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ViragoTechForum.com XV250 (another) tach install

#1:  (another) tach install Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:27 pm

Hello All -

I've been studying and preparing to install my tach. It's the same one a few other folks here also got on ebay. I've printed and read the other topics to prepare myself as much as possible. Now it's time to ask my questions and get it done. I can not do it without help, but if you guys will help me, I know I can do it.

Let me post a few pics first. Here are the diagrams from the instructions and what the wires look like. I know it is easy for you guys to read it and just do it, but for me, the instructions are NOT complete !!!



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Last edited by cienn on Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

#2:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:33 pm

My first question is what materials and tools do I need ???

I got some connectors. Can you tell me if these are OK please ??
I am also going to get some extra wire, in case I need to lenghten the ones provided.
I have a crimper/stripper tool, electrical tape, and some zip ties. I have a multi-meter too, but I hope I don't need to use it. So far I have only tried it once. A neighbor came over and helped me test the battery. It measured 12.75 volts :grin:

I think this is all I will need...Please let me know.

Next I would like to go through each wire individually, and say how I think I will do it, and get your help please :grin:



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#3:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: zombieslayer Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:03 pm

i think this is the type of connector you want.

#4:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:11 pm

i would recommend a closed eyelet rather than an open fork type connector because of the vibration factor on your motor cycle

#5:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:28 pm

OK so like the one zombie posted but with an "O" instead of a "U" at the end ??? (terminal ends !!!! just looked it up in my course book) The name of the tube type will not be mentioned :(

I got the tube ones because I thought I was going to be cutting the existing wires on my bike, then inserting them into each end of the tube, along with a tach wire into one end of the tube, and crimping it, but I guess not.
Thanks guys

#6:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:57 pm

you can do that as well cienne if you do i would sleeve them with heat shrink tubing...the best way to do it would be to solder your connections and sleeve them with heat shrnk tubing

#7:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:36 am

Thanks gg.
I got a soldering tool and some heat shrink, and some extra connectors too, just in case.

Now for the wires...
Let's talk about the black wire first, since I think it's the easiest one. It goes to ground. I think I am supposed to attach it to the frame with a bolt, somewhere where there is no paint. If I can get it back to the bolt for the seat neatly, I think I will try that first. If not, I will come back here with another suggestion.

#8:   Author: AndyK Post Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:58 pm

I installed my mini-tach on the weekend and ended up soldering the tach wiring to the bike wiring rather than using spade connectors. Experience has taught me that hard wiring/soldering is the most reliable. It's not that the spade connectors themselves are prone to failure but unless you have a proper crimping tool, there's a liklehood of the wire coming out of the connector crimp.

There is a 4-pin plug which connects both coils to the wiring harness (two wires from each coil). I unplugged this which gave me enough slack to strip back a little of the insulation and solder the tach wiring. Then all carefully insulated with heat shrink and secured with some small cable ties. The tach works like a charm.

Just a couple of notes. If you're using a soldering iron or heat shrink remember you're close to the fuel tank. Using one of those little gas powered portable soldering irons would be a risk as would the old trick of using a cigarette lighter to shrink the heat shrink.

I connected the green tach wire to the orange wire which goes to the coil feeding the front cylinder. I connected both the blue and the red tach wires to the red/white wire going to the other side of the coil which feeds the front cylinder. I couldn't find a suitable earthing point near the coils so I extended the black wire by soldering a couple of feet extra black wire to it and then earthed it directly at the battery negative terminal.

Finally ... don't do what I did. You need to remove (or at least loosen) the fuel tank so that you can get to the coil wiring underneath it. Don't do as I did and balance the fuel tank on the bike while you're working on the wiring underneath.
My tank fell off the bike and now has two lovely dents in it. I could cry! doh

#9:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:49 am

Thanks for all the detailed info Andy !!!

Sorry about your tank :( I will definately take mine off to do the work.
I picked up a 30 watt soldering tool at Walmart for $5, and I have a heat tool that I got in a leather repair kit for the heat shrink.

A couple of Qs if you don't mind.

Another guy here connected the red and blue wires in the headlight. Do you think it is easier to connect it to the red/white wire going to the coil as you have done ??? Sounds like it would be, since then I don't have to open up the headlight. Seems more of an art than a science when it comes to where you connect these wires.

I can not seem to find extra wire of the same gauge as the tach wire. The smallest wire I could find is 18 gauge, and the tach wire looks like maybe it is 22 gauge would be my guess. I checked at Advanced Auto, Walmart and Radio Shack. Is it OK to mix the gauge sizes ???

