LED Headlight Install - 5th Gen

Discussion in 'Mechanics Garage' started by zoom-zoom, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    I'm certain that the foursome could be arranged at some point next year. First things first though, we need Angie to get her full license. Maybe if she had a real life, if retired police officer, to help her get her license, she might have an easier time of it.
     
  2. silverbullet132

    silverbullet132 New Member

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    You used to be able to get a full projector kit for $150 or so shipped, not any more :(
     
  3. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    They are assholes even in retirement. The one I know didn't help me in the slightest. Seriously though, I trust she is taking a course. Almost guarantees a pass with ICBC road test.
     
  4. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Well actually I meant moral support, but heh, any other kind would be good as well. LOL. Yes, she is going to take the KDSC Motorcycle Safety Course this coming spring, and not because is it was my idea (though I certainly encourage it) but because She WANTS to take the course.
     
  5. vfrcapn

    vfrcapn Member

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    Well, ordered, should be a project for next weekend. From what I googled replacement bulbs are about $40 though? Either way, I'd expect the LEDs to last a long time so it all sorts out in the wash.
     
  6. danny_tb

    danny_tb New Member

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    Thanks for the write-up Zoom!

    The camera is probably adjusting the shutter speed, ISO and apperture (f-stop) to get its desired exposure. This will result in settings that let less light into the camera for the LED photos, making it seem like it isn't as bright as it really is.

    To compare the LED/standard globes more meaningfully, take a photo of the standard light distribution and note the camera's settings for ISO, F-stop and shutter speed. Then manually set those settings and take a photo of the LED's light spread. The LED's photo will probably be over-exposed, but it will give a much better idea of the increased brightness. :)
     
  7. Allyance

    Allyance Insider

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  8. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    I checked out this link and yes, that is the same kit, just be careful when ordering as the bulb shown in your link is an H7 (low beam only) and not the same bulb as the VFR requires an H4 (hi/low beam).

    The kit shown is a bit more expensive than the one I purchased and when I bought the kit the seller was also offering a 10% discount off the price so my kit was $85 plus shipping as I recall. Good find though.
     
  9. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Hey danny

    I thank you for the info on how to take the pictures so that the light pattern and brightness shows up better. My main issue here is that I have a point and shoot type camera that is, dare I say, about 10 years old and it is not able to adjust the settings for aperature, etc, so alas, I am unable to change the photos, and I must honestly admit to most of what you said being over-my-head. I do have a friend (or mate as I believe you call them) that has a Nikon D70 (a $4000 professional grade camera) that would most certainly have these abilities and I will see if he can give me a hand with the photos so that I can post up the differences for the lights in a more representative photo.

    I promise I shall do my best and my friend will most surely understand the suggestions. Hopefully I can find another nice day before the snow starts to fly so that I can re-shoot the pictures.

    Thanks for the suggestion. :smile-new:
     
  10. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Hey capnvfr

    The install should take you no more than about 3 hours total (including a beverage break). I think I took a bit longer because I took the headlight to work with me to install the ballasts and bulbs at my shop at work where it was warm. My garage is not heated and it was cold, cold, cold (about -15*C or near 0*F) when I installed the headlights. I figured that the 3M adhesive tape I used would not stick well at that temperature, so when I got home to install the headlight back in the fairing I noticed that the ballasts made contact with the outer fairing and the wiring harness. The pictures of the ballasts I have shown in this build thread are the locations as they sit on the bike now, so if you look closely at how they line up on the sides of the headlight housing everything should fit fine.

    Be aware of anything installed on your upper fairing on the gauge bezel plastic if you have a voltmeter or similar. They might interfere with one another as there is not a lot of room in behind the fairing on the left side because of the wiring harness being on that side of the bike.

    Good luck with the install and if you have any questions I would be happy to help.
     
  11. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Yes, that looks like the same kit. One thing to keep in mind from what I read when I started researching the LED headlights is that the bulb temperature of about 4300K is as close to natural daylight as you can get. Apparently the higher the bulb temperature the less light (in overall brightness) will be produced by the headlights and bulb temps of more than 6000K were not recommended as the light becomes more bluish than white and thus decreases their effective output.

