Dodgy solenoid hmmmm?

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid L1 50A starter solenoid burnt pitted contactsI honestly couldn’t believe my luck ….. dozens of perfectly normal starts after the one stuck-solenoid moment during our 10 days away and then, this morning in the comfort of the old barn, first start of the day it stuck again!

So it was off with the seats, top deck and right hand plastics, disconnect the battery Earth (Ground) then snip a few tie-wraps, unclip the two-pin connector and twiddle the 10mm spanner to undo the battery/starter cables from the old solenoid and voila! One dodgy 50A and 14 year old solenoid confined to the bin …… by way of stripping, measuring and knocking up in CAD!

It’s pretty obvious from the picture that one side of the contacts has been burnt and welded together such that the return spring couldn’t provide enough force to pry it apart again – that was the job of a swift whack from the all-powerful 1/2″ ratchet!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid L1 50A starter solenoid cutawayThe new solenoid (AP81129275) was bench tested and shows a coil resistance of 4.4Ω pulling 2.9A at 12.8V – approximately! Now 2.9A is quite a current draw in itself, especially when you take into account the amount of wiring (under specified?) and switches along the way. The only way the solenoid really has of reducing pitting/burning is by opening and closing as fast as possible – opening is purely by return spring but the closing speed is proportional to the applied Volts/Amps ……. and if this is low then the solenoid will become sluggish and more susceptible to damage. So tomorrows little job will be to look at losses through the entire circuit up to the solenoid. In fact looking at the circuit diagram and simulating it in ‘EveryCircuit’ (Android app) it seems that the best possible current flow path you can give the solenoid is – bike in neutral, side-stand up AND pull in the clutch before hitting the starter … this adds a mighty 0.1V over ‘neutral only’. In comparison bypassing the diode block completely could elicit another 0.55V at a struggle!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid L1 50A starter solenoid exploded parts

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Clutch micro-switch …… daylight robbery at its best!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid clutch switch AP8113998 Burgess V4NSJust found out that the the Capo didn’t want to start in gear with the clutch pulled in …. so suspected a bad clutch switch. In the end it wasn’t, but I’d pulled the old one and did some homework anyway. The switch is a Saia Burgess V4NCS with an actuator kit on top (QA4). Now a direct replacement seems hard to find, however the V4NS as sold by RS-Components is almost the same and comes with 500mm wires already attached, it even has the same 2.5N operating force.

So for a miserly sum of £7.80 (plus VAT & shipping) a new switch can be clipped into the existing actuator shell and spliced into the old loom – simply cut off the yellow wire (not needed) and Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Burgess clutch switch actuator QA4sheath/splice the other two. A darn sight less than the £70 plus that I’ve seen on the web for an Aprilia item! The only down-side appears to be that the cables exit from the side not the rear ….. no biggie really.

On the other hand if your switch has a bad actuator, then just buy that alone for a whopping £3.24 (plus VAT and shipping). In fact I’m sure that a bit more digging would throw up these items for considerably less …… I just got bored!

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And now the dust settles …..

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Yuasa YTX14H-BS batteryWith a hot brew to the left and a warm mouse to the right, I’m ready to reflect on the last ten days as the Capo sits outside soaking up the morning Abruzzo sun. After the hiccup at 138 miles the remainder of the 3,000 miles went perfectly, not one low-volt drama in sight. Mind you, that is with a new YTX14H-BS battery in the bike since last Thursday!

That same morning she’d sailed through her MOT with a clean sheet at 120,861 miles and now reads 122,135 miles at journeys end. Waiting in the panniers is a new Aprilia 150A starter solenoid (AP81129275) ordered online Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid starter solenoid 150A AP81129275from Aprilia performance (UK) and deliver in 48Hrs which is great service, also a beautifully made power/ground cable kit from John Walker who pulled out the stops to make sure the kit reached me before we departed for Europe. More on this later.

So on reflection, what next for the dear old Capo? Well I’ll install the solenoid and cables over the next week or so and dig out the rear wheel/sprocket carrier bearings and seals, since a dull drone can be heard from the back wheel at about 50-70mph – and is getting steadily louder. There’s Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid power/ground John Walker cable kitno play or sign of rust near the seal, but my guess is that one of the bearings is on the way out, so best do a touch of pre-emptive maintenance I think. 😀 

Highs and lows of the trip …… low, the DVSA. I can’t and don’t want to say anything on that front …… the high, yesterday afternoon, slicing through the late afternoon A14 traffic side by side with a new gen Caponord also two-up. We kept each other company for 20 minutes or so until he peeled off for Rimini, big smiles and waves all round! Great fun!!

And so, waffle over, without further adoo let the spanner twiddling begin! 😯 

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Volt of no confidence

It was a little after 1.30 in the morning, warm but foggy. I’d just had a hot drink and bite to eat while reflecting on the 138 miles covered and 1,200 yet to cover. The Capo was running fine but my eyes were already beginning to sting from riding with the visor up because of the fog – hopefully that would clear by the time I hit Switzerland.

So I saddled up and hit the starter ……. In an instant the early morning optimism bubble burst. The starter rolled over, then stalled. The dashboard went dark and as I turned the ignition key off I realised the starter was still trying to turn the motor over. Suddenly it began spinning the motor rapidly, so I turned the ignition back on and the motor fired up and the dashboard lit up like normal. but the battery charging was only showing 12.2V because the solenoid was stuck and still powering the starter motor. As quick as possible it was off with the seats (handy having the spare key in my jacket!) then whack the starter solenoid with a 1/2″ ratchet – and the voltage jumped back up to 14V as the solenoid released.

