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Thread: Fuseblocks and Diodes and Relays...Oh My.

  1. #1
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Fuseblocks and Diodes and Relays...Oh My.

    Let me set the stage...the bike is a 2012 R1200GS. To the best of my knowledge, the "as-is" configuration is:

    -OEM Battery
    -Denali LED lights powered through a relay which derives their power from a Rowe Electronics PDM60. LED's use the Twisted Throttle lighting kit which which is triggered by the OEM lights through the included relay.
    -WoLo Bad Boy air horn which is powered through a relay wiring kit (Eastern Beaver) which derives power directly from the battery and is triggered by the OEM horn wiring. The OEM horn is disconnected.
    -Powerlet accessory port which connects directly to the battery and is used to power my Gerbing heated gear and as a charging port for a Barttey Tender.

    SO, the battery has four connections (Main, Powerlet, air horn relay and LED relay). It is busy. I should add that the PDM60 fuseblock is mounted is a place that requires the gas tank to be removed for access...and this I HATE.

    The fuses for these circuits are included in the wiring so they are fairly scattered, take up a lot of room and are somewhat hard to access.

    The bike is calling out for a central fuseblock in an easily accessible location like the tool tray, which is where my last fuseblock, a Centech AP-2, was located.

    I'd like to reconfigure all of this so that the Battery connects to the Main power and a single fuseblock, say a Centech AP-2...so there would be just two connections. The fuseblock would then power the airhorn relay, the LED relay and the Powerlet outlet.

    Here's my question.

    I have recently learned that some have concerns about relays feeding current back into the bike's electrical system and causing damage. In fact, Eastern Beaver offers a "diode option'' with their PC-8 fuseblock/wiring kits specifically for BMW/Canbus systems.

    Given that I would have THREE relays...one supporting the fuseblock itself, a second supporting the LED lights and the third supporting the air horn will a single diode inserted into the wiring kit which supports the fuseblock protect against this potential hazard from the relays associated with the horn and LED's?

    Thanks for the help,

    Bob
    Last edited by bobframe; 02-28-2015 at 06:20 PM.
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
    2008 BMW R1200RT

  2. #2
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Relocate the PDM60. Use it as your central Fuse block. Tie all of your add-ons into the PDM 60. The programmable nature of the PDM60 lets you set the current limits for each circuit. That negates the need for external fuses going to each connected item. I think the PDM 60 has enough outlets to cover your devices keeping in mind that those items on relays will take up two of the PDM60 outputs.

    I do something similar (with fewer add-ons) using a Fuzeblock. Diagram at the bottom of this page.

  3. #3
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    I've considered that...

    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    Relocate the PDM60. Use it as your central Fuse block. Tie all of your add-ons into the PDM 60. The programmable nature of the PDM60 lets you set the current limits for each circuit. That negates the need for external fuses going to each connected item. I think the PDM 60 has enough outlets to cover your devices keeping in mind that those items on relays will take up two of the PDM60 outputs.

    I do something similar (with fewer add-ons) using a Fuzeblock. Diagram at the bottom of this page.
    I have considered reusing the PDM60 but don't believe that it will support a Battery Tender with current flowing into the battery. Thoughts?

    For this reason I am biased towards a traditional fuse block and believe that I can charge the battery through a constant power circuit.

    Any thoughts on my "diode" issue?
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
    2008 BMW R1200RT

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    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Apparently the older model PDM-60 had an SAE connection for a tender: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...0&postcount=11. You can configure one PDM-60(newer model) circuit as "always on" for a tender, but it draws a constant 50mA, so you would have to use a tender.

    Even if you have the newer model, I'd just leave the fused Powerlet circuit direct to the battery, put the PDM-60 in a better location and run all other circuits to the PDM. The PDM-60 module eliminates the need for extra diodes.

    I don't see any reason to use a Centech or other model fuse block when you already have the PDM-60 - it really does not get any better than that.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  5. #5
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    Apparently the older model PDM-60 had an SAE connection for a tender: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...0&postcount=11. You can configure one PDM-60(newer model) circuit as "always on" for a tender, but it draws a constant 50mA, so you would have to use a tender.

    Even if you have the newer model, I'd just leave the fused Powerlet circuit direct to the battery, put the PDM-60 in a better location and run all other circuits to the PDM. The PDM-60 module eliminates the need for extra diodes.

    I don't see any reason to use a Centech or other model fuse block when you already have the PDM-60 - it really does not get any better than that.
    A constant 50mA draw is a non-starter. For me.

    One of my goals here is to reduce the direct battery connections to a bare minimum..which is why I like the idea of running the Powerlet off the fuseblock. Goal is to have two connections...1)main power and 2)fuseblock.

