Author Topic: Struggling with electrical connectors  (Read 998 times)

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Offline 4Bikes

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Struggling with electrical connectors
« on: January 26, 2019, 08:30:16 pm »
Does anybody else struggle trying to disconnect the electrical connectors on the C-14?  No two seem to be the same, why? The worst one are the multiple connectors to the gas tank, which can take a long time to figure out how to release. Why does the fairing panel to the glove box require two connectors, each different? Not going to pick on the complex ECU connectors.

I’m writing this as an Electronics and Computer technician that has constructed hundreds of radio, television, AV, and computer systems and made thousands of connectors. And I can’t seem to release connectors on the C-14. I find them all complex and strange. Here is my plan. The next time I fight one of the C-14 connectors, I’m cutting them off and installing my own. I bet I can put on my own new connectors in the time it takes to release the C-14 connectors. For the glove box, it will be one multi-pin plug. I like Molex connectors, but this is a an inexpensive kit that will get the job done.

https://www.amazon.com/Automotive-Electrical-Connector-Terminal-Motorcycle/dp/B07BJGRD8J/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1548537728&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=Molex+connector+kit&psc=1

Anybody else mess around way too long releasing the assortment of connectors?
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Offline ZXtasy

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 11:10:58 pm »
It is an acquired skill, take a few newer bikes down to the frame and you will appreciate the different connectors as impossible to mix up. The harder to take apart usually means well sealed from the elements. Some you press a tab, others you lift a tab, and a little silicone can help for next time. I will take them any day over old bullet or eyelet types that corrode and can get confusing of wire colors are indefinable.
2013 ZG-1400, 2005 ZX-10R (Nekkid), 2012 TW-200, 1999 TW-200....and more to come.

Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 12:27:32 am »
That’s a great answer and I appreciate the weather and sealing issues. But if you look at the connectors, there is no logic to how they connect and release. One connector obviously shouldn’t fit into another one, but color codes and keyways with a simple release could accomplish that. Why are they so vastly different when they have they same purpose and in most cases the same gauge of wire?  Some of the connectors side by side even have better sealing qualities over the other connector. Just a strange assortment of connectors, each with their own puzzles to release. That is my point, and why I’m considering replacing them. I removed my tank off four times now, and each time, the hardest part is the connectors.
Silver 2011 C-14 and 2019 Versys 1000 SE LT+.  Previous rides: KZ-400, KZ-750, KZ-1000.  Keep the rubber side down.  Ride Fast......Live Slow......

Offline ZXtasy

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2019, 01:55:48 pm »
Yes, I will admit there is room for advancement in the the field, and I do like the thought of some of the very basic customs that only need 8 wires for the entire loom!
2013 ZG-1400, 2005 ZX-10R (Nekkid), 2012 TW-200, 1999 TW-200....and more to come.

Offline BDF

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 02:51:24 pm »
They are all so different because they are made by different manufacturers and even a single manufacturer makes several different 'families' of connectors that are, as you said, totally different from each other.

They can be pesky, especially if someone pulls on the wire(s) and not the actual connectors; the individual wires can be pulled out of some of the terminal crimps and then you would be in a bad situation.

All of that said, Japanese connectors are superb. They are truly waterproof, usually on two levels, and they have various interlocks that not only firmly and solidly lock the two halves together but also some ingenious interlocks that require that the individual terminals be fully inserted (Easy Boys!) as well as locking the terminals themselves into the final, fully forward, position. I agree that they can be difficult to connect and disconnect but in the end, they are truly fantastic electrical connectors for the real world and far, far better than something like a blade and tab or bullet connectors.

As to the different shapes, sizes and styles, that is actually an advantage because they simply cannot be plugged in incorrectly.

What I find really helped me with learning how they unlock was to take a few moments, put on my glasses  ::) ;D, use a strong light and really look at the connector. It is usually apparent how the lock works in a few minutes. What is confusing is that some locking tabs are pushed down to unlock while others are lifted up to unlock- there is no universal method that will simply work everywhere on the bike. And as another poster mentioned, it does get a lot easier after you have done it a few times.

Best of luck with this.

