This post is a continuation of this one where I did the full description of how I added low-power-consumption LED strip lights to my Larry vs. Harry Bullitt… In less than an hour and with no wiring skills. No skills at all in fact.
I Moved The Switches & Batteries
I could stop right there with that heading and just show off a couple pics, but lets do a little better than that.
When we last left off with this little project, I had put together a neat set of working strip lights in a very short time. However, since I just slapped it together, there was one glaring omission: The on/off switches for the lights were inside the cargo bay, just sitting in a little unsecured bag.
Considering the Bullitt is a really stable ride, this was not such a big deal. But I shouldn’t need to go into the cargo bay to turn the lights on. Gotta fix that.
That little bag was already there, holding the battery packs for my two front-wheel-mounted headlights. So it wasn’t much of a stretch to just toss in the USB power bank for the strip lights, and run the on/off switches over to it. While we are at it, we’re going to move and secure the power packs for those lights as well, and eliminate this little brown bag completely.
As you can see in Figure 1 above, I lined my cargo bay with a sort of 1-piece tub of super-dense closed cell foam. It is bolted down at the rear but nowhere else. Its easy to just pull the ‘tub’ up and run the wires underneath it, back to the cockpit.
Lets Keep It Simple
This is going to be real easy: I already have a handlebar bag. It holds my front motor controller. That bag is not right for this job, but it is also a MOLLE bag, so I can easily attach additional bags directly to it. I had a small, cheap bag in my leftover parts pile. It will hold the power packs for both the head and strip lights, along with the strip light power switches.
Now we need a way to connect the wires up front to the batteries in the bag. Since they are nothing more than USB 2.0 plugs on both sides, I used simple USB 2.0 extension cables. The ideal length is 2 meters and these can be had from Amazon via their Amazon Basics USB 2.0 cable in a 2-meter length. Its possible to use USB 3.0 cables, but those are quite a bit more expensive versus the 2.0 cables that run about $5 each. I needed 4 of them.
I connected one to each of my four plugs at the front. Two to the headlights and two to the strip lights. Then run the cables along the floor back to the rear… bulkhead or whatever its called.
From there, run the wires up the bulkhead, out of the cargo bay and up into the handlebar bag. For the top portion, I zip-tied the 4 cables together for the sake of a neat appearance.
There is a fair bit of extra cable, which works to my benefit as it let me route the cables into the bag at precisely the point where the zipper opens it. I bundled the wires together with some non-permanent velcro ties; again for neatness’ sake.
Inside the bag, the battery packs line the bottom, ends-facing-up, so I can plug directly into them.
The USB on/off switches from the strip lights are stuffed in here rather than getting creative and surface mounting them on the bag via the MOLLE webbing. My thinking is I want them kept out of the elements.
- Batteries and wiring are secure and out of sight.
- Switches are easily accessible.
- There is more than enough room in the bag, which is only half full at most.
- Batteries are convenient to pull out when bike is left outside at a shop and I pull everything not nailed down and take it in with me. It is just as convenient to reconnect upon return.
One Last Thing!
My LED strips have an extension soldered onto each of them from the factory. They were originally 1.6M long and both, at the same point in their length, have a visible solder joint where they were extended. Since this is open, unsealed solder, thats an open connection. I’m not sure if a bad thing would happen if water ended up bridging the gap between those bits of solder, but lets not find out. I used a narrow bit of that same 3M mastic sealing tape I described in the original article to cover that connecting point and waterproof it.
That little strip of tape makes no difference in the appearance of the light when its turned on.
Thats it! Pretty simple, right? Carry on.