing, just some click, click, click, click, click noises. Shite!
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    I try a few more times and an Old Harley dude comes over and says if it were a Harley he&#8217;d have 'er up and runnin&#8217; in no time. Jap bike, no way. Then he asked me if it has a kick starter. His Harley must be Old too.
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    I take the tail bag off to get to my tools. Next I pop the seat off and stare at the battery a while. Looks likes a battery alright. I try to start it again and can tell that the noise is coming from this cute little clear box next to the battery. I wonder what that is. I guess it&#8217;s a starter solenoid.
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    I realize that although these many layers of gear kept me warm this morning, they are overheating me now. This was going to be a quick stop. I look like I walked into a Hornet&#8217;s nest as I strip off the layers. Gear is flying everywhere. Dang, I didn&#8217;t think I would be getting too hot today.
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    Ok why won't it start? What have I done recently? What changes have I made that could cause a problem? Hmm, just the jacket addition. I&#8217;ll disconnect the plug at the battery and try it again. Nope, still click, click, clicking. I unplug the solenoid thingy and plug it back in, still no change.
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    I wonder if I can bump start it. I&#8217;ll get dressed first so I&#8217;m ready to roll if it starts. Then I&#8217;ll go find a place to eat and see what my options are.
    I get all bundled up again and work up a sweat as I push the bike through this 'Oh so flat parking lot. Too bad there isn&#8217;t a hill nearby. Luckily though, it starts right up. Whew!
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    I rev it up a bit and see no change in the brightness of the headlight, so chances are the charging system is working ok. I don&#8217;t know how long I could run on just battery. Not long enough to get home I&#8217;m sure. But, since the light seems to be working normally, maybe the charging system is too.
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    Next I find a Mc D&#8217;s and shut down. I&#8217;ll ponder my fate here while munching on a Mc Yummy. .I fling my gear off again and go inside. I order a Mc Something Or Other and my head clears. Maybe I can continue along my way to <st1:place w:st="on">Big Bend</st1:place>. Bump starting isn&#8217;t too bad if I get a bit of a hill to help me.
    I order a Mc Hot Apple Pie and my head clears even more.
    I am meeting friends at Big Bend and hate to bring a maintenance gremlin with me. Who knows for sure why the solenoid failed? I think I&#8217;ll be lucky to make it back home before dark.
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    I talk to a Mc D associate (the guy who makes the Hot Apple Pies) who tells me there is a Yamaha shop just down the street. Excellent!
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    I get half heartedly dressed, push start my pride and joy again, (how undignified) and go find the Yamaha shop. As I cruise up to the shop I see it is closed. Whaaaat? If I can work over Christmas, the least they can do is open up for me today and take a solenoid off one of those shiny new bikes on the showroom floor. Pffffft!
    With the shop closed and no option to actaully fix the bike today, I decide to turn back. Only 150 miles, that's good.
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    This time I find a slope to park on, shut down and get dressed in earnest for the ride back to Ft Worth.
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    I guess I&#8217;ll go home with my tail between my legs and try to get this diagnosed and fixed so I can salvage a little ride later in the week. I&#8217;m assuming so far that my leaving the jacket on after shutting the engine off might have overloaded something and fried the solenoid. Gerbing instructions say not to have the jacket on with the bike off. I just hope it makes it home and doesn&#8217;t have anything else going on that will interfere with me arriving safe and sound in the daytime in Ft Worth.
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    During the morning ride to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Brownwood</st1:place></st1:City> I had stayed pretty comfy. My hands were a tiny bit affected, but not bad. The rest of me seemed to stay warm enough from the heat the jacket provided.
    The ride back though was much colder. I had disconnected the electrics to keep the load down on the battery, just in case. The sun was still high and the temp was within a couple of degrees of the trip in the morning. I wonder again, how I survived before this jacket. Brrrr, what a cold ride back.
    Bundled up as I was I could still manage to move my arms enough to wave. Actually I am giving an official "salute" hard to see in the shadow, but rest assured it is a snappy salute indeed. :wave
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    Great news, I made it home. All ready to dig into the little electrical project.
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    Although I didn&#8217;t make it to <st1:place w:st="on">Big Bend</st1:place>, I did make it home and more importantly didn&#8217;t get stranded somewhere in between. I great way to send out the year if you ask me. So long 2007!
    #1
  2. Stook

    Stook Who you callin' a n00b?