Brian

That’s a great answer and I appreciate the weather and sealing issues. But if you look at the connectors, there is no logic to how they connect and release. One connector obviously shouldn’t fit into another one, but color codes and keyways with a simple release could accomplish that. Why are they so vastly different when they have they same purpose and in most cases the same gauge of wire?  Some of the connectors side by side even have better sealing qualities over the other connector. Just a strange assortment of connectors, each with their own puzzles to release. That is my point, and why I’m considering replacing them. I removed my tank off four times now, and each time, the hardest part is the connectors.
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2019, 09:53:32 pm »
I totally agree with the glasses and strong light part. Holding a fairing panel or lifting a tank with one hand and disconnecting with the other certainly doesn’t help. The connector for your low fuel warning eliminator is one of the worst Chinese puzzles to disconnect. Basically what we are describing here is child proof connectors. Is Kawasaki trying to tell us something, or are the lawyers involved?  :) The release could be a lot simpler and some similarities would go a long way. Guess this is a first world gripe. The connectors have never failed me, but to your point, stressing the wires fighting the connectors is not a good thing over time.
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Online MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 10:53:37 pm »
from the first moment I removed the tank, and decided to do an initial valve inspection, I began screaming words that always began with an "F'"... there is absolutely no rhyme or reason, for the locking mechanisms, based on the fact that most of the connectors vary in content of wire counts... I thing IIRC, there are 7 different locking mechanisms, each requiring a "tongue twist, dental pick or two, and glasses" to Unlatch..and really, NON of them are "really sealed waterproof... just lunacy on the part of Kaw...

As a manufacturer, they could have standardized on one specific company, to provide all of the connectors, for both sides of the wire loom connection points... I'm seriously appaled at this jerkoffmethod they followed( I did write numerous emails to Teh, when I was Tech Editor, about this very problem...) couple all this with trying to disconnect a plug, in a "hole/cave" with no way to get your hands in when they are normal sized hands, it's a nightmare, and the single most painful part of doing a valve inspect I can say you have to encounter... rediculous.
with all the different connector "latch locks" Kaw should have shown how each one is "released" in the manual... because I can say for sure, the dealer Tech's don't have any clue, and likely will snap off every one of the latches in dispair, during a service interval... and you will NEVER now until you go in and find them broken... or not... if you never go in there...

making connections idiot proof doesn't take 15 different connectors...
colored tape wraps, labels, and simple methods work fine.
I put tape tabs and mark wires whenever I pull components off cars and bike... no brainer, simply because when I'm "done" and see a loose "connector wire and harness" It has a notation for me to find where it should have been plugged in.... duhhhhhhh
I engineered multi-million dollar electrical systems, that contained a bazillion circuit boards, and MILES of interconnect wires... and never could have gotten away with what they threw into a simple bike.


but, don't cut them all off, and use silly amp connectors, as a fix.. because downstream, someone will have to work on it, and it will make their life hell.

I'll share this one also... when a mouse decided to nest up on top of my engine, over the rubber engine cover, and chew and sharpen it's teeth on every wire on the Throttle Position Sensor, on the "sensor side" of the harness... it was a real p.i.t.a. to reach in there, and seperate all the wires, and coat the stripped insulation with "liquid tape" multi coats, and re-wrap with electrical tape... it was like doing  brain surgery in a top hat, attaching stuff together inside an eggshell...



30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW
and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline Chuck Landis

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 10:54:33 am »
4Bikes, you're the guy telling me 80-90% of electrical problems are caused by the bike owner. Why do want to mess with it?  ;) :beerchug:
Chuck
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Offline BDF

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2019, 11:42:00 am »
Yes, you certainly need two hands to take any of the electrical connectors apart. Holding something up with one hand and trying to use the other is just going to frustrate a person.

You should not have to lift the fuel tank to get to its connectors; there is sufficient slack in the harness that the connectors can be lifted clear of the tank while it is still in place.

What I initially found very difficult about removing the fuel tank on this bike was not the electrical connectors but the fuel connector! I could not see it very well at all and trying to follow the manual and go by feel was four clicks beyond frustrating. After I did it a couple of times and studied the actual lock and seal, it is easy to do but difficult to fumble through the first time.

