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Old 03-23-2011, 11:09 AM
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Default Which was first? Bad ignition switch, or what?

I have an '02 Heritage with 30k+ miles on it. Monday I was riding and it just died, no lights or power. I wiggled the switch and everything came on, until I turned the switch loose then everything died again.

I took off the dash cover and could see the plug going to the switch had a melted spot where the main power line comes into the plug. When I got it home and took the switch out I saw where the connector goes in had a melted spot also. So plastic parts on both the switch and plug have melted spots.

I've ordered another switch and plug harness from J&P Cycles so my down time shouldn't be long at all.

My question to the good folks here is: Was this probably caused by the switch going bad? Or could there be other (worse) problems to look for?

(P.S. Bad news, good news. I'd just switched insurance companies on March 5th because my old company didn't provide any towing services at all. My new company, Geico, provides towing, and it didn't cost a cent to get it home.)
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Last edited by Mal74; 03-23-2011 at 11:13 AM..
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:04 PM
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Is there corrosion at the connector and or base of the switch?
Corrosion=resistance, resistance=heat.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:08 PM
Grammaton Grammaton is offline
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I'm guessing you have an accessory or two that draw too much power and should be on a relay. The switch is just a switch and resistance in the switch would not cause excessive heat by itself because it draws no current. That's why relays are used - to prevent excess current in a switched circuit.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:13 PM
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The switch probably just went bad. Everything wears out eventually.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:37 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

1. No corrosion on the switch or connector.

2. No accessories added. Although there is a wire attached to the power wire, (the one that melted) that runs to the passing lamp switch, I guess to run the passing lamps on or off whether the headlight is on dim or bright) Would that count as an accessory, and if so, would putting a relay in the wire somewhere stop it from happening again?

Thanks again, Mal
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:08 PM
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Anything which creates higher resistance at the connection (wet, loose, dirty, corroded...) causes a voltage drop, requiring more current which produces heat.

Bad connection.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal74 View Post
would putting a relay in the wire somewhere stop it from happening again?

Thanks again, Mal
A relay is nothing more than a switch itself, off and on. It will not help.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal74 View Post
Thanks for the replies.

1. No corrosion on the switch or connector.

2. No accessories added. Although there is a wire attached to the power wire, (the one that melted) that runs to the passing lamp switch, I guess to run the passing lamps on or off whether the headlight is on dim or bright) Would that count as an accessory, and if so, would putting a relay in the wire somewhere stop it from happening again?

Thanks again, Mal
Sounds like you are saying the splice to the power wire (I assume switched power) was added buy someone. If so than yes they would be an accessory.
The lamps draw more current than a relay would. If you understand how relays work and wire it correctly it will lessen the chance of it happening again.
Even with the ign switch controlling the relay you will need to find a source of power for the lights.
You could also wire the lights separate from the ignition switch.
There may be an unused switched circuit on your bike just waiting for those lights. Get a service manual and check over the schematics.

I'm thinking that someone had a wiring issue with the lights and instead of tracking it down and fixing it correctly they did a kludge by splicing to the wire behind the switch.
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Old 03-23-2011, 03:51 PM
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Welcome to the Forum and safe riding.
From Indiana


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Old 03-23-2011, 05:41 PM
mrfikser mrfikser is offline
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being an electrician I would say the problem is where ever the melting is...if it right next to the switch the switch is probably bad ( you can check it with an ohm meter) or the plug that goes into the switch (often the wires are crimped onto the connecters and the crimps get oxidized and build resistance causing heat built up, sometimes you can't see it because it inside the insulation on the wire)....you can go ahead and amp the circuit but I wouldn't bother, these sort of problems usually tell on themselves..
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:41 PM
 
 
 
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03, bad, connector, davidson, draws, harley, heritage, ignition, loose, melted, power, splicing, sportster, switch, wires


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