Yesterday, while riding 100 miles or so from home, I shut down my 2008 Wee to take a picture for an ADV tag game. When I went to restart my bike, the starter ground for about 1/2 second and all electrics went blank. "What the hell", my thought as I recycled the switch and nothing. She was graveyard dead.
After several cycles of the ignition switch, a pattern emerged. Turn it on and everything on the dash went blank, as in pulling the power from the bike. Turn it off and the analog needles swung full right and returned to rest - and the clock came on. A dead battery was not considered at this time, more on that later, because it was just 6 months old, bike ridden almost daily and it is always plugged into a Battery Tender Jr. Besides, I have never seen a battery so dead that it wouldn't power something.
So my buddy and I start trouble shooting the bike, mostly in the wrong direction, but we focused our attention on the ignition switch due to the odd, dash electrics behavior. So, foolishly
convinced that it was a bad, switch, I called my wife to bring the truck, 100+ miles for the rescue and I called my local Suzuki dealer of choice to inquire about a switch. My wife, bless her heart, deployed immediately and the suzuki shop parts girl wasn't in.
Still puzzled about the odd behavior, I called the shop again and this time asked to speak to the service manager, who I have dealt with for several years for safety inspections, advice, etc.. I do all my own maintenance and he is generous with his time. On the line now, I explained to him the symptoms and my suspicion that it was a bad ignition switch. He said it could be, but that I should check the battery first. He had seen this condition before and that a completely dead battery can sometimes throw a energy spike when you turn it off. That spike will be seen in the analog needles. Check the battery.
So we pull the battery out of my buddies 07 Wee, hook it up to my bike and what do you know, all systems normal. Returning the battery to his bike, I call my wife, now about 50 miles down the road to abort the rescue and my buddy Googles and calls a local shop. Fortunately we were in a decent sized town, the shop had a battery and he went to fetch it. An hour and a half later, the battery was installed and I was headed for home.
So to the battery failure. What caused it, how to prevent it, etc..? I don't know.
The battery was a Bike Master Platinum II AGM battery, MS12-12BS, about six months old. It was purchased from BikeBandit, filled and charged by me per the instructions, used regularly, kept on a Battery Tender and parked indoors. My initial fear was the the stator had failed and that killed the battery. I do have an Electrical Connection LED voltage indicator on the bike, but it's difficult to see in the daylight and I frankly had not noticed what it was indicating prior to battery death. But with the new battery in, which I may have replace because it's a Parts Unlimited brand and was quickly charged by the dealer, I carefully monitored the voltage on my ride home. I was green all the way and once home checked the battery with a multi-meter. It was reading 12.8 +/- just sitting and 13.8 +/- at a 2500 rpm idle. As I turned on electrical accessories, the voltage fell as you would expect. My take-away is that the stator is good. Any comments here would be welcome as stator stuff is sorta black magic to me.
Summary (aren't you glad):
* I think the battery just suddenly failed. There had never been any signs of weakness and I had been riding the bike for over a 100 miles before I shut it down.
* BikeMaster brand - Not sure. It's not my purpose to blast them, but in many years and many battery replacements I have never had this happen. My first BikeMaster battery, my first battery failure. Just sayin... I'll be sticking to Yuasa.
This is not a vent, when you ride thousands of mile a year, stuff happens. I have benefited greatly from things I have read on this site and thought I'd pass this on in case someone else experiences it. It might save them some time and money.
kudos to Randy Houseman, 30+ year service manager at CycleMax, Wilson, NC. In an industry that is plagued with poor performance, his shop is a bright spot. Nice guy also.
Not relevant, but useful. If you have a SPOT locator, the recipients of your messages, can use the Google Map link on their smartphone, hit the "Route" icon and Google will bring them to your rescue. If you travel the boondocks, this feature alone is worth the annual subscription.
OK, I'm done.
Thanks for hanging in and keep'em upright..