Motorsports accent lighting has come a long way in the past 25 years. It is now possible to install LED lights on just about anything. While many customers still prefer to have a professional install Boogey Lights® on their ride, doing it yourself is relatively simple using our DIY LED lighting kits. With some basic mechanical and 12vdc electrical knowledge, most of our light kits can be installed in a few hours. Here are some general installation guidelines you should follow when attempting a DIY install. These instructions are guidelines only. The tools you'll need and the processes you'll follow will vary slightly dependng upon what you're lighting (e.g. motorcycle, ATV, RV, boat, etc) as well as how elaborate your lighting setup is.
Tips Before You Begin
- Most installations require you to be able to access your ride from all sides. Make sure you have adequate working room. If you are lighting a motorcycle and have access to a lift, that's even better. If you are attempting to do the installation in cold weather, make sure the temperature isn't below 40 degrees as the promoter and 3M adhesive tape will not adhear properly in cold temperatures.
- You will need to be familiar with how to remove some of the basic components of your ride to access the battery as well as other areas of the ride where your LEDs will be mounted. For a motorcycle this typically involves removing the seat however there may be additional items that need to be removed (such as plastic covers, casings, fuel tank, etc). The goal of a quality installation is to hide the lights and wires as much as possible so they cannot be seen except when lit.
- Take some time upfront to decide where you want to place your LEDs. Knowing the locations of where your LEDs will be placed in advance will help you decide how best to run the wires.
- If you're going to be installing a hard wired ON/OFF switch (and we recommend you do), decide in advance where you want to place that switch.
- If you don't already have one installed, this is also a good time to install a battery tender to keep your battery fresh at all times.
- In addition to having the tools needed to remove your seat and other components, we recommend you have the following tools available:
- hair dryer or heat gun for heat shrink
- wire cutters/strippers
- rubber gloves (for handling the 3M Promoter).
- lint-free cloth (for cleaning the surface where your LEDs will be mounted)
- Having a basic voltmeter available is not required but can be helpful if you need to troubleshoot your 12vdc connections.
- We strongly recommend bench testing your lights BEFORE you mount them to your ride. While we test every light strip and controller before shipping, bench testing your lights will eliminate the possibility of any problems with the lights or controller before mounting. Also,the process of bench testing gives you an opportunity to understand the wiring system without interference of other wires, connectors and cables already on your ride. Bench testing takes 10 or 15 minutes. It's simple to do and can potentially save you hours of time and frustration down the road. Please take our advice. Bench test your LEDs and controller before mounting.
Attaching Boogey Lights® LEDs
The process of attaching Boogey Lights® to your ride is as follows:
- Determine where you want to place your LEDs. Make sure you are giving some thought to where the wires will be run to power your lights.
- If you need to cut the LEDs, do so before you mount them. Make sure you cut the LED strip in the appropriate place. Cutting in the wrong place will damage the LED strip.
- The area where you are mounting the LEDs has to be clean: free of all dirt, oil or anything that might effect the LED from sticking to your ride. You only get one opportunity to mount the LEDs so it's critical the area be prepared properly.
- Use the supplied alcohol pad to clean the area where you are going to mount the LED strip. Again, make sure this surface is thoroughly cleaned. Be sure to let the alcohol dry completely before proceeding to the next step. Note: Do not use acetone or similiar cleaner without reading the note below.
- Next, use the 3M Promoter supplied with your kit to "paint" on the promoter where you are going to mount the LED strip. See the note below about the proper way to use promoter. This is an important step. Do not bypass.
- Allow the promoter to dry for 60-90 seconds (max of 5 minutes).
- Peel off the red backing tape that protects the 3M adheasive tape on your LED strip. Be careful not to let the tape touch anything. The 3M backing tape on these LED strips are one-use only. They cannot be reused.
- Carefully push the LED strip to the area you have prepared on your ride. You will want to apply enough pressure to the strip to make sure it is firmly mounted. You only get one opportunity to do this. Once the LED strip touches a properly prepared surface that has been promoted, that LED strip will be very difficult to remove. Moreover, if you do remove the LED strip, the strip cannot be used again without adding another layer of 3M adheasive tape to the back.
