Bestem Top Case Brake light Hookup How-To - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-23-2008, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 159
Bestem Top Case Brake light Hookup How-To

Hi All,

Sorry it took so long to get this done, but here it is!

The Bestem top case is an amazing value at $80 shipped. Once you get it mounted (most people, myself included, have to drill extra holes in the mounting plate - there are other guides for that), you still need to get the extra brake light wired up. This is what I will cover here.

Notes: The ads for this box claim the light is LED. It is not, it is a row of several (4 or 5) incandescent bulbs. I may in the future write a guide to converting to a LED system. Also, the wire and connectors that this case comes with are pretty flimsy, I replace their connectors with something more substantial. Also, these pics were taken by my cell phone, and you know how that goes. I'm missing a few pics because they didn't come out, but i think you'll get the idea.

Required parts: I bought all supplies at Radio Shack. A real electronics store would have been better, but less repeatable for folks who aren't familiar with electronics.

With that in mind, here is what I used:
. Spool of 22 gauge speaker wire
. 2-position interlocking quick disconnect connector (part # 274-222)
. Tap-In Squeeze Connectors (# 64-3053)
. Black Electrical Tape
. Wire strippers
. Soldering Gun (equivalent to # 64-2187, I got mine at Autozone)
. Solder
. Pliers

. Remove seat. Unmount top case, remove grab bar/rear rack

. Remove allen bolts holding rear fender/lights. One on each side, like so:

. Remove rear fender/light housing. The trick is to pull the sides away where the allen bolts go, then it slides right off.

. Cut a length of about 18 inches of the speaker wire. Split about 3" of wire on each end and strip around 1/2 inch on each end. The Quick Connect package has 2 plastic housings and 4 metal connectors. Separate the male and female connectors, we will use the females first. These crimp onto your wires, just slide the wires into the back and squeeze it with the pliers. For good measure, I put a bit of solder on it. You may may need to use the pliers to make the connector more round, as it has to be pushed up into the plastic housing. Once you are done, it should look like this:

Run the other end of the wire into the wire hole on the top case. Cut the bullet connectors off of the end of the existing wire and strip them down. use your soldering gun to solder red to blue and black to yellow. Then, wrap the connections up with electrical tape. Not pictured, i also tied a knot in the wire to keep it from being pulled through the hole.

. Locate the wires running to the tail light. The ones we're interested in are the white with black stripe (positive) and the black with white stripe (negative).

. Cut another length of about 18 inches of the speaker wire. Split about 3" of wire on each end and strip around 1/2 inch on each end. On one end, we need to connect the Quick Connect male pins, similar to the female pins, and push them through the other direction on the plastic housing. Make note to match the positions of the colors so when you plug it together, the red wire connects with the red wire on the other connector.

. Open your wire taps package. The wire taps have 2 compartments, one goes all the way through and the other goes 3/4 and stops. To connect the positive lead, slip the tap connector onto the white with black stripe wire, and stick the end of the red wire into the part that only goes 3/4 through. Once these are in, you put pliers around it so that you're pushing the metal tab straight in. Give it a good squeeze and it should slide down and tap the wires. Fold the plastic retention clip around it and you should be good to go.

Repeat this step with the black with white stripe wire on the bike and the black side of the speaker wire. it should look like this:

For good measure (and some waterproofing), wrap those taps in electrical tape. Stretch the tape slightly while you're applying it for best results.

Not pictured, I wrapped some electrical tape around the back of each of the plastic housing to keep water and dirt from getting in.

At this point, you should be able to test your light. Plug the Quick Connectors together, turn on the ignition, and pull the front brake. Your case light should come on along with your regular brake light. If not, a multimeter would be very handy to determine where a fault lies. Check for 12v DC on the Quick Connector pins, if this is good check for it where you soldered the speaker wire to the top case lighting wires, and redo any connection that isn't flowing electricity.

Assembly is much like disassembly. Disconnect the Quick Connector and set the case aside. Putting the fender/tail light housing is similar to removing it, pull the sides out to slip over the raised areas where the allen bolts go, while paying attention to your alignment with the side bodywork. It pretty much will snap in to place when you have it right. Put the allen bolts back in, then you can mount your grab bar/luggage rack again. Mount the top case to the rack and run the lighting wire under the grab rail, plug it in and leave any extra wire under the seat. Put the seat on and test your light again. If everything went properly, you're done!

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post #2 of 16 Old 06-24-2008, 03:39 PM
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Location: Pacific North West
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Great post! Thanks for the help!
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-24-2008, 08:02 PM Sponsor
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Location: Wasatch Mountains, UT
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Nice job Squash and thank you very much for taking the time to write this up for us! I'll be using your instructions and hooking mine up soon.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-25-2008, 10:30 AM
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Me too...thanks!!
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-13-2009, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Seattle
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OK- I got the Bestem case- $70 shipped.

