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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a Tamarack Titan Series Deluxe Lounger and a set of rear fender guards/foot pegs (all from Thor) for my 2012 Sportsman 500 HO. Everything looks great and my wife really likes the setup. I was a little bummed I couldn’t find a box to fit with the OEM rear rack extender installed, but that’s another story.

The real problem is the LED brake/running light that came on the Tamarack. When wired to the bike per instruction, the cargo box light comes on bright when I turn on the key (as if the brakes are applied), then dims to just running lights when I squeeze the brake.

It should be noted I haven’t cut any wires. I did temporary connections to the left rear light plug to make sure everything works before making permanent connections. Also, the stock lights worked perfectly on the bike before I started, and they still work correctly when the plug is reconnected.

I bench tested the LED light on the cargo box by connecting the wires per the literature that came with the cargo box. Using the white wire for ground, I applied 12V to the brown wire and running lights worked (LEDs dim). Then I applied 12V to the green wire and the brake light worked (LEDs bright).

The wires on the bike are brown for ground, red (with white stripe) for running lights and orange for brake lights. The red/white wire has a constant 12V when the key is on (running lights). Now for the weird part… the orange (brake) wire also has 12V applied when the key is turned on. Squeezing the brake lever REMOVES power from the wire and the brake lights (stock 3157 incandescent bulbs) come on bright. Basically the opposite of what’s required for the brake light on the cargo box.

I searched high and low for a solution with no luck. I understand only BASIC electricity, so this one has me stumped (but I’m your go-to guy if need help with a Martin-Baker ejection seat). Searching the web revealed a few comments for motorcycles and other ATV brands suggesting the need for a relay, but there were no details. Does anyone know the secret to making the cargo box running lights/brake lights work correctly?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Someone out there has done this! The relay makes sense; take away 12V from it when the brake lever is squeezed, and it routes 12V from another source to the cargo box brake light (green wire in my case). I'm just not smart enough to figure out the required parts and configuration. To wit, here's a post from the Can-Am forum:

"If you are trying to hook up the led lights that come in most quad boxes, you will need a relay. I made it work on mine. You can wire the park light normal, but the brake light is different. The brake light wire has 12volts on it and when you hit the brake, the voltage goes away.

A typical horn relay will do the trick. Basically you hook it up that the 12volts on the brake light wire will energize the relay. As soon as you hit the brake, the power on that wire goes away, de-energizing the relay, which will give your brake wire for your LED power to light up. As soon as you release the brake and re-energize the relay with the 12 volts on the brake wire, the led brake lights will shut off."

Bottom line...There has to be a way!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay...I might have this wired (pun intended). I won't say what the plan is until I know it works. That way I’m the only one assuming the risk. Anyway, I found a post for a Polaris snowmobile that makes perfect sense. It uses a standard 5-pin horn relay (pin 87A not used). Gimme a few days. If it works I’ll post step-by-step instructions (and maybe some photos).
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Darryl, Hurricane Sandy set me back. Hope it's not affecting you up North. Anyway, rather than wait out the storm and get what I needed locally, I ordered the 5-pin relay and socket online ($8). In the meantime I have wiring diagrams for two closely-related solutions. The first uses four pins on the relay, the other uses all five. I'll try both before making permanent connections AND before posting here. In either case, the relay will be mounted in the cargo area of the seat. I'm also installing a 4-pin trailer connector between the cargo box/seat and the quad for easy removal when I don't need the seat. Wires on the quad will be long enough to stow the connector under the stock seat when not in use.
 

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The big wind didn't make it this far east. We're just getting a week of fog and rain, pretty normal for this time of year in Newfoundland. Hope all is well where you are, and good luck with the wiring when you get the parts!

DC
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Okay Darryl...I received the parts today AND EVERYTHING WORKS! I tried to capture everything to make it easy for you. You should also be able to see a very necessary attachment (wiring diagram w/relay function).

