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Powering Your Device While Riding: USB Port


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.

In the previous article, I explained how to use a Direct-to-Battery Harness to accomplish power. Today we’ll take a look at USB Power Ports.

(Note that for the purposes of these articles, I focus on powering small electronic devices only.)

I like to compare the idea of a USB Port to a cigarette outlet in a car. The USB Power Port can be mounted anywhere (on a fairing, dash, or handlebar – I used to have mine on the tank in a hidden area up front). Once it’s there (and wired) you always have a power source no matter what device you’re using. Many USB Ports (such as those from 3BR Powersports) even have a cap on the USB to keep dirt and rain out when the plug is not in use.

Need more than one plug-in? Some USB Ports feature two, such as this one from BikeMaster.

A note about USB Types

Many USB Power Ports utilize the USB Type A (which was the standard for many years, before GPS and phones became popular), while others can be purchased with Mini (common to most GPS) or Micro (common to phones) plugs. You can buy ‘converters’ (Type-A-to-Micro, etc) at electronics stores and computer stores for $10-$20. They are very common (you probably have one plugged in at home to charge your phone), so if you end up with mismatched USBs (or change devices), it’s easily fixed!

There’s a Caveat

Power Ports consume power even when nothing is plugged into them and can drain a motorcycle battery in as little as three to five days if connected directly to the battery. This is why most manufacturers will tell you to wire it to a switched circuit. The most common switched circuit is a headlight (Harleys make it a little easier with what they call a “deutsch plug” under the seat). So it’s a little more work than a direct-to-battery harness, but the wires can be more “permanent” and hidden.


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  • Tracey Cramer