Aero: Digital Guard Dawg / Clock Install

So this time, I’m working on installing the Digital Guard Dawg alarm and keyeless ignition system as well as a EL black face clock. The clock install was so easy, I probably won’t detail it (use a pilot hole, a hole saw roughly the size of the VTX ring they’ll send you, and JB Weld the sucker in place … done), but here’s the picture of the kit I got from DGD. THAT install wasn’t nearly so easy. It would have been if Honda didn’t make some very interesting choices about how their switches would work on these bikes, but the customer service at DGD was amazing.

I had a guy named Bruce on the phone with me on and off for nearly two days until we burned out the DGD, and then he got me a new one shipped and received in just two days (the next install went smooth as could be). At the end of the first day, I managed to get him a wiring diagram of the bike, and he looked at it over night and came back to me in the morning with a few more tests and then a solution that involved just buying a relay and a little extra wiring. It was cake at that point (or would have been if my many attempts hadn’t shortened the wires considerably and we hadn’t shorted out the DGD in the process!)

I “learn” some of the same lessons over and over again, so let me save the rest of you some heart-ache. First, wire it all up without making anything permanent. Just use some clamps or just twist and tape. Make sure it works before you screw with your wiring /too/ much.

Instead, I just barreled in there and wired everything up the way I “knew” it would work, soldered things, made nice connections and wire routes, and then when I discovered it wasn’t working, I re-soldered and re-moved things a few times. I should have just stopped, looked at it, and tried a few ways with tape and clamps after removing the system, but I’m too pig-headed to go backwards for any length of time, so now my wiring doesn’t look as clean and streamlined as I normally like it, but it still works ;).

Strip the bike apart like normal. You’ll absolutely need the gas tank off and the seat off. You’ll probably want to pop off the side covers as well so you can easily get to the ignition and the fuses and PULL THE 30A MAIN FUSE! It’s under the right side cover and not in the fuse box … it’s under a plug direcly below and behind the fuse box (I blew the main fuse once while doing this install … it was a stupid mistake, but hey, it can happen).

I’ll make the obligatory comment about my “shop” and how it’s so crowded and I don’t have electricity. Woe is me. Some day I’ll have a real shop, I hope.

First thing I did was to remove the ignition. The wires to this go up under the seat, and you can’t get the ignition switch up under there without cutting the wires. You’ll be cutting them eventually, but leave it in until you’re sure about your connections. There’s no other way to test whether wires will be hot or not depending on switch position, other than having the switch hooked up. You can even hook up the DGD with the switch intact and then choose to use either if you want, so this is up to you (I’m removing it)

Alternately, if you want some more room, cut the wires and just twist and tape them back together. You’ll be removing this entirely anyway (assuming you don’t want to use it).

Note also that on my bike, they’d switched the wire colors on the switch side of the harness. Doesn’t matter on the bike since all the ignition does is disconnect everything or connect everything, but since I was doing my wiring on the switch side, it really threw me for a loop to see +12 on the red/black wire initially (they got the colors right on the other side of the harness).

Here’s where I decided to mount the module. I put it in with a twist tie and left it loose to begin with until I had my wires where I wanted them. I made sure there was enough room for this to sit just under and behind the “cowling” or whatever that hunk of plastic is supposed to be, but still under the tank. This was so I could get the antenna wire to hang forward slightly, and so my wires could run front and back with relative ease.

This configuration, without cutting the antenna, automatically gave me about a 5 yard range around my bike that turns the bike on. Perfect.

You probably don’t want this in the seat if you’re going to be running wires to the headlamp, but anywhere on this main brace should be fairly out of the weather (it’s all under the gas tank), and leaves you plent of room to both get back to the seat and up to the headlamp.

Here’s the beginnings of the headlamp connections. You need to run the braided nylon set of grey / white wires up to this red 6-P connector that comes from your right handlebar. This contains the wiring for the on/off switch, the starter, and a headlamp interrupt (when you crank the starter, the bike kills the lights).

Here is where my problems began. The Aero (not sure about other VTX bikes or other Hondas) uses the switch as a ground connection instead of a power connection. What this means is that instead of the switch supplying the +12V to whatever circuit needs it, it’s supplying the ground, or -12V (depending how you look at it) to the circuit that needs it. That’s all well and good, and is a reasonable way to do things … except it’s exactly backwards from the way 90% of the world does it. The folks over at DGD provide a +12V line (the gray line) to feed into your switch for exactly this reason … unfortunately for us, because our switch is also connected to the starter, when the bike is switched off, we’re just supplying the voltage to run the starter, regardless of whether they key (or DGD) has been turned on.

That’s right, boys and girls, if you use this kit without the modification I’m going to tell you about, you won’t need a key, but no one else will either. Oh, and you’ll probably be destroying the electrical system as well (I managed to blow the 30A fuse and a running light while trying it the first time … whoops).

