Super Cheap LED Brake lighting for Top Box/Luggage. Quick Disconnect - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-24-2013, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 27
Smile Super Cheap LED Brake lighting for Top Box/Luggage. Quick Disconnect

So, I am the kind of person to buy something cheap and make it work. Sometimes it burns me, but most of the time I find if you have a little common sense mixed with ingenuity, add a sprinkle of spare time, and you can make many useful items on the cheap side instead of paying for someone else to do it for you.

In the spirit of this, I decided to buy a cheap E-bay Top Box that can fit 2 helmets for a very reasonable price of $50. However, I was looking at the Bestem 929 with integrated LED lights and wanted to still accomplish the brake lights. Enter Amazon LED strips.

Now, I am not sure if I am allowed to add direct links to the product on Amazon, so I won't. However, if you search Cutequeen 30CM or Cutequeen LED you will find it. They are 12" LED strips that use 3M sticky tape as a way to secure themselves to an object. I am going to guess the wiring used is 22 AWG and the connection to the LED strip uses a nice heat shrink on it. Feels sturdy enough.

Usual disclaimer here: You modify the bike at your own risk. I don't think any issues will arise if you do everything right, but me and this site are not responsible for any damages incurred.

So, onto the project.

What you'll need:
~Electrical Wire cutter and stripper tool.
~10mm Socket head and wrench.
~Needlenose Pliers
~2 lengths of 16 gauge wire; 4 foot each. Color code them (red and black)
~16-18 Crush connectors (red color)
~16-18 gauge electrical bullet connectors
~Heat shrink tubing that will fit over connectors and ends of wires
~High strength bonding adhesive; I used Plastic Weld but a semi flexible bond will work better
~Duct tape (holds wires in place while drying)
~Drill and several size drill bits.
~Your top box/luggage!

So here is the top box I got:

1.) So the first thing you will want to do is remove your top box
2.) Next, use your key to remove your seat by placing the key in the left rear key hole on the rear fender. Lif up and back on the seat at the same time.
3.) Next, use a 10MM socket and remove the 4 bolts holding in the luggage rack.
4.) Next remove your rear fender. To do this, you will need the right Hex head ( I don't have off hand) and also a needlenose pliers. Use the hex head to take out the rear hex bolts on either side of the fender by the license plate light. Next locate the 4 plastic fender clips and remove them, using the needlenose pliers to push out on the pin from inside the plastic. DO NOT pull on the outside ring to remove, they WILL break and then you have creaky plastics if you don't replace them.
5.) Next, carefully slide the fender off. DO NOT pull hard as there are many wires connected under there, and they don;t give you a whole lot of room to pull off with. The wires underneath will look like this:

Now, thanks to greywolf, the wiring you are looking for to add the extra brake lights is as follows:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
Ground - black w/ white stripe
Brake hot - white w/ black stripe
Tail light hot - gray (brown if ahead of fender)

Spanking new 2012 Weeeee!-strom
Not enough miles ridden in 6 years :/

Last edited by XTwarrior1985; 06-24-2013 at 02:39 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-24-2013, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 27
6.) Now collect the items you will need to splice into the brake hot. This includes Wire crimper/cutter; your hot colored length of wire, crush connector, and heat wrap and lighter.

7.) Locate the White wire with the Black stripe on it. This is your BRAKE LIGHT hot/positive.
8.) Cut the White wire with black stripe. Strip about .75" off each newly cut end using the 16 gauge stripper.
9.) Next, slide on your heat shrink wrap on either end of the newly cut and stripped wire. Do this before crimping anything to make sure you remember before you have everything connected.
10.) Now, Crimp one side of your red connector to one of the open end for the White wire with black stripe. For the other end, twist your white with black stripe wire and your tie-in line for the future LED brake lights; insert into other end of connector and crimp. Like SO:

11.) Next, slide your heat shrink wrap over the nexly created connection, and use a lighter to shrink. It is best to start several inches away, turning the wire as you go. Get closer if needed, but try not to burn the wire or wrap as ti will cause the protective coating to become brittle. Like SO:

12.) Next, you can pull your extra wire out of the wiring area, replace the fender, and tighten the 2 hex bolts as well as place the push pins in for holding the plastics. However, leave the luggage rack off. So far, it should look like this:

13.) So next we will create the ground for the LED brakes. Instead of tying into the ground wire in the fender, I decided to keep that area as clean as possible and instead, use one of the luggage bolts as my ground. The bolt connects directly to an unpainted surface on the fram and I confirmed works perfectly fine for the consumption used by these LED's. I simply took my black wire length, stripped off 2 inches of the protective coating, twisted the copper strands, then made a loop around the threads on my luggage rack bolt, making sure to secure the loop with a twist where it came back around and meet itself on the bolt. I then tightened down the rack bolt. I have a picture of this but for some reason IMGUR will not upload it, constantly fails.

