Scooter problem: Possible blown fuse?

I have a 1985 yamaha riva 125 cc scooter. It’s fun as all get out, but we don’t ride it very often. I went to take it to the store the other day, and have a bit of a problem. Since it had been a week or two since I’d ridden, it can take a little while to get it started. Normally, this is no problem. The battery is only a few months old, and as long as we ride it at least every 3 or 4 weeks, it’s totally fine. So, I put in the key, gave it a tiny bit of gas and tried to start it. Turned over, but didn’t catch, but that’s totally normal. Waited a minute or so, then tried starting it again. It turned over fine (it wasn’t slowing down or anything), but didn’t catch. Okay, it normally starts on the second try, but sometimes it takes three tries. When I went back for the third try, it didn’t turn over at all. It didn’t even click and the headlight doesn’t turn on.

We came back a couple of days later and tried to start it again, and it’s the same thing. I couldn’t imagine that the battery would turn over the engine just fine, then a minute later, wouldn’t even light up the headlamp. Even when my battery’s been well and truly dead, it can always still light up the headlamp a little bit.

So, I’ve done a little research, and I think I know where to look for the fuses to see if they’re blown. Here is my multi-part question:

  1. I think it sounds like a blown fuse rather than a dead battery. Do you agree, or do you have any other thoughts on what it might be?

  2. I’ve definitely changed fuses in cars, so I know what a blown fuse looks like, but do fuses on scooters look any different?

  3. I know this is getting into IHMO territory, so please move this if it should be there, mods. I don’t have any tools, and I hate getting zapped. When I put in a new battery, I looked absolutely ridiculous in my kitchen gloves, but I wore them because I was worried I would accidentally connect the terminals in the wrong order. :rolleyes: Should I see if someone else can take care of this for me, or is this as a good a time as any to get over my freakiness about electricity?

It is a battery, most likely like an auto battery. Always connect the + terminal first then the cable to the frame or ground.
Like “Pigs is Pigs” fuses are fuses. They may be different shapes. Easiest way is to get a duplicate fuse and change it out. Otherwise a voltmeter connected across the fuse will show the battery voltage, 6 or 12 volts, if fuse is blown, or zero if good.
If in doubt get someone to help.

Fuses are a lot like being pregnant. Either your pregnant or your not, right? Well a fuse is either blown or it isn’t. It isn’t going to blow after two attempts to start the bike and then repair itself in a couple of days before your next attempt.
So my first thought is that it is not a blown fuse but more likely a loose connection. As you crank the bike over with the starter, a loose connection is getting hot from resistance and causing an even poorer connection. After two attempts the voltage drop accross the connection has become so great the bike won’t crank. After you let it cool down, it will crank again.
About your freakishness. First off the 12 volt battery is not going to kill you (Unless somebody drops it on your head) Unlike your house current you can grab one terminal of the battery with each hand and not even feel a tingle. However, gloves and safety glasses are a good idea when working around batteries. Batteries contain sulfuric acid, which is not a good thing to get on your hands, clothes, or in your eyes.
You also need to make sure that the battery is connected exactly as it should be. The negative and positive terminals are NOT interchangeable. If you install the battery backwards, you may do no damage or you may do many hundreds of dollars of damage. (I once had a customer put his own car battery in backwards. The repair was $2500 in 1991. :eek: )
If the battery cables are color coded, red goes to positive, and blue or black goes to negative. If both cables are the same color, this would not apply. The negative cable is attached to the frame or to the engine block / transmisison case direct.
Next the cables need to be tight. Not finger tight, but wrench tight. When removing the cables loosen and remove the negative cable first. Then and only then go near the positive cable. When attaching battery cables put the positive cable on first and tighten it. Then attach and tighten the negative cable. This is to prevent you from accidently arcing the wrench to the frame when working on the positive cable.

Now getting back to the OP, Do you have fuel in the bike?
Are you sure?
How old is the fuel?
Now go back and check you battery cable connections.
Is the positive cable connected to the positive post, and negative to negitive? Are they tight?
Are there any small cables that got left off the battery?
Next DISCONNECT the negative cable and check the other ends of both cables. Are they both tight? Once you are sure, re-attach the negative cable and tighten it.

Do you store your bike outside?
Do you ever have mice or rats where you live?
Any edvience of nests in or on your bike?
Does your owner’s manual have a procedure for starting the bike? Are you following the directons exactly?
If all of this does not turn up the problem it may be time to ship it to a shop.