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Using neutral light instead of clutch switch

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Scottrt, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Scottrt

    Scottrt XS650 Enthusiast

    Has anyone used the neutral light circuit to enable engine start as a replacement for pulling the clutch? I'm dumb enough to need some kind of safety interlock, but having to squeeze the clutch and push the start button at the same time only reminds me I don't have three hands. I'm concerned that the neutral switch itself couldn't handle the repeated current engaging or disengaging the starter relay. Thoughts on this??
     
  2. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Buckhorn Gang Member Top Contributor

    Could you just short out the clutch switch so it is permanently on. As long as the engine is running you will not be able to switch the starter on accidently because of the power coming from the alternator yellow wire. The downside is you will be able to start the bike in gear, although some would see this as an advantage in an emergency.
     
  3. Scottrt

    Scottrt XS650 Enthusiast

    Yeah it's quite simple to simply jumper out the clutch switch but as you point out, the bike would be able to start in gear, hence my wondering about using the neutral light as a line of defense against doing something dumb.
     
  4. I wired my '83 to be able to start in gear, clutch handle pulled in. The rare stall occasions at traffic lights were then time shortened, otherwise its find neutral and kick or find neutral and hit the starter button. Other opinions may vary. I've oft wondered how the early bikes were set up in these regards.
     
  5. RC4MAN

    RC4MAN XS650 Enthusiast

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    The concern of trying to find Neutral in a pinch while stalled at a light is a valid point against what you're thinking of doing.
     
  6. Scottrt

    Scottrt XS650 Enthusiast

    I had thought of that, but maybe I shouldn't brush that possible scenario aside so offhandedly. I also realize that if I stall the bike anywhere even in my own driveway while trying to get going I would have to feel around to find neutral again before I could restart and that is definitely an operational pain in the ass
     
  7. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Buckhorn Gang Member Top Contributor

    The starter solenoid usually has 2 windings but you are only aware of one. The other winding provides extra force to engage the starter and this is where most effort is needed. Once engaged this wind is effectively off. Keeping the starter engaged requires less force and this comes from the one winding that stays energized until the clutch is released or yellow wire supplies sufficient power.

    I suggest you measure the current that flows through the clutch switch when the solenoid energizes. I do not expect it to be very large. Compare this to the current that flows through the Neutral switch;Operating Voltage is about 14.2V Neutral Light Bulb 3W?? Therefore Current = 3/14.2 i.e. about 0.2 Amp). If the clutch current is say 0.25A then you could use the neutral switch for both the Neutral Light + Clutch Switch and just replace the neutral light with a very low current LED.

    To save on cutting into the wiring you could fit the Ammeter to the clutch switch connectors.

    The alternative would be to use a relay that switches on when the neutral light is activated and let the relay handle the current to the solenoid.

    My thought for now - Good Night.
     
  8. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge, is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Here's my thoughts on having to be in neutral to start... A few times in the past on a 650 and a superhawk iirc, I've had a broke clutch cable. At a light I would shut the bike off and put it in 1st. Green light and I'd hit the starter. Motor fires, chugs to life and away you go. Not recommended as a regular practice... but it'll get you home.
    Not an option with neutral only start.
     
  9. Scottrt

    Scottrt XS650 Enthusiast

    OK... Thinking I'll just leave the neutral light alone and jumper out the clutch switch... at least until the bike is back together and tuned in operationally. Thanks to all for your insights.
     
    Paul Sutton and Jim like this.
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    What year is the bike? If it has the clutch switch then that runs to a relay back by the solenoid. That relay is also triggered by the neutral light. You either have to be in neutral or if in gear, have the clutch lever pulled, or the starter will not operate. The relay has the small R/W power feed wire from the starter safety relay to the solenoid fed through it.

    You shouldn't have to pull the clutch in for the starter to work if the bike is in neutral. If you do, there's something wrong.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. mike in idaho

    mike in idaho XS650 Enthusiast

    The starter on Mine works whenever the button gets pushed. All those extra relays ,switches and wires got tossed ages ago. I don't need no government mandated safety devices to protect me from myself. Also, if it aint on there, it aint gonna break.
     
    RC4MAN likes this.
  12. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Buckhorn Gang Member Top Contributor

    On my 81 SH with stock wiring the starter motor only needs the bike to be in neutral, however the engine will just continue to turnover and only startsup if the clutch is pulled in.

