Anyone add aux lights to their side bags? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 31 Old Jul 27th, 2016, 10:06 pm Thread Starter
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Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Hi there.

I am looking to add some additional lighting to the back of my bike and want to mount them on the side bags of my 2014 R1200RT.

Additionally, I am considering adding the tail light to my top case. Has anyone had any issues with this addition?

Thanks for your help.

H. Keith Murray

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post #2 of 31 Old Aug 10th, 2016, 8:13 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I used 12 inch Alpena red 50/50 led strips, one on each saddle bag, and two on the top case. Just tapped into the brake/tail light wire and the ground(brown) wire. The led strips work exactly like the tail/brake light. On all the time and they get much brighter when you hit the brakes.
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post #3 of 31 Old Aug 10th, 2016, 10:25 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?


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post #4 of 31 Old Aug 10th, 2016, 11:35 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Hows this?
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post #5 of 31 Old Aug 10th, 2016, 11:49 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Hows this?
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post #6 of 31 Old Aug 11th, 2016, 9:12 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

That is Brilliant. Question, please explain the connection ( I assume there is one) you devised when you remove the side panniers and top case.

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post #7 of 31 Old Aug 11th, 2016, 12:57 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinPhil View Post
That is Brilliant. Question, please explain the connection ( I assume there is one) you devised when you remove the side panniers and top case.
And can you also show where you tapped the power from (front and rear)?
I am very interested in implementing this or a similar setup. Thanks!

Gilles & Kathy
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post #8 of 31 Old Aug 11th, 2016, 10:59 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

For the Rear lights:

Under the passenger seat there is a wire harness covered in sticky black fabric tape, carefully cut a slit in the tape. There will be a brown wire(ground) , and a gray wire with yellow and black bands(tail/brake light power) you will need to splice into. I took a 12 inch long black wire and spliced it into the brown(ground) wire, and spliced in a 12 inch red wire into the gray w/yellow and black bands wire. I did this to give me more room/wire to splice into. I then got water proof connecters (2 wire) and spliced them into the extensions. From the LEDs I spliced the other half of the water proof connecter.
I drilled holes just big enough for the connecter wires (before connected) to fit through. The side and top cases I took apart to run the wires. The side cases are easy to take apart(just remove the lid and all the screws inside). The top case was trickier, there are bolts to remove under the locking lever, and you need to pay attention to the location of the locking mechanism when you reassemble.

The butt connecters I used have shrink tubing on them and can be bought at Autozone. The quick splicers can be bought at Autozone, also. The water proof connecters I found on Amazon. The Alpena 50/50 led strips I got from Autozone.com, I think they were about $40 per set. I used two sets for the rear lights.
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post #9 of 31 Old Aug 11th, 2016, 11:08 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

And more pics...
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post #10 of 31 Old Aug 12th, 2016, 8:13 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Here is an easy addition to your rear lighting that has just been posted in the K1200LT forum... A short video of the results is even included.

It is an easy DIY project and the parts are really inexpensive. I am sure this mod would adapt to the RT series and also to panniers on any bike without a hitch:

Added Brake Lights

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post #11 of 31 Old Aug 12th, 2016, 3:52 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Nice install. Any ideas what that dimple near to where the wire exits the pannier is? Just wondered if it was designed for something similar.

Have you had any problems with water getting in panniers?


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post #12 of 31 Old Aug 12th, 2016, 7:28 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

No water gets in. The holes I drilled are thru the outer shell not the inner. I also added a drop of clear silicone over the holes in the cases, but I do not think it is necessary since there are small drain holes at the bottom of all the boxes.
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post #13 of 31 Old Aug 13th, 2016, 8:30 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Excellent looking installation, AK Andrew. I will be doing the same for my panniers, maybe the top box as well.

Thanks for the really nice photos,
Joe
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post #14 of 31 Old Aug 13th, 2016, 12:17 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Great looking installation Andrew but I would change one item. I hate the Scotch quick connects. I used to use them back in the 70's but in every case where I did I eventually had to go back and redo them due to intermittent connections. This can be a real pain when they fail to work in a rain storm and you really need them to stay safe. My standard practice now is to go ahead and make a solder connection with heat shrink tubing. It takes a little longer but it will ALWAYS work. I also NEVER use any crimp connections for the same reason. I don't like having to rework things and eventually all purely crimped connections fail in one way or another.
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post #15 of 31 Old Aug 13th, 2016, 1:31 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I've had similar trouble with the Scotch quick connects. The same sharp edge that cuts the insulation also nicks and cuts the wire strand. With wire movement and vibration, the connection is eventually broken. The problems are better explained here.

