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Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Classic Norton Commando Motorcycles.

Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby L.A.B. » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:06 pm

Supercat wrote:would leaving the alternator disconnected eliminate my risk of damaging the ignition and the battery due to overcharging?


Yes, but from what you've just said, it seems you have a fair bit more tidying up of the electrics to do yet.

Supercat wrote:K, I've just had a look, and the original rubber junction appears to be gone. It may be buried in the mess of bullet connectors I mentioned, but if it's there it's not obvious. There are also still white/blue and white/purple wires connected to the old ballast resistor.


Well, as I've said already, those two wires definitely need to be disconnected from the ballast resistor if you intend to connect WP (or WU) to the Boyer box white.


Supercat wrote:I did notice that there is a double set of white wires that are not connected to anything that seem to come from the main switch and that end with a connector that dangles just in the rear end of the battery box. Are those good candidates for connecting to the Boyer white wire? Should I connect the battery and use the multi-meter to look for power on those with the switch turned to on? I could run a wire from those up to the Boyer box wire fairly easily and that wouldn't require any cutting. I could even use my negative bi-pass wire to make that connection with relative ease. It's plenty long enough.


Yes, you could do that, but I suggest you try to find another available source of power closer to the Boyer, first.
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby Supercat » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:09 pm

Man, thanks so much L.A.B.!!!

I'll pick up some zip ties and some more electrical tape in the morning and will try a few things out. It'll be nice to see if the parking light works first off. Then I'll see if I can find a white wire closer to the Boyer box to connect the Boyer white to as you've suggested. If that looks like it'll require any cutting I'll check the rear white wires to see if they have power and will consider trying to connect to them if it seems doable. Then I'll do some tidying with electrical tape and zip ties for now. I'll order some bullet connectors as you've said and will do things properly (or at least as well as I can with my rudimentary skills) when those arrive. I've got to head out of town for a few weeks on Monday so I'll have to put the bike away for a bit until I get back.

Hoping to get out for a short ride or two over the weekend, and be able to drive it into my shed before I travel. If I end up able to get spark in the normal way (i.e. not using the bipass), I'll leave the alternator disconnected until the Podtronics unit arrives.

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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby Supercat » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:35 am

Hi there,

Ok, I've connected the battery to the main leads - I'm no longer blowing fuses, which is great. The parking light works in the main headlight with switch setting 1 & 4. The horn doesn't seem to be happening when I press either the top or bottom buttons on the handle bar. The main front light doesn't seem to be coming on, but maybe it's not meant to until the bike is running?

The weird thing is that I'm getting fluctuating voltage readings from both the white/purple and the white set of wires at the back of the battery box. Box will sometimes go up to 12 v or a little higher (the battery is reading 12.56 or so), but they often just drop down to 7 or 8 volts and sometimes down to between 2 and 4 volts with they key in the daytime riding position. This makes me weary of trying to run the bike through the harness at the moment. I expect readings like that would be great for getting kickback, which I do not want. Any idea what would cause that?

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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby rvich » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:09 am

From my notes, the white/purple is between the ballast resistor and the coils. Where are you finding it?
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:28 am

Supercat wrote:The main front light doesn't seem to be coming on, but maybe it's not meant to until the bike is running?


The headlamp runs off the battery, so it should come on at key position 4 regardless of whether the engine is running or not.

Supercat wrote:The weird thing is that I'm getting fluctuating voltage readings from both the white/purple and the white set of wires at the back of the battery box. Box will sometimes go up to 12 v or a little higher (the battery is reading 12.56 or so), but they often just drop down to 7 or 8 volts and sometimes down to between 2 and 4 volts with they key in the daytime riding position. This makes me weary of trying to run the bike through the harness at the moment. I expect readings like that would be great for getting kickback, which I do not want. Any idea what would cause that?


Have you disconnected WP from the ballast resistor? If you have, then what is WP connected to that has power? If you haven't disconnected WP from the ballast, then you are wasting your time.
If you are getting fluctuating voltage readings there could be a bad connection somewhere, possibly inside the ignition switch.
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby rvich » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:08 am

I see my question about white/purple is being addressed by LAB. There are lots of reasons to listen to him instead of me. Not the least of which is that I have never seen a Boyer. His comment about the ignition switch is valid. I have one apart in front of me right now. It would appear that something I sprayed into the key slot to lube and clean it was not very friendly to copper and brass. The contacts for the brown/blue from the battery where green. So its no wonder that when I fired up the bike it acted like it had a carb issue!

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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:12 am

rvich wrote:From my notes, the white/purple is between the ballast resistor and the coils. Where are you finding it?


