so, this begs the question,
what was the problem?
awh - I was afraid someone would ask.
I had a mechanical problem that was related, but I wasn't putting two and two together. I should add that I had just bought the bike the year before and the mechanical problem had always been there.
I hate to admit it but I replaced two or three batteries, in short order, a couple of regulator retifiers (both of which were probablly good) and two starters. That's the one that should have tipped me off they were completly worn out.
My mechanical problem was with the clutch it always kind of lurched when taking off from a dead stop. On a harley the starter runs on a ring gear on the clutch basket. One day I was tinkering with that and had the primary cover off. I decided to turn it over with the starter and watch the clutch mechanism, when I did I saw it. The mainshaft in the tranny was bent when it rolled around to the high spot it was putting a hell of a bind on things. That's what was sucking down the battery and weariing out the starters.
One night even with the big ol' car battery I was leaving a local watering hole and had to have push to get her to start. I knew I was gonna catch some ribbin' over that, so I swung around, left her running, jumped off and yelled that does it I'm buying a bigger battery.
The whole experience did teach me a lesson though not to become too focused and consider possibilities other than the obvious - I couldn't get beyond the charging system when trying to diagnose the problem.