Tom Barber sent in this text and photos describing how he installed heated grips on his Yamaha FJR1300 (I wrote this page earlier about how I did the same thing -- Marc). On 10/9/02 Tom wrote:


I first installed heated grips on my Honda CBR1100XX shortly after buying it in 1997. I used the Kimpex heating elements and ProGrip Gel grips. I had to replace the throttle side grip once due to the connecting wire coming loose from the heating element. I also had to re-install it two other times: once to re-solder the connecting wire, and once to re-position the wires so that they would not be in the way of my fingers. When I saw the installation that Marc did and I checked out the sites for the Heat-Troller and the Dual-Star elements, I knew that I wanted to use these also. However, I thought that others might benefit from what I learned through trial and error on the XX.

I will discuss the following three and a half topics:

An Approach to Strain Relief in Wiring the Dual-Star Elements

The Dual-Star elements have two advantages over the Kimpex elements. One, the element on the left side gives off more heat than the element on the throttle side, compensating for the fact that the throttle sleeve insulates the right side from the handlebar. Two, the Dual-Star elements have a thick rubber pad over the contact points to keep the wires from pulling loose, which was a definite problem with the Kimpex elements. It may well be unnecessary to take any special measures to prevent the wires from pulling loose with the Dual-Star elements, but having experienced the hassle of re-doing them on the XX, I was motivated to take steps to make certain that they wouldn't pull loose. (We have an old saying here in the U.S. -- "Twenty-eight and four-tenths grams of prevention are worth four hundred fifty-four grams of cure.")

In the photo above you can see how I looped the wires with jacket around the throttle sleeve once and then used a thin steel wire to bind that loop so that there is virtually no way that any pulling on the wires will cause the them to pull loose from the heating element.

In the photo above, I am holding the throttle sleeve in the fully open position, showing where the wires will exit from under the grip as far toward the rider as is possible without interference from the Vista Cruise. After I put the grip on, I used a thin nylon wire tie to hold the wires to the grip flange in that spot, preventing the loop from rotating on the sleeve.

The completed grip is shown in the photo above.

The ideal position for the wire to exit from the flange of the grip is at the apex between the thumb and forefinger. Anywhere else, such as under the bottom, and there is a chance that it will interfere with the placement of your forefinger as you grasp the grip. I was not able to put the wire exactly where I wanted due to the Vista Cruise, but it is good enough because my forefinger never bumps it. I loosened the brake reservoir housing and clamped the wire between it and the throttle cable housing.

Another item possibly worth noting in the 3rd photo above is the head of the white nylon machine screw that I used to fix the Vista Cruise to the throttle cable housing. Like Marc, I borrowed an idea that someone else originated by drilling a hole in the soft metal housing for the throttle cables and cutting off the L-shaped protrusion on the tab of the Vista Cruise.

I tried using a sheet metal screw but it didn't stay tightly in the hole that I had drilled into the throttle cable housing. I replaced the sheet metal screw with a nylon machine screw and I was fortunate I suppose because it threaded with moderate resistance through the hole in the tab of the Vista Cruise and then held snugly in the hole in the throttle cable housing. When I engage the throttle lock there is absolutely no initial movement of the throttle sleeve, yet there is no additional resistance caused by the Vista Cruise when the lock is not engaged.

If you want it to come out like this you have to first make the hole in the tab on the Vista Cruise at the approximate location where the hole in the throttle cable housing is required to be. Then you need to attach the Vista Cruise completely and adjust it before marking through that hole to get the precise location for the hole in the throttle cable housing.

Options for Wiring the Dual-Star Elements

The Dual-Star elements are not without their peculiarities. Each one has three wires, which means that you either connect two of them together or else leave one of them unused. For each resistive element, there is a red wire at one end, a blue wire at the other end, and a white wire that is connected somewhere near the middle of the resistive wire.

You can use just the red and blue wire to wire the entire resistive wire as a single element. You can join the red and blue wire together and use the white wire, in which case you will effectively have two short resistive elements wired in parallel. You can also use only one or the other of the blue or the red wire, leaving half of the resistive wire unused, which is what Marc did initially.

