I was all set to wire up a simple top case light to the RT, as I had done before to the 2010. The first step was to acquire the Givi light kit for the V46. It was more difficult than I thought given that the source is in Italy, and supplies are severely impacted due to the pandemic. I did finally locate a kit in stock in the US and it arrived a week later. It was not a difficult process to install the light, but I had already decided to avoid the problematic connections and create my own wiring path to the bike. The one area of challenge was the wiring from the LED strip out of the compartment. It was very tight, and could benefit from some redesign. After that, I was eliminating almost all of the wiring kit provided by Givi in the kit. The forums are full of failures and intermittent operation of these connections. I decided to route the wiring across the lid of the case and then down to a small exit hole in the rear at the bottom of the case. This could then be tidied up with some cable tie anchors and a little sheathing. A quick test with a 12V source indicated that I had a working top case light.
That is where the fun (or the lack thereof) began. The wiring diagram for the RT allowed me to find the brake light wiring at the rear, so I tapped into it. Great ! Then I turned on the bike and pressed the brake. I had a working light. Great ! Then the dash displayed a fault code. Not Great. I shut everything off and tried again. Same result, the light worked once and then the computer rejected its presence. Off to the forums. Well it turns out that unlike the previous generation, everything on this bike is the dreaded CanBus. The idea is that all controls go to the computer, and all outputs are instructed by the computer. Different configurations can then easily be lodged in software and firmware. Ride by wire, etc, are all made possible by this concept. No more direct connection of the control device to the output device. Any mucking about will incur the wrath of said computer. There were a few posts about sophisticated workarounds, but I decided to take the easy but expensive way out.
The two prevalent solutions were from Hex and Clearwater. Both seemed good quality, but I already had the GS-911 tool from hex, so I trusted them to fully understand BMW Canbus. Another week passed waiting for the module to arrive. It took 30 minutes to hook up the EZCan (as Hex calls it), and I had a working top case light. Brilliantly simple, and no fault codes. One of the CanBus advantages that EZCan taps into, is that it allows you to configure the light in a number of different ways. Traditional running light and brake light, flashing on braking, flashing on deceleration, etc. Good stuff. The unit also allows you to control the front auxiliarry lights and a couple of accessories. All without relays or home runs to the battery. In retrospect, I wish I had just gone this route up front before the driving lights and saved myself a ton of routing/wiring work.
Since I was in wiring mode, I decided to undo all of the driving light wiring and convert it to the EZCan. Besides removing all of the wiring and the battery connection, I gained configuration capabilities for the driving lights as well. They included day/night intensity adjustments, flash to pass features, horn flashing, etc. I was also able to operate them at less than 100% intensity, which was good considering how bright they are at night. So what started as a very expensive top case light, turned into a warranty-compliant way to control all auxiliary lights and accessories, taming the CanBus beast. Now let’s just hope the computer lasts forever!