Introduction: Install a Switched 12v Power Outlet Onto Your Motorbike - Intro

Motorbikes typically do not come standard with a 12v Power outlet, so charging your phone or GPS can be a pain - Let's fix that shall we!

This guide is using a 2011 Suzuki GS500F As an example bike but this guide can be adapted to other motorbikes. It will show you how to install a switched 12v power outlet - Switched meaning that it is only active when the ignition is on, so no flat batteries :)

Now if you are on an Older bike OR your country doesn't mandate that the tail light is always on - then chances are your Switched Tail light line will only be live when your headlights are on. If this is the case, you can use the Ignition wire coming from the Ignition switch OR you may be able to find another switched wire in your loom. See if you can locate a Wiring Diagram for your model on Google and work from that - Essentially any 12v power source that goes live when the ignition is switched on will do, this 12v line is not powering the Power outlet - it is simply powering the relay and this is it.

You are going to need the following:

-12v Power Outlet
-12v Automotive Relay (the female base is optional but it quite handy with installing)

-Electrical wire suitable for 12v (Automotive use)

-Ring Terminals (suited to your battery bolt size)

-Wire Strippers

-Soldering Iron


- 12v Automotive Fuse

- Cable Ties (Optional, to tidy the wiring)

Please ensure you have basic knowledge of electronics before running through this guide.

Step 1: Install a Switched 12v Power Outlet Onto Your Motorbike - Locating Our Switched Lines

First you are going to need to locate the tail light plug on your motorbike. This will involve removing the seat and may involve removing the rear fairing. Once you have located this, unplug it and using a multimeter - Identify the GROUND pin and the SWITCHEDPositive pin.

Typically you will have 3 wires - One ground, one wire that will become live when the ignition is on and then one wire that will become live when the brakes are applied.

Once you have identified the GROUND and SWITCHED wires, disconnect & remove the battery (Safety first!) and then strip back a small section before the plug on each of those lines. We will use this to splice the new wires in.

Step 2: Install a Switched 12v Power Outlet Onto Your Motorbike - Wiring It All Up

Using the two attached diagrams as a guide you now need to wire it all up.

  1. Run a wire from Pin 85 of the Relay and splice this into the GROUNDED Line on the Tail Light
  2. Crimp a length of wire with one of the ring terminals and run this to your 12v Fuse. The other end of the 12v Fuse should run to Pin 30 on the relay. The ring terminal will need to be attached to the POSITIVE Terminal on your battery when you reinstall it.
  3. Run a wire from Pin 86 and then splice the other end into the SWITCHED Line on the Tail Light
  4. Run a wire from Pin 87 to the Positive line on the 12v Power Outlet
  5. Crimp a length of wire with one of the ring terminals and run this to the GROUND line on the 12v Power outlet. The ring terminal will go around the GROUND Terminal on your battery when you reinstall it.

Step 3: Install a Switched 12v Power Outlet Onto Your Motorbike - Moment of Truth

Now here comes the exciting part - reinstalling the battery, connecting the terminals (Positive first and then ground to avoid any sparking) and then switching the key to ignition.

At this point the relay should flick on (You will hear it click on) and running 12 volts to the socket. Please test with with the multimeter before plugging anything into the power socket. When you turn the ignition off, the relay should click off again (Again, you will hear it click) and the 12v power socket should turn off.

Ensure that your tail light is on and is nice and bright when the brake levers are depressed.

Once you've tested it all, tidy it up with the cable ties and you should be good to go! You can leave the 12v Power adaptor under the seat and have your devices charging there or you could get experimental and run it to the front of the bike, or into pannier bags.

Please ensure all connections are soldered for longevity and to ensure that you have no issues in the future.


bekathwia (author)2016-05-27

Great Instructable! I'm looking forward to doing this with my bike. Thank you!

gungajin (author)2015-08-23

That's exactly how I've done it on my bike 4 years ago. in my country, the lights have to be on as soon as you switch on the bike, so using the tail light was the obvious solution since it is easily accessible under the seat.

Ideas exist on an astral level, we're surrounded by them at all times, to get them just plug into the stream :-)

OlivierB7 (author)2015-08-18

Done without soldering on a rent bike, in order to dismantle before giving back the bike; I used some security wires to secure properly the cable around the handlebar and tank.

lsantillo (author)OlivierB72015-08-18

Yeah for a short term solution you could get away with no soldering but for a permanent solution, soldering is definitely recommended :)

3366carlos (author)2015-08-15

nice, but this only works if the light is on.

lsantillo (author)3366carlos2015-08-15

In some countries (Such as Australia) the tail light is always on as the headlights are permanently on. If you are in a country where this is not the case you could simply replace the switched tail light line with the Ignition line from the Ignition switch.

I'll make a note of this in the Instructable.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-08-15

Nice DIY mod. Thanks for sharing.

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