Battery's negative lead sparks when connected.... - Road Star Warrior Forum : Yamaha Star Warrior Forums

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Old 01-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Battery's negative lead sparks when connected....

When re installing my battery, I plugged the positive first and then the negative. As soon as the connector touched the battery, I saw a little arc. The weird thing is the ignition is off. I've been having some issues with battery loosing its charge when the bike is parked for a couple of weeks. Has anyone seen or have gone through this before? I thought I saw the tachometer's blue light on, it was a faint light, but on nevertheless.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Three odd questions possibly having nothing to do with it.
How long have you had the SVR-14 installed and how often do you get to take longer rides (or are rides most often very short)?
Stock, the front turn signal housings use dual filament bulbs, one for the turn signal and one for the front running light. Is that all still stock on your bike?
Have you checked in a darkened area when re-connecting the NEG cable if the tach light does indeed illuminate?
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I normally take short rides.
The front light and signals are still factory.
I haven't tried that yet, waiting for night fall to try and see if the tachometer lights up with the ignition off and the battery connected.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've had the battery for less than a year.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The SVR-14 is a great battery imo. Often short rides don't provide adequate recharge time after starting, and cooler weather can make that more noticable. Being a little hard to start after two weeks in cooler weather is pretty normal. Its why so many of us use a floater/charger.

A [faint] little spark when connecting the NEG cable to the battery after the POS is already connected is nothing to worry about. It'll be noticed sometimes. [added: but a strong spark when the metals touch will indicate a current path that probably shouldn't be there, so . . .]

Hopefully the tach light faintly illuminating was just a mirage lol because I'm not sure what might cause that based on what you've posted here!

Last edited by arizonawarrior; 01-08-2012 at 11:51 PM. Reason: I missed OP said sparks 'when' cable touches the NEG post.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the feedback Arizonawarrior.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arizonawarrior View Post
...
A little spark when connecting the NEG cable to the battery after the POS is already connected is nothing to worry about. It'll be noticed sometimes.

Hopefully the tach light faintly illuminating was just a mirage lol because I'm not sure what might cause that based on what you've posted here!
I'm going to disagree just cuz, AW. With no radio or similar type accessories it doesn't seem like the Warrior would have enough draw on the battery to cause a visible arc. So I just went out and measured mine. The only electrical accessories I have that might pull any current are my PC-III, a Speed-o-Healer and the ECU and gauge cluster . I measured an average of just under 1.5 milliamps. Something in there is pulsing so the current draw is fluctuating between 1.42 and 1.53 milliamps, mA.

To put this into perspective, the average automobile will draw between 35 and 50 milliamps when the engine is off and all systems are shut down. That 35 to 50 is for the memory in the radio and other such BS.

I don't know what is drawing the 1.5 ma on the Warrior, but that is minuscule. That certainly isn't enough to cause a spark. That makes me wonder about the tach light. Maybe you did see something there.

I recommend you check your system for a parasitic draw on the battery. Is is very easy to do if you have a multimeter. With the key off, disconnect the negative cable from the battery. Set your multimeter to it's highest current scale. For the meters most guys have this would usually be 10 to 15 amps. There are some that will go up to 20 amps but they are more expensive than the home mechanic usually wants to pay. Connect the negative lead, black, to the negative battery cable. Touch the positive lead, red, to the negative terminal on the battery. The meter is now in series with the electrical system of the bike and will read any current flow that may be there. Don't worry if you get the leads reversed. The meter will still read the current, it will just put a negative or minus sign in front of the value. Disregard the sign, the value will be the same.

Hopefully the meter will read zero. You have it set to its highest scale. Unless there is a major problem in the electrical system the meter won't be sensitive enough to read the current. If the meter has a reading of 1 or more amps, stop here! You have a big problem that must be taken care of ASAP. You start high in case there is a big problem. That way you won't fry your meter by trying to measure amps on a milliamp scale.

So, move the red lead off of the battery and change the scale on the meter to milliamps. With a rotary type dial, milliamps will be one click to the right or left. It will be marked as "mA". If you have an expensive meter there should be a button marked mA. Take a look at where the leads plug into the meter. On some meters you will have to move the leads in order to use different scales. Make sure you have them in the proper positions or the readings you get will be incorrect. Once all has been checked, put the red lead back on the negative battery terminal and see what value is displayed.

For those who aren't familiar with this stuff, one milliamp is .001 amp. In other words, 1,000 milliamps equals one amp. So these milliamps are little suckers. All I got when I check my Warrior was 1.5 mA. Not much at all. Unless you have a bunch of electrical accessories on your bike you should not see a reading much higher than mine. A lower reading or even none at all is great. The lower the better. If you get a reading of 10mA I would begin to wonder. A reading of 20mA or higher and I would start looking for the source of that current draw.

To help locate the system that is drawing the excess current, start pulling fuses.
If you pull a fuse and the current draw drops way down you know you have found the circuit with the problem.

One last word about tose little milliamps. It only take 10 milliamps to kill a man. They are small, but under the correct circumstances they can be deadly!
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Last edited by oldman; 01-07-2012 at 12:51 PM. Reason: forgot some stuff
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Good explanation Oldman. I'll do this just for fun over the weekend when I put the battery tender stuff in. I know the draw is pretty low, cuz my bike will still start after sitting for a couple of winter months.

I don't know what is drawing the 1.5 ma on the Warrior, but that is minuscule.

The 1.5 milliamp dudes showing up are probably needed to keep the memory on the clock, fuel guage, etc, yeah?
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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yup correct - positive on first then connect negative as per the service book

even when disconnecting it says [3.61] neg off first i'm assuming to protect some of the delicate data stuff...ecu etc...so i'm with jack ....need to find that sucker - but that dark test will put ya mind to rest about that tacho blue light...good luck finding that ...but now you know something's up and nothing blew up which is a bonus
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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@Oldman, yep that's true, plus there's more. Even static electricity on your body can cause a visible spark, including if you happen at the time to be working on a battery connection. On occasion I will see a small weak spark connecting mine. Isn't the voltage difference (potential) responsible for sparks, not amps?

One of the variables troubleshooting over the internet is not being there to see it. So sometimes its hard to know how big the verbally-described spark is, sorta like somebody's 'click' is somebody else's 'clank' lol. In the absence of other indicators, a weak spark isn't enough to get me all excited. Especially if the spark happens when the metals are almost touching and there's nearly no gap.

Now, if his tach light is illuminating when connecting the NEG cable then I agree there's an issue, so I'm anxiously awaiting news!

I'm pretty sure pressure (voltage) is responsible for sparks jumping through air. But testing for amps is a good way to see if there is current when there should not be. To that end, if he has a meter and the described test reads much over 0.01 amps I would be searching things out. Or do you think on the Warrior that's still too high a threshhold? Somewhere in the service manual there's an amperage drain number for consumables that I was thinking was in that range. Maybe I'd better look that number up again. [added: I didn't find it in the manual so I am mistaken about the data being there]

[added: okay my bad Oldman pointed me in the right direction, the OP said the sparks fly 'when' the cable touched the post, not before, so ignore anything I said about voltage and air gaps, Oldman is right there must be a completed circuit that should not be there else there would be no sparks when the cable touches the post.]
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