Thanks for your help.

#10:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: AndyK Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:36 am

Hi Cienn,

I found it easier to run the cable down to the coil area rather than strip off the outer insulation to get the red and blue wires separated up near the handlebars while leaving the green wire separated in order to run it down to the coil area. The cable supplied on my tach was the perfect length to reach the coils. I simply joined the red and blue tach wires together then spliced them to the red/white wire on one side of the coil.

If the XV250 had a light switch I would have done things differently. That is, if it was possible to turn the lights on and off I would have run the blue tach wire (illumination) into the headlight to pick up a 12 Volt supply which came on when the lights were switched on. As our lights are always on I thought it was easier to run all the wiring to the ignition coils as everything we need is right there with the exception of a convenient earth point.

If you're not in a desperate hurry I will take some detailed pics on the weekend as I have the seat and the tank off the bike at the moment (to get the dents fixed in the tank). You'll need to remove the air filter pod (an easy job), the seat (very easy, just 2 bolts) and the fuel tank. There's an excellent tank removal technique explained courtesy of bwoski in a forum post HERE. In your case you're not going to completely remove the tank so you won't need to undo the fuel lines or remove the outlet underneath the tank. Provided your tank isn't too full of gas you can probably just place it on some suitable padding on a stool or chair next to the bike.

Regarding wire size. It shouldn't be a problem to mix gauges as we are dealing with low voltage and current here. The mechanical strength of the wire is more important that the electrical characteristics so just don't use anything too fine. Any general purpose automotive wire should be fine. The only wire I needed to add was an extension to the black earth wire .. just making it long enough to reach back to the battery negative terminal.

I'm happy to talk you through the whole thing step-by-step. Just ask whatever you need to know and I'll do my best to explain. What are your plans for actually mounting the tacho itself?

#11:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: Flattop Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:51 am

Andy is right, i spent a number of years working in automotive wiring, spade terminals, terminal blocks, bullet connectors and worst of all "scotch locks" are really short term solutions for exposed wiring.
Dirt, water, acid etc, all contribute to wiring problems down the track.
Good soldering is an artform though, make sure the connection is "hot soldered" meaning it doesn't cool in some part while melting in another, don't twist the wires separately then hold them together and solder as this encourages a joint that can break. Rather try to splice the wire strands into each other making sure that the strands don't point outwards (otherwise they can come out through the heatshrink, puncturing the insulation). Heat the wire good and hot then apply the solder.
Of course you can still use connectors and solder them, the U shaped connector is perfect for this, usually connector material is conducive to soldering anyhow. O connectors are the same. What you can do with U connectors is bend the tops of the U upwards, then usually it will grip the screw and not work loose

#12:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:54 am

Thank you so much Andy !!!
Pics would be a HUGE help for me. If you can show EXACTLY where the wires get connected that would be a great help.
I am not in a hurry. I'm trying to get a VISION of what to do before I start, so I can be best prepared as possible.

I have removed the seat and tank more than I care to admit while trying to clean the carbs, so I can do that with my eyes closed :grin: Also I have cleaned the air filter several times, so I'm OK with that.

This is my first try at touching the electrical, so I am nervous about that. I have visions of me breaking the entire electrical system with one wrong snip.
That sounds good the way you did the red/blue wires to the red/white coil wire. I understand about the lights coming on when we turn the key, so that makes sense. I guess not all bikes work that way, that's way the instructions don't say to put the blue and red wires together when you install the tach. I just noticed a couple other guys here did it that way.

#13:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:57 am

OK thanks Flattop. I might have to get the neighbor to give me a soldering lesson before I start, since I never did it before. I have plenty of all types of connectors too justin case.

#14:   Author: Flattop Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:01 am

You could joint the red and blue "inside" the tach itself, under the cover, then it's likely to be watertight.

#15:   Author: AndyK Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:05 am

No problem at all Cienn ... I'll do some pix on Saturday complete with the circles and arrows and post them either here or on my server. I can do video clips and put them on Youtube too if it helps. It's a very good approach to have a mental picture of the task before embarking on it. Excellent also that you're fine with the mechanicals.

Flattop is absolutely correct and taking that sort of thorough approach will give you a job that lasts and which you can be confident with.

#16:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:54 pm

Andy -

Hopefully the pics plus being able to ask you guys questions will get me there. I don't want to put you through the work of making a video. Being able to know what I'm looking for by seeing a pic should be good enough.
Thanks for all your help BurnOut

#17:   Author: Matthew Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:25 pm

soldering iron is what ya need, not one of them cheap soldering guns most have around.

