Upgrade headlight for more daytime visibility

Discussion in '1st & 2nd Generation 1983-1989' started by DeeBee, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    As many of you know the Gen1 bikes have a square sealed beam light. I want to upgrade to HID, daylight blue Led's etc. Not only for additional daytime visibility but for the enshrouded by daylight visibility at night, all without having to go to a 50amp charging system.
    I though about clamping two projector beam LED's to the forks. but even with LED lights needing less power it would be added to the power the headlight draws maybe run them only on low beam?

    Anyone know of a light that I can use to get the extra brightness and visibility I need, while cleanly replacing the headlight.

    Would adding a more efficient 50 amp r/r and beefing up the charging systems wiring, give me enough to reliably run two 20 watt LED's ?

    Seems like being seen cures alot of possible run ins with vehicles
    The other biggie which is cars misjudging your speed or acceleration ( car sees you pulling away from a light 100 or so yards away and thinks they have time to get out or across in front of you), is up to me to be aware of and look out for.

    Also couldn't hurt to be able to see obstacles, potholes, patches, oil and gravel a little better / sooner at night.


    Anyhow would love to find a solution, that is cleaner and less expensive than a complete stator/ charging upgrade.
     
  2. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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  3. Grumpy old man

    Grumpy old man New Member

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    I take it you mean a sealed beam unit where the bulb us actually a part of the headlight assembly and is not replacable / removable independently

    As in the bulb, reflector and the glass are one complete unit
     
  4. Mike_

    Mike_ New Member

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  5. jeremyr62

    jeremyr62 New Member

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    I read somewhere for a LED bulb to work well in a headlight the reflector need to be shaped to direct the light, not the front glass. So modern stuff with clear front lenses in other words. Sounds like BS to me but I defer to those with experience. I would consider one of these for my VF500 if they do work in old style headlights.
     
  6. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    As long as the led bulb has emitters in the same location as the original halogen bulb has filaments, then the pattern will be the same. The newer led bulbs have a partial shroud around the low beam emitter which matched what a halogen bulb has so you'll have no light spill upwards.


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  7. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    I checked and even though I have '83 style fuse box amdbwiring the light is a square glass covered housing that only looks like a sealed beam. Pulled it apart and sure enough it has the H4 bulb.
    Sweet that opens up tons of options .

    Strangely enough the engine has the factory upgraded upper cylinder oil line setup, with the 12mm banjo bolt ('87-'88 upgrade release IIRC) coming out of the trans.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
  8. Wands434

    Wands434 New Member

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    I really wish the headlight was a 5x7 not a 4x6 because I would love to put a TruckLight LED sealed beam. They are amazing.


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  9. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    You don't want to put an LED bulb, in a non-LED housing. Numerous reasons can be researched on the internet (mostly about focus and pattern).

    Your best bet is to get either a pulser unit for your existing headlight, or add LED's. I would add LED's. Draw is minimal, and they really do stand out even in broad daylight. Plus that puts multiple hot spots in a broader pattern, which is better than one bigger hot spot.

    COB's give you the most light in the smallest package. Here is one example, but there are many other options out there. I'm sure you could find a form factor that will suit your needs.

    https://www.amazon.com/RioRand-Waterproof-Aluminum-Daylight-Vehicles/dp/B00C1YI2XA/ref=pd_bxgy_263_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M1FT4696DZRXF350XNEG

    Jose
     
  10. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    That's kind of a sweeping statement Jose. I have a a Cyclops LED bulb in my VTR1000, and it works great! Light output is many times better than stock, and the pattern is good aside from some upwards spill (which doesn't affect me but may be a little bright on oncoming drivers). The later versions of these bulbs now have a shroud on the low beam which mimics the shroud that exists on the low beam in a standard halogen bulb, to minimise the upward spill. So long as the LED emitters sit in the same physical location as the standard filaments, the focus remains the same, but you benefit from a whole lot more lumens, and lower watts.
     
  11. DaHose

    DaHose New Member

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    It is a sweeping statement cadbury, but factual. There is no legal LED replacement for our headlights (UK or US) and you are also on the money as to my big concern. I want to be noticed, but I DO NOT want to dazzle oncoming drivers with an eye level light that is not only super bright, but has pattern spill on top of it. Not to mention a cager could use your illegal headlight to excuse them doing something silly.

    I consider the best option soldering the connections on your reg., putting in a brighter bulb with ceramic base, and adding DRL's that are COB based. That should give plenty of light, much more visibility, and be legal.

    If you really want a TON of light, then you could put in a relay too, and run a 90 watt halogen.

    Jose
     
  12. captainmook

    captainmook New Member

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    Hey DeeBee --

    I'm recently purchased a new (used) rectangular headlamp for my '84 Interceptor off of eBay (see attached photos). I asked the previous owner the same question about finding an LED bulb to replace the original (and obviously less brighter) bulb, and he said that it can easily be replaced - here's the link he sent me .....

    https://hogworkz.com/h4-led-motorcy...gle_shopping&gclid=COnngY6O284CFQYvaQodyPQAzA

    I'm also looking at a newer version that was linked by one of the other respondents to Amazon -- the headlight there looks promising, although the cost is significantly more than this solution.

    I'm planning on doing a full restoration on my bike now, stripping it to the frame and rebuilding it piece by piece to get her to her former glory, and once I get the headlight issue resolved, I'll be sure to let you know. BTW - got the bulb on eBay for $15, it was listed at 25 obo, guy I bought it off delivered it within a few days, looks good -- see pics enclosed. Keep us all up to date on your progress, and if you get any other links to other bulbs !!

