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Basic Electricity 101+ for BMW Airhead motorcycles
....and other vehicles.

Alternators & charging.
De-mystifying & Troubleshooting BMW Airhead Motorcycle Electrics.
AND... a LOT more....including using Test Lamps.

© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

Also see my other electrical articles; in particular
There is a large section on electrics on my website, MANY articles; including this one:

The below article was written to furnish THREE types of information:

(1) CONSIDERABLE amount of BASIC & SLIGHTLY ADVANCED INFORMATION on electricity & Airhead problems. The approach used here is probably different than in most manuals & troubleshooting guides. Although some hints are given in this article on some common faults, this article should be used in conjunction with my other articles, particularly:

(2) Common problem areas, explanations of some of the circuitry. A discussion of such as batteries; starter motors, voltage regulators, etc. Other articles will get far deeper into these things.

(3) An addendum that may discuss particular points that has come up, or some topic of interest. Some is at the very end of this article.

Available to you are certain helpful booklets from such as Motorrad Elektrik, Chitech, Haynes and/or Clymers manuals (and, perhaps, a schematic in the rear of your owners booklet or on the Snowbum website).  In my opinion the Chitech electrics manual and the owners book or factory schematic, or schematics on the Snowbum website (and some elsewhere's, and I have links to these on the Snowbum website), are THE BEST sources for electrical information for the Airheads.

I recommend you at least purchase at the Chitech Electrics Manual. The Chitech (Chicago Region BMW Owners Assoc.) BMW Electric School Manual is THE BEST manual for BMW electrics, from basics to full-blown technical details, components, diagrams, etc., & includes the singles & all Airheads; even some on the /2 era. It is VERY complete. Only a few errors, for which i wrote an article/Critique:

See  for more information on Chitech, and how to order their publication. Some of the total-bike schematics are not reproduced well, that is the only substantial problem with that manual. Get the manual anyway.

I can almost guarantee that if you read the following article; and, purchase and study the Chitech electrics manual, you will become very familiar with electricity, electrical problems, and how to think and go about maintaining and repairing electrical things...and hardly just for your motorcycle(s). If electricity and electronics has always been a sore point for you, why not fix that now?

Here is a link to a website that has numerous articles on basic electricity. It also has a lot of articles on Toyota repairs, but you will likely find that the basic articles are VERY good. If you are interested in having a working knowledge of how vehicle electrical systems operate; this is not a bad place to review, in-depth. Read all the basic articles, and maybe more. I suggest that you read my own article, below, and then come back at your leisure and read the articles at this link: This link is to the best series of articles I presently know of.

Section 1, Basic Electricity...and then some!

This remainder of this article is only available for Airheads Beemer Club members. Please Log In..or..Click Here to join the Airheads Beemer Club, after which you will enjoy access this article and all members only content of the ABC web site. 

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