As you will quickly find out that unless it a good one, you only get 1 good shot at a wire as it will lose heat fast soon as you touch it. Even worse when outside if there is any wind.

#18:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:31 pm

also bear in mind solder runs uphill not down

#19:   Author: mark75 Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:44 pm

as you said, use some scrap pieces of wire & try a few solder joints to get the "feel" of soldering before you do it on the real thing.

if you are using a "gun" type just remember to keep the tip clean and well tinned.
heat it up - apply solder to tip, then wipe it off with clean shop rag. the tip will be shiny and "wet-looking".
touch the joint and let it heat for a few seconds, then touch the solder to the joint.
the solder should sort of "suck" into the wire joint.

use only rosin core solder for electrical applications.

#20:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:50 pm

Matthew - I got the cheapest solder tool I could find eek
$5 at Walmart. It's 30 watts...will this work for me???

GG - That is bizarre that solder defies gravity tongue
It is also bizarre that you know that Laughing



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#21:   Author: Matthew Post Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:51 pm

maybe, maybe not.
You will find out though ;)

Sort of like sweating pipes, if the wire doesn't get hot, the solder won't stick or flow.

#22:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:46 am

here's some good instructions that should help you out cienne...i would not pair any 2 wires on the back of your tach and i would hook the green wire to the ground wire of the coil servicing the rear cylinder which is #1 cylinder on a virago engine: SOLDERING WIRES

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#23:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:56 pm

Thanks GG...good instructions.

GG, for the green wire, what is the difference in how you are recommending it be connected vs. the instructions ?? I am guessing that from experience you know of a benefit to doing it the way you are suggesting. Hopefully, it is also easier your way :grin:

#24:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:05 pm

since the tachometer reading should be taken at the rear cylinder...it being the first cylinder to fire when the timing is correct and the ground side of the coil supplies the trigger signal my advice is not different from the instructions enclosed with your tach

#25:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:58 pm

OK thanks GG.
I guess the orange wire must be the ground wire you are speaking of then.

#26:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:49 pm

yep

#27:   Author: JrZook Post Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:09 am

grazingazer wrote (View Post): since the tachometer reading should be taken at the rear cylinder...it being the first cylinder to fire when the timing is correct and the ground side of the coil supplies the trigger signal my advice is not different from the instructions enclosed with your tach


Rear cylinder/front cylinder triggering will make no difference in this application. You will still get the same trigger pulse intervals at each coil hence same RPM readings. I would just use the most accessible trigger wire.

Dan

#28:   Author: Flattop Post Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:54 am

grazingazer wrote (View Post): here's some good instructions that should help you out cienne...i would recommend that you DON'T pair any 2 wires on the back of your tach and i would hook the green wire to the ground wire of the coil servicing the rear cylinder which is #1 cylinder on a virago engine: SOLDERING WIRES


Why not pair the Ignition on and Light on wires in the back of the tach?
The backlight will draw little current (is probably less than 2watts) and there is little reason to switch it on only at night. Joining it in the tach or close to it means you will run one less wire, and have one less join lower down on the bike and subject to weather and dirt. I would have simply an ignition feed and leave the light on when the bike is on. It also means that if you want to put an extra fuse on the wiring you have one less to fuse.

I welcome your opinion GG i don't doubt you have vast experience on bikes, but would prefer an explanation rather than just a recommendation....

#29:   Author: grazingazer Post Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:17 am

sooner or later you may have to troubleshoot that circuit cienne and if you're not dealing with paired wiring it makes it simpler to find a problem

#30:   Author: AndyK Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:20 am

I did think about splitting off the illumination, ground and supply wires up near the tacho head because all three could have been connected in or around the headlight. In the end though I decided against it, preferring to keep the (black outer) insulation of the tacho cable intact right down to the coil area as I don't like compromising the outer insulation if I don't have to ... particularly in situations where there is exposure to the weather. I also found the wiring around the headlight area to be a bit cramped and difficult to work with compared to the wiring around the coils. I wouldn't have been comfortable running that green tach signal wire down to the coil area without some additional insulation around it.

#31:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:12 pm

Since I'm new at this, I like to keep it as simple as possible...nothing fancy. If I can do things to make life easier for myself in the future, that's a bonus, since I will likely have this bike for quite a while.
I do want to be able to remove the tach easily if necessary.

I'll let you guys continue to guide me along when I get started :grin:

#32:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: AndyK Post Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:05 am

Well, as promised here is a pictorial tour of how I installed my mini tach.
All the images are clickable thumbnails ... just click on them for the full-size image.

