bump bump bump

Let us briefly discuss wiring.

I sort of understand it.   The black wire goes from the battery, through the ignition switch and makes electricity go to places.    The green wire comes from the generator/alternator, goes through the ignition and also makes electricity go to places.   But only when the engine is running.

This makes it quite challenging to test the electrics as  the engine hasn’t run since around the same time that Tony Blair was elected on a wave of “Things can only get better”.    Little Project is not considering running for PM (or so it says) and as far as I know has never been mentioned in the same sentence as war crimes.

I tried kicking over the engine.  We still have a nice fat spark and we still have no internal combustion.    I formed a plan.

The neighbours were having a barbie.  They watched, bemused as I ran up and down the garden trying to bump start the bike.   The garden has probably about 20 yards of bumping space, mostly laid to lawn.   Well, it was laid to lawn.   Little Project proved that the new tyres have considerable bite by ripping up a trail of grass (and dirt).    I now have to explain why there are several bald bits on the lawn.   It looks a little bit like parts of Belgium during the battle of the Bulge.

Never daunted I thought I would try bumping it down the grassy little lane that runs alongside the house.  There’s a clear path here, partly made by my other bike, partly by the many urban foxes who live on the vegetable patch and partly made by the man who comes and steals rhubarb from the vegetable patch (the foxes don’t like rhubarb).

This was no more successful.   There is just a deeper rutted clear path down the little grassy lane.   There is also a bit of apricot tree missing.   It was hanging over the fence and I was to busy pushing and jumping to notice it.

This was when I had a better plan.

There’s a church next door to the little grassy lane.   We aren’t really on speaking terms with the church since they tried to annexe the vegetable patch and turn it into additional car park.   The church members accidentally knocked down the fence and then accidentally kept parking cars between (and sometimes over) the plum trees.   The church  has a nice tarmac covered lane that runs slightly downhill to their legitimate car park.   Just the thing (I thought).

“Would anybody care to help me try to start Little Project?” I asked the house?   The silence was deafening.   I press ganged youngest because he was revising for exams by watching some women gyrate on youTube.    Good revision I’m sure, but not for a public service exam.

“All you have to do is push me really fast through the church car park”.

“But, but, what about…”

“Never mind all that.   You just push as fast as you can”.

I really should have listened.

Perhaps you can imagine the scene.   There’s a plumpish old chap sitting on a tiny little motorbike.   No footrests so legs are raised up and forwards.  There’s a gangly 6’2″ teenager, in his slippers, pushing frantically behind.

“Faster!” I cried.  “F%$k off” can the mumbled response but we gained speed.   I crunched the bike into second gear and the engine started turning over, we had a few bangs and backfires, “Even Faster” I yelled, “It’s going to start!”.

It didn’t.   We had some smoke, we had the smell of burning petrol and we had the sense of getting close to something monumental.  We also had the church communion looking at us aghast.   The boy said “I was trying to tell you that it’s Sunday and everyone will be in there but you just wouldn’t listen” and then he legged it.   Leaving me to wave sheepishly at the pastor and his flock as I wheeled Little Project forlornly back to the shed.

Tell you what though.   It’s looking pretty good.

lpThank you for taking the time to come and read.

Fiat Lux

I believe that in several previous posts I have mentioned that I’m not a fan of electrics.   Faced with a dozen different coloured cables and several wiring diagrams, none of which actually match my bike is a little like being left alone with a big bottle of wine and no corkscrew.  I’m eager to get going but I don’t know quite where to start.

I bit the bullet last week and just started cutting wires into lengths and attaching them to each other in what I hoped was not a haphazard fashion.

How is your Latin?   The original title of this post was “Genesis 1:3 and Angus Young” but I changed my mind and went with a more classical choice instead.   There are a few things that you need to know when you are working on the electrics of a Little Project and you don’t know what you are doing.

No. 1.    Make sure that you have a charged battery.   Martin Luther King said “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”  If he had been restoring an old Honda he may also have included “Testing circuitry without power is like trying to stop the wind from blowing”.

No. 2.  Make sure that you know how to use a multimeter.    My multimeter has a dial on it and you can turn the dial to about 20 different places.   As I don’t have a clue what each of the different settings do it makes testing things quite entertaining.

No. 3. Make sure that your multimeter works consistently.

So there’s a bunch of wiring that needs to be fastened together.   I joined it all up and then realised that some of the bits of wire actually go to more than one place.   The orange one goes to about 5 places and the green one does similar.  There’s also the mysterious earth.   According to the wiring diagram the lead from the battery goes all over the place and then attaches to the frame.   In my simple mind this means that every time I touch the bike I’m going to get an electric shock.   We shall see.

I made a bit of the wiring loom.  It looks like this.

Wiring loom

Not much to look at I know but it is a step in the right direction.

I plugged it all in.  Turned the ignition key and nothing.

I connected the battery.   Turned the ignition key and nothing.

I took the battery off again and put it on charge.   Then I checked the voltage in the battery (you have to have the multimeter at around 10 o’clock).    Multimeter said no charge.    Then it said 6.15 volts.   Then it said no charge.  I decided to go with it and connected it up again.   Can you guess the result?


The lad showed up so we decided to have a serious play with the wires.   The multimeter was giving random results, sometimes things were working and sometimes they were not.    We eventually decided to just test it on a bare piece of wire and sometimes it was working and sometimes not.

I’ve mentioned Halford’s before.   I reckoned that even Halford’s could not supply a meter worse than mine so off we went and purchased a new one.  Yay! it works and there is consistent power in the battery.

The aim was just to get the neutral light to light up.  This should be fairly easy except that we also have to take into account that the neutral switch is somewhere in the gearbox that I rebuilt back in the summer on 2013.   Boy and I looked at one another uttered a shared “where do we start?”.

He reckoned that for the light to come on we had to have at least one wire that went from the neutral switch to the neutral light.  Further deduction and we decided that there needed to be two.   One to say the light needs to come on and one to feed the light with power.   We started with the one that says the light needs to come on (it is green and red in case you are interested).   From the gearbox to bulb there was no continuity but from the gearbox to the first of those plastic connectors that break when you look at them there was.    We then found two green and red wires that were not plugged into one another.   We plugged them in and hey presto.   Halford’s multimeter said that there was an unbroken link all the way through.

Power was a black cable.   I’ve tinkered a lot with the black cable but everything was connecting okay in my new bit of the wiring loom.   I even discovered that coming from the battery to a random black wire that I found there was 6 volts with the ignition turned on and no volts with the ignition turned off.   That had to mean something and it could only be a good thing.

There’s another of those plastic connectors.  An 8 hole one that was part of the original loom.    There was connectivity up to it but not beyond it so (in the true spirit of Little Project recklessness) I snipped the cables at either end and joined them up directly.

We then connected the battery and plugged everything back in again.

Once again.  Can you guess what happened?

fiat luxIt is only a small thing.   The light goes off when you put the bike into gear and comes on again when it is in neutral.  It goes off when you turn the ignition off and comes on again when you turn the ignition on.

Let’s go with Angus rather than Genesis 1:3.   In the bible, after God saw that the light was good he divided light form the darkness and created night and day. Even on my best day I can’t manage that.   AC/DC said:

Let there be Light




Let there be Rock.

I reckon that there are still a few dozen wires to sort out regarding light, but after that we shall be aiming for sound and the shed shall throb to the pulsating beat of a 9hp engine.

Thank you all for bearing with me and for the encouragement you have offered.