How to build a switched power supply for accessories - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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How to build a switched power supply for accessories

I wrote the following article for another site and thought I would double post here for anyone interested.

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Why a relay?

Each pre existing circuit in your bike is fused. If you install a power hungry accessory like heated grips or tank mounted espresso maker it will start blowing fuses if connected to an existing circuit such as the head light circuit and if you up the fuse the original device is no longer protected.

With a high current accessory like heated grips they need to be powered directly from the battery on their own fused circuit. The only issue with a direct battery connection is the connected devices always have power so can run down the battery if left on. A switched power source that is only active when the engine is running is more desirable. This is where a relay comes in. A relay will allow you to take the power draw off the battery where it should be but only be active when the relay is turned on by the ignition.

Several bike accessory sources like Twisted Throttle sell a pre packaged bike accessory relay block for wiring in accessories for about $80. It does the exact same thing as the ~$10 circuit you can build yourself from an automotive relay.


How to build a relay controlled circuit

A relay is basically an electrically operated switch. Buy a generic 4 pin automotive relay. They're cheap and available at most auto parts stores. The switch circuit is very low power, while the switched circuit can handle high current flow. Energize the coil side of the relay from a source that is only on when the engine is running. For example pin 85 to Ground and pin 86 to the tail running light. Power the relay from the POS terminal of the battery (pin 30) via a fuse in an installed inline fuse holder of suitable capacity. You now have a high current power source, that is only energized when the ignition is ON, from pin 87. Optionally you can connect pin 87 to a wiring block to provide more than one connection point if you have multiple accessories.

Note some automotive relays will have five pins with the additional pin labeled 87a. The extra pin functions the same as pin 87 with the exception that it supplies power when the relay is not energized and switches off when the relay is energized, the opposite of pin 87. If you use a relay of this type remember to insulate the unused pin so it does not short out on the frame.


How to make a reliable electrical connection


There are several ways to connect wires together but several of them are problematic and the source of reliability issues. In particular tap connectors that punch through the insulation to tap into a connector are unreliable and should be avoided if possible. The best way to join wires is with solder. Twisting wires together creates another source of potential electrical problems.

To create a good solder joint twist the wires together as a first step. Next heat the twisted wires from the bottom (heat rises) with a hot soldering iron for a minute or two. If you hold the solder against the heating wires (from the top) it should melt into the wires when they get hot enough. Let the solder melt into the hot wires rather than melting the solder directly with the soldering iron. Remember to pre heat the soldering iron for 5 minutes or so before using - they don't heat up instantly.

A clean soldering iron tip will transfer heat much more effectively and just work better. Keep the tip of the soldering iron clean when it is hot, by brushing against a damp sponge or cloth, usually after every solder. Emery paper can be used to sand oxidation off a cold soldering iron tip that has not been used in a while. A clean tip will have a shinny coating of solder. If it is dull it needs cleaning.

A wire stripper like that pictured to the right is cheap (~$5-10) to purchase at a specialty electronics store like The Source and the best choice for removing insulation A dedicated wire stripper makes it easy and quick to remove insulation from wires with a high degree of precision. Knives, razor blades and in particular pliers like wire strippers perform poorly and often cut a portion of the wire as well as the insulation.

An electrical connection can be insulated with either electrical tape or a heat gun and shrink wrap. Do not use duct tape, scotch tape or other kinds of tape as the insulation properties and/or adhesive durability are can often be poor.
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Last edited by twowheels; 01-07-2013 at 12:50 AM.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:41 AM
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I have a question about those fuse blocks they sell from Twistedthrottle (as well as others). It looks like they only have one relay. Wouldn't separate devices require separate relays?

I recently connected my heated grips and had planned on running some driving lights off the same relay. Then I started thinking about how I'd turn them off.

Nice write up, BTW.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclesarge View Post
I have a question about those fuse blocks they sell from Twistedthrottle (as well as others). It looks like they only have one relay. Wouldn't separate devices require separate relays?

