How to Find an Electrical Short on a Motorcycle – Expert’s Suggestions


The motorcycle electrical systems can confuse the common electric experts and several expert motorcycle mechanics. Modern motorcycles are the ones with a more complex electrical system when compared with the traditional wiring system. Electrical issues are among the primary reason for the frequent visits to the service center for motorcycles. This is because nearly each working component in the current motorcycle models is controlled by an electronic part. To make it easier to troubleshoot any electrical problem on a motorbike, it is essential to know how to find an electrical short on a motorcycle and even every component’s functions and then try to troubleshoot it independently and find the root. The first step is identifying the main problems and knowing where to begin.

How to find an electrical short on a motorcycle

Follow those 8 tips to find an electrical short on a motorcycle.


Before you are going to start to find an electrical short on a motorcycle we begin thinking about troubleshooting, we should first remember some of the fundamentals of the complete electrical system. Teachers teach us it in the classroom. A circuit that was to be successful must contain three fundamental elements. They’re the sources of power. In this instance, it is a battery for motorcycle connections cables and the load like bulbs, motors, and others. These fundamental things use to verify electron flow in every circuit.

In the event of damage or failure of any of these virtual devices, the circuit isn’t completed. No troubleshooting can occur. A digital multimeter is a second tool essential to have in the troubleshooting procedure. This essential and accurate tool will enable you to examine a particular component and receive immediate results. This instrument is superior to test light. It can adjust and test different fields ranging from continuity through voltage fluctuations and resistance.

Electrical system parts

Before you begin any troubleshooting method, the first thing I would suggest is to understand or become familiar with the electric system on your motorcycle. In the beginning, you must be aware of where each component is. You must be able to determine the individual electrical fuses. Their capacity and, in addition, take a copy of the diagram on the manufacturer’s website and read through it. Particularly in case you aren’t familiar with the type of electrical system. Be sure to gather basic information about how the components you have to lay out and their locations and purposes.

Main fuse

The primary cause of discontent is when the fuse goes out. As this can destroy the whole electrical system, including the engine’s ignition. A faulty fuse in the main circuit can cause an engine that isn’t performing properly if there isn’t completely shut down. It can be quite stressful as it makes you believe that there’s an issue with the engine. Or something strange throughout the system.

The fuse issue is when the fuse use for a long period without replacement or has a high flow of current, or the fuse fails to connect to its socket because of regular movement. The maintenance of the fuse in reserve is vital as it can blow. The first step to find an electrical short on a motorcycle is examining the fuse in charge. Continuously of the primary fuse may achieve by making necessary changes to the multimeter or with the help of a test lamp.

Check ground wires

The most frequently encountered issue with motorbike electrical systems is a fault in-ground wires. It can be very difficult to find faulty wires. Especially in an electrical circuit for motors that have lots of wires that are not visible. The symptoms experienced with these cables could indicate a dead bike or intermittent operation in certain components. Removing these wires isn’t an easy task, but it will require patience. Cover All exposed wires with electrical tape to prevent them from contacting the ground. It is also essential to confirm using the digital voltammeter to determine if the wires connect together with those of the ground.

Stator checking

In Motorbikes with frequent charging issues, the owner should check their charging systems. In this instance, you need to check the status of the charger. The stator supplies additional energy for battery charging in normal operation. During troubleshooting, disconnect the stator from the engine’s plug, then checked to see if it generates the voltage required under normal resistance conditions.

Verify the voltage rectifier

The voltage rectifier regulator is a part that converts AC voltage generated by the ignition coil into DC that is then used to charge batteries. Its purpose is to ensure that batteries fully charge at the maximum level and damage. The regulator converts excess energy into heat and eliminates it. Verifying that the regulator working properly done using diode tests.

Remove the rectifier from any other connection, then you can recognize the negative and positive terminals. The multimeter is then turned on to diode mode, and the positive terminal of the rectifier is connected to the positive side of the rectifier. Connect the negative terminal to the terminals. In this instance, you can expect no readings with the digital multimeter or deviation if your multimeter is analog. Then, connect it back to reverse and wait for the results or the deviation. If they do not, the rectifier is defective then replace them quickly.

