Starting Point

After deciding to do the 2012 Cannonball one of the things that needed improvement was the electrical system.  After I was finished putting it together after purchasing the parts in various stages of assembly (or lack thereof) the electrical system was a nominal AC only, with the actual voltage depending on the engine RPM.  The goal was 12 volts AC, so I had included a regulator to keep 12 volts as the upper limit.  One “accessory” I wanted to add was turn signals.  The original version had some rather obnoxious stalk mounted light on the handle bars and rear cowls, which were not included in the parts I got with the project.  The original mounting holes are visible on the front of the handle bars.  Some European models had turn signals mounted outside the grips on the handle bars, which I think are much better looking, even if they make the width wider.

The first challenge was deciding how to mount the bar end light assemblies.  The original method used in Europe included extra tubes inside the existing handle bars.  Of course those were not in the included parts either, and seemed like they would be difficult to obtain and then install.  The New Orleans Scooter Cooperative had a video on their Facebook page on how to modify the bar end assembly for installation which proved to be a viable method.

Once the signals were installed it was necessary to power the lights and flasher unit.  The regulator also has a DC output, but it only indicated up to around 6 volts DC, or slightly less than 1/2 of the AC voltage. (Trying to figure out the Vespa stator system as far as its electricity generation features provided quite a bit of time online researching-it still seems like a little bit of black magic).  The first step was trying a regular 12V DC flasher unit, but that would barely flash the lights at all when the engine was beyond idle RPM, and not at all at idle.  So, the next step was finding a 6V DC flasher.  That was better, but still not satisfactory.  I was able to rewire the stator to get a little higher voltage output at idle and also found a 12V AC flasher unit.  Voila, turn signals that work, although the flash rate and brightness at idle is still not quite what I’d like.

A side benefit of the regulator/rectifier that is installed is that the DC seems adequate to provide a “vehicle” power source for the Garmin navigation unit I hope to use.  That is a good thing, since the daily legs are longer than the Garmin’s internal battery will last. More on that with a later post.


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