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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I have a 96 Adventurer and want to make it a little more visible while riding in LA traffic. Thinking about a light bar or running lights of some kind. Also a new horn, saddlebags and a windshield might be important. Any good or bad experiences with these items on a triple? How difficult are they to install and have you used any that worked well with our bikes? I appreciate your advice.

Dave
 

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I put a pair of Kuryakyn Small Silver Bullets aux lights on my wife's Legend. I mounted them onto the crash guard (another good item to have) along with a couple of highway pegs. They are bright flood lights! Being chrome, they look right at home on the top of the chrome crash bar.

The lights, mounts and wiring kit can be had from:

http://www.customdynamics.com
 

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I upgraded my horn with a Fiamm Freeway Blaster horn. Much louder than stock and a direct fit. The only mod was to run a relay to handle the greater electrical load.

Good luck on a light bar, You'll have to make something if you want one.

If you are looking for a full windshield the Plexistar 2 from National Cycle fits easily. Its a bit too much coverage for the warmer weather.
 

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More Lights

Hi Dave,

Iv'e fitted thease custom lights to my screen brackets on long
indicator stems, the screen is a triumph roadster screen
which i beleave will fit the adventurer.
 

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I like the Stebel magnum horn. Comes with the relay, but no wire or spade lugs. Awesome noisy! I mounted mine (TBS) to the radiator side cover (made a bracket first, then later welded a small plate to the front of it).

Also, I replaced my headlight bulb with a 120 watt unit from NAPA (much cheaper and lasted much longer than the PIAA bulb).
 

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I added a couple of small relays and yellow LED lamp arrays to my rear turn signals.

The relays invert the turn signals into running lights and the LED lamps keep the turn signal lenses from melting.

Now my rear turn signals are normally on and only blink off when the turn signals are actuated.

After more than a month riding to work daily, I haven't had anyone ride up my tail pipe as before.

Jim
 

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Hey Jimmy, that is a great idea.

Is there a tutorial on the web somewhere on how to install/where to buy?
 

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Relays are #1 in importance when installing electricals

Okay, not really; fuses are 1st, and relays are not needed except for high drain items like horns and higher wattage driving lights. If your horn goes bleep at idle instead of HONK, you need a relay. Wait, that's not #1. #1 is learning how to wire bits together and compress electrical fittings. You need a reasonably good crimper and perhaps a bit of local guidance or an internet tutorial. And you need the right gauge wire to carry the juice. Except for inconvenience, harder to work and bulk, no downside to using heavier gauge stranded copper wire than needed. Use only stranded copper. Oh, and shrink wrap it pretty cool, too.

Some people insist on soldiering their quick connects which is fine, but confine the soldier to just the connect. If it bleeds down into the wire below the connect, it makes a stiff section in the wire that when bent when joining the connectors makes a weak spot where a break could eventually occur. Soldier right or don't bother. err. practice more, no reason to be discouraging.

The legend/thunderbirds by my experience have good wiring to start. My 79 guzzi SP, well, I ran 10 gauge wire to my headlight and used a relay to the stock switch and greatly increased the headlight's brightness. And if you want to become (more?) neurotic, permanently install a voltage gauge to the wires in the headlight. But they look neat.

I like grounding stuff to my triple tree and handlebars. Problem is they are held to the bike only through the bearings. I run a heavy gauge wire from the frame to the triple tree so juice won’t have to arc between bearings and races. Alternatively run a ground wire back to the battery same as the +.

Enjoy changing your machine to suit you!
 

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Good points, toller.

I'd point out that fuses are used to protect the system from failure of the accessory. Most folks have that concept backwards somehow... including the EE's I work with! ;)

Some people insist on soldiering their quick connects which is fine, but confine the soldier to just the connect. If it bleeds down into the wire below the connect, it makes a stiff section in the wire that when bent when joining the connectors makes a weak spot where a break could eventually occur. Soldier right or don't bother. err. practice more, no reason to be discouraging.


The two biggest screwups when using crimp connectors are not using the correct crimping tool (pliers are BAD!) and using the wrong size connector for the wire. That makes things very unreliable.

The pink/red connectors are for 22-18 gauge wire that's most common on a bike. Blue connectors are for 14-16 gauge wire and yellow connectors are for 10-12 gauge wire.

Unfortunately, the wrong size crimp is always the most available. :rolleyes:

You can use an oversize crimp (like blue with 20 gauge wire) but you have to double the wire so the crimp has enough material to grab properly. Otherwise the connection will eventually work loose and become intermittant.

