Author Topic: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic  (Read 618 times)

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Offline joemathis

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Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« on: November 08, 2017, 06:08:07 pm »
I've seen a couple posts (maybe more) on the topic of when to know that the j-box needs some attention.  The post that triggered my attention was one that was referring to a user who had no headlight but all other lights, etc. worked.  I have a 1995 Concours and that's my situation exactly.

In those posts, tapping/whacking the j-box (multiple times), testing that there's power to one side of the headlight fuse (from the main relay), and opening the box to check for burnt or corroded connections were all mentioned as things to look at.  I've done all of those things - including making sure to kick the starter to "activate" the headlight relay.  I've also done quick power checks to a few components on the bike that come directly off the box and those were all within a volt of the battery voltage (as expected, since the other lights are, indeed, working).

Anyway, it sounds like the box is the issue and I've got a line on a guy who rebuilds these things, replacing parts like relays and diodes as required.  He also warrants the refurb for as long as I own it.  However, I'd like to do all I can to validate that this is the actual cause of the headlight issue - I can't actually start the bike as the carbs are currently off, but I've seen other posts referencing "correct voltages per manufacturer specs" when checking the box.  I'm going to assume that these voltages would be posted in a shop manual as opposed to something like a Clymer, so if anyone has those figures or can point me to where they might be (apart from a shop manual which I don't have access to), I can open this box up again and put the meter on it before I go spend the money on the refurb.

Thanks in advance, folks!

Joe

Offline Bud

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 06:21:22 pm »
Easy way would be to find another cogger that is close to you and just swap them out.  It's quick and easy and you might even make a friend in the process. :beerchug:

Offline Michael_Seubert_WI

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 06:22:08 pm »
Maybe this is a dumb question, but is the headlight bulb good?  They do burn out.  If it is good and you need to refurbish your j-box , check out Larry Buck (https://www.bucksporttouring.com/).  He does a good job with a quick turn around.

Mike

Offline joemathis

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 06:29:14 pm »
Excellent question, actually.  I didn't mention it in my original post, but the bulb does appear to fine (no broken filaments and no burns).  To check, would it be fine to temporarily tap off the ACC lead to the low side of the headlight just see that it lights up?

Joe

Offline SamSam

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 07:13:57 pm »
Try the high beam.  Both low and high don't usually go at the same time.
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Offline drumstyx

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 11:27:36 pm »
I know we like to support the industry that supports us and all, but you *can* do it yourself. These aren't surface mount components, they're through-hole pins, which makes them easy if you've ever done just about any soldering. In most cases you just have to put fresh solder on, but in case you don't, the parts are something like $6 for the relays. Not heard of needing to replace diodes, but again, nothing there is surface mount, you can get all the bits at an electronics supplier.

In fairness, I'm pretty confident in my electrical skills, but to be honest, the biggest driver for that is the Canadian dollar -- we have to be self sufficient or we'd go broke sending parts to Americans to get them fixed!

Offline Jim

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 11:56:22 am »
Do you have a DMM (volt/ohm meter)?

Here's a topic with a link to the J-Box schematic.
http://forum.cog-online.org/concours-c10-zg1000-general-chat-and-tech/electrical-issue/msg545264/#msg545264

Offline joemathis

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 06:59:18 pm »
Thanks for the feedback guys - it's much appreciated.  I'll let you know how it goes with J-Box...

Offline Locomotiveman

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2017, 02:38:30 am »
I bought one last week from Larry Buck, no exchange. QUESTION: Once my new one is in place what is the prudent thing to DO to the old one to keep it trustworthy as a spare? I hesitate to mess with smallish items if they aren't broke.  Locomotiveman
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Offline Nosmo

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2017, 04:58:23 am »
I bought one last week from Larry Buck, no exchange. QUESTION: Once my new one is in place what is the prudent thing to DO to the old one to keep it trustworthy as a spare? I hesitate to mess with smallish items if they aren't broke.  Locomotiveman

Have it resoldered and keep it with you as a spare.  They don't take up much room.  I have my spare in my tool kit so it is always with the bike.  The one failure I had (before having a spare) was only about 50 miles from home but it would have been a real problem if I had not gotten it working. 
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Offline Bob_C_CT

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2017, 07:31:47 am »
I was under the impression once you reflow the solder and put in the replacement relays you were pretty much done with having to worry about it going bad again. The problem with the oem was cold solder joints from the factory that would develop cracks, right?
I had a receipt from a Kawi dealer that the PO of my C10 had purchased a new one, I preemptively had mine re soldered with new relays and I thought I was done, if not I may get a backup for long trips.
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Offline Daytona_Mike

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2017, 02:25:23 pm »
The  mechanical relays that are  in the  J-box are undersized /  and rated too low. I personally have repaired 3 J-boxes that have left bikes stranded.
No mater what you do those relays  NEED to  replaced with higher amperage relays   to make  that J- Box reliable.
Larry Buck is the person who does this  for you and has done many many many of them so you know it will be done right.

