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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Starter Switch Wiring

Hello all,

The original starter (thumb button) switch on my 1981 Yamaha XS400 is broken. Instead of replacing it I would rather wire the starter into my ignition switch, which is not the original. The ignition switch is a generic keys and switch unit I bought from a tractor supply place. I have everything wired up, but when i rotate the key to the 'start' position, nothing happens. Now, if i touch the 'start' terminal to the handlebars, it sparks and engages the starter. What am I doing wrong, or what do I need to do to get the key-operated switch to work right?

Thanks,
Brent
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 09:04 PM
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It sounds like you have the positive and negative wires mixed up on the switch.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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See that's the thing...there are four wires total that run to the right grip. Two of which are connected to the kill switch so I assume they should remain there. The other two were loose in the housing that held the thumb-button. The previous owner had some rubber tubing inside this housing in what I am guessing was an attempt to fix the thumb-button. Neither of these other two (non kill-switch) wires were connected to anything, or even stripped at the end. There is a black wire and a blue wire. The blue wire will engages the starter when it connects to ground if the key is in the ON position.

I have a 4 terminal post-style ignition switch. I have the BATT and IGN posts occupied with the correct wires, and I have an ACC and ST empty. I connected the blue wire to the ST post thinking this would be correct to engage the starter when the switch is rotated against the spring to the start position. I tried leaving the black wire open and grounding it, both with no effect.

Thanks for the reply. Does this help clarify my situation?

I appreciate any help on this as I lack electrical knowledge and experience.

Thanks,
Brent
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:33 AM
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can you take a picture and post it? maybe with an actual look someone may be able to help more.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:02 AM
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well you could take an ohm meter and see which wire terminal has a complete circuit when key is turned to start position. that is the one that starter wire will connect to.
I,ve used these generic type ignition switches many times.

many time the letters on back are useless. but not allways.

some times on jap bikes black is not ground.

Last edited by wawadave; 02-09-2009 at 11:09 AM.
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:39 PM
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It seems strange that the wire would turn the starter on ground. The start terminal usually closes the switch between the battery positive and the starter solenoid if memory serves correctly. You may want to trace the solenoid wire back to the starter to see if it's the correct one.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 04:09 PM
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might be a switched ground.
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wawadave View Post
might be a switched ground.
I think "normal" ignition switches work off switching the positive, which may be the problem here.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 07:56 PM
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It seems to me that you have a switch made for a switched positive ignition and your ignition is a switched negative.
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 08:18 PM
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no jap wireing the ignition sides always normal.Toyotas and datsons like useing switched grounds too.
but other things can have live power to them but the ground is the side thats switched.

might need to get a cheap button switch may have them same place you got the ignition switch.

if it is switched ground you could cut into the power side of circuit connect the non live side to the str terminal on ignition and ground the wire that caused it to start before.

Last edited by wawadave; 02-09-2009 at 08:22 PM.
post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.

Let me try to clarify

There are four wires. Two red/white that go to the kill switch (it is a off/run/off type kill switch). These two wires are connected and I don't think I have to mess with them. The other two, one blue/white, and one black, were both clipped at the ends inside the same start-button housing on the right grip.

When I have the ignition switch in the ON position, the tail-light and neutral indicator are lit, no starter engaged (which is good). Now, in this position, if I take the blue/white wire and touch it to the handlebars, it arcs and the starter engages. This I am assuming is connecting to ground and completing the starter's circuit. The little black wire seems like it does nothing, any ideas?

SO: Is it weird that this ONE wire engages the starter when it gets grounded? Am I right to assume that if I was to install a separate switch, I could wire one connector to ground, and leave the other open (the grounded side being labeled 'start'), and then have the starter operate normally when the switch is grounded, without damaging the wiring or being unsafe?


Here's what I think I need to do:

1. maybe get some pictures uploaded
2. try wiring in a separate push button switch
3. get a better manual with helpful schematics

I appreciate the dialogue you guys, and am very glad you all are taking the time to help a novice (if even that) troubleshooter.

Thanks,
Brent
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 12:25 AM
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I think that that would work. Run the blue wire to a momentary on switch (hold to close connection) and ground the other pole of the switch.

I believe the problem you were having with the keyed switch is that it was connecting the positive battery line with the negative starter wire. The best you can hope for there is a short circuit.

The black wire may be a ground. Try touching it to the blue wire for a split second and see if the starter spins. If that's the case, you can just attach that to the other pole of your new starter switch.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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The black wire doesn't seem to do anything. I touched it to the blue/white starter wire, touched it to the frame, tried attaching it to the START post on the ignition switch...etc. None of the above produced and noticeable response. I will install a push button switch and post the results.

Thanks,
Brent
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Good news!

I picked up a momentary push button type switch today and wired it up. Although i am just using a jumper to connect to ground right now, the switch works. So now, I turn the key to ON, nothing happens, then, at MY convenience, I push the button on the new switch, and to my delight, the starter engages. Also, much to my chagrin, when I release the button, the starter stops. Now all that remains is finding a permanent ground to wire into the new switch, and a permanent mount for the switch itself.

Many thanks to everyone who gave me advice on this issue. It's nice to have you all to bounce ideas off of and learn from. (turns out this IS a negative starting circuit!)

On a different note, for the first time I tried to see if the bike will run. I sprayed some carb cleaner in the carbs and hit the starter and to my amazement the bike sputtered and barked to life. Another shot of spray and a few cranks of the starter later I had more sputtering. Though a far cry from running, idling, and using normal gas, I took this as good news and a morale boost. I will keep you all posted with my updates and issues as they arise.

Thanks,
Brent
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-10-2009, 11:04 PM
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if the bikes been sitting a long time take the carbs off and clean them out.

those switched grounds make me stop and think some times.
post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah the bike has been sitting for who knows how long. I bought it from a guy who was going to fix it up, I think he bought it from another guy who was going to fix it up...

I have already removed and cleaned the carbs. However, this was my first time doing that, so we'll see what happens when I get the gas tank back on and try it out. The good news: when I reassembled the carbs I didn't have any new spare parts when I was done . Hopefully I got them back together right.

Brent
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 09:10 AM
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I hate it when I have spare parts left over!

How did the carbs look before the cleaning?

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-11-2009, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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They were a little fuel-stained. When I removed the jets they were filled with some dark gritty-material. I don't know exactly what I was looking for, but I found plenty of junk that doesn't seem like it belonged.

Brent
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