Motorcycle Upgrades: Turn Signal Conversion (Part 1 of NaN)

So, some of you know a 1993 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 decided to come and live with us. Now that we’ve spent about 1,000 miles together, it’s time to start breaking things.

One of my bigger fears while riding is getting rear-ended. Not much I can do to prevent that one, other than pray and work on visibility. You’ll notice the last post on this blog was about prayer – and this one is on visibility. Trying to cover my bases…

So, I bought a “Turn Signal Conversion Kit” from the Electrical Connection in Knoxville. Cost just under $50, online. (Disclosure: they didn’t pay me to write this review, however, if you’re reading this, folks, I’d be glad to change that…)

The kit is pretty simple: two RED amber LED rings, one for each rear turn signal lens. The rings attach to the lens with included silicon adhesive. Bonus points to the Electrical connection for including the adhesive and alcohol pads for surface prep.

The LEDs get wired to the turn signal power and ground, the brake light power and ground, and the tail light power and ground. When you’re running regularly, the red is illuminated at a low setting, providing additional red taillights. When you brake, the LEDs illuminate at full strength, giving you two additional brake lights. When you turn, the red LEDs deactivate, leaving only your standard amber turn signals, so everything is street legal anywhere in the states.

The installation took me about 4 hours, mainly because I’m an idiot. It took me nearly an hour to find a way to fish the wiring through the turn signal stalks. The stalks were not meant for extra cabling, but several tries later on each side, they went through. Finding the correct power lines wasn’t too difficult: they Hayes manual pages I found online pointed me in the right direction, and a couple of probes with a voltmeter confirmed my guesswork. The kit included vampire clamps (t-taps) that make decent connections, but not that great.

After installing the kit and testing it, Leslie brought her mad PhD soldering skills outside to sure up the connections a bit. I’m very pleased with the final product…so take a look at a quick video:

If you’re looking to add to your nighttime visibility, I’d give this kit an A+. Being LED-based, I didn’t have to worry about it over-stressing the limited power capabilities of this small bike, and it didn’t break the budget. Here’s a link to the manufacturer’s information.