I HATE it when a bad battery has caused a ride to go bad! Plus, from there on after, you always wonder it the darned thing is ok! It is always at the back of your mind after that first time.
What we need is a battery monitor. I made one from LEDs and a National IC, but it was too big, and hard to find parts for most folks. So... I went and bought one from Kuryakyn, a model # 350-082, from JP Cycles, for $39.99. It turns out to be a beautiful little chrome unit that cost about the same as it would have to make one like I started to. LOTS prettier too! Just about every catalog has them in it.
I am going to start this mod a little different in two ways. First, I finally did one that cannot be put totally back to original if you get rid of it. It would only leave a tiny 3/16" hole, but for me it's a first. It's funny but I started out doing this "go back to original" theme of mods because I figured I would only ride the EN500 (my wannabeabigbike) for a short time until I had gotten my "sea legs" back after not riding for some years. Well, that didn't work! The more I work on it, and make things for it, and the more I ride it, the more I realize I may be YEARS before I swap up, IF I ever do! I LOVE this little bike. It takes me anywhere I want to go, much faster than the law allows if necessary, and just... well, fits me! Granted, one of my "friends" did say from the back it looked like a pumpkin on a tooth pick, but... (I DID get rid of the orange T-Shirt tho!) The second thing different is I am going to go my usual step by step (I know, some don't need them so basic, but everyone isn't a wrench bender, and I get tons of emails asking clarifications on almost every one so far, so obviously they aren't clear or basic enough for everyone, and I want then to be. As they are mine, I get to choose, and that's that! I know many will see this and just skip to the last picture and have at it, but these are for the folks who DON'T understand how to do everything, AND for ME, because I have so much fun doing them AND writing them up so I can share them. I even had a fellow CALL from Austria to say thanks! Talk about payment!! Anyway, enough babbling, on to the workshop!!
Here we go with the 2nd change! I am going to show the finished product first! That is so you can see if maybe you want something different, without waiting for a bazillion pictures to load, before you decide to do it different. The placement is wide open. I chose the left handlebar control structure because that was comfortable to me, and I thought it would be the easiest to do. I was a little wrong there, and will explain what and why when we start putting things together. First, here are a few views (did you know a "few" is officially 3 or more? How's that for useless trivia?) showing the placement and that even with a bulky glove, it doesn't impede access to the normal controls or switches, and is still quite visible. Heck, you can almost read by those LED's, they are so bright.
Looks nice, huh? I think so, and as I am writing this, it DOES look nice!
Now, there are a couple of things to be careful about, and I want to get them out of the way. Number 1, is watch out you don't pinch the wire bundle to the clutch switch when you reassemble or hold the parts together. Be careful with the little plastic tab on the clutch actuation switch, if you take it off, as it WILL break easy. There really isn't any reason to remove it, I just did it so taking pictures was easier, and I need to replace the broken clutch lever from an "oops" into the pavement!. That OEM pot metal does NOT have a high impact resistance. Never even left a scratch mark on the tarmac! Very easy to do. You want that bundle and the wire bundle that goes down to the frame area snug in their proper cutouts. The number 2, I consider much more important. I didn't do number 1 (really Mom, I went number 2 !), but I did do number 2. I will NOT do it again. You see the jumper wire in the picture? That was used to check that the wiring was hooked to a good location (we will talk about mistaken ideas on that soon), and that the lights were all lit properly. IT was fastened to the positive terminal (on the left), and then to the wire that had been removed from the battery for safety sake. (factory usually says disconnect the negative, but I am an old electrical engineer that usually does the positive.The negative IS a better idea on bikes, as sneak ground paths can allow a full circuit to be made without you realizing it until too late). Try to picture that jumper wires location as it goes left to right where I had bent the positive wire bundle to after disconnecting them from the battery post!! THAT was no problem. The problem came in when a couple of senior moments touched (that happens a LOT lately) and some dummy (guess who, Mom?) was straddling the bike so the view of the monitor was where it would be when riding. Said dummy, on a whim, hit the starter button. Oh! Or should I say OOWWW!!!! Now think about how much current the starter draws (above 10 Amps) and how much that itty bitty (looked bigger when I picked it) jumper cable can carry. MAYBE 1 Amp! One is large, and the other is small! Now when a wire that has a SMALL carrying capacity is carrying a LARGE current, it HEATS RAPIDLY!!! That is a key point there folks! The other key, is where do you think the wire WAS TOUCHING MY BLUE JEANS?????? Don't try this at home, leave it to the dummies. (sorry for the paraphrase, but I HOPE proffessionals wouldn't do it anywhere!) This should point out why I like to make CAREFUL step by step instructions for other to follow, as well as the fact that contrary to my own normal belief, I am not perfect! At least not in all ways! Humility is SO hard to maintain sometimes!
