Why Powerlet? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Why Powerlet?

It's time to farkle up my Weestrom, and first thing I need is power. On my KLR I just slapped an el-cheapo cigarette lighter outlet from Wally World on the fairing and called it good. I can plug my portable air pump into it to air up the tires, or a cell phone charger for my cell phone, or whatever. Can't use it while the bike is moving because the plug vibrates out, but (shrug). So it goes.

So anyhow, I looked around at how folks were adding power outlets to their 'strom, and noticed a lot of folks using these Powerlet/BMW DIN4165 connectors on their bikes. Looks like it could actually be used while the bike was running. Couple of questions I have though:

1. They're clearly waterproof when not in use, due to the cover. Are these things waterproof while in use? I notice, for example, that Powerlet has a cable to plug into a Garmin GPS. What happens when it's raining? Does the Powerlet socket get full of water?
2. The vendor of my heated clothing has their own proprietary jack, but also has BMW-style adaptors for their clothing. How bulky are these things compared to, say, the audio style plugs used by Warm'n'Safe? It's hard to tell from the pictures :-(.

I must admit I'm having trouble figuring out why I should put Powerlets in multiple places on my bike rather than the various specialty hardwired plugs plus a regular cigarette lighter plug. Maybe it's the fact that the Powerlet craze began with the Beemer bunch and I've always had this... image... of Beemer riders as, well, not particularly practical people. (Yeah yeah, I know, stereotyping, stereotyping, but paying $16K for an oversized enduro admittedly isn't the most practical thing in the world to do). Or maybe it's just that I don't know enough. Educate me!

-E

DL650AK8. MadStad windshield bracket, Phillips +80 H4 bulbs, Rox risers, Givi top-plate and side racks, SW-Motech center stand, Suzuki handguards, Suzuki gel seat, Rick's Shelf + Powerlet outlet, Powerlet outlet on left for heated vest, RAM mount for Zumo, Pat Walsh skidplate/engine guard, generic Hardley highway pegs, Scottoiler, Symtec grip heaters, ProGrip 714 gel grips, Rick's Mirror Relocators, National Cycle V-Stream windshield, auxiliary fuse panel under seat
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 12:45 AM
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Powerlet plugs/jacks have a big advantage over cig-lighter plugs in that the connection is a positive snap-in connection rather than a slide-in friction-fit. Cig lighter plugs tend to come out with vibration while powerlet/bmw/john deere connections don't. Only minor movement is needed in a cig lighter plug to lose the positive pin contact. Powerlet-style plugs cure that problem.

Before Powerlet was started, BMW and John Deere tractors had the same style plugs/jacks, and they are all interchangable. Most of us used John Deere because they were a lot cheaper back when. Not any more, now Powerlet is cheaper than JD.

Don F.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I did mention that advantage of Powerlet plugs, but a hardwired Garmin plug doesn't vibrate out either, nor does a hardwired Warm'n'Safe socket, or a hardwired SAE battery tender socket, or ...

The real question in my mind is water intrusion resistance while the socket is actually in use. An SAE socket is set up, for example, so that while it is in use, if you coated everything with dielectric grease, the two prongs are insulated from each other even if they get wet. Will a Powerlet socket fill up with water in the rain while in use to, e.g., power a GPS, or does the plug make a positive seal that will keep water out of it? My GPS is waterproof, but if the power source shorts out and blows its fuse because it gets full of road-salt-contaminated rainwater, that's not going to help me much!

DL650AK8. MadStad windshield bracket, Phillips +80 H4 bulbs, Rox risers, Givi top-plate and side racks, SW-Motech center stand, Suzuki handguards, Suzuki gel seat, Rick's Shelf + Powerlet outlet, Powerlet outlet on left for heated vest, RAM mount for Zumo, Pat Walsh skidplate/engine guard, generic Hardley highway pegs, Scottoiler, Symtec grip heaters, ProGrip 714 gel grips, Rick's Mirror Relocators, National Cycle V-Stream windshield, auxiliary fuse panel under seat
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 02:59 AM
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Because they look cool, stay plugged in, are weatherproof, and cause they look cool.

I've got two on my bike, one for heated clothing on a switched circuit, and the other to power my Zumo 550 that is always "live".

I've not had any problems.

Did I say they look cool??

I'm just sayin...

BTD.
post #5 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 05:06 AM
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There is no 'seal' in a Powerlet socket or plug, the fit is so tight though that there's little room for water to get it. I've never heard of anyone having a water problem so I guess that says it all right there.

Powerlet sockets and plugs are high quality and will last a long long time.

Jim Davis, Owner, Eastern Beaver Company:
http://easternbeaver.com/ - Motorcycle Electrics: 2007 DL1000 with 16/43 gearing, Superbrace, Tokico 4 Pot fronts, BackoffXP, H4 Dual Relay Kit, PC-8 Fusepanel, 2 Powerlet Sockets, Suzuki Centerstand - 1988 Africa Twin 650, 1990 VFR 750.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 10:39 AM
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I've been using first JD and now powerlet for many years, through many frog-stranglers and have never had a problem with water intrusion, rusting out or shorting out. They're much more robust, reliable and tight-fitting than cig lighter outlets. I started out using cig lighter adapters, but quickly discarded them when I got tired of having my radar detector or old gps reset itself every 5 seconds as the connection got loose.

I guess the advantage to me of powerlet type plugs, besides the previously-stated security, is that you can install one plug type on the bike and then just use adapters wherever you need them. As far as plugging in gps, starcom, and all the semi-permanent farkles goes, I hard-wire power cords for those from a fuse panel.

I find SAE two-prong plugs to be clumsy to use. They require two hands to unplug, and when not in use tend to need to be tucked out of the way or dangle in the wind, which is why I avoid them.

Doing a tank-bag or other "temporary" comm install, I'd use one powerlet adapter into the bag, and then power everything off that as needed. There are a variety of adapters for powerlet, including powerlet to cig lighter adapters for those items you want to move between car and bike. Check Jim's Eastern Beaver site or Joe's spoiled biker site for good deals on the equipment.

Don F.
Smith, Nevada, In view of the High Sierra
DL650 K4
DL1000 K5
Keeper of the ST1100 liST [url]www.st-riders.net[/url]
[url]www.quilt-kits-online.com[/url] for great quilt kits and supplies, outstanding customer service.

Last edited by SVDon; 06-13-2008 at 10:46 AM.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-13-2008, 12:26 PM
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I've had a cigarette lighter plug (Cheapy "waterproof" one) on the front of my Strom since a few days after I got it and I now have over 42,000 km on it. When travelling I always have a GPS plugged into it. I recently did a 5,000 km ride down to North Carolina.

I don't go offroad, but don't hesitate to ride on just about anything else. I just don't have issues with the GPS becoming unplugged. Rain has never been an issue. Once in a blue moon, I might bump it myself (I'm a klutz!) and it might momentarily lose connection.


..Tom

2006 DL650: 202,000 km 125,500 miles, Sold
2012 DL650 139,500+ km, 86,700+ miles. Sold
2015 DL1000 New July 2015 193,000+ km, 120,000 miles.

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