Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 6 Old Jun 1st, 2009, 2:03 pm Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report

Many of you have been following a thread regarding Road Rocketeer's continuing (failed) attempts to manufacture an LED flasher for the CANBUS BMWs. My observations regarding the company are pretty clearly enunciated in the other thread; this thread is about a flasher unit which actually works with our bikes, requires no mechanical or electrical skill to install (I did it, 'nuff said), and works the very first time.

Slight background info: I ordered the allegedly CANBUS compatible unit from Kriss about three weeks ago and it arrived without drama just a few days latger. I followed the simple directions, but got the Yellow Triangle of Death on the dashboard along with a bulb-out signal. Kriss, which has been in business for decades, had never really broken into our market, and had only made and sold one unit to a CANBUS-BMW owner, based on his voltage readings. The readings didn't fit my bike, or another. A couple of conversations with George Kriss late the afternoon I tried the first install resulted in, literally, an overnight design of their flasher unit to accommodate CANBUS issues. Overnight. It took the company a few days to create a production model, and I received the first one late last week. My daughter's wedding intervened, so I didn't install the unit until this morning.

Three wires; one for hot in, one hot out, and ground, plus a blue pigtail wire for changing the flash pattern to one's personal preference. It works. No LED, instead is uses the dual OEM bulbs, flashing them. In my case I like the default three flashes and on steady, but there are multiple options.



To install the unit:

1. Strip the wrap from around the tail bundle in the area shown on the photo, under the pillion seat (study the surrounding area and you'll figure it out). You want to find a bulge (you can feel it, it's a plastic tubular thing) in the wire bundle, which indicates the split from the ZFE from one wire to the two which go to the twin tail/brake bulbs. You want the black and white wire with the yellow marks every few millimeters (that's the color of the wire on my '06 RT; take the taillamp lens off and check the wires where they plug into the bulbs to make sure you know what to look for). Cut the wire. Be brave. [The funny crimps on the wire in the photo are from my original attempt with the didn't-work unit, using a different attaching system; pay them no mind]


2. Decide where you want to place the flasher unit (I crammed mine down the left side right behind the pillion seat lock, but there's plenty of room under the tail; I keep a compressor pump in the back and wanted quick access to it). Run the red and yellow/red wires up to your cut wire after making sure you like your unit location, and snip off the excess wire (I didn't do this and of course have a bit of a rat's nest of wires, but that's typical of my not-thinking-ahead). Attach the crimpable spade connectors as shown on the Kriss instruction page. Make sure the ignition is off during all this.


3. Heat up soldering iron, and just go ahead and apply it to a finger, get that part out of the way. Don't hold it on the finger too long, because it REALLY HURTS. Crimp and solder the ground wire ring to the ground wire (those types of crimp rings never seem to hold, so I always solder my finger and then the ring). I simply attached the ground ring to one of the screws on the pillion seat frame.

4. Cram the flasher unit back into the cranny you've chosen, turn on the ignition, and apply the brake. You should see three short flashes and a steady brake light. Yay!!

When the brakes are applied, the bulb-out icon flashes in unison with the flashes, but goes out when the sequence ends. I can live with that; the BMW system is designed to let you know when a bulb is "out," which is what happens in the "dark" portion of the flash, i.e. it's normal. No Yellow Triangle of Death.

Everything is just as bright as before the unit was installed. It's not LED-bright, but I like the setup just fine. I ride behind guys with Hyperlights, and they work great in the dark, but I don't ever really notice them in the daylight...just a personal preference.

The most difficult part of the entire procedure is getting the package open!

I can't say enough good things about Kriss Industries and George Kriss. Instant response. Answers the phone every time. Listens to the customer. Calls back or emails when he says he will. Solves the problem overnight, gets it into production within a couple of days. I'm a completely satisfied customer, nothing more.

They sell a headlight modulator for our bikes, too, which I'm sure works just as well.
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post #2 of 6 Old Jun 1st, 2009, 5:25 pm
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Re: Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report

What is the price?

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post #3 of 6 Old Jun 1st, 2009, 8:30 pm
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Re: Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report

I'm interested in a long term (or even short term) test result. I'm all over finding something that will work for the brake lights! Thanks for the info.
Ken

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post #4 of 6 Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 1:14 pm
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Re: Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report

The dealer here in Seattle Ride West BMW has the OEM LED flasher unit and adapter available that is standard equipment on the RT-P bikes.

Rather then using the existing brake light it is an addional LED strip mounted below the License plate frame. I like the idea of the BMW part and additional lights rather then just flashing your existing brake lights.

I am having it installed at my 600 mile service and will report back on the results!

The following is from their Newsletter that came out yesterday!