Back to the connectors- I guess I concentrate more on the aspect of quality and durability than being user- friendly to uncouple. They really are excellent and will remain clean, dry and free of corrosion long after our bikes are on the scrap heap. In the past, I have been very frustrated with loose and / or corroded wire connectors on American cars; they were certainly easy to connect / disconnect but they were not waterproof and would not maintain a good electrical connection over time due to cheap, poorly made contacts and contact mechanics. And there is nothing worse, at least to me, than an intermittent electrical contact (a gremlin) in the wiring of a vehicle..... at least one of my vehicles. :-)

Brian

I totally agree with the glasses and strong light part. Holding a fairing panel or lifting a tank with one hand and disconnecting with the other certainly doesn’t help. The connector for your low fuel warning eliminator is one of the worst Chinese puzzles to disconnect. Basically what we are describing here is child proof connectors. Is Kawasaki trying to tell us something, or are the lawyers involved?  :) The release could be a lot simpler and some similarities would go a long way. Guess this is a first world gripe. The connectors have never failed me, but to your point, stressing the wires fighting the connectors is not a good thing over time.
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2019, 11:43:24 am »
4Bikes, you're the guy telling me 80-90% of electrical problems are caused by the bike owner. Why do want to mess with it?  ;) :beerchug:

Hey, I only say that riding with you in another state when you have turn signal problems.   :P   But, no doubt there is some truth to that....
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 11:47:34 am »
Reading what I wrote before, you are correct that those pesky gas tank electrical connectors can be pulled out with enough slack to then spend the next 1/2 hour trying to figure out the trick to getting them apart.  A agree the fuel connector is tricky the first go around.  Fortunately you can prop up the tank nearly vertical on it's tail with a short piece of wood to get ready access to the that fuel connector. 
Silver 2011 C-14 and 2019 Versys 1000 SE LT+.  Previous rides: KZ-400, KZ-750, KZ-1000.  Keep the rubber side down.  Ride Fast......Live Slow......

Offline bajasam

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 04:02:54 pm »
ive found that after two or three minutes of looking at them if you cant figure out how to unlock them it less stressful to just break the locking tabs off  permanetly and keep an assortment of small zip ties on hand to lock them back together. the zip ties are very cheap,easy to snip off and lock the two halves together as good as anything the engineers can design.in keeping with mobs thoughts on dealer techs not knowing what their doing either i would have to agree this is a growing trend as all vehicles become more complex there's a shrinking pool of knowledgeable trained tech's capable of working on them mainly because the oem's dont seem to understand that the dealers are only hiring 15-20 dollar an hour wrenchers who are barely qualified to work on 1980's technology.how many dealership mechanics do you know who are paid in the 40-50 dollar an hour range, probably none.actual factory training takes more than a monthly newsletter from the factory, it takes bringing in hundreds of techs to a modern facility for weeks at a time, not an expense that most dealers are willing to consider.

Offline BDF

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2019, 11:04:41 pm »
C'mon Steve, you had instructions with photos, right?  :)

All the connectors require the locking tab be moved but some are moved in (squeezed) while other are pried out, and those can be pesky. Also, it seems that the longer the connectors have been together without being separated, the tougher they are to separate. All the connectors I have ever had to disconnect, and quite a few other that I did not have to, were done w/in the first year of owning my C-14. But I have had a few on tech. day that had not been separated either in a long time or at all and they were pretty sticky.

And you can prop the tank up even with a medium size piece of wood. Maybe a long piece of wood but I did not have one handy to try....  :rotflmao:

Brian

Reading what I wrote before, you are correct that those pesky gas tank electrical connectors can be pulled out with enough slack to then spend the next 1/2 hour trying to figure out the trick to getting them apart.  A agree the fuel connector is tricky the first go around.  Fortunately you can prop up the tank nearly vertical on it's tail with a short piece of wood to get ready access to the that fuel connector.
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2019, 12:20:24 am »
If I recall your instructions, there was pretty finger showing the tab release, and darn sure it wasn’t yours Brian.  :nananana:  So that is what I’m missing for each and every type of connector. Instructions!  But why not just have and obvious and simple external release tabs?  Why the need to analyze, probe, pull, push, and use dental picks? 
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Offline BDF

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2019, 12:50:12 pm »
Well, as far as I know, the only two choices on locking connectors is to press in or pull up the locking tab. No other options that I have seen.olllllllllllllololololololololololololol

But the Japanese do use a tremendous range of connectors on their vehicles. All have different current / voltage ratings and each connection is sized accordingly. From a mfg. point of view I would normally think that using larger connectors than needed in some places just to reduce the number of variations would be desirable but that is not how it is done in Japan apparently.

