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Rats Nest 101: A Tech’s Guide to Accent Lights
October 26, 2017
Rats Nest 101: A Tech’s Guide to Accent Lights
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There’s no doubt that Accent Lights are huge in the aftermarket LED industry. With so many types and brands on the market, the choices seem overwhelming. Plus, there’s the dreaded install! Mounting LED strips, running wire, it intimidates even the biggest and baddest bikers!

Accent Lights: You Get What You Pay For

Shopping around for LED choices can often be like comparing apples to oranges. Consider the size of the LED chip noted as a 5050, 3528, 3014, or 3020. These numbers reflect the millimeter length and width of each LED chip. Custom Dynamics® MagicFLEX2® and Magical Wizards™ are 5050 LEDs. These accent lights have 3 individual diodes per LED chip. Because of this, they provide the greatest light output with a 120 degree viewing angle!
 
Compare the number of LEDs within each strip. Two manufacturers can have the same length strip but one offer less LEDs than the other. A longer strip does not mean more LEDs or a brighter light.
 
Always ask about product warranty when shopping for accent lights. That way you know what you are getting into. Custom Dynamics® offers a Lifetime Warranty with all LED products. With our warranty, you can ride carefree.
 
Another important detail is the circuitry of the lighting product. “Plug and Play” is a term thrown around in the parts and accessories world. It insinuates an effortless install. “Plug and Play” installation is great for certain products. But, it can be disastrous when installing accent lighting.
 
Consider how all the light strips daisy chain together. Each light is dependent on the light before it, in sequence. In order for it to receive power, the light before it must get power first. So think of these as the old-school holiday lights – when one goes out, they all go out!
 
You also cannot cut back or trim any of the wiring on plug and play accent lights. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but what it leaves you with is a LOT of extra wire. In our experience, under your seat can start looking more like a rats nest than a motorcycle.

The Nest

(Under the seat) The excess wire from the accent lights has started to look more like a rats nest than a motorcycle.

 

Having excess wire under your seat is never a good thing. The installation is not only messy but problematic. When it comes to having your bike serviced this extra wire is in the way for mechanics and technicians to do their job. Something as simple as replacing your battery is going to take much longer and the likelihood of  your accent lights getting broken or damaged in the process is considerably high.

 

Having excess wire under your seat is never a good thing. The installation is not only messy but problematic.

 

With an install like this, should you experience LED failure or have trouble getting the lights to operate properly troubleshooting is nearly impossible. While the “Plug and Play” installation sounds great, you have to keep in mind that each connector can also be a possible failure point in your lighting system. The excess wire under the seat leaves you with a tangled mess to sort through before identifying the culprit.

Tech Approved

Avoid a rats nest under your own seat by making smart choices when purchasing and installing your own accent lights. Custom Dynamics® accent lighting strips come with 48″ color coded wire leads. Once the lighting has been placed on the bike, secure and route all wires to underneath the seat. Leave about six inches for a service lead and cut back excess wire.

 

Leave about six inches for a service lead and cut back excess wire.

 

Custom Dynamics® technicians also recommend using Cage Clamp® Connectors for a quick and easy way to wire your lights! Each Cage Clamp® acts as a weatherproof terminal block with levers that allow you to secure all wiring. These allow for future serviceability should you decide to add more lights or require any troubleshooting.

 

Custom Dynamics® technicians also recommend using Cage Clamp® Connectors for a quick and easy way to wire your lights!

 

After you have the lights all wired up the service lead can be tucked away leaving complete access to stock harness connectors, ECM, and the battery. This leaves your wiring clean and manageable. Installations can be customized to a particular bike, without extra wire everywhere.

 

After you have the lights all wired up the service lead can be tucked away leaving complete access to stock harness connectors, ECM, and the battery.

 

Installing Accent Lights on a full bike can take between 1-2 hours (depending on the product and installer). We’ve put together a helpful Installation Video to walk you through the placement and wiring of Custom Dynamics® MagicFLEX2® single-color accent lights.

Plug and Play Accent Lights aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Save yourself a headache and do it right the first time!

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4 comments

  1. JOSEPH MEDINA on 06.16.2018 at 3:43 pm

    I was in a terrible accident in Cheyenne,Wyoming on I-25 where the clover leaf approach from I-80 joins northbound I-25 at 65 mph where I was cut off by a 2 ton FORD getting on in very busy traffic so I was unable to move to left lane. I did a 96 ft. skid before hit the trucks tailgate and did a flying superman pose some 90 plus feet further down the interstate face down in that lane where the State Patrol found a barely breathing unconscious body lying there. i was bleeding from my ears due to brain swelling so was put in induced coma. I creditably completely recovered and all this to say I’m very safety conscious. I’m building a Harley style custom softtail from the ground up basically a 2000 so I want to equip it with the latest lighting pieces from your company that have a safety contribution and fill a need as I have limited funds but still value safety.

    • Erin Armitage on 06.18.2018 at 3:02 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that happened to you; it sounds like you’re lucky to be here and still riding! We’ll certainly give you a call to discuss product options which would add safety and visibility to your bike! We look forward to talking with you soon!

  2. Steven Rullo on 12.22.2017 at 6:20 pm

    We have seen so many of these rats nests come through our shop. We take the seat off because the battery is low and it’s all downhill from there. We use your light systems and clamps to clean up the mess under seats all of the time with great results! Thanks!

    • Erin Armitage on 12.27.2017 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you, Steven! We appreciate your shop’s support!

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