14.) Now having both a ground and a positive coming out into the beautiful open air, you will want to create your quick disconnects using your bullet style electrical connectors. Ingredient for this is as follows:

Spanking new 2012 Weeeee!-strom
Not enough miles ridden in 6 years :/

Last edited by XTwarrior1985; 06-24-2013 at 02:40 PM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-24-2013, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 27
15.) So at this point, you probably have 4 feet of a black and red (or whatever color you chose for hot) connected to your bike and just laying out. You will want to shorten both lengths by cutting them. An important thing to do BEFORE you cut the wire, is to establish where you want the wire to go into the luggage. This will dictate how long your wires will need to be. I preferred the wires coming from the hard connection on the bike to be short to avoid snagging when the top box was removed. I fitted the luggage first and made sure it was the length I wanted and where I wanted it to go in. Once you have located where you want the wires to go into your luggage, and how you want it to run to that spot, measure and cut your wires. Then, strip .75" of the hot and ground wires. Add whichever side of the bullet connectors you want on both, crimp, and then seal with shrink wrap. This is what mine looks like when connected to the top box:

16.) Now, you are done with the wiring on the bike itself. Onto the luggage! So, with the marked spot in which you want your LED light wires to run into, go ahead and drill the appropriate size hole that will fit both the positive and negative side by side. There will be no standard sizing of the bit as certain brand wire may have thicker coating, or less coating than what I used. Mine barely squeezed through both which is what you want.
17.) With the hole drilled, run the length of wire you wish to exit from inside the luggage to outside where your bullet connectors will come together. Strip .75" of wire for both ends coming out of the luggage, and crimp the other halves of your bullet connectors to each wire. It should look like this:

18.) With those crimped, now you will want to figure out how you are going to mount your LED strips, how many you are going to mount, and where you want the wires from the LED strips to enter the top box. I chose to do only 2 strips and to have their wires come together in the middle. Not as clean looking from the outside, but saves wire and also I only had the space for 2 LED strips where I chose to place them. it looks like this:

19.) Once you have your LED's test fitted and the hole(s) you want to drill marked, go ahead and drill those holes. because of the thin nature of the LED strip wires, you can get away with smaller drill bit, which means far less chance of moisture coming in....we do seal the drilled holes at the end.
20.) Go ahead and run your LED strip wires into the hole(s) that were drilled, then remove the 3M strip paper and mount. The stuff is pretty sticky, HOWEVER, the strips were not made with the idea of being on a hot black plastic or metal box in the middle of summer. I mounted the LED strips, and then took some plastic weld and glued the ends of each strip down to the box. Worked like a charm!
21.) Next is the annoying but necessary part: Securing the wires inside the box. You will want to make sure each of you length of hot and ground are the desired length(s) to reach all the wiring for your LED strips. This is most important for those who may have separated their LED strip wiring instead of bringing them together. Measure out the lengths of your hot and ground wire with the thought in mind that they will run a very specific path and the top box needs to opena dn close without pullin on these wires. The following pictures are a test mock up of how I ran my wiring with good success:

Spanking new 2012 Weeeee!-strom
Not enough miles ridden in 6 years :/

Last edited by XTwarrior1985; 06-24-2013 at 02:42 PM.
XTwarrior1985 is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 06-24-2013, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 27
22.) Alright, after using a test mock up to ensure your wires run the way you want them, it is time to secure the wires down. Now, there are several ways to do this; you can use a flexible glue meant to bond to plastics, you can use a rigid plastic weld like I did, or you can even do something more like use hardware to restraining the wires, though this imposes risks of moisture leaks if not sealed properly. I chose to use plastic weld. What I did was I mixed up a big batch of the plastic weld, gooped it onto the wires all the way up to the bottom half of the lid. The I taped my wires into place tight against the top box. I let that dry for 2 hours, and then took another batch and made a smooth coating to allow for object to slide over rather than catch the wires as they move around. In retrospect, I would advise one layer of coating, then use a strip of appropriately colored duct tape to make a slide barrier. My Plastic weld got knocked loose by an angry laptop floating around in the top box the day after install.

23.) Do the same for the top wires in the box.

24.) The final step is ensuring all of your drill points are properly sealed from water leaking. I used Yamabond I had laying around and made sure to create a plug from it. Seems like it will work well. I only sealed from the inside but it is advisable to seal from both sides for the best protection.

So that is it. I don't have any night pictures but several have said they can see the lights during the day, though they aren't as noticeable as a real brake light. I did this because my top box has a fake brake light, and I wanted something up there to catch attention if people are thinking the top box has a real tail light. I think this does the job good enough and the cost and install just made it all that much better. I'd say if you bought all the tools from your local shop, it's cost you $25 or so including the purchase of the tool, wires, connectors, and glues. I had all but the wire and the LED strips so it cost me $8 total!

PS - This probably has been done before, but I decided to post another to help those interested, will save some time and hopefully answer questions.

Spanking new 2012 Weeeee!-strom
Not enough miles ridden in 6 years :/

Last edited by XTwarrior1985; 06-24-2013 at 02:42 PM.
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