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Thread: ST1100 - USB outlets/4-port 12V outlet mod

  1. #1

    ST1100 - USB outlets/4-port 12V outlet mod

    Good day all,

    With the exception of wiring in two 12V outlets on my bike (one always live at the triple tree, one live with ignition under the seat to allow me to charge devices securely under the seat/in the saddlebags/trunk), this is my first mod to the bike.

    First, the parts:
    2x 60inch USB extensions $1 each at Dollar Tree

    1x 2-USB-port 12V adapter $3 at a flea market

    1x 4-port 12V outlet strip $5 at a discount store
    (The closest I could find: mine actually has a separate control box, with four LED-lit switches to turn each outlet on and off, saving battery power {See my pics})

    1x long zip cord Surely there is one laying around somewhere

    So, for under $10, I now have four outlets, each with a on-off switch, to power my radar detector, GPS, 2x USB ports, and one open port for now. The supplied websites are more so for pictorial aid, not necessarily the exact items/price I used.

    First, I took off the front covers of the ST. First is the five screws of the windshield, then the three screws holding the "inner screen" insert. I removed the headlight adjuster knob by undoing the screw, and removing the various retaining parts, and pulling the cable inside the fairing, leaving a square-shaped hole where the knob used to be.

    I then put the 4-port 12V outlet inside the space behind the headlight assembly, but in front of the dashboard assembly. (First picture, 3237a). The ports are angled upward, to keep rain/dirt from being flung up into the ports. I zip-tied the unit to a thick wire harness connected to the dashboard assembly. Into the first port, I plugged the 2x USB port adapter, and ran the extensions to the square hole where the headlight adjuster used to be. When I double-stacked the ports, they were the perfect width, but too tall, for the hole. So, I powered up the bench grinder and took of the ports down clear plastic. This made the double-stacked ports JUST fit into the hole. If you go too far, don't worry, just shim one of the ports up with electrical tape, or tape the two together while shimming. (Second picture, 3235a). Not too bad, looks very clean: a cover could be made, but I figure this setup is essentially safe from water damage/conducting, due to being under the fairing/windshield. The benefit of a on/off switch will further help prevent damage: in bad weather, kill the ports. I opted to NOT tape the two ports together, because (Third picture, 3240a) now I can pull one or both ports out of the hole, run them to a tank bag or into one of the glove boxes, or both. If you opt to do this, be sure to bundle up the excess wire inside the fairing and tie them up, that way the cables do not vibrate down the cowling and tangle up in your spokes or melt on hot metal. ;P

    From here, I just plugged the 4-port strip into my previously-installed 12V outlet. If you do not have one yet, you can either wire the 4-port strip directly to the battery (assuming the strip has fuse protection), into the fuse box, or into the "accessory fuse" box, which turns on and off with the ignition, preventing any connected device from draining the battery when left plugged in on a parked bike. Since I have individual on-off switches for the outlet strip, I am opting (for now) to leave the strip live at all times.

    Next, I mounted the on/off switch assembly to the dashboard, under the windshield, to protect it from wind/rain/dust. (Fourth picture, 3239a).

    Reassemble everything, and there you go. I now have 3, 12V devices that can be powered, protected from the weather, with on/off switches, and two, moveable, USB ports to charge devices where ever they happen to be on my bike.

    Also provided is my cockpit, as it stands at this date. I have a $12 weather resistant GPS mount on my handle bars (eBay), I strap my MP3 player onto the hydraulic clutch reservoir, a Y-splitter going to my GPS and MP3 player, running under my seat to a 3.5mm extension, allowing me to listen to both my music and GPS at the same time (and an added benefit is that when the GPS talks, my music actually gets over-ridden: with just a $2 y-splitter!), radar detector on the dashboard, and a self-fabricated cross shelf to mount my 10MP digital camera to record our rides, and whatever else needs to be mounted. :P

    Thanks for reading, hope that helped all you tourers out there. Any questions or comments, lets hear 'um!

    <=UPDATE=> After a three day 1k mile motorcycle camping trip through highway, mountain, gravel roads and dirt roads, two of the connectors vibrated out of the 12V outlets. Solution: shim the male connectors with electrical tape. Wrap electrical tape about three revolutions around the shaft of each male 12V adaptor. Push/rotate back into the outlet strip and vibrations should no longer be an issue.


