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#98213 - 08/11/06 1:59 am 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
busterw Offline
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busterw  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
Macon, GA
Hey guys, a newb to the forum. Looks like a great place.

Can you tell me if my 72 Bonneville has a negative or positive ground on the battery? Just got it and the battery was trashed so I replaced it. But, before wetting the new battery, I noticed the old battery was connected with the positive cable to the negative on the battery and want to be sure as to how the wiring is suppose to be before I wet the battery, turn it over and fry something.

Please let me know.

Thanks!
Buster

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#98214 - 08/11/06 2:06 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,753
shel Online content
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shel  Online Content
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 3,753
ohio
it is supposed to be a positive ground system.
be sure and fully charge your battery before putting it in service, i like to put it on a 2 amp charger until fully charged


When given the choice between two evils I picked the one I haven't tried before
#98215 - 08/11/06 2:09 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Aug 2006
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busterw Offline
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busterw  Offline
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Macon, GA
ok, so does that mean the positive cable does indeed go to the negative battery terminal? I'm assuming yes but just wanna be sure.

Thanks Shel!
Buster

#98216 - 08/11/06 2:14 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,956
norbsa48503 Offline
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Flint,Mich
If all the red wires go to the frame and also to the positive battery termainal. Beware most modern replacement battery's have the neg and pos were the battery has to go in termanials back not out facing you. I guess you got a fifty percent chance of blowing the fuse. Hope there is one. Stock place for a positive earth system fuse is the negitive side but because it dosen't mater watch out.


norbsa
1960 TR6
1963 Super Rocket
1965 650 Star
1966 441
1968 Thunderbolt
1969 Twinkle 250
1972 Fastback
1974 Roadster
1970 S.S
Way too many BSA's not named
http://decentcycles.com
#98217 - 08/11/06 2:26 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
busterw Offline
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busterw  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
Macon, GA
Is there anywhere to download a wiring schematic or owners manual in pdf form for free?

#98218 - 08/11/06 3:34 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 60
Tri Joe Offline
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Tri Joe  Offline
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Posts: 60
Norcross, GA (outside of Atl)
Busterw,
Not sure what you're calling the positive cable. I wouldn't put a pos cable on a neg terminal. I'm sure most everyone is going to recommend you get a Tri shop manual. I can help in that area.

#98219 - 08/11/06 4:02 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
busterw Offline
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busterw  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
Macon, GA
when i say a positive cable, i mean a red cable (from my experience on american stuff, red is positive) going to the negative on the battery. am i to understand that red wires on these bikes are negative?

What will a shop manual run me mailed to Macon. I see you're in Norcross.

Thanks TriJoe!
Buster

#98220 - 08/11/06 4:28 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,956
norbsa48503 Offline
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norbsa48503  Offline
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Posts: 1,956
Flint,Mich
Well now red means earth.Positive earth. So like I said if all the red cables led to the frame... You still have a fifty fifty chance.


norbsa
1960 TR6
1963 Super Rocket
1965 650 Star
1966 441
1968 Thunderbolt
1969 Twinkle 250
1972 Fastback
1974 Roadster
1970 S.S
Way too many BSA's not named
http://decentcycles.com
#98221 - 08/11/06 4:56 am Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 60
Tri Joe Offline
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Tri Joe  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 60
Norcross, GA (outside of Atl)
B,
Try not to think "American Stuff" when working on English/Tri bikes. Another example is fuse size, that's another topic. Your bike (if stock) should be "positive ground", that's to say red wires connect to pos term (on battery) & connect to the frame/earth. Fifty-Fifty chance is way too high for me because of all the damage that can be done, when with just a small amount of checking - no chance, no damage. Email me.

#98222 - 08/11/06 1:19 pm Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 11,110
RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 11,110
North Georgia, USA
Buster -
Your bike came from the factory set up for "positive ground" which means that the Positive (+) terminal of the battery is connected to the frame of the machine. The original harness used RED wire to denote the positive, or ground, polarity. So on a stock bike with a stock harness, the RED wire is connected to the Positive (+) battery terminal.

If your bike has the stock Lucas rectifier or stock Lucas zener diode, then you MUST continue to use positive grounding.

However, a lot has happened in the last 30 years. New replacement electronic devices now on the market let you connect the bike up as the more common (but no better) negative ground. So it is up to you the owner/mechanic to determine how your particular motorcycle is polarized BEFORE you connect your battery, or parts of your charging system (and thereby your wallet) will suffer.

The quickest ways to do this (and I would certainly look for MORE than one of these to certify the polarity) is to 1) find the rectifier and observe its polarity, 2) find the zener (or other regulator) and observe its polarity, and 3) look at the ignition coils and see if the BLK/WHT and BLK/YEL (the points leads) are connected to plus or minus terminals.

If you do not understand what I am telling you, then it would be well worth your time to make the trip to our shop in Winder, GA to have it checked out before you install the battery. Give us a call at 770-867-1676, 9-9EST. And yes, of course we’re open 7 days a week.

BTW... the advice to charge your battery for 24 hours prior to installation is excellent. However, I would choose a much lower charge rate of something like 1/2A unless you sit the battery in a huge pot of water to absorb the excess heat.

Hope this helps! bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#98223 - 08/11/06 3:46 pm Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,145
Vox Teardrop Offline
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Vox Teardrop  Offline
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Indy
Red wires are positive.
Black wires are negative.

Just because your bike is positive ground does not change this fact. That is unless someone has modified your bike.


95' Triumph Speed Triple
72' Triumph T120
64' BSA Lightning Rocket
#98224 - 08/11/06 4:58 pm Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 11,110
RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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Posts: 11,110
North Georgia, USA
The above is a very dangerous statement.

It's not the color of the insulation that matters, it's where the conductors are connected that will determine whether you see smoke or not.

Case in point, we have a regular customer with a 1971 BSA A65L. The bike is completely stock and could be a concours winner except for one small detail. His entire wiring harness is made from RED wire. It's a beautiful job complete with heat shrink and all soldered joints. It's a triple pain to troubleshoot, but every wire, whether positive, negative or AC is RED.

I think the more prudent position to take is to assume that in the intervening 35 years that the bike HAS been modified. Your job Buster, is to determine to what extent.

Hope this helps! bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#98225 - 08/11/06 7:26 pm Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
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Vox Teardrop Offline
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Vox Teardrop  Offline
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Posts: 1,145
Indy
Quote:
Originally posted by RF Whatley:


The bike is completely stock

How can it be completely stock if it has been wired in all red wire?


95' Triumph Speed Triple
72' Triumph T120
64' BSA Lightning Rocket
#98226 - 08/11/06 8:25 pm Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
busterw Offline
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busterw  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 8
Macon, GA
Well, I got it runnin' with the help of RF Watley and his side kick Beano (sorry if spelling is wrong) on the phone. With the phone help, I ended up trying each wire with an OHM meter, and the green wire showed circuit to the frame, so I put it on the Pos. Batt terminal tickled the carb and the damn thing cranked on the first kick, even after sitting up for over 2 years. My luck ain't ever that good.

Anyhow, BIG THANKS to RF and Beano for taking time from work to give somebody free help on the phone, and also to the other people who responded here.

Now I've got a transmission question, but I'll start a new thread.

#98227 - 08/11/06 9:08 pm Re: 72 Bonneville battery ground?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 11,110
RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 11,110
North Georgia, USA
Buster -

Congrats!

bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes

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