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Installing a 12V accessory socket - for newbs

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by gegvasco, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. As a total virgin to doing electrical mods on the bike, this seemed like a nice easy intro - installing a 12V accessory socket. Handy for GPS power, phone charging and even the small 12V air compressors that fit in some underseat storage.

    After some research, it seemed there were a few options. Some people recommended installing a relay so that the socket would only be powered with the ignition on. Decided against that as I didn't think it would be an issue and it would raise the complexity of the job. Others said to connect the negative socket wire to the frame as this acts as the ground. Again, seemed easier to run two wires directly back to the battery and hook them up directly.

    So that was the plan. Run a positive(red) wire from the battery + terminal to the socket, with a 15Amp in-line fuse in the wire, and also run a negative(black) wire from the battery - terminal to the socket.

    Here's what I needed:
    - Some red and black wire. I bought some 15Amp wire from Repco - 1.85mm thick - biggest they had.
    - An in-line fuse. This is a section of wire about 20cm long with a black plastic socket that the fuse goes into. See last image of battery connections below.
    - Some 15Amp mini-blade fuses. Note that there is a big difference between mini-blade fuses and the fuses your car uses, even though the Amperage is the same - see picture below.
    - Some connectors - clamp style for the blade connectors on the 12V socket and some loop connectors to fit around the bolt on the battery terminals
    - Some electrical tape or heat shrink tube. I used electrical tape.
    - A soldering iron and some solder.
    - Of course - a 12V accessory socket. I went to a boating store(BCF) and bought a Sutars marine-grade 12V socket. It has a rubber cap to stop water getting in when not in use. Was about $14 bucks.
    - 30mm hole saw - luckily I already had this.

    How to do it:
    First thing was to choose the location for the socket. I choose the left fairing just below the instrument cluster so it was available to power a GPS if required. Check for clearance from handlebars at both opposite locks while imagining a standard 12V DC plug is in the socket - you need an inch or two of clearance above the socket. You also need about 2-3 inches of clearance behind the panel for the socket and wires. Used the hole saw to drill a hole. Filed down the edges to get a good fit. The socket uses a screw-on backing collar so installation of the socket in the hole takes about 4 seconds!

    Cut some red and black wire to length - from socket to battery with about 10cm of play. You can use less red(positive) wire because once the in-line fuse is spliced in it will add some cable.

    At the end of the red wire that would go on the battery, splice in the in-line fuse using a soldering iron. To do this, strip about 1cm of insulation off the ends of the wires. Wrap the wires around each other. Press the soldering iron to the wires and once heated, press the solder to the wires(not the iron). The idea is that the wires melt the solder not the iron. That makes sure the solder penetrates the wires. Watch your fingers as the heat transfers up the wires. Once cooled, wrap in electrical tape or heat shrink wrap.

    Once the in-line fuse is in place, I clamped in the end connectors onto the ends of the wires and placed a small amount of solder on the ends of the clamps to hold the wire in. Also wrapped in electrical tape, especially at the exposed 12V socket end.

    This gave me a complete fused red(positive) and black(ground) wire "loom". After connecting the ends to the 12V socket, to keep things neat, I wrapped a little electrical tape around both wires about every 20cms to keep them together. I then fed the wire bundle through the rear of the fairing near the fuel tank and frame so that it popped out just above the engine. Making sure it wasn't resting directly on any hot parts, I routed the wire back through the frame to the battery. I used small black cable ties to hook the wire onto existing hardware to stop it from moving around - I already had a speedo healer cable(the big red one) running through the same are so I hooked it up to that.

    Once at the battery, I looped the excess using a cable tie to tidy things up and connected the red to the positive terminal and the black to the negative terminal. You can see the in-line fuse here. The big red cable is the speed healer cable.

    Works a treat. I'm sure there are better ways to do this job but it was a first attempt and only took about 60 minutes so I was pretty happy with it.
  2. I installed a dual plug in the cargo area of mine.

    I used an In line cylinder fuse(10 amp) and have run 30 amp wire from the battery(to the fuse and connectors). This on mine went into a screw down type Connectors mounted on the vertical wall that seperates the cargo area from under the seat(This should allow me to piggy back the power for LED lights or something else low in current demand). I have left space for a relay(which if i do it will go to the parking light circuit). I am only using a 10amp fuse as That should be more than sufficient for a GPS and phone charger.

    I also utilised the 2 wire approach, and bound each cable to opposite sides, as it was s hort distance to run.

    Excellent Guide. Thankyou
  3. No, it's an excellent job. I don't of any better way to do it. The idea of running a wire directly to the battery's -ve is a good idea. Less chance of crappy connections causing problems.

    I have a similar setup on the blackbird except I've taped the socket to the clutch hose as there isn't really any decent spot on the fairing or the dash to drill a hole for it. It's out of the weather and works fine.

    I'll be getting a second one with about 2m of lead and it will be coiled up under the seat for whenever a compressor is needed to be used or say, to have a mobile phone on the charge while riding (snake the lead out from the seat and into my Ventura sack) or perhaps an MP3 player or other accessory.

