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Thread: 2007RT, Did the Canbus eliminate fuses?

  1. #1
    DonaldMac dfmcintyre's Avatar
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    2007RT, Did the Canbus eliminate fuses?

    New to me 2007RT with 20K and I'm in the process of switching some accessories (from what I could salvage from my 2002RT) onto the new bike.

    One item is a Kisan SM-5 Signalminder which is plug and play. However, I cannot locate the plug. Looking farther, I couldn't locate any fuse panel.

    Did the Canbus system do away with the fuses?

    Don - in confused mode....

  2. #2
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    Well, sort of....

    CANbus has nothing at all to do with fuses being there or not. Its simply how the various computer modules talk to each other...There is no fuse panel at all on your bike unless you or the dealer has installed one to make adding aftermarket accessories easier.

    Your bike has a computer module called the ZFE that monitors current flow to various things. It serves the function of an automatic electronic fuse panel. If it senses overload (based on its internal pre determined setting) it cuts off power to that circuit. Power is only automatically restored when the bike is shut off and restarted..and will be cut off again if the overload continues. The power cutoff won't stop the bike- just cuts off whatever circuit is overloaded. The same device also participates in issuing warnings for things like dead bulbs, a "too low" load...

    The way many riders learn of the ZFE's function is to overload the accessory socket with too much heated gear. If for example your bikes socket is rated at 10A and you try to put gear from 2 riders in that circuit, that is an overload..

    Don't know anything about the specifics of your Kisan except that when I was farkling my 08 RT a few years back they pretty much didn't make anything that seemed well adapted to that model..

  3. #3
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    There is no need for the signalminder on the 2007 bike. The turn signals are self cancelling based on distance/time (just like K bike ones have been for eternity.) Racer7 gave a great brief explanation of how the new bikes handle circuit overload protection. It's not a function of "CanBus" - it is a function of modern control units.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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    Don, we should also mention that if you need to add other electrical accessories, something low-power can be handled by one of the accessory sockets that may already be on your bike. But, splicing into power wires is not recommended for a CanBus system- You will confuse it into thinking something is wrong because it senses the power drain of the added accessory and doesn't know that you added something to the circuit.

    If you don't want to use up one of those sockets or the item you are adding is of a higher power drain, there is an item called an auxiliary fuse block. There are several manufacturers but Centech is one name that comes to mind and you can either look that up or just go to a larger BMW internet dealer like A&S or MAX's, and see them. You simply wire the fuse block directly to the battery terminals (which in effect, bypasses the CanBus) and then wire your accessories to the fuse block. You probably also need a relay, which is also simple and the info can be found on various websites and the seller's store's site. You can also do a search here for past threads on this issue.

  5. #5
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Not a fan of Can-Bus. Have a Fuzebox FZ1 so that I don't have to put up with Can-Bus. End of Commentary. So what happens if you get a major power even on a Can-Bus regulated conductor? What protects the ZFE?
    Old But Not Dead
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  6. #6
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    Not a fan of Can-Bus. Have a Fuzebox FZ1 so that I don't have to put up with Can-Bus. End of Commentary. So what happens if you get a major power even on a Can-Bus regulated conductor? What protects the ZFE?
    What is a "major power"? I can't say I ever experienced one. Please explain..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    What protects the ZFE?
    It protects itself.
    Kent Christensen
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    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    What is a "major power"? I can't say I ever experienced one. Please explain..
    Sometimes called surge, spike, or short. Ya know the stuff fuzes and breakers were made to take care of.
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  9. #9
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    Sometimes called surge, spike, or short. Ya know the stuff fuzes and breakers were made to take care of.
    Ah, as Kent pointed out - the ZFE protects itself by disconnecting that circuit. I haven't heard of ANY ZFE failures to date, and it's been on the R1200xx's since 2005.. (I'm sure somewhere someone had something like a lightening strike and burned one up, but it seems to be pretty bulletproof for everyday surges, spikes and shorts..) A fuse or breaker is actually quite slow in operation since they rely on heat to function and open the circuit. A solid-state fuse like the ZFE has can be very close to instantaneous in action.

