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Well... I'm back for some more advice.

I hope everyone is enjoying this years weather. Lots of touring and hopefully not too much rain.

I've bought a used homemade cargo trailer. The lights needed to be replaced so I installed new LED lights. They are the stop/turn/running lights in a single unit. There are no other lights on the trailer (the sides of the aboveunits have LED marker lights). The bike is a 2004 GL1800

Now for3 questions:

1) I've seen the trailer electrical isolation kits. These use relays to isolate the power neededto run the lights from the circuits on the bike. It would seem to me that the relays woulddraw more amperage than the LEDs.I think it would make more sense to wire directly (fused, of course)to the appropriate circuits. Any comments?

2) How do you convert the separate brake and turn signals lightson the bike to run the combined brake/signals on the trailer.

3) Can you combine regular bulbs (on the bike) with LEDs (on the trailer) in the same circuit or does the different impedance of bulbs and LEDs screw things up?

Thanks in advance. I really don't want to screw up the bike's electronics.

Steve
 

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Personally I'd wire it without relays, less complication, less problems.

To change from separate turn/stop to combined units you can get a converter at an auto parts store that will do the job.

LEDs and bulbs will live happily with each other since they are all connected in parallel.
 

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Monkey with a Football
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XCLR8N wrote:
Well... I'm back for some more advice.

I hope everyone is enjoying this years weather. Lots of touring and hopefully not too much rain.

I've bought a used homemade cargo trailer. The lights needed to be replaced so I installed new LED lights. They are the stop/turn/running lights in a single unit. There are no other lights on the trailer (the sides of the aboveunits have LED marker lights). The bike is a 2004 GL1800

Now for3 questions:

1) I've seen the trailer electrical isolation kits. These use relays to isolate the power neededto run the lights from the circuits on the bike. It would seem to me that the relays woulddraw more amperage than the LEDs.I think it would make more sense to wire directly (fused, of course)to the appropriate circuits. Any comments?

2) How do you convert the separate brake and turn signals lightson the bike to run the combined brake/signals on the trailer.

3) Can you combine regular bulbs (on the bike) with LEDs (on the trailer) in the same circuit or does the different impedance of bulbs and LEDs screw things up?

Thanks in advance. I really don't want to screw up the bike's electronics.

Steve
Steve,
Thats a good set of questions. Here is my view:

Answer 1: Motorcycle wiring is generally designed to power only what is on the bike itself and nothing more. You can push it but it's not recommended. Fusing and going directly to the battery would not help unless you wanted the lights on constantly so I'm assuming you meant going directly to the lamp circuits. However this approach would not reduce the extra trailer lighting load on the bike's circuits. Most relays I have seen have coil currents between 100ma and 250ma. Not much extra load on the bike and at least that load is constant as opposed to the verying load that can occur when you extend the bike's wiring outside of the bike's physical environment. Also you would have a hard time getting enough LED lighting on a trailer and still have less current consumed than the load of one relay coil.

Answer2: There is a converter module that is available to do that. I used the Electrical Connection Kit purchased thru Venco Wings LLC to do that with my trailer (same kit but cheaper). It consists of 3 pieces: The relay harness, a bike personality cable and in your case the 5 to 4 wiring converter. However be warned, using the 5 to 4 wiring converter is incompatable with LED trailer lighting according to the documentation.

Answer 3: You can run both but I recommend using the relay isolatoin package with a 5 wire system (not using 5 to 4 wire converter). That way you are only using relay contacts to drive the LED circuits.

In your situation, if you absolutely could not use a 5 wire trailer system, and your measured loads were VERY light, your fused direct to bike circuits approach might be a reasonable compromise.

For whatever all that's worth!
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Rudy
 

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Thanks for the information.

I went out and bought the 5 wire to 4 wire converter and I think I'll connect directly to the corresponding circuits.

This leads to 2 more questions. :stumped::baffled:

1) I was discussing this with a mechanic and he said I won't have to fuse each circuit as the bike's fuses would control any short circuit. I think I'm going to fuse the leads anyway (with one amp fuses), that way if the trailer wiring shorts out I won't lose the lights on the bike. What do you guys think.

2) Where is the best place to tie into thebike's wiring. Is it best at a connector or just skin the insulation and solder the lead there or does it make any difference?

Thanks again.

Steve :waving:
 

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XCLR8N wrote:
Thanks for the information.

I went out and bought the 5 wire to 4 wire converter and I think I'll connect directly to the corresponding circuits.

1) I was discussing this with a mechanic and he said I won't have to fuse each circuit as the bike's fuses would control any short circuit. I think I'm going to fuse the leads anyway (with one amp fuses), that way if the trailer wiring shorts out I won't lose the lights on the bike. What do you guys think.

2) Where is the best place to tie into thebike's wiring. Is it best at a connector or just skin the insulation and solder the lead there or does it make any difference?

Thanks again.

