Improve Wiring for lights?

Mtl_Biker

Active Member
For those of you who have Giant bikes with head- and taillights, have you had any problems? If so, have you made any modifications to improve things?

When I received my Explore E+1 GTS on Wednesday I had to assemble it because it had been shipped across Canada to me. The headlight wasn't working and I think that is because it had been dangling in the shipping carton at the end of the wire and it got bounced around pretty darn much judging from the damage on the carton. Anyway, I found that the connection into the light (not the wire back into the frame) was where the problem was, and there wasn't a way of opening the light to make a more secure connection. As a temporary fix, I found that by pushing the wire up into the headlight it would work, and I fixed it in place with a zip tie. The dealer is sending me a replacement light which I'll hopefully have next week.

But yesterday we went on a 72km ride and halfway through it, the taillight stopped working. No amount of wiggling wires would make it come back on again. Today I took a close look at it and I'm disappointed with how Giant has done the wiring and connections:



You can see the two wires for the taillight going to the connection on the fender. Well, that "connection" is really poor. What it is, is just what looks like a brass-color insert like a washer, where a wire is simply pushed into the hole and then fixed in place with that plastic cap. Not very secure at all. And it's the same kind of connection at the front of the fender close to the motor. I tested and found there was no power at the back end connection and then found the front connection at the fender to be bad. I removed the plug, found the wires coming from the motor had power so I pushed the wires back into the holes trying to make sure the bare wire was in contact with the brass-color insert and then replaced the plug. I doubt very much this connection is going to last long term, especially if the bike is ridden in the rain and/or over rough ground.

I don't know how this could be improved, but I'm thinking of a small bolt that I could put through the hole and attach the wire around it. But the head of the bolt will have to be very thin so as not to touch the tire or be affected by road grit.

Giant really should have made better connections there in my opinion.

Anyone have better ideas about this?
 

FlatSix911

Active Member
Your thin bolt suggestion may work, but will not look great. I would recommend removing the plastic caps and properly splicing the wires with waterproof shrink wrap tubing.
 

Mtl_Biker

Active Member
Your thin bolt suggestion may work, but will not look great. I would recommend removing the plastic caps and properly splicing the wires with waterproof shrink wrap tubing.
The problem is that there is nothing to splice TO! I haven't removed the wheel to look at the inside of the fender but I am pretty sure that the wires from the bottom front of the rear fender to the back (closest to the taillight) are encased within the fender itself. Terminating at both ends by that washer-looking thing. To do the shrink wrap I'd probably have to run my own wires inside the fender. Plus if the fender needs to be removed (can't imagine that I'd want to) the wire would have to be cut instead of just opening a connection. You're right, the bolt thing wouldn't be pretty, but I imagine the bolt put through from underneath with two nuts on the top with the wire wrapped around the bolt between the two nuts. Maybe even three nuts... one to hold the bolt in place, then the wire plus a nut and the third nut used to lock it all down. Gotta see if I can find bolts that small. Maybe 1/16" diameter.
 

FlatSix911

Active Member
Take a look inside the fender with a flashlight... most wires are clipped to the inside of the fender inside a hollow tube.
 

Acadiandad

Member
Yeah the fender has embedded foil traces used for the lights. If the connections are not robust (so far mine have been) I’d run my own wire tie wrapped to the MIK rack and down the tube and splice it at each end.
 

Micael

New Member
Don't have an explore e+, but I have looked into equipping my fathom e+2 pro with fenders and lights and using the fender as an electrical conductor is not uncommon in other bikes, and it is the cleanest looking way of doing it, but yeah if they are just pushing the wire into a hole and locking it in place with a piece of plastic that is some extremely shoddy connection.

You can potentially replace it with something like this https://media.rs-online.com/t_large/F2877385-01.jpg which is found in ESD wristbands and mats, it looks a hell of a lot close to what the fender has, although not sure where you get the rivet looking connections or their name, not to mention I doubt they are made to be exposed to rain and the vibrations of trail riding. Found the item https://www.amazon.com/DESCO-INDUSTRIES-09864-Socket-Universal/dp/B0748LRPM2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ESD+stud&qid=1566345382&s=gateway&sr=8-1 it goes by many names, but ESD Stud usually tends to find it https://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-604-F10-Female-press-stud-ESD-version-10mm-ELME/202689397310?epid=9012061783&hash=item2f313ac23e:g:yDAAAOSw1gpc6X05

Anyway the bolt and nut approach would work without a doubt, you will want to crimp the wire with a ring or fork terminal to make the connection more reliable, while also using a locknut instead of a normal nut to avoid loosening from vibrations (or use loctite threadlocker), also take into consideration the material of the bolt and nut and terminal, assuming the fender uses aluminium (which is very likely) to make the connection you should keep everything aluminium so to potentially avoiding galvanic corrosion.

Alternatively ofc you can always pass a black flat duplex stranded wire from the light through the top of the fender (or below) all the way to the frame and fix it to the fender with something like 3M VHB double sided tape, it won't look as nice but this way you can crimp the connection and waterproof it for maximum durability.
 
