2009 F650GS dead ECU EWS

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by chupa88, May 21, 2019.

  1. chupa88

    chupa88 Been here awhile

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    I picked up a 2009 F650GS (800 twin) with 5500 miles a month ago. I've only had a chance to put a hundred miles on it and last week the bike died while waiting at a red light. EWS error on the screen. I initially thought it was the ring antenna issue from online research but after getting the bike to my BMW mechanic, he diagnosed it as a bad ECU due to the low beam being on at all times when the key is in the on position.

    He had a spare ECU from an 800 and after he swapped it along with the 800 key ring, he said it started right up. We sourced a used ECU and key set on ebay so it's way cheaper than the dealer.

    I have no idea what caused this. The battery (motobatt) is new and while installed a year ago, it has barely been ridden since that last service. I did install a SAE split cable to the battery so I can have one plug to a battery tender (for the winter but haven't used) and one plug for a USB adapter so I can charge my phone. While routing the iphone cable, the lightning port on the iphone cable slipped out of my hand and touch the positive lead on the battery and created a spark and burnt the SAE to USB adapter. But that was all it damaged. I rode the bike a few times since that happened putting on about 70 miles. Then last week the ECU died. I have no idea how this happened.

    I bought this GS for some long distance touring so my confident is a bit shaken from this incident. My previous tourer is a crazy simple 2000 Kaw W650 and we toured 50k miles and crossed the US twice. I'm was a bit leery with this much computer on this bike and the ECU died within the first 100 miles.

    Anyone have any insight on what could have cause this? Did my accident with the phone cable caused the ECU to die? If so, why didn't it die right then and there since it's electronic and not some mechanic part that will limp along for a while until it finally dies?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this long ass post!
    #1
  2. JRWooden

    JRWooden never attribute to malice...

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    Wow ................ that's weird.

    Your ECU is the first one I have heard of, and I've been on the forum here for over 10 years...........................

    I really don't have any helpful info...
    #2
  3. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

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    My first question is have you tested the old ECU with a new or known good ring antenna? You say your mechanic replaced both but did he try the antenna only?
    I'm pretty sure my headlamp was on at all times with the key on on my 800GS.
    #3
  4. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Headlight is always on with key on with my 2010 F650GS twin.

    I also have not heard of a bad ECU on one of these in the 6 years I’ve had one and been on ADVRider.

    Shorting something out could I suppose do some damage, tho my understanding ofCANBUS is it’s designed to not let that happen.

    What were the error codes?
    #4
  5. chupa88

    chupa88 Been here awhile

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    Just a EWS error code. The light turns on when you switch it to on but not low beam. If you start the engine up, you'll notice that the low beam is way brighter than the output of the light (running light?) when the key is on without the engine cranking up.
    #5
  6. chupa88

    chupa88 Been here awhile

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    From my mechanic, Mr. Beemer, a very well known and experienced BMW specialist.: "I did indeed try a known good ring antenna before looking at the computer. After I had determined the ring antenna wasn’t the problem I reverted back to your original antenna with my spare computer and key in place (tin foil swap procedure I told you about). Thus confirming that your original ring antenna wasn’t the issue."
    #6
    SnoDrtRider likes this.
  7. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

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    Just trying to understand the issue... The wording in your post seemed to leave out the testing of the ring antenna only. The fact that the headlamp being on when the key is on being mentioned as a fault is puzzling.
    As I and someone else confirmed it is normal for the headlamp to be on when the key is on. I am pretty sure that that is a Federal Standard since the 80s if I recall correctly. My 1984 Harley FXRS does not turn on the headlamp when the ignition is switched on... I need to turn the key another notch for the headlamp.
    #7
  8. chupa88

    chupa88 Been here awhile

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    He did try swapping the ring antenna first. It did not help. Then he swapped the ECU with a spare one he had. There's a difference between the headlamp being on and the actual low beam that is on when the engine is running. I believe he is referring to the low beam being on when the engine is not running as a sign of something bad with the ECU.

    I check it out earlier, with the key on, the headlamp is on but it's not the same low beam output as when the engine is running. But when I crank the engine, the full output of the low beam is activated.
    #8
  9. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

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    Hard to believe that a BMW "Specialist" Does not have a GS911 or other device to scan the computer and check/reset codes/service reminders, etc.
    I have one and I only work on my own bikes. I am not disputing the diagnosis but using the fact the the headlamp was on with the key without doing a diagnostic scan to condemn the ECU is stone age back yard diagnostics.
    Something is missing here...
    #9
  10. chupa88

    chupa88 Been here awhile

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    He does have a GS911. We hooked it up that morning before the bike died when I was over at his shop changing tires. He did set the service reminder dates. There was one power/battery error and it was most likely due to me unhooking the battery to attach a SAE cable to USB adapter for the phone before the computer fully shut off after I turn the key off. He cleared that error. I'm sure he did hook it up to check the ECU and I forgot that detail. It was about 10:30 pm when he telling me about on the phone. It was late, I was annoyed with this new bike and I don't' remember all the details of that evening.

    He is well known here in the Raleigh area for being an expert mechanic on BMWs. Anything that is amiss here is mostly due to my retelling of the details.

    I'm just trying to understand if it was just pure bad luck or something I screwed up while shorting that USB adapter, or maybe I have a gremlin short in the electronics or harness or somewhere that could potentially cause this again when I am on the road.
    #10