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Old 15th August 2022
FTW64 FTW64 is offline
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Default New Brake Light Wiring Issues

Bought a new bobber style brake light that only has two wires and wire harness had 3......Blue, Orange/white , and black
New brake light has a red and a black.
How do you wire so Brake light and Tail/Running light both work?
Bulb is a Dual Filament.
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Old 15th August 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FTW64 View Post
Bought a new bobber style brake light that only has two wires and wire harness had 3......Blue, Orange/white , and black
New brake light has a red and a black.
How do you wire so Brake light and Tail/Running light both work?
Bulb is a Dual Filament.
If it's like mine, there is no ground wire

It's supposed to ground to the fender, both are hots, one (the brake, brighter, shorter filament activating one) goes to a spring switch on the rear linkage (and if you really wanna be proper another somehow activated by the front, not my style) and the other goes to a switch. Which both (or all three) go to the regulated hot output (B+ on my bike).

Need a diagram? Just shoot ne the year I know that section very well right now! supposed to actually run it all through a kill switch as well, but you can just turn the both if and keep your foot off the brake

(And often both will go off (well on I mean) if you hook one up to ground, doesn't mean it's ground.) You can test with a battery, hot on the one your testing ground to the fender or even taillamp case to be extra sure if tge fender doesn't do it
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Old 15th August 2022
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On stock 1996 US bikes, in the main harness, HD used a BLUE wire to supply power to the Running Light (Dim Element). They used an ORANGE/White wire for the same purpose if it was an International version bike.

The stock brake wiring was a RED/Yellow wire to the Bright Element.

By 1996, there was a dedicated BLACK wire for ground that was part of the main harness and ran to the rear light.


If the new light unit uses the RED wire for the Bright Filament, I would wrap some BLUE (or ORANGE) TAPE OVER THE BLACK WIRE to indicate that it is the (always ON) running light (DIM Element).

Then, if you are creating a new connector to keep the previous wiring, just add another BLACK wire that is mounted on the light unit frame for grounding.

BTW, 1994 was the first year that HD included the ground wires in the main harness and mostly avoided grounding thru the frame.

Sportsterpedia on the Brake Switches:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...h_-_front_rear
and the Brake/Tail Light:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t..._license_light

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Last edited by IXL2Relax; 15th August 2022 at 05:03..
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Old 16th August 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IXL2Relax View Post
On stock 1996 US bikes, in the main harness, HD used a BLUE wire to supply power to the Running Light (Dim Element). They used an ORANGE/White wire for the same purpose if it was an International version bike.

The stock brake wiring was a RED/Yellow wire to the Bright Element.

By 1996, there was a dedicated BLACK wire for ground that was part of the main harness and ran to the rear light.


If the new light unit uses the RED wire for the Bright Filament, I would wrap some BLUE (or ORANGE) TAPE OVER THE BLACK WIRE to indicate that it is the (always ON) running light (DIM Element).

Then, if you are creating a new connector to keep the previous wiring, just add another BLACK wire that is mounted on the light unit frame for grounding.

BTW, 1994 was the first year that HD included the ground wires in the main harness and mostly avoided grounding thru the frame.

Sportsterpedia on the Brake Switches:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t...h_-_front_rear
and the Brake/Tail Light:
http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/t..._license_light

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Interesting, do you suggest him just soldering it on (or is there an obvious place to tap?), and do you know why by chance they stopped grounding through the frame? (Seems like you'd have to work pretty hard to shock yourself, with such low resistance)
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Old 16th August 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronHeadRon View Post
Interesting, do you suggest him just soldering it on (or is there an obvious place to tap?), and do you know why by chance they stopped grounding through the frame? (Seems like you'd have to work pretty hard to shock yourself, with such low resistance)
Since it has a ground wire in the harness, I would try to add/connect a wire with a ring lug to the taillight mounting bolt in order to ground the new taillight to the harness ground.

Using the frame for grounding meant there were many ground points (from all various devices). It was easy for them to vibrate loose, get corroded & intermittent, etc. This caused a lot of preventative maintenance or simply many electrical failures over time.

Using specific ground wires in the harness created more reliability.

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Last edited by IXL2Relax; 16th August 2022 at 08:49..
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Old 17th August 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IXL2Relax View Post
Since it has a ground wire in the harness, I would try to add/connect a wire with a ring lug to the taillight mounting bolt in order to ground the new taillight to the harness ground.

Using the frame for grounding meant there were many ground points (from all various devices). It was easy for them to vibrate loose, get corroded & intermittent, etc. This caused a lot of preventative maintenance or simply many electrical failures over time.

Using specific ground wires in the harness created more reliability.

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Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, makes sense (wondering if y'all still ground the engine and horn now, but I'll research if I get curious. Don't want to get too off track

Seems we both agree about the OP's situation (I'm not as fancy with colors, made my own diagram.....it was easier by this point)
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Old 17th August 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronHeadRon View Post
wondering if y'all still ground the engine and horn now
Looking at the schematics, there are still some FRAME GROUND POINTS - Different years did different things.

For 2004-later - Still grounded to the engine/frame:
Batttery
Starter/Solenoid
Spark Plugs
Neutral Switch
Oil Pressure Switch
(Ground Strap between rubbermount engine & frame)
(Voltage Regulator & Horn have harness grounds)

For 1995-2003 - Frame grounded Voltage Regulator & Horn

1994 - Frame grounded Voltage Regulator but Horn had a harness ground


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