Hi all,

New here on the forum, and I wondered if somebody could help, 'cause we don't have any RE dealers in Denmark, so I'm seeking to pick your collective brains :lol:

The other day while starting, I noticed the starter motor ran a bit slow, and suddenly smoke emerged from to wires going from the battery to (I presume from reading the diagram) the Ammeter and the ignition key fob.

My suggestion is, that the (Indian made) rectifier somehow gave up the ghost and sent a massive charge via those skinny wires - could that cause such a problem?

I have enclosed a photo of the wires in question.

I have ordered a Boyer Branson rectifier to replace the (assumed) faulty Indian unit, but before I go ahead and mount it, it would be nice if somebody among you could confirm that it indeed COULD be a rectifier problem - or have a suggestion to what else it could be that caused the heated wires ...?

Thanks in advance for any help given - it will be much appreciated

Kind regards

Peter in Denmark
Oh dear! A very sorry sight Peter.
It is possible that a faulty rectifier has imposed a large load on the battery but I think you should investigate a little further before buying any new parts. Can you trace where those wires do lead? Also if you could remove the rectifier, anyone with a multimeter could do a simple check of it for you.
Looking closely at the pictures I think I can see where one of the wires has been joined by just twisting the ends together.
Could be a sign of some previous unskilled alteration.
I will look at the diagram this evening and see if I can make any further suggestions. Meanwhile I'm sure some more experienced help will be along.
13-year old Indian wiring can deteriorate, the insulation on my Electra-X main lead from the battery to the ammeter broke and snapped the wire where it had been flexing around the headstock. Luckily it only cut the power and did not cause a short circuit, but I suspect a wiring fault rather than a reg/rectifier failure, though you might have both!

If the wiring has been botched as ericpode suggests, some time spent with the wiring diagram in the workshop manual and sheck what's on your bike would be a good investment.

The sluggish starter motor can also be the result of poor battery health, I see yours is the traditional lead-acid type. If it's getting a bit old it will still have enough power for the ignition and lights (as well as the occasional wiring melt-down) but not have enough left in reserve to crank the starter motor effectively, which is a big drain on the battery's resources.

As I have posted elsewhere recently, a Motobatt MBTX14AU AGM battery should get that starter motor spinning with a bit more enthusiasm - once your short-circuit has been eliminated. It might also be worth thinking about a replacement starter solenoid some time soon.

Thanks for your replies, guys - much appreciated.

I will dive into things in more details tonight, based on your responses. However, to answer a couple of the questions/comments:

The splicing of the two wires is not just a twisting together of the wires. They are actually kinda crimped together with a brass tube, and the whole thing was hidden in the wire loom (which I have unwrapped) that looked very original - so I suppose it's a factory made thing.

The battery is only one year old - replaced last autumn, and until the wire frying, it has given no troubles at all - in fact I was out on a 20 miles trip the day before the smoking gun hit me, and just parked the bike in the shed for the night but I'll se and the the batt this evening.

I have a voltmeter with Ohm-measuring capabilities -is it possible to check the rectifier off the bike (ie without applying electrical input to it) - just by measuring resistance for example?

I did open the headlight after the 20 miles ride, because the speedo cable had gotten loose at the speedo end - I have checked the wires, and they at first glance seemed ok, but I will go trough them more carefully as suggested when mentioning the ammeter problem.

Well - happy hours to come :-)

Troubleshooting is half of the fun owning an Indian motorbike which mysteriously has found it's way to a country with no dealers, no spares and agent and basically no literature ---- NOT :-)

Hpwever, I have a service manual, and according to that, the two fried wires goes up in the headlamp and connects via the ammeter to the ignition key fob, but I have not traced where it goes from there. The fried wires is the output from the rectifier (the black and red wires from the unit).

Will check the fuse - and also check if it's a 15 A.

Will be back when I know more - in the meantime - keep those suggestions coming :D

Assuming it's localised damage you should be able to repair the wiring, though If I were planning on keeping the bike long-term I'd be tempted to re-wire it from scratch, as our hosts seem to have no Electra-X wiring looms in stock at the moment. They do have a 350 electric start Thunderbird wiring harness, part no. 521248, which will be very similar, though the Thunderbird also has a rev counter and a fuel gauge, which will leave a some redundant wiring if you fit it.
Troubleshooting is half of the fun owning an Indian motorbike which mysteriously has found it's way to a country with no dealers, no spares and agent and basically no literature ---- NOT :-)
Perhaps challenge is a more appropriate word than fun, when it comes to a bike which, besides the difficulties you have already described, has been obsolete for over 10 years.

If you turn to Indian suppliers for spare parts, be careful about identifying the bike as there were a number of home-market 350 models called the Electra which are nothing like the Electra-X. The equivalent Indian market 500 with the lean-burn engine would have been the 500 Machismo, which differs from the Electra-X in things like the mudguards and tool boxes, etc.

I don't know if it's just me but if you look ate the two wires they only seem burnt at the connector end and the tab from the frame looks like the paint might have worn off in which case the live and earth will be having a party.

I have been doing auto electrics for many years and it's normally a short that causes melt downs

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