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Old 10-24-2009, 12:26 AM   #1
murrayesq
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I have a 2008 Vulcan 900. The manual says DO NOT connect more than 70 W of total load to the vehicle's electrical system and that I should always install a fuse of 10 A or less for the electrical accessory circuit. I have Gerbings heated gloves (G3) rated at 2.2 amps/27 Watts and Gerbings heated jacket liner rated at 6.4 amps/77 Watts. Although combined they only total 8.6 amps, the wattage adds up to 104 Watts. I don't quite understand how these numbers interplay, but can I use the gloves and jacket liner, with a First Gear Heat-Troller, at the same time or will I cause problems with recharging my battery as I'm running? How does one calculate what can be run on this bike at the same time. Oh, and I also run a Rider 2 GPS off the battery on occasion. Can all three items be used at the same time without problems? Can someone explain all of this to me?

Bob Murray
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:43 AM   #2
spencea15
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This is my opinion, i run a 80/100 W bulb now which is 20 to 40 W over stock (i think high is 60W) and a Gerbings heated jacket liner with no problem yet. I never run with high on and jacket plugged in unless it is turned down low. I always start the bike and let it run about 5 min before i head off so the battery can charge back up and so that the engine warms up, i also let it idle about 2 min when i park it with the jacket off. you should be fine as long as you do not run the whole time with it turned on all the way up because the higher the temp setting the more watts it pulls.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:18 AM   #3
Poncho Villa
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Default Accessories, Over Load

1st. never wire any accessories directly to any bikes wiring system, harness or even dedicated accessorie jack plug. If you do, you risk an that an overload or short will at minimum blow the acc fuse or worse burn/melt a portion of the bike wiring harness. Just don't go there!

BEST. Always wire your accessories with your own new wiring (ample gauge) starting at the battery, include appropriate inline fuse and pilot relay(s) as necessary. The relays should be triggered by new switches. These switches can be powered by the acc jack plug or new hot lead wiring. I tap the license plate night light circuit which is downstream of the key switch and is not critical item. Wiring the pilot relay this way will insure that the accessorie is unpowered anytime the bike is Keyed OFF.

Your alternator has a specific max load it can generate. If you exceed this load (volts x amps = watts) you will see a drop in voltage at the battery as the alternator cannot keep up with demand. Usually this is minimal problem (load dependant) and can be mitigated by running the bike with acc turned off for a while. Then you are ReCharging the battery.
If you grossly overload your alternator capacity for a long time you will cause your battery to fail.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
Tallannie
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Well... if the manual says do not hook up more than 70 watts, that implies, as Poncho points out, that this is the max the alternator can deliver as extra amps. That is less than 6 amps....so you are pushing it.

Realistically, unless you run at full heat with your vest and gloves all the time.... you will probably be OK. While doing that your battery may not be charging...or it will even be discharging to run your vest...while you ride. The GPS is probably a minimal additional drain.

At times when your heat troller is on lo, or off, you will be charging and this will probably keep your battery from dying. Try to leave the vest off most of the time ?

And I agree with Poncho, to hook up your heated gear you should run direct from the battery.

I have never understood the need for heated vests personally, my hands and thighs get frozen but never my upper body...??




Quote:
Originally Posted by murrayesq View Post
I have a 2008 Vulcan 900. The manual says DO NOT connect more than 70 W of total load to the vehicle's electrical system and that I should always install a fuse of 10 A or less for the electrical accessory circuit. I have Gerbings heated gloves (G3) rated at 2.2 amps/27 Watts and Gerbings heated jacket liner rated at 6.4 amps/77 Watts. Although combined they only total 8.6 amps, the wattage adds up to 104 Watts. I don't quite understand how these numbers interplay, but can I use the gloves and jacket liner, with a First Gear Heat-Troller, at the same time or will I cause problems with recharging my battery as I'm running? How does one calculate what can be run on this bike at the same time. Oh, and I also run a Rider 2 GPS off the battery on occasion. Can all three items be used at the same time without problems? Can someone explain all of this to me?

Bob Murray

Last edited by Tallannie; 10-24-2009 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:31 PM   #5
jimkat
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For what it's worth, last year I ran a heated vest about 70 watts on my 07 classic, In Jan I added (2) 32 watt ext. speakers. By April my stator went out, 700.00 repair, it was covered under warranty, except for towing. I was told by a mechanic that when the stator is overworked, it overheats and burns out. I'm not sure that's what happened. I am still running the vest and speakers together but I have added a digital
voltmeter so I can keep an eye on the charging status of the stator. In the meantime I am looking for an aftermarket stator that puts out more watts, I haven't found one yet.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:10 PM   #6
billc
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Default Wiring, continued

This is an interesting discussion. I've read about some things that I've not seen before, specifically Poncho's post.

Just a couple of follow-up thoughts, for what it's worth.

I've wired plenty of accessories to the accessory circuits on many bikes and I've never had a problem. I figure if the manufacturer provides the circuits and indicates that they're engineered and constructed to handle a given load, one should be able to trust that. ???

