Serving NYC/LI since 1978
Basic Wiring - Customs by Ripper
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What we will do on this page is get into very basic wiring. What we will not do is get over-technical. If you need to get that technical, you probably don't need this help in the first place. This page is a basic how-to for the average do-it-yourself backyard mechanic. If you are above that level of expertise and still require wiring assistance, feel free to Contact Me for any help I might be able to provide you.
Here is a basic motorcycle wiring harness with accessory and ignition:
This harness shows an automotive ignition switch with accessory, ignition and starter:
If your ignition switch does not have an accessory or "Lights" position, but you have an extra wire for that purpose, move that wire to the ignition lug of the switch.
Here is a diagram of a Harley Davidson ignition switch, usually found on big bikes with a central dash cover.
Speaking of lights, there are many questions about aftermarket lights, lighting wire colors and more. Here, I will try to make it easier. First of all, there is no wire color standard for aftermarket lighting fixtures. A black wire, which is normally ground on most factory wiring harnesses, is sometimes a power wire on aftermarket light housings. Never assume any wire to be something, as the wrong choice can fry your new light, or worse, your battery. Some lights come with wiring diagrams, but most do not. It is much better to test it first, rather than find out later that you hooked it up wrong.
For headlights, if your headlight uses a stock 3 prong plug, like this one:
The top pin is usually ground. The other 2 can be reversed on some bulbs (kind of odd, but true). Testing is the only way to be sure. Use a 5 amp fuse in a test lead and ground the top pin. Test each of the side pins, one at a time to see which is the high beam and which is the low beam. Connect your wires accordingly, with the proper size fuse for your headlight.
As for taillights, the wiring colors are far too numerous to figure out, so testing is once again your best option. Ground the housing (most aftermarket lights do not include a ground wire, even if they have a black wire in the harness. Be sure to check) and test each wire, again with a 5 amp fuse, to see which does what. Wire accordingly. Make sure your housing is properly grounded when mounted on the vehicle.
For specific wiring issues regarding a particular vehicle make and model, get a factory manual if you can or at least get a Haynes or Clymer (or similar) manual for your specific make and model. These have wiring diagrams on the back pages. If you are attempting to make parts from one vehicle work in another vehicle, get both manuals, strictly for figuring out what wire serves what function and so you know what to connect to where and what to eliminate. That said, we'll go a little deeper....
Use a 1N4000 series diode (available at Radio Shack and other electronics stores) as a drain for static electricity that builds up from deactivating the coil. The band side always points toward the side of the coil that has positive power. This is not required, but it will save some of your components from possible electrical damage.
These relays are made by several companies and they are by far not the only available relays, but they are the most commonly used and most readily available relays out there. They are rated at 30 amps, but they are really good up to 40 amps. That's for Bosch only, the other companies that supply these may differ.
Pin connections are as follows:
Relays serve several purposes. We will explain a few of those purposes, but these are nowhere near all of the reasons to use a relay.
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