I use my GPS extensively when I ride. Even if I already know how to get where I’m going, I’ll often program it anyway to keep track of my ETA, at what location I should look for gas, and to stop myself from making stupid wrong turns if I start enjoying the ride too much and space out on when I’m supposed to turn. (Really. It’s happened.) I had a good setup for my TomTom GPS on the Silverwing, and I wanted to transfer it over to my PC800.
The most popular way to do seems to be an aftermarket brake or clutch fluid reservoir cover by Motorcycle Larry that you can screw one or two RAM Mount balls into. I’m already using RAM Mount parts, so this method appealed to me – until I saw the $54.85 price tag for a black cover with two RAM Mount balls included. It’s a precision machined part and I’m sure it’s of very high quality, but that’s a bit more than I wanted to spend.
Power was a similar story. My bike came with a Powerlet outlet installed. I figured, great, just pick up a Powerlet to Mini USB adapter, and I’m all set. But once again, I got sticker shock. $47.95 from Pashnit Moto was the best price I found, with others costing slightly more. So I was looking at over $100 in accessories to install an old GPS that cost me under $100 new a few years ago. I’m not cheap, but this seemed ridiculous. I decided to try to find a way to do this a bit more affordably.
To do this, I’d move a few more things from the Silverwing over to the PC800. I had an extra RAM Mount diamond base kicking around, and after much test fitting and manupulating, I found a location on the left side of the “dashboard” (the PC800’s gauge cluster looks almost straight out of the Civics I’ve owned) where the GPS could sit just behind the windshield, so it is protected from the elements the way it was on the Silverwing. I offset it to the left so that I could still get airflow from the vent, and because I operate it with my left hand anyway. It’s a tight fit, but it doesn’t quite touch the windshield, and the handlebar comes close but doesn’t touch the GPS when turned all the way to the right. It was very difficult to screw the two self-tapping screws into the top of the dashboard with the windshield in the way, but eventually I managed to do it, and the GPS is mounted very solidly. If I try to shake the GPS, the gauge cluster moves. After a bit of riding, I find this setup is actually easier to use than on the Silverwing, since it’s much closer to my left hand. I just need to craft some sort of sun visor for it, as it’s hard to see in the glare.
For power, I removed my three cigarette lighter adapter from the Silverwing, where I had wired it into the leads that used to power the stereo I never installed. By pure luck, the small storage compartment on the left side of the fairing is just tall enough for the adapter, and just long enough for the adapter and power cable to fit inside. There’s no room for anything else I may want to power – my phone, for example, and certainly no room for my regulated power supply I use for my handheld ham radio. But here the adapters could live under cover, with a short wire run to the GPS itself. (If I revisit the APRS concept, I won’t be using the handheld anyway – I’d mount a mobile rig in the main trunk and run power to it there.) At the bottom corner of the compartment, I was surprised to find a nut and bolt apparently plugging up a small hole. I removed these, and had my access to run power down into the bowels of the bike. I tapped power from the existing wiring for the driving light before the switch, and added a ground to two more that were bolted directly to the frame of the bike. After blowing a couple of fuses in my GPS adapter from hooking these up backward at first (oops), I had my power source for the GPS.
And that’s it! The GPS is mounted the way I like it, and I have an even better power setup for it than I had on the Silverwing. Best of all, it cost me NOTHING, since I reused parts from the Silverwing, saving over $100 in new parts. (This was my justification for buying my Givi trunk light kit sooner rather than later – with the GPS installed for free, I could afford this now rather than later.) If you bought these pieces new, the RAM Mount base costs about $7, and a single cigarette lighter outlet runs under $3, so around $10 to do it my way. Add another $30 or so for the remaining RAM Mount bits you need for your particular GPS, which will be necessary with either mounting method.