Honda Motorcycle Starter Relay Safety Recall

Most affected owners *should* know by now that Honda had a massive recall on multiple motorcycle models due to a potential failure in the starter relay switch. A failure could lead to a fire or even the bike suddenly stalling – which is a potential accident risk. The potentially faulty starter relay switch seem to affect multiple Honda motorcycle models manufactured in 2014 and 2015. My CB400X is a 2014 model. *GASP!*

Being the 3rd owner of the vehicle and only recently acquiring it, I have no idea if my bike’s starter relay is affected, or if it had been swapped out. And since this is a SAFETY issue and a possible FIRE HAZARD, I decided to be prudent about it and do some investigation myself.

Location of the starter relay on the CB400X.

The starter relay switch is located on the Continue reading “Honda Motorcycle Starter Relay Safety Recall”

CB400X Gear Indicator Mod

This has got to be the easiest to install, yet useful mod I’ve added to my CB400X. Being a somewhat budget bike, the Honda CB400X does not come with a gear indicator. And because the gears are so close together – especially gears 5 and 6, I found myself searching for that phantom gear 7 on many occasions.

The gear indicator with the MT090 connector fitted.
The gear indicator connects directly to the OBD / diagnostic port of the Honda CB400X. That’s the red port under the seat on the RHS of the bike.

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CB400X DVR Installation

Say CHEESE! Snap, snap!

With the number of irresponsible road users these days, sometimes all it takes is just one idiot to bump into you and subsequently deny all responsibilities to cause your insurance claims to shoot through the roof. Worse, it was recently reported that sham accidents and motor insurance fraud is on the rise. The cheapest form of insurance against such cases would be an on-board video recorder to capture the evidence if you ever run into such incidences.

The Vsys T2 1080p FHD front and VGA rear DVR system.

After evaluating various DVR solutions, I’ve decided to go for the Continue reading “CB400X DVR Installation”

CB400X 12V Power Distribution

While I’ve previously connected some electrical devices to the Honda Options Connector on my CB400X, they were done rather crudely. Instead of splicing the wires, I opted to squeeze them through the connector. While this resulted in no physical damage to the existing cable wiring, there were 2 possible issues…

No wire splicing. Just squeezing through the Options Connector Plug. NOT the correct way to do it.

Firstly, there’s no way I can ensure a secure connection. A little bit of bike vibration may just shake the connection loose. But secondly (and more importantly), in order to squeeze the wires through the connector plug, I had to use a very small diameter wire. Now, I’m not sure the actual AWG of the wire I used as it wasn’t printed on the insulation sleeve, but I’ll estimate it to be either a AWG22 or AWG24 multi-strand insulated copper wire.

Here’s the thing – the circuit is protected by a 7.5A fuse. That’s the good news. But the bad news is Continue reading “CB400X 12V Power Distribution”

CB400X LED Aux Brake Light Installation

Safety has no compromise. In my recent 2,000km tour to Thailand, I experienced one of the heaviest downpours when traveling along the Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW). Visibility was so bad that many vehicles had their hazard lights blinking as the crept along. I had a riding buddy close behind me, and over the Sena Bluetooth comms, I queried…

“Hey JC, I’m gonna lightly hit my brakes. With my tail lights turned on, can you help me take a look to see if the OEM Honda CB400X brake lights are obvious enough, or do you think I should add an auxiliary brake light?”

I tapped on the brakes lightly and intermittently.

“You should add an additional brake light.”

The CB400X brake light connector.

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Wiring up for power on the Honda CB400X

Having recently purchased the Honda CB400X, I’d love to have the option of adding on electrical accessories. I have previously wired up my Pulsar 200NS and added a relay and a fuse to help isolate the circuit from the rest of the bike’s electrical system. The main reason being that if an add-on accessory fail and short circuits, you don’t want it to affect the bike’s other electrical system.

While researching on how to wire up the CB400X, I realised that Honda has already included a fused ignition-on feature built into the bike! No messy relay needed! And this is done via the 4-pin MT090 options plug found underneath the seat.

Schematic of the power wiring on the CB400X

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My poor, poor CB400X…

I don’t trust the previous owner of the bike.

Just before the handover, he had agreed to replace the bike battery (it died while viewing) and perform a once-off engine oil change. I specifically asked if he used a fully-synthetic oil – and he said YES; though he couldn’t recall the oil name (red flag!). So he arranged for tow and got the agreed stuff replaced.

Mobil Super 4T 10W50 mineral oil and the removed Yuasa battery.

Firstly, Mobil Super 4T is a mineral oil – not synthetic. Next, the manual calls for 10W30 viscosity on the CB400X / Continue reading “My poor, poor CB400X…”

Wiring USB Power on my CB400X

My very first DIY mod on the CB400X – wiring up for USB power!

Now, I’m super-dependent on my mobile phone (who isn’t these days??). My iPhone 8 is not only my communications device, but also my GPS navigator. With the screen kept on and GPS active, it takes a huge toll on the phone’s battery. Ideally, it should be hooked up to a USB power source to keep the battery charged.

I’m still awaiting for some other electronic accessories to arrive via mail order. Meanwhile, I’ll need to keep my iPhone happy. So I did some research on how best to tap a 12V source only when the ignition is turned on. Turns out that Honda has an Options Plug tucked neatly underneath the seat which provides a source of 12V (always on) and 12V (only available when ignition is on). Perfect!

Location of the Options Plug where a 12V (ignition on) source can be tapped.

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Dead 200NS with Strange Error Code

A trip to MotoWorld earlier today proved to be more eventful than expected – unfortunately not of the pleasant kind. Nah. It has nothing to do with MotoWorld per se.

Just when I completed my shopping, I decided to head home. So I geared up and inserted the key into the 200NS and turned the bike on. The LCD cluster did its startup initialisation routine as usual, and then I hit the started button.

(Soft) Click!

The entire cluster went dead!

Yipes!

Repeated hitting on the starter button yielded absolutely nothing – not different from when the key was in the OFF position. Cycling the key between ON and OFF resulted in nothing too. My first thought was – did I blow the main fuse? Continue reading “Dead 200NS with Strange Error Code”

Adding a Voltmeter to the 200NS

I’ve resisted this modification for awhile. But after reading reports of failing regulators / rectifiers (RR) and stator coils – not just on the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS, but not an uncommon failure on almost any motorcycles, I’ve decided to add a voltmeter to the bike so that I can keep a constant eye on the health of my motorcycle’s electrical system.

By the way, did you know that the number one cause for RR and stator coil failures is NOT the addition of electrical accessories, but rather a bad battery? The typical electrical loads additional (reasonable) accessories demand from the bike’s electrical system is usually very, very well within what the electrical generation system can handle. But when a battery goes bad, and if a single cell within the 12V lead acid battery shorts (a typical 12V battery has 6 cells), this draws a significantly increased amount of current from the bike’s electrical generation system. This large current draw puts a tremendous strain on the electrical system until something – typically either the RR or the stator, or both – gives way and burns up. So remember this – periodically replacing a battery BEFORE it goes bad is good preventive maintenance for your bike’s electrical system. And this is one reason why I choose to replace old batteries instead of waiting for them to go bad.

The (hopefully) waterproof mini voltmeter.

Continue reading “Adding a Voltmeter to the 200NS”