With each of these possible methods, it is also possible to wire the right and left side in series, which will reduce the Voltage across each by about half (the resistance of the right and left sides are not equal). If the right and left sides are wired in series, this will also reduce the current by half and thus the power will be about 1/4th of what it is when the full battery voltage is supplied to each side.

Following are the approximate initial Wattages per grip for each of the three different wiring options, assuming that the right and left are wired in parallel:

What we have here is very similar to what Goldilocks encountered when she tasted the three bears' porridge. I am presently using the parallel method but I am considering changing it because I am concerned that it will overheat and burn up. [Marc says: I have both blue and red wired together, and it gets way too hot when you turn it all the way ON -- I' m going to go back to using just the red wire like Tom suggests]

Wiring the two sides in series will reduce the Wattage to even less than the series method, which is almost certainly inadequate. Omitting the blue wire is probably just right (was Baby Bear's porridge the one that was just right?).

There is a potential problem with the red-only method, however, that should be mentioned. On the clutch side, the resistive wire is routed so that the side to which the red wire is connected is on one side of the pad and the side to which the blue wire is connected is on the other side of the pad. (On the throttle side, the two elements run side-by-side over the entire pad.) When the pad is attached to the bar on the clutch side, one of the two effective elements will heat the top of the bar, and the other will heat the bottom of the bar.

This is not likely to be a problem in practice, though, because the aluminum handlebar will conduct the heat very quickly across the gap. This probably explains why Marc never mentioned noticing this effect.

All things considered, the method that I recommend is using the red (and white) wires only, omitting the blue wire. To wire the right and left sides in parallel, simply connect the two red wires, one from each side, to one of the two wire terminals of an SAE connector, and then connect the two white wires, one from each side, to the other wire terminal of an SAE connector.

I recommend that you try this first and switch to the parallel method only if you find that uneven heating on the clutch side bothers you.

Using a Relay with the Heat-Troller

The Heat-Troller is an exceptionally well-designed and well-made device. It is an extremely efficient circuit, with an insignificant amount of internal heat dissipation. It is constructed to simplify the installation, with an SAE terminal for the connection to the load and two battery terminals for direct connection to the battery. However, this means that if you forget and leave it turned on, it will probably run your battery down. It is desirable to connect the Heat-Troller to the battery via a relay so that the battery connection is opened when the main switch is off. Radio Shack part number 275-226 is a suitable relay.

Typically, one side of the coil of the auxiliary relay would be connected to any location in the bike's wiring harness that is connected to the battery whenever the main switch is on. For example, a wire to the running lights, or the +12V wire to the headlight relay (that is controlled by the headlight switch) can be used. The FJR1300 offers an even better option, however, which is to connect the coil of the auxiliary relay so that, like the headlights, the Heat-Troller will be connected to the battery only after the engine has been started.

The FJR's headlight circuit is shown in the diagram above. The FJR has two headlight relays operating in tandem. Headlight relay #1 (the upper one) is a simple SPST (single pole single throw) relay that is controlled by the ECU. One side of its coil is connected to battery via the headlight fuse and the main switch. The other side is connected to ground via the ECU.

The ECU completes that ground connection only after the engine has been started. The output of that relay is the input of relay #2, which is a SPDT (single pole dual throw, or single input with two alternative outputs). One of the outputs is connected to the input "normally" or only when the coil is NOT activated, and the other output is connected to the input only when the coil is activated. When the headlight switch is on the low position, the coil of relay #2 is not activated, so the input (from relay #1) is connected to the output that connects to the low beam filaments. When the headlight switch is on the high position, the coil of relay #2 is activated, and then the input (from relay #1) is connected to the output that connects to the high beams.

The ideal wire to use is thus the wire that connects the output of relay #1 to the input of relay #2. It will supply +12Vdc (with ample current overhead for the additional current drawn by the coil of the auxiliary relay) only after the engine has been started. That wire is green with a blue stripe, and it will be a heavy wire because it carries the headlight current.