A Word About 3M Tape & 3M Promoter (aka Primer)
All Boogey Lights® LED strips have 3M Tape backing affixed to them. This 3M Tape is designed to make a more-or-less permanent bond between the LED strip and the surface to which it is attached. When properly prepared, 3M Tape can be affixed to polyethylene, polypropylene, ABS, PET/PBT blends, concrete, wood, glass, metal and painted metal surfaces. To make this bond you must however prepare the surface to which the LED strip will be affixed. You do this by first cleaning the surface with isopropyl alcohol (50/50 mixture with water) and then painting on 3M Promoter. YOU CANNOT SKIP THIS STEP. Always apply 3M Promoter to any surface Boogey Lights® LED strips will be mounted. The promoter acts as a primer that ensures maximum adhesion. Porous surfaces may require 2 applications of 3M Promoter for uniform coverage and good adhesion. If you are going to add a second coat, allow the first application of promoter to dry before applying the second coat.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We recommend using rubber gloves when applying 3M Promoter. Do not get 3M Promoter on your hands. Be sure to read the product handling warnings, as it’s a very strong chemical.
Clean up: 3M Promoter can be removed with isopropyl alcohol. Vigorous scrubbing may be required.
Using Acetone on Heavy Oiled or Greasy Surfaces
For situations where you are affixing Boogey Lights® to a surface where heavy oils or grease are present, a "degreaser" solvent such as acetone may need to be used first. If you use acetone (or any other degreasing solvent) you must still apply the 3M Promoter. Acetone is not a replacement for promoter. In addition, if you use acetone to clean a heavy oiled or greased surface, you will still need to follow up with an alcohol cleaning to help ensure any residue or film from the acetone is removed. This is because acetone (and most other degreasing solvents) will thin the promoter as well as break down the adheasive in the tape greatly reducing the tape's stickiness. Any surface first cleaned with acetone must also be cleaned with alcohol and then thoroughly dried before painting on promoter.
Important Reminder! The 3M adhesive tape on the back of Boogey Lights® LED stripes are one-use only. If you apply them to a surface that has not been properly prepared, the holding power of the 3M adheasive tape will be greatly diminished perhaps making the light strip unusable. If you take the time to properly prepare the surface in accordance with our instructions here, you won't have any problems mounting your LEDs.
The final step in the install is wiring your lights. If you followed our advice and bench tested before mounting, congratulations! The process of wiring your lights will be easy. The key to wiring is making sure you have good connections throughout and of course you aren't cross-wiring your connections. If you have questions as to how to wire your lights, we suggest viewing this brief video. It walks you through the basics of wiring our lights for both single color and multi-color installations. Because there are many different wiring configurations (e.g. single color, multi-color, push button controllers, APP controllers, etc) we aren't going to go into detail here on the specifics. We suggest you follow the instructions provided with your kit for how to wire your system. We do however have some tips:
- Use the supplied POSI-TWIST connectors for any connection that may need to be removed sometime in the future. For example, if you are attaching LEDs to the bottom of your gas tank, those LED light strips should be connected using the removable POSI-TWIST connections. Doing so makes removing the gas tank easier for future service.
- For connections that are more or less permanent (or those connections that may be exposed to water) use the supplied liquid electrical tape and heat-shrink tubing to protect that connection. Some guys prefer to solder these connections first, which is certainly an option. Our experience however has been that simply twisting the wires together, applying some liquid electrical tape and then heat shrinking (or applying electrical tape) is more than adequate.
- If you are installing our Cut-N-Click™ lights, we recommend applying some dielectric grease to each of the open power connectors. Doing so will protect the connections from water and coorosion.
- Pay attention to the number of LEDs you are attempting to power with the controller. The number of LEDs the controller is intended to power is printed on the label of each controller. If you over-load the controller with too many lights, the lights will dim or not work at all. Just like any electrical circuit, you do not want to over-load the circuit.
- If you are unable to get your configuration to work, we suggest employing basic trouble-shootiong techiques by eliminating as many variables as possible. Starting from your battery, test one component of your system at a time. As you confirm one component works, move on to the next until you find the source of the problem. These are simple 12vdc systems. There's nothing high-tech or complicated about them. They aren't difficult to install or trouble-shoot.
There you go. Now you know the basics of installing Boogey Lights® on your ride! If you have questions or run into difficulty, please reach out to our technical support department at 800.846.1382. Or, as an option, we have a network of authorized Boogey Lights® installers around the country who can help too. Installed properly your Boogey Lights® will absolutely give your ride a hot new look for many years to come.