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Old 03-28-2018, 12:36 PM   #1
[JP]
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Default Panhead neutral light switch science...

Hi all,

wonder if you can help me here...the neutral light switch on my Pan is not working and I'm trying to get it to work. (obviously lol)

on the cone and the genny is pretty simple, they have 2 prongs.. one goes to the light the other goes to earth.
on the Pan I have a switch with only one prong, so I assume earth is done when the bits inside the gear box touch the ball bearing? dont know.. how does it work?

the circuit is done the following way - From power to light, from light to the switch prong.
doesnt work.

If I run a wire from an earth point to the ball in the switch - the neutral light comes on.
or if I touch the ball on the gearbox casing, the light comes on.

So i'm guessing something inside is not touching that ball and earthing it so the light comes on..
is the switch too short or something?


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Old 03-28-2018, 01:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

If I remember correctly.... 20 yrs since I wired mine. The swith is supposed to be isolated form cases and you run + wire to the prong. When in neutral it will touch metal in the geatbox (earth) and light the N light.

L
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Old 03-28-2018, 02:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

positive + to one side of the neutral light ....the neg. - side of the neutral light goes to the prong on the tranny switch ....when in neutral the tranny switch will ground out the neg.- and the light will glow . I had to try several repop switches before I found one that worked... .might not be making contact inside tranny !
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Old 03-28-2018, 04:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

You are in the UK it may have come down with a Lucas infection.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Quote:
Originally Posted by blewcrab View Post
positive + to one side of the neutral light ....the neg. - side of the neutral light goes to the prong on the tranny switch ....when in neutral the tranny switch will ground out the neg.- and the light will glow . I had to try several repop switches before I found one that worked... .might not be making contact inside tranny !
ok thanks!
so i'm thinking the working mechanism right. it's probably a bad switch then...
or maybe the bit inside the tranny not touching the ball on the switch?

saying that because if I touch the ball with a wire to the casing it the neutral light comes on.. so that kind of says the switch is ok?
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:11 PM   #6
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Default

Only if the ball grounds. So the ball may not be hitting the shift drum. Do you have the old switch? If so, compare the depth of the threaded ends to the end of the ball, against each other.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:14 PM   #7
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If not, someone can measure one, and give the length to you.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

no, don't have the old switch, just this one that came on the bike.
that is my line of thought, that this switch is not long enough.....

actually for first test I can just hold a bit of steel from the ball to inside the gearbox, through the hole. and see if the light comes on when i though whatever is down there.. then try keep it steady in place and change gear see if light goes off.

if that happens, then its definitely the legth of the switch.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

PM in your in box. Don't let it piss you off.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

try taking a Q-tip with some contact cleaner and swab the inside of the hole , where the switch makes contact ....
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Old 03-29-2018, 02:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Try this: Wire it like you have been with the switch out. Touch the ball against a ground and the light should go on. press the switch against whatever is grounding it so the ball retracts, (nothing else touching a ground) and the light should go off. When the switch in in the bike, whatever the ball contacts should keep it depressed and the light off, except when it's in neutral and then the ball falls into a detent notch which allows it to extend fully and make the connection turning on the light. There is also a fiber washer (I forget you're in the UK -fibre -) for the switch that spaces it properly and may help electrically isolate the switch. A lot of times what people think is a bad switch is just the washer deteriorated, allowing the switch to thread too far in, and not letting the ball extend fully.
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Old 03-29-2018, 04:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

ok.. tried that... here's what happens:

got the switch out, touch the ball on the gearbox casing, light goes on.
press further against the casing, taking care for the switch not to touch the casing, ball retracts and.... light stays on!

only time light goes off is if the ball isn't touching anything..

