Tail Lighting Help! - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-05-2018, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: West Texas
Posts: 15
Tail Lighting Help!

Good Morning All,

I'm a newer Wee owner, and am looking to add LED light strips to the red plastic parts of a GIVI trunk box that I have.
I know they sell a light kit but money is a factor.

I'm planning to take 3 or 4 strips of LED's on each side of the box and hook them up. I'd like them to be running tail lights, brake lights, and able to have on side turn on as the blinker with my blinkers. I slightly understand a wiring schematic that I found online, but not sure how to connect them to be all three.

Help please!

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-05-2018, 01:01 PM
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It will not be as straightforward as it seems. There'll be two issues you need to consider, and how they are solved entirely depends on the LED strips themselves.

First, your tail light and brake light at the moment are two completely separate circuits, even though they end in the same bulb (with two filaments). But if you add LED strips into the mix, you may be dealing with one LED strip that has two brightness settings. This means your two separate circuits are now going to be combined into one system with a shared earth, so you may need diodes to prevent current running the "wrong way". Or do you have two separate LED strips with different brightness?

Second, adding anything that draws current to your blinker lights may require you to switch the blinker relay. Blinkers in general work as follows: The current through the blinkers heats up a resistor inside the relay. Once the resistor is hot enough, it trips the relay so the current no longer flows. This cools down the resistor, which eventually trips the relay the other way, repeating the process. The blinking frequency is therefore dependent on the current that flows through it. Mess with the current, and your blinkers will run fast, slow, or not at all, unless you replace it with a relay that's spec'd for the new current.

And then there's the fact that LEDs require a different voltage than incandescent bulbs. So each LED strip will have to have some sort of in-line resistor to bring the current and voltage down to whatever the LED requires. Easiest is if the LEDs incorporate the resistor, but it might also be separate.

So do us all a favour and post the link to the LED strips that you intend to use, and the schematics you're looking at. We can take it from there.
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-05-2018, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: West Texas
Posts: 15
light type

something like the ALPENA LED Light Strip from Autozone, the part number is 86503, I honestly don't know what type of red led's to get, or whether they have to be dual intensity or I can put a small resistor on them to make them operate at 50 or 70%.

That wiring diagram is attached,

Thanks for the help, feeling a bit helpless haha

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File Type: jpg DL650K7Wiring.jpg (248.3 KB, 10 views)
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-05-2018, 05:11 PM
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The wiring diagram is just the stock standard wiring diagram for the Strom. It's no different from the one you'll find in your own service manual. All it tells you is that the wiring loom to the rear light currently has five wires in it, plus their color and their function. It doesn't tell you anything about how your LED strips need to be wired in.

Those Autozone LED strips are intended for 12V applications so they presumably have the proper resistor already built-in. But there's no indication about their current draw, or the brightness of the things.

Here's what I would do.

Step 1. Buy a strip or two of these LED strips. Strip off the insulation of the very end of the wire that's attached, and hold these directly to the terminals of your battery. Then reverse the wires, hold them against the terminals again. This achieves two things: It tells you how bright the ^&*( things are, and it also tells you if there's any auto polarity sensing built-in. If it doesn't matter which way you hold them against the terminals, it will make your life a little easier in the next steps. If they are polarity-sensitive, then common color coding is that the red wire goes to the positive, and the black wire goes to the negative terminal of the battery.

Step 2. Decide how many LEDs you want for taillight and brake light. Cut the strips to size. Remember that the brake light needs to appear significantly brighter than the tail light, and you also don't want your LED tail light to be confused with a brake light, so their brightness needs to match the brightness of your current tail/brake lights as well. Alternatively, make sure that your LED brake and tail light are very distinct, position wise, so there's no confusion. (For instance, use two short strips, fairly low and vertically mounted, as additional tail lights, and use two long strips, horizontally mounted close together and as high on the case as possible, as additional brake light.)

Step 3. Use posi-taps to splice into the wiring loom that goes to the taillight. B/W (meaning Black with a White stripe) is your (negative) ground, Br(own) is the taillight positive wire, and W/B is the brake light positive wire. So the taillight LED strips need to be wired between B/W and Br, and the brakelight LED strips need to be wired between B/W and W/B. If things don't work then you may have a polarity issue - see last remark in step 1 - and may need to swap your LED positive and negative leads around. I would expect the wires to the LED to be polarity-sensitive, and the black wire the negative, so the black LED wires (both brake and tail light) would need to be spliced into the Stroms B/W wire, and the red LED wire to be spliced into the Br (tail light) or W/B (brake light) wire.

Happy? Then tidy things up: Cut the wiring to the required length, zip-tie everything up and so forth. In fact, if you're putting things on a top case I would make sure I would have some sort of connector in-line as well, so that you can still remove the top case if needed. (Even if you always ride with a top case, you'd still want to be able to remove it for maintenance.)

