Radio Ground Issue? - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by fenderheavy, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. fenderheavy

    fenderheavy Member

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    I have what I believe is a ground issue with my Harley Davidson CD Player. I have a 2003 FLHTI (Electraglide Std). A while back my buddy washed my bike for me. Big Mistake. He gives the HD radio a bath. So, he gets me a refurb through the local HD dealer. I install it and after about two hours of riding it quits. Dead. No power. I take it back and get a third (this is over a period of weeks). The third radio dies after about 1.5 hours of riding. I'm stumped. I talk to the dealer and they say it's a wiring problem. Now, my bike has never been taken apart outside of me installing the radios. I take the front off and begin removing the radio. I left the ignition on, for some reason, and inadvertently touched the triple tree ground bracket and the radio with my allen wrench. BOOM the radio comes to life! After standing there scratching my head for a while I put it all back together and go for a spin, like any self respecting rider would do (Hey, I fixed it! right?) So after another 1.5 to 3 hours it quits again. I take it home, remove the front, do the same thing with the allen wrench, and it comes to life again. This time I get a wise and add an additional ground wire from the radio mounting bolt to the triple tree ground. I fixed it again, right? No. After riding for about the same time it quits again. Back home, front off, jump the ground with allen wrench, radio comes on. What's wrong with my bike? The wiring harness is clean as a whistle. The ground connections are clean and tight. Totally intact. I'm the only owner and know that there has never been work done on the bike. No issues.

    What could be causing the radio to stop working after riding for a couple hours, then come back on when I jump the ground from the frame to the case of the radio?

    Thanks for your help. This one's really got me stumped...


    Mike B.
     
  2. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Welcome Fenderheavy to the HDTalking Forum and your first post...you will have a number of fellow riders and enthusiasts weigh in momentarily. There are a number of tools to help you navigate...the tabs near the top of the web page include Self Help access to rider troubleshooting tips and Search to find related threads when you type in key words.

    That said, I would look "under the hood" one more time, but this time more methodically, when you separate connectors, look inside at the contacts for "crushed or displaced" pin/receptacles. Use compressed air and "blow them out" mating them a few times and use a small "dab" of dielectric grease on the pins before mating the last time. Then I would go to the fuse block and do the same thing (if you see corrosion or moisture, scrape it off with a pen knife, mate several times and use the grease there too, while your at it do the primary cables (battery and starter) including the ground straps, just because prevention is a good thing. Be patient and methodical and you will find it.

    Do not keep "surge starting your radio with intermittent ground connection" you could permanently damage the electronic "start ckt" which is a typical start up sequence digital electronics are designed with to self protect themselves. Notice your PC has an electronic start as well as a main power switch...that gives you an idea of what you could do if you start your electronics by plugging and unplugging power cord from the wall.
     
  3. Lancer

    Lancer Junior Member

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    I would suspect a broken/chaffed wire in the harness. I had an issue where the sound on mine would cut off. Ended up being a chaffed wire going to the switch that turned the speakers off.
     
  4. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Would you be able to:

    Disconnect the battery. Take an ohmeter on the lowest scale (200 ohms) with continuity beeper "on" and put it between your triple tree and the BATTERY GROUND Cable. And now at the same time swing the forks back and forth, what does the meter read.?
     
  5. fenderheavy

    fenderheavy Member

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    Thanks guys! If anyone else hast tips, please chime in. I've been looking for an excuse to buy a ohmeter, Hoople. One night this week I'll take the seat and tank off and jump start the radio then wiggle the entire length of the harness. Maybe I can get it to fail. Now, another fact is that there is no interruption on any of the other systems... all the guages are functioning fine. All thedash panel lights, guages, etc. are spot on. I'll post a report after I get her apart and checked out.

    Anyone else have an assignment for me? I hope to fix this at MY hourly rate, not the local dealer's!


    Mike
     
  6. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Theory only:

    I have not been able to look at the pin-out of the radio harness but I would guess the design is NOT to ground the radio (B-) through the case bolted to the frame of the bike. One of the wires in the plug-in harness would have (theory part) to be "Radio Power Grd". If you have the electrical schematic of the bike, look at the pin-out of that harness. Disconnect that plug, locate the (B-) pin. Place your meter between that pin and the battery ground cable. Continuity Beeper on meter to "ON". You should read very close to 0 ohms with beeper beeping. Wiggle cable and listen for beeper to fall out along with watching meter for value change. If you are using a Good meter (like a Fluke) you can capture an open circuit with something like a 50ms duration.
    Your sitting on the problem. If you can post a schematic of the radio plug and the wires in this area, I can help you more, but from where I am, I am just shooting from the hip..

    Hoop!
     
  7. fenderheavy

    fenderheavy Member

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    Good Stuff Hoople! Hey, How does the antennae cable play in to this? When the radio is working, and you unplug the antennae jack, the radio powers down. Could the primary ground be the antennae jack?
     
  8. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    One would hope that the ground for the radio is not relying on that coax cable connection only. Do you see any other ground straps, or do you think some were not installed, or not put back on when the radio was replaced earlier?
     
  9. fenderheavy

    fenderheavy Member

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    Does anyone here have a copy of the wiring diagram for a 2003 Electraglide?
     
  10. fenderheavy

    fenderheavy Member

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    NEWHD74FAN, I did the original radio install as the bike came without one. The only connections were the harnass and the antennae, along with 4 mounting bolts. Simple install. No additional grounds were involved, so it has to be in one of the two connections. I got six years out of the original install...! There are two ground connections on the triple tree. I'll trace them when I get the silly thing apart this week. (Note to self: Buy a Fluke, don't cause one!)
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009