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Old 02-17-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


I have a 91 honda xr250 that i have had for about 6 years now and the previos owner removed all of the lighting system and now i have used all aftermarket parts and have nearly completed the lighting/power system. I am having an issue getting the blinkers to work. i have tried an electronic flasher relay but it only buzzed and both lights stayed on. i was told to try a 2 prong thermal flasher so i did. now when i turn the blinkers on they blink but only once every 2 or 3 seconds. I have a power wire going to the relay and the load wire goes to my handlebar switch and depending on whether left or right is pushed the power is sent to that side. both sides have this issue. the bulbs are small 3 watt bulbs and im assuming that it is not drawing enough current to heat the bimetalic strip fast enough in the flasher relay thus causing the slow blink. the lights are wired in parallel so im sure its not a total of 6 watts altogether i just remember the formula. but heres when things get weird, if i take this random brake light bulb i found and hook it up to the flasher and ground it it will blink at a normal rate no problem, If i turn the blinkers one with the bulb attached they all blink at the proper rate. the brake light bulb is a 5 watt 12v bulb. thinking there just isnt enough load on the blinker circuit i wired the brake bulb in series from the relay to the load wire. when i turn the blinkers on the brake light even though in the line does not light and the blinkers flash at the slow rate as before.

any ideas? according to some bike shops resistors may need to be added to get enough of a load to get the blinkers to work. which does not make much sense to me seeing as i added the brake bulb which has a resistance of 1.1 Ohms and that did nothing.

im at a loss for ideas here. time for the professions to lend me some ideas here.

any help is greatly appreciated.

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Old 02-17-2012, 05:02 PM   #2
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


Double check all your electrical connections maybe something is lose or corroded.

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Old 02-17-2012, 05:08 PM   #3
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


already have. I checked the resistance of every wire to every ground and from the load wire to the bulb and everything checks out. I even hooked one of the blinker bulbs directly to the flasher and all it did was dimly light but no blinking.


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Double check all your electrical connections maybe something is lose or corroded.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


Did you try another flasher?
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:17 PM   #5
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


This is pretty easy and it looks as though you had it figured out when you attached the random bulb in parallel which drew more current. The thermal blinkers must be matched to the bulb wattage. Have you ever tried hooking a trailer up and noticed that they blink at a faster rate? You do need your blinkers in parallel to draw the correct current, placing them (or the extra bulb you tried) in series will lower the current.

Last edited by zappa; 02-17-2012 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 02-17-2012, 06:51 PM   #6
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


Yes the older style flasher cans do require the correct load
on them to work correctly.
Usually they will have 2 x 21w lamps on them, thats 42w!
So your 6w is probably too little.
Usually the way around this is to use an electronic type flasher
can, as these dont reqiure a minimum load.
The fact that you tried this and it doesnt work is strange !
You might have a faulty unit ! or a loose / bad connection !
Have you tried another electronic flasher can ?
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


buzzed and both lights stayed on.
>at half brightness?

i was told to try a 2 prong thermal flasher so i did. now when i turn the blinkers on they blink but only once every 2 or 3 seconds.
>bulb load is too small

if i take this random brake light bulb i found and hook it up to the flasher and ground it it will blink at a normal rate no problem, If i turn the blinkers one with the bulb attached they all blink at the proper rate.
>bulb load was too small

the brake light bulb is a 5 watt 12v bulb.
>(12^2)/5 = 29 ohms.

and the blinkers flash at the slow rate as before.
>you did not wire it as you intended to

which does not make much sense to me seeing as i added the brake bulb which has a resistance of 1.1 Ohms
>cold resistance?
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:04 AM   #8
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Cant get flasher relay to function on my motorcycle


Check out info at: http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/electric/et104.htm
Evidently, if this site is right and the kind of flasher relay is the same as yours, and I read it correctly, you need 21 watt bulbs. The 5w ones you are using are not enough load. You'll have to insert an appropriately sized resistor in series to adjust the circuit.
Also, check out: http://www.customdynamics.com/trick_flasher.htm
seems to have it figured out.

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