The photo above shows the location of relay #2 under the gauge cluster on the right side. You can tap into that wire by pulling out the slack gently and very carefully removing a narrow band of insulation around the circumference of the wire using a sharp knife. You can see where I did that directly above the white connector for the jumper that you remove if you want the windscreen to remain in its present position after turning the key off. (I removed the tape so that I could take this picture.) If you do this, you want to be very gentle with the knife and not cut into the wire at all. What you actually want to do is sort of pick away at the insulation there until you can pull it away from the wire and then cut through the insulation.

Because the wire that you are going to connect only carries the current drawn by the coil of the auxiliary relay, that wire can be a very small gauge. I wrapped a short wire a couple of tight turns around that bare spot and soldered it carefully.

The auxiliary wire harness that I had made using the Heat-Trollers and the auxiliary relay (and other stuff) had a similar wire already attached to the coil of the auxiliary relay. Connecting these two wires together was the only soldered connection that I had to make as I was installing the auxiliary wire harness. That solder connection is wrapped in the black tape and tied with a wire tie on the right.

Rather than mount the auxiliary relay on the chassis and mess with another connector, I simply left it hanging from the auxiliary wire harness but with each connector on it wrapped thoroughly with tape. When I installed the auxiliary wire harness, I wrapped a piece of neoprene around the auxiliary relay and tied it to the chassis. That's what you see on the right side of the picture.

The instructions that come with the Heat-Troller caution you to not cut off the two terminals that are intended to be connected to the battery. There is a good reason for that caution, but you have to cut off at least one of them and the cleanest solution is to cut them both off.

The reason for the caution is that proper polarity of the Heat-Troller must be maintained. If the input of the auxiliary relay is connected to the battery's +12V terminal, then the output of the auxiliary relay must be connected to the +12V input of the Heat-Troller, and the ground (-) wire of the Heat-Troller must be connected to the battery's negative terminal.

The reason for cutting the terminal on the ground (-) wire is simply that it is not convenient to connect one of those wires to the auxiliary relay and the other to the battery. It is cleaner to connect the Heat-Troller's ground (-) wire to the other coil terminal of the auxiliary relay (the one that does not have the wire that will be soldered to the green/blue wire) that must be connected to ground, and then solder a heavy gauge wire to that same terminal for connecting to the battery.

The picture above shows a simple schematic.

If you get the Heat-Troller's two battery wires mixed up after removing the connectors, it is easy to determine which is which using an Ohmmeter or a continuity tester. The +12Vdc wire is internally connected to one of the load outputs, i.e. one of the contacts on the SAE connector. If you find continuity between one of the SAE contacts and one of the battery leads, that battery lead is the +12Vdc lead that you want to connect to the output of the auxiliary relay.

Note that it is possible (but not recommended) to connect one side of the heating elements directly to a +12Vdc location such as the output of the auxiliary relay, but neither side may be connected directly to ground regardless. If one side of the heating elements is in fact connected directly to some +12Vdc location, then it is necessary to connect the other side of the elements to the correct terminal of the Heat-Troller's SAE connector. The heating elements must be grounded through the Heat-Troller. The ground terminal on the SAE connector is the one that is NOT internally connected directly to the Heat-Troller's +12Vdc input, which can be determined using a continuity tester or Ohmmeter before making any connections to the battery.

Where NOT to put the Heat-Troller Knobs

The photo above shows where I installed the control knobs, on the right side. I put them here partly because I had installed the socket for the heated vest on the opposite side. Between it, the emergency flasher button, the main fuse panel, and the auxiliary power sockets that I had previously installed for the GPS (un-switched) and the V1 (switched), there wasn't any more room.

I thought that since the Vista Cruise is so convenient that it would be okay to put these on the right side. After using it for a while the minor annoyance is enough to make me wish that I had put them on the left (like Marc did).

One of these days I will move the silly emergency flasher switch to a location appropriate to its frequency of use, and then move the control knobs over there. I am also going to rig a waterproof box for the main fuse panel and attach it forward of, and below the current location using dual-lock fasteners so that it can be pulled off without having to remove the plastic panels.

Copyright © 2002 by Tom Barber. All rights reserved.