Wiring an accessory, especially a heated one, to the license plate circuit sounds a LOT more hazardous to me than using the accessory circuit. I'm no engineer and I haven't made a close study of the wiring diagrams but running the little plate bulb with the meager wiring that is used doesn't sound like a good thing to wire a heated accessory into. The weakest link with be the size of wire that is used. If you go from the larger heat-accessory wire to the tiny plate bulb wire, the greater load from the larger wire will try to pass through the smaller wire and that will cause the latter to heat up and possibly melt.

Probably wise to connect any heating gear direct to the battery to avoid that very wiring issue.

Including an appropriate sized fuse inline in any circuit will insure that you don't overload the circuit and burn anything up. That's the reason for a fuse: That it burns out before any damage is done. Only if you omit the fuse should you have any problems.

My wife has been running her Gerbing vest off of her bike's charging system for years without concern. She's done it on a number of different machines by various makers. Gerbing, which is a very reputable and capable firm, builds their heated clothing specifically for motorcyclists. They know what types of loads are wise for general use. If you have doubts, contact them directly (they'll be happy to respond) and let them tell you what you need to know.

One more thing: About why anyone would use a heated vest. Good question.

I have used heated vests before and found that I am far more comfortable by layering with clothing. On the exterior, I wear a ballistic nylon riding coat that is wind-proof and water-proof and that is engineered from the git-go to keep wind from passing through the front zipper. Of course, I wear the jacket liner as well. Then I wear a heavy sweatshirt or fleece liner. Then I wear a turtleneck T with long sleeves. If it's really bitter, I'll add a wool scarf around my neck. I'm toasty as can be and, believe it or not, it doesn't feel that bulky. I bought my jacket a size larger than my normal size to allow for such layering. Clothed that way, I ride all year round here in Utah as long as the roads are dry. I've ridden through twelve foot high snow drifts (again on dry pavement, except for a few times when I ran into snow and ice and toughed it out) and sub-zero temperatures (not accounting for the wind chill) and I've survived.

All that gets cold are my feet and toes and my hands and fingers. In the past, I've just endured the cold there. I wear mittens and neoprene boot gloves, etc., but they still don't keep the bite out at really low temps. For that, I'm trying out wickable liners for both stockings and gloves that I got from my local sports store as soon as the roads dry out after the most recent snow storm. If they don't work, then I'm planning on buying the Gerbing glove liners and boot insoles.

On the other hand, my sweetheart won't ride in the cold without her Gerbing vest. But she's tiny so when she bundles up like I do, she looks like a midget Pillsbury Dough Boy so I can see why she prefers the heated vest: Fewer layers.

Oh, and I found that my Gerbing vest from years ago didn't do that much for me with the sub-zero temperatures that I was riding in during the winter. But that was back in the wire strand days and Gerbing has gone with a better method now so today's vests might be worth the price.

If you've read all of this, you're probably wishing you hadn't started but I hope some of this information is of value to someone.

Keep the shiny side up, folks!
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:58 PM   #7
Poncho Villa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billc View Post
I've wired plenty of accessories to the accessory circuits on many bikes and I've never had a problem. I figure if the manufacturer provides the circuits and indicates that they're engineered and constructed to handle a given load, one should be able to trust that.??? Wiring an accessory, especially a heated one, to the license plate circuit sounds a LOT more hazardous to me than using the accessory circuit. Probably wise to connect any heating gear direct to the battery to avoid that very wiring issue. Including an appropriate sized fuse inline in any circuit will insure that you don't overload the circuit and burn anything up.
Sparky... er, Bill, My instructions where to wire ONLY the PILOT Switch to the tail lamp circuit so that IT is HOT only when the key ingition switch is on, otherwise this PILOT duty circuit is DEAD, amd no one can turn your accessorie(s) w/o the bike key and run your battery down... and out.
Never did I intruct anyone to run any LOAD off the tail lamp or any of the bikes wiring system. If you read carefully, you will note I instructed to wire any and ALL accessories directly off the battery positive post, thru an inline fuse and then thru the PILOT RELAY which can only be activated by the pilot switch will only can be HOT when the bike is keyed on. The pilot relay is the key to this whole scenario. I am saving your butts from smoking a wiring harness. it does happen. maybe not to you, but somebody will smoke it.
As for TRUSTING the bike accessory circuit and wiring... well, I guess you could.. and you could melt your wiring system as well. They cost a whole bunch of money and time to replace. The circuit may be up to the task, but then the aftermarket accessorie may not, or it might fail at some point. The results are the same, melted wires, dead bike, good money spent. If you dont want to go to the trouble of providing your own dedicated wiring, then take that chance. heck its your bike... old army quote; "smoke em if you got em."?
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:29 PM   #8
billc
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Default Wiring and fire

Poncho,

A most excellent reply! Thank you.

Obviously from your posts, you are quite adept and experienced with electronics. I was seeking clearer explanations, as you detected. Hence my question marks. I appreciate your clarifying things for me.

I really don't want to smoke my bike <grin>. I smoked a trike once and I think it gave me cancer.