I'm concentrating here on the electrical aspects and I'm assuming that you've already mounted the tach somewhere up on the handlebars. Once that's been done you'll need to run the cable from the tach down to the area under the fuel tank where the ignition coils are. You'll need to remove the air filter pod as well as the fuel tank to be able to access the coil wiring. This picture shows where I ran the cable.



If you examine the wiring associated with the two ignition coils you'll see there are two wires going to each coil. One coil has an orange wire and a red/white wire. The other coil has a gray wire and a red/white wire. The two red/white wires (one for each coil and which are actually common in the bike wiring harness) are the 12 Volt supply to the coils with the 12 Volts being present only when your ignition is turned on. Needless to say, you should make sure your ignition is switched off before doing any work on the electrical system, perhaps even disconnect the battery if you're in any doubt.

The red/white switched 12 Volt coil wires are fused already via the "Main" system fuse so there's probably no need to add an additional in-line fuse in the tach supply wires. I didn't add one.

The following picture shows the coil wires and how they are connected into the bike's wiring harness via a four-connector plug and socket.



I chose to use the orange and red/white wires from the left hand coil to connect to the tach but there's no reason you can't use the wiring going to the right side coil. Simply use the gray and red/white pair instead of the orange and red/white pair.

You need to connect the green "trigger" tach wire to the orange wire on one side of the left side coil. The tach also has a blue "illumination" wire for the dial light in the tach as well as a red "supply" wire which needs to be connected to a switched 12 Volt supply. As the XV250 does not have any facility to turn the lights (and therefore the dashboard lights) on and off it makes sense to connect both the blue tach "illumination" wire and the red tach "supply" wire directly to switched 12 Volts. A "switched" 12 Volt supply means a supply which is switched by the ignition switch and fortunately the red/white coil wires are arranged this way. So, we simply splice the blue and the red tach wires to the red/white coil wire.

The only remaining tach wire is the black "ground" wire and this needs to be connected to somewhere on the frame of the bike or (as I did) to the negative side of the battery.

The following picture shows how the tach wiring has been spliced to the orange and red/white coil wires and then covered with a layer of insulation. The wires were soldered to give a good electrical and mechanical joint. You can see the basic splicing/soldering/insulating technique I used in this YouTube Video



After splicing the tach wires to the coil wires we need to cover the joints with some insulation. We need to insulate the soldered joins from each other as well as from the frame of the bike. I used some self-amalgamating rubber tape to cover the soldered joints followed by some heat shrink tubing covering all the joints. In order to get the heat shrink tube over the wires I detached the orange and red/white wires from the spade terminals on the left side coil as shown in the following picture. Make a note of which wire came from which coil lug.



Shrink the heat shrink with a heat gun then re-attach the coil wires to the coil lugs, double checking that you have the correct wire on the correct terminal and also check that the spade terminals are correctly and firmly seated on the coil lugs. Give them a slight tug to make sure the spade terminals are properly on the lugs. It's not a bad idea to check the spade connectors and coil lugs for signs of corrosion ... and clean them if required. It's amazing how quickly exposed connectors can corrode, which is why I went for soldered joints instead of spade or crimp connectors.



Once you've re-connected the coil wires to the coil, tidy things up by tying the cables with some zip ties.



I couldn't find a decent earth point near the coils so I extended the black tacho wire by a couple of feet and ran it to the negative terminal of the battery as shown in the following pictures:





It was then just a matter of re-assembling everything and testing. If your tachometer is the same as mine then it will perform an "opening ceremony" when you turn the ignition on. That is, it will send the needle to full scale then back to zero. You should also be able to see that the dial face is illuminated when the ignition is on. When you start the engine the tachometer should indicate somewhere between 1000 and 1500 RPM assuming your engine idle speed is reasonably well adjusted. Naturally revving the engine should increase the tacho reading.

If you want to subsequently remove the tach then you'll need to carefully cut away the heat shrink, snip off the tach wires near to where you soldered them with a pair of cutters then insulate any bare wiring left behind so that nothing shorts out against the frame. Being able to "remove the tach easily" by using crimp connectors or "double adaptor" spade connectors is probably not entirely compatible with long-term reliability I'm afraid.

If there's anything which isn't clear or requires better explanation, just ask.

#33:  Re: (another) tach install - (preparing) Author: cienn Post Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:12 pm

This is AWESOME Andy...thank you so much

I am going to print this out with all the pictures and start writting down my questions.
Then I will likely have another round of questions when I actually get started.
Thanks for your help !!!
ViragoTechForum.com XV250 (another) tach install


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