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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Used 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 ltd, worked fine for 2 weeks then stalled and wouldn't start again.
When I start the bike it turns over once or twice then makes a buzzing noise (sounds like a game show buzzer) that seems to be coming from the regulator. I jumped the battery and it worked for another two days then same problem. I brought the battery into autozone (don't have a multimeter) and they said its new and charged. When I turn on the ignition the lights are also all functional and not flickering or fading. The autozone guys suggested I jump the bike and then let it idle for an hour but did not help. Everything else seems good, not rust or frayed wires I can see, oil and gas are full. Any suggestions?
 

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Save them all!
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Well the symptoms sounds like a dead battery. Put the battery on a charger, then try to start the bike. If it starts grab a multimeter and check the voltage at the battery at idle, then revved about 3000rpm or so. You ideally should see 14ish to 14.5ish volts with the engine running. If you don't see that the charging system has some sort of fault.

Also check for bad battery and/or ground connections to the frame.

That bike MAY have a decompression system that needs to be checked and adjusted. If it gets out of adjustment, the starter motor can't physically turn the engine through a compression stroke, so it sounds a bit like a bad battery. Don't recall for sure if your specific bike has this,, but I'm pretty sure I've worked on one on a Vulcan.
 

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Biker
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Has the battery been put under a 'LOAD TEST' ? Just because it is NEW does not mean it is free of DEFECTS and a load test
will reveal it's true condition. My Harley wide glide does not have a compression release, yet the battery is able to furnish
enough current that the starter whips the engine over. If you have a battery tender, use it they are GREAT.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Buy a multi meter, you can get one at harbor freight for under ten bucks that will suit your needs.
 

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I'd also suggestion you have the Autozone guys do a load test as suggested. No sense beating your head against a brick wall for nothing. But it does sound like you have a charging problem given the fact a jump start helped for a few days. But I do question why you can ride it for an hour. It takes around 20 miles to recover from a start in some cases. Too many starts without a good amount of time for the battery to recover will give you very poor battery life.
 

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I'm thinking along the lines of CmonSTART, as it was running for two weeks then stalled, to me the battery is not
getting charged. That game show buzzer sound was NOT coming from the regulator/rectifier it was coming from the
starter relay or starter solenoid, one will get a similar noise when their car battery is low and they attempt to start
the engine. What happens is when you thumb the starter a coil pulls in an armature which is linked to a heavy
contact that bridges the circuit to the starter motor, BUT the starter draws so much current the battery DOES NOT
have, and the battery volts go way down and there are not enough volts to keep the armature in the solenoid coil,
the spring pushes the contacts apart, battery volts come back up and the coil feels those volts, and once again pulls
armature into the coil, and again the circuit to the motor is completed but the battery being low on current, its volts
go down and the armature is pushed out of the coil again, this happens as long as the starter is thumbed.

Now with a good battery, fully charged, the volts will go down maybe a volt or two but because the battery has all the
current in it it is supposed to have, when you thumb the starter, the starter draws what it needs and the battery being
good its volts don't go way down, and since the volts stay UP like they are supposed to, they hold the armature in the
coil and keeping the contacts to the motor closed until the bike starts an your thumb is not on the starter switch.

So yes, try jumping bike to your car, most likely that starter will whip the engine over like nobody's business, then once
bike is running do as C'monSTART says so far as checking charge system, You have to or should consider that many think
that if a battery works a lamp, they think the battery has all the amps in it it is rated for, NOT SO. and if you just bought
the bike and the PO says battery is new but has no sales slip or other means of proving it, then there is no telling what the
real story is, but as I read elsewhere here on this forum, new battery and/or tires is pretty much got to be figured into the
cost of buying a pre-owned bike.
 

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Why would you let it idle for an hour? Dont listen to those auto zone clowns.
Ya... makes me shake my head. Alternators aren't really that great for charging dead batteries anyway.
 

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Also, have extra lights and/or accessories been added? doing so will reduce amount of current going to battery.

Also as CC Rider says it could be the regulator/rectifier, I had one 'go' on my sporty, just would not put out
enough volts to charge, BUT the stator could be checked first, It could have burned out or internally shorted
to ground in which case you won't get the voltage you need.

What you do is disconnect wires from stator and check to ground using ohm-meter setting of multi-meter,
one lead on a good ground and other lead to each wire from stator, there could be 2 wires, if so then it is a
single phase stator, if stator has 3 wires, it is a 3 phase job, but none of the wires shall have any continuity
to ground, if they do, gr8 chance the stator is 'fried'

Once the stator has been found to have no continuity to ground, get bike running and with multi-meter
on A.C. volts, set for 50 volts A.C. On my Sporty, the service manual says 19 to 26 volts for each 1,000 rpm
so if you get 44 volts a.c. at 2,000 rpm or 66 volts at 3,000 rpm, It would seem the stator is putting out 22
volts for every 1,000rpm, that the stator is GOOD and the R/R is NOT.
 

