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Old 11-09-2010, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb How To: Install resistors when replacing turn signals.

I was going to reference someone to one of the DIY's about installing resistors (one of the easier options after replacing stock incandescent bulbs with LED ones) just now and noticed there WASN'T a specific DIY about it. There are DIY's for installing aftermarket flashers, but none on tossing resistors in the circuit. It gets brought up a LOT and people say, "Just install resistors" and I know I've tossed a couple of pictures and drawn up some quick diagrams on how to wire them before, but there's no specific threads on it.

So here goes.



I explained briefly how thermal flashers work in one of my factoids and how replacing your high wattage incandescent bulbs with LED ones significantly drops the load in your turn signal circuit. Unlike with most car turn signal circuits the bulbs in most motorcycle turn signal circuits at wired in parallel. This means that when one bulb is gone or replaced with an LED the wattage draw drops so the thermal element inside the flasher doesn't heat up. If the thermal flasher doesn't heat up then it can't cycle. What happens is you turn on your turn signal and they light up, but they stay lit because the thermal flasher never disconnects the circuit to cool down.

So what? So installing resistors "mimicks" the missing bulb(s) and allows a predetermined amount of current TO pass through as it would if you retained your stock incandescent bulbs. If the flasher was meant to operate in an environment with a 50 watt load (two 25-watt bulbs) and you replace the two bulbs with a 50 watt resistor the flasher won't know (or care).

Wiring-wise you just splice a resistor into each circuit (one for the left turn signal and one for the right turn signal). Each resistor typically has one red wire and one black wire. Most Kawi's have a black wire with a yellow stripe (your ground wire) and a green wire going to the left turn signal and a black/yellow wire and a gray wire going to the right turn signal. Often times you can access the wires pretty easily from under the passenger seat (and often there's plenty of space under there to mount the resistors as well).



On the left turn signal circuit find the 2-wires (they'll be next to one another) and splice the black resistor wire to the black/yellow wire and the red wire to the green wire. On the right turn signal splice the red resistor wire to the gray wire. The absolute easiest way to do this (although not the BEST way, but it works) is with a wire splice:



If you're not technically saavy this will work and last probably as long as you own the bike. The preferred way would be to solder the wires together and cover with shrink wrap to prevent corrosion though.



Wire splices allow you to slide it over an existing wire, slide the wire to be spliced in, and when you clamp it with pliers a metal piece cuts into both wires thus joining them.

As for the resistor part you can find the load resistors at most any auto parts stores and they sell them like crazy on eBay. They look like this generally:



depending on the size you're using. This particular one has black leads coming out of both side so you just wire one of the black leads to a positive side in the respective circuit. The direction of electrical flow doesn't matter for these resistors.

The resistors can get hot (as the product of wasting current is heat) so I would suggest not mounting them directly to plastic. I cut a small piece of sheet aluminum to mount mine to separate them from the plastic.



Here I mounted my resistors to a simple sheet-aluminum plate, bent it so it sits over my CDI and riveted it to the plastic piece it sits against. Easy peazy.

Resistor sizing depends on the load you're trying to replace. Since each turn signal bulb is typically 27 watts if you're only replacing one bulb per circuit you only need to splice in one 25 watt resistor per circuit:



If you're replacing your front AND rear turn signals then you are replacing a 50 watt load (per circuit) and the resistor required will be double the size:



Quick side note: There are only TWO turn signal circuits on a vehicle. You can mount the resistors anywhere on the bike and splice in near the front turn signals, the rear turn signals, next to the flasher, etc. So the front left turn signal and the rear left turn signal are literally the same circuit. Hence the wire colors to the front turn signals will match the wire colors going to the rear turn signals.

So yeah if you splice in a resistor into each turn signal circuit after replacing your bulbs with LED's you should fix your turn signal blink issues. That's it!
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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that humpy component pic is quite crafty.
linked.
tho i never condone those squeeze crimp deals. hate those. lol
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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devil splice connectors!
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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LOL. Yes for anything that requires critical voltage numbers (like sensors) or critical components like radiator fans I won't go near crimps like that. For something low wattage and minimally important like turn signals I don't worry about wire crimps.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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they still like to completely sever the conductor after a while.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh what a Nancy.

Would you rather me suggest people to run out and drop $15 on a cheap 15 watt soldering iron and rosin-core solder, shrink tubing, and give a quick run-down on how to sheath wire and solder? For things like turn signal wires wire splices will commonly last the life of the bike IMO.

And that's a lot for me to say. Electrical stuff is one of my BIGGEST attention to detail things. That's one reason why I stopped racing Fox-Body Mustangs in the late 90's because their electrical systems were so shitty from the factory.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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just their electrical systems were shitty? the whole damn cars were pieces of shit.

i had those connectors cut through the rest of the conductor on my FZR. previous owner used them for some such bullshit i can't remember. anyway, didn't last long once i got the bike.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Oh totally. I've seen all sorts of things with those. Then go figure when the car starts throwing codes because you have an intermittent connection problem there... Game over!

I think it was Nick was talking about having problems with his PCIII and he said he connected the TPS tap with one of those and I just did a face palm.

The Fox-Body wasn't too too bad for the time and is pretty respectable to this day for as cheap as you can get them. But after I noticed it was a rite of passage when you've had your first electrical fire with the damned things I dropped them. There are tons of things I'll over look, but when a manufacturer cheaps out on electrical components? See you later!
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nice write up and those crimps are more than enough for the low wattage. Me personally ( I know you don't have to) after making the connection and crimping the wires I then wrap it with electrical tape. Makes me feel like it will help keep the crimp secure and help avoid any moisture or arching.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nice write up.

I bought the $4 shipped LED relay from taiwan (or somewhere similar) on ebay and replaced my stock signal relay with that. I think it's less work. I was going to do a write up on how to do that. The really cheap relay requires you to run a ground though.
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