RideBellChain.com Blog


Electrical Connectors and LED strip installation

2/9/2010 8:23:45 PM

Electrical Connectors

This week, I'm doing a little electrical work on the bike.  I found these great red LED strips at Walmart, and they will make excellent saddlebag marker lights for my Royal Star Venture.

I've been staring at the bike for 2 days now, trying to figure out the best way to run the wires, so that they will be protected from the elements, not get in the way when I want to clean/polish the bike, and not be seen.  I think I finally figured that part out. (And this is the part that I was smart and took my time on instead of diving right in!)

The next step was to figure out how I can still take the bags off for cleaning and/or bike maintenance, so I knew I wanted some sort of quick-release.

So I ended up at Radio Shack unfortunately (hate the place) but I did end up with what I needed - connectors.  I have always said that with the right tools, any job will go smoothly and easily, and I have learned over the years that the right electrical connectors for the job will result in a nice clean installation that lasts for a long long time.

Which leads us into this week's article, Electrical Connectors….
For this particular application, I'll be using a combination of power plugs and quick splicer.

For the power connectors, I needed to run only power and ground, so I got the 2-wire connectors. The wire will exit the saddlebag through a tiny hole filled with black silicon to keep the water out, and then the quick connector will be hidden between the bag and the wheel…but if I need to take the bag off, it will be very handy, so it's worth taking the time to do it right the first time.

Although it's OK to crimp the wire into the connector pins, I chose to solder the wire in.  I never mind soldering because I know it's never going to vibrate apart. When you solder, make sure you heat the wire and the pin up to melt the solder, don't use the iron to directly heat the solder because you'll end up with what they call a "cold solder"…like trying to glue something to glass…it holds long enough into fooling you that it's OK, and then at the first chance it gets, it fails.

I am going to tap into the running light wire that's used for the tail lights behind the license plate.  I will use the blue Quick Splicer to grab the power without cutting the wire.  It's literally a snap to piggy-back a wire on top of another.   I'll do the same thing for the ground wire, too. Then I'll run the twin wire (like thin speaker wire, from the tail light assembly over to the saddlebag, and then terminate it with the female connector (white).

I will then peel the backing off of the lights, and stick them on to the saddlebag next. After that, I'll drill a 1/8" hole at the back end and run the wire into the saddlebag, under the carpet, and back up the inside to another small hole exiting on the inside near the tire. (DON'T DRILL INTO YOUR TIRE OR FENDER!!!)  Run the wire outside, and then install the male part of the white power connector. I'll use a dab of black silicon on the inside and outside of the hole around the wires to seal out water.

So that's the plan, and I wanted to show  you the components I'm using.  The end result looks GREAT!  In my next article, I'll complete the installation and show you how I ran the wires and installed the actual light strip.  Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

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I also wanted to remind everyone that this Sunday is Valentines Day.  Nothing better to show someone you care than to give them a Ride Bell for their bike.  Give someone you love (or your buddy) the gift of GOOD LUCK! Come to http://www.RideBellChain.com and you can now drop-ship your gift directly from our store to wherever you want!



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