Red Dog and Me

This is an on-going dialog between me and a certain motor scooter, namely a 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 that came to live with me in October of 2009. I've named the scooter Red Dog and as yet have not determined its gender. In the past when I've named boats, bikes, and other like characters I've thought of them as feminine due to their behavior characteristics. Red Dog I'm not so sure about...we'll see. Update: OK, Red Dog's a girl...with an attitude

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oct 29, 2009 The Infernal Top Case Lights Project

Last summer I went through the process of installing a GIVI top case on El Nino (my Ninja 650R), including wiring up the stop light kit that controls a row of 4 little lights on the case. Then as luck would have it I didn’t use it but as further luck would have it it seemed perfect for Red Dog. All I needed was the mounting plate for the top case and the wiring loom for the stop lights. With that in mind I ordered the parts from the GIVI dealer figuring it would be a piece of cake. Not to be.

First of all the top plate fits perfect but it wasn’t equipped with the knock out or even a template for mounting the stop light quick disconnect hardware. As part of the stop light wiring kit there’s a smallish electrical ‘button’ with two contacts that mounts on the top plate. The purpose of this device is that when you remove the top case (at the local motel, etc.) you don’t have anything to unplug and the same goes when you put the top case back on the bike; it automatically engages the stoplight connection and you’re in business.

I could have contacted the dealer and requested the correct top plate with the proper knock-out or at least obtained a template for locating the hole needed for the contact button but instead I decided to forge ahead on my own. Luckily I had the top plate on the Ninja to use for a reference and with that I was able to create a reasonable template for locating the mounting hole. Auguring out the hole was another matter as my drills only went about 75% of the way needed and the rest was accomplished by hand filing. I worked slowly with patience and eventually accomplished what I set out to do; the contact button snapped into place and the top case engaged it exactly as it should.

Then it was on to the wiring job. I’d mentioned to an acquaintance this would be the easy part of the project and in fact it would have been if I could just get to the feed wires. Piaggio likes to conceal things and in order to locate the wires it was necessary to remove the entire right side body work, not a simple task. Besides dealing with endless hidden screws there were a number of tabs molded in as part of the body work which correlate to slots, all of which are also carefully concealed. The tricky part of the tabs is they’re not very strong and will easily break off if coaxed in the wrong direction. Being patient counts and by taking my time I soon had the panels removed, exposing the wiring I wanted. From there on it was as I’d said, easy and when I fired up the system and it worked I was a happy camper.

Finally I was faced with the dreaded task of reinstalling the paneling which I fully expected would take longer than the process of removing it. Strangely enough everything went back on without so much as a hitch and when it was finished I stood there for a moment wondering what I’d forgotten. Turns out I’d made all the right moves and without snapping off any of the tabs to boot.

Sometimes I wonder about things like that.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, nice write-ups, Larry. Enjoyed reading them and look forward to more. The 500 is a fun beast indeed!