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Author Topic: Trafficators (Turn Signals)  (Read 5107 times)

Arizoni

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Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« on: July 28, 2011, 08:10:14 PM »
OK.  I'm stumped.

I bought some aftermarket "Chrome Visors"  to put on the front of my UCE G5 to replace the front turn signals.

These visors use the screw threads to ground them so they only have one wire coming out of the center of the attachment screw.  This is the "hot" wire that goes to the center of the bulb.

Knowing that the frame of the bike isn't always the best ground I made up a steel washer for each visor with a ground wire soldered onto it.

I cut the existing wires to the right front turn signal and removed it.  This left me with two wires, one black (ground) and one black / green (power).

I put the visor into the mounting hole, slid the new grounding washer, the lock washer and the nut  over the center wire and tightened the nut on the lights screw.

I then stripped the insulation off of the harness's two wires and attached the black/green wire to the center wire from the light and the black wire to the wire from my newly made washer so that essentially the existing wires are hooked up to the light bulb just as they were before.

I started the bike and pushed the right turn button and......nothing.  The front and rear turn signals did not light at all.
Just to make sure things were kinda working I tested the left hand signal and it worked like it should.

I then used my volt/ ohm meter to check to see if the new light was grounded holding one test lead on the engine and one on the lights housing.  The resistance was 0 ohms indicating a good ground.

Figuring that the bulbs might be different (they were), I put the old turn signals 10 watt bulb into the new light replacing its 8 watt bulb.  Still nothing.

I then checked the resistance between the bare black/green wire which was twisted onto the lights center (power) wire to the lights housing.  The reading was 4 ohms resistance which indicates to me there is a continuous circuit from the black/green (power) wire thru the bulbs filament  and to ground.

Not being one to learn from my mistakes I repeated this with the left side the only difference being that the power supply on the left is a black/white wire.  Again, on the left side with the left turn signal turned on.....nothing.

When I say nothing, that includes the rear signals and the turn signal indicator on the speedometer not blinking.

Any ideas as to what I did wrong?  ??? ???
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

Arizoni

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 10:08:01 PM »
I forgot to mention the "chrome visors" are the all metal bullet shaped lights that are sold by our host.
http://nfieldgear.com/enfield-store/aftermarket-parts-accessories/electrical/chrome-visor.html
Jim
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1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

GlennF

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2011, 11:38:27 PM »
curious ...

If you disconnect the new indicator from the bike so its only powered by the original two wires with no connection to the bike frame does it now work ?

What happens if you remove the new indicator completely from the bike and just stick 12 volts across it ?

Arizoni

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2011, 02:36:38 AM »
Yes.  The new indicator lights fine when I attach it to a 12 V  battery I have in my workroom.

More things I did.
First I checked all of the fuses.  All of them were good.

Next I tested the voltage going to the flasher unit (red/white) and got 12.6 volts when the key was turned on.  The downstream terminal (white) showed no voltage so I figured that I had somehow screwed it up.

To run the test that GlennF asked about I disconnected the new left light and tested it.  As mentioned, it was fine.

Figuring what the H.  I've got it off so I guess I will reinstall the old unit.  To do this I had to take it apart and solder about 2 inches of extra wire to both of its cut off wires.  By the way, there's nothing magic inside there.  Just a socket and the two wires.
After reassembling it I put it back on the bike.

I turned on the key and poked the left turn button.  BLINK---BLINK---BLINK...  :o

I'll be damned if I can figure out how the same circuits within the light can cause two different reactions but it did.

Armed with this bit of success I replaced the right side indicator with the old one and sure enough, BLINK- BLINK- BLINK......  :o

That told me the turn signal flasher unit wasn't burned out like I thought.
It also taught me that my Royal Enfield has a mind of its own.

It wanted those indicators that stick out like a sore thumb and that was the end of the conversation.   I'll be real careful what I say around it from now on.  :D

In the meantime, if anyone has any theories about why the new lights didn't work but the old ones do I will be more than happy to hear them. :)

I don't know if you folks can get  a good copy from this picture but it is the UCE wiring diagram and I've added some colors to the wires to help the user follow them.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 02:50:20 AM by Arizoni »
Jim
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GlennF

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2011, 03:35:40 AM »
Just out of curiosity. When the new front indicators were installed, did the rear still work or did both the front and the back stop flashing ?

Arizoni

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2011, 04:24:56 AM »
With the new lights installed, the rear lights did not wink at all.  Neither did the turn signal indicator in the speedometer.

The best  idea I can come up with is that the turn signal lights and their socket appear to be standard bulb sockets but they are not.

The OEM flasher unit is not the typical flasher with the little metal strip inside it that goes "click, click, click, when the signal is working.   That kind of flasher, I understand.
The little black flasher that comes on the RE is a solid state device with no moving or clicking parts.   That I am sure of.

 That might mean there is some tiny piece of solid state hardware inside the turn indicators bulb socket that tells the flasher to get off if's butt and start sending pulses of real power to light the bulb.
The new light of course didn't have any solid state hardware inside of its bulb socket so it didn't send a message to the flasher so the flasher didn't do anything.  It just sit there waiting for a message that didn't come.