    Joined:
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    I wonder if it's just the battery? Sounds like you discharged it right to zero. Some batteries don't recover from that even after a fairly long ride. It's also normal for the starter solenoid to make that clicking sound when the battery is too low to turn the starter properly.

    I had a similar experience recently, although I got off easy that time. I was on my way to Talimena and spent too much time wandering about at low speed, then stopped the bike (engine off, but key on - which means lights on - so I could use the GPS) to fiddle with the GPS a bit. A few seconds drug into a few minutes and by the time I had the GPS sorted out, the bike wouldn't start. I had the same "click-click-click" sound you're describing. Fortunately a jump start from a bullet proof KLR650 got me going and after riding a few miles, my battery recovered and I was fine the rest of the trip.

    My guess is that you had a similar "meltdown" owing to all of the stuff you had plugged in.

    I have a BMW heated liner that I've been wanting to try out for a while now. So far though, my Belstaff Spitfire jacket has been warm enough without it. Now you have me worried about using the liner at all since I suspect our bikes have similar electrical capacities. Based on your report I think if I do use it I will be sure I'm well underway and out of slow traffic before turning it on, then I'll try to remember to turn it off anytime I drop below highway speeds. Might not help, might not even be necessary, but probably can't hurt?

    I would have been a lot more tensed up than you seemed to be if I'd had to cancel a ride to Big Bend! That would likely have been a great ride. I've been wanting to go out there again for a really long time. :nod
    #2
  3. dfc

    dfc Reluctant Cannonball

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    Had a similar exp with my '92 GS, but I needed a jump to get started and back home. At the least, get an on/off switch for the liner, better yet get the controller that you use to regulate heat and usage. I'm not sure of what your bikes output is but I figure you maxed it out with the liner. Next time only use liner when you are ont the road and charging, if in traffic or low speeds turn down/off to keep battery charged. I love my Gerbings, but on a bike with a marginal charging system, it takes a little finness and common sense.

    Happy riding, wish I could, its a high of ten degrees today with ice on the roads.

    :vardy
    #3
  4. yzfcathy

    yzfcathy Weeble

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    #4
  5. yzfcathy

    yzfcathy Weeble

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    I’m hoping that just the jacket doesn’t max out my system. After that little ride in the cold I want electric gloves too.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    My battery was new in the spring of ’04. I think batteries are affected more by time than mileage right? So, maybe 31/2 yrs. is as long as they last.<o:p></o:p>
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    I would like to find a straight on/off switch. I bought that big clunky thermostat that I don’t know where to locate. For now I wad up the mess into the tank bag. I think when I turn off the thermostat that turns off power completely. And if I get gloves I will need the other half of the thermostat anyway right? I hope they operate temps separately. I have one of these…..<o:p></o:p>
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    I wonder if they could make it any more cumbersome. <o:p></o:p>
    #5
  6. Stook

    Stook Who you callin' a n00b?

    Joined:
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    Days off? IN CHUNKS? Now you've really made me envious. Wasn't it bad enough you already had me jealous of your trip to BB? :wink:
    #6
  7. alpiv

    alpiv Sr. nOOb

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    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    Simular ride this past week, yet in a different state (I live in Indiana and traveled down to Alabama for warmer weather).
    Every morning I had to jump start my bike, no cold amps.. Battery was 4yrs old and the guy at the battery store said it checked out fine even under load.
    I think he had a load of something, bull that is.

    $80.00 later new batter is in the garage on a battery tender charging.

    Hope you solve your problem.
    #7
  8. yzfcathy

    yzfcathy Weeble

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    Days off in chunks can be a subtle curse as well. Lots of time to ride, no one to ride with. Why doesn't everyone have chucnks of days off too?

    And don't be too jealous of my BB ride. It fell on it's face afterall. Although I will regroug and get a do over starting this Thursday. I think my electrical woes were purely bad electron math on my part. I will be more prudent in my usage of wattage this time....uh huh!
    #8
  9. DirtFarmer

    DirtFarmer Has anyone seen my mother

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    They make a case for that controller that has a belt clip.