It's also necessary to use an insulated female crimp on the positive side of the circuit. An un-insulated or male terminal on the hot side is just a potential short circuit resulting in blown fuses or burnt wiring. Not good...


Relays are good for high-power switching (horns, headlights, etc.) as toller says, but small relays can be quite useful for signal switching where a transistor circuit would cause too much voltage drop, develop too much heat or get a bit complex.

That's why I went for a pair of small pc-mount relays to invert my rear turn signals rather than transistorizing it. Keeping it simple is a lot simpler. ;)


Enough... I'm going back to contemplating a redo of my bike in Steampunk.... Brass radiator grill with copper end caps... small carriage lamps with stained glass lenses.....lots of rivets....

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great info everyone. I really appreciate it. I have always been pretty good mechanically but Toller and Jimmyj900 have my head spinning.

So if I put on a fiamm freeway blaster I need a relay which can be purchased with the horn and needs to be installed in the hot wire to the horn? Is that correct? I am assuming the relay is a very small piece that can still fit under the seat near where the fuse box is. Am I on the right track and are there diagrams some where that makes it obvious how to do it even for me?

Also if I am putting in LED bulbs instead of the current ones I read that I need to use a relay as well. Is that true as well?

Thanks again for all the help.

Dave
 

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So if I put on a fiamm freeway blaster I need a relay which can be purchased with the horn and needs to be installed in the hot wire to the horn? Is that correct? I am assuming the relay is a very small piece that can still fit under the seat near where the fuse box is. Am I on the right track and are there diagrams some where that makes it obvious how to do it even for me?
I purchased the horn and relay separately in order to get a relay with a mounting tab that would bolt to the alarm mounting under the gas tank.

I also purchased an inline fuse holder and some 10 amp fuses but already had some wire (either 18 or 16 gauge) and the necessary crimp-on connectors.

Take a look at my PhotoBucket album

http://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk128/jimmyj900/

In the "Triumph Wrench Head Stuff" sub-album there's a pix of the "Cooling System" that shows the relay and some of the wiring.

The relay is located just behind the fan switch and the heavy red wire runs from the relay to the inline fuse holder to the battery + terminal.

The relay I bought was a 5 terminal unit (2 for coil, 1 normally open, 1 normally closed, 1 common) but you really only need a 4 terminal unit without the normally closed terminal. (I wanted an extra power pickoff point, and so the 5th terminal.)

The relay contacts were rated at 20 amps since that's about the peak current for the horn.


I don't know of any drawings of the installation, but the standard horn wires connect to the coil terminals of the relay, the +12V from the battery connects to the relay common and the new wire from the relay to the horn connects to the normally open (N.O.) relay terminal. You'll also need to make up a short wire to connect from the second horn terminal to the horn cover mounting bolt as a ground connection.

If you'll give me a few days I'll see about drawing up a connection diagram.

Also if I am putting in LED bulbs instead of the current ones I read that I need to use a relay as well. Is that true as well?
You won't need a relay but you'll need a load resistor so the electronics in the blinker will turn on. Without the resistor the control chip won't see a sufficient voltage difference and won't turn on.

Jim
 

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Good points, toller.
[snip]
Relays are good for high-power switching (horns, headlights, etc.) as toller says, but small relays can be quite useful for signal switching where a transistor circuit would cause too much voltage drop, develop too much heat or get a bit complex. [snip]

That's why I went for a pair of small pc-mount relays to invert my rear turn signals rather than transistorizing it. Keeping it simple is a lot simpler. ;)
Jim
Tell me more about using small relays. Transister circuit alternatives? i don't understand but ready to learn
 

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Great info everyone. I really appreciate it. I have always been pretty good mechanically but Toller and Jimmyj900 have my head spinning.

So if I put on a fiamm freeway blaster I need a relay which can be purchased with the horn and needs to be installed in the hot wire to the horn? Is that correct? I am assuming the relay is a very small piece that can still fit under the seat near where the fuse box is. Am I on the right track and are there diagrams some where that makes it obvious how to do it even for me?

Also if I am putting in LED bulbs instead of the current ones I read that I need to use a relay as well. Is that true as well?

Thanks again for all the help.

Dave
If you have a horn that has two wire connectors, the relay does not have to operate the power side, it can run the ground instead. That way you don't have any break in the positive line except fuse and the grounding can occur very close to the horn through a shorter wire. Just an option; i've had horns that the hornwire was the ground and went this route.
 

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So here's a schematic of the stock horn circuit and the same circuit with a relay and related parts added for higher power:

It's in my PhotoBucket album, "Triumph Wrench Head" sub-album.

http://s279.photobucket.com/albums/kk128/jimmyj900/Triumph Wrench Head Stuff/

So it's really pretty simple.