"BMW - LED Auxiliary Brake Light - This noticeable, highly visible, license plate mounted LED block provides an additional level of safety to your daily commute - and best of all, it's now available for your late model CAN-BUS BMW. It's bright, it flashes, it's awesome, and may help you stand out just a bit more at stop-lights. We're all about safety, and think this addition to any bike is worth every penny. We also have solutions for converting your standard turn signals to LED's as well."
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post #5 of 6 Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 7:39 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report

I should report that this morning I took the bike out and got the flashing yellow triangle fault. I sent George Kriss an email and he immediately responded. He is confident he and his engineering staff can resolve the issue, as they did with CANBUS headlight modulators. The flasher works, but I (and Kriss) want it to work without faults. George expects to have something in my hands within the next week. I am happy to be the test mule for his product. His customer service is nothing short of excellent.

Others have commented that there are alternatives, including add-on LED flashing brake lights, and even a system that replaces the existing bulbs. I am biased against the add-ons due to my experience frequently riding behind friends who have them; I'm unimpressed with the daylight visibility. There's a product that replaces the existing bulbs, but if one burns out, you have to spend the money again. I prefer the Kriss approach, of a separate flasher unit using the existing bulbs...I can buy replacement bulbs just about anywhere. LED tail/brake lamps would be great but I haven't yet found a system which works, or a responsible, responsive supplier, and the OEM brake lights are plenty bright, I think. The flasher will draw the extra attention I want.

I'll report back as soon as I get the new unit.
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post #6 of 6 Old Jun 19th, 2009, 9:06 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Canbus Compatible Brake Flasher Report

It took longer than I expected to get the unit back from Kriss, due to his engineer being on vacation for ten days or so. But I mailed it back last Thursday, and, well, read this:

Final update, at least as far as I am concerned: there was a a ten day delay while the Kriss engineer was on vacation. I mailed the original unit shown in the photos back to Kriss last Thursday. They replaced the "microprocessor" and shipped it back to me Tuesday. I received it today and installed it. It works perfectly. The yellow fault triangle is gone.

For those who have commented that the flashing "bulb out" icon should not appear, well, it does, very, very briefly, with each flash of the two bulbs. Kriss is aware of the situation and at this time is going to leave the design as is. I'm totally satisfied with the solution. The brief bulb out icon flash is insignificant to me; others will need a more perfect solution.

Those of you who have followed the two threads on the BMWST relating to this saga are aware of the inconsistent and evasive and "confused" information coming out of the Road Rocketeer quarter, and are aware I long ago became fed up with their version of customer relations. The contrast with Kriss could not be more stark and dramatic. I have gotten almost instant replies from George Kriss at every turn in the development of the unit, and almost instant turnarounds on complete redesigns of the unit when problems surfaced.

I give Kriss Industries six stars out of four for customer service, and four out of four for the product they sold me.

I still believe the Kriss approach is superior to the other approaches I have seen, as it uses the OEM lens and bulbs. Assuming the product is dependable, I only have to spend a few bucks to replace a bulb every now and then, instead of replacing an entire unit. I'll agree that LED tail/brake lights are brighter, but I'm confident I'll be seen, and sooner, with the Kriss flasher.

I have no financial or other interest in the Kriss company, but George did waive the extra cost of the revised unit for my "assistance" in troubleshooting. So I think maybe I saved twenty bucks or less.

Link to post with photos: Final update, at least as far as I am concerned: there was a a ten day delay while the Kriss engineer was on vacation. I mailed the original unit shown in the photos back to Kriss last Thursday. They replaced the "microprocessor" and shipped it back to me Tuesday. I received it today and installed it. It works perfectly. The yellow fault triangle is gone.

For those who have commented that the flashing "bulb out" icon should not appear, well, it does, very, very briefly, with each flash of the two bulbs. Kriss is aware of the situation and at this time is going to leave the design as is. I'm totally satisfied with the solution. The brief bulb out icon flash is insignificant to me; others will need a more perfect solution.

Those of you who have followed the two threads relating to this saga are aware of the inconsistent and evasive and "confused" information coming out of the Road Rocketeer quarter, and are aware I long ago became fed up with their version of customer relations. The contrast with Kriss could not be more stark and dramatic. I have gotten almost instant replies from George Kriss at every turn in the development of the unit, and almost instant turnarounds on complete redesigns of the unit when problems surfaced.

I give Kriss Industries six stars out of four for customer service, and four out of four for the product they sold me.

I still believe the Kriss approach is superior to the other approaches I have seen, as it uses the OEM lens and bulbs. Assuming the product is dependable, I only have to spend a few bucks to replace a bulb every now and then, instead of replacing an entire unit. I'll agree that LED tail/brake lights are brighter, but I'm confident I'll be seen, and sooner, with the Kriss flasher.

I have no financial or other interest in the Kriss company, but George did waive the extra cost of the revised unit for my "assistance" in troubleshooting. So I think maybe I saved twenty bucks or less.

Link to post with photos: http://tinyurl.com/kjstfb

I should note the Kriss flasher has six different programmable sequences. I just left it on the default, which is several quick flashes, one long "on", repeat.

Link to Kriss CANBUS flasher page:

http://www.kriss.com/cbbrakeflasher.php
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