Horn/Electrical Problem

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by Dr. Dolittle, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    I am dumber than dirt when it comes to electrons - let's get that established right up front!

    I bought a tester light at an auto parts store to trouble shoot a problem a few months ago but never used it. Discovered my horn (after market Rivco electric model) wasn't working while at Biketoberfest so out came the test light this afternoon.

    Here come all the dumb questions:

    1. The tester light has alligator clips covered by a red, flexible piece of plastic. Does this mean that the clips should only be connected to "positive?" Connected the clips to battery positive and the probe to battery negative and the light came on. Didn't have the guts to try it the other way.

    2. Figured I'd start by seeing if the actual horn was getting any juice when the handlebar switch is pressed. When I attempted to attach the afore mentioned red clip to the front terminal of the horn, it honked as soon as the clip touched the terminal. This was with no activation of the handlebar switch. Tried touching the red clip to the rear terminal and got a shower of sparks! What's happening here?

    3. I was thinking a blown fuse or bad ground somewhere but the facts in question 2 above kind of eliminate that theory. Now I'm leaning towards a bad handlebar switch. Sound logical?

    Of course I've violated a cardinal rule and began troubleshooting when I don't have much time to follow through. I leave tomorrow on a trip and won't be able to mess with the bike again until next Tuesday.

    Any replies will be filed away in my feeble brain and used next week!

    Thanks.
     
  2. Redfish-Joe

    Redfish-Joe Senior Member

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    Put the 'gator clip on a good ground. Use the sharp probe to get into the tight area of the connector to make contact or pierce the wire (last resort). If you have current the light will come on. Make sure the key is on when doing the test. I know from experience that if the key isn't on, no matter how much you probe you won't get a light.:D
     
  3. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    DR, you can also check for grounds with a test light. Hook up the alligator clip to the positive on the battery. any grounded metal you touch with the sharp probe end if grounded will light the test light up, Hope this helps, Capital Jack:s
     
  4. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    See, this is why it's so confusing to me. One of you is telling me to connect the clip to ground (negative, right?) while the other is saying to connect it to positive.

    Also, I'm still thoroughly confused as to how the horn could sound simply by touching the tester clip to a spade terminal on the horn, with the ignition switch off and the handlebar horn switch untouched.
     
  5. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Doc

    You need power to the circuit if you are putting the test clip to ground and the opposite if you are putting the clip to power to test for a ground.
     
  6. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Dr, we are both right, The test for grounds is just that, Redfish joes test is with the clip on a round, repeat on a ground, as you probe wires if you find a hot wire, one with juice the light will light up, The other way around , The ground test is pretty much the same test just in reverse, you are making a complete circuit both ways , Does that make sense? Maybe Hoople can explain it easier, Icould show you but my arms are not long enough
     
  7. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    You may get all tied up in knots too, be careful there.:D
     
  8. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Now you see why I don't own a test light. Get a Good meter!:)
     
  9. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Mr Electricity is here!:D We're all safe now!
     
  10. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    See, i knew he would have the right answer, can always count on Hoople :s