The relay coil terminals plug into the stock horn terminals.
The wire from the fuse and battery plugs into the relay common terminal.
The new hot wire to the horn connects to the relay NO (Normally Open) terminal.
The NC terminal is not used and may or may not be present on the relay.
The new horn ground wire goes from one horn terminal to a convenient ground.

Jim
 

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Tell me more about using small relays. Transister circuit alternatives? i don't understand but ready to learn
Well, most folks think of relays for handling big power but there are some small ones designed for signal handling on printed circuit boards.

The common little guys are about 1/2" square by an inch or so long and they'll handle about an amp of current -- enough for a LED turn signal.

I had a couple of larger pc mount relays (about 3/4" x 1" x 2") hanging around so I used them instead of ordering something more appropriate.

The ones I used are DPDT with 5A contacts that I doubled up. The life expectancy with that combo and 0.080 amp LED loads gives a theoretical minimum life expectancy of something like 100,000,000 operations. That's a lot of turns...;)


OK.. Transistors vs. Relays

Transistors have an "on" (saturation) voltage drop between the collector and emitter that can be anywhere from 0.5 volts to about 2.5 volts depending on the transistor. That "on" voltage is subtracted from the supply voltage and the remainder is applied to whatever you're switching power to.

That voltage drop is essentially across the internal resistance of the transistor, so that voltage loss is converted to heat which means that for constant duty you need to use a somewhat larger transistor than if you had a short duty cycle.

On my original switching circuit, that was about a 2 volt drop with around 1.5 amps of current through the lamps.

With a relay there's essentially no voltage drop so you don't get a voltage loss or any heating.


With a double-pole single-throw (DPST) you've got one normally closed (NC) contact and one normally open (NO) contact.

To run my turn signals as marker lights, all I had to do was run 12 volts through the NC contact and drive the coil from the normal turn signal line. When the turn signal blinks "on", the relay closes the NO contact and opens the NC contact.

That's also much simpler that a couple of transistors and some associated bias resistors.

Make sense? If not, just ask and I'll be happy to confuse you further! :D

Jim
 

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I replaced my stock horn with the fiamm highway blaster, but just connected the wire from the original unit. It works fine, although I have only needed to use it once or twice. Without a relay installed am I risking some potential wire damage, or is something like a horn used so rarely that it is not a big deal? Thanks for the relay info. That sounds like a great improvement.
 

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I replaced my stock horn with the fiamm highway blaster, but just connected the wire from the original unit. It works fine, although I have only needed to use it once or twice. Without a relay installed am I risking some potential wire damage, or is something like a horn used so rarely that it is not a big deal? Thanks for the relay info. That sounds like a great improvement.
Think of it this way -- power in equals power out.

If your horn is louder then it's consuming more power than the stock horn.

The peak (momentary) current with a highway blaster is around 20 amps but the average current is only slightly higher than the stock horn, so you can use the stock wiring.

BUT you'll get the maximum from the blaster (and have longer button and connector life) by adding a relay to the system.

So it's kind of a toss-up of reliability versus cost ($10 relay + hassle).

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I really appreciate all the work and info that everyone has put on this thread. I am reading it and rereading it hoping it will all sink in. jimmyj900, wow when you answer a question you go all out! :)Thank you so much. My plans are to change out the horn with the relay (probably go with the Fiamm), add LED lights to replace my current bulbs and I may add a removable truck with brake light attachments. I will be going through all this info as I do.

What is everyone's opinion of the electrical system on our bikes. I know everyone says our engines are "overengineered". Is that also true of our electrical system? Is it more than adequate for more lights and items like that or is it like some of the old time English bikes with very weak electrical systems?


Dave
 

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(snip)

With a double-pole single-throw (DPST) you've got one normally closed (NC) contact and one normally open (NO) contact.

To run my turn signals as marker lights, all I had to do was run 12 volts through the NC contact and drive the coil from the normal turn signal line. When the turn signal blinks "on", the relay closes the NO contact and opens the NC contact.

That's also much simpler that a couple of transistors and some associated bias resistors.

Make sense? If not, just ask and I'll be happy to confuse you further! :D

Jim
Okay, this is something i tried but my logic circuits weren't firing sufficiently.
I'm going to use a DPDT or DPST?
Do you drive all four turnsignals as running lights through the same relay?
Do you need 2 sets of relays, one for left and one for right?

AND I have some yellow running lights on the front of my bike. Can I wire them in, too?

thanks for helping the slow kid in class
 
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