    CM. "-)[​IMG][​IMG]


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  13. Wands434

    Wands434 New Member

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    So the actual light housing is too small for a 5x7 I don't have my front cowl to measure but I think there may be a way to mod this to accept a 5x7 and use the trucklits led DOT legal hi lo headlight beam.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I think the outer frame could be used to house the light. This is my new winter project.


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  14. Wands434

    Wands434 New Member

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    If you haven't seen one in person they are very nice lights.


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  15. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    Ended up winning an impulse bid for 2X 40watt high/30watt low beam LED bulbs with adapter boxes. The same kit re-branded with a US company label costs around $100 a set. I got these for 1/4 of that.

    A 20watt 1200 lumen Led bulb puts out roughly the same light as a 50-55watt halogen. That makes a 40watt 3600-4000 Lumen bulb about 3 times brighter (at least 2X as bright as lumen ratings are often exaggerated by measuring directly at the light source rather than 1 meter or whatever the standard is.)
    That said, my plan is to temporarily mark a line on the driveway and an aiming grid on my garage door. Then mark and compare the light patterns specifically low beam to make sure that the primary beams are the same height, might aim the LED slightly lower if hr has alot of light spilling over the top of the beam. Might limit my high beams distance, but don't want to blind cagers.

    I will report my findings maybe snap a couple pics.


    As far as the 5X7 light:

    The cowl fits pretty tight around the stock headlight , no doubt you would have to trim back the cowl removing the place where the plastic rolls back around the stock light.

    Be ready to add back something around the light so that the cowl doesn't loose it's strength, some 1/8" thick by 3/4-1" aluminum angle bracket mounted with your preference of decorative screws (chrome , black, spikes, the list goes on) is one idea. Might be a sweet mod but with the cost of the light plus fab work and such , it's just too much to sink into a headlight for me with soo many other little details that
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  16. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    OK got the bulbs in and installed one of the two, I have about $25 in the pair.

    IMAG0203.jpg
    IMAG0204.jpg
    IMAG0205.jpg
    IMAG0206.jpg

    I am pleased to report that this bulb is quite compatible with the housing on my gen1. After putting the bulb in I observed it is much brighter and emits much of its light in a long flat horizontal bar. The area above and below the bar brighter than a normal bulb but not blinding.

    It is worth noting that I did need to adjust my light after installation, it seemed to shine quite a bit higher. In reality the normal bulb needs it's brightest spot to be shining nearly straight out to give good visibility, whereas the LED bulb needs it's brightest area slightly lower to avoid blinding oncoming traffic, as well as the rider when alot light reflected back from out front.
    Now that it is adjusted I love it. I have actually got a few compliments on it from people I work with as its still dark when I ride to work.

    The light is super white with hint of ice blue, visibility is much better than stock , you can see a large area in front of you almost as if it's daylight, the obvious pattern of the light reminds you this is not the case.

    The bulb itself has an aluminum heat sink with a small fan to dissipate any excess heat from the rear of the bulb.

    It's nice knowing that it is much harder to miss me day or night. Drawing only 30 watts on low beam/40 for high versus 45+ watts for low and 55 watts for high couldn't hurt either.

    Looks like LED technology has gotten muc better in the last few years, and will continue to do so as it starts becoming mainstream do many consumer applications.

    Later
    Db
     
  17. Wands434

    Wands434 New Member

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    Could you post link where u purchased. Good work.


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  18. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    http://m.ebay.com/itm/80W-60W-Car-C...-9004-9005-9006-9007-/262645953407?nav=SEARCH

    There are several different auctions for these running at any given time, seems like what I paid is about average as far as winning bid and shipping goes.

    Alternatively, almost anything you can get from eBay that ships from China can be had from www.Bangood.com , usually at a lesser price , from the same vendor each time, and they have US stock for many items.

    Seems like Bangood has ship times equal to the quicker e-bay vendors, they also have pre-order and back order features so no waiting for an item to be listed .

    Good luck and enjoy.
     
  19. captainmook

    captainmook New Member

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    Thanks for this, watching the item not w on eBay -- I'll post as well once I get the light and have it installed.


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  20. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    Here are a couple pics of the light pattern the phones camera dims the light to make for a balanced picture ,so you don't see the almost ridiculous brightness of the reflected light at such close range. For reference the light around the main beam, that is almost completely dimmed out in the photo, is somewhat brighter than a normal halogen bulb.
    IMAG0207.jpg
    Bike at less than 10feet away from door.
    IMAG0208.jpg
    In reality the dark areas around the main beam are lit normally , the light bar is still extremely bright at 20+ feet.

    I will try to find a larger wall where I can park the bike on its center stand 30 or so feet away. Then back up far enough that the picture shows the main beam, all of the fringe light as well as the darkness outside of the fringe area. I will experiment and try to get a picture that actually looks like what is seen by our eyes.

    I also want to hook my multimeter up online and get actual voltage and amperage readings to see how many watts both the light and adapter package draw, as well as the power draw of the bulb alone. This way we can get a good idea how much power is used by the adapter box
    I also want to test the second bulb to see if the brightness, power draw ,and pattern are consistent.

    I ordered these from China because I really cannot afford to buy from local shops. This comes with certain risks. If there is a problem I would have to pay to ship it back to China and wait up to a month for it to get there and a replacement to make it back. Also Quality Assurance isn't as good.
    A local company that buys 500 or 50,000 lights and converter boxes in bulk , is much more likely to test each one ,throw out any with weak/ uneven light or other ladies that make it past less stringent testing. They often will match sets for pattern and brightness. When buying local warranty replacement is quick and easy, often the vendor will pay for return shipping or even send the new one out immediately.
    There is a whole list of things I do to reduce the pains of buying overseas, that make it worthwhile for me. That's not what this thread is about though. I prefer to buy more locally and watch for closeout deals, holiday sales, etc.

    Later db
     
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