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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I've just joined and am finding my way around . Looked far and wide for a long time to get a 70's XL but luckily I managed to buy my 1980 XL500s from someone a few streets away. Only issue I have that's recently arisen is an electrical one and have a new battery on order.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi and thanks. The scales are just the right thickness to make the bike stand up a bit more making it easier to get around the garage . I love the look of all the XL's.What year is your 250?

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Good things come to those who wait :cool: what a beauty well wear with it . I used to get a spin on a friends 250 looked just like it only white paint . got a lift on the back of it a few times too and a cl 250 silk road . a dream bike for me would be a cl 250 with a 500 engine but an xl500 like yours would hit the spot nicely I remember seeing a bloke kick one into life back in the 80's then take off on it I was very impressed a lot of blokes had xt 500 fever and they were common enough around but xl500's were very scarce the one I saw a bloke came home from London to visit the family and went to a custom show on it . it impressed me more than the Harleys and Norton and triumph chops that were floating about . the only thing that was cooler that weekend was a mad ****er on a twin shock gpz 1100 that was stock custom style popping a few wheelies .
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good things come to those who wait :cool: what a beauty well wear with it . I used to get a spin on a friends 250 looked just like it only white paint . got a lift on the back of it a few times too and a cl 250 silk road . a dream bike for me would be a cl 250 with a 500 engine but an xl500 like yours would hit the spot nicely I remember seeing a bloke kick one into life back in the 80's then take off on it I was very impressed a lot of blokes had xt 500 fever and they were common enough around but xl500's were very scarce the one I saw a bloke came home from London to visit the family and went to a custom show on it . it impressed me more than the Harleys and Norton and triumph chops that were floating about . the only thing that was cooler that weekend was a mad ****er on a twin shock gpz 1100 that was stock custom style popping a few wheelies .
Definitely a nostalgic thing for me too. Never owned one but loved the look. Back in the 70's I had a 1974 kawasaki 250 s1, it went like stink! Wanted the XL 250 then as you could ride a 250 on a learner license.

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Hi and thanks. The scales are just the right thickness to make the bike stand up a bit more making it easier to get around the garage . I love the look of all the XL's.What year is your 250?

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1978. It's a bit of a rat, but I have 3/4 of a spare bike in bits as well. Maybe one day I'll build one good one out of all the bits. But despite it being a bit scruffy, it's still the best fun on two wheels I own. If anything will make me behave like a kid again, it's this one; just kicking it into life is enough to switch off the boring, safe, adult mode and start me feeling leery. Just as well it's only a 250.:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
1978. It's a bit of a rat, but I have 3/4 of a spare bike in bits as well. Maybe one day I'll build one good one out of all the bits. But despite it being a bit scruffy, it's still the best fun on two wheels I own. If anything will make me behave like a kid again, it's this one; just kicking it into life is enough to switch off the boring, safe, adult mode and start me feeling leery. Just as well it's only a 250.
Well on the up side yours will be "tax free" next year, I've got 3 more years to reach that enviable position.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice bike.
What is the electrical issue?
I have spent quite a lot of time fixing electrics on my 1981 XL500S
Hi, thanks for the comment. First off I am useless with electrickery. My way of finding a live wire is grab it with my hand- no shock - not working, shock - working.lol.

The main beam warning lamp blows when the switch is used. However, the main beam works.

When using either side indicator and pressing the brake, the brake light dips or flashes in opposite time.

With the headlights on and using either side indicators the headlight and tail light dips or flashes in opposite time.

I have replaced all the indicator bulbs, replaced both bulbs in the headlight with white L.E.D bulbs, replaced all the dash bulbs and now replaced the battery with a new gel battery.

It would seem that it must be an earthing problem, or shorting in the case of the main beam warning lamp but I just don't know what to check. All advice is welcome, thanks.




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OK, don't use LEDs use conventional 6 volt bulbs in all locations.
You say you replaced both bulbs in the headlight with LEDs? Which bulbs exactly? I thought there were just the actual headlamp bulb and a pilot bulb?