I recently connected my heated grips and had planned on running some driving lights off the same relay. Then I started thinking about how I'd turn them off.

Nice write up, BTW.
Only one relay is needed for all your accessories but I would connect a fuse between pin 87 and each accessory. Most accessories like heated grips come with in line fuses anyway. Optionally you can buy a cheap terminal block to provide extra connection points to pin 87 of the relay or just connect the wires together at pin 87. Suggest 12guage wire.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:54 AM
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So how would you turn off the driving lights? What would stop a high powered horn (like a Stebel or Bad Boy) from blowing? IDK if it's just late and I'm not thinking right.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 03:58 AM
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You need a separate switch and relay for different devices otherwise in your case your spotlights would be on whenever your heated grips were on.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 06:26 AM
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can't you put a switch inline w/ the lights after the relay???
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 03:08 AM
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This is what i understood, in graphical form. Correct me if i'm wrong.


Current : Maroon 2011.
- Front Fender Extender - Radiator Guard - 19mm Nissin radial master pump - Nissin 4-pot caliper - SS Brake lines - Osram Nightbreakers+ low, Osram Hyper Rallye 65W high - LED 30w spotlights & 3w DRLs - Rear Hugger - Givi crash guards - Yoshimura TRC Carbon - Dynojet PC5 - Scottoiler - R1 shock with Ohlins 14.2 kg/mm spring - Imitation Givi Windshield - Rear Givi rack with 24ltr Givi top box - Bosch dual tones - Z800 stock mirrors.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 03:39 AM
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Hmmm..
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACK DOG View Post
can't you put a switch inline w/ the lights after the relay???
That's the question I have. The problem I see is that then you'd have a high current device being powered by a low current switch, which is what you are trying to avoid by putting the relay in, in the first place. ????
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclesarge View Post
That's the question I have. The problem I see is that then you'd have a high current device being powered by a low current switch, which is what you are trying to avoid by putting the relay in, in the first place. ????
I don't know much abt sparks & usually avoid fooling with electricity (evidenced by my straight hair) but if the relay & the switch have appropriate load ratings, there should be no problem.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 08:41 AM
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Aren't there already some (or one) available switched electrical connections on the Versys?

My new V and its farkling journey

Is there any benefit to going the route of the relay install discussed here? Not being difficult, just trying to understand (I'm no electrician).

2011 Imperial Red
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaileyMan View Post
Aren't there already some (or one) available switched electrical connections on the Versys?

My new V and its farkling journey

Is there any benefit to going the route of the relay install discussed here? Not being difficult, just trying to understand (I'm no electrician).
not all years had auxiliary power take off
my personal preferrence would be to buy a premanufactured unit like the one sold by twisted throttle.
for me part of the fun of farkling is working it out myself even if it's not always the easy or cost effective route
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaileyMan View Post
Aren't there already some (or one) available switched electrical connections on the Versys?

My new V and its farkling journey

Is there any benefit to going the route of the relay install discussed here? Not being difficult, just trying to understand (I'm no electrician).


For some accessories that would draw quite an amount of current such as hid spotlight or grip heaters. I cant be sure if the stock wire loom could handle the load, hence for peace of mind, pulling a connection with wire that can surely handle the load is sensible.

I shall leave the stock power ports for low-draw items such as charging port and running led lights.

Current : Maroon 2011.
- Front Fender Extender - Radiator Guard - 19mm Nissin radial master pump - Nissin 4-pot caliper - SS Brake lines - Osram Nightbreakers+ low, Osram Hyper Rallye 65W high - LED 30w spotlights & 3w DRLs - Rear Hugger - Givi crash guards - Yoshimura TRC Carbon - Dynojet PC5 - Scottoiler - R1 shock with Ohlins 14.2 kg/mm spring - Imitation Givi Windshield - Rear Givi rack with 24ltr Givi top box - Bosch dual tones - Z800 stock mirrors.

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
Whew! Couldn't even read all the mis-information in this thread. LOL!
come on... For the sake of correcting misinformation, point it out and share how you would've done it.

