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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 7 Apr 2006
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Cigarette lighter on your bike???

I have a digital camera and ipod for back up and have a generator on wheels between my legs! Has anyone put a cigy lighter on their bike for power and if so HOW??
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  #2  
Old 7 Apr 2006
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I read the bit from Wheelie in 'Technology on the road' about it being isolated, fused and on the ignition switch, but can anyone elaborate? Cheers
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  #3  
Old 7 Apr 2006
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I have never actually done the procedure myself, but will within a month or two. I will grab power wherever I can find it, but not directly off the battery as this can fry my gadgets (irradic power). When I said ignition, I didn't actually mean the wires that goes to your spark plug, starter motor or anything like that, but of the ignition key circuit. The spark usualyy runs on a separate circuit putting out massive ammounts of Voltage.

If you draw power from your main lights, your gadgets will ofcourse only work when your lights are switched on. Hook it up to your blinkers and they will make your gadgets turn intermittant when blinking (you may laugh, people have done this), but your brake light should be fine (allways power in the circuitry when the ignition is on). Whatever you choose to hook it up to, test the source with a multimeter and with your engine running, turning switches onn and off, etc. If your bike is fairly new, from the 80's and onwards, or your bike is older but still has an electric ignition, then everything which is powered on your bike should run through a voltage regulator (refer to a wiering diagram of your model). In short, any power as long as it does not come directly off your battery or spark, should be fine.

Personally I will use an 8amp fuse or smaller directly on the wire which runs to the cigarette lighter. If your stator turned out enough juice, then you could power 96 [8X12V] Watts on your cigarette lighter with this fuse, which ofcours is much more than any one gadget will use.

When you do set this up, check the juice with a multimeter, reving the engine, etc. One precaution, gadgets should never be plugged in when you fire up your bike, they may fry, even with a voltage meter and a fuse. A fuse breaks the circuitry once it gets to a certain temperature, and this usually requires that excessive voltage is pulled through over an extended period of time. A sudden jolt in energy may not be long enough to fry your fuse, but long enough to fry your gadgets. When fiering up the bike, you may experience such a jolt of energy. Still though, most often, everything will be ok. If your light filaments fry way too often, like once a week, then you know that something is wrong with your juice, and hence should not hook up any sensitive gadgets. The fault will usually be a faulty stator, and/or a faulty regulator.

If you find it is difficult to find power, or you don't feel comfortable with the procedure, you could allways run your power directly from your battery and through a second voltage regulator which you purchase at your local dealer. Don't forget the in line fuse box... With this set up, you can even power your gadgets with your ignition turned off. You may even put in a separate switch located any place you want on your bike.

As I said though, I've never done this procedure before, so a second opinion would be wise, as would be checking your juice with a multimeter.

Once I have done mine, I'll make a detailed write up...

I just did a quick google and found this http://gstwin.com/cigarette_lighter_install.htm This guy hooked it up directly to the battery.


[This message has been edited by Wheelie (edited 06 April 2006).]
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  #4  
Old 7 Apr 2006
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This company (Powerlet) in the US sells all the various 12v power connections you need. And they do international sales.

http://www.powerletproducts.com/index.php?mid=0

You don't need a cigarette lighter per se - just the type of socket that accepts 12v cigarette lighter plugs.



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  #5  
Old 7 Apr 2006
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I did this on my R1200GS by adding a second BMW-type power outlet (fused) at the front of the bike, then making a cable up that started at the socket, ran through into the tank bag, and terminated with two cigarette sockets. This way I could charge a couple of devices in the tank bag and if I had to remove the bag, just unhook the cable from the BMW socket.

Have a look at some of the components at http://www.nippynormans.com/products.asp?dept=341

And here's a complete kit at £11: http://www.nippynormans.com/prodinfo...tem=9&mitem=10

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  #6  
Old 9 Apr 2006
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Thanks Wheelie thats pretty much what my second opinion said. However, they posed the question of needing a better, or more powerful battery to cope with the extra pull of power. Or is just down to the amount of juice generated by the bike??