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Mtl_Biker

Active Member
Don't have an explore e+, but I have looked into equipping my fathom e+2 pro with fenders and lights and using the fender as an electrical conductor is not uncommon in other bikes, and it is the cleanest looking way of doing it, but yeah if they are just pushing the wire into a hole and locking it in place with a piece of plastic that is some extremely shoddy connection.

You can potentially replace it with something like this https://media.rs-online.com/t_large/F2877385-01.jpg which is found in ESD wristbands and mats, it looks a hell of a lot close to what the fender has, although not sure where you get the rivet looking connections or their name, not to mention I doubt they are made to be exposed to rain and the vibrations of trail riding. Found the item https://www.amazon.com/DESCO-INDUSTRIES-09864-Socket-Universal/dp/B0748LRPM2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=ESD+stud&qid=1566345382&s=gateway&sr=8-1 it goes by many names, but ESD Stud usually tends to find it https://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-604-F10-Female-press-stud-ESD-version-10mm-ELME/202689397310?epid=9012061783&hash=item2f313ac23e:g:yDAAAOSw1gpc6X05

Anyway the bolt and nut approach would work without a doubt, you will want to crimp the wire with a ring or fork terminal to make the connection more reliable, while also using a locknut instead of a normal nut to avoid loosening from vibrations (or use loctite threadlocker), also take into consideration the material of the bolt and nut and terminal, assuming the fender uses aluminium (which is very likely) to make the connection you should keep everything aluminium so to potentially avoiding galvanic corrosion.

Alternatively ofc you can always pass a black flat duplex stranded wire from the light through the top of the fender (or below) all the way to the frame and fix it to the fender with something like 3M VHB double sided tape, it won't look as nice but this way you can crimp the connection and waterproof it for maximum durability.
Good idea to crimp a connector to the wire. I'll do that. I'd also planned to use a lock nut as the final piece just to make sure the other nut(s) don't come off. I'm going to visit a hardware store in the next day or two to try finding small bolts and nuts.

If that doesn't work to my satisfaction then I'll try your suggestion of getting a flat duplex stranded wire and some 3M VHB tape. I think it might work to put that inside the fender if I clean it up well first. But I'd still have to find a connector because if I wire it all the way without, the wire would have to be cut to remove the fender and/or rack (the rear light is attached to the rack).

When I do this I'll be sure to take photos and post them.
 

Mtl_Biker

Active Member
So, I've "improved" (maybe not everyone will agree) the wiring connections on the fender for the rear lights. The stock wiring just wasn't very reliable I think and even on this brand new bike while riding the rear light would come on and off. The stock wiring is simply a sort of brass-looking grommet (for lack of a better word) on the fender which attaches on the under side of the fender to a two-wire ribbon strip. The wires coming from the motor area to the front of the fender and also from the light to the back of the fender are simply pushed into those grommets and held in place by plastic pieces that are pushed into the hole.

This shows the wire going into one hole with the plastic piece removed:


I decided that even if cosmetically it might not look as nice, I was going to make a more solid wiring connection there. I decided to use 4-40 machine screws, inserted from the inside of the fender, with nuts on the outside with the existing wire wrapped around the screw and locked with a second nut. I first bought 4-40 3/8" and 3/4" machine screws. (Because that's all they had and I wasn't sure which would be best.


I found the 3/8" to be too short to install a second nut, and the 3/4" too long. Three hardware stores later (really) I found 1/2" screws. But nobody had lock nuts or the acorn type nut to lock it down. Unfortunately.

Here are the rear ones connected:


It would have been a much easier job if I'd have removed the rear wheel first, but a pair of needle nose pliers let me hold the head of the screw while tightening the nut(s).

Since I couldn't find any type of lock nut in the right size, I was worried about the nuts working loose with vibration and also worried about corrosion. So I used some black silicone sealant on top of the nuts. Easy to remove but not the neatest looking installation. This photo is just after I'd squeezed some of the sealant onto the nuts... it's almost dry now and has turned much blacker (looked dark gray at first).


And this is how the connections at the front of the fender look:


I'll admit it's not as neat a job as I'd like, but the silicone sealant is easy to clean up and I'm going to keep looking for those acorn lock nuts.
 

FlatSix911

Active Member
Well done! Not the prettiest solution, but very secure and an upgrade from the OEM parts. ;)

You could cover the bolt/nut assembly with plastic caps or just use pop-rivets for a cleaner look.
 

Mtl_Biker

Active Member
Well done! Not the prettiest solution, but very secure and an upgrade from the OEM parts. ;)

You could cover the bolt/nut assembly with plastic caps or just use pop-rivets for a cleaner look.
I thought of plastic or rubber caps but couldn’t find any. I might try heat shrink tubing. And the problem with rivets is when/if the fender needs to be removed. I was trying to find a solution that would work but that could be opened and re-closed.