NOW, the sin of the Andreasen web site, made public for the first time!! We are going to DRILL A HOLE! IN THE BIKE! OK, so it isn't as earth shattering as it sounds, but to me it was a bite ya lip moment! The wires from the monitor will go inside and hide their ugly little black and red bodies from the Chrome Gods and us! Being aware that anything you can put on, vibration can either take off, or short out, we don't want to just run unprotected wires thru a hole. First let's look at the location and why we want to run the wires inside the shell. (maybe you DON'T want to) You can see from the first picture that it fits real well right there on top of the flat surface of the shell where the halves come together. The next picture kind of shows how it would look if we ran the wires down on the outside, and the last with them (need a little imagination here) as they would be going inside the shell. Inside presents a much prettier appearance.
Now lets mark the housing shell were we want to drill the hole for the wires to go inside.
Now that we have the spot marked, and have checked inside to make sure we won't hit something or impede reassembly of the shell with the hole in that location, we can start sinning. (sorry, I just can't get used to -shiver- making holes in pretty, original bike parts!) Here are a few pictures showing the hole being drilled with a 3/16" drill. (that is the outside diameter of the nylon grommet I had handy) The little drill, which is used first, some people may not be familiar with. It is a centering drill, that machinist usually, use to make a carefully placed starter hole. The body is much thicker than the tip so it is very stable, and should, if used slowly and carefully, put the hole center right where you want, rather than skittering around until it bites into the metal somewhere else, which is what usually happens starting with a standard drill bit. (especially if it is in a noticeable area!) After positioning the piece on the shell, and marking the hole location, I used that center drill to start, then the bigger drill to finish a clean hole that went through some of the thicker parts of the shell where is fastens together to make a weather proof fit.
Now we can see the holes and where they impacted parts of the shell inside. Clean those up with a small round, fine file if necessary, so the grommet will fit snugly, but without any sharp bits harming it.
Now let's look at the grommet (nylon is what I used, most hardware stores have a good selection. I probably have more than they do, but I make things for ALL my hobby's!) Look at the first couple of pictures to see how it will easily fit over the wires, and then the third one shows that it will fit right up into the space created by the rubber mounting material for the monitor. A 3/16" one (OD or outside diameter) is perfect! Notice it is just the right size so that the top rib fits right up inside the foam fastening tape.
The next 3 pictures show different views of the grommet in place, and shows how nice it will allow us to fit the monitor on with a clean looking installation that add protection to the wires from vibration causing them to rub on the shell material and possibly short out. NOT good. So, we won't do that!
Now we want to take the shell apart and run the wires. I first thought that going right to the positive and negative wires at the horn switch would work good. Nope. Two reasons why not. First, when you press the horn button, it goes to ground there, and that reason drives us to the second reason. The unit resets every time you apply voltage, like starting the bike, and so it would when using the horn. More wear and tear on the monitor circuitry, AND the positive wire at the horn button goes through the HORN RELAY!! When you test it with a voltmeter you have the proper voltage except it is between one and two volts low because of the relay voltage drop, and that causes the monitor to show a low voltage when the battery is in fact, fine.
Here is an example of when you hook it to the horn (never activate soldering iron before mind) It shows a low voltage, but inaccurately. The voltage of the battery is fine, but we are SHOWING the voltage AFTER the drop through the horn relay. (I usually think these out more first, but as I didn't this time, so I thought I would try and prevent anyone else from the same mistake and waste of time. It doesn't hurt anything, it is just inaccurate and has to be redone!)