    How do you reconfigure the capacity of an individual circuit on the PDM60? Say, for example, I wanted to make a circuit support a 20A horn...how do I tell the PDM60 to allow that? If it has to be "re-programmed, can I do that on an Apple computer?

    I didn't know that the PDM60 eliminates the need for diodes...I though that issue was caused by relays closing and sending current into the system. How does the PDM60 solve that?
    Last edited by bobframe; Yesterday at 01:15 AM.
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
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  6. #6
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Assuming you have quality relays I don't see where the feedback to the electronics would be. You have a "signal" from whatever triggers the relay which flows through an electromagnet coil to ground. That electromagnet closes a circuit from the battery to the device being powered. Those two circuits are separate from each other. I suppose a meltdown might provide +12v to the already +12v signal wire but then it would behave just like a K bike load shed relay. One of our resident electrical engineers will need to further enlighten me.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  7. #7
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Assuming you have quality relays I don't see where the feedback to the electronics would be. You have a "signal" from whatever triggers the relay which flows through an electromagnet coil to ground. That electromagnet closes a circuit from the battery to the device being powered. Those two circuits are separate from each other. I suppose a meltdown might provide +12v to the already +12v signal wire but then it would behave just like a K bike load shed relay. One of our resident electrical engineers will need to further enlighten me.
    I'm not an EE and so this stuff is way above my pay grade. No one I ask seems to be able to assess how much of a threat relays are to sensitive electronics, but this is a response I read on another MC related forum: "The principle is simple, when DC power is cut to a coil the magnetic field collapses and generates a reverse polarity high voltage spike, if a snubber/flyback diode is connected reverse biased (w/ respect to the battery) across the coil it will shunt this spike to ground and prevent it from damaging electronic parts upstream, causing an arc across an opening switch, etc."

    Again, I've used relays, as I'm sure most of us have, for years on my bikes to operate horns and lights...all without incident, so this may take a very rare set of circumstances to actually see a problem. OTOH, have you ever heard of anyone having a mysterious issue with a piece of electronic equipment?

    Adding a diode may be a cheap insurance policy...in theory anyway. As a practical matter, I wouldn't know where to begin and won't lose much sleep over this issue. May be a bit like adding a fuse...I've never blown one on my bikes, but that doesn't mean they're unnecessary.

    As I think I mentioned, Eastern Beaver offers a "diode option" for $6 with their fuseblock/wiring kits especially designed for BMW/Canbus environments. I added one to my order.
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
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  8. #8
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    My experience is that as long as the relay is pulling it's main power (supply) from a direct connection to the battery there is no issue. A direct connection to the battery allows the battery to be the "buffer" for any "surges" that may occur.
    Today's vehicles really do not allow for any extra load on the wiring and need a relay. Fro example, if you had a pickup truck and wanted to add a trailer light plug, for a large trailer with a full compliment of (incandescent) lights, you will fry the headlight switch with the extra draw.
    A good thing is that most accessories nowadays come with pretty much everything you need to hook them up. A diode is basically a one-way valve and can't normally hurt but may cause diagnostic problems later- if you forget it is there
    OM
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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  9. #9
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    My experience is that as long as the relay is pulling it's main power (supply) from a direct connection to the battery there is no issue.
    Would a relay pulling its power directly through a fuse block (which is directly powered from the battery) qualify as a "direct connection"?
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
    2008 BMW R1200RT

