I've got a 2005 Honda CBF600SA carbureted four-stroke motorcycle with four cylinders and ABS. I need to re-connect the battery but don't remember exactly how the cables were configured; which cables go where, and in which "order" do I attach them (i.e. which go on top of the others)?

Unconnected cables

  • There is one thick sleeve with two thin cables coming out of it: one positive and one negative.
  • Then, there is another thick sleeve with a relatively thick cable coming out of it which has a head that is "L"-shaped when you look at it from the side. The thin positive cable from the other sleeve is bound to this cable.
  • Finally, there is a third thick sleeve, with another thick cable coming out of it. This one has a flat head but has little flanges on the sides of the head.
  • What colours are the cables respectively?
    – anonymous2
    Dec 19, 2016 at 14:44
  • With a different meaning of "which order do I connect them", the answer is always connect the positive battery terminal last (and disconnect it first). The reason is that while working on the other connections your tools may create a short circuit to the vehicle frame which is usually earthed. If the battery + is disconnected, this can't do any electrical damage. A short circuit through a metal tool (or worse, though a metal watch strap) can easily generate enough heat to burn you, or create enough sparks to start an oil or fuel fire, etc.
    – alephzero
    Dec 20, 2016 at 5:33
  • Did you ever get this sorted? Were any of the answers helpful? If so, upvoting any that were helpful (along with accepting one, if it gave you the info you needed) would be appreciated by those who took the time to answer :)
    – Doktor J
    Jan 25, 2017 at 20:59
  • @DoktorJ sadly no. Jan 25, 2017 at 22:05

3 Answers 3


I have not been able to find a parts diagram for your model (likely because of the region I live in), so I will explain how to tell which cable is which.

If you trace it back, one will attach to the chassis for a ground. That is the negative battery cable (I would check the one with the two small flanges first).

The thicker one, with the "L" shaped connector, is likely the positive battery cable (I say this because of the red wire taped to it that looks like it was connected with the same bolt). This one should lead to a relay pack before the starter.

Because they don't always have color coded cables these days, this is a good example of why labeling connectors and cables is important.

  • 1
    This is all very nice info, but there are a total of four cables to deal with, and when I simply tried "big maybe-positive then little positive then big maybe-negative and then little negative", I blew a fuse. In other words, the information here doesn't help me install it without damaging it again. Dec 19, 2016 at 18:26
  • 1
    Doesn't sound like you actually followed the cables to their destinations like I suggested. That was a key piece of my advice. It is unfortunate the tell-tail red cover is missing from the positive cable or you would have been finished a long time ago.
    – CharlieRB
    Dec 20, 2016 at 12:59

Check out this manual. I don't think your battery is lithium; it's most likely a sealed lead acid battery (SLA, sometimes referred to as AGM, or absorbent glass mat). They tend to be a lot smaller than regular car batteries in terms of dimensions (I have some that are about 3"x4"x5") but are much heavier than lithium batteries would be.

https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=4770EE572F47C07C&id=4770EE572F47C07C%21135&parId=4770EE572F47C07C%21110&o=OneUp (page 111 by the internal numbering, or page 125 by PDF numbering)

Below is the relevant picture:

SAFETY NOTE: be sure to read the manual regarding the battery strap, as it is apparently used to hold some cables and hoses in place as well, otherwise they may get damaged by moving parts!

battery hookup diagram

It doesn't show where the two smaller wires go, but as suggested by @alephzero , they likely go to the chassis or some other connectors -- definitely not the battery itself. The "L" shaped connector is your positive lead, and it looks like the bend is meant to go around the battery's cap (a sort of keying mechanism); similarly, the flanged connector is your negative lead and is designed to go around the top of the negative post.

EDIT: Since the other two connectors are standard ring terminals (no keying/etc) they probably connect onto standard screw posts with an appropriate nut to secure them. If you're lucky (or just had the foresight to put the nuts back on the posts so you didn't lose them, leaving two posts with no wires and loose nuts) the posts should be relatively self-evident. Hold the battery cables into approximate position (especially the positive lead, which is tethered to one of the other cables) and the play in that unknown cable should give you a much smaller search area in which to figure out where it should connect to.

  • You are correct. It's not lithium. Dec 20, 2016 at 18:04

There is an online service manual here - explore some of the following pages as well as page 39: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1068381/Honda-Cbf600sa.html?page=39#manual

It's pretty clear that the two "big" connectors go to the battery, and (unsurprisingly) the one joined to the wire with black insulation is negative.

As far as I can make out, the other two "ring" connectors (black and yellow wires) that are joined to the negative don't go to the battery, but some other places. It would be a reasonable guess that they go under some mounting bolts for components attached to the bike frame. It doesn't make much sense to split a cable three ways and then connect all three ends to the same place (i.e. the battery itself).

If you position the battery negative battery terminal to mate up with the battery, you will probably see where the other two cables are supposed to go. Unless somebody has deliberately bent them out of shape, they appear to be "pre-formed" to fit neatly to whatever they connect to.

  • Unfortunately I've already seen that online manual and that is not what the inside of my bike looks like at all: My battery is "parallel" the chassis and is much smaller and is lithium (the size of the one in the diagram points to it not being a lithium battery). Dec 19, 2016 at 19:12

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