They also suggested the cigarette sockets you get for boating as they come with a water (dust, sand, salt, shit!) tite cap on the end.

cheers tim those kits look like the go (with caps!) i can live with £8


[This message has been edited by monicalewinsky (edited 08 April 2006).]
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  #7  
Old 9 Apr 2006
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A larger battery can be a plus, but usually isn't strictly necessary unless you are using a lot of juice (electric vests, electric inlay boot soles, heated handle bars, stereo, auxilary fog lights, etc.). On my set up I will just use the original battery. If you do plan to use a lot of power, then you may also have to swap your stator plate for a "high output" one, or simply rewire the original. But, simply to power a gps and a cell phone, and the likes, I'd just leave both the stator and the battery as they are. For instance, a 8" touch screen monitor has a power drain of about 8 watts, that is not a whole lot. Test your set up before you leave, riding with your gadgets constantly powered by the bike. If you will need a larger battery, then you will know.

As for the marine sockets, this is a great choice. Installing them upside down to prevent water from entering may be an extra precaution. Try to locate it in the dryest place possible where it is still conveniently located. Some place them inside the panniers, some underneath the seat. If you place it low on the bike, they are exposed to wet roads.

The best way to route your wires is to route them with the original wire harness. Make sure that wires dont pinch or chaff too much, and always use an inline fuse. Personally I would always feel more comfortable knowing that the juice ran through a voltage regulator and that the power was "clean", but that may just be me. If I was to run it "hot", meaning directly off the battery, I would have installed a voltage regulator between the battery and the cigarette lighter (your lights are most likely allready running on one, attach your lighter socket here and you would need no second regulator).

Some people opt to wire "hot", meaning directly from the battery and not by the ignition switch. Not only does this allow you to run your gadgets without your ignition turned on, but it is a very convenient way to charge your battery. Simly connect a male cigarette adapter to your battery charger/tender and plug it right in. This way you do not only have to cope with difficult to access batteries, but you also never have to give any thought as to whether you conect the positive and negative correctly. The shitty thing about this setup is that if you forget to unplug your gadgets and leave the on, they will slowly drain your battery. A cell phone won't do this very quick, but a heated vest might.

Regardless of the setup, you should allways use an inline fuse, and preferably the blade type (not the spring type). These supposedly deliver more stable current. One cylindered bikes and engines running at high RPM's may cause vibrations leading to unstable current, or so they say. GPSs are for instance known to shut themselves off as they get "confused" with the unstable current produced at high vibrations, leading them to believe that the juice is off, and hence activating the automatic shut off switch inside the GPS. It is therefore often reccomended that a GPS is wired directly to the battery, omitting cigarette adapters and such which may lead to a poor connection. Also, mounts etc should be constructed and placed in such a fashion that they do reduce vibrations. I've only heard of this problem, but know no one personally who has experienced it, so I guess it is not that frequent. Anybody here experienced this?

One last issue. Your stator/dynamo as well as your ignition/spark may cause interferance with some gadgets, such as a cell phone or bike to bike communication. Some therefore advice against locating these type of gadgets close to the engine.