So, what we DO want to do is use the ground connection on the horn button to use less wiring, and run the positive wire down through the wiring harness bundle to a fused (remember, if you don't install a fuse, the BIKE may be the fuse!) connection that is only on during ignition run times. Key off, voltage off!! Unless you want to monitor your battery running down! Those high brightness LED's only use from 20-30mA apiece, but they WILL drain the battery after a while! Here is the ground connection, with the monitor black lead soldered to the horn button Black with Yellow stripe wire connection. Pardon the crappy soldering, my soldering station broke and me and my shaky hands were forced to use a Radio Shack pseudo soldering pencil!! Yetch!!
Now we want to pull a positive wire through the bundle. They make fine wire pulling devices (called wire snakes) but they are very expensive. To make your own, handy and very usable snake, go to almost any hardware store or hobby shop and get a 3' piece of .062" piano or music wire. It will allow a neat bend so it can be pushed into tight places, and will bend around almost any reasonable curve or corner. It is very bendable , but still stiff enough to push through most places.It is the perfect size. Just be careful not to have the loop shown bent so it is open where it could snag and pull anything back you DON'T want to, when you pull your wire through! Leave it so a wire can be inserted easy inside, but no wider a loop than necessary to prevent damage to any other wires or bundle when using it.
We start by pushing the snake carefully through the wiring bundle in the shell (cut off the tie wrap first) and pull a positive wire through and leave a little extra.
(I used 22 gauge stranded wire, but even 24 gauge will work, VERY little current to carry for those LED's) Once you have the end out in the shell, you can solder the end to the wire coming from the monitor (I cut it off and used the continuous piece of 22 gauge so there was less chance of breakage in the bundle where it would be hard to find or fix) and used some shrink tubing to insulate it. Retie the bundle to the small metal holder with a tie wrap, so that it will be stable and not pull away from the shell. Be careful putting the shell back together, so you don't pinch anything.
When we reassemble the shell, be careful about those cables going into the big bundle and the clutch switch bundle to make sure they aren't pinched between the shell halves. They fit snugly into the holes made for them with a little care. Remember we showed those pictures early on just so you would remember them! When I put the shell back together, I wanted to make the "horrible hole" weather tight, so I put RTV sealant around the grommet before inserting it into the shell, and then around the wires when I pushed them all the way into the grommet to mount the monitor with the sticky backed foam mounting tape.
There, we are mounted, and can continue with the rest of the hookup.
I did one other think while doing this. Getting at the screws holding the shell together with a proper sized phillips screwdriver is awkward as the clutch lever is in the way. You can easily wind up messing the screw head up if they are on tight or when replacing them, so I changed them out for hex head stainless screws instead. Most hardware stores carry metric assortments. The thin hex wrenches make it easier to get at them and tighten them without marring, and I think just look better. A small dab of locktite is good too! The first picture shows the difficult angle of the screwdriver, the second a comparison of the screw types, and the last a view of the shell all buttoned up with the new screws. Don't mind the corrosion, it IS a 2002 model!!
Now we use our home made wire puller to bring the wire under the tank, along the frame area, where we will add my faithful fuse assembly. Why not use one if it could save the bikes wiring from an "oops" that could cost a lot to replace the entire harness! Here are a few shots of that process. Remember we don't want so much extra wire so it gets in the way of something, but we also don't want to stretch it tight or even do it snug enough where it will rub on anything with normal vibrations to cause a short. A little slack is good. (besides, I occasionally need someone to cut me a little!!)
Now we get to the fuse (cheap one from Radio Shack, any kind would work. I like the automotive ones but didn't have any or feel like making one like we did for the tach installation. (you could though, if you're not as lazy!) Here are a few shots of the fuse holder, fuse and inserting it into the wiring harness, along with some nice insulating shrink tubing over the soldered splice.
Now, we can tie it into a nice location under the seat area. There is an aux connector there that is SO pretty and available, but... it is always ON!! No can do. Here is the one NOT to use!!
