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Discussion Starter #1
yesterday I was trying to wire up a new brake light on my 05 vulcan. I bought a brake light from the auto store and hooked it up, but no matter how I connected the three wires all it would do was either stay bright, or dim (i.e. the running light, and the brake light) depending on how I wired it up. well in the process of trying to figure out the brake light I blew one of the fuses. I replaced the fuse and now the stock tail light comes on (running light) but the brake light only engages when I use the foot brake. The hand brake does not engage the brake light at all, and my headlight will not come on. I checked all of the fuses and they're all good. is there any reason why the handbrake would not engage the brake light while the foot brake does? and what does that have to do with my headlight? I'm really confused about this and any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Someone with better electrical skills than I have will chime in soon, I'm sure, but as far as the hand brake - that is connected off the RH controls to the wiring harness - it crosses over from right to left, and connects to the harness via a RED connector. You will have to pull the tank to check that, but make sure that connection is tight. The headlight will not come on unless the bike is running - have you turned on the ignition when you're doing all this testing, or just tried it by turning the key to "on"?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I haven't tested it with the bike cranked yet. I just turned the key to the on position. when I get home tonight I'll crank the bike up and see what happens.
 

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The wire colors coming to the tail light are: Blue = brake light, red = running light and black/yellow = ground.

There are no other fuses in the brake light circuit than the 30A main fuse.

For all electrical work you need a multimeter, I suppose you have one. The front brake switch is easy to check with resistance measurement.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
alright, when I crank the bike up the headlight works like it's supposed to. I still haven't gotten the handbrake to work the brake light. also the back blinkers don't come on as running lights. the front do, though. is there any reason they would do that? when i turn on the turn signals they flash normally, but they don't stay on when the bike is running. this is all very confusing as I'm completely new to working on motorcycles, and electrical work is definitely not my forte. any help would be much appreciated.
 

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Only the front lights serve as as running lights AND turn signals. The back lights just indicate turns, so you are OK there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
well that's good to know. now all I have to do is figure out what's stopping the hand brake from engaging the brake light and I'm good to go.
 

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Old Truck Junkie
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When I went to look at my bike when buying it, the hand brake light did not work. They worked on the light switch and I haven't had any trouble with it since.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
where would I find that light switch, and is there any way to test it to see if it has gone bad?
 

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Hey guys is it possible he burned a wire or the switch out before the fuse blew? Seen this before on guys trying to wire their trucks for trailers.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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With the bike not running, do you here a slight 'Click' sound when you pull in the front brake lever?
It's possible that the tab on the switch (located in the lever assembly) may have broke.



Or, check that the wires are connected and making good contact.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I can't really check it at the moment because I'm at work, but I don't remember it making a click. I know the footbrake makes a slight click when it engages the brake light.

so the switch is located in the hand lever assembly? does anyone have any pictures or a diagram of where it's located?
 

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Hyper's got it in his post. It's a small black unit located under the master cylinder. Thinking about GIMPYDR's post - check to see that the connection to that unit is solid. He's absolutely correct that you could've blown a wire - or at the very least loosened that connection - when the fuse blew.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
alright, when I get home I'll take a look at it and post what I find. if the switch is bad, i've got a 94 vn750 that doesn't run (parts bike) so I should be able to take the switch off of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks for all your help guys. it was a bad switch on the handbrake. I replaced it and the brake light works like a charm.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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Good to hear it was an easy fix and ya didn't have to try tracing wires to find a short! :beerchug:
 
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