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Thread: Electrical/Tail-Brake Light Question

  1. #51
    Member dkmulford's Avatar
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    Guys,

    With the key turned on, I used a multi-meter between the front running light wires and the ground and I don't get any volts. The turn signal wire looks good..just can't get anything from the running light wire. I would think I should see 12 volts between the green ground and the orange/white or green ground and blue/white anytime the key is turned on?

    Thanks,
    D
    79 CX500 Custom
    08 Harley FXSTC

  2. #52
    Super Moderator Sidecar Bob's Avatar
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    The only time you shouldn't have voltage between the orange/white and green or between the light blue/white and ground is when the corresponding turn signal is switched on.

    Is the main fuse OK? How about the one for the running lights, tail light & instrument lights (the one in the box on the handlebars with the brown/white wire)? Is the cable from the left switch assembly plugged in all the way? Is the battery connected?

    If all that stuff is OK try measuring directly across the battery to confirm that the meter is set correctly, then measure from the battery negative to one of the running light wires and again from the green to the running light wire.
    If you don't have voltage between the battery negative and the running light wire you have a problem somewhere between the battery positive and the running light wire.
    If you have voltage between battery negative and the running light wire but not between the running light wire and the green wire there is a problem in the ground circuit.
    Summer - Mr. Honda ('83 GL1000/Dnepr)
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  3. #53
    Member dkmulford's Avatar
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    Thanks. I had already tried some of what you say below...went back out, tried the rest. Nothing. The bike had a fairing on it when I bought it...I removed it. There is a set of plugs (similar to the flat connectors you see on the handle bar switches) that use to plug into the fairing. I used the multimeter on them and I read 12 volts with the power on and nothing with it off. I'm wondering if those were used for the fairing running lights instead? It also appears someone (could have been whoever installed the fairing) had previously messed around with the wiring. I'll keep looking for the disconnect...however, isn't the running lights just a hot and ground running through the power switch? In other words, why can't I just use the two wires I found and forget about the factory running light wires?

    D

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidecar Bob View Post
    The only time you shouldn't have voltage between the orange/white and green or between the light blue/white and ground is when the corresponding turn signal is switched on.

    Is the main fuse OK? How about the one for the running lights, tail light & instrument lights (the one in the box on the handlebars with the brown/white wire)? Is the cable from the left switch assembly plugged in all the way? Is the battery connected?

    If all that stuff is OK try measuring directly across the battery to confirm that the meter is set correctly, then measure from the battery negative to one of the running light wires and again from the green to the running light wire.
    If you don't have voltage between the battery negative and the running light wire you have a problem somewhere between the battery positive and the running light wire.
    If you have voltage between battery negative and the running light wire but not between the running light wire and the green wire there is a problem in the ground circuit.
    79 CX500 Custom
    08 Harley FXSTC

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  5. #54
    Super Moderator Sidecar Bob's Avatar
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    The original running light wires are supposed to be powered through the turn signal switch so that they are not on while the signal is flashing. That way that the signals are BRIGHT-off-BRIGHT-off which is much easier for other drivers to figure out of BRIGHT-DIM-BRIGHT-DIM.

    Besides, if the PO messed around with those wires what else did he change and how is it going to come back and bite you later. It is far better to find out why those wires are not live when they should be and figure out what else isn't working now while it is apart in your garage than to have to do it later on by the side of the road at night.

    If the fairing was installed properly it should have had a sub-harness that plugged into the bike's original wiring in the same places where the original headlight and turn signals plugged in, usually with a bulkhead connector on the other end that plugged into the fairing. Sometimes if you look at where the wiring to the fairing was connected you can figure out what is going on. At any rate you should remove the sub-harness now that you no longer need it.

    Did you check the fuses on the handlebars? Are the brake light and the instrument lights working? I will be surprised if the problem isn't a bad fuse. Glass cartridge fuses can fail without warning after many years of normal vibration. Sometimes they look OK but the link has let go inside the end cap so the only way to tell for sure is to remove the fuse and test it with an ohm meter (you can't always tell by checking voltages and you have to remove them to check for continuity). After almost being stranded once I make it a practice to throw the old ones out and install new ones whenever I get a "new" bike.

    When I got my GL500 everything worked but when I looked at the wiring while changing from the Vetter fairing that came with it to the Honda fairing that already had all my stuff in it I discovered that the fuse for that circuit had failed but still looked OK and the PO had cross connected a wire in that circuit to another circuit to make the lights work. That could have lead to everything on both circuits being dead if the other fuse failed, easily avoided if they had pulled the fuses and checked them properly.
    Summer - Mr. Honda ('83 GL1000/Dnepr)
    Winter - The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/Veloural)

    Click here for Eccles: The Never Ending Build (retroactive to 2006)
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  6. #55
    Member dkmulford's Avatar
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    Yeah, I had the same thoughts...what else is messed up. In light of the info that the running lights turning off while the turn signal is going, I'll keep troubleshooting the wires. I believe you said this before but it just now made sense.

    I sold the fairing and the sub wiring harness last year when I took it off. I remember just unplugging the wires, etc....but I still have those two extra wires that I'm not sure what they are for. If OK with you, when I get back home this evening I'd like to take a picture and see what you think.

    Regarding the fuses...yes, I replaced all the fuses when I started working on the bike. However, I did go back and recheck them last night to make sure one hadn't blown.

    Yes, the brake light and instrument lights work.

    I'm going to look at that left hand switch and see if there's something going on there. I'll also check the wiring diagram again and figure out which color wires are running out of the switch and see if there's any issues there.

    One thing worth noting is that it is both the left and right running light wires that are acting up and at this time those are the only two wires that appear to be acting up. I'm betting there is something goofy in the left hand switch.

    D
    79 CX500 Custom
    08 Harley FXSTC

  7. #56
    Super Moderator Sidecar Bob's Avatar
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    Pictures are good.

    The extra wires could have been to power a stereo or something like that in the fairing but without seeing it the way it was we can only guess. If I was wiring it to power the running lights without the original wires I would have only run 1 extra wire and connected both of them to it. But I have a saying "I have a hard enough time figuring out what I was thinking let alone why someone else did something."

    And I have another saying that applies to the likelihood of something going wrong in the switch "35+ years is a long time". What is really surprising is that so few of the switches on these bikes have failed.

    When you open the switch housing you are looking for the part of the switch that has the brown/white, orange/white and light blue/white wires (note that the blue/white is power to the high/low beam switch and light blue/white is right running light).
    - There should be power on the brown/white wire whenever the key is turned on so check that first. If it is live and the orange/white and light blue/white are not live when the switch is in the centre (off) position the problem is in the switch.
    - If the brown/white is not live that is the problem and you need to look at the other end of the cable from the switch assembly to make sure the brown/white is connected properly. According to the schematic I have it should be in one of the multi wire connectors and the corresponding wire on the other half of the connector should be another brown/white. If the brown/white at the connector is live and not the one at the switch the problem is in the wire.
    - If the brown/white at the other half of the connector is not live check for voltage at the brown/white at the switch box.

    Let me know what you find.
    Summer - Mr. Honda ('83 GL1000/Dnepr)
    Winter - The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/Veloural)

    Click here for Eccles: The Never Ending Build (retroactive to 2006)
    Click here to visit my blog at CURD

    CLICK HERE FOR CX WIKI

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