    Note: When a Guy can to buy my bike he sat on it ,put it in neutral then pressed the start button. The starter kept running without ignition occurring until I asked him to stop and explained that the clutch switch needs to be activated before the engine will fire up.

    Edit from a Dickhead: I just realised that my wiring is not completely stock - Boyer ignition added. Perhaps that interrupted something.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  13. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    That's odd that it works that way. The '81 wiring diagram doesn't show that. It shows the clutch switch relay wired as I described, acting only upon the R/W power feed wire to the solenoid. It's not connected to the ignition black box at all. It doesn't kill the spark, only stops starter function.
     
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  14. Scottrt

    Scottrt XS650 Enthusiast

    Hey 5T, my bike is a 1983 heritage special and the PO had already jumped out the side stand safety switch. On my bike the starter would not engage regardless if it was a neutral unless the clutch lever was also pulled. If it behaved the way that you think it should that would be perfect. Let me check that relay to see if it's functioning properly or if I have some other kind of wiring malady.
     
  15. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    That clutch relay has two triggers, the neutral light and the clutch lever switch. Sounds like your neutral light "trigger" isn't working. The bike is thinking it's in gear all the time which would require you to pull in the clutch for the starter to work.

    I have an '83 as well. I eliminated both the sidestand and clutch lever relays and switches. For the sidestand, no jumper wire is required. Just remove the switch on the stand and the relay under the left side cover. If you remove the clutch switch and relay, you do need a jumper wire to restore starter function. Remember, the R/W power feed wire to the solenoid passes through that clutch relay. You have to jumper the two R/W's together to restore that power feed path .....

    [​IMG]
     
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  16. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Buckhorn Gang Member Top Contributor

    Just a thought - Is it because I installed the Boyer Bransden ignition??? One of those mysteries.....

    .....Apologies for any confusion and thread clutter:oops:.
     
  17. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    That shouldn't matter. The pic above is the clutch switch relay plug with the R/W in and R/W out jumpered. The other two wires are a light blue from the neutral switch/light and a black/yellow from the clutch switch, the two "triggers". Like I said, the clutch switch and it's relay are in no way connected to the ignition black box and have no effect on whether or not spark is produced. That's why I said it's odd that yours seems to.
     
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  18. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Buckhorn Gang Member Top Contributor

    Just been searching through the wiring diagrams for the SH and the SH Supplement ignition description. It all agrees with 5twins conclusions. The Neutral Switch and Clutch Switch provide independent routes to earth for activating the Starter Circuit Cutout Relay: This relay switches power on and off to the Starter Solenoid and the start button completes this circuit to earth when pressed...

    With the start button pressed the Starter Solenoid is activated by either of the following conditions:
    1. Transmission is in neutral, or
    2. Clutch pulled in if not in neutral.
    So why did my SH behave as if the Neutral and Clutch switches were interlocked?? I must assume that at sometime in its life the Start Button and the Clutch Switch were wired in series to form an interlock, or maybe this is an easy mistake to make in the headlight bucket where all the wires come together?
     
  19. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Buckhorn Gang Member Top Contributor

    Scottrt, having gotten sidetracked but now looked into the wiring in more detail all you need to do is unplug the clutch switch. Then the starter will only activate when the start button is pushed while the transmission is in neutral.

    There will be no extra current to handle because the neutral switch already handles the current from the neutral lamp and the relay coil. The higher current that activates the solenoid is handled by the relay contact breakers.

    Try this and see if it works, just pull the switch out of the clutch perch temporarily. This may require pushing in a little tab on the switch unit. The tab is usually only visible when viewing the clutch perch from underneath.

    Best of luck.
     
  20. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Your clutch switch is acting as if it's connected to the ignition black box, shorting out the spark unless the clutch lever is pulled in. I don't think it should be that way unless this is maybe some difference between the U.S. and rest of the world models.

    If you remove the clutch switch, you've removed one of the "triggers" for the clutch relay. The starter will only operate with the bike in neutral. It won't work with the bike in gear. To me, that's important. If you stall at a light in gear, you can just pull in the clutch and hit the starter button to fire the engine up again. With the switch removed you'd need to fish around and find neutral first.
     
    Paul Sutton likes this.

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