Examine the ignition coils’ plug wires and caps

This is the main and vital component of the motorbike engine. It is where all engine start-up is initiated. Maintain the components to prevent any leakage of voltage or issue. These plug cables are extremely long cables that connect the ignition coil until the plug’s cap. Check the plug wires to see if they’re still in good condition and if not. Replace them with a fresh one because the deterioration in insulation in the wire can result in arcing within the plug wire, which can cause problems when the engine start-up. It recommends examining the caps of your spark plug by setting your multimeter. According to the scale and then reading if the resistance is in the thousands of Ohms.

Examining the CDI coil

CDI is an electric capacitor that is used to store discharges and charges and electrical energy to power the engine’s induction. It is probably the last thing to test because it automatically switches with another CDI proven to function but not with the multimeter. The electric motorbike system is easy to use for those willing and has the habit of following simple instructions.

How to prevent electrical short on a motorcycle

Above we discuss how to find an electrical short on a motorcycle in detail. Now we will discuss how to avoid them.

Edge protection

Edge protection means that all your cables are adequately protected from edge-cutting or damage from mechanical. Bikes with lots of vibration, such as large V-twins or single cylinders, are more prone. It is possible to avoid this with a bit of common awareness and knowing the areas where issues could arise when assembling. Common locations where you’ll encounter the sharp edge or point of a pinch on motorcycles comprise:

Stops for steering and areas where cables can move or flex when handles are turned. In between the frames and the seat of the bike. The places where your fuel tank attaches to the frame.

A worn or pinched cable can cause a major short, leading to fire or issues that disappear only to reappear. A worn cable ripped out of the frame, or other grounded components can lead to many problems. The problem is also difficult to identify.

Wire size & fusing

This is not uncommon. I’ve seen numerous people repeatedly repair blowing fuse issues by installing fuses with greater tolerance. It can be an effective bandaid for a long time or even cause your bike to burn to the floor. There is usually an issue at the root of every fuse malfunction, and it’s most likely to be caused by one of the four mistakes mentioned earlier. It is crucial to choose the correct size wire to accomplish the task and use the correct size fuse.

This is my advice on common motorcycle wire gauges and fuse applications. Your specific bike might be different, so use this as a guide and not a guideline. It is always best to determine the correct dimensions with Ohms law, add the total light wattage, etc. If in doubt, ask an expert.

Utilization of the correct connectors and joins

There are two components to this problem. In the first place, you should avoid joining unnecessary joints in any electrical system, whether you’re working on a transmission line connecting Mainland Australia to Tasmania or even your vintage scooter. It’s a rule of thumb. If you find a cable that isn’t long enough or contains multiple joints take it off and replace it instead of making an additional join. If you aren’t able to do this, ensure that it’s a good join; make sure that you join a solid join one covered with the heat shrink sleeve.

Third, make sure you use the correct connectors and crimps if you have to join cables. I don’t often use bullet connectors to connect my lighting, and I prefer soldering the joins and then heat shrinking on top. If you’re using connectors or crimps, make sure you have the right tool for crimping. I discovered this using an SR400 I wired up. I had the wrong crimping tool, always chasing electrical problems. Learned my lesson!

Electrical grounding

The top problem on my list of mistakes in motorcycle wiring can describe as “grounding,” also known as “earthing.” Simply put, earthing is the procedure employed to ensure that every conductive part on a motorcycle that isn’t connected to the positive voltage connects to the ground or negative part of the battery.

When you remove a motorcycle frame and paint it, coated the ground with paint. This could result in an unsatisfactory connection. This can lead to lighting not charging batteries, instruments not working correctly, and ignition issues. If you’re experiencing an electrical issue, determine if the defective component ground properly. People do it by connecting a multimeter set to OHMS between the positive battery’s terminal and any other metal component of your bike. The standard is to ensure that there’s no OHMS reading higher than 1.5 Ohms between your battery and any bike component.


The over-complicated electrical system is often caused by inadequate planning. The most efficient way to connect a bike to electricity is to keep all of your connections in one location. This means that you don’t have wires that run through the bike, with additional joins all over the place. If you encounter any issues, there’s only one source to turn to. I’ve had quite a couple of people who disagree with me on this subject because it’s not typical to connect a bike to the internet, but my reasoning is sound.

I’ve never had a great time drawing. Still, before taking a pen on paper to re-wiring a cafe racer up, I sketch the electric components and lighting and then determine the best way to connect them. The simplicity of wiring is such a crucial factor that I created an item specifically to assist bike riders in wiring their bikes. It calls the purpose-built Moto black Box can get those tidy switches on the handlebars and cool modern lights that work with just 11 wires.

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