  10. #10
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Changing the PDM60 circuits requires Windows with .NET framework 4.0. You might be able to do that with an Apple running Windows. A bit of Googling will find the manuals for the PDM60 and the Dashboard programming software - also many reviews and YouTube videos. It seems you bought the bike used, so it may not be clear if the original owner reprogrammed the PDM60 from the stock factory configuration. If you are more comfortable using a more basic Centech or Fuzeblock, you should be able to sell the PDM60 and possibly even make a small profit.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  11. #11
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    Would a relay pulling its power directly through a fuse block (which is directly powered from the battery) qualify as a "direct connection"?
    The relay in essence is a transfer device. It's a device that allows "high draw" lights, horns, accessories or what ever to be actuated from a smaller lighter set of wires.
    For example, your starter on your vehicle draws a very large amperage when you hit the start (key) button yet there are no "battery cable" size wires running to your key or start button. Any vehicle could do away with a starter relay and just run battery cables to the, in this case, handlebars- not real convenient. Also- in the field collapse you mentioned, while not exact, your touching these battery cables together at the handlebars and the associated sparks and iffy actual connections can cause over amperage or voltage "spikes" both on the low and high site when the starter attempts to engage.
    Some good info here- http://www.rattlebars.com/avalanche/relay_basics.html
    Having all the accessory "amperage" or power draw through an accessory fuse block or direct connection to the battery is, IMO, a sound way to go.
    Once the relay is wired in, something to activate the coil is needed. This is a very low draw on the electrical system and If I was going to look for a great trigger point, I would consider this http://www.twistedthrottle.com/elect...ph-motorcycles from Twisted Throttle.
    OM
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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  12. #12
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    The relay in essence is a transfer device. It's a device that allows "high draw" lights, horns, accessories or what ever to be actuated from a smaller lighter set of wires.
    For example, your starter on your vehicle draws a very large amperage when you hit the start (key) button yet there are no "battery cable" size wires running to your key or start button. Any vehicle could do away with a starter relay and just run battery cables to the, in this case, handlebars- not real convenient. Also- in the field collapse you mentioned, while not exact, your touching these battery cables together at the handlebars and the associated sparks and iffy actual connections can cause over amperage or voltage "spikes" both on the low and high site when the starter attempts to engage.
    Some good info here- http://www.rattlebars.com/avalanche/relay_basics.html
    Having all the accessory "amperage" or power draw through an accessory fuse block or direct connection to the battery is, IMO, a sound way to go.
    Once the relay is wired in, something to activate the coil is needed. This is a very low draw on the electrical system and If I was going to look for a great trigger point, I would consider this http://www.twistedthrottle.com/elect...ph-motorcycles from Twisted Throttle.
    OM
    A relay is essentially an electric switch. Let's say I have a set of lights. I could run a wire to a fuse holder and fuse, and then to a switch up on the handlebars. From the switch I could run wires to the lights positive 12V connection. Grounding the lights negative connection would complete the circuit. Throwing the switch to "on" would turn on the lights.

    Now suppose I wanted the lights to come on with the ignition key and go off when I turned the ignition switch off and removed the key. This doesn't work so well with the switch up on my handlebars.

    So I use a relay. Instead of the switch up on the handlebar I substitute a relay. A relay uses an electromagnet to turn the switch on or off. In this case - on.

    The relay has two circuits. One is the same circuit described with the simple switch - battery > fuse > switch (but the switch is now a relay) > lights > ground. The other is from the ignition switch to the relay coil which is the little electromagnet, and then to ground. Turning the key on energizes the magnet which closes the switch which allows power to flow to the lights.

    The "signal" to the relay coil can come from a number of places. A horn relay for example gets the signal from the horn button (switch). But only the miniscule amperage needed for the little relay coil needs to go through the horn button switch. And there can be little wires to the horn switch with big wires just to the relay and horn.

    If I write much more I will have repeated my one-hour seminar at Pennsylvania Supertech a few years agos - so I'll stop now. But here is a sample graphic.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by PGlaves; Yesterday at 05:10 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  13. #13
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    A relay is essentially an electric switch. Let's say I have a set of lights. I could run a wire to a fuse holder and fuse, and then to a switch up on the handlebars. From the switch I could run wires to the lights positive 12V connection. Grounding the lights negative connection would complete the circuit. Throwing the switch to "on" would turn on the lights.
    Getting back to wiring a fuze block kind of 12V power distribution device is what I was referencing. The relay is a switch yes, but, once energized, it generally allows more current to pass through the contacts (which would be the supply voltage to the fuze block) to liven up the accessory side of the fuze block.
    For example, you could energize the coil side of the fuze block with 22GA wire as there is no real draw- only the coil. Once the coil has engaged the contacts (with a heavier amperage rating) will allow the amperage from the battery, perhaps done with 10GA wire to supply the accessories.
    If the whole project was done with 22GA wire, there would be smoke. Using a relay to transfer heavier current (amperage) allows for much smaller wire at the switch the user may use to turn on the lights. It even sometimes reduces the gauge wire needed as the real supply (to the accessory) can be shorter.. Sometimes you can gang up a number of relays so many things can be controlled from 1 switch.
    OM
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
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  14. #14
    Registered User bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    Changing the PDM60 circuits requires Windows with .NET framework 4.0. You might be able to do that with an Apple running Windows. A bit of Googling will find the manuals for the PDM60 and the Dashboard programming software - also many reviews and YouTube videos. It seems you bought the bike used, so it may not be clear if the original owner reprogrammed the PDM60 from the stock factory configuration. If you are more comfortable using a more basic Centech or Fuzeblock, you should be able to sell the PDM60 and possibly even make a small profit.
    And I am a confirmed Appleton. No Windows in my house...well, wait, there are..oh., never mind. I suspected that Rowe Electronics was probably not going to play nice with Mac and that is one of the reasons I am choosing to boot the PDM60. I realize they offer some neat options, but color me old school when it comes to fuse blocks. I like fuses.
    We don't take a trip...the trip takes us.

    2006 BMW R1200GS
    2008 BMW R1200RT

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