Materials/parts:
1) 5-pin relay with wired plug/socket (WARNING: your wire colors may vary from mine!)
2) 3-pin waterproof automotive plug (male/female) -OR- (cheaper) 4-pin trailer plug assy (male/female) with one wire removed
3) Flexible automotive conduit (3 to 4 ft)
4) Electrical tape
5) Soldering gun, solder and flux (or solder w/rosin core)
6) Liquid tape (optional)
7) Heat shrink (optional)

IMPORTANT: My instructions and wiring diagram apply to the LED light assy that came with my Tamarack Titan Series Deluxe Lounger. Ensure your wire connections are made based on wire FUNCTION. Wire colors and their functions on my LED were as follows: White = ground. Brown = running light. Green = brake light.

Quad (OEM) brake/tail light harness wires: Brown = ground. Red w/yellow stripe = constant 12V for running lights (with key on). Orange = brake lights (ground with brakes applied).

Before making any permanent connections/modifications, I strongly recommend making TEMPORARY connections to ensure your lights will work properly. When you’re ready to go permanent, ensure wires are routed so the connector is OUTSIDE the seat/cargo box (for quick and easy box removal). Carefully choose where the wires will pass through the seat/cargo box. You don’t want to pinch them when the seat/cargo box is installed, and you don’t want a passenger pinching them when in the seat. When soldering the trailer plug wires to the OEM brake/tail light harness, leave enough wire so the plug can be stowed under the OEM seat when the seat/cargo box isn’t installed.

I used heat shrink on all solder connections INSIDE the seat cargo compartment. Then I attached the relay to the interior of the cargo compartment so it was out of the way of anything that might move around inside. On the outside I used liquid tape and electrician’s tape on all solder connections (T-taps) to the quad’s brake/tail light harness in the left rear wheel well (makes connections waterproof). I finished by installing automotive conduit on all new wiring (inside and out) for protection & durability.

Good luck. I’m standing by for questions.
 

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Thank you for the diagram! very informative. I also had a problem when switching to led tailights. I hadn't bought the led's required for the older style chevy trucks.

The system used on these quads is quite strange, using a single positive wire to supply power to the tail lights, and 2 grounds. The reason the brake light wire had 12v to it and then not when you apply the brakes, is that the 2 filaments in the stock bulb are in SERIES when brakes are not applied. Since the brake light filament has a higher wattage than the tail, it doesnt light up. when the brakes are applied, the brake switch applies ground to the brake filament, and lights it. the tail light filament goes out altogether, since it is grounded at both ends.

If you are going to run the cheap tail bulbs, and a led cargo box light, you can fix this with a 750 ohm, 10-watt resistor, instead of a relay. I did it for mine. You need to supply the positive to the box light, only to the brake wire (on the light). dont use the tail lights wire. (on the box light). the ground on the light goes directly to the brake wire (on the bike's harness) Put the resistor between the brake and tail wire (on the bike's harness), thats it.

When the key is on, 12 volts will be reduced thru the resistor, dimming the box light. when brakes on, full 12 volts will be applied to the box light, making it full brightness..

THIS WILL ONLY WORK if you are running only led tails. If you have even 1 incandescent bulb, it wont work, since the tail lights filament will bypass the 750 ohm resistor.

Its a quick trick, takes about 3 minutes to install, but had i seen the relay mod a few months ago, i would have done it.
 

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Nice instructions, thanks! Time to go order me up a relay :).
It may be a while before I get around to doing it but I'll let you know how it goes when I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
A passenger on a 1-up quad is not safe. Since Polaris already makes 2-up quads on the same frame (at a premium), I decided to install an aftermarket second seat. Here’s what I did in 10 easy(?) steps:

1. Buy a seat (from Thor) with cushioned grips and buy a set of Kimpex fender protectors (with foot pegs for the passenger).
2. Follow Tamarack's ridiculously easy instructions for connecting the 3rd brake light.
3. Realize the 3rd brake light (LED in my case) does not work because the tail lights/brake lights on your quad are wired in series (unconventional).
4. Consider not using the 3rd brake light, or converting the whole system.
5. Realize you’re too cheap and not wise enough to make the conversion, and you’re OCD, so you search the internet for days to find a solution.
6. Find an obscure post from a guy with a snowmobile who is just like you.
7. Chase wires and develop your own wiring diagram.
8. Buy the following materials/parts:
* 5-pin relay with wired plug/socket ($8 on amazon.com) **WARNING**: wire colors may vary!
* 3-pin waterproof automotive plug (male/female) -OR- less expensive 4-pin trailer plug assy (male/female) with one wire removed
* 3-4 ft of flexible automotive conduit (10 ft for $4.99 at AutoZone)
* Electrical tape
* Soldering gun, solder and flux (or solder w/rosin core)
* Liquid tape and heat shrink (optional)
9. Obsess about hiding wires and making waterproof connections.
10. Success!
 

