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Got a 1200 Sportster (upgraded from a 883XL low) Had it down to a local dealer for oil change and general check-over. Rode it home (30 miles) Shut it off, then shortly afterwards tried to restart. Turned over once, but acted like battery wasn't charged. (new battery) Talking to the dealer's service dept. they mentioned that the Ign switch was pretty sloppy, and that the cause of the problem might be there. Truth in fact, I had to agree, although I'd never had any trouble with it before. Long story short, bought a new factory switch installed it and still nothing. Every fuse I can find looks good, connections all good but when I turn the key and press the starter switch...nothing. Any Ideas?
 

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Check the battery cables! Especially if you had the service department install that battery. Sportsters are known for the battery cable turned wrong. If the installer made the connection, but didn't route the wire back correctly, the cable can short itself out as the battery is pushed into position. Its super easy to mess this up!
 

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On another note, if you don't already have one, get a battery tender. Your bike will love you for it!
 

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Check the tightness of both battery cables, ON BOTH ENDS, Sportster's require a certain way of installing battery cables, the negative cable really. There is picture on the side cover.
 

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Check the battery cables! Especially if you had the service department install that battery. Sportsters are known for the battery cable turned wrong. If the installer made the connection, but didn't route the wire back correctly, the cable can short itself out as the battery is pushed into position. Its super easy to mess this up!
The cables were good, I rode the bike home (30 miles) with no problems until I shut it off and it refused to start again. I've since had the battery out checking both cables
 

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Got a 1200 Sportster (upgraded from a 883XL low) Had it down to a local dealer for oil change and general check-over. Rode it home (30 miles) Shut it off, then shortly afterwards tried to restart. Turned over once, but acted like battery wasn't charged. (new battery) Talking to the dealer's service dept. they mentioned that the Ign switch was pretty sloppy, and that the cause of the problem might be there. Truth in fact, I had to agree, although I'd never had any trouble with it before. Long story short, bought a new factory switch installed it and still nothing. Every fuse I can find looks good, connections all good but when I turn the key and press the starter switch...nothing. Any Ideas?
Start with a Voltmeter Test: This will tell you the current condition of the battery. Test the voltage across the terminals of the battery with one of the bikes cables disconnected (open circuit) a fully charged battery should read 12.7 V dc. (100% charged), At 12.7 Volts is considered 75%, 12.3 V = 50%, 12.0 V = 25%, 11.8 V = 0%.

That new battery, how new? If it had just been installed, then you rode only 30 miles.. That explains a lot! A new battery has been sitting on a shelf for some time. They MUST be brought up to a full charge! Either just before or just after being installed. I have heard it takes a H. D. approximately 45 minutes to bring the voltage back up just from starting. I would put a trickle charger on it and leave it at least over night or until a voltmeter test indicates a 100% charge. (12.7 to 12.8 v).

The bike is a '05 1200 XL (after upgrade). Those that i have worked on (My wife's and a friend's) both are Customs '17 XL1200 C, and '03 XL 883 C, respectfully. These bikes have a chrome box thingy that is also the bar riser. All the electrics to the bars and lights go into that chrome box. It is way beyond easy to get a short circuit or an open circuit in that box. (Pinched, kinked, broken) wires in a very crowded space. If your bike is a Custom, i would troubleshoot everything else before messing with that damn box of wires. UNLESS you have changed handle bars or have been in there for other reasons. Then, look there first! Just closing that cover can get wires pinched! (Ask me how i know this 🙃). But don't say i didn't warn you!
Best of luck with this! Please keep us up to date on your findings.. Please!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Start with a Voltmeter Test: This will tell you the current condition of the battery. Test the voltage across the terminals of the battery with one of the bikes cables disconnected (open circuit) a fully charged battery should read 12.7 V dc. (100% charged), At 12.7 Volts is considered 75%, 12.3 V = 50%, 12.0 V = 25%, 11.8 V = 0%.

