Power & Grounding - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Jan 24th, 2007, 10:28 pm Thread Starter
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Power & Grounding

In an effort to clean up the under-seat wiring for my accessories, I want to move various connectors off the battery post to dedicated accessory connection blocks, with the wires neatly run in split loom or similar.

I purchased a Centech AP-1 fuseblock/distribution center for my accessories. I want to control power via a relay to prevent battery drain. I am beginning to understand the basics of relays, so I know I need to use an ignition-switched circuit as my trigger. I stop there. Can anyone help me with suggestions as to type/model/wiring of relay? If current draw matters, the AP-1 is rated up to 60 Amps IIRC, so relay should be able to handle that.

Also, I am trying to clean up the negative side of the battery as well. I made a little grounding block to attach the accessories' negative/ground leads to, and connect that to the battery.



Does anybody see any problems inherent with this setup?

TIA

Antony (Tripod)
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post #2 of 12 Old Jan 24th, 2007, 11:15 pm
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What about taking a thin piece of metal and drill the hole for the grounds and attach it to the ground side, only one wire then, just an idea.

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post #3 of 12 Old Jan 24th, 2007, 11:32 pm
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Tony.. relays are cool.. use the power side of your heated seat to control the relay. When you have power turned on power is available... and activates the relay.

Now, when you crank the bike, power is turned off to the seat. That will automatically control the relay.

Then run your "ground" to the battery. Use a fuse from the pos + side of battery over to the Normally Open contact. Connect the Operating Strap side of the realay to the terminal block for your "powered circuits".

see the light...

Now, make sure it's all "water proofed" and insulated so it doesn't rub against the frame...

Using this set up is not a problem.. I suggest you use half for power, break the circuit and use the others for your ground(-), rather than all of these.. that is unless you plan to have LOTS of accessories!!!

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post #4 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 12:52 am
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Only possible problem I see is a limited amp capacity on your ground block there. Personally, I really like the 'bus bar' idea mentioned earlier. Get some 5mm square brass stock, drill and tap holes in it - use that for a grund side. Good capacity, low impedance (for RF ground and EFI protection) - works great.

Put your highest load grounds closest to the wire end of that terminal block. Then keep track of them all. Do not let the sum total of all loads exceed the capacity of your wire there. I'm guessing by Mark-1 eyeball that's a 12 gauge wire(?). If so, don't let the total curent load exceed 20A for 12g wire.

Some folks also suggest fusing the ground side. That way if there's a short 'upstream', the hot side of your farkles aren't likely to be used as a ground path for something else - destroying said farkle.

Tate

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post #5 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 3:20 am
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Power & Grounding

Tony

I am sure others will be along shortly to recommend Blue Sea fuse boxes at http://www.bluesea.com/dept.asp?d_id=7463&l1=7463

and some of them even have a negative bus. I know David Shealey fitted one so he may pipe up. Joe posted a good relay picture.

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post #6 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 3:58 am
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Well Tony, I envy you. At least you are trying to clean things up. I have been attempting to do this for a few years. I finally purchased a bluesea box and was hoping to do this as a winter project, but I have been riding every day. From the pictures you will see my connector box that I fabricated from a piece of wood and two Radio Shack strips. The RS strips have a piece of metal that runs the entire length of the strip, so you do not have to fabricate all of those small jumpers. And I did say two strips, I have the negative strip mounted on the bottom of the wood, with the positive strip facing up. I had this setup for over four years with no problems, it is just a rats nest. The power is fed through a relay. I only power small accessories with it such as a cb, radar detector, and xm radio. Anything larger (motolights and gerbing heat troller) is fed through a separate relay.
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post #7 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 6:04 am
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Tony, You can buy a relay, already wired from Centech. At 26 bones, they're expensive, but worth the trouble.

I'll bring you a proper ground bus Saturday, though I don't know why you're bothering, the Centech has a ground bus built in.

