OK, so here’s a quick guide to how I fitted some LED tail
lights into the hard panniers on my M800 (to replace the puny orangey ordinary
bulbs they shipped with).
GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING!!!! I have no electrical training
– or even real skill! I’m just sharing what I did – wrong or right – so others
can either pick up some hints, or do a sharp intake of breath and say “Oooooh –
you didn’t want to do it like that!”
Step 1: Assemble your bits & pieces (that’s not a
- LED strip
- Spade connectors and insulating covers
- Posi Tap connectors (new discovery – bit like
scotchlok but even better).
Step 2. Remove pillion seat (single bolt). A bit of
wrestling slides it backwards off the bike, to reveal 2 more allen bolts, which
remove the rider seat. PS…. I find allen keys can be a bit fiddly – much prefer
an insert which goes in a socket set bar like this:
Step 3. You now have access to the rear wiring loom. I used
Posi Tap connectors to tap into the neutral (colour black) and another to tap
into the main live feed to all the rear lights (brown from memory). [looks a bit red in the pic!] I also made up 2 each of black & red 'tails' with spade connectors on and fed these into the Posi Taps....
So we now have 2 spare lives
and 2 spare neutrals which are switched on, rather than permanently
wired into the battery.
Step 4. Preparing the LED strip. The strip can be cut every
3 LEDs. There is a cut line, then a tiny + and – to solder new wires onto. I took
a chance on 9 LEDs per strip and gave it
Step 5. I removed the reflectors from inside the panniers,
and positioned the LED strip with its adhesive tape backing. They can barely be
seen when switched off – even without the clear lens -which is good.
Step 5. I drilled an 8mm hole in the inside face of the
pannier about 3” down, and inserted a grommet. I then put the reflectors back
in place, and routed the wire out through the grommet.
STOP PRESS: originally I’d bought some black & red auto
cable from Maplins. SCHOOLBOY ERROR – would have looked shit where it went
through the panniers out into the big bad world, then up into the loom. So I
cannibalised an old mobile phone charger – nice beefy outer sheath and 2
delicate (but beefy enough) cables inside. [It had an “AWG” guage printed on it
(American Wire Guage). The very helpful bloke at the LED supplier did a mental
calc involving milliamps, and said it was plenty beefy enough to carry the
minimal load of 9 LEDs[baffles the hell out of me].
Step 6: I soldered the other half of the spade connectors
onto the cables once they were all routed, and it was a simple matter of
plugging in the 4 connectors to light it up! Now if I need to remove my
panniers, the cables can be unplugged, and will come away fixed to the
And here’s the end result ….. I think 9 LEDs each side was
just about right.
And at night....
Thanks for reading