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2012 Sportster Iron 883
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2012 sportster iron 883 died while I was riding it last night. When I insert the key and turn it to acc, the odometer and backlight on my dash lights up. Then, if I pull my front brake lever everything dies again. When I turn it to ignition there is no power whatsoever. (I took a video that I will link below) I have no idea where to start with this issue. Anyone have any ideas?

Video:
 

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The battery is the first thing to look at with a loss of power. Check that the battery cables are clean and secure at both ends, especially the ground connection. Get the battery load tested. Check fuses and relays.
 

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2012 Sportster Iron 883
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The battery is the first thing to look at with a loss of power. Check that the battery cables are clean and secure at both ends, especially the ground connection. Get the battery load tested. Check fuses and relays.
So it looks like both leads on my battery look good. No blown fuses. I wasn't quite sure how to check the relays but both were behaving the same way under my multimeter. I measured the voltage between the leads and I got something around 10.8 VDC. How would I go about load testing my battery without purchasing a load tester (if that is even possible)? Also I apologize if I ask any dumb questions but this is my first bike and I am quite new to this. Thank you guys!
 

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Mr. James
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If your battery is measuring 10.8v, it is toast. 12.8 is normal and below 11 is bad. Very bad. You might get lucky and get it to charge up but I would just replace it.
 

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Just Ride
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Auto parts store can load test it ,most times for free.
 
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2012 Sportster Iron 883
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If your battery is measuring 10.8v, it is toast. 12.8 is normal and below 11 is bad. Very bad. You might get lucky and get it to charge up but I would just replace it.
If your battery is measuring 10.8v, it is toast. 12.8 is normal and below 11 is bad. Very bad. You might get lucky and get it to charge up but I would just replace it.
If it died in the middle of the ride could that indicate a charging problem separate from the battery? When I get a new battery is there a way to test this?
 

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First step when purchasing a new battery: Put it on a trickle charger for at least 4 hours or overnight... This is to ensure it has a full charge because, you don't know how long it has been sitting in a warehouse or on the dealers shelf!
You may even want to have it load tested before installing! (You would NOT be the first to buy a brand new bad battery. Just sayin'

Now with the KNOWN Good battery installed:

The static voltage across the terminals should be 12.8 VDC.
Start the bike and take a reading across the battery terminals. It should now read 14.2 to 15 VDC. Thus showing the output from the voltage regulator... If it reads below 14.2 volts with the engine running... you have a charging issue!

The v/r has to put out more than the 12.8 volts to the battery to create flow to the battery...
Hope this helps you out..

EDIT: BTW: A battery maintainer "Battery Tender" is a Harleys best friend... Plug it in whenever its home sleeping... (y)
 

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2012 Sportster Iron 883
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
First step when purchasing a new battery: Put it on a trickle charger for at least 4 hours or overnight... This is to ensure it has a full charge because, you don't know how long it has been sitting in a warehouse or on the dealers shelf!
You may even want to have it load tested before installing! (You would NOT be the first to buy a brand new bad battery. Just sayin'

Now with the KNOWN Good battery installed:

The static voltage across the terminals should be 12.8 VDC.
Start the bike and take a reading across the battery terminals. It should now read 14.2 to 15 VDC. Thus showing the output from the voltage regulator... If it reads below 14.2 volts with the engine running... you have a charging issue!

The v/r has to put out more than the 12.8 volts to the battery to create flow to the battery...
Hope this helps you out..

EDIT: BTW: A battery maintainer "Battery Tender" is a Harleys best friend... Plug it in whenever its home sleeping... (y)
Will do! Thank you for the help!
 

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If it died in the middle of the ride could that indicate a charging problem separate from the battery? When I get a new battery is there a way to test this?
From what i have read, it takes approximately 20 minutes of riding to bring the battery back up to full charge just from the power consumed by starting it... So if "in the middle of the ride" was say 10 to 15 min after the last time you hit the starter... The battery had not yet recovered from the last start.
If you had multiple starts, before heading out, that battery could be well taxed, and tired. Especially if it was already getting weak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
From what i have read, it takes approximately 20 minutes of riding to bring the battery back up to full charge just from the power consumed by starting it... So if "in the middle of the ride" was say 10 to 15 min after the last time you hit the starter... The battery had not yet recovered from the last start.
If you had multiple starts, before heading out, that battery could be well taxed, and tired. Especially if it was already getting weak.
It was about 10 minutes after I started the bike. And the bike had to sit for about a month and a half due to a loooong stretch of horrible weather and busy days. I live in an apartment complex so it isnt quite practical to put the battery on a trickle charger when it is parked. Hopefully a new battery is all I need!
 

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It was about 10 minutes after I started the bike. And the bike had to sit for about a month and a half due to a loooong stretch of horrible weather and busy days. I live in an apartment complex so it isnt quite practical to put the battery on a trickle charger when it is parked. Hopefully a new battery is all I need!
Whenever you know it's going to be a while, between rides, pull the battery and put it on a tender in the apartment. There are parasitic losses that will kill the battery just by sitting.

So ya just gotta reset the clock... EASY! (That is only if you use it anyways)...
AND: It makes it just that much harder for some punk to steal it for a joyride!
 
