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Hey everyone, I posted in another thread that I had installed LED backup lights onto my 2016 Kodiak base model, and was asked how I wired it so that they come on automatically when the bike is shifted into reverse. I was out farting around with the bike today (actually I rewired all the stuff I had added over months of ownership and wasn't happy with how I wired it, since things were added at different times, so I redid it all).

To wire backup lights so that they come on automatically when the bike is shifted into reverse you need to find the wires that turn on the "R" indicator light when the bike is shifted into reverse. The way the indicator lights in these bikes are wired, the whole lot of them are given a 12-volt constant signal when the key is on, and the individual lights are turned on and off by switching the ground side. The ground side is still switched with the key off, but the 12-volt feed disappears. This works in our favour, because it means that the backup lights only come on when two conditions are met: Key on, Shifter in reverse. That means you can't forget to turn them off and kill your battery.

I did some probulating and discovered the two wires I needed are "BROWN" and "GREEN/BLUE STRIPE". These wires are found in a square 4-pin connector under the battery cover, near the handlebar stem (you can tell you've got the correct wires because they go up into the indicator light cluster).

You can tap into these wires any way you desire. Some people would use scotchlocks (or "wire taps"). I don't. You shouldn't either. I used simple red butt connectors. I cut the wires (one at a time!) and inserted the connectors, with wires leading off to the relay. If you're the type that drives in mud so deep snorkels are required, I recommend using a water proof connection. I don't, and the bike is stored inside, so these connectors I used are perfectly cromulent for me. I also wrapped the harness in electrical tape, both for strength and as a further method of splashproofing the connection.

Use a standard Bosch-style automotive relay. Do NOT connect backup lights directly to these wires. I don't know how much current the reverse sensor is rated at, but it's probably not much. Using a relay means the reverse sensor is only carrying the load of the relay's coil (roughly 1/10th of 1 amp). This means no appreciable extra current is flowing through the sensor.

Once you've tapped into the wires, run them to terminals 85 and 86 on the relay as shown in the diagram. When wired this way the relays coil will be ON when the key is on AND when the shifter is in reverse. It will not be energized at any other time.

Connect the relay's terminal 30 to the battery THROUGH A FUSE/FUSE HOLDER. Do NOT connect to the battery without a fuse! Your bike could burn if a short happens! The value of the fuse depends on the number and type of lights you're using. If, for example, you're using a 36 watt light (or two 18 watt lights) your current will be 3 amps. Use a 5-amp fuse. Your light manufacturer or vendor should be able to tell you the appropriate fuse.

Connect the relay's terminal 87 to your LED lights' + wire. Connect your LED lights' negative wire to chassis ground.

The diagram below should be fairly easy to follow. If not, or if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
You're done. Your backup lights should now be functional.

Now that you've got the simple part out of the way, I can say that there are more advanced installation options available. Want them to only come on at night (IE, when the lights are on)? Instead of tapping into that brown wire above, tap into the tail light wire. No, you don't need to go all the way back there. There is a suitable wire up front. Don't tap into the headlight, or your backup lights will only work on high or low beam, but not both. If anyone's interested, I'll post up a diagram of that option (I tapped into this wire for my shifter light).

Also, let's say you want to be able to use the lights without being in reverse (IE, when you're cleaning a deer and don't want to leave the bike running but would appreciate the light). You can put a manual override switch in to turn the lights on whenever you want. WARNING: These machines have little bitty batteries and no pull start. Using lights with the key off might result in a dead battery and a long walk home! I can provide diagrams for this option, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I should also mention that I've got a lot more electrical stuff done to this Kodiak. In addition to the backup lights, I've also got:

Front LED's mounted to the windshield that turn with the handlebars - wired so that they have a manual switch, but only work with the key on.
"Angry Eyes" LED strips over the headlights - wired so they only come on with the key on
White LED lighting in the rear storage compartments - only work with the headlights on, and have a switch inside the compartment to turn them on
Handlebar and thumb warmers - only work with key on
Horn - Only works with key on
Winch - works any time, key on or off
GPS USB charger - only works with key on (that is the cig lighter thing you can see inside the clutch vent tube)