I wouldn't worry too much about these issues as the setup is fairly straight forward. But the info may be of help in diagnosing a fault. But if it doesn't cost anything to be precutios, then why the hell not be precutious?
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  #8  
Old 11 Apr 2006
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Some technical clarification?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie
A larger battery can be a plus, but usually isn't strictly necessary unless you are using a lot of juice (electric vests,
With the motor running, things should be drawing their power off the alternator ... not the battery. The battery power would be used if the engine was stopped (or idling for a long time).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie
If I was to run it "hot", meaning directly off the battery, I would have installed a voltage regulator between the battery and the cigarette lighter (your lights are most likely already running on one, attach your lighter socket here and you would need no second regulator).
Lights etc run off the battery/alternator. The only voltage regulator on a bike/automotive system is there to limit the output of the alternator to stop the battery being over charged. It is not there to reduce the battery voltage for the lamps (or other things).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie
GPSs are for instance known to shut themselves off as they get "confused" with the unstable current produced at high vibrations, leading them to believe that the juice is off, and hence activating the automatic shut off switch inside the GPS.
umm ... it is not the current that the GPS senses - it is the voltage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie
One last issue. Your stator/dynamo as well as your ignition/spark may cause interference with some gadgets, such as a cell phone or bike to bike communication. Some therefore advice against locating these type of gadgets close to the engine.
Also their wiring should not run near these things (alternator, spark plug, spark plug lead, spark plug coil, coil control box, EFI etc).
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  #9  
Old 11 Apr 2006
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[quote=Frank Warner]Some technical clarification?


With the motor running, things should be drawing their power off the alternator ... not the battery. The battery power would be used if the engine was stopped (or idling for a long time).

On the bike I will be using this summer on my Africa trip, on the bike's stator plate, there is only one generator/supply coil charging the battery, two going directly to the ignition unit, and the rest powering the electrics of the bike directly. So, what you say is true. However, as far as I understand, there will allways be some draw from/through the battery.

According to Autocom for instance (ref their brochure and a salesrepresentative), the juice supllied directly of the battery is supposedly a bit unstable), hence they claim one should avoid powering sensitive gadgets directly off the battery and rather take the power off the light curcuitry instead (I've also received similar info from numerous other sources, Autocom being the most recent).


Lights etc run off the battery/alternator. The only voltage regulator on a bike/automotive system is there to limit the output of the alternator to stop the battery being over charged. It is not there to reduce the battery voltage for the lamps (or other things).

I'm not certain this is true, please check the wiring diagram for the bike I will be using on my Africa trip this summer: http://www.scooterhelp.com/electrics/wiring/VSX1T.px200e.batt.pdf. The regulator is the oblong hexagon box. You will see that all wires that power the lights, etc, pass through this directly off the designated generator/supply coils on the stator plate. Here you can see a wiring diagram of the same bike, but running without a battery, also this has a voltage regulator: http://www.scooterhelp.com/electrics/wiring/VSX1T.px200e.nobatt.pdf Then again, I might have misunderstood its function compketely, though I allways believe I'm correct until convinced otherwise Here is a site that explains how the voltage regulator works, if anyone should be interested: http://www.vespamaintenance.com/elec/charger/index.html


umm ... it is not the current that the GPS senses - it is the voltage.

You are absolutely correct, my mistake.


I would greatly appreciate if anyone could put my convictions straight about this issue. If I've read the diagram correctly and understood the regulator correctly, an so on. The last post made me a bit uncertain, and I will be looking into it. I really don't want to pass on poor advice... One last note, the wiring from one bike to another may vary greatly. I've for instance got five classic Vespas, all almost identical in just about every aspect, though the wiering on each and every one of them are all vastly differnet (except for two). Still, the same precausions should apply for most bikes when it comes to adding sensitve electronics.

Last edited by Wheelie; 11 Apr 2006 at 21:09.
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  #10  
Old 12 Apr 2006
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Ahhh .. sorry I though I was dealing with a more modern bike - carlike. Swap hats.


The wiring diagram http://www.scooterhelp.com/electrics...x200e.batt.pdf

Shows the battery connected through the frame mounted ignition switch to the lights, horn, indictors etc.

The two stator supplies to the ignition unit - well one is the supply the other is the timing - a very small power signal only.

The description http://www.scooterhelp.com/electrics...x200e.batt.pdf does not match the wiring diagram. Which is correct? Possibly both - different variations for different markets?

