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  1. #1
    Super Moderator MJC's Avatar
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    driving lights and radio

    I have had a radio hooked up for two years. In the past 6 weeks or so I hooked up driving lights. The lights are wired, + from battery to switch, to + to each light, - goes from lights to - on the battery. Lights work fine. Today I had the Radio on and when I put the lights on the radio (sound) goes lower. Lights stay the same just the radio goes lower, turn off the lights and the radio goes back (louder). So what is wrong? Are the lights just too much?

  2. #2
    Member mtvic's Avatar
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    How old is you battery? You don't list year and model in your signature line. Since going straight to battery are you even running bike when you turned them on? Probably starting to loose ability to hold full charge.
    2014 CTX 700 dct
    2016 NM4

  3. #3
    Senior Member ponydrvr's Avatar
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    It sounds like a wonky splice connection on the line feeding them. This would cause a series resistance resulting in a voltage drop causing in the issues. Depending on where you obtained power, the wire size might be to small for the load causing this.

    A DC load is generally measured in watts. To determine wire size you need to divide the operating wattage by the required voltage (12vdc) to determine the current required to operate. Then using the current (amps) requirements you can select the minimum wire size to carry the load. If both loads are running from the same feed, then add the amps together for proper wire size determination.

    I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator MJC's Avatar
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    I have a 2014 DCT Fairing 700. Battery is new, installed 3/18. The lights and harness and water proof switch are the same as MTVIC used. I assumed that the wires are the right size, for the lights.
    The radio is on a switch that runs to battery, the UBS/Charger with switch (switched uint installed in fake tank box), this powers the GPS with the UBS used if the phone needs to be charged (not used), the driving lights go from the battery to the switch then the lights, i also have rear top case (box) that runs lights (turn, brake, stop) off the rear wiring harness using a flat 4 way plug. There is also a battery charge plug (used over winter to battery charger). Every thing (not the top case lights) go or get power from the battery.

    The battery, + side, has wire to bike, power line with fuse to Radio, power line with fuse to USB charger with switch with fuse, power line to front driving lights with fuse and line to battery charger with fuse. All the - (neg) go to the battery. Only thing is, I changed the Radio antenna to the top box and did not ground the antenna. Not sure if that needs to be done.

    Maybe I need a fuse block? Or now the radio needs thicker wires? Or should I just start over and use thicker wires (like the trailer 4 way plug thick wires).

  5. #5
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    On page 1-11 of the service manual it says alternator capacity is .45kw/5,000 rpm which is 450 watts. Can only guess what it would be at idle speed or 1200 rpm but would probably be much less. You may be stressing the alternator where it is struggling to replenish the battery based on the draw. Add up how many watts the stereo and lights use. Take a meter and hook it to the battery and check the voltage. Start the bike check, turn on stereo check then turn on lights check. If at anytime the voltage drops too much stop. Be careful, over taxing the alternator creates heat and even though it does not blow a fuse it could fry it. Ditto on the wire size supplying the radio and lights. Too small a supply wire will present more resistance and will also stress the alternator. A high power stereo amp plus the driving lights may just be too much all running at the same time and you just ran out of available watts. I am just an amateur and hope this helps.
    CTX700ND DCT/ABS

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  7. #6
    Member mtvic's Avatar
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    You still haven't said if this is happening without the engine running, idle speed, or higher RPMs. I've added a low amp stereo system, lights, 2.1amp usb chargers with a Smartphone and Garmin plugged in. I go through a relay and have never noticed this. Your battery should still be checked out, including load test. I've had "bad" new batteries. Happens often. If battery checks out OK, with bike idling high enough to charge the battery, try again. If still happens, I'd try unplugging rear lights and 1 at a time other drags on system before doing a complete rewire to see if you can isolate the issue.
    2014 CTX 700 dct
    2016 NM4

  8. #7
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    You don’t mention using relays like mtvic. This may be the issue running directly through the small very low amp switches. Most accessory lighting installs I have seen always use a relay. I also agree with mtvic that doing a total rewire without knowing for sure it’s the cure would be a last resort.
    CTX700ND DCT/ABS

  9. #8
    Super Moderator MJC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtvic View Post
    You still haven't said if this is happening without the engine running, idle speed, or higher RPMs. I've added a low amp stereo system, lights, 2.1amp usb chargers with a Smartphone and Garmin plugged in. I go through a relay and have never noticed this. Your battery should still be checked out, including load test. I've had "bad" new batteries. Happens often. If battery checks out OK, with bike idling high enough to charge the battery, try again. If still happens, I'd try unplugging rear lights and 1 at a time other drags on system before doing a complete rewire to see if you can isolate the issue.
    I used a relay for the driving lights, then removed the relay, Both ways, with the bike runing, radio still goes lower. I am going to just run power to the driving lights from the battery to the lights and see if maybe it is the switch.

    I will do the battery test 1st, then the driving light switch then the rear lights. Thanks for (both) your help.

  10. #9
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    If possible throw a set of jumper cables on the battery and power both the lights and stereo directly and you will eliminate the middle circuit, switches relays etc. If you have the same issue it’s a drawing way too many combined watts issue. If you have a moderately low watt stereo and light set up like mtvic he has proven it can be done with relays. Remember it may work without the relays but you are presenting the alternator with increased resistance through the switches and increasing the load the alternator. I am a big believer in high wattage devices like lights and stereos should always be controlled by relays. I would put both lights and stereo on a relay. Stereo amps are very sensitive to power fluctuations. Keep the faith ,you will figure it out. My philosophy is if it was built by humans there is no reason I cant figure it out.
    CTX700ND DCT/ABS

  11. #10
    Super Moderator MJC's Avatar
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    OK, I tested out all the wires, connections, battery, load tested, everything comes up good. I then was playing the radio using the UBS port. When I turned on the lights and everything on the bike, the radio did not go lower. So it is something in/on the lights that is interferring with the radio getting the FM signal, making the sound lower Works fine playing using the UBS port.

    So is there something, maybe a filter that will fix this? I remember back in the 70"s there was something we put into the antenner port (filter) then you pluged the antenner into that. Without it you could not get some FM channels.

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