Solenoid 'chatter' but what to do next ?

Discussion in 'Electrical' started by RetroRocker, May 23, 2010.

  1. RetroRocker

    RetroRocker Member

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    Hi to all from eastern UK
    Went out to fire up my '07 Ultra Classic last evening for a cruise and all I got was a continuous, loud solenoid chatter and not much else. This bike did this to me a couple of years ago, just once, but then engaged and started after a rock back and forth and has never done it again 'til now and now it's permanent. :(
    I have read the self help tips by glider on 'no cranking' and the 'how the solenoid works' but now I'm stuck.
    Here's what I've tried ...
    1. Battery terminals, both are clean and tight with petroleum jelly smeared for anti corrosion (have also remade these connections).
    2. Have removed solenoid cover and looked at the big copper contact washer on the spindle and the contacts either side. These are not perfect but they are clean and not pitted or corroded ... just a little bit dull.
    3. Battery voltage measured at 11.9 v.dc.

    Very sudden onset of problem, no problem starting issues leading up to this before except that one episode I mentioned.

    I would really be grateful for suggestions as to what to do next ?

    thanks and best wishes

    RetroRocker
     
  2. rancid

    rancid Active Member

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    your battery is flat, 12.7v is full charged, and about 12.3v is flat 11.9 is not enough to turn the bike over. charge the battery then get riding and buy a float charger for maintaining so this doesnt happen again
     
  3. RetroRocker

    RetroRocker Member

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    rancid : really sorry but that was a dumb typo of mine. I was just doing some work on something else with a reading of 11.9v and it just slipped in ... I should've re-read more carefully.
    The voltage measured between the solenoid terminal and the frame is 12.7v. It's fully charged and I do use an Optimate charger.

    Do you reckon we could start again :)

    cheers

    RR
     
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    At this point I would suspect either a bad solenoid contact or a bad battery cable connection. "Clean" is not always a good connection (visually). Remove and clean the contact point and also remember there is TWO ends to each cable that could cause the problem, clean the both.
     
  5. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Sure. Measuring the battery voltage across the battery terminals without a load is almost meaningless. Keep the voltmeter across the battery and try and crank it. What does the meter reading fall to while cranking..
     
  6. RetroRocker

    RetroRocker Member

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    Many thanks to all who have contributed so far, it's appreciated.

    Glider : I did what you said. I cleaned the contact face of the big copper ring with a small wire brush and 600 grade wet/dry paper 'til it shone. Same with the two fixed contacts which lie beneath it.

    Hoople : Battery no load = 12.7v ; Lights/ign on = 12.3v ; attempted cranking (just solenoid chatter) = 11.2v

    Battery lost it's oomph ? (it's now on charge again because it's been hammered again, so it'll be awhile before I know anymore)

    RR
     
  7. gunnut

    gunnut Junior Member

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    Just had the same problem with my glide,it usewd to do it after a long run,when everything washot.Needed a bump start this time,rode to a friends house,battery was at 11 volts,both the pos terminal and earth were loose(off the battery)tightened them up,checked all other connections,and bumped the charge up to full.Maybe its my imagination,but the start now is better,and performance seems to have improved a little.not much help to you I know,but the alternatives(new starter,solennoid or worse)are expensive options.Really hope its something simple like mine was.Good luck.
     
  8. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Those are not terrible numbers. 12.7v & 12.3v & 11.2v are to be expected. I was thinking with starter engaged, you had something like 9.2Volts. Sounds like your battery is doing it's job right now.

    I wish you had an inductive amp probe to measure the current coming out of the battery at the time of cranking. That would be a valuable number to know.
    You wouldn't by chance have 1 would you?:p:p
     
  9. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Don't overlook the other end of those cables as a possible source of the problem too. You may want to fully charge the battery and then have it load tested.
     
  10. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Welcome RetroRocker to the HDTalking forum. Just curious, is your Ultra equipped with a battery tender? Sounds like you may have a weak cell. Over the past few years, have you fully discharged the battery or had the symptoms before? The normal battery voltage with the full "float charge" voltage should be 12.6V or more, but once it has been way down, the reserve CCA of your battery will be less than it was...when everything is off it should be well over 11.9V...JMO