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Lights not working (low beams, rear, rear brake)

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by Bossi, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Hi,

    my bike (2000 Honda VTR 250) recently stopped lighting the lights (front low beams, rear, rear brake). I suspect all light issues to be caused by the same problem since they all stopped working pretty much at the same time (as far as I can tell). Except for the rear brake light, which was still working after the front low beams and the rear light stopped operating. But the rear brake light stopped working short after as well (a few weeks max, nothing more than a couple of short-trip rides).
    High beams work well, fuses are okay, light bulbs are okay, too.

    With this information given, is there anyone of you who could give me a hint what might cause the problem? It'd even help to just point me into a direction as I'm not sure what exactly to look for after checking fuses/connections/bulbs/etc.

    I know electric issues can be a bit of a pain, any helpful suggestion would be absolutely appreciated. :):)
  2. Check fuses first, with a multimeter, they may look intact but sometimes are blown.
    Then look at the start button, the lights all feed through the start button,, this is to disconnect the lights while the engine is cranking. Once the start button is released the contacts should close again and bring the lights back on. These contacts may be dirty and not closing again properly.
  3. Deleted double post
  4. Thanks, will check that first thing tomorrow morning;
    but what about the high beams, they don't feed through the start button?

    Also~ there's the spark-box under the seat - sorry for the noob-ish question, but is the spark box solely (at all) related to the spark plugs?

    Some bikes have their lights on/off status controlled by a relay, I couldn't find one on my VTR 250, is that correct that there is none? I was told they can get old and break from time to time, too.
  5. Don't think there is a relay for the main lights on the VTR250. The High beam I think is a separate circuit and doesn't come though the start button but I am not sure. I hunted around on line for a wiring diagram but the only one I could find is a low res scan so it is hard to see.

    Not sure about the box under the seat, the fuses are often there but also probably the coils and ignition system controller as well.
  6. Yeah the low res .pdf is the one I have as well, there is a higher resolution version on the net but it's for the 88/89 model, so it's slightly different. If you can make use of it let me know I can send it to you.

    Checked the ignition switch but that seems to be okay, too. I don't have a multimeter though so I'll get one and check all connections.

    Could it actually be the light bulbs itself? If the high beams are working, is it possible that the low beams are blown? It's a separate wire in the bulb, isn't it. Would just be weird that they died almost the same time.

    The fact that they didn't stop working at the same time also indicates that it probably isn't a single point that causes the problem (a dirty switch e.g.).

    Yeah, btw. the boxes under the seat are the fuses and the spark unit.

    Btw. is it normal that the fan does not operate the whole time? Is it temperature controlled?

    Well, I guess I'll go and get myself a multimeter then~ ^^
  7. It is possible that you lose all the globes at the same time. One condition where this may occur is a faulty regulator which is a known Honda failing. The regulator will allow the voltage to rise to 18 - 20 volts and the globes blow. The High beam remains intact because it is not usually on. You can check this with your multimeter by measuring the voltage across the battery with the engine running. It should not be much higher that 14 volts.

    The fan is temperature controlled, if you look middle bottom of the wiring diagram you can see the fan and its associated thermal switch.

    A multimeter is a useful thing to have in your bag of tricks and they are inexpensive for a simple one.

    Dick Smith
  8. Have you checked the connector blocks I think they're called?
  9. This just sounds like a blown fuse, maybe two, or possibly a short somewhere. Definitely get yourself a multi-meter. Inexpensive and very handy to have. (y)

    If the bike starts, runs perfectly fine, you've got high beam, other cluster lights, then to me I'd be focusing on fuses and wiring to those parts of the bike not working.

    Replacing the bulbs wouldn't hurt either to cover yourself. They generally aren't that expensive anyway.

    Being a 10 year old bike, it's possible that over time a wire may have even come lose, or if it's been rubbing on something it could have worn through and now touching metal.

    My $0.02. :)
  10. Thanks for all your help.
    The regulator and voltage were okay, so were the connector blocks and the fuses~
    The $12 investment into a multimeter was worth it - turned out the bulbs were just blown, sorry for the confusion. It just seemed weird that both lights went out within a small period of time~
    Anyway, good to have a multimeter again, I felt a bit helpless without it actually~^^ will come in handy again I'm sure.

    What really confused me was that, while the rear lights weren't working, the rear breaklight still was. I was under the impression that the rear bulb only has on circuit~ I guess I know better now~ haha

    Thanks again.

    Oh, and to make sure I installed some redundant light-backups, just in case~ ;)
    [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Scooter_headlights.jpg]
  11. Now that is an Electra glide.
  12. Some do some don't. From what I recall its typically older bikes with only one element in the rears, most newer models ('90s+) will have two elements.
  13. @ibast ;)

    Ah, interesting. So I wasn't completely wrong in my assumption.
    If it's just one element, how are the different lighting levels (low for rear light, brighter for brake light) controlled? Via a voltage modifier?
  14. well, after doing a battery regulator search your response sounds exactly like my bike situation.
    the bulb was blown so mechanics replaced it yesterday afternoon then i picked it up with RWC and on way home started loosing power, more gutless over time, then stall. back at mechanics awaiting the bad news