Rudy's GL1500 Photo Reference Pages          Main Guides Page

Safe 1500 Auxillary Power Wiring     last revised February 26 , 2008

For 1100 owners, also see the 1100 addendum graciously provided by
Dubswing
  for some routing and mounting ideas for that model.

Reference pages are not intended to provide full procedural guides.  They are merely photos and comments, many submitted by others who have contributed them out of interest in helping others see what might help them in the same situations or if they just have interest in the subject matter.  I attempt to regulate what is placed here and may add my own comments but bear in mind these are in no way guaranteed to be tested by me.  Think of them as potential, future, Photo Guides under construction for your reference only.
Thanks goes to the contributors who are the reference point for anything listed as submitted by them.

This content was posted here by:  Rudy
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If you are like most of us, soon after you get your bike you want to add "stuff" to it.  Some of that "stuff" will be electical stuff.  If you bought your bike used, chances are it had at least some electical  add-ons that came with the deal.  Most times you see that the guy who did the add-ons was not an electrically trained individual.  Also, most times the manufacturer just wants you to get things put on the bike as easily as possible so they don't have to spend a lot of support time training you how to do it right, even if they know how, which is many times not the case.

Also most times the bike owner and the accessory supplier has NO idea what else is already on the bike and what power strategy was used to get those things going.  It's almost like you try adding things blindly and test the bike to see if it's ok.  If it seems to be, you go on like it was ok.  Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't.  And that doesn't mean it will stay that way.  That is why most knowledgable motorcycle advisors (including me)  recommend that when you get a used bike, you should remove all existing add-ons and get back to stock, particularly if you already are experiencing a problem which is when we help-type guys usually hear about it.  Then you can begin to move forward from there.
That is good advice because it tells you if there is an inherent problem in the bike's own systems before you try to add to a possible additional problem and it gives everyone a known starting point as a reference.

Whether your bike is new or not, you need to control the power consumption or that consumption will control you one way or the other.  Often by surprise and at the worst time.   Bike manufacturers put the accessability points in the middle of the bike so you can go both ways to hook up stuff.  But add-ons rarely get placed in the middle of a bike where the power access is.  So people commonly add new loads and tap into the wiring where they think it will work without much regard to the new loads they are adding.

Stock Power Access Locations:

                  
 

When you add certain accessories, the add-on manufacturer often instructs you to take it directly back to the battery for power if they tell you anything at all or they tell you to kluge into the existing harness with 3M blue squish splices.  In the case of high current and critical items, it is necessary to get enough current directly to the product.  Good examples of these are running lights, trailer isolation relay packs, cigarette lighters, audio power amplifiers and heated clothing to name just a few. Unfortunatley, this often un-coordinated symphony of connections can end up with WAY more terminals at the battery than you can get bolted on and the cluster of wires there is confusing, messy and often times dangerous.

The bike's fuse block has an Aux Power connection and fuse but the aux terminal point is only for 5 Amps and that won't handle even ONE of the large current add-ons.  I commonly see guys with this aux fuse changed to 15 amp fuses to try to handle the add-ons.  It works in most cases but then you may have consumed all available capacity of the Aux Power circuit so you are done anyway, no more switched add ons possible and you don't know how much current the fuse block was designed to deliver at the aux terminals so you mught be creating a fire hazard right next to the gas tank.  As stated above, the bike manufacturer's choice to place the access location on the middle of the bike is understandable but when is the last time you added an accessory to the middle of the bike???

You normally add accessories to the front of the bike or the rear of the bike but not the middle!!!
So why not solve everything once and for all and get what you need where you need it permanently with enough capacity to grow, handle all your needs easily and make NO out of spec loads on the stock minimalist electrical system?

Let's get the power safely and conveniently delivered to where it needs to go with only TWO battery connections for everything and TWO low current connectins to the Aux terminal on the fuse block.  (only one of each is needed if you are only going to do the front or the back but not both, but why put off the inevitable?)
________________

What goes in the front?
What goes in the back?

See what I mean?

What I do is split the bike into two main, high current, direct-to-battery circuits.  One to the front and one to the back.

I wire a 30 amp fused pair of wires right off the battery (10 ga  +12v wire and a 10 ga ground wire) to the front left fairing pocket and a second one to the rear main box for things in there. I never rely on the bike frame for a ground.  For the cost of one extra wire, why would I invite problems with corrosion and unknown capability and voltage drops (losses)?
This way I know what I'm getting and from where and how much I can count on it and a very easy means of checking the thing if I ever have a problem, day or nite.