Steve :waving:
Your mechanic is right, putting a second fuse basically in series with another doesn't gain much. In case of a short the fuse should be as close to the source of power as possible. I would recommend not using more fuses since they won't provide any protection and are just more connections to provide possible problems. I would tap splice in on a wire not too close to a connector, at least an inch or two away. Carefully strip a section of the lead, wrap your tap around it, solder and insulate. You won't be able to use heat shrink so carefully tape the joint.
 

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Monkey with a Football
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XCLR8N wrote:
Thanks for the information.

I went out and bought the 5 wire to 4 wire converter and I think I'll connect directly to the corresponding circuits.

This leads to 2 more questions. :stumped::baffled:

1) I was discussing this with a mechanic and he said I won't have to fuse each circuit as the bike's fuses would control any short circuit. I think I'm going to fuse the leads anyway (with one amp fuses), that way if the trailer wiring shorts out I won't lose the lights on the bike. What do you guys think.

2) Where is the best place to tie into thebike's wiring. Is it best at a connector or just skin the insulation and solder the lead there or does it make any difference?

Thanks again.

Steve :waving:
Steve, I like the fusing idea. You don't need to have the bike stranded out in the middle of nowhere when a wire gets loose somewhere like at the harness plug (which is common).

As far as connection points, one of the other reasons I like the relay kit is that it comes with male and female insert plugs that allow you to unplug an existing connection and then insert the relay harness. No splicing and easy to undo if needed for changes or troubleshooting.

On my 1500, you remove the cover under the bottom of the trunk box at the back by removing the four phillips screws and then snapping off the assembly which exposes the wiring for the lights on the back of the box. There are two white jacks that have red plugs in them (one on each side). These are where you either insert the kit plugs or splice into the wiring. If you splice, I would suggest using the 3M blue insulation displacement wiring connectors that just sit over the wire and you squish the blade down over the existing and additional harness wire to tap in. There is not a lot of spare wire there if you want to splice other ways. If I didn't use the 3m splices, I would probably use heat shrink tubing, cut and strip all the wires, slide the heat shrink tubing back over a wire that is appropriate and then solder them together and then heat shrink the tubing over the splice for each connection.

HTH
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Rudy
 

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Rudy's suggestion of the use of a kit with connectors does make sense for a quick foolproof installation. I woud argue against the Scotch crimp taps, they almost always end up causing intermittant connections, really aren't all that trustworthy. If you do a splice tap, you won't need to shorten any of the existing wiring, just strip a 1/4" section, wrap the new wire around it and solder. No reason to cut the original wire.
 

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Monkey with a Football
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Yes, Rudy is senseless. Ignore his opinion completely.

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Rudy
 

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Rudy wrote:
Yes, Rudy is senseless. Ignore his opinion completely.--
Rudy
No need to be touchy, I didn't dismiss your opinion, in fact echoed most of it. I've had bad luck with Scotch clip on taps, seen problems with them a lot. Just because we differ doesn't mean I'm saying you're wrong. If we don't have any different opinions on the forum it would be a poorer place.
 

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XCLR8N wrote:
I went out and bought the 5 wire to 4 wire converter and I think I'll connect directly to the corresponding circuits.

This leads to 2 more questions.

1) I was discussing this with a mechanic and he said I won't have to fuse each circuit as the bike's fuses would control any short circuit. I think I'm going to fuse the leads anyway (with one amp fuses), that way if the trailer wiring shorts out I won't lose the lights on the bike. What do you guys think.
Steve, your mechanic is basically correct (in theory) but he is not correct in actual operation.

If you don't add an additional fuse in each circuit you chance blowing the main fuse for that circuit & that will take out all that is on that circuit including all lights & accessories.

If you have a 10 amp circuit you are adding to & use a 7.5 amp fuse for the added circuit & you have a short rearward of that 7.5 amp fuse (basically the trailer) you will only blow that 7.5 fuse & the main 10 amp will stay intact.

You see that type of circuit a lot in older automobiles as the tail/running lights are fused at 15 amps with a sub circuit off that same 15 amp fuse fused at 3 amps for the dash lights. That way if the dash lights short out, the tail/running lamps willstay on as the 15 amp fuse will still be intact.

Twisty
 

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Thanks for all the suggestions. :grinner::grinner::grinner:

I'm going to:

1) Solder the joints and use liquid insulation plus tape.

2)Install afuse panel behind one of the side panels or use in-line fuses. (1 amp fuses are actually more than4 times the needed amperage of the LEDs)

3) Use the 5 wire to 4 wire converter.

4) Tourour fool heads off

Thanks again boys

Steve :waving:
 

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Sorry Rudy, I have to side with exavid on the scotch lock connectors, I've removed far too many from vehicles after a couple of years operation due to intermittent high resistance opens, all which led back to the scotch lock. I prefer to strip my insulation back about 1/4 inch and solder the connection, then tape the splice with a good quality electrical tape. Never had a splice go bad that way.

To fuse or not to fuse, that is the question. extra fuses never hurt the situation provided they are easily accessable, weatherproofed, and well documented. I write a short entry in my owners manual detailing the location and function of any extra fusing I install, That way any future owners don't end up pulling their hair out afterwards trying to figure out why something 'just quit working'.

Good luck xclr8n!

-Mark
 
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