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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #11  
Old 5th March 2021
VintageVinny VintageVinny is offline
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BigMek suggested that I check to see where I'm losing voltage, and here are the results:

Battery at 12.1 volts (a little low because I had been testing with it).
Red wire going into starter relay at 12.1 volts.
Green wire on starter relay at 10.1 volts (when starter is activated).
Green wire on solenoid at 9.8 volts (when starter is activated).
Short fat lug on the solenoid at .75 volts (when starter is activated).

So it looks like the problem is the solenoid, which puzzles me.
It's brand new and has no more than 10 starting attempts on it.

Smokey 2 - I believe the grounds are good, because I can jump the two fat solenoid posts and starter spins fine.
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  #12  
Old 5th March 2021
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If all you're doing is shorting the two large terminals of the solenoid together, it's only the starter motor that's spinning, right? That doesn't take much electrical current.

The battery could still be weak or bad, because it takes a huge amount of current to spin the motorcycle motor over if the solenoid pulls the plunger in and the bendix is engaged to the ring gear on the clutch basket.

I'd fully charge the battery and try the test again and see what the numbers are.
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  #13  
Old 6th March 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageVinny View Post
Battery at 12.1 volts (a little low because I had been testing with it).
I concur with Kelly.

Most good 12v batteries will read 12.7-12.8 volts at rest and anywhere between 12.5 and 13.5 volts are what you want. When volts drop to 12.4 your bike may not start. Fewer than 11.8 ...it's dead.

At 12.1 your battery is dying. Throw a charger on it. Can't hurt.
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  #14  
Old 6th March 2021
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Short fat lug on the solenoid at .75 volts (when starter is activated).
There the problem. activating the solenoid should show battery voltage on both large lugs.
If you physically short the 2 large lugs and the starter turns, your solenoid is not working correctly or you have dirty contacts inside the solenoid
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  #15  
Old 6th March 2021
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  #16  
Old 6th March 2021
VintageVinny VintageVinny is offline
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Looks like it's a battery issue.

After a night on the trickle charge, battery voltage is 12.6 and on the solenoid (when activated) is 11 volts.

Two hours later, with no usage, the battery is down to 12.1 and voltage at the solenoid (when activated) is at 0.8 volts.

On Monday, I'll see about exchanging the battery. I bought it last month at local Batteries Plus. Thank you all for your help.
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