July 10th, 2009

marcus 2013

A Night To Remember

Went along to rozk's birthday bash, attended by what seemed to be half of the British side of Livejournal, at a teeny but extremely good Vietnamese restaurant in Hackney. Had an excellent and surprisingly cheap meal, and enjoyed myself immensely.

At about nine people started getting ready to move on to the pub. I decided I'd better head home since tomorrow's a working day, and set out to do so. At which point I discovered that my bike (a) wasn't prepared to start and (b) wasn't showing any signs of life at all when switched on. Couldn't get it started by pushing it, couldn't see anything obviously wrong, nada.

Get out the mobile and call the AA, then wait 30 minutes or so for their van to arrive. AA guy connects up his charger to the battery and suggests I try again. I do so, and there's a slightly unexpected result - smoke comes out from under the control panel.

To cut a long story short, the wiring loom between the main electrics and the ignition switch had shorted, which is why it initially wouldn't start. The extra juice fried the wiring completely, and it caught fire. When we got the panel off it was still sparking merrily until he cut the wires.

Fortunately the short didn't set fire to the fuel tank (the cable runs underneath it) and didn't quite extend all the way to the switch. The AA guy was able to cut away the burned out part, wire in some lengths of suitable cable and bundle them together with insulating tape, crimp on terminal clips, and eventually get it all working again. Hopefully I will be able to get a replacement cable loom, but that might involve getting a new ignition switch - with a lot of luck this won't involve the ignition ending up with a different key to the other nine on the luggage, steering lock, petrol cap, etc...

Took about an hour and a quarter in all to fix it, got home about 11.30, and I think that this year my AA membership and cellphone have just paid for themselves, because if I'd tried to sort that one out by myself the bike would probably be a smouldering wreck by now.

And so to bed...