Had my panniers fitted up at Vern’s a few weeks ago and, now that Steptoe has fitted the new gearbox, and my finger is healed from cutting the end off (these things are not related) I’ve finally got round to wiring in the lights I bought for them.
You can lose a bit of visibility of the indicators due to how far back the panniers are and the shorted indicator stalks, so I decided some extra lights wouldn’t go amiss. I bought some 3-way LED light panels which fit nicely on the outside edge of the panniers, they cost £30 for the pair from Ribblesdale Auto Electrics
I wanted to wire them neatly but also to be able to have the wiring disconnect easily on the occasions that I take the panniers off. This won’t be often, as my bike is my day to day drive (don’t own a car) but for servicing etc it’s handy and I didn’t fancy having to unwire things.
I bought some 4-way supaseal connectors and some 4 core cable, and fitted the connectors. Good crimping pliers make this job a whole lot easier. I bought a set that actually curl the crimps over gripping the wire, rather than the ones that just crush the crimps. Much, much better, should have done it years ago. I also bought some small cable glands to seal where the wire enters the panniers. I used a step drill (thanks for the tip Vern) which was much easier and neater than using various drill bits.
The connectors will be ziptied to the pannier frames, I just need to drill a small hole in the frame to run a ziptie through to keep things in place neatly
From the pannier frame, the wires run under the tailpiece to the rear light pod and indicator, where they pick up the indicator/tail/brake light feeds.
To pick up the indicator connection, I ran the wires into the indicator pods and crimped new connectors to the positive terminals.
I took the light pod off and fed the wires through the rubber grommet, keeping everything neat.
The wires to the rear lights are quite short and I considered extending them but found there was just enough length. I have one of Tecno’s rear LED light inserts which you can see the back of here.
I had a spade doubler of the correct size for the ground terminal, so fitted that and just put a spade connector on the end of the ground wire feeding the new lights. Unfortunately I didn’t have one that fitted the slightly smaller brake/tail spades, so fitted new spade connectors and crimped the new and old wires to them. The wires to the rear lights are quite short and it was very fiddly getting the light panel back on.
Inside the pannier it was a case of just trimming and connecting the wires from the bike to the light units. Slightly more awkward for me as I’m a bit red/green/brown colour blind and the wire colours in the 4 core were red/green/brown/white and in the light units red/orange/brown/white.
I actually had to get one of the guys working on the road outside to confirm I’d got everything wired correctly before soldering.
Connections are twisted and soldered
then covered in heat shrink
For now I’ve taped the cables to the pannier with some duct tape, but I want to pick up some aluminium flashing tape as it doesn’t tend to go nasty and sticky with age.
So, how do they look?