If you look to the right of the orange label that say's "BMW" and right below the ABS unit, you'll see the ground bus I used for my Painless Fuse Box. The fuse box is above the label. BTW, the Painless Fuse box comes with a relay. I like the Painless as it has switched and always hot circuits.




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post #8 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 6:09 am
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BTW, here's a nice tutorial on electrics and here's another one.



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post #9 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 8:36 am
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I just completed a similar project. It took me a while, but finally found a good deal on waterproof relays at http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...TOKEN=45594155 , they also have a nice wiring harness http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...TOKEN=45594155. I used a dual because I wanted one switched with the seat power and one switched with the rear power outlet. The rear outlet is on in the “accessory” or non-locked position, so I can power my satellite radio while using the radio with the bike off. It also doesn’t power cycle when starting. I use the seat to switch all my lights and the Gerbing heat controller.

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post #10 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 10:43 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotter
Some folks also suggest fusing the ground side. That way if there's a short 'upstream', the hot side of your farkles aren't likely to be used as a ground path for something else - destroying said farkle.
I don't understand the logic for this one. If all the hot leads to the accessories are fused there is no need for a fuse on the ground side to protect the accessories.

If two hot leads are shorted together for all practical purposes nothing happens. If an accessory on one of the circuits starts shorting out for some reason it will blow the fuses for both circuits. As far as any other accessory connected to the two hot circuits are concerned this isn't any different than turning them off.

If a power and a ground lead short together you get sparks and the hot side fuse will blow. As far as any accessory connected to that hot circuit is concerned this isn't any different than turning it off.

If two ground circuits short together, aside from any ground loop issues, who cares. Chassis ground systems seem to work just fine without wiping out multiple accessories because a wire shorts someplace.

If you have un-fused hot wires running around your bike that get shorted to ground circuits then where there is smoke there will likely be fire. Your accessories will most like be be fine as long as you put the fire out quickly enough .

If by upstream you mean that the positive side of fuse box pigtail is not fused at the battery and by some circumstance the ground side of the fuse box pigtail shorts to the hot side and becomes hot, the result would be the accessories would have 12V on both their positive and negative sides. That is no different than having 0V on both sides as the voltage potential between the two connections would be 0V. There will be no current flow through the the device in either direction. If an accessory has a chassis ground in addition to a ground wire and they are shorted together inside the device then the chassis ground will provide a current path to ground as long as the wiring survives. If this is a concern then the best solution is to fuse the positive side of the fuse box pigtail at the battery not the ground.

The only way an accessory hot side would look like a ground return is if the hot and ground side circuit wiring is reversed. No single short circuit can ever accomplish this. It requires two short circuits, two grounds to two hot leads that results in a power reversal, which will probable only happen when stupid (that 's me ) wires it that way.


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post #11 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 9:23 pm
 
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You can pick up a 6-8 terminal ground bus in the electrical section of any Home Depot for under $2.00.
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post #12 of 12 Old Jan 25th, 2007, 10:00 pm
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Jim, I should've clarified. You're right, "upstream short" is the wrong term. And the assumption is the neg lead goes back to the battery, not to chassis.

Substitue 'farkle' for radio here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ham stuff
If you connect the radio's ground lead directly to the negative battery post then it should absolutely be fused. If you connect the radio's ground lead to the chassis somewhere then a negative fuse is pointless.

The reason for the negative fuse is that if the vehicle's battery negative lead has a poor connection then starter current will flow through the radio's negative lead to the radio chassis and to ground through the mount or antenna. The negative fuse protects the radio's negative wire from the heavy starter currents.
Due to current draw on transmitters, we always run separate ground leads, never trusting just a chassis ground. And if the vehicles ground lead were to gain resistance - fused ground lead will prevent your starter circuit using your 'frakle' as a ground path back to the battery. So long as your chassis to battery ground lead never go 'wrong' - no need for a ground fuse.

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