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.
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.
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!
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.
The entire cluster went dead!
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”
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.
After my IU power re-wiring, my motorcycle could now rest for more than 6 weeks without starting up and the battery is still good for firing up the engine. I’m happy now. However, in the meantime, I’ve received several well-meaning advise from fellow motorcycle riders that such a modification – the re-wiring of the power of the IU to only come on when the ignition is turned on – is not allowed / illegal under the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) rules.
I tried searching online to find out if there is any truth in this. But search as I might, I couldn’t find any official rule or law stating whether this modification is legal or not. LTA does publish a list of allowable and non-allowable (illegal) modifications one can perform on their private vehicle, but the IU power wiring was stated nowhere. The only “sources” (if I could even call it a proper source) that I found were forum postings of people discussing the legality of the modification. There were even some forumers who claimed that LTA informed them that the modification makes the vehicle illegal and will fail the (required) annual inspection when brought in to one of the inspection centres.
Honestly, unless the government’s goal is to be “big brother” and wants to track the vehicle 24/7 (if that is even possible with the current generation of IU units), I cannot phantom why such a re-wiring – for the purpose of conserving battery on a lightly used vehicle – would be illegal. So, not satisfied and not wanting to get into any legal trouble with the authorities, I wrote in to LTA and enquired.
I wrote about my killing of the motorcycle battery by deep discharging it some time ago. I also later found out that it was the IU unit that was eating up my battery juice when the bike is turned off. Previously, it took only FIVE days (5 DAYS!) of not firing up my motorcycle to completely drain my battery to levels where even the instrument cluster refused to work. And it didn’t just happen once, it happened a whole of 3 times before I swapped out the IU power wiring to only power up the IU unit when the bike is turned on.
Now, I’ve been a little busy of late and admittedly haven’t been riding my motorcycle. Boy! I sure missed my Pulsar! Anyway, it has been SIX weeks (6 WEEKS!) since I last fired up my Pulsar’s 200cc engine. So, out of curiosity, and before I fired up the engine again, I removed the seat cover and measured the voltage of the 6-week-neglected battery.
12.57V! That’s a VERY healthy voltage!
So with some excitement, I put the seat cover back, and mounted my motorcycle. I inserted the key and switched it on – so far so good! And then I hit the started button.
Ahh! The sweet roar of my Pulsar coming to life after 6 weeks of neglect was pure music to my ears! Needless to say, I took her for a spin today, with a huge smile hanging on my face.
Since I published the blog posts on my dead motorcycle battery, I have received a couple of queries asking me what I used to charge my lead acid battery and where I bought it from. And after I told them that I built it from some electronic scrap parts and it cost me close to nothing, they were surprised.
So, I’ve decided to write this post to share with you on how you can build your very own DIY home made battery charger for almost free – well, if you already have most of the parts like I did. And even if you don’t, you can probably get it quite cheaply from an electronics parts store such as those in Sim Lim Square. Continue reading “$1 DIY Motorcycle Battery Charger”
Arghh! I couldn’t start my motorcycle again this morning! The last time I fired up my Pulsar 200NS was Tuesday – that’s only 5 days ago. Granted, I haven’t been riding much. But still, it was ONLY FIVE DAYS!
Since the last battery death and replacement, I’ve double checked all my additional electrical components, and am ABSOLUTE CERTAIN that, apart from the IU, none of the other additional electrical circuits are powered up when the bike is turned off. I’ve even went so far to remove my remote controlled alarm – which I suspected could be the cause of the battery drain.
After I killed my motorcycle battery with a deep discharge just barely 3-months after installing it, many have asked me if I considered replacing it with a technologically newer lithium-ion, or specifically lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) one. For awhile, I did explore to use the opportunity to “upgrade” to a lithium-based battery. But before that, let’s consider the merits and pitfalls of it… Continue reading “Lithium-Ion batteries in Motorcycles?”