HEX ezCAN Accessory Manager
HEX ezCAN Accessory Manager and Clearwater Lights Combo
The HEX ezCAN is a digital accessory management system, that allows you to easily connect a variety of accessories to the BMW R1200 series of motorcycles using the CAN bus system. The unit also then allows the rider to customize and manage the individual settings for each accessory.
I’d heard some very good things about both the quality and the usability of the ezCAN, the new product offering from the South African based creators of the GS-911 diagnostic tool.
As a rider, I’m always eager to benefit from any product that improves my riding experience and my safety. Experience tells me that the more streamlined a product or system, the easier it will be to maintain and repair on the road, should things go sideways. Hence, I like to simplify things where possible
As a rider, I’m always eager to benefit from any product that improves my riding experience and my safety. Experience tells me that the more streamlined a product or system, the easier it will be to maintain and repair on the road, should things go sideways. Hence, I like to simplify things where possible." Simon Thomas
Hey, I’m not an engineer, so when it comes to adding accessories to my R1200GSA LC, the idea of a simple, clean, one-stop solution is appealing.
Like most riders I’ve already attached accessories to my bike and in doing so, I’ve added more wires, attachments, inline fuses and couplings.
One of my favourite upgrades to my R1200GSA LC is my high-output auxiliary Krista and Erica lights (see REVIEW and details here) from Clearwater Lights, the LED specialist. After researching online, I was surprised to find very little info on combining the ezCAN with a Clearwater Lights system.
So, last week, and with the help of a good friend, we pulled out the tools and soldering iron and set about installing the ezCAN.
Now, like some of my other reviews I’m not going to make you read to the end to tell you that I’m impressed. OK, I’m impressed!
From the incredibly simple install, to the functionality of the ezCAN itself, this product does exactly what it promises and more."Simon Thomas
Out of the box, what first struck me was how well the ezCAN is constructed. The attention to detail and the build quality is exceptional. From the protective mesh wire sleeves to the waterproof connectors, and the slim firm feel of the body of the unit, each element feels as though careful thought and attention has been poured into the product.
The product comprises of several pieces, including the main sealed electronic controller, four separate output channels, colour-coded wired male connectors and their corresponding female counterparts, cable ties, two blanking plugs and battery connectors with an inline fuse are also included along with a USB cable to enable connection to your laptop or computer.
Before we started connecting the ezCAN, we needed to locate and remove the Clearwater wiring harness and the the CAN-opener (Clearwater’s own integration unit). Now, don’t get me wrong, the Clearwater CAN-opener is a great device and allows the rider to control the Clearwater lights with the BMW Motorrad i-Drive (better known as the wonder-wheel), and connects their system into the CAN-bus system of the newer liquid cooled models. However, the ezCAN (from HEX CODE) allows for added light functionality, allows the left and right lights to be controlled separately, offers additional safety features and importantly offers the functionality of connecting and customizing three additional accessories.
Like many other riders, I had my Clearwater Lights installed by professionals, so I was actually surprised to see how much wiring we were able to remove and put to one side, and how much simpler the new ezCAN system was going to be to install and maintain. All the wiring in the image below was replaced by two wire cables that lead from each of the lights to the ezCAN unit.
The claim from both HEX Code and indeed from other ezCAN clients, was how easy the install of the ezCAN is. How easy was it then? Well, I’ll tell you, I can’t imagine how HEX could have designed it to be any easier.
Including the time to disconnect and remove my OEM battery (for safety) the total time for installation was approx. 40 minutes.
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Location, location, location
With the seat and rear luggage rack unbolted and removed for easy access, we chose an easily accessible location under the rear passenger seat, to secure the ezCAN main unit, and where we connected it to the R1200’s CAN bus system via the BMW RDC (Reifendruckkontrolle) interface. In simple terms, this means that we plugged the ezCAN directly into the R1200’s nervous system and clicked it in place. There was no cutting or splicing of wires, which means that installing the ezCAN “does not” void your bikes warranty.
With the old Clearwater harness and CAN-opener removed, we then created two lengths of new wiring to connect the Clearwater lights to the ezCan system (one for the left light and one for the right). Each length simply comprised of a live and an earth wire, which we protected in shrink-wrap. With the help of my soldering wizard Darrell, we soldered the new wires to the original Clearwater connectors (which reconnect to the lights) and soldered the other ends to the supplied ezCAN female plug connectors. We the help of a metal wire hanger bent to shape, we then routed the new wires under the 1200’s air box and alongside the BMW OEM harness system. It was neat and simple.
We connected a range of accessories as follows.
- Connector 1 Left Krista Clearwater Light
- Connector 2 Right Erica Clearwater Light
- Connector 3 Clearwater Billy Rear Auxiliary Brake Light
- Connector 4 Dual USB waterproof port. (For charging flashlights, SENA units, Weego portable battery, and any other USB rechargeable products)
The ezCAN port connectors are colour coded, with two high powered output feeds for accessories that will require higher power throughput i.e. lights or horn, and two lower powered feeds for accessories i.e. USB charging ports or auxiliary LED brake lights. The high output connectors are also cut visibly longer than the lower powered connectors, which makes it super easy to know and remember which accessories should connect to where. That’s a simple but nice touch from the manufacturers.
