First problem: charger was still reporting that the battery needed charging, and when I picked up the battery it was awful warm. Popped the caps off the cells and saw precious little electrolyte inside. Groaning, I got the leftover electrolyte down and did the best I could to top them up, then added some bottled water to make up for the rest. They weren't dry (else I would have stopped there) but the electrolyte level was low.
I figure the charger was charging the battery too hard and evaporated some of the electrolyte. Argh etc.
...if I have to buy another battery for this motorcycle I am going to spend the money on a good sealed battery this time. I'm sick of futzing around with maintaining the electrolyte level and having to mess with the overflow tubing and-and-and.
Anyway: checked the voltage after adding to the electrolyte and it was encouragingly close to 13V, so I figure it's still full of electrons. I started working on putting it into the bike. Got everything connected, put the key in, turned it on--
Here's the problem. At some point in this evening's festivities, I took the fuse holder apart and checked the fuse and saw that it was in good condition. I checked the continuity across it and verified that yes indeed, the fuse--both by itself, and mounted securely in its holder--is allowing current to pass unimpeded.
But I don't know when that was, exactly. I know that the first time I turned the key on, the fuse was not connected to the battery; that was why the bike was dead. The fuse protects the main power bus for the entire bike's electrical system. Only the starter is on a separate circuit. No connection through that fuse means no power, and having realized it wasn't connected, I set out to rectify it.
I am pretty confident that I did not accidentally short it to ground or anything, that it plugged in correctly to where it needed to go without making a short circuit; yet when I tried powering the bike up nothing happened again, which set off a twenty-minute troubleshooting session while I probed the power connections. Touching the solenoid wire to the cable from the battery produced sparks and a healthy grunt from the starter (I barely touched it to the terminal) so power was getting as far as the solenoid. But no power from the fuse. Checked it from the bullet connector that's tied to the battery terminal, and there's power there, but not--
--popped open the fuse holder and found it blown.
When? Why? These are questions I cannot answer, because I don't know when I first checked the fuse. If it popped right after I turned the key to "run", then there's a dead short somewhere, a bad one, that was not there in July of last year. On the other hand if it popped while I was fumbling around with trying to get it connected, then it brushed against a ground and I didn't notice. I'm worried that it's the former and not the latter, because I really do not fancy the idea of trying to locate a dead short in this thing's electrical system.
If it was just my clumsiness, that's perfectly okay and I don't mind at all.
Meanwhile, I need to buy a box of 15A glass fuses; and I think I may look for a better fuse holder than this one while I'm at it. It connects to the bike's electrical system with bullet connectors, of which I've got plenty, so that won't be a problem.
More and more, though, I'm starting to think maybe a fuel-injected bike that's maybe twenty-odd years newer than this one would be a not-bad investment. In the past four years, I've spent a heck of a lot more time fixing the bike than riding it.
How about this one? Starts at $5,800, tops out at $6,500. Fuel injection and ABS are standard, and it's about the right size for me (650cc). Still a 2-cylinder, though that's virtually unavoidable these days; if you want more than two cylinders you're practically forced into buying a sport bike. I saw a review of that particular model and it was all favorable, and that's what got me to thinking; $5,800 is about what I'd want to pay for a new motorcycle. (Three year warranty with roadside assistance does not hurt.)
Royal Enfield is an old motorcycle brand, though they're not really big in the US they've been here for rather a long time. Being Indian they sell like hell in India, of course.
Well--it's not happening this month. Or even this year, I'd wager. But it's nice to think about!
Tomorrow we need to run a few errands, so I'll get my fuses (and fuse holder?) then. And tomorrow evening after dinner I can futz around with it some more, and decide then if I need to take the seat back off to hunt for short circuits. *sigh*
You'd think that after a while I'd have this thing sorted, you know?
Anyway: I'm not surprised that I've run into another stumbling block, but I am annoyed.