What is switched power?
Simply put switched power is a wire that has 12V on it when the ignition switch is turned on and 0V when the bike is turned off. It's really nothing more than that.
When the ignition switch on the bike is turned on it applies power to many parts of the bike. Which parts depends on what type of bike you have. Most bikes will apply power to running lights, accessories, etc. This type of power is typically referred to as switched power because it turns on when the bike turns on. The FZ-1 needs a signal to know when the bike is on. It needs this to activate the relay that is built into the FZ-1. When the relay is activated it will then power the devices you have in the switched position on the FZ-1.
Most fuse blocks do not include a relay which leaves the installer to wire in one if they want switched power for a device being hooked up to the bike. The FZ-1 eliminates the need to wire your own relay but it still needs a signal (i.e. trigger) to tell the built-in relay to activate. By doing so the relay will gate power from the battery through the relay and to the devices you select to have switched power on the FZ-1.
The best way to find a switched power source is to inquire with the online forums for your bike. Newer BMWs use a "CanBus" system which is sensitive to connecting other devices for power so be sure to consult with someone who has firsthand experience with these types of systems.
Common places to find switched power are running lights or other accessories that come on when the bike turns on. Once you've found a 12V switched power source you can tap that line to send to the FZ-1 relay.
How much current can the FZ-1 handle?
This isn't as straight forward as you might think.
The FZ-1 has two separate current paths. One is for constant power and the other goes through the relay for switched power. Each circuit can handle up to 10A (120W). The total amperage used via the relay (switched power) should not exceed 30A (360W). The total amperage on the constant side should not exceed 30A (360W). The total amperage for the entire FZ-1 should not exceed 30A (360W).
Remember the constraints of the relay and each circuit. This allows most people to run a number of accessories. You need to be careful when running halogen lighting or heated gear. You can run these types of devices but you need to know the amount of current they use before hooking them up. Anything that uses electricity will tell you how much power/current it consumes given in amps or watts.
To get watts from amps just multiple 12V * amps (V*I=P). To get amps from watts just divide watts by 12V (P/V=I). We have a calculator on our site if you need help with calculating power or amps.
What are the exact "Real-World" dimensions of the FZ-1?
- Length: 3.314"
- Width: 2.467"
- Height dimensions (with cover on):
- 1.286" with the standoffs.
- 1.130" without the standoffs but includes the height of the component pins that come out the bottom of the board
- 1.101" is the height with just the cover and board without the standoffs and without the component pins height
- 1.450" is the height of the full unit if using the optional back mounting plate
- Hole centers for mounting standoffs: 2.65" x 1.78"
- Circuit Board thickness: .093" (thicker than a standard (.062") circuit board)
Why can't the FZ-1 handle more current?
Space and money. When designing the FZ-1, keeping it small was one of the main requirements.
Large amounts of current require large amounts of copper to pass the current but also to dissipate the heat created by the large current. The FZ-1 is designed to be small so it will fit into a tight space. This reduces the amount of area that is needed for the copper runs on the circuit board. It's a tradeoff and hopefully the FZ-1 is a happy medium tradeoff between being able to handle enough current but still fit into a small space.
We reduced the circuits to 6 to widen the runs, made it a 4-layer board with 3 dedicated to the output runs and used 2-ounce copper to make all runs thicker. In the future we may offer something that handles more current if we can solve the space versus current issue.
How rugged/reliable is the FZ-1?
The FZ-1 will handle the limits listed in the specifications. However there's more to the FZ-1 than just its current carrying abilities and incredibly good looks.
The circuit board is .093" thick. Most circuit boards are .062" and are more susceptible to vibration causing "board fatigue" which can lead to failure. The FZ-1 uses heavier copper runs that are thicker than standard boards to ensure that the board can carry the currents stated in the specifications.
The relay chosen for the FZ-1 is an automotive industrial relay made to carry high current for long durations. Although no electrical component is 100% foolproof, the relay chosen for this application performs above and beyond smaller-sized high capacity relays that are made to handle high current for short periods of time (usually less than 1 to 3 hours). The FZ-1 also provides an ABS cover that can handle a hard impact with an optional ABS back plate (included) to prevent a hard strike from damaging the board.
At Fuzeblocks.com we are committed to testing the ruggedness of the FZ-1.
To illustrate the impact resistance of the FZ-1 we low sided a motorcycle equipped with an FZ-1 at 40MPH and had it impact a tree right at the lower triple clamp making for a nice impact directly across the fairing and headlight assembly. The FZ-1 was installed in the fairing and fastened with dual lock to the front of the left fairing pocket (the dual lock can be seen in the upper right corner on the front of the fairing pocket). In this test the FZ-1 was directly in the line of fire when the bike impacted the tree.
As you can see the FZ-1 was unfazed by the impact. The unit is still working and is installed in the owner's new bike. The second picture shows that the back plate was also impacted by a part of the fairing sub frame during the test. The back plate did not crack and protected the back of the FZ-1.
Ok, obviously we did not wreck a perfectly good motorcycle on purpose to test the FZ-1 but this was a good example of the ruggedness evinced in the FZ-1 so I decided to share this information to illustrate the point.
Is the FZ-1 safe For CanBus (BMW) systems?
Yes. The main issue with the CanBus system is its susceptibility to transient voltages.
A standard relay has a coil and when the electrical field on that coil collapses the energy needs to go somewhere. The voltage travels back through the wiring and, if not blocked, to the bike. The FZ-1 provides two diodes to prevent this from happening. Both diodes provide protection ensuring that any transient voltages are sent to ground or blocked from traveling back into the bike wiring.