And then comes the tricky bit. You need to do the same, but with yellow LED strips, for the indicators. That's what the other two wires are for. (The pic you posted doesn't quite have the right resolution to make out their color coding. Is it B(lue) and Lg (Light green)?) But like I said, if you add anything to these circuits, their resistance goes down, current goes up and the relay may start to flash faster or slower. As Autozone doesn't publish the current draw, and I don't know the specs of the default Vstrom relay anyway, the only thing you can do at this state is try and hope for the best. I would wire in the desired length LED strip first and see what would happen. Also check the four-way hazard settings if you have it. If things work, fine. But if the relay is now acting up, then I would progressively cut off parts of the LED strip until I found a length that would work. And even then, you may find that nothing works. In that case you've got to upgrade the relay as well. But with what value?

To answer that last question, you really need to use a different approach. Cut the yellow LED strips to the correct size, hold them directly to the battery terminals, but with a multimeter set to the "amps" (A) setting in-line. That should give you the current draw. Multiply by 12V and you have the power (in Watt). That should tell you the additional power that the relay needs to handle. And then the hunt is on for precisely that relay... Or I guess you could try to play with in-line resistors to the original bulbs to reduce their current, so as to compensate for the increased current draw to your LED strips. But that would make your existing indicator lights weaker.

I would forget about the LED strips for indicators altogether, and replace my current incandescent bulbs with LED indicators. There's complete packages out there that can just be spliced in, with resistors wired in parallel so you don't need to replace the relay, or with a new relay as part of the package.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-05-2018, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: West Texas
Posts: 15
Thank you! I wanted to originally make the entire left and right side blink when flashers are on, but I think I will do a few strips for running/ brake lights and wire them in, then do a strip or two for turn signals wired into each relay.

I think my main concern being where I live (and most places I'd assume) is that people don't tend to see those on two wheels, so indicators are secondary to the main Running/Brake lights concern.

Thank you so much for the help!

I'll try to take some pictures when I hook it all up and send it!

(Also, thanks for the tip on the removable connector, that make a lot of sense!)

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post #6 of 7 Old 11-05-2018, 05:38 PM
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For a simple solution for more tail/brake lights.

I bought this. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorcycle-...-/362273307858

The plate is alloy and the lights LED. It has 3 wires - one for the brake light, one for the tail light, and one for the earth. Just find those three wires in your tail section and use wire splicers to splice them in. https://www.ebay.com/itm/65pc-Quick-...lluY:rk:2:pf:1 Simple and effective.

2010 Weestrom; 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X300; 1988 Suzuki GSXR1100
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-06-2018, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by WeeCommuter94 View Post
something like the ALPENA LED Light Strip from Autozone, the part number is 86503,
When I bought my K7 Wee in 2015, it came with a GIVI clone top box and GIVI Monokey panniers. I was also wired with the built-in run/brake lights for the top box, Alpena LED strips on the panniers for run/brake/turn and Alpena LED strips on the mirror for turn signals. this was all in addition to the OEM lights.

There was no problem using the OEM turn signal relay for the additional LED strips.

As to the Alpena LED strips on the panniers, the PO had 3 strips on each pannier; one red for the run light, one red for the brake light and one amber for the turn signal. Altogether it made for a lot of wires running through the panniers ; which were connected to the main wiring via 4-wire trailer type connectors so the panniers and top box could be removed.

The LED strips provided adequate conspicuous lighting set up in this fashion. The thing I found about the Alpena amber LED strips is that the clear coating turned gummy and sticky over time. Dirt, sand, leaves and the bike cover would stick to them and the sticky goo would get on my pants/gear if I brushed up against them. But, they worked fine once I corrected all of the bad connection made by the PO.

The stickiness problem also occured with the new amber strips I put on the mirrors after dropping the bike and breaking one of the mirrors. I don't know why the difference in the nature of the silicone coating between the red and amber Alpena LED strips but I never had that problem with the red ones.

I eventually replaced the GIVI abs boxes with aluminum and decided not put LED strips on any of the aluminum boxes. Instead I mounted a single bracket abopve the license plate and put on one of these LED strips that includes run, brake and turn signals all in one strip (I'M NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE VENDOR, JUST A SATISFIED CUSTOMER).

It includes much simpler wiring than multiple LED strips and the dual circuit element (allows for the light intensity changes between run light and brake light). The LED chips are densely packed right next to each other instead of separated and strung out over the length of the strip making for a bright light.

This configuration gives me the addition lighting without the need to have the top box or panniers mounted all the time. The top box and panniers do have reflective strips for additional visibility when mounted.

This solution may be too pricey depending on how many Alena LED strips you were thinking about using but after buying/trying a few other cheaper LED strips this is the one that worked best for me.

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