Current : Maroon 2011.
- Front Fender Extender - Radiator Guard - 19mm Nissin radial master pump - Nissin 4-pot caliper - SS Brake lines - Osram Nightbreakers+ low, Osram Hyper Rallye 65W high - LED 30w spotlights & 3w DRLs - Rear Hugger - Givi crash guards - Yoshimura TRC Carbon - Dynojet PC5 - Scottoiler - R1 shock with Ohlins 14.2 kg/mm spring - Imitation Givi Windshield - Rear Givi rack with 24ltr Givi top box - Bosch dual tones - Z800 stock mirrors.

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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewhtf View Post
This is what i understood, in graphical form. Correct me if i'm wrong.

One thing with multiple take offs from a single relay is to make sure the relay is up to the task. Mini relays may range from 10 amps upwards.
Calculate your total current draw and make sure your relay can handle the situation, otherwise a great simple system.
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 10:07 PM
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I noted from ebay there are relays that has built in 30-40 amps fuse.

**important** i found out that fuses should be placed BEFORE the relay.



So are you saying that if we are to use a mini relay, then we shoud be wiring multiple relays, one for each accessories that we are going to use, right? But how about the power that is used to activate the relay? Can we tap from a single source for 4-5 relays? What about if we run a direct 12V power from battery as the activation power and ground it back to chassis? The switch will both activate the relay and at the same time activates the accessory.



But that kinda defeats the purpose of having relay, no? Why not we just wire it direct? The switch will ensure the circuit is broken and hence no power running. So what is the purpose of having relay anyway?



Some basic reading.
http://www.gadgetjq.com/wiredrivinglights.htm
http://www.ripper1.com/tech/wiring.php

Current : Maroon 2011.
- Front Fender Extender - Radiator Guard - 19mm Nissin radial master pump - Nissin 4-pot caliper - SS Brake lines - Osram Nightbreakers+ low, Osram Hyper Rallye 65W high - LED 30w spotlights & 3w DRLs - Rear Hugger - Givi crash guards - Yoshimura TRC Carbon - Dynojet PC5 - Scottoiler - R1 shock with Ohlins 14.2 kg/mm spring - Imitation Givi Windshield - Rear Givi rack with 24ltr Givi top box - Bosch dual tones - Z800 stock mirrors.

Up next :
- Protaper SE ATV Low

Last edited by andrewhtf; 01-09-2013 at 01:00 AM.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 09:10 AM
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I am NOT AN ELECTRICIAN and have not slept in a HolidayInn lately but...
My understanding is that the relay itself can be triggered by a smaller load (like a running light) but the circuit thru the relay that is feeding the accessory can handle a hgher load (heated gear for example) reducing the amount of heavy gage wire running all over the place. Not professing this to be factual or accurate just what my limited understanding tells me.
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 04:03 PM
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The ideal situation is to have multiple relays with the battery feed looped to each terminal 30. You then switch each relay terminal 85. The switch required to activate the relay is a small low current switch. Also the wiring can be much lighter. You can fit a fuse or circuit breaker between the battery and the first relay. If you are running lights a circuit breaker is good as it just interrupts the lighting circuit, switching on and off. It has a bi metal strip on one of the contacts. This way you still have enough lighting untill you can stop.
The reason why relays are run in vehicles is to reduce the wiring size = weight and cost, to run lighter switch gear and to reduce the amount of wiring. Running heavier loads through modern circuits ie fitting higher wattage bulbs in headlights, 1, you will get a voltage drop at the light ( the wire is to light to handle the current) and 2, your switch gear may fail. The switch contacts are not heavy enough to handle higher current. The arcing will destroy the switch contact. The ideal world is to run one relay per circuit with that relay being switched.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Youre missing the point. Only a single relay is needed. This sits next to the battery to supply a high current ,.switched source. If you have mult accessories you connect them to.a wiring block, each with their own fuse, that is energized by power from the relay. Using mult relays unneccesarly adds to cost, weight, and complexity.

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