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Thread: starter relay vs. starter solenoid?

  1. #1
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    starter relay vs. starter solenoid?

    '06Beo500GT, 21kmiles. No starting problems till now other than replacing battery and r/r with a mosfet about a year ago . Started fine last week. Turned key on this morning 9am, 50 degrees out, all dash lights came on as normal, showed 13.2v, hit starter button but only got a brief, single click sound, then dash lights went off except for the oil pressure and efi lights that remained on. Tried it several more times, same result. Side stand up, left brake lever engaged, kill switch off.
    Garage kept, battery 1 year old and kept on battery tender. Was thinking might be the relay as have seen some written in this 500 forum about bad starter relays and replacing them with auto relays.
    Went back out this afternoon and it started just fine. Started it up several times just fine. What gives? Would those symptoms seem to point more to starter relay or starter solenoid? If either relay or solenoid, do they tend to die slowly over time or just die all at once? Thanks for any ideas. As for electrical diagnostics, I am a poor electrician so would help me much to know what I should just go ahead and replace so it is dependable since I would have to remove all the plastic to get to either of those parts?
    TomR.

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    I have a similar problem. After much time and diagnosis, found that the voltage getting to the solenoid was down to 9V. This does not seem to be enough voltage to arm the solenoid. I was never able to find the source of the voltage drop. Both battery and solenoid were changed. The temporary,or maybe permanent, solution has been to rewire directly from the battery,through the switch, to the solenoid. I think there is probably a wire that is rubbed bare to only a few strands making a high resistance and lowering the voltage. Works well with this poor fix.

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    No Check Battery Cable + at solenoid Rt under and behind Radiator will be rusty white build up etc A clean up may do it BUT a 100 Amp tracor solenoid 9$ has ended my Italian wimpy part problem pics are here somewhere looks like a ford fender mount solenoid of 70's Voltage Drop is at solenoid/relay or in the white corroded wire Slice it 5-8 inches from Batt term +

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    You might want to read my thread and see if some of my diagnostics might be helpful. It was titled. AA500 No Start. Good luck.

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    apriliaforum expert williamr's Avatar
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    If all the dash lights are going out then the solenoid is calling and switching through to the start motor. The problem is most likely a high resistance path from the battery to the main fuse or a high resistance return. Look for tarnish on the battery terminals or signs of corrosion around the heavy leads to and from the battery, at both ends. The battery terminals working loose also give this effect.

    What happens is that when you start to draw significant current from the battery, the resistance caused by corrosion or loose connections causes a big voltage drop across the location of the problem. It can also be caused by a high internal resistance in the battery. This won't always show as low voltage under light load but only under under cranking load.

    If the dash lights aren't being pulled down, then suspect the starter solenoid or te cables to it. There is no starter relay on this scoot apart from the solenoid.

    Rob
    Last edited by williamr; 01-22-2013 at 09:06 AM.

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    I have an '06BeoGT. According to the shop manual, there is indeed a starter relay up front near the radiator, part AP8112927 Relay 12V-150A. Perhaps this starter relay is also known as a starter solenoid? I, for one, wouldn't know the difference between a relay and a solenoid if one were to come up and bite me. Nevertheless, I have had no further problem as I initially described on Jan 7th so I have not yet pulled off the plastic to check for corrosion or loose connections. I will do that on my next wrench day when. Thanks for the suggestions.

  7. #7
    apriliaforum expert williamr's Avatar
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    A solenoid and a relay in this context are the same thing. Generally, the big heavy duty relay which connects the battery to the starter motor is called a solenoid by convention, but Aprillia manuals usually call it a relay.

    Aprillia usually uses the start button to call this directly - this is certainly true for the A500 - but a lot of manufacturers use a second relay - a small one like the headlight or fuel pump relay - to call the big solenoid. I'm not sure of the circuit on the Scab, but as it's Italian electrics and a translated manual I'd guess that its the same as the A500. A 150A relay is the starter solenoid. Other relays are rated at between 10A and 30A according to use.

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by williamr View Post
    A solenoid and a relay in this context are the same thing. Generally, the big heavy duty relay which connects the battery to the starter motor is called a solenoid by convention, but Aprillia manuals usually call it a relay.

