Control Essential Electrical Accessories with Your BMW’s CAN-BUS

HEX ezCAN BMW Electrical Accessory ControllerWhenever you add an electrical accessory to your bike, you have to think about how you’ll control it. Traditionally, that’s done with a simple pushbutton switch. Push to turn on. Push to turn off. Simple.

But what if you could harness the power of the computer network already on bikes like the liquid-cooled BMW R1200GS? Wouldn’t it be amazing to use existing switches to control your electrical accessories? That’s what the HEX ezCAN does.

Many modern motorcycles have what’s called a CAN BUS, short for controller area network. All you need to know is that this is a kind of computer-controlled switching and current protection. When you push a button on a CAN BUS-equipped bike you’re not really turning a feature on and off directly, you’re just telling the computer to do it for you.
What the ezCAN does is take advantage of this computer network to control your choice of electrical accessories. In the as-delivered form, the ezCAN is designed to control two driving lights, left and right, an accessory brake light, and one more circuit that you can use for heated gear or a GPS. The ezCAN can also be reprogrammed for other configurations but the way it’s delivered is adequate for most installations.

HEX ezCAN BMW Electrical Accessory Controller
The layout of the ezCAN includes the main body (1), the connection to the battery (2), connections to the bike’s CAN-BUS (3), two high-current lighting circuits (4), and two auxiliary power leads (5).

Features? Yeah, there are a bunch. First of all, you can turn the driving lights on and off by pressing and holding the turn signal cancel button. You can set the brightness of the lights by pressing and holding the “wonder wheel” controller and then rotating. You can even do this on the fly. No only that, the ezCAN is designed to run the driving lights at full power when the high beam is activated and at a lower power on low beams, though you can choose to run the lights at full power all the time if that’s what you want. Also, and this is really cool, the ezCAN uses the BMW’s ambient light sensor. That means you can run a dimmer lower setting at night and a brighter one during the day. It’s all in the software.

To better distinguish your turnsignals from the driving lights, the ezCAN turns off the driving light on the signal side. You might have seen newer cars do this, and it’s a good tactic for making your turnsignals more visible. The ezCAN can also strobe the driving lights when you hit the horn.

The ezCAN in the standard configuration connects to an auxiliary tail light. Because the ezCAN reads the GS’s standard accelerometers it can calculate deceleration and pulse the auxiliary tail light during hard stops. It’s also designed to run this auxiliary tail light at partial brightness unless you’re braking, which means that any single-intensity light can be made into a combination stop and running light.

The fourth circuit can be used for any other accessory up to 4 amps, but it’s possible to connect a horn like our DENALI SoundBomb to the system. To do so, you lose some of the split functionality of the driving lights but you also don’t have to install a relay or separate wiring harness for the horn. Plug it straight into the ezCAN and you’re good to go.

Each of the four circuits on the ezCAN has adjustable current limits; the two high-power circuits can handle 10 amps continuous (20 amps intermittent) while the two low-power circuits can handle up to 4 amps.

HEX ezCAN BMW Electrical Accessory Controller
Changing the ezCAN’s configuration is as simple as plugging it into your laptop through a USB cable, launching the free app, and choosing the settings you want.

Installation of the exCAN is simple. The main unit fits under the seat and connects to the CAN BUS system. In the case of our company BMW R1200GS, the device picks up the signal for the tire pressure system. (The ezCAN harness has both male and female connectors on this line so that you don’t lose functionality of the TPMS.)

Another part of the harness connects directly to the battery. Then you have four pigtails for the individual circuits, ending in waterproof terminals. To make this system truly plug and play, we’ve developed interconnect cables to go between the ezCAN and any of our DENALI lighting products; they will be available soon.

Ultimately, the ezCAN makes installing electrical accessories on your water-cooled BMW Boxer simpler and easier, and gives you many more functional options.

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