1983 Honda 550 Nighthawk electrical
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1983 Honda 550 Nighthawk electrical

This is a discussion on 1983 Honda 550 Nighthawk electrical within the Technical forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; I’m in the middle of rebuilding my 83 nighthawk. I’ve taken it and made it a cafe racer. It’s starting to really take shape, but ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member Rltouchette@gmail.com's Avatar
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    1983 Honda 550 Nighthawk electrical

    I’m in the middle of rebuilding my 83 nighthawk.
    I’ve taken it and made it a cafe racer. It’s starting to really take shape, but I’m a couple days away from messing with the electrical. There’s so much going on in its electrical system and I’m trying to go to a very minimalistic design. Has anyone done this already? What can I take off/cut off without issues?

    Related side note: has anyone ever converted one of these later models to just magneto...no battery, no starter, just kick start and go???

  2. #2
    Senior Member TrialsRider's Avatar
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    When it comes to bike wiring, good things start with the correct wiring schematic diagram.

    You building a race bike?
    With no battery you will have shite for street bike lighting.

    Is your bike currently fitted with capacitor discharge ignition
    or battery and coil ignition? Could be an issue :|
    ... at least you don't have a fuel pump, or I'm pretty sure you don't.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TrialsRider's Avatar
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    BTW, your Horn takes a lot more power then you think, but most places allow you to just have one of these to be compliant:






    oh & you likely need to add a battery powered tail light too,
    because lots of places require you to have 20 minutes of parking lights after the bike shuts off to be road legal.

    ... don't recommend you remove your signal lights unless you love hand signalling :|
    Last edited by TrialsRider; 12-28-2019 at 07:51 PM.

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  5. #4
    Junior Member Rltouchette@gmail.com's Avatar
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    Well, if it had a CDI I’d be content. Honestly removing the battery wouldn’t be in my bed interest...kinda just getting my idea across. But that is also just an idea...probably not something I’d try to do with this bike. I’m just wondering if that’s possible. (To convert to CDI)

    Also, the laws are simple where I am:
    Rearview mirrors.
    Passenger footrest when riding with a passenger.
    Daytime headlights.
    Brake light flash regulations.


    This’ll literally get it registered. Lol

  6. #5
    Senior Member woodsman's Avatar
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    What do you think you don't need to wire?
    In my experience "Just kick start and go" only applies to maintained, factory stock bikes.
    Isn't the 550 Nighthawk an electric start, shaft drive cruiser?

  7. #6
    Senior Member TrialsRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Well, if it had a CDI I’d be content. Honestly removing the battery wouldn’t be in my bed interest...kinda just getting my idea across. But that is also just an idea...probably not something I’d try to do with this bike. I’m just wondering if that’s possible. (To convert to CDI)

    Also, the laws are simple where I am:
    Rearview mirrors.
    Passenger footrest when riding with a passenger.
    Daytime headlights.
    Brake light flash regulations.


    This’ll literally get it registered. Lol
    Sure you can convert to CDI
    :| a capacitor is not much different then a battery, they are both energy storage devices, biggest difference is in how fast they take on or deliver their charge. Capacitor is perfect for making a spark, battery is perfect for powering everything else.

    You live in Jamaica?

    It's not all that hard to register a vehicle that really does not belong on the road, all it takes somebody to ignore the rules, falsify a few inspections and documents, then you need an insurance company that is stupid enough to underwrite you so you can buy a plate. Then you can ride around all you want and hope some cop does not know better and put a stop to it.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Teazer's Avatar
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    Do your research and also buy a copy of the Factory Service manual before you start hacking away. It looks like that bike came with a transistorized ignition and they tend to prefer a stable voltage, so you need to keep the stock alternator and regulator/rectifier plus battery. Battery could be a smaller Lithium type if you don't mind the cost.

    CDI ignition is a different animal. You could buy say a self generating PVL or HPI ignition system for the ignition but that would leave you without any lights or horn. But you could use a self generating ignition plus a small alternator to drive the lights if both crank ends were accessible, but that's all a whole lot of cost and engineering. You could also but a Dyna ignition and use a battery or maybe an Ignitech or Zeeltronic but they both need a battery and for the street, what's the point? Those are all expensive and take a lot of thought.

    If you want to keep it simple, replace the battery with something a little lighter but capable of turning the motor over. The bike is electric start only I think, so you have to keep a battery and if you have to use a battery, you need to charge it, so you need to keep the charging circuit.

    If it's kick start, you could eliminate the starter and solenoid and run a capacitor instead of the battery, but your lights will flicker. If you run with no lights or horn you could in fact run a self generating ignition system but you would have to find a suitable unit and modify the cases and/or crank to make it work.

    All of the above is a shit ton of work for a bike cruising on the islands, but as I said earlier, start with the FSM and do as much research as possible before you get too much further. And post some pictures so we can see what you are working with.

  9. #8
    Senior Member TrialsRider's Avatar
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    A picture is worth a thousand words.

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