I’m going to skip ahead a little and show you the correct wiring for this system. I tried to show the three cut wires in this with little X’s, and you can see the added relay. It’s a pretty straight-forward wiring once you get the actual wiring right.

First, I don’t know if this is required since I didn’t want to short anything else out again, but this is the way I did it and it works great. I used a $5 relay from Checker that was actually a fuel pump relay for a 98 Chrysler, but any SPST – 5 pin type relay will work fine (they’ll have numbers 30, 85, 86, 87, and 87a on them).

First step was to isolate the switch so I knew I wouldn’t be supplying ground or power to any other components with the +12V from DGD’s gray wire. This is painful. It means taking off your right grip assembly (it’s not glued … it slides right off after you unscrew things), and taking it apart. You have to take out the starter switch, expose the wires, and then you’ll want to pull the rubber hose back a bit and you’ll see the TWO Black/White wires are taped and crimped together. Cut the starter side (leave the switch connected because the starter was the one crimped on). Go ahead and tape up the switch wire … you’re done with that.

Now you want to extend the starter wire all the way to wherever you mount the relay (to pin 87 or 30). This is also painful. It means you have to get a single wire through that tubing. I used a 16G wire (for stiffness to push through). You’ll probably have to take off the clips holding the sheath to your handlebars. I broke mine when I did that, but they’re $2 each from my honda parts store. Next I lubed up my new wire and shoved it through. Took a couple tries to get it, but it worked fine.

On the switch side, you’ll be connect the Gray wire from the DGD to the Black/White wire and the White wire from the DGD to the Black/Green (or Black) wire. On the bike side, you’ll connect the Black/Green and Black/White wires, and then extend that connection to the other side of the relay (pin 87 or 30, opposite from the one you just did). This is the break in the starter that’s required so you aren’t just pumping 12V into the starter system whenever you throw the switch.

I put the relay under the seat, so it meant my two wires from the starter circuit (the one I extended from the handlebar and the one from the connections on the bike side) needed to go to the seat. If you’re doing it in the headlamp, you’ll still need power and ground from the DGD (which will be under your seat) up into the headlamp, so you’ll have two wires traversing your bike either way. I picked the way that didn’t have me cramming more junk in my headlamp bucket (it’s crowded in there already!).

You still need to provide a ground for the DGD and for the relay (pin 85 or 86), and I had already put in a frame ground for my tach, so I just used that for both.

Under the seat, you’re going to connect our fan wire (Blue/Orange) and our ignition wire (Red/Black) to the DGD Red/Black wire. There’s not an extra position for the fan wire anyway, so this is already what’s happening in your stock switch. You actually won’t be using the DGD Red/Gray wire, so go ahead and tape it up (I tried to use that to throw the relay, but there’s some kind of strangeness going on with they wired it in the DGD and it doesn’t work to do that).

To finish things up, you also need to connect the DGD Red/Black wire to the relay (pin 85 or 86, whichever you didn’t use for the ground). This will trip the relay only when 12V is supplied to the Red/Black wire, which should only be when you disarm it and throw the starter switch.

So here’s some wires under the seat. As I mentioned above, some joker wired my harness backwards, but this is where you’ll be cutting and reconnecting wires (or just adding the wires on if you intend to keep the ignition switch).

You can see in the upper right corner a ground I’d made for a previous install (the Baron’s tach). I’m just going to tie the ground wire into that, but don’t close it up yet … you’ll need another ground for the relay, so you can either tie in back here (what I chose to do), or tie in up close to the module … or find another ground or two.

I don’t have a pic, but immediately under that top bundle of wires is where I stuck the relay. There’s a nice flat spot under all those wires, and I just used some double-sided tape, soldered my connections, and then taped the whole relay up. Fits snug.

Here you can see an extra black and blue wire showing up next to my DGD module. I taped those together with the ground supplied by the kit as the wires to run up to my relay in the headlamp in my first iteration … before I broke everything and used the opportunity to move those two wires from the headlamp back down to the seat.

A shot of the clock installed as well. Note that it’s a bit of a tight fit. You don’t want to interrupt the ability to get to your speedo bolts, so overhang the styling on the speedo itself by just a touch and you’ll be fine.

After I did this, L4H informed me that he didn’t use the ring at all … he just drilled the hole much cleaner than I did (I found the chrome wanted to disconnect from the plastic, so I was happy for the ring), and slid the clock right in. That meant he didn’t have the overlay onto the speedo. Looks much cleaner, and if you’re patient and want to do it right, I’d recommend doing it that way.

Now go enjoy a ride … the cottonwoods and aspen are spitting today, so it’s like a summer snowstorm out here. Have fun!

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