I was replacing the JC Whitney large box, which is a fine box but I wanted a brake light and I needed to put in my full face straight up and down, not sideways.

I was hoping to put in the advertised two full face helmets but I think this box is a little too small for that. Maybe my head is too big.

This box fit right onto the JCW mounting plate, so no need for me to try to mount the Bestem plate (nice!)

I followed these instructions to hook up the electrical. However I can point out a shortcut. There is no need to remove the rear rack or the taillight mounting (although you have to remove the rack to mount the mounting plate, so you might have it off anyway).

I was doing this in the dark, so no picture. But if you look at the first picture from squash (the one with the seat off) you can see... If you look at the seat release cable it runs to the left side of the bike in this picture. Right where the seat release meets the frame you will see a bundle of wires wrapped in a loose sleeve. The loose sleeve of wires runs back to the brakelight/tail light/ license plate light. If you carefully cut open the sleeve you can have access to the specified positive and negative brake light leads.

As squash has said, white with black stripe (positive) and the black with white stripe (negative).

I spliced into the wires here and had no problem. Otherwise, exactly as squash has described.

The brake light is nice at night, not that easy to see in daylight. It occurs to me that this light could also be hooked up as a running light but using the licence plate light wires but I dunno what those wires are.

Anyway, great value for the cash. I'd recommend this over the JCW one because it is slightly bigger (allows one full face sitting upright with alot of room left over) and the tail light is a big bonus over the JCW.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-21-2009, 10:34 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Cumming, GA ( 20 minutes north of Atlanta)
Posts: 411
Yep. Thanks a bunch for posting this. It surely saved me a TON of time figuring this out.

A point to note: the included wire is such a light gauge, that my wire taps didn't work with it. I had to splice on (solder) a few inches of heavier gauge wire onto the end where I used the wire taps. The wimpy wire that it came with just pinched between the jumper/splicer thing (on the taps). So the metal on the jumper didn't pierce the insulation and touch the inside of the wire - it couldn't complete the circuit. For what it's worth.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-22-2009, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: North East PA
Posts: 293
I had installed a Back Off brake light modulator, using a taillight-wiring adapter from Eastern Beaver, [which is where I got the posi-locks (below) also]. This brake/tail/signal adapter is a cheap and good solution for any electrical additions in the back of the bike, as you just unplug your existing OEM connector to the rear wiring, and plug the eastern beaver in between the two plug halves. The eastern beaver plug then has extra wires to add top box lights, brake lights, running lights, modulator, etc. without splicing any of your wires. Also, when you add something new, these plug wires are accessible with just a seat removal instead of a rear rack/fender removal, which is difficult when you have Givi racks, top box rack, etc. installed. If you sell your bike or take off the top case, your stock wiring is still intact. I have no business interest in Eastern Beaver, but they do make good stuff.

note- My Bestem case had many bare screws exposed inside the case, which took the paint off of my helmets when I put them in it. Cover these with electrical tape before using it for helmets or other stuff you don't want scratched.

The Bestem case has very thin wiring as stated- I cut those wires and spliced heavier wire on also, using posi-lock connectors inside the case so that that thin wiring was not stressed at any point. Those posi-locks are the greatest thing if you can’t solder.
An SAE two-pin connector was used to connect the Bestem wires to the bike wires, (available from auto parts stores for a few bucks). I cannibalized an old alligator-clip Battery Tender Jr. cable for the bike side wiring so that the end that attaches to the bike had an insulated cover for when the box was not mounted. Just make sure that the positive wire is the one that is insulated inside the connector from the bike wires.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-07-2012, 10:28 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 52
Thanks! It's great you guys posted your knowledge of how to hook it up. I originally thought it would just be for trips but I'm so impressed with the lights and the increased visibility it may just stay on the bike!
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-05-2012, 09:55 PM
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Bensalem pa.
Posts: 52
You guys rock. Was going to wait to wire my box up. Your info was all I needed to motivate me to do it tonite. 1 hour later and I'm happ y with the finished product.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-29-2012, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bellingham, WA
Posts: 105
Used the advice from Squash and Eegah, worked great. Installed with posi-loks as Eegah suggested, and changed the wires in the box to something heavier with SAE 2-wire plugs on both ends (under the seat and in the box) so they disconnect easily to remove box. Only trouble was doing the posi-loks on the wires under the seat as there is very little slack to work with in a tight space, but even with my fat fingers was able to pull it off.
The light is not very bright... kind of wish I'd bought the upgrade version with the LEDs.
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