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I've read a ton of posts regarding battery cable issues and startup. My 06 ST3 had these symptoms: Slow motor turnover and after about 4 seconds the starter didn't want turn over the motor. The battery was less than a year old, so the first (and easiest) thing I looked at was the power feed cables to the starter.

As I read through post after post, the gist of guidance is to buy a cable kit. Since I'm a cheap red-neck from east Tennessee, I did it with home-made tools and repurposed wire for about $12. Bottom line is that after the project the ol' ST acted like it had a new battery. The starter speed improved somewhat, but the biggest difference is that the motor continued to turnover much longer with the new cables, which tells me that the circuit wasn't heating up and losing current.

First, some observations on the stock starter wiring. It's my opinion, the stock cable (looks like 6 gauge) should be adequate. The issue I have is that the crimped connectors are marginal and the crimp itself is exposed and susceptible to oxidation due to it's location. In fact, the ST had a loose fitting rubber cup cover that covered the starter connection upside down (like a tea cup). Any water that got in this area would collect and submerge the connection until it evaporated.

This is what I found when I removed the old cable:
IMG_2544.JPG

Not only was the post corroded, the crimp in this location had bad oxidation that made the original cable a lost cause.

First thing was to procure/repurpose/reuse/dig through the garage suitable 6 gauge (or 4 if you prefer) multistrand wire. I dropped by one of the local overstock stores (aka glorified indoor flea market) and picked up an oven/range wiring kit:
electrical cord.jpg

6 gauge multistrand - check; UL rated - (it can't hurt) check; rated at 250C temp - check. Heck, I had enough wire to fix a dozen Ducks... $8.00

However, that crimp connector had to go. Hardware store had the brass connectors ($4 for a 5-pack).

Well, now the issue is how to make an adequate crimp without the fancy $50 crimp tool for low gauge wire. I'll let the pics do the rest:

Cut a steel sleeve with an internal ID close to the connector OD -
IMG_2541.JPG

IMG_2546.JPG

IMG_2547.JPG

The crimp is solid. Hint: Don't overtighten the crimp and destroy the connector, the connector is soft metal.

I also took Mapp gas and some solder to the connection. Before any NASA scientists starts flaming about the use of solder in a crimp joint, I did it for two main reasons; to improve the mechanical integrity of the connection (vibration resistance) and to eliminate oxidation of the joint -
IMG_2548.JPG

Add some heat shrink, and the final result -
IMG_2549.JPG

Here is the installed look (battery - solenoid - starter) -
IMG_2550.JPG

The result is that I went from having to jump the bike off if it sit for longer than a week to not having to worry about it. I could have added a ground from the starter, but wanted to try this first (this was good enough for me).

Hope this helps.

Scott L.
 

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@Lanesmatb
It's a smart move soldering the crimps. A way more reliable connection by far and less chance of failure from oxidation. I was looking at using aftermarket car stereo amp cable with the low oxygen content. Thanks for the write-up. :)

Sent from my SM-P355 using Tapatalk
 

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Did you also do the first half of the connection (battery +ive to solenoid?)

Very nice work.

If things start to get sluggish again, do the same for the ground from battery to engine bolt.

Steve
 

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I think many Ducatis could benefit from this type of upgrade. About 5 years ago I had this done on all the starter circuit connectors for my M900 Monster. I was having trouble getting it started in the winter, any time it was below about 35F (2C) out. I went the whole way in one jump, got 4-gauge wires throughout, and added a dedicated return ground. I also added a battery tender port, for keeping it topped up during the cold season.

This worked great, and since then it regularly starts up down to 20F (-7C), which meets my needs just fine. I've only tried it once at much below that -- it was 5F (-15C) that morning; it was a little reluctant, but it did start. That was just an experiment; I don't really want to ride when it's that cold. A 25-minute ride to work was enough to tell me I had exceeded the capacity of my riding gear (and desire).