The XL500 has a direct lighting circuit for the
  • headlight main beam
  • headlight dip beam
  • headlight main beam warning
  • tail light
This direct circuit is AC current and is not regulated. Sounds weird but thats how it is. That means it needs ALL the bulbs to be present and off the correct wattage. LED bulbs wont work with AC current, they need DC current like you get direct from the battery. If you don't have all the correct bulbs then you will put more strain on the others.

BUT, to complicate matters further you also have a DC circuit that will charge the little battery which will then run the idiot lights, indicators and the rear brake light. This is where it gets complicated because the battery is supposed to act as a sort of regulator to the unregulated AC circuit.

I would use a conventional lead acid battery and make sure you have conventional bulbs in all the other locations.
LEDs are generally a good idea on old bikes but not on these XLs.

Regarding the indicator / brake light issue, there should be a green wire from the tail light. Green is earth. Check this is firmly attached to the tail light and that it goes back to the wiring loom and plugs in to a green wire there.
6v systems need all connections especially earth to be perfect.

Do you have a wiring diagram? Make sure the two wires from the brake light switch are going to the right connection in the loom.
Do you have a multi meter to test with? It will make chasing down flakey connections and earths so much easier.

Hope that helps, any questions fire away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, don't use LEDs use conventional 6 volt bulbs in all locations.
You say you replaced both bulbs in the headlight with LEDs? Which bulbs exactly? I thought there were just the actual headlamp bulb and a pilot bulb?

The XL500 has a direct lighting circuit for the
  • headlight main beam
  • headlight dip beam
  • headlight main beam warning
  • tail light
This direct circuit is AC current and is not regulated. Sounds weird but thats how it is. That means it needs ALL the bulbs to be present and off the correct wattage. LED bulbs wont work with AC current, they need DC current like you get direct from the battery. If you don't have all the correct bulbs then you will put more strain on the others.

BUT, to complicate matters further you also have a DC circuit that will charge the little battery which will then run the idiot lights, indicators and the rear brake light. This is where it gets complicated because the battery is supposed to act as a sort of regulator to the unregulated AC circuit.

I would use a conventional lead acid battery and make sure you have conventional bulbs in all the other locations.
LEDs are generally a good idea on old bikes but not on these XLs.

Regarding the indicator / brake light issue, there should be a green wire from the tail light. Green is earth. Check this is firmly attached to the tail light and that it goes back to the wiring loom and plugs in to a green wire there.
6v systems need all connections especially earth to be perfect.

Do you have a wiring diagram? Make sure the two wires from the brake light switch are going to the right connection in the loom.
Do you have a multi meter to test with? It will make chasing down flakey connections and earths so much easier.

Hope that helps, any questions fire away.
Thanks for the reply. I was having the same problems with all the original bulbs. I thought changing the headlight bulbs with led's might be a better option as they are much brighter and I understand they use less power. I can put the original bulbs back in if they would cause a problem.
If, as you say it needs all of the bulbs to complete a circuit I will need to find out what is causing the main beam warning lamp to blow. Perhaps the problem lies within the switch? I can put a bulb in and not put main beam on to see if it makes a difference. The old battery was weak and I replaced it with a 6v 4ah gel battery which seems better. I will check the rear light and brake light switch as well.

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Check the resistance from the main beam warning bulb holder to earth. My guess is there is a lot of resistance there. It is the nature of electricity to push more current (amps) through the resistance to get to earth. This will quickly be too much for a little bulb like this.
You do have a multi meter?
 

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AND:
check all the earth connections.
On your bike the green wires are earth.
Check each connection with a green wire e.g inside the headlamp. Pull them apart and clean them.
There will also be a green wire going to a point on the frame, somewhere above the engine or it might be on the engine itself.
Take that off, clean it up and clean up the area where it bolts to the frame, make sure it bolts to bare metal, no rust or paint.

