Review: Powerlet tank bag socket kit


The Powerlet tank bag socket kit is an all-inclusive kit to provide an external powerlet 12v socket on a motorcycle tank bag. The socket itself is the same socket you’d install on any panel-mount application, but the kit also comes with a splitter for the inside of your tank bag: One side has a plug that fits the back of the socket, and the other side is a standard SAE cable to power other gadgets in your tank bag.

Here’s the connector inside the boot:

The inside of the plug

The inside of the plug

To make this work, you’ll also need a way to get power INTO the tank bag. I have a cable with a powerlet plug that exits a port on the front of my bag and connects to a powerlet socket on the bike. Powerlet also makes a tank bag electrification kit that is basically a mounted SAE socket. The inner connector on this part could connect directly to the connector feeding the outbound socket. But I just use a hole on the front of the tank bag.

In my case, my dash gadgets are all connected to a Powerlet plug. When I’m traveling light (no tank bag), this connects directly to the bike. When I add the tank bag, I unplug the gadgets from the bike, plug them into this socket in the tank bag, and then connected the bag’s plug to bike. Nice and clean.

Here are some photos of the socket installed on my K1200S. The first shows the socket in use. GPS and radar are plugged into the tank bag.

After mounting to my tank bag

After mounting to my tank bag

This is the power for the tank bag, connected up to the the bike. INside, this cable connects directly to the splitter that came with the socket.

Showing how I get power INTO the bag

Showing how I get power INTO the bag

Finally here’s a poor photo of the inside of the socket. Sorry for the cable lock in the way. The tank bag is a Bags Connection EVO Daypack.

 

View of the socket from inside. Ignore the cable lock.

View of the socket from inside. Ignore the cable lock.

It’s a great product, like most Powerlet stuff.

In my case installation was a little tricky because of placement and how thick the panel is on the front of my bag. I had to skip the rubber gasket, but I don’t anticipate problems with that. By the way, using an old soldering iron is a fantastic way of making a nice round hole for the socket that won’t fray.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re obviously going to have connections coming into AND going out of the tank bag. Like me, you may have multiple power sources on your motorcycle. If you were to accidentally connect two of them together one hurried morning and create a closed circuit across two power sources (aka a short) it will be bad. Don’t ask me how I know, for I will then regale you of tales of rebuilding wire harnesses.

So design your connections in such a way as to make it impossible to plug the wrong thing into the wrong place. This is why I like this socket rather than SAE connectors for tank bags: It’s a clear designation of intended purpose or flow. SAE connectors have no male/female sides.

Here’s the complete gallery:

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