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.


The Napoleon of mechanics

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through  continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our  freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

At least, that’s what Martin Luther King said and I think he knew his stuff.   Mind you, he also said that he had a dream.   His speech in 1963 was a powerful statement against the suppression of civil rights in the USA, specifically in the South of the country.  His words still resonate and even 50 years later it is difficult to read the entire speech without feeling a finger on your spine.   My dreams are usually instigated by blue cheese and not remembered the following morning.  Still, who wants U2 to write a song about you anyway.

Let us get back to change.  Little Project is ready to go on a trip.   It is convenient but complete coincidence that HOAP arrives as the last bits of rusty Little Project are consigned to the ever-increasing pile of “things to go to the tip” and the frame (plus a few select other pieces) take a trip to the powder coating shop to come back glistening, clean and (hopefully) the correct colour.   It won’t break my heart if the powder coaters can’t match the exact shade of “Shiny Orange” that can occasionally be glimpsed through the rust but I shall raise a glass if they can get close (and also supply me with a pot of the same colour for the tank and side panels).   Little Project didn’t go down quietly, there was one more bit to remove; Known locally as the “rusty mudguard bit” and in Honda terms as “Fender, B,Rear (P/N 80102382670)” I’ve been putting off tackling it.   Four nuts hold it in position.   Four sheared nuts no longer hold it in position but the bits in the frame may cause an interesting dilemma. I drilled through the first rusty nut (anybody familiar with Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts?) and inserted my trusty extractor only for the extractor to snap.   I drilled through the second rusty nut with a bigger drill and a view to tapping a new thread in the remains of the hole.  The tap snapped in the hole so I’ve now 50% of the holes that hold rusty mudguard in place contaminated with tool kit.  I reckon that a bit of angle grinding and brazing some nuts on to the frame will fix the joby nicely.   Shame I don’t have an angle grinder and don’t know the first thing about brazing.

What of HOAP?   It arrived on Friday in a fanfare of phone calls and some excitement on my part.   After unloading it from the courier and importing into the “not shed but don’t tell anyone” it looked incredibly like this.


Now that is exciting enough for anybody.  Obviously HOAP is no longer Honda On A Pallet and that surely means that the name should change.  So please give a warming round of applause to Honda Off A Pallet.  Commonly known as, erm, HOAP.

Sadly, the delivery man forgot to leave one of the boxes of HOAP so I’m not sure how accurate Dave’s (vendor, not delivery man) comment of “it looks like it is all there” is.  I know that the missing blue box contains an engine.  I really hope that it also contains all of the nuts and bolts that hold HOAP together, otherwise we are in for a bit of adventure.

Now that HOAP has arrived,  it is a little like having a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle without a close up of the answer.  There are many bits that I think “I know roughly where that goes” but I’ve found five bits so far that have made me go “?!”.   I’m sure that their purpose will come to light as we move on but for the moment I am baffled.   One bit is so baffling I have sent a picture of it to Honda in the hope that they can explain it to me.  I suspect it might be off a Ford Focus and just in the wrong box.  Somebody will be cross.

I haven’t really mentioned the arrival of Seat.   I’m in awe of Seat!  I have been told that Seat can’t stay in the kitchen, can’t stay in the bedroom and in fact has to go to the shed!   Seat has smuggled itself into the boys room and is hiding under the bed for the time being.  Whatever you do, don’t tell G.

Thank you so much for your time.   I welcome your comments on the story of Little Project.  When you get the time, go and find out where the title of this post comes from, he’s a suprisingly inspiting man!