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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-07-2020, 05:11 AM
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CFL Custom build--Headlight quit working

This is a CFL custom buildup (I didn't build it). When I first bought the bike, everything worked fine, no issues. Then one night a few weeks ago the headlight wouldn't turn on when I went to fire the bike up. Checked the headlight, no problems (plugged it into my Softail to verify dims and brights). The headlight turns on and off via an 'old on that' toggle switch that the builder installed into the headlight bucket. I checked continuity on that switch, and it's fine. The white and yellow headlight wires run down the inside of the backbone and connect to a 5-pin relay that controls the dimming/bright. The relay is triggered by the 'bright' switch on the handlebars. I tested the relay (all three separate tests) and it's fine. The circuit runs through a 15-amp Circuit Breaker, which I verified for continuity and it's fine. All the other accessories come on when you turn on the key switch.

I tested the headlight in-bike by connecting a separate battery to the headlight wires and the headlight lights up, and will turn on and off with the on/off switch.

The dimmer switch energizes the relay; you can hear the "click".

So unless I"m missing something obvious, every part of this circuit is good...but still no headlight.

Thoughts? I'm sure I'm leavng out info that someone needs....

Thanks
Logan
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-07-2020, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logan View Post
This is a CFL custom buildup (I didn't build it). When I first bought the bike, everything worked fine, no issues. Then one night a few weeks ago the headlight wouldn't turn on when I went to fire the bike up. Checked the headlight, no problems (plugged it into my Softail to verify dims and brights). The headlight turns on and off via an 'old on that' toggle switch that the builder installed into the headlight bucket. I checked continuity on that switch, and it's fine. The white and yellow headlight wires run down the inside of the backbone and connect to a 5-pin relay that controls the dimming/bright. The relay is triggered by the 'bright' switch on the handlebars. I tested the relay (all three separate tests) and it's fine. The circuit runs through a 15-amp Circuit Breaker, which I verified for continuity and it's fine. All the other accessories come on when you turn on the key switch.

I tested the headlight in-bike by connecting a separate battery to the headlight wires and the headlight lights up, and will turn on and off with the on/off switch.

The dimmer switch energizes the relay; you can hear the "click".

So unless I"m missing something obvious, every part of this circuit is good...but still no headlight.

Thoughts? I'm sure I'm leavng out info that someone needs....

Thanks
Logan
Can you simply change the on off switch to on off on so it will run you high and low directly bypassing the handlebars convenience? And all that drama with the micro switch and the relay.

I would understand the need to be able to quickly turn on off high beams in a car for the other motorists, but on a bike???
If Iím at night, on a chopper, I,m keeping high beams on ...
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:29 PM
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So if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting just taking the on/off switch out of the circuit completely? That would be fine with me--I agree with you that it's kind of silly having that switch there, considering I never ride without it on. I'm not sure I understand how taking that switch out of the circuit would make any difference, though...can you explain further?

Thanks for that quick reply, by the way; I really want to get back to riding the damn thing!
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Old 08-07-2020, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logan View Post
So if I understand you correctly, you're suggesting just taking the on/off switch out of the circuit completely? That would be fine with me--I agree with you that it's kind of silly having that switch there, considering I never ride without it on. I'm not sure I understand how taking that switch out of the circuit would make any difference, though...can you explain further?

Thanks for that quick reply, by the way; I really want to get back to riding the damn thing!
No , what I meant is you substitute the 2 position on off switch on the headlight with 3 position on-off-on which operated high and low beams. And you forget the handlebars micro push button as well as the relay it operates. It,s too complicated. And you can ride. You don,t have to remove the components.

Later, in the winter you can troubleshoot your circuits or rebuild them from ground up or make it simpler.

I run but one hot wire to the headlight which also has a on-off-on switch. That shifts between high and low filaments.. The negative is grounded to the frame.
My handlebars have no wires. The start button is a sprang car key near the oil tank.easily reachable.
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113"s&s, Walz softail 2000/2012 prostreet
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127"Ultima, Chassis Design rigid 2013 bobber
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 08-08-2020, 11:06 AM
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Electrical components can bench test positive and fail in the field.

Last edited by JamesS; 08-11-2020 at 05:33 PM..
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Old 08-08-2020, 05:49 PM
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I agree with this , wire in a switch directly to the head light, get rid of the relay. the relays are nothing but another switch, waiting to break "burn or to "reroute current in the wrong direction, or to cut current flow the proper circuit ,, they will make complications with in a circuit, it's too simple to wire a single switch in..
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Last edited by Shovel52; 08-08-2020 at 05:54 PM..
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2020, 08:34 AM
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Electrical components can bench test ok and fail under load or working situations.
Easy checks would be to look at the grounding of the forks , use a jumper to ground the forks to the frame and see if that helps. Make sure the hbars are grounded as well if they have rubber bushings there should be a ground to the top tree from a riser bolt.
Everything is in place and working prior , the momentary handlebar switch and the relay system work ok , and have for a number of years on tons of bikes.
I would replace the relay, make sure it has its own ground in good order as well .
These are easy checks to make without going into the harness.
Remember it works , has worked and will work again as it was supplied.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:07 AM
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Good info, gents...I'll get into it and let you know how it all turns out...

Logan
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Old 08-16-2020, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesS View Post
Electrical components can bench test positive and fail in the field.
this^

i hate electrical problems because they're inconsistent and a PITA to find.

sounds like some intermittent short happening. Most likely is a crimp connector that is coming loose under vibration. sounds like a break, not a short, but could be that too. If it goes through the frame, hard telling what happened in there.

if it were me, i'd replace the microswitch and make sure it's not shorting or anything funny. then i'd check any crimped connections to make sure all solid and replace the breaker as that's cheap. make sure the ground is solid on the headlight. if nothing else, i'd try to use the old headlight wires through the frame to pull new wires through and just eliminate those as options, then reterminate with soldered connections everywhere.
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