Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What a mess....

I'm under the front cowling of my KLR right now. Talk about your wiring nightmares! I'm getting rid of all the aggregated accumulation of hacks, jumpers, splitters, and general crap, and running all new wiring to a brand new fuse block so that I have a power source for my new cruise control (which is hooked up except for the all-important *power*). Good thing, too -- I found that my master ground connector was corroded and thus I was at risk of having a fire under there. Fire bad :-(. I will be making sure to coat things with dielectric grease this time to keep the water from causing corrosion...

- Badtux the Electrical Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 9/02/2006 02:48:00 PM  


I would tend to put everything in a basket on the handle bars and hide it all with a plastic shopping bag. LOL

Liquid tape is better than the grease in most cases though, it holds up longer. Used it every where on my boat.
# posted by BBC : 2/9/06 3:34 PM  

Two different applications, my friend. The grease is for the push-on connectors, I gotta be able to get those connectors *off* next time I remove the cowling. The liquid tape is for making soldered connections watertight. I use heat shrink tubing myself rather than the liquid tape, but same principle.

Problem with the push-on connectors is that they can corrode if they are unprotected and get wet. I've had good luck with the dielectric grease there. Of course, my bike isn't immersed in a large body of highly conductive salt water, either :-).

# posted by BadTux : 2/9/06 5:58 PM  

Undoing 20 years of wiring 'repairs', eh? Been there, done that many times.

I know of a guy who used his buddy's -naturally!- large tube of dielectric grease to coat gaskets for a V-8 engine assembly. "Hey, it said silicone on it!" That stuff's expensive!
# posted by Gordon : 2/9/06 7:21 PM  

Quite electrifying news, presented with fire and passion.
# posted by The Heretik : 2/9/06 7:50 PM  

Well you didn't say push on connections in the post and I'm an idiot so I didn't know that.

But I still wouldn't use dielectric grease, it can conduct (carry) electricty. I would just use plain grease or vasoline, the intention is just to keep the air sealed off.

Maybe KY jelly. :-)
# posted by BBC : 2/9/06 9:31 PM  

Well, just finished the last piece of wiring. I now have a new six-fuse accessory fuse block in my lower cowling and a grounding post in my upper cowling, a new ground wire, relocated and rewired accessory relay right below the grounding post (to switch the fuse block with the ignition switch), and four fuses used -- cruise control (3.5a), cigarette lighter socket (10a), GPS(5a, will fix this to a smaller fuse tomorrow when I can get to the parts store!), and heated grips(5a). The master power source comes from the battery via a 15a master circuit fused at the battery (all the juice available on the KLR) and is switched by the relay (which is driven by the headlight circuit which is powered on whenever the ignition is on) to turn the fuse block on and off. The wiring situation has been made greatly safer since small wires that would catch on fire at far less than 10 amps are no longer hooked to a 10 amp circuit and as a bonus my dashboard voltmeter should work better now that it's not on the same circuit as the headlights.

The cruise control backlight comes on when I turn the ignition on, when I hit the "on" the 'Cruise' light comes on, when I hit the 'off' on the control the 'Cruise' light goes off. I will put my motorcycle back together tomorrow, re-arrange my garage enough to make room to get it out of there (heh!), and give it a test. If it works, then I'll take everything back apart and waterproof it and zip-tie it to make sure everything keeps working and is neat and all, and call it good.

BTW, BBC, the plastic shopping bag (along with duct tape :-) is what's going to keep the new fuse block dry in the rain. It's not absolutely necessary to keep the fuse block dry (rainwater isn't conductive, at least not at 12 volts), but it does help keep the corrosion down...

Oh, BBC, dielectric grease is non-conductive. That's what "dielectric" means. It's also called "ignition grease" or "electronics grease" or even "electrically non-conductive connector grease". You may be thinking of conductive grease, which is another kind of grease altogether. I got my (naturally big) tube of dielectric grease at an electronics components store, on the same aisle that all the soldering stuff was on, next aisle over from the transisters and diodes. The push-on connectors are for the fuse block, which uses push-on connectors, not screw-on connectors. That is what was available at the auto parts store, so that's what I used.

- Badtux the Electrifying Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 2/9/06 10:04 PM  

Well, all I know about dielectric grease and how to use it is what I was taught at a Ford training center. Maybe I will look into it more, I've had instructors with the wrong information before.
# posted by BBC : 3/9/06 5:49 AM  

I was taught that it carries electricity, and to use it on distributor cap tits, the part inside, and in the hole the plug wire goes into. And on the face of electrical components like ignition modules that are in or on the distributor and need a good ground through that surface. That is what I was taught, and it makes sense to me.
# posted by BBC : 3/9/06 5:56 AM  

I think it stands to reason that dielectric grease is conductive since you're putting it directly on the connectors. I use it to prevent electrolysis, and the resulting corrosion and arcing, between dissimilar metals such as between the Zener diode and its heat sink on old English bikes.

If you're going to tape the new loom instead of using heat shrink tubing, be sure to start at the lowest point and tape up. It's like putting shingles on a roof. Start at the bottom so the laps allow water to run off instead of trapping it.
# posted by Gordon : 3/9/06 9:19 AM  

Gordon, yeah, it'd stand to reason, but reason is wrong. Go Google it yourself. Dielectric grease prevents arcing of non-metal-contact areas (and thus pitting of the connection) because it is non-conductive. It doesn't interfere with metal-to-metal contact because it is light enough that the metal can squish it aside to make contact. This is yet another one of those things that sounds like it shouldn't work, but does. Hmm...
# posted by BadTux : 3/9/06 10:15 AM  

However it works, it works.
# posted by Gordon : 3/9/06 11:40 AM  

Ya got that right, Gordo. But that's why we're in the reality-based community rather than the faith-based community -- we try stuff, it works or it doesn't work, it works we keep doing it, it doesn't work we do something else. We "stay the course" only if the course ain't headin' fer an iceberg...

# posted by BadTux : 3/9/06 2:43 PM  

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