Voltage Drop on city lights - 1Volt Loss - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Voltage Drop on city lights - 1Volt Loss

Hi all,

Installed a neat 5mm LED voltage meter on my dash without cutting, Gammatronix 5mm.

Put it in the push pin hole on the right, cabled tied it to the dash bracket, and applied silicone to seal and waterproof, even put on a M5 washer over the bulb to make to look neater..

Tapped the wires to the city lights, and voila!









Was pretty proud of my work but, alas! it didnt light up properly, amber when it was supposed to be green at 13.2 volts or greater, to indicate proper charging.


I did a multimeter test at battery and say that the figures were right, but when I tested the wire side of the city light cable, it read around 0.9 Volts less then the battery, at the male connector, with the city light disconnected.

Voltage Drop! only when i am at 4k rpm on the highway would it go green, meaning its measuring around 14.1- 14.2 volts, so charging seems fine.

But voltmeter is semi useful only with this .

after doing some research it seems common for older bikes, with bad battery terminals (mine is still quite new) or the ignition switch contacts wearing out, or bad grounding somewhere.

Any tips for stuff I can troubleshoot? I was slightly rough with the cable when splicing, could I have taken off some of the strands inside?

I read a way is to rebuild the wiring with a relayed one, but I have no idea where to start.

Im planning to do a voltage test on the left city light and see if its the same to check for wire strand damage.

2009 V ABS - 80,00KM

LV Evo II | H&B Crash Bars | H&B Journey 55L | LED Voltmeter | PP Windshield Bracket | Puig Windshield w/ Multi Deflector | C&C Shorty Levers | Chaft Mirrors | Puig Rear Hugger | Series R/R | Vac Mod | Tooless Preload Adjuster | Snorkel Remove | EP Radiator Guard | BMW Grips | TS Tank Grips | LED City Lights | Contoured Seat

Last edited by widishi; 08-29-2017 at 12:23 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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By the way, its a 2009 V, with 73,000 kms on the clock!

2009 V ABS - 80,00KM

LV Evo II | H&B Crash Bars | H&B Journey 55L | LED Voltmeter | PP Windshield Bracket | Puig Windshield w/ Multi Deflector | C&C Shorty Levers | Chaft Mirrors | Puig Rear Hugger | Series R/R | Vac Mod | Tooless Preload Adjuster | Snorkel Remove | EP Radiator Guard | BMW Grips | TS Tank Grips | LED City Lights | Contoured Seat
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 12:31 PM
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You need to connect it directly to the battery for an accurate measurement. There is apparently a voltage drop through the wiring harness due to resistance. You should always polish battery posts if they are tarnished for a better connection. Emery paper or a wire brush will work for this. There will always be a voltage drop across a bulb.

Also the leads to the sensor should be soldered for minimal resistance.
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Last edited by twowheels; 08-29-2017 at 12:34 PM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 02:16 PM
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Yes there will always be a voltage drop at the light, even on a brand new bike with good wiring.

If you use a battery tender then it would probably work to just leave it hooked up to the battery all the time. If staying overnight somewhere without the battery tender, the low draw of that LED shouldn't cause a problem. You could use a relay if you want to wire it at the battery but have it turn on and off with the key.

But "hook it to the battery" is not as simple as it sounds, I hate having extra connectors on the battery bolts, it makes it hard to get battery bolt threads started. So I usually find a spot near the battery, like at the solenoid or near the main fuse. Be sure to fuse this wire though (the wire going to the LED meter). For ground there are usually lots of options.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 03:55 PM
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i have a number read out volt meter attached to the same place,(mines an 08 with 40k miles) and it only shows 14v when running and drops to 13.6-13.8v when the fan comes on or when ii have heated grips on and stuff charging. like said above if you want a more accurate reading hook it to the battery its-self (maybe thru a relay using that city/parking light as a trigger so not to drain your battery

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 04:21 PM
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FWIW, I had a Datel digital voltmeter direct-wired to the battery on my prior bike for about 10 years/60,000+ miles and it never ran the battery down. But the bike never sat for very long (I ride thru the winter) and I had it on a Battery Tender whenever it was going to sit for a week or so, like during snow storms. I did 7-10 day tours off the BT with no problem. 13mA draw.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 05:07 PM
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Electrical distribution 101

A couple corrections here. First the main electrical highest voltage will be at the main fuse, as the regulator is powering all accessories and charging the battery from this point.Poor connections at the battery will not affect the measured voltage, in fact a poor battery connection will only affect charge and could cause a higher voltage reading, measured at the battery.

Original equipment switched ( relay driven) fused outputs go through a relay, then to a fuse block, to the individual devices like the city lights , expect to get about 0.1 to 0.3 volts loss, in addition, you have voltage drop on the wire size as well, although I found on my 07 that the heads up voltage monitor was within 0.2 volts accurate using the city lights.