If you never have had a problem you will some day somewhere.
Replace it it now to prevent being stranded as this is a known issue and has been  that is why Larry has done so many..
Piece of mind is a great thing

Here is the link
https://www.bucksporttouring.com/

I also had Larry's driving light mount and helmet relocate brackets.  Those are very nice options/features to have for your bike
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 02:49:41 pm by Daytona_Mike »
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Offline Nosmo

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2017, 06:48:34 pm »
When mine failed it wasn't the solder or relays,  It was a fuse mount that got loose over the years and caused a high resistance with the fuse tang which melted the connection.  I got it working by stickng a knife blade in the socket and tightening the spring and scraping off the crud.

pics below
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Offline connieklr

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 11:24:03 am »
When I was doing the boxes, I always checked the fuse mounts. Ones that were loose, I clinched up the clips so the fuse tangs were secured tighter to avoid high resistance contact issues, i.e. heat.

A couple of boxes I received looked like the one in the above pix, where the surrounding plastic had melted due to the heat generated by a bad fuse connection.
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Offline connieklr

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2017, 11:39:38 am »
I was under the impression once you reflow the solder and put in the replacement relays you were pretty much done with having to worry about it going bad again. The problem with the oem was cold solder joints from the factory that would develop cracks, right?
I had a receipt from a Kawi dealer that the PO of my C10 had purchased a new one, I preemptively had mine re soldered with new relays and I thought I was done, if not I may get a backup for long trips.


Don't think cold solder joints are the main culprit...... IMHO heat and vibration are. That based on repairing probably close to 50 boxes (maybe more), plus my own experience designing and laying out pretty close to 72 printed circuit boards (some of which were pretty complex) in my real job.

The PCB is a single-sided board (copper on one side only), and the component mounting holes are not plated-through. Because of that, support for the component's legs is accomplished with a single solder fillet. Heat generated by current flowing through the under-rated relay contacts and vibration eventually takes it's toll and that single solder fillet develops an annular crack around the terminal. If you look close, you can see cracks around several of the other terminals too.



An interesting read on component lead solder fillets:
http://www.ipctraining.org/demos/pdf/drm-pth-e.pdf
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 08:48:57 pm by connieklr »
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Offline drumstyx

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 11:54:48 pm »
Interesting point, they should probably have been more solidly mounted for sure.

What amp rating relays did you use then? I bought these https://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/panasonic-electric-works/JS1-12V-F/255-2080-ND/648567 which are rated at 10A. I don't remember if I read that those are OEM spec or if that was what was recommended by someone with experience. I must have done some research, but it's been a while!

I mean, replacing with new, OEM-spec will at least work for another 10+ years like the originals did, not to mention they'll probably have better solder if it's done right.

Offline TimR

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2017, 12:57:53 am »
I bought one last week from Larry Buck, no exchange. QUESTION: Once my new one is in place what is the prudent thing to DO to the old one to keep it trustworthy as a spare? I hesitate to mess with smallish items if they aren't broke.  Locomotiveman

Have it resoldered and keep it with you as a spare.  They don't take up much room.  I have my spare in my tool kit so it is always with the bike.  The one failure I had (before having a spare) was only about 50 miles from home but it would have been a real problem if I had not gotten it working.

I know of another C10 rider who cares a spare. Couple of years ago the North West and the South West areas did a combined rally in northern Cal. The guy I was riding with during the transit from the great North West to Cal. started having bike problems on a motorcycle that thus far had been reliable.  Rally ends on a Sunday and we head for home. After about 40 miles the bike stalls. After looking for something on the side of the road to stick in the fuse box the bike started right up. At 48 miles the beloved C10 coast into a gas station in the middle of Egypt. It was hot and dry. We obtained some elect type tools and attempted to by pass the aliment what ever that was. No Joy. I had taken a copy of the COG hand book along. The C10 guy knew the C10 guy with the spare J box was going.  Made a phone call and after a couple of guys made it home after going for a ride the better half of one of them tells of the dilemma. Fortunately A rebuilt J box is delivered and with that we were underway again. We made to the WA C10 guys house after midnight. And it was cold. If I had a C10, and had a spare J box I would carry it. We were lucky to know who was close by with a spare. Just say in.  I'm sure the C14's weak spot will show one day too. Tim
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Offline connieklr

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Re: Revisiting the Problematic J-Box Topic
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2017, 05:43:13 pm »
Interesting point, they should probably have been more solidly mounted for sure.

What amp rating relays did you use then? I bought these https://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/panasonic-electric-works/JS1-12V-F/255-2080-ND/648567 which are rated at 10A. I don't remember if I read that those are OEM spec or if that was what was recommended by someone with experience. I must have done some research, but it's been a while!

I mean, replacing with new, OEM-spec will at least work for another 10+ years like the originals did, not to mention they'll probably have better solder if it's done right.

Going from memory (Lord help us), the OEM relays were NEC, and if the code was interpreted correctly, had a 5 amp. contact rating. The ones I used had a 14-15 amp contact rating. Those were the ones I recommend to Larry, but not sure what he's using now.

And FWIW - I also carry a spare J-box and igniter.
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