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Discussion Starter #1
Here is the situation.
2007 Vstar 650 classic with 9300 miles
I have had the bike for 4 years, the first three years no problems.
The bike had to sit for the last 14 months in a relatively dry garage.
The bike sat with a full tank (with stabilizer) and the battery was left connected with no charger...not smart but that is what happened.
The first thing I did was try to charge the battery....would not charge.
I replaced the battery, changed the oil and tried to start her.
No start,no popping or any sign of fire.
Checked and I am not getting any spark!

Question: Could a battery (about 1 year old when I parked it) short out while draining down over months.
If so what kind of problems can that cause and where to look first.
I did not check the old battery for a short...just assumed it was dead and traded it in for the new battery.

I have not worked on bikes before but I do have mechanical knowledge. Electrical problems are not my thing but I intend on fixing this myself. Just received a Clymer manual to help with the fun.
After I get spark then Im sure I will have fun getting the carbs to function again.
 

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How did you check for spark? There are several ways to check, here's a few.
1. Plug out of bike grounded with wire on.
2. Wire on spark checker.
3. At coil?
4. With meter.
Which did you use or did you check an other way. Knowing how you checked it will help diagnose your issue.
 

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...Also how long did you crank it with the new battery before you checked for the spark?

With electronic ignition on the 650 there is a voltage threshold the battery must stay above for the ignition to fire. If you have a weak battery, or you crank a good battery down, then while cranking the starter if the voltage falls below the threshold the ignition will not fire - you will have no spark.

If your bike was running normally when your battery went soft you can usually push start the bike to get it going, because the starter puts a huge load on the battery, and will pull a weak battery down while cranking, but if you push start it the ignition does not draw very much current.

A good indication is to look at the neutral light on the bike and your headlight - if they both go very dim or go out while you are cranking the starter, your battery is not holding up. It could also be due to a bad connection on the battery, or the ground wire from the battery to the frame of the bike being corroded.

To answer your question, a battery going dead on the bike will not do any harm to anything on the bike, it went dead on its own from sitting for so long without being recharged from time to time.

Its also very unlikely for the ignition on a 650 to fail - they are very simple and very reliable. So before you start pulling the ignition parts off the bike make sure you really do not have any spark.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The bike was running fine when parked.
I was pretty sure the old battery would not be good after sitting 14 months but was wondering if it might have actually shorted out while going into deep discharge sitting that long. It was a cheap battery.

When I installed the new battery (new Yuasa) I first charged on a smart charger until it was in float mode all night long.
I tested for spark by "Plug out of bike grounded with wire on".
All running lights and neutral light shine bright and horn is loud.
One thing...KCW, you mention the headlight...the headlight IS NOT coming on when I turn the key on to run (I always leave kill switch on)
Is the headlight supposed to come on before startup or after the engine is running?
I thought is used to come on before startup....a clue perhaps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, so I just read in the owners manual:
"The headlight comes on automatically when the engine is started and stays on until the key is turned off even if the engine stalls". Guess the headlight not coming is not a clue.
More info:
I tried starting bike with the new battery the first time for about 15 minutes. After hearing no signs of fire I checked for spark. I charged the battery to float mode again and checked for spark again....no spark with fresh battery. Motor turns over well and sounds like a good strong battery.
 

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I can check my 650 when I get home tonight but Im 99% sure the head light should always be on when the ignition key is on, whether you have started the motor or not. If your is out either the headlight is burned out, or something else is going on. But that should not prevent the bike from starting.

Just to be clear, because a lot of people search these forums later, to check for spark you have to ground the plug to the case of the engine with the spark plug wire on it, as you said, then you have to crank the engine and watch the plug for a spark. Sorry if this is obvious, but some people might think the plug sparks 'all the time'. Also if you are in open sunlight the spark can be hard to see.

If the plug is all black with carbon on the center white cone, it might be fouled out and that will short the spark through the carbon. If the plug is nice and white and you cant see a spark while cranking in a fairly dark location then you need to trouble shoot the ignition system.

On this bike a common error is the bike will not run with the kickstand down if the bike is in any gear other than neutral. If the neutral green light is on it should be ok - the bike will not crank either if the kickstand is down and the bike is in gear. In general its always good to sit on the bike and put the kickstand up anyway whenever you are starting it, just in case the bike drops into gear while its running, so it wont fall off the kickstand. But again, if the bike is cranking its not a kickstand or 'kill switch' issue.
 

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also there is a fuse for the ignition circuit, they are behind the same panel as the battery, and the ignition fuse is #1. I dont think the starter would crank if that fuse is out, but its an easy thing to check.

