Intermittent instrument failure (Caused by cold weather) - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    asimpkinsjr's Avatar
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    I wanted to put this out there for anyone who may have encountered a similar set of symptoms. I live in New England and keep my bike outside under a covered during the summertime and inside a building during the winter time. Last week I ended up moving and when I went to move my bike to the new house the bike had been out in about 35° to 40° weather. What I encountered was unusual in the three years I've owned this bike I've never seen this but then again this may have been the coldest weather Ive ridden in, the speedometer, digital display, and signal lights would it intermittently stopped working, The one thing that did not stop working as I was riding the bike the 13 miles to my new place is the tachometer. I consulted with a few friends who said this is not unusual however I was a bit suspicious because I can't imagine that bike electronics had not been made to deal with 35 to 40° weather but nonetheless I was told by friends keep an eye on it and see what happens in warmer weather. Sure enough today was a bit warmer and I took the bike out, and while I did have a lamp failure that had been disguised by the funky behavior of the bike due to the cold weather everything else was running completely fine. The only difference being slightly warmer weather in that it was probably 46° minimum today.

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  3. #2
    Titlerider's Avatar
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    I wonder if that was a short story (pun intended)

  4. #3
    danham's Avatar
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    Alan,

    I haven't ridden mine a lot below 40F, but have never seen the problem you describe when doing so. How is your battery voltage?

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by asimpkinsjr View Post
    ... I can't imagine that bike electronics had not been made to deal with 35 to 40° weather
    Mine sits outside year round (UK) and has never given any electrical problems. Today, for example, I took off the bike cover and stood it in the corner (temp was -2C) and rode about 60 miles during which the temp didn't get above 2.5C. It is designed to work within this temp range. Sounds like an intermittent poor connection problem exacerbated by temp change rather than a design fault.
    bric-a-brac says.. Tread lightly on the earth

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by danham View Post
    Alan,

    I haven't ridden mine a lot below 40F, but have never seen the problem you describe when doing so. How is your battery voltage?

    -dan
    I suspected the battery voltage as well, but when I plugged it in the trickle charger indicated the battery was at 80%. Also that battery I replaced at the beginning of the summer season.

  8. #6
    asimpkinsjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bric-a-brac View Post
    Mine sits outside year round (UK) and has never given any electrical problems. Today, for example, I took off the bike cover and stood it in the corner (temp was -2C) and rode about 60 miles during which the temp didn't get above 2.5C. It is designed to work within this temp range. Sounds like an intermittent poor connection problem exacerbated by temp change rather than a design fault.
    I would have thought so too but a few guys Ive talked to up here have indicated they have seen this when it gets too cold, i.e. digital displays blanking, etc. I may have underrepresented the temp a bit, its been 19-28 overnights and while it was in the 30-40 range when I jumped on the bike, it had been quite a bit colder the night/s before and I had left the bike outside the shed I was keeping it in and simply left it under its cover.

  9. #7
    danham's Avatar
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    Alan,

    LCD displays can blank out in cold weather, but that doesn't explain the lights and speedo. The new battery probably means I'm chasing the wrong solution here, but just in case, can you also do a shade tree load test (as opposed to disconnecting the battery and connecting it to a real load tester)?

    Grab a volt meter and turn on the key and high beam and heated grips -- everything that you can with the engine not running -- and measure the battery voltage and see if it drops below 10 volts after a few minutes. Sometimes chargers will report something like 80% and top up the battery to correct voltage (~14v), but under load the system drops to less than 10 and stuff stops working.

    -dan
    Blue '09 F800 ST: ABS, toasty grips, trip computer, center stand, sport panniers, Ventura luggage, Valentine 1, Garmin zümo 660 RAM mounted, Sena 20S, P3 LED tail lights, Grip Pups, Centech AP-1 fuse panel, Go Cruise control, Shoei GT-Air, Gerbing's jacket liner, MRA X-creen Sport. 

  10. #8
    DonA's Avatar
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    The voltage check suggestion is a good one. In my case the instrument cluster became intermittent at road speeds, but always on at idle. Turned out to be a bad rectifier/regulator allowing voltages to soar. Above about 15v the Canbus shuts down.

  11. #9
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    My bike is out and its now -22 celsius
    Bike and display should work at least to -30C = -22F
    https://youtu.be/C9S98mZa7yo?t=59

  12. #10
    asimpkinsjr's Avatar
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    I haven't forgotten about this, was in the middle of moving houses so haven't had a chance to dig out a voltmeter.... its been pretty busy. Ive not seen any further probs since that day, Im wondering if the battery charger was wrong as to the voltage the battery was putting out as someone suggested.

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    I'm new here...just got myself a 2008 F800ST.

    The LCD console went intermittently blank once the bike runs well.
    When it cools down or slow down, it comes back on again.
    It's similar to the problems described in this thread.

    May I know how this item was resolved eventually?
    Many thanks in advance.

  14. #12
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    My 2008gs runs great after a short distance everything on instruments goes blank except the tach bike is still running great, slow down for a stoplight and everything comes back on. the instruments go on and off during a ride frustrating !

  15. #13
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    Never had this issue with my ST, and I ride routinely in colder temps that you are describing. I do know these bikes are especially sensitive to voltage fluctuations (in any temperature) so I would suspect that is/was the culprit. I try to keep mine on a trickle charger year-round if it is going to sit for a few days.

    Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
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  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGFPhilipe View Post
    My 2008gs runs great after a short distance everything on instruments goes blank except the tach bike is still running great, slow down for a stoplight and everything comes back on. the instruments go on and off during a ride frustrating !
    My issue was caused by a faulty voltage regulator which was led to an over-voltage. The console has a over-voltage protection which blanks itself out once the voltage becomes too high; in my case was when the riding temperature got too high. Once, I swapped out the faulty unit for a working one, the issue resolved itself. It was a pretty simple procedure, but requires one to understand the electrical connections.

    I hope this helps...

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  18. #15
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    Hola,
    New member Retired(old almost 80 ) I have had about 15 bmw, still love to ride when on my bike i feel i am about 50 my ride right now is a 2008 f650 twin great bike. I live in mexico just a short ride for Guadalajara we ride year round down here. Other than electric issues the twin is a fantastic scoot just wanted to say hi and you,we have a fantastic site thanks much Phil

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