CAN bus controller – how to connect accessories?

I get a lot of questions from customers with CAN bus controllers fitted to their motorbikes that want to integrate an INNOVV camera system, heated clothing or another accessory. But they are not sure how to connect these to the CAN bus controller.

Irrespective of which CAN bus controller you have fitted, you are sure to either have a “spare port” or the ability to convert a CAN bus channel into a switched 12V supply via the user interface. Here at MOTO-MATE we sell and install CAN bus controllers from DENALI and VOLOCAN. These two brands have different methods for adding accessories.

DENALI CAN bus controller CANsmart DENDNL.WHS.11600If you are using a DENALI controller you need to connect the controller to your laptop, switch the ignition on and open the web interface. Once the interface is open you simply select the “Single circuit override” for the CAN bus channel you wish to use. This turns the channel into a switched 12V live to power your accessories. See this screenshot:


DENALI CAN bus controller "Single Circuit Override"
Screenshot of DENALI CAN bus controller web interface. Select “Simple Circuit Over Ride”.


VOLOCAN CAN bus controller from VectoLABS for motorbikes


The VOLOCAN controller uses a range of DiP switches to configure the unit but has a dedicated spare port that can handle a current up to 10A load. This can be used to power any accessories. The spare port is enabled when the device powers on.


So how do I connect my accessories to the CAN bus controller?

If your accessory requires a permanent battery connection and a switched live (the INNOVV cameras are a typical example of this), the first thing to do is to connect the battery terminals, ensuring you have the correct polarity.

Next is the switched live connection which goes to either the spare port or to the connector for the channel you want to use. Please note that several CAN bus controllers use their own specific connectors to connect to the channels.

Depending on the brand a CAN bus controller can have specific connectors

Some controllers come with what are called “pig-tails”. These are mating connectors with wires that you can use to connect to. Other controllers come with complete sealed leads with connectors on both ends. In this case you will need to cut the lead, insulate any wires you are not using. And then connect to the positive or if required positive and negative wires directly to the accessory.

Ignition live trigger or power – which channel will you need to use?

Depending what you are connecting to the controller may well dictate which channel you need to use based on the required current. If for instance you are connecting an INNOVV camera system, you only need a 12V trigger. So a low current rated channel (rear light) is fine to use. 

Should you want to connect heated clothing you will want a channel that can provide enough current, say 10A. In this case you would need to use a main lights channel. Please check the channel specification for your controller.

If you have any questions, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

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