Sunday, May 25, 2008

How to Remove and Charge the Battery on a Honda ST1300A (Pan European)

You know, there are not enough blog posts out there explaining how to do simple practical stuff so here is my attempt to redress the balance.

I am currently troubled by the battery on my bike going flat. I park the bike up and, until recently, if I left it more than a week the battery would be flat. Lately it's been lasting even less time before going flat. This problem started over a year ago and the battery was replaced and it seemed to get better briefly - the battery that was in there before really was knackered - but now the problems have returned. I can't believe this battery is shot after little over a year. Steve the Bike, who does my servicing, says he can't detect a drain while the battery is on the bike. This is the 2002 model which had an uprated alternator fitted in later models (thanks Freddy) so I suspect the charging circuit on this model was questionable but it certainly shouldn't be this bad. The investigation continues.

Anyway, here we go with an illustrated guide to removing the battery on a 2002 Honda St1300A, and putting it on charge.

You will need....a Honda this one, it's mine you know. Park it on the side or centre stand giving yourself a little bit of room to work on the offside (that's the right side if you're sitting on the bike). The nearside is the left hand side; as an aide-memoire, I always remember the nearside is the side nearest the kerb.

You will also need some tools. However expensive your vehicle is, all manufacturers will always economise in one place and that is the toolkit. The most expensive vehicle you can buy will only ever have the most rudimentary and shoddy toolkit - only good in an absolute crisis. Buy your own if you plan to do even the smallest amount of home maintenance. I have this handy little set of JCB tools which include a socket set and allen keys (also known as hexagon keys). I got them in Robert Dyas a few years ago. God bless Robert Dyas - one of those shops you can always kill thirty minutes in looking at loads of useful things like tools, gadgets, novel electrical appliances, bottles of strange chemicals and all sorts of stuff. It has that wonderful, heady aroma of Men Enjoying Themselves.

Now to the process itself. First, using the ignition key, unlock the seat/pannier locks on either side of the rear seat section.

Next, push down on the little brass coloured seat release lever under the offside seat/pannier lock and, keeping it pushed down lift off the rear seat section.

After removing the rear seat section, lift away the forward seat section. This may need a firm tug as it is clipped into position.

Remove the near side rear pannier by grasping the handle and lifting it up and outwards.

Next, using a 5mm allen key, remove the side panel by unscrewing the 3 bolts holding it in place.

The battery terminals are now visible. Using a 10mm socket, undo the right hand battery terminal - that's the negative one. There's a small retaining nut under each bolt, make sure it doesn't fall out (this can happen very easily without you noticing) or you can't reconnect the battery later.

Lift off the relay unit which is snapped into place on top of the battery cover.

Remove the battery cover which is snapped into position at the top rear of the battery.

Using the 10mm socket again, unscrew the battery clamp which is held with a single bolt above the centre of the battery.

Lift off the battery clamp.

Using the 10mm socket again (this is turning out to be a wise purchase), unscrew the positive battery terminal.

Now you can just lift out the battery. It's a sealed battery so can happily be tipped over at an angle of 45 degrees without risk of spilling nasty battery acid over yourself.

Your bike now looks kind of naked but you do feel rather clever because you've done all this dismantling in the space of only three or four minutes. Carefully put to one side all the bits you've removed (I put them in the back of the garage) putting the six bolts in a sensible place where you can find them again. Put the bike back in the garage and take the battery to its designated place of charging - that's my living room. I guess it's a good thing I'm single (woe, woe and thrice woe) as women tend to consider motorcycle parts in the living room a Bad Thing.

Connect your battery to the charger. I have an Optimate III charger which I bought a few years ago. The battery will take between one and 12 hours to charge depending on how flat it is.

Nick likes to...

Here's a silly little meme picked up from Rob at Eine Kleine Nichtmusik.

The basic idea is, you type into Google "[insert your name here] likes to" and see what the first ten hits reckon you like.

1. Nick likes to do puzzles, play with balloons, work on the computer, and ride his bike...innocent enough, I can live with that.

2. Nick Likes To Be Backdoored...I like to think all my doors are open, except possibly that one.

3. Nick likes to eat microwave Buritos...surely that would make them rather soggy, and aren't there two "r's" in burrito?

4. Nick likes to mix it up in the community with his live shots around the seven county metro area during his weathercasts..."mix it up", "live shots"? I think this particular Nick is the butt of some particularly cruel jokes in the office that he doesn't understand and sadly thinks everybody loves him.

5. Nick likes to play with his own fingers...I hate my hands, they look enormous in photographs and I prefer to keep them out of shot.

6. Nick likes to let off steam on his we're talking. See previous / future posts.

7. Nick likes to be Lashed by trannies 40 times...see answer #2.

8. Nick likes to study hard...sometimes, but if I have, it's never helped me in any subsequent exams.

9. Nick likes to find all my ex-girlfriends on the internet and then pretend he's me...a gentleman who behaves like this deserves to be thrashed on the steps of his club.

10. Nick likes to ensure that all the people involved are on the same page...I've chaired meetings and tried this methodology briefly but never found it achieves much.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'll Try Again.....Next Year *weeps*

Madonna - "innovative", "orignal" blah blah blah.....

Didn't she "shock the world" with her conical brassiere in about 1990 yet The RAH Band were doing it back in 1985?

Please, just don't ask me how I came to be watching this particular video but surely....a missed classic....well isn't it?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

You've Got It Wrong Again Gordon

So, bloody-nosed from their drubbing in the local council and London Mayoral elections last week, we've witnessed a steady procession of cabinet ministers promising they will, from now on, take opinion on board and will "listen and learn" before making future pronouncements and decisions.

Quelle surprise that today, after receiving a report from an advisory body they probably created, New Labour decided to completely ignore the recommendation to leave cannabis as a Category C drug and switched it back to a Category B. Nice to know they've now started to listen - well, just not quite yet though.

I don't really care what category cannabis is in. I'd just like it to be in the right category, presuming that's where it actually belongs. I would assume if there is an expensive advisory body set up to review this category then the government would actually listen to what they say but apparently not. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary said other opinions from people such as the police and education services had to be taken into account and the advisory body was speaking only from a medical point of view. But on Radio 4 this evening, a former member of the body said that other opinions (such as police and education) were, as a matter of course, taken into account and that their report reflected these varying views.

So, there we have it. The government hasn't bothered to "listen and learn" less than a week after promising they would. They had already decided what they were going to do before the advisers even opened up the custard creams and sat down to pontificate. The government even said they were more concerned about sending out "a message" and they believed a re-categorisation was the way to do this, rather than just reading the report they so assiduously commissioned. Another bit of gesture policy-making they imagine is made on what they hope is public opinion (something they have been shown in the last week to be hopelessly out of touch with) and what really happened, as with the abolition of the ten pence tax rate, is because Gordon says so....and that's all the debate that is apparently really needed. End of "discussion".