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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 800. I went out to start it a couple weeks ago and, after turning on ignition key, all the lights went on as usual. As soon as I touched the starter button all the lights went out and the bike went completely dead, and it's been that way since.

I've checked the battery ground, the hot terminal, and all the fuses. I also charged up the battery. I've chased the hot connection as far along as I could and I've found no lack of continuity, yet the bike is completely and totally dead.

Any idea where to look next? It must be something central and deep.
 

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Ace Tuner
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How many volts does the battery have, after sitting 3 hours after charging?

UK
Good question, that ^ ... A bad battery can do what you describe.

Also,
Have you checked the main fuse that is located inside the starter solenoid housing?
In case you haven't checked it you can follow the battery's red positive lead to the solenoid.

S F
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did check the main fuse inside the solenoid - I thought for sure that would be it. It's good.

Before putting on the charger the battery was kicking out 10.8 volts (this is after sitting several weeks in an unheated garage in Michigan). After letting it sit on the charger for 12 hours it read 13.8 volts. I turned on the ignition key (just now) and, joy of joys, the lights came back on! I hit the starter button and heard a slight 'pop', then the lights all went very dim and stayed dim, even after cycling the ignition key. Nothing else happened.

Did my starter solenoid short out?

I do have a wiring schematic. Found it on this web page:
 

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Visionary
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Check your battery voltage now after leaving it on for a few minutes. I bet it's 10 volts again. That would mean you have 1 dead cell in your battery... letting it die killed it. You could take the battery out and bring it to any auto parts store to have it load tested ( might as well, they do it for free) but if it behaves like that I can almost guarantee that it's bad. Replace the battery and the problem will most likely be solved.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Yep, what Mike721 said. Sounds like one shot battery to me as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I re-checked the battery and it was kicking out 12.9 volts. I took it into O'Reilley's anyway and their tester said it was bad, so I bought a new one. I have to fill it with acid and let it sit for 20 minutes before charging (never had a bike with that kind of battery before), so I guess I'll see what happens in a few hours.
 

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I usually connect a new battery to the battery tender, and leave it overnight. Some new batteries tho, have volts as soon as you add the fluid. A fully charged battery should show around 12.75 volts after being disconnected for about 3 hours.

UK
 

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Don’t be surprised at how warm the battery feels. They do that when acid is first added to a dry unit. I let mine go overnight on my tender as well. How you treat a new one plays in to how long it last too.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Good luck, let us know what you find out with the new battery
 

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Congrats on getting it running.

I'm leery of leaving batteries constantly on a tender unless it's a true float charger rather than a trickle charger. Some of them are not true float chargers, but are merely low capacity constant voltage chargers. These cheapo chargers, like you might purchase from a number of sources, (H.F.) can cook out the electrolyte over a long period. A float charger, with its more complicated circuitry, will check voltage and maintain.

I check voltage and charge once a month when a battery is in storage mode, as I don't own a true float charger.
 

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For those that want to pursue the thoughts from above. A book called Living on 12 volts, will explain more than most of us ever wanted to know, about batteries. In particular it talks about the zap charge, the float charge, and all other charges.

UK
 

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I check voltage and charge once a month when a battery is in storage mode, as I don't own a true float charger.
Keep your eyes open for the next few days. You may find a good tender on sale. It would be worth getting one just so you won't have to remember to move what you now have to keep from cooking a battery. I've not paid any attention but I know this time of year they have Black Friday sales going for much longer than one day. Maybe someone has a link to one as I don't, but would be great if y'all know of one to post it here.
 

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I've had really good luck with the Schumacher 1.5a battery charger/maintainer, between me, my wife, and her daughter we have about 10 of them. Plug them in, they charge at 1.5 amps, then switch themselves to a maintenance mode, constantly monitoring the battery and charging when needed. They are microprocessor controlled like most modern chargers and do a much better job than old fashioned trickle chargers etc that can cause problems. We bought them on Amazon, and use them all winter, whether riding or not, just plug them in when parking the bike and the battery will always be 100%, they start easier when cold that way. I usually keep my batteries on charge when it's below freezing as a rough guide but now that I installed heat in my garage last week I haven't bothered to plug them in, it might be overkill now.

Battery Tender brand is another good choice, I have heard nothing but good about them.

Keep your eyes open for the next few days. You may find a good tender on sale. It would be worth getting one just so you won't have to remember to move what you now have to keep from cooking a battery. I've not paid any attention but I know this time of year they have Black Friday sales going for much longer than one day. Maybe someone has a link to one as I don't, but would be great if y'all know of one to post it here.
 

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That old battery might last forever, but once you replace it watch out. I think battery quality has gone downhill recently, I've seen a lot of people post experiences similar to mine, I've trusted Yuasa batteries but I think I'm going to change brands, though I've seen the same complaint about other brands too so I'm not sure what to switch to.

The back story
My 08 Vision had the original Yuasa battery when I bought it in 2014, it worked fine at 7 years old but I decided to change it as a precaution. I replaced it with the exact same brand battery, which died in 2 years, and was replaced with another of the same brand, which is starting to get weak again after 2.5 years.

My 16 Vision came with the same Yuasa, it's getting weak at 3 years old, my wife's 16 Indian uses the same battery, it's weaker than mine I think, or else the 111 is harder to start than a 106. We should change both of them soon, she almost didn't get going the other day when it was 20F for her ride home from work. The battery went so low starting the engine that her bike threw some low voltage codes and the clock reset to 12:00..I don't know how it managed to start but it did. It's been fine since but it's also been warmer out.

Meanwhile my 11 Kingpin ( same Yuasa battery, same 106 engine) is still going strong on the original at 8 years old...
 

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Those Indians are known to start hard when cold Mike. Many switch to a higher cca because of that. None of the ones they listed I ever heard of so I’m very curious to see how they fair. I don’t think mine will last much longer though so will probably take a gamble anyway. I have g by heard the same thing about possible quality issues.
 

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Just swapped out the Yuasa in the Chieftain. I went with an identical Yuasa, I looked at the higher CCA version but it was close to 3X the price for less than 10% more.

Before I changed it the battery after sitting only 2 days in a 45F garage was only showing 12.2 volts. I gave it my own load test, it had 2 starts in it, it threw a low voltage code and reset the clock on the second start and died on the third.

The new one cranks much faster, it starts much better, I think it will pass the real test which will come the next time the bike sits out for 10 hours in 15 F weather.



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