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Discussion Starter #1
2004 KLR650. Love the bike. Having some electrical issues. I'm new to electrical stuff so I could really use some assistance with things explained really simply.

I recently found my battery dead after the bike sat for about 4 days. When I turn on the ignition the neutral light wouldn't come on and the engine wouldn't turn over. Completely dead. I jump started it and it ran fine, so I drove it home. As soon as I got home I turned the key off and back on. Dead. No neutral light or anything. Seems like the stator kept the engine running but wouldn't charge the battery. I tried charging the battery at home but when checked against a load tester it read "bad."

At the time I assumed my 3-year old battery gave up the ghost so I bought brand new one. Everything was great for the next two weeks. Then again it sat 4 days it was once again dead as a doornail. I guess it wasn't a battery problem after all.

So now I have to diagnose the problem? Something draining the battery when it sits (parasitic drain)? A bad alternator? Something else? The service manual says to start checking continuity with all the wires, but this is new to me. I don't even have a voltmeter or ammeter, although I could buy them.

Always wise to check the simplest and easiest things first, before tearing into the alternator. Where to start?
FYI: I don't have any aftermarket electrical components, except Battery Tender plug connected to the battery, which I only use when stored for the winter.
 

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I would start by buying a volt meter. A multi tester would include volts, ohms, amps and several other measurements, but volts and ohms are what is most often measured. A cheap one will work fine.

Check the volts across the battery terminals with the engine running in neutral. The charging system should be supplying around 13.6 to 14.6volts to the battery depending on the engine speed. If the reading is lower, say 12.6 or less, the charging system is not charging the battery.
 

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Think of the wiring as branches of a tree. The "trunk" is the positive battery terminal. A draw is when one "limb" is touching the ground. The main "branches" have fuses that you can use to "cut the limb loose" and see if the draw goes away. Get a voltmeter and youtube:

"How to test a battery for a power draw".

I remove all the fuses and connect a voltmeter. Then add the fuses one at a time until a draw appears (or not). Then see what's on that "branch".

BUT!!!! DON'T RULE OUT A SECOND BAD BATTERY! JUST BEAUSE IT'S NEW DOESN'T MEAN IT'S GOOD!
 

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They always say the “wet cell” batteries should be fully charged before use. Think I’ve done that only once in all my years but it’s worth a try. If it’s an AGM battery, this might not be needed but I do it now anyway with an AGM approved charger.

After using AGM, My days of using conventional batteries that require regular maintenance are over for me after putting one in my Goldwing and having it piss acid on the chrome exhaust when the vent hose split and came loose.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I borrowed a multimeter and made a few tests so I have more information:

1) I charged the battery overnight and it read over 13v so I didn't ruin it.

2) I tested the battery with the engine running and it read even higher, like 14 or 15v. (I can't remember exactly but good.)

3) I tested the negative terminal to ground, which should read zero. (Right?) It read .02v. Does that mean I have a parasitic draw somewhere?

Seems like there are dozens of wires and I'm not even sure how to test each one, or what the test numbers mean. Am I missing anything obvious, or easy? Would it make sense to have a shop track down this electrical gremlin?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Think of the wiring as branches of a tree. The "trunk" is the positive battery terminal. A draw is when one "limb" is touching the ground. The main "branches" have fuses that you can use to "cut the limb loose" and see if the draw goes away. Get a voltmeter and youtube:

"How to test a battery for a power draw".

I remove all the fuses and connect a voltmeter. Then add the fuses one at a time until a draw appears (or not). Then see what's on that "branch".

BUT!!!! DON'T RULE OUT A SECOND BAD BATTERY! JUST BEAUSE IT'S NEW DOESN'T MEAN IT'S GOOD!
Hmmm... this makes sense. I have one big fuse under the seat--I think that's the only fuse in the system. I gave it a check with my eyes and it looks just fine.
 

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I borrowed a multimeter and made a few tests so I have more information:

1) I charged the battery overnight and it read over 13v so I didn't ruin it.

2) I tested the battery with the engine running and it read even higher, like 14 or 15v. (I can't remember exactly but good.)

3) I tested the negative terminal to ground, which should read zero. (Right?) It read .02v. Does that mean I have a parasitic draw somewhere?

Seems like there are dozens of wires and I'm not even sure how to test each one, or what the test numbers mean. Am I missing anything obvious, or easy? Would it make sense to have a shop track down this electrical gremlin?
It would help if you recorded your voltage reading down to the 10th of a volt and for engine off readings wait 15 minutes for the battery to rest and the charge to settle and the reading to quit dropping.

1) 13v or so could be 13v or 13.9v, but anything over 12.7v with the ignition off and the battery rested is out of range.

2) 13.7 to 14.5 is a good charging voltage showing the charging system is good.

3) 0.02v drop from the negative terminal to ground is not bad depending on exactly where you put the probes. Try measuring from the (negative) lead terminal to the clamp on that terminal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It would help if you recorded your voltage reading down to the 10th of a volt and for engine off readings wait 15 minutes for the battery to rest and the charge to settle and the reading to quit dropping.

1) 13v or so could be 13v or 13.9v, but anything over 12.7v with the ignition off and the battery rested is out of range.

2) 13.7 to 14.5 is a good charging voltage showing the charging system is good.

3) 0.02v drop from the negative terminal to ground is not bad depending on exactly where you put the probes. Try measuring from the (negative) lead terminal to the clamp on that terminal.
For #1 my reading with the ignition off and in a rested position was 13.8v. With the ignition key on and headlight on high beam it read 12.8v.
For #2, I forgot to record the voltage but it's in the 14.5 range, well above the resting voltage.
For #3 I tested the way you suggested. I got .02v-.03v (or amps?) but I have no idea if that's negligible or important.

Before going to bed last night it tested 13.10v. This morning it read 13.11--so it didn't drop overnight. Very puzzling.

Lastly, not sure if this is important but for completeness the two times it gave me trouble after being parked it was parked in the "Handlebar locked" position, extreme left and extreme right. Can't imagine why this would be relevant but thought I would mention it.
 

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From your readings it seems like the battery is good and the charging system is good.
The 0.02 volts at the ground clamp is not a big deal, but I would remove and clean the clamp and post if it were mine.
 

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Lastly, not sure if this is important but for completeness the two times it gave me trouble after being parked it was parked in the "Handlebar locked" position, extreme left and extreme right. Can't imagine why this would be relevant but thought I would mention it.
BINGO!

Gen 1 models have TWO handlebar LOCK ignition switch positions! LOCK & PARK LOCK (P).

PARK LOCK turns the tail light on for Temporary parking at night to keep cars from trying to take your space with your Bike IN IT! Say maybe 30 minutes to get some groceries?
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Yes! That was it. I never knew this feature even existed!
After reading your email I checked the key settings more carefully, confirmed the light comes on, and realized you're exactly right. Everything is in working order so this was a learning experience for me.

Personally this seems like the dumbest feature in the world. I can't imagine wanting to leave a parking light on, but to each his own.

Thanks again!
 

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Good on ya DPelletier

What a great outcome for Ziemet1 That would have been a worrying problem! However, it had such a simple solution. I love it!
 
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