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I'm probably looking at this wrong; but looking at your diagram, if 85 and 86 are the two ends of the relay coil you've got +12V on both ends. That seems like a smoke and flame situation to me. :)

Here's what I have for wires...

OEM tail light:
brown = ground
red/yellow = running light (constant 12V)
orange = brake (12V until brake is applied, then nothing)

Box tail light:
white = ground
brown = running light
yellow = brake light
green = not used

I'm not an electrician so I really can't get my head around something lighting up when you take power away from it. :)

Thanks,
DC
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I had the exact same reservations at first, which was why I kept "nuking" it until I was convinced. Squeezing the brake lever actually grounds the orange wire to complete the circuit for 1) the stock incandescent bulb 'bright' brake light filament, and 2) the coil in the relay being added.

In a previous post (#9 in this thread), fuzzyfireman points out the system is odd. I wholeheartedly agree. He also provides a brief explanation of what's going on with the 12V on that orange wire.

Here's my bottom line... the LED light now works correctly; dim running lights, bright brake lights. You have my word the diagram is correct and has been "field tested" by yours truly.

By the way, I failed to correct my earlier error, which you got correct. The wire with the constant 12V going to the running light is red with YELLOW stripe (not white stripe). I corrected it in the latest (and more simplified) wire diagram I posted on Post #11 in this thread.

Trust me...I'm with the government. Ha ha ha. Seriously though, you won't be disappointed. And it looks like the yellow wire on your 3rd brake light wire will connect to Pin 87 on the relay (vice the green brake light wire on mine). I suspect the green wire on yours is for some other option you didn't get - like heated hand grips. Who made your box?

Regards,
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
DC,

Because I needed closure, I put fuzzyfiremean's explanation into a diagram so the operation made sense to me. Attached is a diagram of just the tail lamp socket with filament circuitry added for clarity.

THE PROBLEM: A 3rd brake light (LED or incandescent) is NOT plug and play because the Polaris tail light/brake light system is 'unconventionally' wired with bulbs in series (vice parallel circuit).

TAIL LIGHT OPERATION. With the key on and NO brakes applied, 12V from the red/yellow wire passes through the brake light filament, through the tail light filament and finally to ground (brown wire). This illuminates the tail light only. As fuzzy says, the brake light filament doesn’t illuminate due its higher wattage than the tail light filament. In other words, at this stage the brake light filament is simply a wire delivering 12V to the tail light.

BRAKE LIGHT OPERATION. Squeezing the brake lever grounds the orange wire. This de-energizes the tail light circuit (the tail light filament is now grounded at both ends) and illuminates the brake light filament.

To summarize, path to ground for tail lights is red/yellow to brown. Path to ground for brake lights is red/yellow to orange.

This helped solve the riddle for me. Hope it does the same for you.

Regards,
Chris
 

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That is exactly the diagram i wanted to post to clarify the function of the brake/tail system. I keep seeing diagrams being posted here on different threads, how do i create one? Is it done thru this forum?
 

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My box was made by Wes industries in Quebec. The light is actually a regular 2-filament incandescent but it looks to be wired the same as your LED and the symptoms are the same so I'm pretty sure your solution will work. I'm going to try to pick up a relay this week and have a go at it this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Fuzzy... I created that diagram in PowerPoint. If you send your email address via PM, I'll send the original .ppt file vice just a screenshot, which is what we're forced to use in posts on these forums.

Regards,
Chris
 

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Thanks for the info amec2ldo! i have powerpoint on an old desktop sitting in the closet. I only ever used it for text presentations. I have several simplified circuits i'd like to post on threads here... i'll have to dig out the ol' pc!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
One thing to add that most probably already considered. Don’t forget to adjust the rear shocks. It will help prevent sagging under the added weight of a passenger. I bumped mine up two notches for now. I won’t know if that’s ideal until I ride my favorite mountain trails (with a passenger) in PA.
 
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