Then I run a pair of wires from the auxilliary power terminals at the fuse block to those same places to drive the relays with, as shown below.
             
Red is +12 Volts direct from the battery fused through a 30 Amp fuse right at the battery for each direction forward and rear.
Green is a new high current ground directly from the battery in both directions, forward and rear. (shown black in the schematic below)
Cyan is a jacketed pair of wires coming from the Aux Power terminal on the Fuse Block to run the relays, front and rear.

Next I add a 30 or 40 amp sealed relay at each end (one under the fairing pocket and one in the trunk).  I hook the coils of the relay to the aux power wires and feed the 30 amp battery hot to the commutator of each relay through a second 20 amp fuse.  This gives me battery grade power, switched at 20 amps and unswitched at 30 amps at either end of the bike.  At the switched power contact on each relay, I then add each accessory that I want each with their own fuse as if they went straight to the battery.

If you want to use a battery tender to keep your battery charge up and still have a high amperage output cig lighter for things like an external air compressor or whatever, you can hook it  up to the 30 amp unswitched side.  Otherwise just put it on the switched side.

All aux accessories connect either front or back this way and the bike's 5 amp aux fuse only has to run the two relay coils.

Maximum functionality with minimum load on the existing system that way.

Here is the wiring diagram using bullet style quick connects in the front and using a terminal block in the rear box for convenient connectivity without a lot of clutter.
   

I do this first thing on most bikes I own.  It saves me from ongoing aggravation when adding things, cludged wiring and mystery electrical problems later on.

Yeah it's a bit of a hassle doing that.   But only ONCE.

If you do that, be SURE to use that cauregated and slitted plastic ducting around the two main +12 wires off the battery.  Actually, I do that for every +12 wire I add.

Finally you add a bouquet of bullet connectors to the ends of the unswitched +12,  switched +12 and the grounds at front and a terminal block in the rear and viola, plug and play all day, safely and easily.

Nice thing about this system is that it will never become obsolete and  you can choose to ignore whatever you alreayd had wired on the bike until you have time to trace it out, remove it and re-attach it to the new system becuse the new system makes no new loads (device demands for power) on the stock wiring or fuse block (ok 2 relay coil loads on the aux circuit... about 1/2 amp total).

Here are some shots I made of my setup:
You  can see I have not yet gotten the existing wiring down to two terminals only.  Thats the nice thing about this, you don't have to.
        

Here you can see the seperate ground wires.  I will be changeing that large ring terminal next time I get some.
        

Here are the two 30 amp fuses.  One has a cover. The other one will be getting changed to that soon as well.  You want these as close to the battery as possible.
You should shim the wires that touch the frame with some insulation like rubber or fish paper.
        

This is a top view of the bike, looking down to see the rounting of some of this.
        

Taking the above picture I have added lines for the wiring paths for clarity.  Doesn't matter if you follow this literally or not, it's just what I did.
The yellow line path is the conduit path for the raw 30A line to the front left fairing pocket.
The red line path is the conduit path for the raw 30A line to the rear box right side entry point.
The 10 ga ground wires pretty much tag along the same path.
       

Here is what the power wiring it looks like as it enters the rear box under the backrest cover under the seat.
                           

Here it is with the cover removed.  Note that the ground wire has it's own hole and is kept seperate from the conduit and it's raw +12 V, 30 amps, just to keep things friendly in all concievable situations.  It's corrosion, vibration and abraision that causes problems with bike wiring.  This addresses two of the three.
       
.
The power to the fairing crosses over the bike at the saddle and goes along the left side and under the left fairing pocket along with the Aux power control wires.
(that black box with the white wires is the audio line-in  isolation transformer for the wired in FM modulator under the seat)
       

Here is where it enters the left fairing pocket along with the Aux Power control wires next to the CB. 
You can also see my audio system cheater cable here.
       

And finally the jumble of wires in the left fairing pocket area.
       

Now for the Aux Power routing... again it goes fore and aft for control of each 30A section.
You connect it at the top of the fuse block under the left side panel on the bike. 
The plastic conduit you see the control wires wrapped around contain the two front speaker wires from the power amp in the rear box, not power in this case.
       

The rear Aux Power control wires and  the speaker wires enter the rear box from the bottom of the left side of the bike. 
The third wire is just the passenger headset plug tucked out of the way.
                      

Here is the same shot without the rear cover on showing the entry points for the Aux Power control wires and the speakers from the front.
       


