My Electrical farkle installation post.

The following was posted to a motorcycle forum I frequent. I am posting the text here to retain a copy for reference later. I don’t expect this to interest any of my LJ friends, so you may all ignore this at your discretion…

As promised… My Electrical farkle installation post.

I know most if not all of you don’t know me, and that’s fine. I am new to my ST by 2 months, so I haven’t really amassed a great amount of knowledge to warrant posting on the forums. But I HAVE been here and been reading. I am constantly amazed at the amount of quality information which can be found here, and I appreciate everyone on this site who go out of their way to help a fellow motorcyclist…

With that said, this post is about my installation of a few farkles over the course of the past few weeks. I began the installation process on July 4th, but ran into some difficulties with a battery drain. As such, I had put off posting until I was confident enough that I could button her back up and get on riding.

I had decided to do all the installs at once, since it made more sense to me to do them all when I had the tail apart and tank lifted. On my plate to install were the following:

1 Master Ground block (Electrical Connection)
1 Accessory Universal Power Plate (Electrical Connection))
1 MIT-100 Audio/Intercom/PTT (Sierra MC)
1 Garmin Quest power and audio cable/mount (GPS City)
1 set Symtec Heated Grips (California Sport Touring)
1 set home-made LED rear-facing mirror mounted turn signals (Electrical Connection eBay)
1 Turn Signal Conversion Kit red running lights for amber lenses (Electrical Connection)
1 Bestem Top-box LED Tail light. (Cruiser Backrest eBay)

Well, there ya go. Let’s get right into the pictures and descriptions then, shall we?…

This shows the placement of the fuse block. Note that this uses style fuses, the tops of which do touch (very lightly) the inner portion of the outer fairing when covered. I don’t expect any issues because of this mild touching, but it is something to note as there is very little room there.

The heated grip switch is installed just below the left fairing pocket, much like every other heated grip controller ever installed on an ST. It really is just the perfect placement. I had the same make of grip warmers on my VFR and was very please with their performance. I can only imagine I will be just as happy with them on the ST with even more air deflection from the fairings.

I ran the accessory audio cables into the left fairing pocket, as the ipod and FRS/GMRS radio fit nicely in here. After a cursory test-run of about 10 miles, I did find the audio levels to be fairly low, even with the iPod volume at full blast (the Garmin has no internal volume adjustment). I don’t expect this to be a real big issue however, as I usually listen to music at lower levels when riding anyhow. Time will tell if an amp is going to be needed here.

Getting the 5 LED pods (just duct taped together at this point) wired up. Located the correct wires by using a multi-meter to determine which ones were hot when the flashers were live. The hot wires pulse up to 12v and down to zero, so I just tapped into those for the hot leads to the LEDs.

LED turn signals Off / On
In the daylight, they aren’t too bright, but they do help me to remember to turn my signals off now (the dash blocks my view of the indicators when riding). At night, the are impossible to ignore! EXACTLY the intended result! These should really help with telling people in my blind-spot of my intentions.

Tail removed to install the running lights and tap into the brake light line for the top box lights. Again, I tested the lines with a multi-meter to determine which were ‘hot’ when the brake was applied.

Red running lights in the upper left and right turn signal housings, deactivate when the turn/emergency signals flash. The fact that they turn off when the signals flash was a lucky accident from tapping into the signal wire backwards. I had meant to tap into the always hot running light lead, but had just tapped the front signals so that process was fresh in my mind and I followed it without thinking. Luckily, it all worked out well and I think I like the fact that they turn off when the amber signal turns on as this provides even more visibility, which is never a bad thing in my book.

Brake applied (in a dark garage). The Photo makes the brake lights actually appear amber/yellow for some reason. I can assure you in person it is very RED. I used a quick disconnect for the top box leads, since I do plan on riding without it at times. I wanted to make sure I had the option of easy removal. Choices are also always a good thing in my book!

Regular running (also in a dark garage). Likewise here, the amber portion in the brake light is a figment of the camera. The running lights in the brake and turn signal housings are visually RED.

