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Discussion Starter #21
Still debugging battery drain

Do you have a multi meter? With everything off, disconnect the negative battery cable and take an amp meter reading between the negative cable, and the negative battery post.

A few milliamperes would be expected, but start in the high amp range as I suspect you have high key off draw.

Typically the + side of the ignition switch, and the voltage regulator are connected to the battery, but check the diagram for your machine. If that is the case, and you have high key off drain, try disconnecting the voltage regulator and retest.
Ok. Finally back from deer hunting (with the ATV) and now need to dig into this before ice fishing starts. Fortunately, I was able to pull-start the ATV even with a completely dead battery, so it hasn't been that big of a problem. I'm used to pull starting it because it seems like I'm replacing starters every couple of years (cheap ones off eBay...that's a different story). It was in a pull-start only state for years before this problem (I just get a click..probably starter, maybe solenoid, not worried), so that's not related.

I will be able to do a little more debugging this weekend with a multi-meter. What would disconnecting the voltage regulator tell me? That I have a bad voltage regulator? Just curious as I suspect disconnecting it and leaving it that way is not the final solution.

I did do some peaking around underneath and didn't see any obvious bare wire rubbing on the frame. If anybody has any other ideas on how to possibly narrow this down I'd appreciate it. Will post what I find regarding the above suggestion this weekend.
 

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I do know running a atv with a dead battery will cause some electrical problems, been know to wear parts out due to NO battery! and is not adviced
so maybe that is also part of your issue?since you stated you did so for yrs?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I'll define "dead battery"...because it's different now.

I've always been able to turn the key on and the dash lights up, so the battery has never been completely drained.

Now, when I turn the key on, I get nothing on the dash. No gear indicator, no odometer, so speedometer...nothing. All dark. Assuming battery is entirely dead. When I did the original test this took 2 days. I haven't done that again to see more specifically how long it takes to drain to the point where the dash doesn't get power. I can still start it in this state, which was a nice surprise (upon the suggesting of a friend who said he can still start his with a dead battery as long as the connection is intact). For the 1st weekend of deer hunting I actually disconnected the negative terminal when it wasn't in use. When reconnected the battery was alive and well. That lasted the entire 3 days I hunted...until I forgot to disconnect during the week and it drained.
 

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I think you need to find what is draining your battery get a meter out and check all fuses to see what is drawing maybe on them when off
 

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Discussion Starter #25
How exactly do I do this? From what I remember, I don't have access to putting a meter on the fuses. Do I put the pos and neg probes on each side of the fuse location without the fuse installed? And if so what am I looking for...any current above 0A? I like the idea, just not clear how to accomplish it.
 

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Do you have a multi meter? With everything off, disconnect the negative battery cable and take an amp meter reading between the negative cable, and the negative battery post.

A few milliamperes would be expected, but start in the high amp range as I suspect you have high key off draw.

Typically the + side of the ignition switch, and the voltage regulator are connected to the battery, but check the diagram for your machine. If that is the case, and you have high key off drain, try disconnecting the voltage regulator and retest.
Any luck with your troubleshooting yet?
The procedure quoted is spot on. You'll have to hook up a multimeter and watch it while you unplug the various systems.
I've also used a circuit breaker in place of the fuses affected - same deal, unplug whatever it is until it stops overloading.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Had a chance to get back at this today. Here are the results. Measured 205-227mA draw on the battery when nothing is on (and the key is out). I then checked every fuse in the fuse box and none of them pulled any current. Just to make sure, I then pulled each one individually with no change in draw. So, as a last resort, I pulled the "master" fuse and the draw dropped to 0. So, clearly there's a draw, but it's not going through any of the accessory fuses. What next?
 

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You definitely have something shorting out. That’s never a easy find. But you have it narrowed down to the main circuit. So you need to check everything including all wires in that circuit. Could be a wire that has insulation wore off.
 

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Try unplugging the voltage regulator, that's the first part that connects to the main fuse I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I dug into this yesterday. Removed the connections for the fuse box and wiring harness so I could get a good look from all sides. I put it up on car ramps so I could climb around underneath. I didn't find any wire that's bare. Most of them i could hardly even move they're in so tight (so rubbing bare seemed unlikely). The main wire harness has about 37 wraps of electrical tape on it, so that thing is impossible to troubleshoot without cutting it open. Afterwards I checked the draw to maybe see if there was a bare wire I didn't notice that I maybe moved away from the frame while troubleshooting, but no difference. Still around 225mA.

I concentrated on the right side (looking forward) since under that wheel well is where I initially saw smoke. That kind of leads me to believe it's not a problem up front near the gauge cluster.

I didn't see the note on the voltage regulator, so I'll try that this week. It just seems so strange that everything works perfectly fine other than this draw.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I disconnected the voltage regulator and the draw dropped to 0. I’m assuming that means a bad regulator? I didn’t get a chance to check the voltage on the battery, since I wanted it at a full charge first.
 

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Yes, it's your Voltage regulator. Whatever you do, no matter what someone tells you - always, always, always, buy OEM Voltage regulators. NEVER buy an aftermarket.

I went this route to save a few bucks - yeah, the aftermarket VR fried my 4X4 controller and constantly ran at 18+ Volts...

Buy OEM. Always.
 

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Well, you can't assume anything when it comes to electrical problems, but trying another reg/rec is what I'd try too. Hopefully that does it.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Ran a voltage test last night. Battery was at 12.5v off. Started up the ATV, revved it up and couldn't get the battery to go over 14.5v. That seems like the regulator is working correctly. Going to do some more digging to see if I have a bad connector that's possibly grounding. Will be a few days before I can get back to looking at it.
 

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I'm curious to see how this turns out, it's not very common problem. Just something to consider: the stator also connects to the regulator along with the battery. You can disconnect the stator wires where they plug into the harness, leaving everything else alone & see if the current is still dropping. You hardly ever see stators fail on Hondas, but there's something to consider in case a new regulator doesn't fix it.
 
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