The ezCAN offer a variety of well thought through facilities and user-friendly benefits.
Like other CAN friendly systems, the ezCAN takes full advantage of the BMW i-drive wheel, which negates the installation of additional harnesses or buttons. That’s a big deal, if, like me, you want to avoid throwing more switches and wiring onto your machine.
The ezCAN system however, provides an incredible range of customization, for example you can choose and set the brightness levels, for both daytime and night-time scenarios. After downloading the ezCAN software (download link here)
Check out below for some of the options and setting the ezCAN provides:
The ezCAN system allows functions for additional front facing lights, including:
- Fuse settings.
- Low beam day and night brightness control settings.
- High beam day and night brightness control settings.
- The ezCAN can be programmed to allow the auxiliary lights to be used as turn signals, with an on/off option that turns off the opposite side auxiliary light to prevent the OEM turn signal from being visually over-powered (Check the legality of this feature in your area)
- The “Strobe with horn” facility, when selected, will strobe the auxiliary lights when the horn is used.
- The “Strobe” setting for what HEX call the “flash to pass” function can be set to strobe the auxiliary lights three times rapidly by pulling on the high beam trigger quickly three times.Inverse hazard flashing can be selected which will alternate the flashing between BMW turn signal/hazard lights and your auxiliary lights for greater visibility.
- Auxiliary lighting flash intensity control can be adjusted for daytime output from 0 to 100%.
- Auxiliary light on/off toggling can be set by pressing the turn signal control button for three seconds.
- Auxiliary lights can be dimmed by holding the i-Drive (Wonder Wheel) to the left for 3-5 seconds and then rotating it to adjust the light output up or down within 10 levels of light intensity.
- On or off functionality is available
- Using the turn signal control button will turn “all” the connected auxiliary lights On or Off. Turning the ignition off and back on with the lights back on and reset your system.
- Auxiliary rear tail and brake light brightness.
- No Flashing option (this mirrors the standard brake light output).
- “Flash on braking option” flashes the brake lights while braking above 9 mph (15 kph).
The ezCAN then offers three additional operating parameters. See below:
- California (legal) flashing: flashes four times at 4Hz, then remains on.
- Emergency Stop Signal (ESS): flashes during deceleration (above 50 km/h and if deceleration greater than the threshold set in the "Extra" settings) regardless of rider braking.
- California (legal) with Emergency Stop Signal: combination of California legal brake flashing and Emergency Stop Signal during non-braking deceleration.
All the settings are easily visible and configurable via the ezCAN software interface. If you can operate a smart phone, then you’ll have no problem navigating the software and options. Everything on screen is laid-out cleanly and efficiently. It was a joy to use.
Day Time and Night Time Usability
I’ll confess that I didn’t know that the R1200 has a sensor which identifies daytime and night-time. Plugging in my laptop to the ezCAN allowed me to choose how bright I want my Clearwater lights to run as default during the day, and how bright they become for night time riding. The brightness automatically increases as, and when the BMW daylight sensors identifies that night is drawing in. Clever stuff.
I set my default Clearwater brightness to 30% for normal daytime use and 40% for night time. I then also configure the Clearwater’s to run at 100% power when I activate my main BMW high-beam lights.
As with any electrical accessory, I want to make sure that I have safe guards in place to protect my bike system should an accessory malfunction. Again, ezCAN interface lets you select the digital fuse settings for each accessory separately, and when and how your accessories are activated and perform.
Accessory Function Options
• Fuse setting for the two high-powered output channels can be selected from the following range 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20 and 25A. The range for the lower output channels is 1, 2, 3 and 4A.
• Channel time-out delay settings can also be set to turn off between 0 to 30 seconds once ignition has been turned off.
The ezCAN is a smart and well-designed unit that adds a new level of functionality to either accessories that you already have installed on your machine or to products that you’re about to connect.
Much like the GS-911 product, the unit is well thought through and real attention to detail is visible throughout, in both the physical components used and the intuitive design of the software management interface.
The broad range of configuration options is impressive and yet not over whelming and I’m left with the impression that each setting has been designed to offer real world benefits and to increase rider safety. There are no “disco” options here, just because the designers found they could.
As with most HEX products, the ezCAN is also software updateable, which means purchasers will benefit from future software updates and, more than likely, future improvements in configuration and customization as they become available via HEX.
In closing, the HEX ezCAN is a smart investment for any R1200 rider looking to add accessories, minimize the addition of extra harnesses and control the output and performance of each accessory added.
Sometime a simple video does a better job of showcasing a product, than a thousand tech-based words and descriptions. If you want an idea of what the ezCAN does just watch the video. Enjoy.
Stay tuned: HEX have announced that they will be launching the HEX ezCAN for the F800 & R1200 very soon.
|▲ Small & Lightweight||▼ Currently only designed for the R1200GS LC and K1600|
|▲ Quality construction||
|▲ Super easy installation|
|▲ seemless intergration into yoru bike CAN bus|
|▲ Does not void BMW motorcycle warranty|
|▲ increases safety features|
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