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.
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
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 is TRUE
B is TRUE
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.