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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1997 Kawasaki Vulcan I've been working on. I have a custom seat bracket I created and attached two Big dawg rear turn signals to. I unplugged my old turn signals and plugged in my new signals. Every time I try to test them the 10 fuse pops. I thought they might not be getting grounded, so I rand a small wire to them attached to the frame but that didn't help. I am out of ideas, can anyone give me an idea what to check? My next thought was that maybe the bulbs are a large amperage/Voltage?

I was sold one dual filament and one single filament turn signal. I didn't think this would matter to much, and my issue still arises even when I only use the single filament, which is what was originally on the bike.
 

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I'd suggest getting a self powered test light or a multimeter set on ohms, and look at the wiring for the new turn signal. Something is shorting out causing the fuse to open as stargate mentioned.

Possibly a bulb socket, or where the wires are routed has a short.
 

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Look inside the socket, are there two buttons in the bottom? If you put a single button bulb in a two button socket it will short out. Like they said, check each of the wires to ground with a meter.Why did they sell you one of each?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It was a bad eBay purchase and the seller shipped be the dual and single signal.

So to test the with a multimeter, I just need to put the + to the turn signal wire, and the - just to the frame? Then check that it's getting juice when the turn signal is on? As I typed that out is sounded really wrong. Can someone explain the correct way to check for the short with a multimeter?
 

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I'll do my best to walk you through some tests that you can do. You have two different types of lights and they would wire differently. If I were looking for the problem, I would start by taking out both bulbs and see if the fuse still blows. If it does then either one of the lights is wired wrong or you have a short in one of the hot leads to ground. (frame or what ever) Next I would determine which wire does what, unhook the wires from the bike and set your multimeter to ohms or if it has a test beeper put it on that. When you touch the two leads of the meter together on ohms look at the reading it's the same thing that you want to see when you test a wire. If your on beeper it will beep when they touch. Now to the light, touch one lead of the meter to one of the buttons in the bottom of the socket(making sure that you don't touch anything else) touch the other lead to one of the wires and see what you read, if it goes to zero like when you put the leads together then that wire goes to that button. Mark all the results down and check each of them to the light socket it's self, if you get a reading from the outside of the socket either that wire is shorted or it's meant to be a ground for that light.
 

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When I use a multimeter for continuity checking, I first turn off the bikes electrical system or disconnect the negative battrey cable because the multimeter will be using it's internal battery for testing.

Disconnect the turn signal wires that are in question. Front turn signals usually have three wires; the turn signal circuit,the running light circuit, and the ground circuit(on most Kawasaki's the ground circuit is usually black with a yellow stripe).

As previously mentioned, the front signals will have two contacts inside the bulb socket with the ground circuit being connected to the outside of the socket.

There are two basic types of multimeters,1. the older Analog(has a needle pointer and a series of scales) which every time a different scale is selected while using the OHMS setting the two probes need to be touched together to zero the needle by using the zero control.

And 2. the more Digital type that in most cases will auto range(not require any zero adjustment.


What you described is a basic check for a energized circuit, that is, when the turn signal is receiving 12 volts or so, either touch the frame(where it's a common ground from the Negative battery terminal) or the outside of the bulb socket. To check for voltage in the socket, the wires will have to be connected.

Do not check for VOLTAGE with the meter set on OHMS as this will destroy/burn out the meter or ruin it for future use.

If your bikes fuse did not blow before installing the new turn signal, I'd suspect that possibly a wire is mis-connected (I.E., having a ground circuit hooked to a hot circuit) or the new signal has a direct short internally with a pinched wire, or a faulty socket.

To avoid going through a bunch of fuses do this: get a foot of 16 gauge wire, cut it in half, buy and attach two small alligator clips to the end of the wires at one end,buy and attach a 12 volt socket and light bulb to the other end of the wires.

Pull the fuse that keeps on blowing and put your new test light in the circuit if possible. If your bike has the older glass tubed fuses, it's a simple matter of clipping it across the fuse clips, if your bike has the newer "Blade" style, it might require a bit of fiddling for a good connection. Maybe bare wires can be forced into the blade fuse holder socket from the new test light.

