GL1500 Alternator Warning Light

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GL1500 Alternator Warning Light

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:25 am

I purchased this alternator warning light from VP Accessories, a small independent outfit in Massachusetts. A steal at $15, I thought it would be a good addition to my bike.

VP Accessories GL1500 Alternator Warning Light
VP Accessories GL1500 Alternator Warning Light

Installation is not a simple affair - it involves removing and disassembling your dashboard, a somewhat involved procedure that is covered in my How to replace your dash lights with LEDs article. I will refer you to that article for instructions on getting the dash out and apart.

The kit comes in a small plastic pouch with a nice picture on front:

VP Accessories Alternator Warning Light

Inside the kit is the rather crudely potted electronic module, a light socket, plenty of wire connecting the two, and two separate warning lenses. A single page of somewhat brief instructions is included. The fact that my own instructions for this procedure cover 64 steps with photos indicate that the included documentation might be somewhat lacking.

Contents of kit

The instructions mention installing the bulb in the socket - but it doesn't tell you what kind of bulb to use, or that the bulb is not included in the kit. I used a red LED from SuperbrightLEDs, model number WLED-R4-32.

LED from SuperbrightLEDs

The warning light fits into an unused indicator light slot at the bottom right of the dash. It is clearly apparent once the dash is taken apart:

Vacant space in dash used for alternator light

The masking on the dash screen is painted over black in front of this unused slot:

Unused spot on dash screen

Looking at the back, you can see where the paint/ink has been screened over the unused area. Before we can install the light, this ink has to be removed. Using a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol will quickly remove it.

Back of dash screen

The instructions tell you to mask off the "Cruise ON" area first, I didn't bother - I just did it by hand. I used one end of the Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove the majority of the ink, and the other, dry end of the Q-tip to clean it up. You want to remove as much of a square area as possible, but not so much that it intrudes into the "Cruise ON" area.

Removing paint from unused spot on dash screen

There are two lenses included, this one with "ALT" printed on it, and another blank one, with a battery symbol decal which can be applied to the dash screen after the ink is rubbed away (in which case you use the blank lens). I decided that the "ALT" one was more fitting, as the battery symbol didn't really say "alternator" to me, it said "battery."

Installing supplied ALT warning lens

The light bulb (in this case LED) plugs easily into the supplied socket.

LED installed in socket

The socket then plugs into the back of the dashboard. Be sure to push it in all of the way.

Socket installed in dash assembly

I unscrewed the two wire stays on the back of the dash in order to route the wiring through them and keep them neat.

Wire routed through stays

I also decided to cut the wires leading to the dash and install a quick-disconnect plug. Otherwise, the dash will be permanently wired to the bike. If you do this, be careful to do only one wire at a time, as they are not marked, and if you are using an LED, they are polarity sensitive. I considered tapping a +12v feed from the dashboard itself (there are several) but measuring the voltage there, it was 1.5V lower than the voltage at the battery positive terminal, so being that this unit measures system bus voltage, I ended up not doing this.

Added quick-disconnect plug

With the unit installed:

Unit Installed

The other end of the quick-disconnect plug I placed on the back of the fairing:

End of Quick Disconnect on fairing

This leads to the electronic module, and from there to a 12 volt source. I tapped into a fused 12 volt source coming from my EC Power Panel, which is switched by the ACC terminal, and connects directly to the battery.

How does it work? When the bike is first switched on, it gives a very brief flicker. It lights up when the bike is being cranked, which is to be expected, and goes out immediately when the bike starts. It looks quite good - like it was put there by Honda at the factory. It will definitely get my attention should my alternator fail somewhere out on the road.

Overall, I like the product, and it was reasonably easy to install. The instructions are definitely lacking (and the email address and web site listed on them no longer work), but with what I've written up on this site, the average home mechanic should have no problems installing it.

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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:45 pm
Location: Asheboro, North Carolina
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500SE Darkside
1993 GL1500A Darkside
2005 VTX 1300R

Re: GL1500 Alternator Warning Light

Postby thomba » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:06 am

I just installed this unit on my 93 GL1500A & 2000 GL1500SE using the red LED as well. I like it. It is an attention getter.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 US Navy Ret 1966 -1986
No Wife, No Job, No Worries.
Retired & Love to Ride
Current Rides:
2000 GL1500SE (Red) Darkside
1993 GL1500A (Black) Darkside
2005 VTX 1300R (Red)

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