I’ll admit after taking these last two photos and uploading them to my site, I had to go out to my bike and verify that I hadn’t crossed some wires somewhere, as the amber look was so convincing in the photos. Well, I verified, and they do indeed run absolutely red, and glow even brighter red when the brakes are applied. Hallelujah!

As far as wire routing was concerned, I followed the outside of the tank and frame, as I wasn’t too comfortable running through the airbox as discussed in other threads. I found that running under the fairings and/or tank and then hugging up on the frame only exposes about a inch of wiring on either side of the bike, and in an area just in front of the seat. I am comfortable with this wire routing and don’t foresee any issues with this routing method. Routed this way were the audio lines for the MP3/Cobra/Garmin, power for the heated grips, and power for the Garmin.

For the most part all the installs were fairly easy. Of course, I am a total electrical retard, so for anyone with a decent passing knowledge of electricity, the installs should go a lot more smoothly.

As noted at the beginning of the thread, I did fight a bit of a gremlin which caused some battery drain (I think). At this point, without having changed a thing after the initial installs, the drain seems to have subsided. I got myself a charger, and brought the battery back to an appropriate level and haven’t seen as substantial a drain as previously seen. Because of this, I think the issue was simply due to not riding during the two weeks I was working on the installs and subsequent troubleshooting, along with the constant testing of light/farkle functionality. So let that be a lesson to some of you: don’t test too much without riding!

As for my happiness with all that I installed:

I am absolutely thrilled with all the LED/lighting additions. I really couldn’t be happier with these. They were unbelievable simple to install and make a world of difference in visibility. I used Mark Lawrence’s page on LED signals for inspiration and found the information to be very helpful during the install. One word of note, I think the 2007 ST1300 wire colours changed from what Mark documents, so be sure to do your own testing before tapping in:

The heated grips work exactly as expected, so no surprises there. I still don’t’ know why STs don’t come with these as standard features yet. Coming from California, I never understood the desire for them, until I got them. Such a subtle but important item when your hands start to feel that chill. As a safety feature, these things should be mandatory!

The fuse and ground blocks were a snap to install and helped make all the other installs just as easy. Having a fused set of connections made all the difference when trying to troubleshoot and test the various farkles. The fact that the power plate comes with a fused relay makes it even better! Tapping it into a switched hot wire ensures that the accessories will only be on when the bike is on, helping to avoid a costly and unintended drain.

The MIT-100 is the only install which I haven’t yet been able to fully test. I need my wife to jump on with me to really put the intercom through its paces. I am confident that it will be worth the cost and function well for us. Possibly not the best unit out there, but so far, for the cost, I am very happy with how it is performing. I am sure I know how the PTT will work with my Cobra in bike-to-bike mode, so I am not worried about that. There is a fairly substantial bit of engine noise, even with a ground loop isolator ( plugged into the mp3 audio line. I’ll need to dig in and investigate that a bit more thoroughly when time allows. The GPS audio portion is unobtrusive, but not quiet. I can hear direction easily with my windscreen down at about 50mph. This will be one of my most heavily used features, as we recently moved to the Portland area and I don’t know my way around here that well yet, so having the audio is a huge relief from needing to actually look at the unit while I ride to figure out which way to turn next.

All the pictures above are also on my personal website in LARGER formats. They can be found in my “Electrical Installs” album here:

Here are some videos as well…
This one shows the LED signals and how bright the show in a dark garage:

This one shows the alternating running lights and turn signals:

And this one just shows the top box off, then with the brake applied:

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I know I enjoyed creating it, even if I was completely frustrated at times. The satisfaction from doing work yourself far exceeds any level of frustration you may encounter… well at least it does once you have it figured out and working right! :rolleyes:

6 thoughts on “My Electrical farkle installation post.

          1. You know, if you really want to be accepted as a nu-goth, you need to be listening to AFI and My Chemical Romance. Orgy are so late nineties. Don’t you know anything? Live in the now!!!

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