How to Hardwire your Garmin GPS with Traffic to a Motorcycle

Garmin, why did you integrate the traffic receiver into the cable?  A lot of owners of a Garmin GPS don’t even realize this is the case.  You would be amazed of how many people we heard from over the years that never realized this.  They would lose the charger then buy an inexpensive GPS charger, plug it in, and voila, no traffic!

I’m not a cable expert so can’t tell you why Garmin opted for this design.  Each traffic GPS has the actual traffic subscription tied into the cable itself.  This means if the charger stops working or you left in your rental car, you will need to purchase a brand new cable with a new traffic subscription tied to it.  Unfortunately, you cannot carry your previously purchased traffic subscription into a new cable.  This will turn out to be a pretty expensive affair as a new traffic cable typically starts at $50 and goes up from there.

This article is about how to hardwire a Garmin traffic cable to your motorcycle.  While I suppose you can buy a second traffic cable for this purpose and leave the other one in your car, you don’t need to as you can transfer the cable between your car and motorcycle pretty easily.

Now, you might be thinking that attaching a traffic cable to your battery is as simple as cutting off the DC end and simply attaching the barewires to the battery.  This is a terrible idea for several reasons.  The tip of the charger has. among other things, a fuse and power regulator.  This is what’s needed to take the power to a lower voltage.  You will likely fry your GPS (and traffic subscription) if you cut off the end and attach it to the battery so please do not do it.

A few lucky motorcycle owners may have a DC outlet built into the bike but most do not.  For those that don’t, you need to install a hardwire that includes a cigar lighter ending to it.  You will than plug your traffic cable / charger into that ending.  So when you are done with this project, you will have an accessory outlet to plug your traffic cable into.   Installation is fairly simple and if you are comfortable working on your bike, this should be a fairly simple project.

The Eklipes Charging System is an excellent addition for most motorcycles.  It includes everything you need to hook up the power outlet onto your bike.  The actual power outlet includes not only a DC port but also a USB port and an on/off switch.  This means you can potentially plug in your traffic cable as well as charge your cell phone at the same time.  This power kit includes a handlebar mount and has a chrome finish.  There is a 5 1/2 foot cable to attach the adapter to your battery.

A similar kit but in a black finish is the RioRande Adapter Kit.  This also clamps onto your handlebar and has both a DC and USB port for charging your GPS and a cell phone.  It includes a five foot cable to attach your battery to the adapter.  There is a built-in fuse but unlike the Eklipes model, there is no on/off switch.

Now if you would like to simply hardwire your GPS and don’t really care about getting traffic, that’s a little easier and is covered in this article.