My own little annoyance with Japanese vehicle wiring is that they casually and often change wire color identification when crossing a connector; this has caused quite a bit of confusion about the installation of a Rostra for example as some people have thought they 'corrected' and earlier error when all that actually happened was that a black wire because a different color, with a stripe to boot, on the other side of a connector. Same circuit, several different wire colors. Impossible to trace for even a short distance w/out a schematic.

But as I have already said, the connectors are truly waterproof and always interlock correctly and fully. A great feature on vehicle wiring IMO. So I tend to ignore the little flaws that only crop up when working on or modifying the bike and appreciate the fact that Japanese electrical systems are rock- solid when riding, even in the rain, extreme heat and cold.

And that finger is still around here, and it still twitches when it hears 'The Cat Joke'.  :rotflmao:

Brian

If I recall your instructions, there was pretty finger showing the tab release, and darn sure it wasn’t yours Brian.  :nananana:  So that is what I’m missing for each and every type of connector. Instructions!  But why not just have and obvious and simple external release tabs?  Why the need to analyze, probe, pull, push, and use dental picks?
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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2019, 12:09:19 am »
My previous bike was a Vulcan and it also has a collage of connectors ....I never understood the Kawasaki method of choosing connectors..... maybe some kind of IQ test?  ;)
In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they aren't. Without data you are just another guy with an opinion.

Offline SilverConnieRider

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2019, 02:49:50 pm »
In the first post the OP asked why the lock box had 2 different wire sets with different connectors.
MY GUESS is one is for power - with no power (key turned on) the box can't be opened.
The other set is so the box can't be opened if going more than 12mph.

Why are there different connectors.
Did you ever think that they wanted to dummy proof it so the factory workers won't mess it up.
I think there are very very few bikes delivered that have a connector in the wrong place because they are different
and can't easily be mixed up.

And lastly motorcycles in general are being tossed side to side, accelerate fast (from time to time) and sometimes even fall over
whether standing still or at high speed and you rarely see any connectors pulled apart - because they aren't easy to come apart.

   

Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2019, 03:34:19 pm »
I hear you, but all the reasons you mentioned doesnt explain why there can’t be a clear to see, external release tab for whatever variety plug is needed.  They also don’t need a variety since there are many ways to ensure that a connection is not be made by mistake. Why have completely different latching and plug types on seemingly every connection?  For instance, I figured out the release for the glove box, and now  that makes removing the gas tank that much easier. No the glove box cannot be plugged into the gas tank by mistake.
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Offline SilverConnieRider

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Re: Struggling with electrical connectors
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2019, 08:01:30 pm »
I hear you, but all the reasons you mentioned doesnt explain why there can’t be a clear to see, external release tab for whatever variety plug is needed.  They also don’t need a variety since there are many ways to ensure that a connection is not be made by mistake. Why have completely different latching and plug types on seemingly every connection?  For instance, I figured out the release for the glove box, and now  that makes removing the gas tank that much easier. No the glove box cannot be plugged into the gas tank by mistake.

Your barking up the wrong tree.  No one here can answer your question WHY.

I don't disagree with you that they could/should make them more universal and lockable but also unlockable with ease.
With that said - I will assume that it comes down to $$$$$ and the manufacturers don't think anything is wrong or
more than likely don't want to fix the problem because that would cost a lot of money. 
With that said they are not too hard to join together and that's all they do at the factory when they are being built. 
So do they see or think there is a problem in the first place?

And lets face it - most manufacturers don't sell electronic parts to much.
So someone that keeps their bike mostly stock (no electronic upgrades) will never experience the frustration
of taking apart connectors like us that do want electronic upgrades to our bikes.  Go figure.

I use releasable zip ties and some brands work better then others but they all work better then the ones that are designed
as a one time use and have to be cut to be removed.  So maybe keep that in mind - it could be worse if there were no connectors
and everything was straight wired to where it needed to go.  But that would never happen because it would be hard to build them.

And remember only the consumer has to deal with them and that has NOTHING to do with how the vehicle preforms coming
from the factory.