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"How'd you do that?" is the first line of so many e-mails and parking lot encounters when motorcyclists spot my lighted engine. So read on for the sooo simple solution.
- 2 or more- LED "Steplights" from Signal Dynamics, or any of a number of options from Amazon.
- 1- Length of color coded wire (20 or 24 gauge will do) sufficient to reach from the front of your tank to the battery area twice.
- 1- Mini Switch (Radio Shack) with weather cover
- 2- One inch strips of Velcro
- 6- (or more) black zip ties
- Wire cutter
- Soldering Iron
- Shrink tubing or electrical tape
Order the step lights from Signal Dynamics in the color of your choice. You'll be tempted to order the chrome housing but don't. The idea here is to hide the light source as much as possible and it's just going to be tucked up under the edge of your tank anyway.
These lights are very small. When they arrive in the mail you'll open the box, lift the lights out and think "is that all there is?" But they are very bright. Prepare to be amazed.
The Step Lights will be mounted under your tank. If you decide to use two Step Lights you'll want to mount them under the front edge on each side. Four is better allowing you to illumuniate both the front and rear cylinder. Exact placement will be up to you and depends quite a bit on the shape of your tank. Solder additional wire to each of the lights (they aren't self grounding so you'll be running two wires from each side of the bike) and run the wire from the mounting point to the battery area. You now have four wires, two positive, two negative sitting there. Twist the positive wires together and add a third length of wire which will be run to the switch. Twist the negative wires together, connect a third length and run this single wire to a suitable ground. Vulcans have a handy accessory plug under the seat which is perfect for this.
Find a suitable location to mount a switch. I mounted mine on the top rear of the left side cover. This is accessible while riding but is out of the way and hidden otherwise. Connect the positive length of wire to one side of the switch and from the other side of the switch run a wire to the positive terminal of the Vulcan's accessory plug (or power source if you're doing this with another model bike).
Now you have power to your lights and the rest of the job is tidying up.
If you have a darkened area like a garage it'll be helpful at this point. Turn on the Step Lights and experiment a little with placement. Just hold them up under the tank and vary the angles and placement until you get the effect you want on the engine and other chrome parts. Got the spot? Stick some Velcro there and on the light housing. We used Velcro for a couple of reasons. 1. It's simple to re-orient the lights if need be 2. If/when you have to remove your tank you'll want to be able to pull the lights off without removing all the wiring.
With the lighting oriented the way you want it, zip tie the wiring to the bikes frame so it is hidden (this is why we're using black ties).
The lights really look great at night but also provide a nice highlight during the day. The LED's draw so little energy you could probably leave them on for a week without concern for your battery. You might even want to consider ordering extra lights for under fenders, and under floorboards.