That new battery, how new? If it had just been installed, then you rode only 30 miles.. That explains a lot! A new battery has been sitting on a shelf for some time. They MUST be brought up to a full charge! Either just before or just after being installed. I have heard it takes a H. D. approximately 45 minutes to bring the voltage back up just from starting. I would put a trickle charger on it and leave it at least over night or until a voltmeter test indicates a 100% charge. (12.7 to 12.8 v).

The bike is a '05 1200 XL (after upgrade). Those that i have worked on (My wife's and a friend's) both are Customs '17 XL1200 C, and '03 XL 883 C, respectfully. These bikes have a chrome box thingy that is also the bar riser. All the electrics to the bars and lights go into that chrome box. It is way beyond easy to get a short circuit or an open circuit in that box. (Pinched, kinked, broken) wires in a very crowded space. If your bike is a Custom, i would troubleshoot everything else before messing with that damn box of wires. UNLESS you have changed handle bars or have been in there for other reasons. Then, look there first! Just closing that cover can get wires pinched! (Ask me how i know this 🙃). But don't say i didn't warn you!
Best of luck with this! Please keep us up to date on your findings.. Please!
Battery is probably a couple of months old, and I've been riding off and on before I rode it down to the dealership. However I will run a voltmeter test on it as I'm aware that just because the battery is new doesn't mean it's good. Went back through the system again yesterday and checked fuses and for possible breaks.
 

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Check the ground cable to the frame. Even if the connection is good and clean, there could be a partial break inside the sheathing, so go over every inch of it.
 

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I'd remove and reinstall the batteryaccording to the specific procedure for that model.
 

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Spent most of yesterday going over the wiring around the battery, as well as checking it. Even opened up previously taped connections and came up with nothing, everything looked fine. Fuses all checked out however battery was reading 15+ something would that be a problem? Neg and Pos cables are a little worn but look all right. Whatever the problem is is above my skill level next stop is a local shop I've had do work before with good results.
 

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Spent most of yesterday going over the wiring around the battery, as well as checking it. Even opened up previously taped connections and came up with nothing, everything looked fine. Fuses all checked out however battery was reading 15+ something would that be a problem? Neg and Pos cables are a little worn but look all right. Whatever the problem is is above my skill level next stop is a local shop I've had do work before with good results.
That's a new one on me...Never heard of pulling 15 Volts out of a 12V battery! Was it still hooked up to the charger?
That is really the only way i can think of such a high reading. Chargers put out a slightly higher voltage than the battery but, 3+ seems excessive to me.
 

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If the OP is testing volts correctly then 15 volts would indicate a faulty regulator. 12 volt regulators charge up to 14.5 volts, that's the cutoff.
 

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If the OP is testing volts correctly then 15 volts would indicate a faulty regulator. 12 volt regulators charge up to 14.5 volts, that's the cutoff.
Schmidty, wouldn't that be 14.5 volts when the engine is running. He's trying to correct a no start condition? Or have I gotten it all wrong?
 

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Got a 1200 Sportster (upgraded from a 883XL low) Had it down to a local dealer for oil change and general check-over. Rode it home (30 miles) Shut it off, then shortly afterwards tried to restart. Turned over once, but acted like battery wasn't charged. (new battery) Talking to the dealer's service dept. they mentioned that the Ign switch was pretty sloppy, and that the cause of the problem might be there. Truth in fact, I had to agree, although I'd never had any trouble with it before. Long story short, bought a new factory switch installed it and still nothing. Every fuse I can find looks good, connections all good but when I turn the key and press the starter switch...nothing. Any Ideas?
I have a 2005 1200 custom all of a sudden wouldn't turn over. I checked everything turned out being the starter relay. the tiny black 4 prong plug in box thing to the left of the fuses. was able to get one from Autozone for 8 bucks started right up part number 20742 Duralast Relay
 
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