Soldering is a good alternative, but can be difficult in cramped quarters, and must be insulated. Existing connectors can make it difficult to place the correct size heat shrink, neat electrical tape again requires some free space, and multiple coats of liquid electrical tape can be time consuming.

I've had good results with Posi-Taps and their related connectors. They use a threaded shell that clamps the wires in place to prevent movement, while the electrical connection is made with a cone shaped piece that pierces the insulation without cutting into the strands. The only drawback is that I cannot find a local vendor, so I keep a small assortment on hand to avoid waiting for an online order to arrive.

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post #16 of 31 Old Aug 13th, 2016, 5:52 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

30,000 miles and I have NEVER had a problem. Do the job correctly, and they will last the life of the lights or your bike.
Also, this is the computer age... as in a computer controls the machine turning these connectors out. They are not the cheap connectors that were made way back when... Be smarter then the connector, and these connections will hold many, many miles.

Or get someone with a small amount of talent to work these super simple connectors for you.
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post #17 of 31 Old Aug 13th, 2016, 9:49 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I ordered the LED strips and wire.
Can you show some details about the front, such as where did you connect?
Thanks!

Gilles & Kathy
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post #18 of 31 Old Aug 14th, 2016, 8:20 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK Andrew View Post
30,000 miles and I have NEVER had a problem. Do the job correctly, and they will last the life of the lights or your bike.
Very Nice... so do you make house calls or do I have to ride up to you???

Tvguy
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post #19 of 31 Old Aug 15th, 2016, 5:56 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I ordered a set of the Alpena Tail Litz to try out on the panniers. I really like the look of AK Andrew's installation so I may add the strips to the top box as well.

Joe
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post #20 of 31 Old Aug 15th, 2016, 7:19 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Love the idea of getting lights out on the panniers but would rather use something like the panel connector supplied with the Admore lights I put in my top case. Trouble is I'm having a heck of a time sourcing them.
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post #21 of 31 Old Aug 19th, 2016, 7:23 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I haven't installed the Alpena Tail Litz but I did function-test the wiring and discovered the proper method of wiring due to CANBUS tail/brake light single wire operation.

The LED strip (unfortunately a red strip) has five wires: wire to ground (earth if you must), wire to constant power for the turn signal function, wire each for running lights, turn signal, and brake lights. Wiring will be as follows: constant power and running light wires to rear power port power. Brake light wire to the single lead powering both the tail and brake lights; this lights only the brake LEDs. Turn signal wire to signal power. And ground to any good ground point or wire.

I was concerned with the single-wire tail/brake operation for the running and brake lights being separate leads, but the above method works.

I like the brake light function as it strobes three times and then is on solid. The turn signal is sequential which will be a bit odd as the strip will be mounted vertically resulting in the sequencing running from top to bottom.


Joe

Maybe my attachments will work!

Edit to add: my video did not attach.
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post #22 of 31 Old Aug 20th, 2016, 12:50 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

That will be cool! The strips I used are actually the Alpena 5053 light strips, and they are only a two wire strip. So I got good tail light and very bright brake light, but no extra turn signals. It will be interesting to see what the Alpena Tail Litz look like on your bike!
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post #23 of 31 Old Aug 20th, 2016, 8:00 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I have Skene P3s on my GTL and have used plugs from heated gear to make the connections from the bags to the bike. This way if you forget to remove the plugs they unplug without any damage.



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post #24 of 31 Old Aug 21st, 2016, 8:43 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

This is my report on the Alpena Tail Litz after installation on the panniers of my '06 RT:
1)Though the strip is red it looks mostly like a narrow reflective strip when not alight and are thus acceptable.
2)The turn signals function as they should with the sequencing moving down the strip as they are mounted vertically.
3)The brake light strobe functions as it should by flashing three times quickly before staying solid bright. But ...
4)The running lights are a victim of the CANBUS (or are the brake lights the victim?) and do not function properly but do stay on as in solid bright brake mode as running lights after the first time engaging the brakes. As I tapped into the rear auxiliary power port for ground and both running light and turn signal power, the running lights function properly after turning off the ignition as the auxiliary power times-out with no CANBUS input to the brake lights.

I'm reasonably knowledgeable about electronics, enough to wire a bike and accessories anyway, and do not see a way around having either the functionality listed above or having running lights and no additional brake lights, or additional brake lights and no additional running lights. I thoroughly tested the functionality of the lights with a single, non-CANBUS supply of power with success.

So I am deciding whether to leave them as they function above, which is as they are currently installed, with the running lights on solid bright as brakes on and get the strobe brake function but no dimming back to running lights. Or I can disable the brake light function and have proper running lights. Or I can disable the running lights and have the proper function of the brake lights. Then again I could disable the running light function and add a second strip as only running lights ...