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You know, I could have bet money that there was a "Sticky" that went into detail of how to test to see if you are producing a charge. I would have lost the bet. The THEORY behind VOLTAGE DROP testing would get you there but too much detail.

There have been multiple posts with good detail on how to test the load using a multimeter that should be a Sticky as well. Why hasn't that been done mods? This gets repeated all the time. I can't find the one I'm looking for that went into very good detail of how to check the stator, the rectifier and so forth. But there really needs to be a Sticky made. Maybe I missed it in my quick search. But this thread proves we need one. It's out there somewhere but I don't know how to get the Search button to get down to the level needed to pull just that one post out.

Maybe the electrical guru that posted it could send it to one of you mods to turn into a Sticky.
 

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Biker
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Well good mornin' Hogcowboy,

Were you referring to me as an electrical Guru? If you were, I could do that. In fact I started a short series called,
"Bike Electricity" first page describes in detail, volts amps and ohms and gives an analogy to best understand it.

Then I go on to talk about SERIES and PARALLEL circuits, how a SERIES circuit would be for a SAFETY circuit where
the clutch must be held in and kick stand down for the bike to be able to start, Then a PARALLEL circuit like the left
front and left rear direction signals would be wired.

I go into detail about how to trouble-shoot a problem when Benny Benoyt is in dire need of a good ride and finds out
his bike won't start, even though the head light is as bright as the sun and horn could wake up the dead.

Ah yes, Benny knows engine run switch must be on, clutch held in and Kickstand down for him to get that ride in. He
gets his multi-meter he bought at Northern tool and equipment or was it Harbor freight, well he has it, that's what
matters. He wants to check for voltage, so he knows he has to have one meter probe hooked to ground. He made a
small adapter with a short piece of wire and a gator or roach clip at each end. He clips it on battery negative, other
end goes to black meter probe. Benny touches red lead to Battery + and meter shows volts. That is testing the tester.
Benny pulls out the lighting fuse to keep from running down the battery.

Benny doesn't have a wiring diagram but he does not need it. He opens up right hand switch assembly and finds 12 v+
on one side of Engine run sw. ER sw. switches it on and has 12 v+ on other side of sw. and one side of START BUTTON.
he thumbs the start button, he has 12v+ there, it is a yellow wire. He takes a piece of 'lectricians tape and keeps starter
button pushed in. He goes over to clutch and unravels a bit of plastic wire covering and sees a yellow wire, touches meter
probe to it and gets 12v+, holds in clutch and gets 12v+ on yellow wire w/ black tracer. Benny wraps a bungee cord around
clutch to keep it held in as he goes on with trouble-shooting.

Benny stoops down to where kick stand sw. is puts meter probe on ylw wire/blk tracer an gets 12v+ then to Brown wire
off sw and he gets . . .0 volts WTF GOMER ! he tries moving kick stand up and down, nada no volts nothing, BALLS. so he
clips the ylw wire /blk tracer and brown wire, shuts off key and with a good wire crimp he crimps those two wires together
then takes bungee cord off clutch lever, tape off starter button and turns on key, bike neutral lite is on, he pulls in the clutch
thumbs starter button, yeah Benny Benoyt's gonna ride today.

So Hogcowboy, what do ya think? Think I could write up something to help others with electrical problems on bikes?
 

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American Legion Rider & sub-Administrator
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Maybe, but someone already did it without Benny's help. One of the mods could if they wanted, find it and make it a Sticky. Not that many look there first anyway.:frown:
 

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You know, I could have bet money that there was a "Sticky" that went into detail of how to test to see if you are producing a charge. I would have lost the bet. The THEORY behind VOLTAGE DROP testing would get you there but too much detail.

There have been multiple posts with good detail on how to test the load using a multimeter that should be a Sticky as well. Why hasn't that been done mods? This gets repeated all the time. I can't find the one I'm looking for that went into very good detail of how to check the stator, the rectifier and so forth. But there really needs to be a Sticky made. Maybe I missed it in my quick search. But this thread proves we need one. It's out there somewhere but I don't know how to get the Search button to get down to the level needed to pull just that one post out.

Maybe the electrical guru that posted it could send it to one of you mods to turn into a Sticky.
Might be because many know they can find out how to check things at YT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, so I got a float charger. Don't know if that will help but can't hurt right?
So basically, under the choke there is a small black knob which I believe is an Idle Speed Control Knob. I don't really understand how this functions differently from the choke, but it seems if I don't ride without the knob turned up (tightened) then the bike will have trouble starting (even if its hot). So I've been riding with it tightened but the bike has started backfiring a bit while I'm riding (not accelerating or decelerating, just riding on the highway etc.). I'm wondering if this also has to do with the same knob? Some things I have read suggest I should adjust the "idle mixture screw". Any ideas on this?
Much appreciated! Thanks!
 

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Biker
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AutoZone is for cars, so there is no way they could know a bikes battery does not begin to charge till around 2,000
rpm and of course higher r'spm, the greater the charge. Is this battery the type that you can see the electrolyte?
If so are all cells covered? Get a hydrometer for batteries, to test the specific gravity.
 
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