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Fixing Unreadable Instruments at Dusk
The light level of the
instrument lighting is weak - but the real
problem is it is not adjustable. No matter what the light level,
there is a period of time at dusk (and dawn) where the ambient
skylight reflecting off the instrument bezel exactly matches the
light emitted through the instrument numerals - and they disappear.
You can improve the situation by upgrading to 5 watt lights -
shortens the unreadable time - but they are still unreadable for
This mod allows you to vary the light coming through the numerals
by providing a switch to shut off the light. Now they have LOTS
of contrast as they appear black. Then when it's dark enough, you
turn them on - thereby eliminating the unreadable problem. I
leave mine off always except at night - so my bulbs should last
spdt micro toggle switch from Radio Shack
4 ft 18GA wire
heat shrink tubing
jeweler's phillips screwdriver
2 ft bell wire
heat gun (hair dryer)
Because the instruments are mounted in plastic/rubber, they have both
hot and ground wires in their looms. We must switch the hot wire to
the lights as the tach has other lights, so we can't interrupt ground.
Looking at the wiring diagram, it appears one wire can be found to
interrupt the circuit - however, the point where the circuits are
joined is buried in the loom and difficult to access. It is easier
to replace the source for one, with the source for the other, after
running it through a switch.
I chose to mount the switch in the bottom of the speedometer instrument
cover. This puts it up on the instrument, and seems more natural.
(Another location could be either plastic gusset in front of the tank.)
This necessitated running two wires through the loom to the speedometer,
up to the switch and back. Wherever you put the switch, the circuits
are the same. It's a little harder to put it in the instrument than
elsewhere, due to fit and stuffing the loom.
Remove the speedometer cover by unscrewing the phillips screw at the
bottom, and unscrewing the very small phillips inside the knob, and
removing the knob. Slit the loom at the back of the speedometer.
Remove the wires from the loom to the speedometer by cutting them in the
headlight, pulling out the loom from the back of the headlight, and
pulling the wires through the slit in the loom. Add two wires to the
other two, wrapping their ends together with the single strand bell
wire, spray the loom inside with silicon, then pull the 4 wires back
through the loom with the bell wire. Solder the two new wires to the
switch. Drill an appropriate hole for the switch in the cover - being
sure it will clear the back of the instrument. You may want to upgrade
the light bulbs while you have it apart. Reassemble the instrument.
For all of the following connections - put heat shrink tube in place on
the wires before connecting them, make all connections by twisting,
test the circuits work as expected before soldering and sealing the
connections. Solder connections are absolutely reliable - all others
Feed the free end of the loom back through the back of the headlight.
Solder one of the new wires to the brown/white wire you cut before.
Cut the brown/white wire at the plug of the loom to the other instrument
and insulate the power side of the broken circuit with elect tape.
Identify the end that goes to the instrument, and strip and twist it to
the other new wire (from the speedometer), and the brown/white wire
to the speedometer, so you have both brown/white wires to the instruments
soldered to the new wire that comes down from the switch. Lastly,
reconnect the green ground wire to the speedometer, you cut before.
Button everything back up, and you're done.
That's it - not too hard, and now you'll be able to see your instruments!
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