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41 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased and installed the Powerlet PKT-045 Front Panel Kit. After installation I found an article that caused some concern about the ground placement of the kit. The following is the correspondence I had with a Powerlet electrical engineer.

Email to Powerlet

Saw this at this site
Do I need to re-ground my power outlet ?

The VStrom electric system is designed with all grounds returned via wires to the battery ground. The frame should never be used as a ground return path on these bikes. Due to the fact that the frame is a mix of aluminum and steel, running current through these parts will result in an electrolytic reaction which will eat away at the frame. All added electrical accessories should have their ground current running through wires to the battery. Thanks to R.Cairns of Oz for pointing out this important fact.

Powerlet response

Hi Bill,

My name is John and I am one of the electrical engineers at Powerlet. I
understand you have some concern about ground current eating away at the aluminum/steel frame joints. In my opionion the statement is false.
Additionally the good news is it does not matter - the fix is simple.

First let me answer your question "Is the statement by the article
correct, "The frame should never be used as a ground return path on these bikes"?"

Theoretically... YES, the electrolytic process is certainly is happening.

Practiaclly... I dont think you could actually measure the frame decay
because the current is not high enough (or frequent enough) to cause
serious damage.

I have read the post on the Suzuki link you sent. In this case false
"inductive" logic may be causing unwarrented concern.

I believe the potential false logic goes something like this:
A. Suzuki used individual wires to return the grounds (factory wiring).
B. Flowing current through dissimilar metals create electrolytic reactions.
C. Therefore Suzuki does not use the frame for gorund returns because it
will weaken the frame.

A & B do not prove C.

There "may be" many reasons why Suzuki returned the ground wires seperatly at the factory. Maybe they are using fasteners that are coated for corrosion and these are not conductive. Maybe this was causing some bolts to "freeze" into the frame dus to a small amount of electrolytic action. The "maybes" here are endless, but most likely it is related to cost, not frame decay.

I will keep my eyes and ears open, I could be wrong.

The good news is that it does not matter the reason. If you are concerned about it, then you should terminate the black wire at the battery instead of bolt "E". The black wire in kit 045 is more than long enough to reach the battery.

I hope this helps, please feel free to post this info to any other
concerned Powerlet customer.

Ride Safe,

441 Posts
Why not run a ground wire all the way back to the battery? You've got to run a positive wire unless you're tapping into the harness somewhere else. Run both wires at the same time.

I have two powerlet sockets on my Strom and each is wired with its own fused circuit. If you really want to do a thorough job you can run all additional circuits to a DC power distribution (fuse) box to prevent "rats nest syndrome" at the battery. Plus that makes for an extra tidy job that makes any future changes or troubleshooting much easier.

Bottom line if you run ground wires back to the battery or fuse box, you will never have to worry about possible funky problems using the alloy frame as the ground path.

John from Powerlet by the way, is one of the smartest, most decent guys I have ever met. I shared a meal with him at the DealerExpo in February and found him to be a really savvy engineer and brilliant conversationalist.
Nice guy.

Like the people at Powerlet say, "Get wired, now go play!"

26 Posts
i just got my powerlet kit.

and im glad i read this post. i have another question. the kit comes with the port thing much smaller than the end plug that came with my GPS. any idea what im to do to sort this out??
thank you,


Premium Member
545 Posts

441 Posts

Roger that, Chuck,

The PAC 002 adapter is the solution. That cable is about 10 inches long. They also make a "no cable" unit that is the cigarette socket mated directly to the powerlet plug. This part is PAC 001.

You can get them from Powerlet directly (I think) or from a motorcycle farkle purveyor like Whitehorse Gear, proud supporter of
See the Powerlet selection here:

Have fun!

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