Joe
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post #25 of 31 Old Aug 21st, 2016, 9:36 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

If you connected the running light function to the tail/brake light wire on the bike, you should get a dimmer running light and the same lights will get brighter when you hit the brakes. Take the strobe brake effect and tuck it away, unused. I think you will need a separate control to operate the strobe effect. I used a Back Off flasher module on my non-can bus bike to strobe the brake light, but the running light and brake light are different circuits on non-can bus bikes.

I had thought about the type of system you are using but I am not smart enough to out smart the can bus!
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post #26 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 5:38 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

AKAndrew, I'll give that a try; I like the strobing but prefer what you are describing.

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post #27 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 7:01 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

It seems the circuitry in these LED strips has no love for me. Now I simply disconnected the braking function and substituted in the running light so I did not try every combination, but it looks like I can either have the functionality I've listed above, or only additional brake lights. So I'm leaving it as wired before: turn signals function properly. Brakes strobe. Running lights are on bright/brake. Stock tail and brake lights and turn signals still function as they should. I may change it in the future, but I'm finished fussing with it for now.

I used a 4-pin trailer connectors for each bag, and tapped into the rear auxiliary power socket for power and ground.

Joe
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post #28 of 31 Old Sep 6th, 2016, 9:04 am
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I finished installing the strips on my 11RT. I connected the front to the position lights.
For the rear I used one of the circuits from this Eastern Beaver setup. The other 2 circuits power the V1 and Stebel horn. An added benefit, although not really needed for the LEDs, is that the circuit is fused.
I used the rear powerlet as the trigger because it has a delayed power-off after the ignition has been turned off. This gives me over an additional minute or so of rear lighting and felt it would allow for a safer dismount day or night.
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post #29 of 31 Old Sep 6th, 2016, 9:16 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK Andrew View Post
Hows this?
Cool. Can you post the wiring connection and what type of lights you used for the front too?

Thanks.

H. Keith Murray

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post #30 of 31 Old Sep 8th, 2016, 4:16 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkeithmurray View Post
Cool. Can you post the wiring connection and what type of lights you used for the front too?

Thanks.
Here is what I used:
New 5 Kit 2 Pin 2 Way Car Waterproof Electrical Connector Plug Wire AWG Marine | eBay
Also the butt connectors and quick connects mentioned by AK Andrew, bought at AutoZone.
The LED strips came from https://www.superbrightleds.com/
Qty:2 WFLS-NW30-BK: 50cm[19.7in] Natural White $9.95 ea. for the front
Qty:2 WFLS-R30-BK: 50cm[19.7in] Red $9.95 ea. for the rear
Also 10 ft of https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...wire/535/1715/
I had the nacelle off to install 2 HID kits and replace the wimpy horn with a Stebel so I tapped current from the 2 front position lights using the quick connects.
Since pictures are worth a 1000 blah-blah...
Remember that LEDs are polarity driven so be sure to keep your positive connected to positive and negative to negative.
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Gilles & Kathy
BMWMOA# 154719
2011 Ostra Gray RT
06 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate (parts and people hauler)
03 Saab Convertible (other spare bike
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For her I swam across the deepest ocean!
For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #31 of 31 Old Sep 9th, 2016, 9:01 pm
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Re: Anyone add aux lights to their side bags?

I used a light harness that is used for fog lights on a car/truck ( mictuning HD 300w LED Light Bar Wiring Harness 40 Amp Relay ON-OFF Laser Rocker Switch Blue(2Lead 12ft 16AWG) ) found on Amazon. For the fog lights I used ( Mini Trail Lights OZ-USA (TM) LED CREE Spot Motorcycle Offroad Dual Sport Enduro Fog KTM Hid ) also found on Amazon. I followed the directions that came with the harness...mostly. I cut the white wire coming out of the relay and spliced it into the front power accessary positive wire (brown wires are ground on BMW m/c's). I did this so the lights will turn off when I shut off the bike. The switch can be easily substituted for any switch you like. I used the supplied switch. I used the square rubber washer the switch comes with as a template for the hole I cut into the front upper fairing and used an oscillating saw to actually cut the hole and used a file to enlarge the hole for a tight fit. The fog lights are small, and I used the existing screw in the fender to attach them using the bracket that came with the lights. The lights also came with their own water proof connecters that I crimped on to the end of each harness lead. I routed the harness leads along side the bikes existing harness to the lower 'A frame' and then down the fork tubes. The leads are longer then needed, just cut to desired length and attach water proof connections. The led strips are Alpena 5053, 12 inches long, bought off the Autozone web site. I spliced those into the fog light harness with the same water proof connectors I used for the tail lights. The harness relay is held in place by an existing screw under the seat.
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