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    Last edited by Jaeger; 07-25-2012 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Update

  2. #2
    Carl Custer's Avatar
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    Bethesda, MD
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    Re: ST1100 - USB outlets/4-port 12V outlet mod

    Very nice. FWIW, I have two always live "cig lighter" outlets on top of my farkle shelf. They were purchased at Wally Mart. I use them for the two GPS' (Good to keep the GPS' on when you stop to fuel). My third outlet is the fused "SAE/trailer" connector to the battery. I have a SAE/trailer to cig lighter adapter that plugs into that. Again it is comfy to keep the heated gloves on when you stop to fuel.
    Carl in Bethesda
    '96 ST1100, 83' 'Ceptor, '85 700 Sabre, '88 NX 650

  3. #3
    jdmccright's Avatar
    2000 ST1100
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    May 2013
    La Plata, MD
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    Re: ST1100 - USB outlets/4-port 12V outlet mod

    I just installed two 12V outlets into the left side pocket that are wired hot all the time. Saw no real reason to add dedicated USB ports since one can easily buy a plug-in adapter for those. Will post to my gallery when I get pics uploaded.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter nhdiesel's Avatar
    2006 ST1300
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    Rindge, NH
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    Re: ST1100 - USB outlets/4-port 12V outlet mod

    Nice clean install!

    Only potential issues I see are the hidden location of the outlet strip- those plugs WILL vibrate out after a while, and you won't be able to push them back in with the strip hidden. Even my vertical one on my left fairing pocket does it every 500-1000 miles. I have a habit of pushing the plug in during gas stops. The other would be making sure the USB adapter has enough power to charge the devices. The link you provided didn't mention how much power it puts out. For smaller devices this wouldn't be a problem, but I have had issues charging my phone if I didn't have a good enough adapter.
    Proud member of the Dark Side. 205/50ZR17 GYTT
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  5. #5
    wwegert's Avatar
    2001 Honda ST1100
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    May 2015
    Toledo, Ohio Area
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    Re: ST1100 - USB outlets/4-port 12V outlet mod

    I know this is an old thread, but I thought I would add on and show you what I did today, which was very similar ... I have always disliked the headlight adjuster as such prominent feature out the front of the bike and I wanted something to charge my phone, so I thought this would be the perfect place to put a 12 volt / USB. It turns out. it looks almost like it's an OEM mod and it cost less than $10! All I used was this charger, witch came with 2 usb ports, most of the cables AND a car charger.

    First my father in-law and I (thanks for the help Dean!) took off the seat, the mirror and most of the side fairings, then unscrewed the headlight adjuster, and let it fall into the front faring area. I thought it might be really hard to reach since I didn't take off the front faring part, but we were able to get it pretty easily.

    Then we measured car charger port and drilled out the square hole where the headlight adjuster would have been, so the charger would be snug. It fit in really well. All really simple, and it looks like it belongs there. It was a bit of maneuvering to screw the back of the outlet on to hold it in place, but by pulling back on the left faring under the windscreen we were able to reach in just enough to get it tight.

    We then spliced a couple wires in to make it reach the battery, and hooked them up (can you tell I am NOT electrically savvy, lol?) ... We ended up moving the fuse a bit closer to the batters so I could access it with only taking off the seat if I ever needed to, but that was pretty easy as well. I also bought a couple more fuses on amazon in case the one I had blew.

    We put zip tied the wires on, following the path of the existing wires, and put electrical tape on the joints and then put all the fairings back on. For the Headlight adjuster, we found that it sits really nicely on a little shelf in the front faring, so if I ever do want to adjust it (which I never have yet) I can do so really easily by reaching up into the faring just a bit. These pics are looking down into the faring from the top left side by the base of the left handlebar.

    The rubber cap did not seal down very well, because the way it was positioned , and the rubber wanted to push the cap out. I wanted to make sure that I had something on there in case of rain, and that it would actually close so I cut off the cap connector and made one of my own with some thin wire wrapping it around the USB port to hold it in a lot closer. (fishing line would probably work even better) ... If I take out the USB, it may come off but I should be able to just put it back on.

    For the phone mount part's, I had a ram mount system already (, and - about $55 total). So I hooked that up so that the phone stood right in between my HeliBars.
    And that's pretty much it! All in all it took less than an hour.
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    Last edited by wwegert; 08-23-2015 at 01:08 PM.

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