Is the relay replaceable?
The relay is replaceable by de-soldering the relay and replacing it with a new one.
If the relay fails on the road, the best suggestion is to move the fuses from the switched position to the constant position to get home. Make sure that you power off any devices when turning off the bike at that point. Once home you can work on replacing the relay.
The relay chosen for the fuse block is a common relay used in automotives, furnaces and industrial kitchen appliances. It is made to withstand heat, humidity and vibration. It is also meant to be cycled thousands of times and for the contacts to be closed for long periods of time. It's a high and long-duty cycle relay. Some relays that can handle the same or more amperage (and are smaller) are typically used for short duration applications such as door locks and power windows. However they cannot withstand long durations in a high current situation because they simply can't dissipate the heat.
Although no relay is perfect the fuse block relay is one of the most durable PC flush mount relays available today which is the reason it is made by several manufacturers. It wasn't a random choice and the relay was chosen for its low profile and its ability to handle long duty cycles.
What amperage fuse should I use for the in-line fuse?
An inline fuse between the battery and the fuse block is needed in case the +12V wire to the fuse block shorts against something between the battery and the fuse block. That's also why the fuse should be located as close to the battery as possible.
The size fuse is variable depending on how much current will be used by the devices connected to the Fuzeblock. A 30A fuse can be used as a default however if you're not going to need that much current you should consider a smaller value. This will ensure that the fuse will blow quicker should something go wrong.
You want to use a value of fuse that is above what you're actually going to need. If the maximum needed is 15A then consider a 20A or 25A fuse. If the current goes 5 to 10 amps over the maximum amount then you knows there's an issue and it should blow the fuse to protect the wiring from burning up.
Remember the fuse does NOT protect your devices. It protects your bike from burning up.
How many devices can I hook to the FZ-1?
In a perfect world the answer would be as many as you want.
The FZ-1 can individually fuse up to 6 devices. However, so long as you obey the rules, you can hook more than one device to a circuit. Just remember that the circuit should not exceed 10A and that the total current for all devices should not exceed the fuse that is in place for that circuit.
What is meant by weather resistant?
Weather resistant means it will put up with moisture, sand and dirt and is non-corrosive.
This doesn't mean that you can submerse it in water and expect it to work. It is NOT waterproof but then again neither is your bike and neither are any common fuse blocks. Electrical things don't like water.
The FZ-1 has a non-conductive, non-corrosive, and flame retardant (UL 94-5VA) cover that will help protect it from the elements but again it is NOT waterproof. You should mount the FZ-1 in a place that it is protected from the elements. The windshield is NOT a good choice.
Typically people will mount a fuse block under their seat, under a side panel or under their fairing. It is your responsibility to find a safe place to mount your FZ-1. If you're in doubt, consider posting your question to an online forum dedicated to your make and model of bike.
Mounting a fuse block is a common item and there's usually no shortage of opinions on where to mount one.
Should I seal the back of the fuzeblock?
A back plate is provided with the Fuzeblock to protect the back of the unit from coming in contact with metal and creating a short if needed.
There are also standoffs on the board so that it can be mounted to a flat surface with no need to protect the back. The board is .093 inches thick so it does not flex under normal circumstances. It would take a great amount of pressure to get the board to flex. Although the back of the board has exposed solder connections the rest of the board has a protective silkscreen coating on it. The pads are all silver to prevent corrosion under normal weather conditions.
Most people believe that a fuse block should be waterproof however you will rarely see a waterproof fuse box on any vehicle. They are protected from the elements but are not sealed so that they can emit moisture. Typically the bottom side of a fuse box on a motorcycle is open to the air although the top is protected and typically under a side panel. This allows the fuse box to air cool and to emit moisture to prevent corrosion.
Protecting the back of the Fuzeblock with any rubber coating or electrical tape causes two issues. One, it prevents the surface from dissipating heat and, two, it traps moisture between the board and the coating (should any get in there during a frog strangler).
The Fuzeblock should be mounted in a protected area.
Protecting the back from shorting against metal (i.e. ground) is a smart idea and should be done using the provided plate if possible. However protecting the back from moisture (unless it's salt water protection) is not necessary. Rain water is not that conductive and is typically not corrosive. Opinions vary on this but minerals in water conduct electricity which is found in ground water and not very much at all in rain water. Rain water typically does not have a high salt content either. If it did then there would be a lot more corrosion on the bike than just the Fuzeblock.
Can I Connect a trickle charger/battery tender cable to the Fuzeblock?
You can charge the battery via a trickle charger or battery tender by connecting the charging pigtail to a constant circuit on the Fuzeblock.
Make sure that it is fused properly for the charging unit which is typically less than a few amps.
What kind of shipping options does Fuzeblocks.com offer?
All orders are shipped via USPS Priority mail.
Are Fuzeblocks.com products offered outside of the USA?
In addition to USA dealers shipping Internationally, we have NippyNormans in the UK, Motorcycle Innovations in Canada, and SolidKit in Australia.
What's the black blank/back plate that came with my FZ-1
The blank plate is intenteded to be used as a back plate for mounting if needed.
It also provides protection for the back of the FZ-1. On my install I used #6 machine screws and stop nuts to fasten the plate to the back of the FZ-1. I left the standoffs on the board. I used a little sandpaper to rough up the surface of the plate and used isopropyl alcohol to clean it. I then stuck a piece of dual-lock on the plate and used that to fasten it into place on the bike. I've included some pictures to help illustrate my install.