Now the dilemma …… carry on, turn around and head home or wave the plastic card of defeat and get recovered. In for a penny in for a pound as they say …. soldier on! Today I’m typing this up in warm and pleasant Oxford reflecting on the choice I made. As it turned out a good call, the Capo never missed a beat or hesitated once when starting for the rest of the journey. Fixed? Of course not, maybe that was a warning of things to come, so today a 150A starter solenoid has been ordered along with a replacement YTX14-HBS battery.

My thought is that the stuck solenoid was a symptom not the cause …… the question is, why did the battery voltage fall through the floor as soon as a load was placed on it. Thinking it through, if it were a short at the starter then a huge amount of power would have been grounded and yes the solenoid contacts could weld, however I’d expect the battery to get hot and that didn’t happen. So that leaves the possibility of an internal problem with the battery …. maybe a year of bouncing over a dirt and stone road has caused a crack to develop between plates. All I know is I don’t have confidence in it or the solenoid anymore so out they go!

As well as these two new parts I’ve also bit the bullet and ordered a new set of power/ground cables from John Walker in the UK and figure the old girl could well do with a spruce up of the wiring.

Meanwhile on with the show! 😀 

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INNOVV Power Hub 1 – Review

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid INNOVV Power Hub 1The INNOVV Power Hub 1 is a 40A rated relay unit with five outputs each fused at 5A out of the box. The battery wiring is 12 AWG so good to 41A and the output wiring is 16 AWG and good to 22A each, however INNOVV specify 15A max per line to a total of 40A. Lastly there is a yellow sensing wire that needs to be connected to a switched 12V source. All cables are of a decent length, especially the yellow wire which is 1.45m long. At key-on this line will trigger a 10 second delay timer in the unit, after which it turns on. At key-off, there is another 10 second delay before it powers down.

 Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Power Hub 1 mounting bracketIn the box is the Power Hub, a couple of brass crimp/solder tags  to connect positive/negative to the battery and a bag of ‘posi-lock’ connectors and a ‘posi-tap’ connector to join the sensing wire to a switched line on the bike.

Installation was easy if a little thought-provoking due to the very limited space on the Capo. In the end I decided to put it above/behind the battery and made a 1.5mm aluminium plate to mount it onto and that worked out just fine. I used the ‘Posi-Locks’ to attach the circuits with a sleeve of adhesive shrink-wrap over the top to add a little weather resistance to the connection. I hooked the yellow sense wire into the injection relay, so the Power Hub Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid INNOVV Power Hub 1would detect key on/off, this was a soldered joint so I didn’t use the ‘Posi-Tap’ connector.

Next up I swapped out fuses where necessary for higher or lower values to best suit the attached accessory ….. then key-on! The blue LED flashes and 10 seconds later the relay activates and all the attached circuits power-up including the INNOVV K1 camera system. Thank goodness I hadn’t got any wires crossed! 😀  Key-off and the same happens in reverse – blue LED flashes for 10 seconds then the relay drops out.

Five months later …..

Sometimes its old age, wear and tear, faulty parts or manufacturing, but in the end technology fails. Of course we’d much prefer the former rather than the latter option, because that is when we have to invoke a warranty claim or get it repaired by the manufacturer. And that my friends can be unbelievably frustrating and seriously tarnish how you feel about the company in general.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid INNOVV Power Hub 1 installed above batterySo when the INNOVV Power Hub 1 developed a fault shortly after fitting it, I was intrigued to see how INNOVV would react. A quick email, no fuss, no argument, just another unit in the post straight away – good customer service, that’s what I like! Now the eagle-eyed among you will know that a few months ago I fitted the ‘Beasthonda’ fuse box to the Capo …… that was because of the Power Hub 1 issue. So when the new one arrived I wasn’t about to undo/redo all the work again, so this time the Power hub was installed behind the windshield for a few months testing, then removed and installed in my old Range Rover engine bay.

To be fair the Power Hub didn’t stop working or fail to do its job, it just forgot how to count to 10! In the end it was switching on/off almost immediately or definitely within 10 seconds. To date the replacement has worked faultlessly enduring sub-zero winter temperatures and the heat of a V8 engine bay, throw in a good dose of rain and snow and I think it’s fair to say it is an all-weather unit!

Conclusion

 It is a well packaged device that does the job required – no fuss. The wiring is good quality and ample for the rated current although I personally wouldn’t push it beyond 20A total just to allow a safety factor and extend the working life of the relay.

In operation I measured a current draw (at 13.8V) of 190ma ON and 6ma OFF. Now 6ma may not be much but it is worth bearing in mind if your bike sits off a battery tender for long periods of time.

So – final thoughts …..  firstly, it would be nice if a mount was provided. Secondly, looking at a nest of new red wires and fuse holders and thinking back to the nest of black wires and fuse holders I had before, I realised thacable-markerst one fundamental flaw remained. In a day, a week or next month, I’m not going to remember which red wire feeds which circuit. To this end I think INNOVV could make a couple of simple changes which would help immensely. First, add a numbered/coloured sleeve marker on each line, either side of the fuse holder to identify each circuit 1,2,3,4,5. Second, pop a sticker in the box, so that the owner can write down the details of what’s connected to each of the numbered cables and stick it somewhere near to the Power Hub. That way you can look up the appropriate circuit/cable number on the sticker, then rummage around for the matching numbered fuse holder – easy!

INNOVV Power Hub 1

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