Don't worry! We will find something to stick in there, eventually! I found a stronger stator replacement for the engine that will produce (according to the maker) 20-30% MORE current available for the "nobody makes one" mods we do here! We are getting to a stretching point with what extra there is right now. There isn't a lot more to spare at this point without jacking up the supply a little. That will come this summer, probably. Remember we started with 17A MAX, and all the normal operating current has to come out of that, AND with enough extra to start (several Amps extra) that need to be available before all those extra dodads take their share! Fortunately, when you start up, a few either aren't on yet (headlight and it's modulator) and others like this monitor turn off until the engine is started. (sorta) Now, about that under the seat area! What a mess! I have the BackOFF taillight modulator installed (and having seen the bike from the rear, THAT mods has probably saved my butt more than I know! It can be SEEN!!) the seat is rubbing on the top edge of it. It isn't enough to hurt it because of it's tough construction, by why wear holes in anything if it isn't necessary. Of course, my 250 pounds PLUS all the junk I carry (my belt looks like a telephone lineman's!) does tend to make the seat go down into the bike a little more than most riders of these "wannabeabibike"s when I connect with a pothole. Here is the old location.
So we will move it while we do this wiring. I used butt type male and female connectors from NAPA (or any auto store, or actually in my case, from one of several pounds of them always on hand) to "splice" into the tail light circuit where the wiring disappears into the right front side of the rear fender. This looks like a nightmare, but it all tucks away safely, and keeps the original wire lengths there, as you know I like to do, without using real "splice" (ugh!) connectors! We will simply add another wire into a male butt connector (along with a duplicate of what was there for the modulator) so we just have a three wire in, one out situation. That circuit only uses about 2-3 Amps and the fuse is 10 Amps, so we are not overloading the wiring. We just added a wire to the tach mod set. When we put that in place, we have our "key on" only connection, again not making any changes to the original wiring. (forgetting of course my "hole" in the handlebar shell case).
Now I can pretty up the wiring and also place the modulator down beside the junction box (the big black assembly it WAS sitting over) and tie it in place with not only sticky tape on the back ( which I have little faith in) but also a strong tie wrap. In this location, the seat will not rub on it and cause any wear or my big butt cause any damage to it!
To get the tie wrap around the module and the junction box, I pushed a small screwdriver under the edge of the junction box that allowed me to push the tie wrap under the rubber mounting flange. Then I just snug it up to hold the module in, and start stuffing (neatly) the wires down beside the frame area where they won't hang out or get rubbed by the frame, or pinched by anything.
Eureka!! We be done!!
Now we have the monitor showing normal when the engine is running (or battery is fully charged and key is one, indicated by that first bright green LED, and when revving the engine up through the gears, we usually get a second green LED showing we are putting out a bit more voltage for the higher engine (and rotor) rpm. Another pretty, AND functional mod done! Now let's get a beer!! Oh, forgot, I don't drink beer! You get one, I'll grab an Orangeade and we will set back and congratulate each other!!
OOPS!! Small postscript. The unit is great. It works perfect, it looks perfect, it.... falls apart!!
I doubt that there have been many problems with it, as Kuryakyn is too big and good a company to make anything but the best, but there sure is a design flaw or manufacturing flaw with the one I got. Here are two pictures. One just before I went on the first ride after this mod (several days later), and what it looked like after only 30 miles at 50-60mph!
See the tiny little problem? The TOP BLEW OFF!!! There are four little plastic pins that hold the plastic backing away from the circuit board inside, and evidently the top goes down over the white plastic and is glued there? Only the inside of the top is chromed, and plastic covered with chrome is NOT a substance that most glues stick to well! In this case, I couldn't find even a speck of any glue residue, so likely I got the one in a million (Why a battery monitor Lord? Why not the Lottery?) that got put together wrong. Or if it is supposed to be just a tight slip on fit, THEN there IS a design problem. As this is the first one I have seen, and with their great reputation, it just has to be chance and bad luck! But... I did want to warn anyone. I doubt if the wind would have hit it so hard behind a fairing or somewhere not so exposed, but that isn't good design either. I WILL call them and find out. I will post any info given.
Latest bit: Richard, from Kuryakyn Tech Support, sent me some super glue called "Death's Grip" to fiz it with!! Did it ever! You could now lift the bike up with it! Thanks, Richard! They are going to look into doing a better glue job to productions units. They never had one put right where the airflow came up under the top before! Leave it to me!!