Adding A Light - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-29-2011, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Adding A Light

The Purpose: Backup for the bike's headlight circuit providing enough light to keep me on the road and to limp home if necessary, like if my headlight circuit failed. Don't care if it's "legal." Would also orient it to provide more shoulder illumination and to keep it from being directed at oncoming vehicles while in "low beam" mode.

The Plan: One 4", 35W, 12v 1950's-looking "Tractor Light" from my local farm store: nice and heavy and durable. Just one light, mounted on the right side of the bike. The light, a switch, a fuse and 2 wires going directly to the battery. Only item I can't find locally is a wateproof toggle switch: will have to locate one online. Switch located on the flat part of the upper fairing next to the gas tank on the left side.

My Questions:

Can I find a heavy-enough toggle switch for a light of these specs that I wouldn't need to use a relay? If possible, what kind of specs would I be looking for on the switch?

What size fuse would I need to use?

Thought about splicing into the "ignition" circuit, but the chances of the lights getting turned on and inadvertently running down my battery are really so slim it's not worth the risk of me messing up wires/circuits on the bike. I'd rather just stay away from them and make this a "standalone" circuit.

Any advice or opinions would be appreciated. If you think it's a bad idea, let me know.



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post #2 of 16 Old 08-29-2011, 08:35 PM
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Hey Planalp, I'm no engineer so if someone else knows better, then chime in.
Amps = Watts / Volts so 35W/12V = 2.9A or close enough to a 3 amp fuse.
Do you have 35 watts to spare with the KLR charging system? I suppose if you use the tractor light only if your headlight is burnt out, it'd be OK. But I wonder about using it in conjunction with the stock headlight on those nights where the road sucks it up like a black hole. I'd still use a relay. I believe you'd be OK with 14 gauge wire. Great idea but question the 35W load.

09 KLR650
01 Jeep XJ w/ 200,000 miles as of 3-26-11
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-29-2011, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sardog1 View Post
Hey Planalp, I'm no engineer so if someone else knows better, then chime in.
Amps = Watts / Volts so 35W/12V = 2.9A or close enough to a 3 amp fuse.
Do you have 35 watts to spare with the KLR charging system? I suppose if you use the tractor light only if your headlight is burnt out, it'd be OK. But I wonder about using it in conjunction with the stock headlight on those nights where the road sucks it up like a black hole. I'd still use a relay. I believe you'd be OK with 14 gauge wire. Great idea but question the 35W load.
Thanks, sardog. Most of the "lighting kits" are two 35-watt lights and I think some folks have even used twin 55-watt light kits so I presumed the one 35 watt setup would be about the best I could do. Those people might have also upgraded their charging systems and I don't want to go there.

I don't have very much smartness when it comes to electrical systems.

I was concerned about overloading the charging system, but I don't use any other electrical accessories at all.

I would most likely have it on all the way home at night (once I got out of town and on the open road, anyway) in conjunction with the headlight which would be on high beam pretty much the whole trip.



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post #4 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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If this would be just a 3-amp circuit, wouldn't a 20-amp toggle switch (they seem to be pretty common) be enough to carry the load? Would it restrict it in any way? I even saw them up to 50 amps in the auto parts stores. Again, pardon my electrical ignorance.



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post #5 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 03:25 PM
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You're fine with an extra 35w light.. Actually 2 of them is still safe, from what I've read over the years.
The 20 amp toggle would be fine, as well as Sardog's mentioned 14 gauge wire, but I'd still inline fuse it with a 5 amp fuse to cover your rear end..

And we want photos!!!
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-31-2011, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, Paper. I think I'll go ahead and do it as soon as I can find a waterproof switch. You see a lot of them where the actual toggle part is waterproof, but the "base" where the wires hook up isn't. Figure I could just shrink-wrap the bottom part if need be to waterproof it.

I'll post some photos when I get it done. It will probably qualify as the most homely auxiliary lighting around.



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post #7 of 16 Old 09-02-2011, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Got the light and everything I need to do the install. I went with a 5-amp fuse and 14-gauge wire. Now I'm just waiting on my cheap, eBay Chinese 30-amp, LED-illuminated, waterproof rocker switch/fire starter. Once it gets here, I'll get the wiring done and post some pics.

I went with a 35-watt "Utility Light" from an auto parts store. $14. It's a sealed beam encased in a nice, thick rubber/plastic housing.

I mounted it to my HT crash bars using a piece of steel stock. Since the light extends beyond the crash bars, the bracket is set up so it will pivot up or down and hopefully spare the light if I tip over and the light strikes the ground. If it doesn't pivot, the bracket should simply bend and I can straighten or replace it later. No more than the light cost, I'm not really worried about it.

Depending on the light output, I might put another one on the left side, with a separate switch so I can use either just the right one to augment my stock lights, or if the stock lights go out, I could use both in tandem to provide more illumination. They're easily adjustable, so if driving on gravel roads at night, I could angle each toward their respective shoulders.

The light has a trapezoid beam, so I'm curious to see how it performs both with the stock lights and without them, on its own.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]



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post #8 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Finally got my switch from The People's Republic Of China and got my light wired up and working today.

Thanks to everybody who gave me advice. I used the heavier wire and wrapped it with electrical tape throughout and used a shitload of zipties to keep it in place and to keep it from chafing or rubbing.

[IMG][/IMG]

Switch mounting. I went with the waterproof rocker switch mounted on the fairing. If I drop my hand pretty much straight down from the bars, the switch is right there and easily found and is easily manipulated with gloves. So, if the lights happened to go out while riding, it's easy to switch on the backup without fumbling around for the switch. The switch has a little green LED on it to let you know when the light is on; kind of nice for in the daytime.

[IMG][/IMG]

For now, the light is independent of the "ignition" wiring. The light is wired directly to the battery with a 5A fuse and will come on whether the key is on or not. The only drawback to that is if somebody walks by and flips the switch while the bike is parked, it will run the battery down. I don't think there's a very high probability that will happen. If it becomes a problem, I'll go back and splice it into the wires that are made hot by the key.

When I ride home from work tomorrow night I'm going to find a deserted stretch of road and shut the bike off and see what kind of illumination I get from the 35W bulb. I would say, looking at the beam in the daylight on my garage wall as opposed to the stock headlights, it should provide more than enough illumination to limp home if the headlights went out; probably not "legally," but that's okay.

So, got some backup light and some peace of mind for around $21.00. I think I'll add another one on the left side over the Winter.



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post #9 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 04:58 PM
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Very nice!! I like that switch!!
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paper View Post
Very nice!! I like that switch!!
Thanks, and also thanks again for the electrical advice.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Indicator-LE...item45faefa33a



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