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As small as it might be, a fuse plays a key role in protecting your motorcycle’s electrics.
Tune in to learn:
- What a fuse does, and where the fusebox is
- Why some fuses have different colors
Hello, and welcome to another episode of 30-minute motorcycling – a podcast for new, aspiring, and returning riders, where you’ll discover something new about how your motorcycle, moped, or scooter works – in less than 30 minutes. Have you gone to turn on your headlight, and it doesn’t come on? Is the lightbulb broken? No? In that case, odds are that you might have blown a fuse. But what is a fuse? That’s what this episode is all about – we’re going to talk about what a fuse is, fuse color coding, and how you can easily diagnose whether a fuse is working or not. First, though, we need to talk about the purpose of a fuse. Without going into too much detail about electrical circuits – we’ll save that for a future episode, you need to know that a fuse is designed to be the “weakest link” in an electric circuit. If for some reason the circuit is fed too much current, the thin wire inside the fuse will melt, thereby breaking the circuit. This protects the electronics connected to the circuit from being overloaded and damaged by excessive electricity – at the cost of the circuit not working. There are two main types of fuses for motorcycles – the Flat-Blade type kind or glass tube kind. For this episode, we’ll focus on the blade type, since it’s the most common one on modern motorcycles. A Flat-blade fuse consists of a thin copper or metal wire encased in a plastic case, with two contact prongs made out of metal that go into the fuse socket. Most larger motorcycles have a fusebox where all the fuses are kept. Usually, the fusebox is located behind a panel or under the seat If you’ve ever looked inside one of these fuseboxes, you may have noticed that some fuses have different colors than others – and there’s a reason for that. If you replace a 20 Amp fuse with a 10 Amp fuse, the risk is that you’ll burn out the new fuse, and the circuit is broken again. That’s why fuses have color coding in place – each color represents a certain ampere rating. For example, 10 Amp fuses are red, while 20 Amp fuses are yellow. And if you’re still a bit unsure, the Ampere rating for each fuse is normally stamped on the top of the plastic fuse cover. So how can you test if a fuse is bad? The easiest way, or at least for blade-type fuses, is to look at the fuse itself. Regardless of its color, you can still see if the wire between the two blades is intact. If it isn’t, then the fuse is broken. Of course, if you want to be 100% sure, the best way to test whether a fuse is working or not is by using a multimeter to test for continuity. Essentially, you turn on your multimeter, put the two test probes against the blades on the fuse, and if you hear a loud beep from the multimeter, the fuse is working. If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, I’ve included a link to a video I’ve made about this in the show notes. And that’s a summary of what a motorcycle fuse is. For more information about fuses (including a diagram of every fuse color), and how to use a multimeter, I’ve included links to blog posts on The Dual Wheel Journey about this. If there’s a topic that you’d like me to cover on this podcast, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Until next time, keep your helmet on and your eyes on the road. Bye!