    I sewed a piece of webbing to the back left corner of my tank bag and hang it there.

    It allows me to easily change my settings when I ride.

    Do not go to a on - off switch. You will find that you rarely go past half power, less drain on your electrial system.
    #9
  10. Knobbie

    Knobbie Ex Teams

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    There's really no telling why the battery went out on you. 3.5 years is the best guess. The R1's battery should be fine for running the Gerbings, I rode my 98 R1 and then my 04 R1 regularly with a Widder vest/gloves and then Gerbings liner/gloves from Philly to San Antonio and back several times when I lived up there. No problems with unhooking the vest after turning off the ignition either. The new battery will probably fix the problem,.... if not though, please disregard this post. :D
    #10
  11. Gary B.

    Gary B. Older than dirt...

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    OK Cathy, I gotta know. You kept saying it was chilly. I don't see any snow in the pics. How cold could it be?:augie
    #11
  12. yzfcathy

    yzfcathy Weeble

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    Big Bend ride part 2, the ride continues........I figured out how to mount the controller so I can get at it easily. Velcro is my friend and I have it everywhere now. I would post a pic, but since i left on this ride without first charging my camera battery, doh! I have pics of the installation that I'll post up when I get back home.

    As for m y version of "chilly". It's anything below about 80F. Brr, it was a bone chilling 50F last week when I had my little malfunction.

    Today my ride started out much better. It got to 60F and was great until the sun set. I still had another hour of riding to go. I bet it got to -10F..........well maybe to +40F. It felt cold that's all I know.

    I don't live in WI for a reason. too friggin frosty. :)
    #12
  13. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    So - I've been reading you thread and don't think I ever read if you decided the battery was the problem and replacing it cured it? Sure sounded like you had a dead one, but whether it was age, or too much load that caused it was the unanswered question.:ear :D

    Dave
    #13
  14. chain

    chain Long timer

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    Too many acc.

    Great attitude!

    Now, about BB
    :lurk
    #14
  15. RedFlash

    RedFlash Go Cubs!

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    Well, actually, I'm kinda' wanting to hear more about this part...


    :augie

    :lurk

    (Oh, and verify the voltage regulator output voltage is up to spec (13.5 to 14.3 volts or thereabouts)
    #15
  16. yzfcathy

    yzfcathy Weeble

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    Back from BB.

    Well, well, so much for my mx troubleshooting skills. I tested that jactet but good this week. After having all my electrical system checked last week and putting a good charge on my battery, I thought I would be good to go off again. I chose not to replace the battery yet since I could always bump start and reduce the load to get home.

    So off I went. I managed 350 miles the first day with no problems to the jacket or the bike.

    Day two, again I used the jacket a lot since it was below my comfort level of +80F. :) Well below actually.
    I rode about 600 miles and it all held up great. Must be fixed right. All that was needed was my superb trickle charging last week.......


    Today, day three and after my third fuel stop, there it goes again. Display fault and no starting juice. I had about 350 miles so far. Now I had been fairly cold all morning. I started riding as the sun came up so had the jacket on right off the bat.

    I did notice though (although I didn't think about it until after that errant fuel stop and subsquent pride inducing bump start in the parking lot for all to witness), that before I had stopped I was feeling chilly and had gradually turned up the controller until finally it was at max. I was still a bit cold and thought I was simply cold soaked from all the miles. I guess I had been draining the battery all along and it took longer than last week simply becuase I had a better charge on the old battery this time.

    Moral of the story.........It takes me more than once to learn a lesson.
    I suspect I am using too much juice and also the combined old battery.

    I will do some load research this week and see exactly what my bike uses before any accessories are plugged in. The only accy I am actually drawing power from is the jacket at 77 watts max.

    PS
    I was running about 8000RPM all day. I figured that would be enough to keep a good charge. I guess I didn't follow my "using too much wattage" advice afterall. It's a chick thing, when there is heat we'll use it up!
    #16
  17. Gary B.

    Gary B. Older than dirt...

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    With those kind of limitations you'd ride about 2 days a year up here.:oscar

    FYI: The coldest I ever rode on-road was 21F. Just heated grips and lots of layers. Not fun. Neither was -4F off-road. Everything's brittle, even the bike.
    #17