    Good tip about where to get the socket. I got mine from an auto electrician but it isn't the best of designs. I'll check out the local boat shops to see what they have. Might have a better design that allows me to implant it in the fairing or the dash.
  4. that looks really really neat :)

    I'm looking to do this and run power to the rear seat as I'm looking to put an onboard camera for my upcoming roadtrip to Brisvagas.

    So when I get some time to actually do this I'll post up pics :)
  5. How does that socket go with respect to being protected from the elements? That is around the only area that I can fit one on the B'bird. And on the BB at least, it'd cop all the weather. And I don't have any waterproof accessories that could plug into it.
  6. a bit of automotive silicon sealent should ensure that the connections are fine. The marine version should be sufficiently sealed when not in use(read: lid closed).
  7. (a) I accidentally included the wrong image. It was meant to be the socket itself in the fairing and (b) I am talking about accesories that are plugged into it. How do they get protected from the elements and how is water prevented from ingressing the socket when it's in use?

    It seems to be fairly exposed in that shot. But maybe it's deceptive.
  8. No way I have found from searching multiple forums to have a 12V plug that you can use in the wet. Dry weather plug only. An exception being BMW's have a special socket and plug that is water resistant when in use - at least that is what someone said on another forum. Not sure of the accuracy of that. Just means I can't use it when riding in the wet but will still be fine when stopped - eg. when using a compressor to pump up a tyre. Just need to put something over the socket while in use.
  9. The rubber cap over the socket should keep it dry. Mine does.

    As for use when riding this is why I ended up half burying mine down the forks cable tied to the clutch hydraulic hose. It's out of the driving rain when riding so I can still use my Garmin Etrex GPS. But if stopped it would probably get wet. I'd remove the GPS from it and put the cover on if that was the case.

    Still, it's a good install and practical.
  10. There is no way to be water proof, Unless you use some sort of induction system. You can only go for the best you can. Hence Marine plugs, waterprotecting connections, and common sense.
  11. This looks like a good initiation into electrical mods.

    I think putting an accessory into the across's handbag holder would be cool!

    I'll take a look tonight!
  12. Good writeup! :)

    That would be the "Powerlet" socket,
    http://www.powerletproducts.com/ ,
    used on BMW, Triumph, and pretty much any other bike that comes with a factory accessory power option.

    At the risk of sounding like an advertisement for Powerlet, it's a far superior solution for vehicles than an ordinary cigarette lighter socket.

    * Water resistant both in-use and when unused.
    * Proper snap-fit, thanks to a standardised plug and socket. Means the plug doesn't vibrate out of the socket all by itself like it does with a cigarette lighter socket.
    * Rated for much higher current than a cigarette lighter socket.
    * Pretty much 'the' standard for motorcycle accessory power. Lots of heated clothing, bike-specific accessories and so on come with Powerlet plugs already.

    Only downside is that to power items that have a cigarette plug on them, you need to either:
    * Amputate the poxy cigarette-lighter plug and solder on a Powerlet plug.
    * Buy a Powerlet-to-cigarette-lighter cable or similar adaptor for your non-powerlet accessories, which is what I did.

    Lots of cables/fittings/plugs/converters/adaptors/etc for sale on the powerlet site though.
  13. Theres already a tutorial on how to add another instrument to the speedo block. http://au.geocities.com/ozcross250/nuinstrument.html

    I think it looks pretty good, I might give it a go sometime after I actually get the bike running well :roll:
  14. I wouldnt leave it constantly wired. The contacts would surely electrolyze a lot easier in the elements?

    Also, if your going the custom route, theres all sorts of handy, weatherproof connectors you can buy all over the place (like jaycar) for quick and easy snap on/off, superior to a cigarette lighter (bulky) setup.
  15. I have a $20 cigarette lighter socket cable tied to the clutch hose on my bike. Been like that for 3 years now. And powered up all the time too.

    So far, no issues. But it does have a waterproof rubber cap to prevent water ingress and it seems to be doing the job.

    I use it mainly to power the GPS.
  16. Sweet. its a good idea.
  17. I just took the power from the horn (ignition switched) and mounted
    astupidcheap cigarette socket down by the clocks on the FZR, way down
    protected by the fairing and screen.

    10 mins and one bit of wire...simple.
    Earths itself by being cable tied to the frame of the fairing.
  18. you would of been better of to wire it to either its own positive circuit or to a relay on a circuit that is only on when the key is on. That being said, mine is on an independent fused circuit. Fixed into the Carton of milk holder under the seat. I put in a twin socket so I can charge a phone, and run a GPS at the same time.

    Not sure about a zip tie or similar to earth a plug, sounds kindy of dodgey to me... what happens if the zip tie looosens up from vibration?? You might of been better to go with a metal screw type hose clamp, and electrical tape.
  19. Four zip ties holding it, no problems yet. It's been there for about 3 years now.