    FWIW - I'm a big fan of CanBus (communications between modules) and the solid-state protection on the later bikes. It greatly simplifies the wiring harness which is a big step toward reliable operation. I have owned several older BMW bikes that suffered wiring harness meltdown due to unprotected circuits shorting out within the harness, resulting in the smoke coming out of the harness under my seat (yikes!) or fuel tank (double yikes!) I am not sorry to see those days behind us.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  10. #10
    (Almost) Daily Rider Duster105's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicVW View Post
    If you don't want to use up one of those sockets or the item you are adding is of a higher power drain, there is an item called an auxiliary fuse block. There are several manufacturers but Centech is one name that comes to mind and you can either look that up or just go to a larger BMW internet dealer like A&S or MAX's, and see them. You simply wire the fuse block directly to the battery terminals (which in effect, bypasses the CanBus) and then wire your accessories to the fuse block. You probably also need a relay, which is also simple and the info can be found on various websites and the seller's store's site. You can also do a search here for past threads on this issue.
    I have an '07 RT, and just had this same conversation with my parts guy at Ozzie's BMW in Chico. He was very kind in explaining all this to me as well. The Centech is supposedly very awesome for adding accessories to a CanBus bike. They make two models, the AP-1 which is live all the time, and the AP-2 which has two circuits, one live all the time and one switched to the key. If you choose the -2, you need the relay and wiring, which makes the switched circuits function correctly. I was quoted $125ish for them to do the install, so it is definitely cost-effective...more so if you do the install yourself. He told me two things: 1) This (or something similar) is a MUST if you want to add aftermarket electric draw to a CanBus bike, and 2) This particular system will likely run anything I ever want to add to my RT.
    Last edited by Duster105; 04-26-2013 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Misspelling
    David W.
    Public Safety Professional since 1985
    2007 R1200RT
    Dominus pascit me

  11. #11
    DonaldMac dfmcintyre's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation!

    I got used to three of the features that the module had (beyond just signal turning or cancelling reminder); ability to have the turn signal bulbs always on, but slightly dimmed, able to do a quick flash when holding down the factory flasher setting tab(s), and being able to cancel the signal by hitting the same tab (i.e. didn't use the cancel tab, you could turn on and turn off the signal by barely moving your thumb.

    Thanks again - Don

  12. #12
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Ah, as Kent pointed out - the ZFE protects itself by disconnecting that circuit. I haven't heard of ANY ZFE failures to date, and it's been on the R1200xx's since 2005.. (I'm sure somewhere someone had something like a lightening strike and burned one up, but it seems to be pretty bulletproof for everyday surges, spikes and shorts..) A fuse or breaker is actually quite slow in operation since they rely on heat to function and open the circuit. A solid-state fuse like the ZFE has can be very close to instantaneous in action.

    FWIW - I'm a big fan of CanBus (communications between modules) and the solid-state protection on the later bikes. It greatly simplifies the wiring harness which is a big step toward reliable operation. I have owned several older BMW bikes that suffered wiring harness meltdown due to unprotected circuits shorting out within the harness, resulting in the smoke coming out of the harness under my seat (yikes!) or fuel tank (double yikes!) I am not sorry to see those days behind us.
    When you say "the ZFE protects itself by disconnecting that circuit" , that really means it is a really high priced circuit breaker. By that I mean if the breaker portion isn't fast enough or can be overrun by a very high current, replacing a ZFE won't be cheap and you won't be going anywhere for a while. A couple of the wonders of the CanBus are that very lightly, almost useless plug under seat on the left side. Next, comes adding aftermarket items like HID. You should be able to just plug and play with HID but you have to search for the right one that plays nice with HID. Just because BMW made bad harnesses in the past doesn't mean that CanBus is the solution. Lots of bikes have operated without in the past and do so now.
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  13. #13
    . AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chewbacca View Post
    ...A couple of the wonders of the CanBus are that very lightly, almost useless plug under seat on the left side. ...
    You simply have no idea what you're talking about. You're conflating CAN-Bus with other stuff.
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  14. #14
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    True

    It might take the old school guys a while to get used to modern electrical system design. Basically, modern BMW bikes are built like modern cars, not like lawnmowers one can buy at the big box store. So if modern cage stuff flummoxes you, so will BMW bikes.

    I agree with Don. Never heard of a ZFE issue on any bike in our club or by anyone else. The thing does its job well. And adding a fuse panel to handle accessories isn't appreciably different on a BMW than any other machine. Too many folks failed wiring 101 and simply use some junk way of tying into existing circuits on other bikes without paying any attention to much except whether its a 12V source. At least a separate fuse panel helps make installs cleaner and safer.

    I don't miss the old days at all and thankfully have forgotten where a lot of the tools I had to use then are even located..

    The only thing I thought was an advantage of some old designs was that, if understood, one could normally rig something roadside to keep going. There are a few things on modern stuff that if they die, you're screwed, though some electrical bits that can fail (eg fps, sidestand switch, etc) are easily bypassed.

    Re HIDs installs, by far the biggest issue isn't the rare electrical interference or load problem - it is the non-specific design of most HID kits rather than kits made specifically for various models. Most use clunky parts not properly sized for bikes, come with way too much wire in the harness that can't be shortened by most users because they lack proper tools and connectors, and many models simply don't have good places to install extra ballasts, relays, etc up by the headlight anyway. The current RT is an exception- there is plenty of room..

  15. #15
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
    You simply have no idea what you're talking about. You're conflating CAN-Bus with other stuff.
    Look at the wiring diagram. A short, for example in the headlight circuit is sensed by the ZFE directly. What protects the ZFE???
    Old But Not Dead
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