The fibre is brand new, no deterioration at all.

so.. looks like could be a bad switch?

also, shovithead sent me the measurement of one of his switches and mine is the same, 0.395 from bottom of nut, minus washer, to the end of the ball.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Mother has it right. The switch is normally closed when resting OUTSIDE the transission. Any position but N will keep the ball pushed in off its seat... creating an open circuit. In the N postion on the trans there is a detent and the ball falls into it, turning on the light. You probably have a bad switch. Take your DVOM and test for connection. Mount it in a vice so it is held firm and push the switch in and watch your meter. If it doesnt show open when fully compressed it is shit.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Got to thinking, which is a rare thing. Maybe the shift gear that rotates the drum, is in the wrong position, and when in neutral, it is not on the detent?

but, maybe I am making it hard, and the switch is just bad.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Could be both...
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:58 AM   #16
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Very little is 50 / 50. So what is the percentage of me and my two answers. 1 % nuts, and 99 % mechanical ? OR less nuts??? haha

Good answer, by the way. You have me pegged. But, I have been less right before too. haha
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

well gentleman..... yesterday I took a photo looking down the hole, while in neutral.
you can see the notch there, so... I guess that answers one of your questions shovithead?




Reading your replies I also think I have a switch that is too short. I'll explain why.

So, if the normal operation of a switch is when the ball contacts a ground point it lights up the light, correct?
and the normal operation when bolted to the gearbox is that it's always contacting a ground point... BUT... doesn't light up on any position other than neutral, because when in gear the ball is out of the notch, pressed into the switch, which makes the light go off.

So.. even though my switch is broken, which we have proved, by touching the casing it turns the light on, press the ball light stays on...

when inside the gearbox, in the neutral position, ball in the notch, it should be touching that notch and keeping the light on, but it doesnt

so that makes me thing that when that switch is inside the gearbox, it's not long enough to touch the mechanism.
and following my tests, if it was long enough, but a bad switch, then I would have light on all the time in all gears and neutral (seeing as pressing the ball doesn't make any difference)

confusing? well... not in my head is not. Please let me know if I have fried anyone brain with my explanation...
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

You are in possession of a bad switch. The switch is a normally closed switch. When the the ball is over the neutral notch the ball is as far out of the case as it can go, and the switch is closed. The connection to ground is the switch body, not the ball. When you shift out of neutral the ball is pushed in and opens the switch. The cowpie 1979-84 P/N 33901-79 switch is the long one. But will not work. It and the early switch are 1 wire. The 2 screw 1965-70 (P/N 71507-65) and the 2 blade 1971-78 (P/N 71507-71) are the other types. As far as length, I haven't compared a early type to the 2 wire types. But I assumed them to be the same length. That doesn't mean they are the same so this is a learning game. I would buy the one that is correct for the year of your trans. If that is 2 wire just change the wiring to suit.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

Yes. It has raised my sarcasm levels to 101%, and my fingernails are growing a quarter inch a minute. My shoe laces will not stay tied, and my dog bit me on my sagging ass. But other than that, you may need a new switch.

And believe me, if you can, after a answer like this, that I have been wrong, more than I have been right. Ask my Mom. 555-555-5555 Ext. WOW, oops, I mean MOM.

Blubber, blubber blue.


But seriously, that gear is offset, if that changes anything. I have never had this problem, so none of this is from past experience, but just a WAG(wild ass guess). I passed WAG in High School, College and my back yard shop.

I can still send you the one I measured, and it does work. But, like you say, they are over there too, and probably get to you faster. But the offer still stands. And the price is right. Free, with free shipping, and OEM on top of that.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Panhead neutral light switch science...

damn..... you guys do make me smile!

right.. I'm going to get a new switch.
actually, thinking about it, I'll pull the switch out of my 76 cone as i'm not using it and try it out, see how that goes, will be dead easy to adapt the wiring...

and yes that notch looks out of alignment, the Pan is hand shift and seems like the springs might be too weak and not returning back to center, I need to play more with it. haven't even ridden the bike yet... weather been too bad over here. dry days forecasted in about 2 weeks! we have had nothing but rain!
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