The purpose of the light in the place of the fuse is a means of seeing if there is a problem, so if the light illuminates while the circuit is connected, a problem does exist.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I went and tested with your helpful instruction and found out that the green wire doesn't always go to the green wire. I used my multimeter to find out that I was connecting the hot wire to the ground!

Thanks again for all your help.
 

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After market turn signal manufacturers(in my opinion) seem to use any color wire that's laying around. Kawasaki for the most part tends to follow a rhyme and reason for motorcycle parts color wiring.

A multimeter is worth any amount of money you spend on it. It's a very important tool for figuring out wiring problems. Some a very pricey, and others can be bought at the corner auto supply store.

_________________________________________________________________

Motorcycle Electrical Maintenance

1. List of needed tools:

A. Set of pipe cleaners (found in tobacco shops).

B. Small package of cotton swabs

C. Small brass bristle brush (found at hardware stores).

D. Set of welders tip cleaners(found at welding supply stores) or a set of jewelers files.

E. Selection of 400-600 grit sandpaper

F. One can of electrical contact cleaner/preservative (The De-oxit brand at www.de-oxit.com is a good one).

G. Tube of dielectric grease as a water shield for connectors.(Optional, as some people see more problems with the grease acting more like an insulator).

H. An accurate multi-meter either digital or analog for voltage, current, and continuity checks (the digital meters may pick up “noise” from certain alternators and have fluctuating readings).

I. Self powered continuity light for basic continuity checks

J. Battery charger rated for not more than 1 to 2 amp to charge the motorcycle battery( the battery tender brand is a good one at 1.25)

K. The motorcycle factory shop manual (FSM) with the wiring diagram.

L. Set of screwdrivers and wrenches for the various fasteners.

2. Corrosion on any electrical connection is resistance and lowers the current flow. The green crud is a form of corrosion on brass/copper terminals.

3. All electrical connections must be clean and tight or intermittent operations will result sometimes stranding the rider and can damage/destroy electrical components such as Alternator Stators, Batteries, Ignitors, Light bulbs, Switches and or related wiring.

4. Battery cables can fail internally due to corrosion and appear serviceable.

5. The male bullet connector can be scrubbed with the brass brush while the female connector with the jewelers files or tip cleaner. Both should be spritzed/wiped with a pipe cleaner moistened with contact cleaner.

6. Square and rectangular connectors must be disconnected from each other to be able to clean the contact surfaces. Again the use of files and or brass brush with a application of contact cleaner makes it operate as it should.
Re-connect the male and female parts and do another.

7. The battery cables condition are an area few people think about but are very important. The positive(+) RED terminal and the negative(-) BLACK terminal must be clean and tight to both the battery and to their respective connections on the motorcycle. On most Kawasaki Motorcycles the negative battery cable goes either to the frame or engine while the positive battery cable connects to the electric starter solenoid. The other terminal on the solenoid connects to the starter motor.

8. If the battery cables must be replaced, use the appropriate gauge of wire for the current draw. Use flexible cable as solid wire will not bend into tight areas. Both 6 and 8 gauge can be purchased through electrical supply houses on the internet such as Welcome to Waytek Wire, Terminal Town's Electrical Connector Home Page, and Del City - Wiring Products and Professional Electrical Supplies and have the correct wire or cable terminations. Welding cable is very flexible and makes excellent battery cables, it’s sold by the foot and can be purchased at welding supply stores.

9. OEM style electrical connectors can be purchased at: www.easternbeaver, OEM-Type Bullet & Spade Electrical Connectors for 1960's to 1980's Japanese Vehicles... Bridgestone, Datsun, Hodaka, Honda, Kawasaki, Landcruiser, Suzuki, Tohatsu, VW, & Yamaha, Vehicle Wiring Products Ltd. Suppliers of auto electrical parts., EC - Good stuff for your Moto-scooter, Z1 Enterprises, Inc. - Specializing in Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Parts,

10. The starter solenoid function as a heavy duty relay having large contacts to close when the start signal is given from the handle bar “ start switch” and the motor turns the engine over to run.

11. When the internal return spring on the starter fails/breaks due to metal fatigue or vibration, the engine will turn over(or crank) when the key has been removed and will continue until the positive battery terminal is dis-connected from the solenoid. Just like if the large terminals were bridged with a screwdriver.
 
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