I have four relays under the battery cover: One for the backup lights, one for the horn, one for the front LED's, and one as an "accessory" relay that has power when the key is on. All add-ons mentioned above are tied into this relay. It takes its coil power from the bike's factory cig lighter plug, and allows me to add stuff without adding onto that cig lighter plug circuit. The relays are on the left hand side of the bike, left of the battery in the pic below (actually, on the right in the pic below. the front of the bike is the bottom side of the pic)

The dirty black thing in the pic, close to the relays, with two thick orange wires coming out of it, is a fuse holder. This fuse is 30 amps and feeds terminal 30 on all of these relays. Each circuit off each relay has its own smaller fuse, not shown in pic.
 

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Thanks for the write up. This is one mod that I will be doing when it warm up.

One thing that I would add is it is a lot better if you solder and use some shrink wrap on the point where you tied into the switched line. I know that the butt connectors work but I have learned over time that soldering and shrink wrapping any spliced wires will do a lot better than a butt connector. I have also found out over time that water will find its way into just about any spot on these machines over time and if you are like me and plan on keeping it for 20 or so years then it is best to have the better splice.
 

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Also, let's say you want to be able to use the lights without being in reverse (IE, when you're cleaning a deer and don't want to leave the bike running but would appreciate the light). You can put a manual override switch in to turn the lights on whenever you want. WARNING: These machines have little bitty batteries and no pull start. Using lights with the key off might result in a dead battery and a long walk home! I can provide diagrams for this option, too.
Do you still have the diagram for this? Thanks
 

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Thanks for the write up. This is one mod that I will be doing when it warm up.

One thing that I would add is it is a lot better if you solder and use some shrink wrap on the point where you tied into the switched line. I know that the butt connectors work but I have learned over time that soldering and shrink wrapping any spliced wires will do a lot better than a butt connector. I have also found out over time that water will find its way into just about any spot on these machines over time and if you are like me and plan on keeping it for 20 or so years then it is best to have the better splice.
this is some solid info.... solder and heat shrink are the only way for me.

you can get heat shrink with sealer inside that creates a water tight seal, but it's about 4x the price.

i use a little trick of gobbing some dielectric grease on the wires, heat shrink as normal, wipe off the bit that oozes out. works great.
 
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Can anyone assist me with this?

Also, let's say you want to be able to use the lights without being in reverse (IE, when you're cleaning a deer and don't want to leave the bike running but would appreciate the light). You can put a manual override switch in to turn the lights on whenever you want.

What type of diode would I need?
It's a 36 W LED light with a current draw of 3A
 

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Can anyone assist me with this?

Also, let's say you want to be able to use the lights without being in reverse (IE, when you're cleaning a deer and don't want to leave the bike running but would appreciate the light). You can put a manual override switch in to turn the lights on whenever you want.

What type of diode would I need?
It's a 36 W LED light with a current draw of 3A
Not many people think about things like this! You may be a Virtuoso personality type.
https://www.16personalities.com

I did a diode trick back in the late 80's and as far as I knew no one else had even thought about it for lighting. I did it with brake lights and rear running lights on an old BMW 2002. Worked great. The bulbs were regular taillight bulbs so they didn't draw very much amperage, and I used three 1 amp diodes spun together in parallel on each tail light. It allowed the brake lights to energize the running lights so the brake lights were twice as bright in the daytime, and acted normally at night. The band indicates direction of flow...like an arrowhead. I think they make them in 5 amp now days, but my guess is you would only need a 1 amp diode to block back flow to the factory wiring harness. The harness could provide power, but not receive it.
If the factory harness is sending a ground instead of hot then the best I recall you would have to reverse the diode direction, but I'm not 100% on that. See if the power at the switch is on at all times, or just when the key is on. Don't use a voltage probe as you could damage the computer...use a voltage meter instead. You can pick up a very nice one at Harbor Freight for about 20 bucks.

I also did a relay trick on the halogen headlights on the same car whereas the low beams were normal, and the high beams energized a relay and fed a fused battery source through the relay to the low beams making the whole setup not only twice as bright, but also having the enhanced double pattern when on high beams. Worked fantastic!
 
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