Inside the rear box... the 30A power and ground  enters the box on the right side and goes up the wall to under the 3 outlet Cig Lighter array.
That area is used as a junction box to tap off for the always hot, cig lighters and it's associated 20A fuse.
Then the raw 30A power and ground wire joins the rear speaker wire and the rear right speaker out from the radio and
crosses over to the left side of the box in a low rib along the back wall so nothing sticks out or gets rubbed or abraded anywhere 
No loss of space whatsoever..
       

Here is what it looks like with the carpet in place.  Where ever possible, existing screws were used for mounting the harness and relay.
       

Everything in the trunk attaches to the terminal block as shown in the schematic, above.  No fork lug terminals are used here, only closed ring
type terminals so that in the event of fibration looseness occurring, things don't drop loose.
I have made a clear lexan cover for the screws, not shown here but that is why there are threaded standoffs for the terminal block mounting points.
The red and gold wiring you see at the bottom is from the front speakers. The upper wires come in from the middle like they do on the other side.
One nice thing about how I mounted the amp is the angle of the backrest makes a nice wiring space for the hookups and the amp takes minimal, least critical, space from the box storage.
        

Again on this side I use the hidden area on the side as a junction box and you can barely see the 40 A relay down there pointed to by the yellow line.
It is mounted to an existing mounting screw.  That is also where the wiring goes to the passenger's side tray where I have mounted the Gerbings controller and quick connect for the passenger's heated clothing under the swing down door.
       

Remember that the fusing and loads I have on my bike are based on having substantial power available to meet those loads.  If you have smaller generating capacity, you may need to drop the raw and switched main fusing down some to match.  For example, the worst my system could ever see from my fusing plan is 60A peak, worst case.  My system can handle a short load of that duration because I have a 90 Amp alternator.  If you have a 35 amp alternator, you might want to consider using a 15 amp raw fuse and a 10 amp switched fuse to keep things safe and to limit the peak worst case to 30 amps.  Even so, I would have a 33% reserve capacity where the 35 amp alternator would only have a.15% peak load reserve.  And that is not counting ANYTHING else but the accessories being used by the bike at the time.  I know I could still run my bike in the reserve 30 amps but 5 amps for the whole bike?
Don't think so.  You can only use what the bike was not using in the first place for the add-ons and then you must fuse for that which you have left.  It's not hard but you have to do the math to be safe and reliable electrically.  See the next section about loads on the bike.


About loading your bike electrically:

Since we are talking about loads, we also need to talk about sources.  Your battery is not a source, it is a storage device which acts like a source for the short term as seen by the loads.
Loads are all of the things that consume electricity.
The source is the charging system which includes the battery.  There is no free lunch in energy.  You cannot consume more than you generate.  The battery has stored energy that got there from an energy generator (the alternator, or a charger).  The battery is similar to a lake with water in it.  If rain (alternator) doesn't fill it faster than the spillway lets water out (the loads), the dam will eventually run low or dry.  If you can't reduce what you let out, you must increase what you put in.  Making the dam bigger won't solve the problem either, only delay it.  In addition an old dam can fill up with sediment and develop leaks so eventually a new dam (storage device aka battery) will be needed to give enough short term capacity needed to supply the downstream load at startup.

For this reason it is easy to slowly add loads to the spillway that you don't notice right away reducing the water level.  Additionally you can have generators that don't fill the dam like they used to and that can lead to the same thing as if you had a low rain year but you didn't notice it until the spillway started getting too low to pass water.  Bad time to find out.  That is one good reason to have a voltmeter on your bike so you can see what the dam (thing) is doing.

So ideally, you need a source that has more generating capability than will ever be needed for the spillway runoff and a lake deep enough to store for short term demands that has not yet gotten too shallow to be of use.

Your loads are usually a constant so that is good if you don't keep adding beyond your generating means.
The battery is just storage that is deteriorating every day in it's capacity.
The alternator is your souce that must keep up with all of this at minimum even though it too is deteriorating at a much slower rate.  (bearings, brush wear, armature wear and brush dust)

How to assess your electrical loads:

It behooves you to do a load assessment so you know how much energy you need to generate.  You can do it easily with a calculator in either amps or watts.
Watts is nothing more than energy (work power) made up of volts (in our case fixed at 12v) and amps (the rate of flow) multiplied together.
So if I have a 10 amp load, I simply multiply it by 12 (v) and get 120 watts.