When your engine runs it sends 6v unregulated through a yellow/white wire to the headlamp on-off switch on the handlebar. Switch that on and the 6v goes via a blue/white wire to the Hi/Lo switch.
If Hi is selected the 6v goes through a blue wire to the main beam filament and to the Hi beam indicator bulb. From the bulb holder there is a green wire that goes to the earth part of the wiring loom.
From the Hi beam or Lo beam the 6v goes to a green earth wire and also THROUGH THE PILOT BULB where it comes out as a brown wire that goes to the tail light bulb and from there to you guessed it a green earth wire.
If you have all the bulbs in place i.e. 35w headlamp AND 5w tail, AND 6w pilot AND 2 or 3 w Hi beam indicator then all should be well. The unregulated 6v is consumed by those correctly rated bulbs and any excess is supposedly absorbed by the battery.
AND if all earth connections are clean and tight AND no wires have been goofily connected.

If you put LED bulbs in the equation they only draw a fraction of the current so you overload other bulbs. Remember this bit is unregulated AC current direct from one of the coils on the alternator. You dont need all the bulbs to "make a a circuit" but you do need the correct "load" on this circuit.

If all else fails then for £25 you can add a 6v regulator to the circuit. I did this on my XL500 to stop the tail light bulb from blowing all the time.
Its one of these:
Universal 6 Volt AC regulator - Rex's Speed Shop

I spliced mine into the brown wire to the tail light under the seat. I bolted the regulator to the curved cross piece under the seat after scraping off some of the paint. For good measure I added another wire to another clean point on the frame.
What this little widget does is when the voltage "spikes" much above 6v it will dump the excess to earth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
AND:
check all the earth connections.
On your bike the green wires are earth.
Check each connection with a green wire e.g inside the headlamp. Pull them apart and clean them.
There will also be a green wire going to a point on the frame, somewhere above the engine or it might be on the engine itself.
Take that off, clean it up and clean up the area where it bolts to the frame, make sure it bolts to bare metal, no rust or paint.

When your engine runs it sends 6v unregulated through a yellow/white wire to the headlamp on-off switch on the handlebar. Switch that on and the 6v goes via a blue/white wire to the Hi/Lo switch.
If Hi is selected the 6v goes through a blue wire to the main beam filament and to the Hi beam indicator bulb. From the bulb holder there is a green wire that goes to the earth part of the wiring loom.
From the Hi beam or Lo beam the 6v goes to a green earth wire and also THROUGH THE PILOT BULB where it comes out as a brown wire that goes to the tail light bulb and from there to you guessed it a green earth wire.
If you have all the bulbs in place i.e. 35w headlamp AND 5w tail, AND 6w pilot AND 2 or 3 w Hi beam indicator then all should be well. The unregulated 6v is consumed by those correctly rated bulbs and any excess is supposedly absorbed by the battery.
AND if all earth connections are clean and tight AND no wires have been goofily connected.

If you put LED bulbs in the equation they only draw a fraction of the current so you overload other bulbs. Remember this bit is unregulated AC current direct from one of the coils on the alternator. You dont need all the bulbs to "make a a circuit" but you do need the correct "load" on this circuit.

If all else fails then for £25 you can add a 6v regulator to the circuit. I did this on my XL500 to stop the tail light bulb from blowing all the time.
Its one of these:
Universal 6 Volt AC regulator - Rex's Speed Shop

I spliced mine into the brown wire to the tail light under the seat. I bolted the regulator to the curved cross piece under the seat after scraping off some of the paint. For good measure I added another wire to another clean point on the frame.
What this little widget does is when the voltage "spikes" much above 6v it will dump the excess to earth.
Thanks for all your time and information which is invaluable. There's quite a lot to go on there but I'll take it all one step at a time. I have now bought a multimeter as you suggested and will look into some of what you mentioned with that. It may take a while but I'll get back to you when I can, cheers.

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jesus i dream of finding an xl 500 s in that original condition what a stunner,back in 82 when i was 17 i bought a 1981 xl 500s reg kcf 322w from motorcycle city in bedfont, i was still waiting to take my test so a mate came down from hull with me to reading and he rode back with me pillion .middle of winter with just paddock jackets on ,well obviously jeans and white baseball boots! still buying them now and restoring them along with its brother the xr 500.happy days,marko
 
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