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Mr. James
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What 1/2 Ton said. If you ride in the city and are doing 'brief' rides frequently, that will tax the battery kinda hard. But it does sound like you have a charging issue for sure. See if the battery can be recovered with a full proper charge and then start the bike and read the voltage across the battery terminals. If the charging system only has to replenish the battery from the last start, it should read normal, like what 1/2 Ton said. If it is just reading battery voltage, then you need to start looking further into the issue. Until you get the charging system operating normally, you will probably not be able to figure out any other potential issues. Electricity is a funny thing. If you had fuel injection it would be even more complicated.
 
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Just throwing this out there to hopefully help:
Many people think that a battery is dead when it reads like zero volts. That is not correct. The reading you get from a voltmeter shows static voltage, which when properly interpreted will give an indication of the state of charge of the battery. 12.8 is normal for a fully charged battery. The battery has 6 cells in it and they are connected in series, thereby giving you the voltage you need. Each cell is 2.135 volts giving us 12.81v if you wanna get technical. We just say 12v so it's no wonder that people think 12v on the voltmeter means that everything is fine, when it isn't. 10.8v is so low it isn't funny. That equates to 1.8v per cell. Severe damage can happen when a battery gets that low. Extreme sulfating of the battery plates can happen and then it's pretty much a paperweight. I have kept old batteries when I want to run some low current lights and that is great for that, but they would never handle above a 10A draw, let alone over 100A like many bike starters draw. There are many batteries on the market and some are as low as $30 on eBay, but remember, you get what you pay for. You could get lucky with one of those batteries, but I can't. It would last me maybe a month. Guess how I know! I stick with Yuasa batteries because I had one last an amazing 10 years once. I have never had one of their batteries fail on me less than 5 years old and usually about 7 years is the max. I have had several rides over the years so many of those battery life spans have overlapped like now. I have 3 bikes right now and the batteries are all different ages. Oh and I write on the battery the date I install it so there is no guessing how old it is. I do that for the cars and truck as well. I'm getting older so I don't rely on my memory as much. We used to say "having a Senior moment" but now it's called "straight Biden-ing it" lol.
 

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Whenever you know it's going to be a while, between rides, pull the battery and put it on a tender in the apartment. There are parasitic losses that will kill the battery just by sitting.

So ya just gotta reset the clock... EASY! (That is only if you use it anyways)...
AND: It makes it just that much harder for some punk to steal it for a joyride!
Better yet if you live on the ground floor just bring the bike inside. It makes for a great 'conversation piece' and it will love you for warmth in the winter. Just don't start it up even with the windows open thinking the woman won't notice. She will. Yes, I've done it lol.
 
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When I purchased my bike I didn't know how old the battery was even though I looked all over it for some kind of date so I went ahead and purchased a stronger cca lithium battery with a 3 year full replacement warranty along with a trickle charger. So far so good.

Dave
 

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You should be fine with a lithium battery in Florida, as they don't like temps below 40F. If it was to ever get that cold, just bring it inside. 40 is my new cut-off temp. I'm old now and the cold is just too much for me anymore.
 

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How many miles on it? And do you have "other things" dangling from your key ring that might make the key ring heavy?

When my 2008 Nightster kept dying on a trip to New England, I parked it in my friend's yard when I finally limped it there and spent a week on it. I went through all the usual battery and grounds and electrical checks and finally diagnosed it as a bad key barrel. It had 50K miles on it of dangling keys and the contacts in the barrel had worn out, causing an intermittent failure that was not otherwise electrically related. I cut off the wires, removed the barrel, and re-wired it with flip switches I located through the plastic wiring shroud under the right side of the tank. Problem solved, and cheap, too.
 

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My 2012 sportster iron 883 died while I was riding it last night. When I insert the key and turn it to acc, the odometer and backlight on my dash lights up. Then, if I pull my front brake lever everything dies again. When I turn it to ignition there is no power whatsoever. (I took a video that I will link below) I have no idea where to start with this issue. Anyone have any ideas?

Video:
Your bike was probably running on just the battery. In other words, the battery was not being charged, while running. Then, when the battery ran too low on power, it died. It sounds like you have a charging issue. If you can jump-start the bike, measure the voltage at the battery while running. It should measure between 13.2 - 14.5 volts. If it's lower, then you either have a bad voltage regulator (likely) or a bad stator.
 

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I could read that many go around the battery, but since it was running, it doesn't make sense to me because the theory says that battery is just to start up the bike and to deal with any peak of consumption that is get that goes over the alternator production; the system that keeps the bike running is the alternator and not the battery.
it make sense that all die when bike is off and battery is bad, but your post began saying that you were riding and it died suddenly... unless by mistake you turned off the bike while riding, let's say you were riding at low speed and made a mistake with the clutch and the engine turned off, which of course was not going to start again because battery was gone, there is no sense that the bike gone dead while riding due to the battery..
so check the alternator..maybe is gone and for that reason battery is gone also... but strange that you didn't get a red light in the speedometer indicating battery (which means that you were running with the battery.. typical sign when alternator is gone)..
good luck fixing it.!
 
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