Also there are a couple connectors you usually have to separate to get the battery out - make sure you put them all back together when you replaced the battery.
 

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checked my 2005 Vstar 650 Classic in my garage - headlight goes on when the ignition key is turned to run.

If your headlight is not working it might be a connected failure - power not going where it needs to from the key, or blown fuse, or the headlight is blown.

In 99% of the time, if there is a problem with a bike its all tied to a single point failure - its usually one bad ground connection, fuse, or one unplugged connector that is causing all the failures.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks KCW for checking on the headlight.
I could have sworn the headlight use to came on with the key switched to on. Sort of contradicts the wording in the owners manual. I wonder if it is a difference in year model 05 vs 07.
I am going to order some new plugs...old ones don't look too bad for 9000 miles on them.
Pretty sure they are not the problem but the manual says change at 8000 miles.

I am not a big believer in coincidence so I'm thinking its tied together.
 

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Just spent some time looking at the 650 wiring diagram. I will second KCW on possible bad ground. The ignition shows a separate ground from the starter circuit. A ground wire will easily corrode over time enough to cause issues. There have been many electrical issue posted here that turned out to be nothing but a bad ground. I ride an 1100 but both bikes are very similar so can't speak directly to all electrical connections. I would start checking all grounds for corrosion. You have several ground wires connected to frame on your bike. Google Vstar 650 wiring diagram if you don't have one. Keep us posted on progress.
 

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the user manual is translated from Japanese, and sometimes its not clear what they are trying to say.

mine says to shift down from 5th gear to 4th at 15mph
and to shift down from 4th gear to 3rd at 15mph
and to shift down from 3rd gear to 2nd at 15mph
and to shift down from 2nd gear to 1st at 15mph

things get muddled in the translation

BTW, my post started a new page - be sure to read LesBlank's post at the end of page 1.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I do have wire diagrams in this Clymer manual.
Just looking at the headlight wiring and noticed that the 2004-2005 is wired different than the 2006-on. Looks like a headlight relay was added in 2006. I wonder if that makes a difference on the when the headlight comes on?
If i am reading it wrong let me know. Wiring diagrams confuse me.

I will check all grounding connections I can find.....and every fuse too.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yep I noticed some strange shift points in the owners manual too. I thought people made big bucks being technical writers/editors. You are write about an occasional "lost in translation" problem.
 

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... Looks like a headlight relay was added in 2006. ....

its possible they did that to keep the headlight off while cranking the starter. Im not sure how the relay would know that the bike has started so turn on the headlight ?!...

Thats one piece of the puzzle then that is not part of the spark issue.
 

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I ran a test procedure for an electronics system thru babelfish several years ago.

The system had a problem if you turned the power off, then turned it back on quickly, so the test said:

Turn the power off.
Turn the power on.
... then check for the fault condition

after translating it to Japanese, I wondered how I would know it was correct and clear.

so I had the website translate the Japanese back into english

it said: Revolution gives Power !
 

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Discussion Starter #16
'Revolution gives Power'
That is a funny translation and also a very true statement when it comes to politics and generators/alternators.

I am going to post another question in the Vstar section to ask 2006+ Vstar 650 owners to check when their headlight comes on.
 

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its possible they did that to keep the headlight off while cranking the starter. Im not sure how the relay would know that the bike has started so turn on the headlight ?!...
I would venture a guess that when the alternator output is sufficient, such as while the motor is running, then the relay would switch power on. However who knows if this accurate because I have no idea what the legal ramifications are if the alternator should suddenly fail while operating the motorcycle at night.
 

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There are several ways the ecm could tell the engine has started. Once it sees that trigger point it would logically latch the headlight circuit on until you turn the key off, thats easy to do.

But on a bike with carbs you have limited sensors to choose from - for example you cant use rpm>1000 because it has no tach. Waiting for the alternator to spike might keep the headlight off until you are up to 40mph. Any other sensor you use to trip the headlight relay might fail, and then you have no way to turn the headlight on.

Im sure that is why the 650 headlight was originally tied directly to the ignition switch - its the possible failure modes that make things get complicated quickly.

The service manual schematics only show the wiring diagram between all the modules. The headlight relay for example will show what its connected to, but you cannot determine the logic inside the relay, or how it determines when to light the lamp.
 

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Once the alternator puts out current such as at idle, that's all you would need to trigger a relay. As for monitoring rpm to engage a 'relay' you wouldn't need a tach or special sensor, that could be integral with the ICM/ECU and pickup coil arrangement.
 
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