At least that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.  :D

If my theory is right, replacing the OEM flasher unit with the old style metal strip flasher would get the indicator working with my replacement lights.
For right now, I'm happy I got the thing working again and maybe sometime in the future when I tire of pounding my thumb with a hammer I may buy an old time flasher and try installing the new lights again.  :-\
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 04:30:50 AM by Arizoni »
Jim
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GlennF

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2011, 05:20:44 AM »
You are most probably correct about the old style flasher working.

The reason I was asking about whether all the lights stop at once is there is an old thread on here somewhere about using LED indicators and they discussed a similar problem.

It would seem the standard flasher box is very finicky about how much current is needed to trigger the flash circuits.

Arizoni

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2011, 06:16:47 AM »
Yes, I've read those posts.
That is why I changed the 8 watt bulbs in the new lights for the 10 watt bulbs in the old lights.

It turns out that when I reinstalled the "old lights" I left the 8 watt bulbs in them and they still worked.

Those LED bulbs only draw 1 or 2 watts of power and the people who install them do have a problem getting the OEM flasher to work probably because the current draw is so low.

Thanks for taking the time to give your suggestions and questions.
Jim
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1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

olhogrider

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2011, 05:32:49 PM »
Sounds like you are over-thinking this. Since I have never been accused of that, what I would do is install the signal. Then with a test light, not a meter, see if there is juice in the socket. If there is, then you have a grounding issue. Make sure the clip of the test light is grounded to the frame of the bike. Also, do this one signal at a time. Do the front on one side, see if it works, then the back. I got mine from ebay but I suspect they are the same ones. Some flashers don't work with LEs but incandescent lights should cause it to flash.

Arizoni

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2011, 10:12:30 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts.
Jim
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1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

Tiny Tim

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2011, 08:31:05 AM »
The problem would seem to revolve around the flasher unit. Think of it as an automatic switch. When you turn on a turn signal, current flows through the flasher unit. The current causes a bi-metalic strip to ben with the heat caused by the current flow. When the strip bends, it breaks the circuit. As it cools down, it reverts to its straight shape and the cycle starts again. The amount of current (therefore, the wattage of the bulbs) determine the current flow.

The flasher unit has to be matched to the bulb wattage (front bulb + back bulb + indicator bulb). The flasher rating is usually marked on the side.

In reality, modern flasher achieve this with electronics but most are still wattsage dependent.

Connect the signals and pull the flasher unit. Shorting the two wires will light the selected signal as long as you have the short in place. This will prove your circitry and soldering skills.

REgards

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Arizoni

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2011, 11:10:26 PM »
Thanks for the reply.

As I'm sure you know, the flasher unit is not the typical "tin can" style that has the thermal strip in it.  It is a small rectangular sealed device with two terminals, the power in terminal and the pulsed output terminal.

With the "new" lights installed, bypassing the flasher unit by "shorting" from the power terminal to the light  terminal lights both the front and rear light in a continuous glow. 
The flasher, when plugged in refuses to recognize the existence of the new lights and does not cause them to light or flash.  This includes the rear lights which are still the original lights.

After replacing the original front lights by attaching them to the same wiring that the "new" non working lights were just attached to causes the flasher to operate normally.
This is why I suspect that the bases for the lights in the original lights must have some circuitry in them that the flasher unit recognizes and which it needs to work.

I understand that if the bulbs are replaced with LED style bulbs the wattage is too low to cause the flasher unit to function unless a resister is installed to provide a sufficient "load".  In other words, to make the power requirement equal to the 20 watts (10 watts front + 10 watts rear) that the original system needs.

In this case I did not replace the bulbs with LED lights. 
I find it hard to convince myself that I need to spend $50+ for a few turn signal light bulbs.
Jim
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1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

GlennF

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2011, 11:16:05 PM »
I am thinking the bulb wattage is a red herring and the fault is more likely a grounding issues as stated above.

singhg5

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2011, 11:09:15 PM »
The flasher, when plugged in refuses to recognize the existence of the new lights and does not cause them to light or flash.  This includes the rear lights which are still the original lights.

After replacing the original front lights by attaching them to the same wiring that the "new" non working lights were just attached to causes the flasher to operate normally.

This is why I suspect that the bases for the lights in the original lights must have some circuitry in them that the flasher unit recognizes and which it needs to work.

Jim:

This has been a very interesting thread because you have done such a thorough systematic investigation of why "new" turn signals (chrome visors) are not working.

Do you have access to any other lights that you can test - may be borrow from someone or get a cheap one from auto store and see if they work with OEM RE flasher ? How about replacing the flasher with non-RE flasher with different specifications ? The chrome visor is in contact with frame through metal washer as well as washer is connected to black wire. To simulate the OEM turn signal as close as possible, may be add a non-conducting washer between metal washer and frame - so that chrome visor is completely ground through black wire only and not the frame.

I had a conversation with a very experienced auto mechanic.  He said the flasher is not working because OEM turn signal resistance is different from the chrome visor lights. But you had mentioned that you did change the bulbs and tried with both 8 & 10 watt bulbs in both OEM and chrome visors - and still the chrome visor did not work.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 01:20:08 AM by singhg5 »
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The Garbone

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Re: Trafficators (Turn Signals)
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2011, 07:18:55 PM »
Well,  before you put to much work into it I would just go buy a new variable load flasher from NAPA or some such and see if that fixes the problem.  About $7 and my guess would be better than the stock on anyway.
Gary
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