Instrument Dashboard for a KLR-650

I wanted several additional electrical controls and instruments for the KLR:

  • On-off controls for heated grips and electric vest.
  • Hotgrips’ variable heat controls, as well as “full” setting for both.
  • A clock.
  • A voltmeter to monitor the electrical load from those high-current accessories.

Looking around the ‘net, I discovered Big Cee’s KLR MiniDash, which looked ideal. He graciously supplies a downloadable image file with an actual-size outline of the dash he sells, so do-it-yourselfers can make their own. I downloaded this image file and worked from there.

For a clock, I used a Casio wrist watch that is waterproof and solar-powered, with the band removed. I liked the idea of solar power, because it allowed me to fasten the clock permanently in place without worrying about changing batteries.
For a voltmeter, I found a nice backlit unit from Lascar Electronics, model number SP 5-1200-BL. I was able to order this online from Newark InOne and it arrived in a few days.

Construction and Installation

I made up a wiring plan for the dash, then constructed it as follows:
Downloaded Big Cee’s outline for the dashboard, and worked with it on the computer to produce and print a pattern on stiff cardboard stock that I could trace onto aluminum and cut out.
Also, using a graphics package and to-scale outlines of the various components, I experimented with different component placement to find a layout that would fit everything in neatly.
I traced the outline onto heavy aluminum, cut it with a jig saw, and smoothed the edges with a file.
The slots were cut with a small vertical milling machine. (One could do this by drilling and filing.)
Likewise, the rectangular cutout for the voltmeter could be drilled and filed, but is much easier to cut out on the milling machine.
I cut small aluminum flanges from 90-degree angle aluminum,
and fitted them to the slots in the dash so they would support it and provide hanging points. (They are spaced to hang from the KLR’s windscreen mounting screws.)
Then, working with the layout diagram produced on the computer, I continued measuring and drilling for all the other components.
The hanging flanges are mounted with stainless screws, backed up by epoxy.
Then the whole unit was spray painted black, with “krinkle coat” paint.
And all the components mounted in their holes.
While wiring, I kept the dash on a piece of foam to avoid scratching the painted surface or the face of the meter.
Using a printout of the wiring diagram, I then wired everything with point-to-point wiring, solder, and a few spade connectors. The I/O from the panel goes to a standard 9-pin automotive connector.
Then I gathered the wires from this mess into neat bundles and tidied up with electrical tape.
Replacing the windshield mounting screws with longer ones, the dash hangs from those screws, and is held in place by stainless nuts.
The grips are wired to the I/O connector. The “Vest” circuit runs back under the tank and seat to the left side panel,
to a 1/4″ phone plug connector with a spring-loaded cover. A 1/4″ phone plug on my electric vest plugs in here.
Unfortunately, the Givi Bags installed later blocked access to this jack, so I added a plastic component box on the back of the Givi rack, and the connector now goes in there. The spring-loaded cover didn’t fit, so I keep a dummy 1/4″ right angle plug in the hole as a cover when it’s not in use.

One Comment

  1. This is terrific. Excellent work!

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