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Powering Your Device While Riding: Direct-to-Battery Harness


Have you ever wondered if your phone, GPS, camera or other device will run out of power just when you need it most (especially the way some of these phones go through power)? Maybe it’s time to think about a steady power supply/charger while you ride.

The good news is that you have a lot of choices. The bad news is, there’s still no way to avoid running wires (I imagine someday our devices may ‘go solar’ but that day’s not here yet!).

So, over the next few articles I’m going to talk about EASY ways to run power to your device, because I believe most riders like easy and have simple needs.

NOTE: These articles focus on powering a phone, GPS, camera or other electronic device. (Heated gear, tire pressure gauges and other things you might want to power are NOT part of this series, nor is charging the motorcycle battery itself.)

The most straightforward way to run power to a phone, GPS, camera or other device is by using a Direct-to-Battery Harness.

If you can take your seat off and access the battery, you can wire this in minutes. Its simple red-to-red and black-to-black setup on the ‘business’ end of the battery harness makes it super easy. The other end terminates in your choice of plugs, most common of which are the Mini USB and the Micro USB (and because Apple does their own thing, there’s also a harness for the iPhone 5 and up “lightning” plug).

Mini USB is common to most GPS (although there are exceptions), while Micro USB is more commonly associated with smart phones and cameras. If you’re unsure which plug your device has, here’s a photo to help you out.

Keep in mind that you can buy ‘converters’ (mini-USB to micro-USB or vice versa) at electronics stores and computer stores for $10-$20. They are very common, so if you end up with one USB and need the other (or change devices), it’s easily fixed!

Important Note about Voltage: You want only 5V going to your device (or you could fry it). Most motorcycle batteries push out way more than that, so you want to make sure that whatever brand battery harness you purchase has a built-in regulator to “step down” the voltage (you can see it at the bottom of this photo).

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  • Tracey Cramer