Although not shown on the wiring diagrams, a WP and a white/red 'WR' normally run through the harness to the battery compartment as those two wires would have been connected to the electric start solenoid if the factory had fitted the Lucas version starter motor in 1971. :wink:

WR would have been the solenoid operating wire from the handlebar switch cluster push button (which has the WR wire and is shown on the wiring diagram going nowhere) and WP would have been the ballast 'bypass' (solenoid-to-coils) wire.
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby rvich » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:28 am

L.A.B. wrote:
rvich wrote:From my notes, the white/purple is between the ballast resistor and the coils. Where are you finding it?


Although not shown on the wiring diagrams, a WP and a white/red 'WR' normally run through the harness to the battery compartment as those two wires would have been connected to the electric start solenoid if the factory had fitted the Lucas version starter motor in 1971. :wink:

WR would have been the solenoid operating wire from the handlebar switch cluster push button (which has the WR wire and is shown on the wiring diagram going nowhere) and WP would have been the ballast 'bypass' (solenoid-to-coils) wire.


All I know from my notes is that I removed the white/purple from the harness when I installed the EI. I am a little puzzled about the ballast resistor still having power to it. Could that be causing the low voltage readings? Seems like removing all that is a good way to go, or so I thought when I did it.

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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:43 am

rvich wrote:All I know from my notes is that I removed the white/purple from the harness when I installed the EI.


Yes, as removing, or disconnecting it would be the normal thing to do, however, Supercat appears insistent on using the 'wrong' wire = WP, to power the Boyer because it has the 'right' terminal on it. :?


rvich wrote:I am a little puzzled about the ballast resistor still having power to it.


Theoretically, it shouldn't, as it should have been disconnected :roll: therefore WP shouldn't have any power in it at all.


rvich wrote:Could that be causing the low voltage readings?


Possibly the WP, but he said it was also the white in which case it's less likely to be the ballast resistor causing the drop/fluctuation in voltage.


rvich wrote:Seems like removing all that is a good way to go, or so I thought when I did it.


My feelings, exactly, but it seems I'm having some difficulty convincing Supercat.
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby rvich » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:50 am

Well the Boyer certainly wont care which color the wire is going to it, so if the WP is going to be used to power it then it needs to be hooked the white somewhere that doesn't include the ballast resistor!
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:02 am

rvich wrote:Well the Boyer certainly wont care which color the wire is going to it, so if the WP is going to be used to power it then it needs to be hooked the white somewhere that doesn't include the ballast resistor!


Yes, that's basically what I've been saying all along.
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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby Supercat » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:28 pm

Lol, don't worry, I'm convinced about the WP - I'm no longer intending to connect the Boyer to the WP :). I did think it might be fun to check how much voltage was going to it. I imagine it is probably still getting power through the ballast resistor. I'll disconnect the ballast resistor and I'll go directly to white, when I get to that stage. I guess I'm going to have to figure out this loose connection business first though eh.

And it sounds like the main switch is the best place to start on that eh... Is that a likely culprit for the main headlight too?

Thanks folks, this is all super helpful.

I think for the moment, I'm going to go for a bipass setup ride, and then get back to proper wiring work when I have more time tomorrow.

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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby Supercat » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:41 pm

Just went for an awesome little ride :). The Norton Commando is an amazing machine.

I'm definitely going to have lots to keep me busy over the winter months, with the wiring for sure, and I've still got a little carb adjusting to do. It's still getting a bit too much fuel according to the carbon on the plugs after each run. That should be pretty straightforward to sort out though. The wiring is the most challenging aspect for me, but the information you folks have already provided has gotten me a long way already, and I've got a pretty clear path forward.

I guess my next electronics step is to find the loose connection, and to start with the main switch. I think the manual has a good explanation for how to take that apart.

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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby L.A.B. » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:52 pm

Supercat wrote:I guess my next electronics step is to find the loose connection, and to start with the main switch. I think the manual has a good explanation for how to take that apart.



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Re: Main fuse/Positive ground problems

Postby ashman » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:24 pm

You be best to buy a whole new wiring harness and rip out all your old wiring and replace all connectors, myself perferr to do my own wiring from scratch, you be surprised in how mush wiring you can get rid of that is not needed by doing your own, its not a hard job and there are many simple wiring diagrams around that makes things simple but very reliable, I have done many British motorcycles wiring over the years, just make sure you have the right tools for the job and it also teaches you more to understand your own bike workings which helps if you plan on keeping your bike.

After 42 years of owning my Norton I know every nut and bolt although I built mine to the Featherbed frame in the early 80s it helped me to understand the workings and don't be affraid as I had no experiance at all before I rebuilt mind when I was a young bugger with only basic tools, I now have a fully equip workshop with lathe and milling machine and all the tools needed to work on any British motorcycles or any motorcycle as well if I wanted to, just think things through, take lots of pics as you go and walk away when things don't go right and think about it, that the best advise I can give, after 45 years playing and working on bikes I am still learning.

Good luck with it, its a great life playing with old motorcycles as well new ones.

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