Wiring and Electrical Reference

We all occasionally need a little assistance when re-wiring our bikes. Below is some of the references we’ve compiled that may help. Do you have some items that we should post here?  Send them to us!


Wire colors for popular motorcycles

Click to Enlarge - Wire Colors



What Is a Multimeter?
If you’re not quite sure what a multimeter is, Wikipedia has an entry for Multimeter explaining what Multimeters do and what features they offer.

Selecting a Multimeter
You can find a good multimeter for under $20.  Multimeters come in two varieties — analog or digital.  Most MM’s are digital, and most users find digital MM’s easier to use, although analog meters are entirely sufficient for our purposes.  You can find multimeters in electronics shops or home improvement stores.  One feature provided by more expensive models is the ability to test amperage in ranges beyond milliamps.  A multimeter with a higher amperage range can be useful; however, testing on a motorcycle can be done without this feature.

How Do I Use a Multimeter
There are some good (very brief) tutorials on the web:

Electronics Club
The helpful folks at the Electronics Club provide a clear guide to using either a digital or analog MM for basic measurements.

U of Michigan Interactive Guide to MM Use
Check this out: it’s an interactive MM demo!  The U of Michigan has an interactive Flash application that teaches you how to use a multimeter by allowing you to connect leads and perform tests.  It’s a fun way to get acquainted with a multimeter without leaving your chair.

Basic Electrical Theory for Boaters: Multimeter – The Invaluable Tool
BoatSafe.com has a very good guide that includes hands-on examples and pictures for testing voltage, amperage and resistance.  The BoatSafe guide meshes with their Electricity 101 for Boaters, which is a brief introduction to electrical theory.

What Are Volts, Amps., etc?
For those so inclined, there are also a few guides that quickly explain the theory behind the measurements.  A brief understanding of electrical concepts often helps when troubleshooting components more complex than a bulb or switch.

Electricity 101 for Boaters
As mentioned above, BoatSafe.com has a brief guide to electrical theory.  Their guide uses the Hydraulic Analogy that is often made between basic electrical principles and the movement of water through pipes.

4HV.org: Basic Electrical Theory
4HV.org has a very clear and concise guide to electrical theory.