If I know any two of the three pieces (volts, amps, watts)  I can get the third piece of information.
For example lets say I know how many watts a 55 watt headlamp uses :).  What else do I know?  I know that the volts will always be calculated at 12 volts.
So to get the amps, I  just divide the 55 watts by the 12 volts and get  4.583 amps or about 4 .5 amps for one halogen lamp for example.

If I wanted to figure out a safe but functional fuse to use for that I would add about 20% to the amps so that would come out to 4.5 amps  X 1.2 equals  5.4 amps.
Since fuses come in common sizes, I would have to take the next size up.  They are typically 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 amp automotive fuses.
In this case I would have to take a 10 amp fuse.  Could two halogens fit on one fuse?  Yes but there would not be the 20% margin there at 9 amps combined.  I'd only have 1 amp to spare out of the 10 amp fuse and that would not be 20%, it would only bwe 10% so I would go to the next size fuse up and that would be a15 amp fuse for the two 55 watt halogen lamps I wanted to add.  (guess what fuse Honda uses for your two 55 watt headlamps in the fuse block).

Ok once you get all your loads figured out (and I would only do the major loads and then add some extra for the little stuff), you can see what you need to feed the loads for power.

Here is what Honda gives you on a stock 1500 alternator:

12v at 35 amps.  That is how many watts?  12x35 = 420 watts

In comparason, here is what the Compufire replacement alternator gives you:

12v at 90 amps.  That is 12x90 = 1080 watts.

Before I leave you with your needs, let me say this.  It is not wise to run any electrcal device at it's full capacity for very long.
When I design cirucuts, my loads are 1/2 of the supply and the supply is 2 times the load.  That is my law of halves and doubles for electronic and electrical design.
that is where my product design reliablilty comes from.

In motorcycles that law is not often able to be practially applied.  So let's say we stay 20% below maximum generating capacity.  That way you can have a failing alternator and still get by with 20% loss and still work.  Another problem with generating power is that the bike engine is not always turning at enough speed to generate what was specified for it at a higher RPM.  This spare 20% helps during those times as well.

So that means that the stock alt would only be practically useful to 336 watts and the Compufire to 864 watts.  Beyond that and you are on borrowed time so you can see that it pays to engineer your bike loads in advacnce and live withn that energy budget if you want to be able to have carefree electrical services on your bike out in the boonies on a 2000 mile trek.

One more thing... remember when I said there was no free lunch with energy generation?  Guess what, you burn gas for every watt you create, so larger loads take more gas leaving less power for the engine and lower MPG as well.

How to make reliable crimp connections

It always amazes me how many people don't know how to make or test relaible automotive crimp connections.  I see a lot of this in bike wiring.

It is not really the end user's fault because most manfacturers of the tools or crimp kits with tools don't sell you the right tool.  Nevermind any training.
They want to sell these crimpers that crimp the terminal in the shape of a pair of parenthesis  ( ) instead of an invasive type in the shape shown in the photos, below.

In the case of the parenthesis crimps, you are lucky to captivate the wires in the collapsed diameter tunnel it creates and it is very difficult to get enough crimping pressure to make a reliable connection.  Plus the wires pull out more easily.  One reason they sell the parenthesis type crimps is that the metal bands you are crimping have a seam.  Parenthesis crimps don't matter too much where the seam is whereas on the invasion type crimper the seam position matters a lot more.

Here are some crimp shots with the invasion crimper.
The crimp dies themselves...


Notice in the next picture silouette that the metal crimping band inside the crimp has a seam.  You want that seam as shown, opposite the invasion point.
The crimp position in the die should be chosen by the diameter of the crimping band, not the diameter of the plastic insulator around it.
               

Carefully strip the wire the same length as the crimping band in the part  you will be using and make sure the wire sits inside the crimping band with all wire strands intact.
If the wire won't fit in, you are using the wrong terminal.  If you want crimp terminals to be reliable you must use the correct terminal band for the wire being used.
                        

Make a good solid crimp right in the center of the band on the back side with the wire fully seated. 
It is a good idea to be pushing it in firmly as you crimp. 
Be sure to test each crimp by firmly pushing in and pulling out the wire from the terminal.  There should be no movement at all.
I don't recommend using stranded wire that has been tinned on the ends.  Rather, use the strands so they can move with the crimping action.
You can always seal up the ends of the crimping band with dielectric grease if you are nuts about that type of thing.
                              

The crimpers you buy should have padded handles or your crimps might be weak as your hand gets sore.

     

Do it right.  It really is the easiest way.

Rudy




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