So may I dig a little deeper? I've done a good deal of wiring on bikes and trikes - all self-taught - but I'm not sure I understand the pilot circuit idea. Here's what I think it is:

1. You wire the hot accessory lead direct to the battery post.
2. You wire the ground to...well...a ground (frame).
3. But inline on the hot side of the accessory circuit you wire in an interrupt that goes to what you refer to as the pilot relay. This component is actually a switch, right, that allows you to turn the accessory on or off?

If I'm understanding what you're suggesting, I'm guessing you wired the circuit to the tail light circuit from the harness under the seat and then placed your pilot relay (switch?) someplace accessible but not in plain sight.

Am I close?

Maybe I'll rewire my wife's Gerbing on her LT to follow your recommendations. She's the epitome of an absent-minded professor and she almost always leaves her ignition turned on. I end up turning it off for her. Right now, as I've wired the circuit, it's hot all the time until she turns off her Gerbing thermostat controller. I see a dead battery in our future.

Thanks again!
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Last edited by billc; 12-15-2009 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 12-15-2009, 05:48 PM   #9
Poncho Villa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billc View Post
I really don't want to smoke my bike <grin>. I smoked a trike once and I think it gave me cancer. I'm not sure I understand the pilot circuit idea. Am I close? Right now, as I've wired the circuit, it's hot all the time until she turns off her Gerbing thermostat controller. I see a dead battery in our future. Thanks again!
Bill'ster, Good! you are working the problem. Like they say when your airplane is spinning out of control, KEEP FLYING! never quit flying the plane. So hang with me and I will walk you thru this step by step. The DC current will flow in the order that I list. Think of it like water it can only flow one direction and only when it has a complete circuit.

1. Attach a new RED 16 guage wire (larger if needed) wire directly to the battery positive post. Preferably use a connector as we dont like stray wires.

2. Wire to an inline fuse of proper Ampacity (is that a word?) for the specific load (v*a=w) you intend to control.

3. From the fuse wire to a pilot relay Normal Open SPST contact (autozone $5). The red wire goes to the Contact terminal not the 12vdc coil. The contact is the LOAD side of the relay. The coil is the PILOT side.

4. From the switched contact (outlet) of the relay continue your RED 16gauge wire to what ever connector you plan to plug your accessorie in.

5. This connector should have two terminals, RED-12vdc hot and Black-12vdc ground. Do not run the black wire to the frame. (whole 'nuther topic later). Run a 16guage (or larger) BLACK wire from the connector all the way back to either the bikes common terminal or the battery Negative post. There is a common terminal in the wiring area under the seat/side cover. It is convenient. Use proper electrical connectors. Loose wire strands are truble.

OK, so now the Load side of the wiring is complete. Next the Pilot wiring.

6. Dig out the wire that feeds the license plate nite lite. NOT the brake or running tail lamp. Connect a new wire 18-20gauge to this circuit (color the same).

7. Run this new light duty PILOT wire all the way up to your handle bar or where ever you care to mount your switch. Since it is never going to be hot when the bike is keyed off, it doesn't matter that it is in the open, ie convenient.

8. From your newly installed Pilot Switch (outlet) run this new color wire all the way back to the Pilot Relay and connect it to the 12vdc COIL.

9. Run an additional 18-20gauge Black wire from the other side of the coil to the bikes common terminal.

10. Never use the frame as a ground / return line. There are a host of problems associated with this method. Yes it works.. sometimes.. when it doesn't, it will leave you stranded, high and maybe not dry. Just don't do it.

OK, so now your wiring is complete. Put the key in the bike, turn it on. The pilot duty switch can now toggle the pilot relay ON and OFF. Your accessory can function... or not, you are in control.
Turn your bike key off. The pilot switch is now dead. The pilot relay is just as dead. Nobody, not even God can turn your accessorie on w/o that dang bike key. Well, maybe He can.? but he has the keys to everything anyways.

So now you are an expert! Your bikes wiring harness is safe from anything happening, even you. If you have ever had to replace a complete wiring harness, you wont ever plug just anything into it. I have. muey 'spensive.

Last edited by Poncho Villa; 12-15-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:21 AM   #10
burkbuilds
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I don't ride a 900 but a 500, however the output issues for the alternator seems similar. I looked for a higher output stator, and one company "guaranteed" me that their would put out 20% more than OEM. I tested my OEM before I replaced it and the new one after I installed it and the new one actually put out about 15% LESS than OEM, so I returned it and finally got my money back. My OEM is rated at 4000 rpms, which on my bike is about 55 mph. When I run 70-75 mph on the highway it puts out about 20-25% more power. I run heated vest, gloves and grips on my bike. As long as I'm running at highway speeds and I have the vest on something less than max setting no problems. If I'm in traffic, in town, stop and go driving, better turn stuff off or it drains my battery. If I run the vest and gloves on high and the heated grips on low it drains my battery. So my advice would be to figure out what your output is at your highway speed, pretty easy to do with a meter while parked in neutral, then check that against the OEM specs at whatever rpm they rate at and you'll have an idea of how much power you have to use. Good luck!
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