PhilB
 

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Starter fussing

Welding cable sold by the foot at most any welding retail. 4 gauge is the common smallest although some places have it down to 12. Cheap, Good flexibility, rubbing resistant but not good in a fire or against something sharp. Military spec wire by the foot at any aviation shop at an airport or online A.C Spruce. Stiffer, takes a shape, High temp teflon insulation, 00 to 24 gauge. Completely different quality of wire than used in automobiles. 6 gauge is about $3/ft and you can get the right connectors at the same time. Two bolt cable crimpers are about $10. I've used one for 20 years with some moly grease on the threads. You can put a couple radial crimps on a 6 gauge wire. Put some dielectric grease under some shrink wrap and you are done. Soldering the connection isn't horrible but the risk is that the solder wicks beyond the connector and makes the wire stiff and brittle. So, be minimal if you must solder.
 

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Late follow-up to this thread, but my 2012 MTS1200 is starting to have a sluggish starter...and I've definitely gotten that terminal wet more than once. This is on my winter to-do list.

Military spec wire by the foot at any aviation shop at an airport or online A.C Spruce. Stiffer, takes a shape, High temp teflon insulation, 00 to 24 gauge. Completely different quality of wire than used in automobiles. 6 gauge is about $3/ft and you can get the right connectors at the same time.
I was just looking at AC Spruce, and they sell "Battery Cable" (6awg) and "Shielded Mil-spec" cable...did you mean that shielded stuff?

Two bolt cable crimpers are about $10. I've used one for 20 years with some moly grease on the threads. You can put a couple radial crimps on a 6 gauge wire. Put some dielectric grease under some shrink wrap and you are done.
Is something like this Iwiss crimper what you mean by "Two Bolt"? I google two-bolt and that's what I get, which, while not just $10, is still so cheap that I'd be far better off than ordering one of the upgrade kits.
 

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@Lanesmatb
It's a smart move soldering the crimps. A way more reliable connection by far and less chance of failure from oxidation.
This is actually a misguided notion. Solder (tin/lead) has far greater resistance than a crimped connection. It should be noted that aircraft use crimped connections for a reason. For several reasons, actually. Crimped connections are also written into Military Specifications (aka "MilSpec") for all aircraft wiring. The same goes for Marine applications ... Marine specifications are written around crimped connections only. Soldered connections in Marine applications will not pass certification. Same with aircraft specs ... soldered connections will not pass FAA inspections. Air Force fighters and bombers and Navy fighter jet specifications demand the use of all crimped connections at every termination. Solder is not permitted.

A properly done crimp connection is more durable and provides much less resistance than soldered connections. Emphasis must be placed on the phrase "properly done". Soldered connections are also more prone to breaking right where the solder stopped flowing on the wire. Crimped connections have strain reliefs that help to support the wire as well as disperse any forces that might start a break in the conductor itself.

A crimped connection provides a copper-to-copper connection between the terminals and the conductor. A soldered connection produces a copper-to-solder-to-copper connection between the terminals and the conductor. As I mentioned, solder is far more resistant to the flow of electrons than copper-to-copper terminations.

The flux used to make a soldered joint is highly corrosive. When a soldered joint is created the left over flux must be thoroughly washed to remove all of the residue. If this is not done, over time the corrosive nature of flux will corrode the joint, the conductor, and the terminal. Since there is no strain relief in soldered joints, this corrosion can even cause a lack of conductivity, and may even force an open circuit between the conductor and the terminal.

It is generally accepted that solder (usually tin/lead) is five times more resistant than copper. Applying Ohm's Law and doing a bit of simple math will produce how much voltage is lost through soldered terminations .... which contradicts the entire point of making up heavier battery leads.

Pictured is one way to properly crimp a terminal to a conductor. These are power cables for my modular synthesizer (the second image is of the bus bars I hand made that those cables connect to). Note that the plastic insulator that typically installed on the eyelets during their manufacture were removed after the crimps were done. I replaced the plastic insulators (which are also strain reliefs) with two layers of heat shrink tubing ... the type with the "hot glue" inside of it. The hot glue inside of the heat shrink tubing seals the crimped joint from moisture and corrosives, as well as provides an excellent strain relief where the crimp connector ends. That strain relief prevents the conductor from being sharply bent at that juncture and creates a far more radiused bend, should force be applied to the wire or vibration causing the wire to crack/break at that juncture.