    Aprillia usually uses the start button to call this directly - this is certainly true for the A500 - but a lot of manufacturers use a second relay - a small one like the headlight or fuel pump relay - to call the big solenoid. I'm not sure of the circuit on the Scab, but as it's Italian electrics and a translated manual I'd guess that its the same as the A500. A 150A relay is the starter solenoid. Other relays are rated at between 10A and 30A according to use.

    Rob
    A solenoid and a relay are not the same. A solenoid engages starter and energized starter motor. All the scooter I have owned did not have solenoids. The starter engages only when starter gear is going faster than flywheel. Therefore they only need a starting relay. A relay does less work therefore less power required.

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    apriliaforum expert williamr's Avatar
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    If you want to be exact, a solenoid is coil with a floating iron core. Pushing current through the coil causes the core to move. In a relay that movement is used to switch one or more contacts.

    What I said is accurate. Note my words 'in this context'. Common useage calls the big relay that switches the starter motor a solenoid because it switches more than the 5 - 30 amp range of most of the units usually called relays. On many bikes a small relay is used to call the big relay. That's also true on many cars, and is probably the reason people call the big relay a solenoid. It avoids confusion. If you talk about the big relay on a bike you're likely to call it the starter solenoid and that's what it'll often be called in the parts list. In non-motoring contexts big relays are often called contactors, but they're generally switching high(ish) voltage as well as high current. You might consider it to be sloppy use of words, but that's the way it is.

    There are also various devices used as solid state relays - typically switching power transistors, fets and the like, sometimes in combination in a single pot. These relays don't have a solenoid inside them.

    Your post isn't very clear, but I think you're getting confused with the unit that's sometimes integrated with a pre-engaged starter motor. On these a solenoid is used to push the starter motor pinion into the flywheel as the starter starts to turn. Usually the same solenoid also closes the contacts to power the motor. On the more conventional type a bendix throws out the pinion as the motor comes up to speed. On a lot of bikes and scooters a sprag clutch is used instead. Where an engagement solenoid is used, the amount of power it uses is trivial compared to the current used to crank the starter motor.

    Rob

  10. #10
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    I used a Relay/solenoid from a Sears garden tractor 9$ and it can switch 150A its Rated for it anyway mine orig 50-75A factory unit was all corroded even the casing terrible i re routed it and updated it like the mosfet reg now she bullet proof..

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    Quote Originally Posted by williamr View Post
    If you want to be exact, a solenoid is coil with a floating iron core. Pushing current through the coil causes the core to move. In a relay that movement is used to switch one or more contacts.

    What I said is accurate. Note my words 'in this context'. Common useage calls the big relay that switches the starter motor a solenoid because it switches more than the 5 - 30 amp range of most of the units usually called relays. On many bikes a small relay is used to call the big relay. That's also true on many cars, and is probably the reason people call the big relay a solenoid. It avoids confusion. If you talk about the big relay on a bike you're likely to call it the starter solenoid and that's what it'll often be called in the parts list. In non-motoring contexts big relays are often called contactors, but they're generally switching high(ish) voltage as well as high current. You might consider it to be sloppy use of words, but that's the way it is.

    There are also various devices used as solid state relays - typically switching power transistors, fets and the like, sometimes in combination in a single pot. These relays don't have a solenoid inside them.

    Your post isn't very clear, but I think you're getting confused with the unit that's sometimes integrated with a pre-engaged starter motor. On these a solenoid is used to push the starter motor pinion into the flywheel as the starter starts to turn. Usually the same solenoid also closes the contacts to power the motor. On the more conventional type a bendix throws out the pinion as the motor comes up to speed. On a lot of bikes and scooters a sprag clutch is used instead. Where an engagement solenoid is used, the amount of power it uses is trivial compared to the current used to crank the starter motor.

    Rob
    Williamr: In England you are right I guess. In the US you will be misunderstood. Aprilia's wireing diagram showes a relay and it is referred to in the part manual as a starter relay.

  12. #12
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    relay, solenoid: Its a car terminology problem we americans automatically assoc thee word solenoid with a automobiles starter .. built right to the starter and activates the arm that moves the gear in and away from the flywheel . course all this changes with direct drive or gear reduction starters which dominate the market today either way its hi Amp switch gear.. Generally 8Ga and fatter wires are going to get switching device if they Draw a bit .. starters rear window deforosters etc ..

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