For the wiring diagram condition the lights are powered off the battery - engine stoped the lights will still function (for a short while). For the description condition - lights will only work while engine is running (and will be AC not DC powered)... What have you got?

In any case - the battery will be the most stable voltage. Why? Because the battery acts as a very large capacitor, smoothing the voltage. 'Traditionally' cigarette lighters are connected to the battery [always use a fuse near the battery].
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  #11  
Old 12 Apr 2006
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The bike I will be using has a DC. I've also got non-battery ones which are AC but uses a rectifier for the DC horn. The bike I'm using doesn't match these wire diagrams exactly, but they were the closest I could find in a jiffy.

Some of these bikes have the rear light run directly of the battery, but the front light directly off the stator plate, with the front light's brightness directly affected by engine RPM (at idle virtually nonexistent). People who have tried to remedy this problem by rewiring these to run directly off their battery, have found their battery drain to be too large as the rectifier on these electric start engines create a bottle neck (2.5 amps max, regardless of rpms). I believe the reason why the rear light is powered from the battery is because of safety (brake light needs to work in case of engine failure, as does the parking light). The front light also has a much greater draw than the rear lights, making a larger battery and greater battery charging appropriate.

I think the only thing we don't really agree about is the "smoothness" of the different power sources. I'm not saying I disagree, only that I am not certain. I don't know why a company like Autocom would make such a claim. Direct citation: "MUST ONLY be connected to an ignition switched, fused power supply on your bike. NEVER connect directly across the bike battery, which could cause severe damage and a risk of fire/burns etc" http://www.autocom.co.uk/pdf/2q03/power_supplies.pdf . They do not provide a reason as of how this can happen... this I would like to have answered. I agree with the the reasoning that the battery is a large capacitor, it makes sence. Still, I find that a motorcycle electronics manufacturer probably has some sort of reason for making such a claim. Maybe the voltage jumps significantly upon fiering the bike up? I'd really like to know the answer to this. Until then, my advice is to follow the advice of Autocom, they should after all be experts.

I've also heard numerous claims of Ipods and chargers being fried with a particular 12V charger. Some claim this happens when turning the engine over (car) with the ipod plugged into the cigarette lighter.
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  #12  
Old 12 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie
"NEVER connect directly across the bike battery, which could cause severe damage and a risk of fire/burns etc"
I'd agree with that statement. Explanation: if a short occures somewhere on the positive wire to ground very large currents will flow from the battery - this heats the wire - probably melting the insulation (thus burns) .. possibly to the point of ignition (thus fire). It is very bad practice to have unfused wires running around. With a fues the fues blows before any damage is done (provided the fues is small enough in current rating).

Put a fuse physically close to the battery to eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) the possibility of fire/burns etc. Nothing to do with voltage variations there though. All to do with safety .. after the ignition switch means you won't flatten the battery overnight (unless you leave the key in and turned on .. been there done that) I think you'll find autocom (or who ever) are talking about more modern bikes when they talk about connection to the lights - this is DC and high current supply so is usually a good source of power. It may also have 'load shedding' for when the starter motor is engaged... But if your bike has an AC powered headlight they certainly are NOT talking about your instillation!

For the more basic installation – I would make the installation across the battery with a fuse close to the battery positive terminal. It is what I do on my bikes, simple, reliable… you have to remember to disconnect things if your leaving the bike for a while (unless you want a flat battery).

As for the ipod/charger thing .. well a good deal more information would be required to make a reasonable (and reasoned) explanation of what could be going on.
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Last edited by Frank Warner; 12 Apr 2006 at 04:28.
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  #13  
Old 12 Apr 2006
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Things are making more and more sence, great discussion.

So in short, either option is fine, both with its positives and negatives (as discussed). Regardless of option, a inline fuse is necessary.

As for voltage regulators, this site contains just about everything one would like to know about it: http://faq.f650.com/FAQs/VoltageRectifierFAQ.htm .

I hope the original poster is not more confused now than before..
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