Also note that the heat shrink tubing extends all the way to the wire's insulation, which creates a proper strain relief.

Lastly, to protect a crimped joint from oxidation, "gas tight paste" must be applied to the bared wire before the terminal is crimped on to the bare wire. "Gas Tight Paste" contains metal crystals (usually zinc particles) which cut through any oxidation that may be on the surface of the bare wire, as well as any corrosives or oxidation that may be inside of the crimp connector. The paste is applied to the bare wire, then the wire is inserted into the terminal, the terminal is then crimped. The crystals cut through any oxidation to expose fresh bare metal ... then the "gas tight" substrate of the paste seals the freshly cut surfaces protecting them from oxygen. Gas Tight Paste is easily found in toothpaste-type tubes and is usually available in 4oz and 8oz tubes. One 4oz tube is enough to make hundreds of crimp terminations, and costs roughly $8.00 or so per tube.

LINK = https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gardner-Bender-Ox-Gard-General-Purpose-Anti-Oxident-Compound-4-oz/232383587526?epid=1410390251&hash=item361b2424c6:g:CmsAAOSw9~5ZTM5x

The third and fourth image is a 4oz tube of gas tight paste (Ox-Gard) that I emptied into a different container to make it easier to apply using a toothpick. If you look closely you can see "sparkles" in the paste, which are actually small zinc crystals.

Obviously you can do things however you like. What I've presented here is how power companies connect wires to 100 kilovolt bus bars at power substations, as well as how terminations are done on any other voltage critical situations and/or applications with microvoltage needs. It's also how electricians connect buildings and homes to line voltage. There is plenty of information on the interwebs regarding how to properly terminate connections as well as the use of gas tight paste .... I highly recommend doing some study on this and not just taking my word for it.

~Fin~ .... :smile2:
 

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As long as we’re giving wiring hints, here are a couple : Starbrite liquid electrical tape , usually found in the boat supply Dept. You can use it to waterproof connectors when you don’t have one that seals well enough, or just by itself. It takes a while to cure. High end audio cable and connectors are made out of very pure copper if you want high quality wiring. I’ve even found it at yard sales. Car audio uses really big stuff, plenty big enough for your Ducati. Monster Cable is one brand, there are others.
 

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Welding cable is highly desirable. Class K welding cable uses super fine strands. The more fine each strand, the more flexible the cable is, and the smaller the outer diameter of a given gauge. Class M welding cables uses even finer/smaller strands ... so it's even more flexible, and even smaller outer diameter for a given gauge.

1- Class K:
Size: 1 AWG

Conductor Strand: 778/30 (778 strands of 30ga copper wire)
Outside Diameter: 13.46 mm / 0.530 inches
Weight: 0.325 lbs per ft

1- Class M:
Size: 1 AWG

Conductor Strand: 2090/34 (2,090 strands of 34ga copper wire)
Outside Diameter: 12.57 mm / 0.495 inches
Weight: 0.325 lbs per ft

Note that even though Class M size #1AWG cable has far more strands of copper wire than Class K (2,090 compared to 778), both Class K #1AWG and Class M #1AWG weigh the same per foot. That's because #1AWG (like all other gauges of cable/wire) is rated by the foot/pound of copper. Even solid copper #1AWG wire weighs the same per foot as stranded cable. However, stranded cable is larger in outer diameter than solid copper cable because the air spaces between the individual strands take up volume.

Welding cable also has extremely durable insulation, that is rated for exposure to hydrocarbon based solvents/fuels/lubricants (such as gasoline and engine oil). These days welding cable is available in many different colors as well. See pics (more from my modular synth) ....
 

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