My latest display was from China and is extremely well made and very accurate, you will see far right is a yellow led on, this comes on at about 14.3 VDC, this was taken with the bike running at full charge and the headlight off. Normal running is all 3 green on and at 6000 RPM , above 80KM/HR, with adequate air flow for cooling, the yellow toggles on every few seconds, which indicates my CompuFire regulator is clipping/ doing it's job.


So what I did is I connected my voltmeter to the switched power distribution that I installed, driven by the accessory relay that in turn drives a 40 amp relay, fed by 30 amp wire ( fused at the battery), which drives my distribution fusing.Now that we have inline photos I may update some existing posts as time permits.
http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ml#post1263714

There are several good displays similar to the neat little voltmeter, also like the heads up/ signal dynamics multi colour led, and others. The Led is my preferred way to go, less distracting, and unless you are colour blind , visible in bright sunlight or dark, don't need to have reading glasses on to know what the numbers say.

Last edited by onewizard; 04-28-2018 at 07:14 PM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2017, 12:25 PM
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For about $6US (including shipping) you can buy a temp/voltage gauge off of EBay and just stick it in your 12V socket. It also does double duty in car. No install required. There are versions with F and C. Temp gauge is very accurate due to remote sensor that is not impacted by direct sunlight as many surface mounted bike thermometers are. Search for "12V Digital Voltmeter Thermometer + Cigarette Lighter" on EBay.

If you have not installed a 12v socket in your dash it is a very cheap and easy mod. Just drill a 1 1/8 hole in the dash (requires 1 1/8" drill bit) where it will not conflict with handle bar movement. A screw collar on the 12v accessory socket grips the dash from behind holding it in place and it sits flush in the dash. BikeMaster make a decent product of this type for only a few $. I use mine with a USB adapter most times to power phone but also works to power air pump. Not all USB adapters and sockets are the same, some have quick charge capability, some do not. USB adapters capable of producing more than 1 amp are required for quick charging devices that support this.



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Last edited by twowheels; 08-30-2017 at 12:48 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-30-2017, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
For about $6US (including shipping) you can buy a temp/voltage gauge off of EBay and just stick it in your 12V socket. It also does double duty in car. No install required. There are versions with F and C. Temp gauge is very accurate due to remote sensor that is not impacted by direct sunlight as many surface mounted bike thermometers are. Search for "12V Digital Voltmeter Thermometer + Cigarette Lighter" on EBay.

If you have not installed a 12v socket in your dash it is a very cheap and easy mod. Just drill a 1 1/8 hole in the dash (requires 1 1/8" drill bit) where it will not conflict with handle bar movement. A screw collar on the 12v accessory socket grips the dash from behind holding it in place and it sits flush in the dash. BikeMaster make a decent product of this type for only a few $. I use mine with a USB adapter most times to power phone but also works to power air pump. Not all USB adapters and sockets are the same, some have quick charge capability, some do not. USB adapters capable of producing more than 1 amp are required for quick charging devices that support this.





I have a several of those but when you hit bumps its not happy and doesn't read correctly if at all. I have the same one onewizard posted above...

P1010755 by weljo2001, on Flickr

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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HI Guys,

Wanted to follow up, Thanks for the suggestions, but I have at least found out the cause of the voltage drop, which is caused by the the main headlight when turned on and drawing current - causing the voltage to drop. Pulling the plug on the main headlight caused the reading to be 0.1-0.2 volts off from battery and the voltmeter to be accurate.

I did some maths with a voltage calculator online and if I convert the current x2 5watt driving lights to x2 1watt LED, I should minimize power draw on the light array, and reduce voltage drop enough so the voltmeter would be more usable, in theory it would move it back to 0.1-0.2 volts off battery reading.

Not sure if I used the calculator right, but Ill give it a shot, LED driving lights would be a nice cheap upgrade.

A simpler solution would be to convert to 35watt LED/HID main light, but I am not so keen on that mod, with some questionable waterproofing due to the torrential rain we get in South East Asia.

In my country its mandatory for motorcycle lights to be on 24/7 when keyed on and riding, and my versys is wired as such. (not sure about other V's in other countries, but I was wondering if that would explain the difference between why some would have the accurate reading from the driving lights, as i know some euro/us bikes usually have a headlight on/off switch).

Just wanted to update.

2009 V ABS - 80,00KM

LV Evo II | H&B Crash Bars | H&B Journey 55L | LED Voltmeter | PP Windshield Bracket | Puig Windshield w/ Multi Deflector | C&C Shorty Levers | Chaft Mirrors | Puig Rear Hugger | Series R/R | Vac Mod | Tooless Preload Adjuster | Snorkel Remove | EP Radiator Guard | BMW Grips | TS Tank Grips | LED City Lights | Contoured Seat

Last edited by widishi; 09-07-2017 at 12:25 AM.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
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...In my country its mandatory for motorcycle lights to be on 24/7 when keyed on and riding, and my versys is wired as such. (not sure about other V's in other countries...)....
SAME here in Canada and the USA.

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