    Oh and my apologies Allyance, I did just notice that you have a 6th gen bike with the quad headlight setup so your bike may indeed use an H7 bulb for the low beams. The H4 bulb in the fifth gen acts as both the high and low beam on my bike, whereas your bike uses 2 low beam bulbs and 2 high beam bulbs. I'm not sure which bulbs would be required for the 6th gen. bikes.
     
  12. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Cree LED bulb battery load test

    Having a little free time this afternoon I decided to try a load test of sorts on the battery. The main reason for the test is two fold.

    1. I wanted to find out how warm the heat sinks on the LED would get over time
    2. I wanted to determine how much voltage was being used. Since LED's are supposed to draw less amperage I was curious as to there draw.

    Here are a few of the test parameters. The battery was fully charged and had been on a battery tender for the last couple weeks.

    1. Battery voltage at rest with the key off was 13.1 VDC and 100% charge according to the battery charger/tender
    2. Temperature of garage was 12*C or 53*F
    3. Battery voltage at rest according to Digital Multimeter 13.0 VDC taken across battery terminals

    All remaining voltage readings are taken directly across the terminals at the battery.

    Bike information is 2000 VFR800 with LED lights for the tach, speedo, and LCD display reading and Cree LED Headlights (rated 25W per bulb on high for 50W total draw). All other lights on the bike are standard bulbs that came with the bike from the factory.

    Battery voltage at beginning of test - 12.2 VDC (Key in on position with high beams and all running lights on) with voltage taken across terminals.

    Voltage reading at 10 minutes - 12.11 VDC - Testing the bulb heat sink by touch there is no discernable difference in temperature.

    Voltage reading at 15 minutes - 12.06 VDC - Testing the bulb heat sink by touch there is no discernable difference in temperature.

    Voltage reading at 20 minutes - 12.01 VDC - Testing the bulb heat sink by touch there is barely a change in temperature (maybe a couple degrees fahrenheit)

    Voltage reading at 25 minutes - 11.94 VDC - Testing the bulb heat sink by touch it is a tiny bit warmer than at start of test (maybe 5 degrees fahrenheit)

    Voltage reading at 30 minutes - 11.88 VDC - Testing the bulb heat sink by touch there is no discernable difference from the 25 minute mark.

    Voltage reading at 35 minutes - 11.84 VDC - Testing the bulb heat sink by touch there is no discernable difference from the 25 minute mark.


    Not wanting to drain the battery completely I stopped testing at 35 minutes and turned off the key. I let the battery rest for about 5 minutes and then tested the battery voltage again across the terminals and got a reading of 12.31 VDC

    I then plugged the battery back in to the battery charger tender and the reading was 12.4 VDC and the charger indicator showed the battery to be at 74%


    If I were to draw a conclusion from this test it would be that the LED headlights draw very little current compared to the stock bulbs. I say this because I accidentally left the lights on (low beam) on my bike a few months ago and when I noticed that I had left the key on about 30 minutes later the lights were barely a dim flicker and the battery was down to 15% according to the battery charger when I plugged it in.

    The second conclusion I would draw from the test is that though the Cree LED bulb's do have a heat sink with a fan on them, the actual temperature of the base of the bulb (the plate the fan attaches to which screws to the heat sink on the end of the bulb itself) barely became warm to the touch (and I mean barely warm). As a result I would imagine that, if for some reason the cooling fans failed, the airflow caused by the bikes movement should be enough to keep the bulbs from over-heating. The other thing I have noticed in the past is that the actual face of the headlight with the stock bulbs would get warm or even somewhat hot to the touch after a ride of say 100 KM's. After 35 minutes of continuous operation at a standstill in the garage (granted it was only 12*C) the face of the headlight was almost the same temperature as the surrounding fairing parts.

    Hope all of you in VFR land find this information useful. It gives me a bit of peace of mind concerning things like the bulb operating temperature and current draw. Also the ballasts did not change temperature and remained cool to the touch.
     
  13. danny_tb

    danny_tb New Member

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    Cool! No more baked on bugs to remove from the headlight! :)
     
  14. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Considering that winter has befallen my home town and weather shall not be overly conducive to riding for a little while I shall not be able to really test out the new lights for a while to come. When I took the photos with two bikes side by side the weather was about -15*C and thus not very good for riding. That being said I did take my bike for a spin a little while ago in the early evening after it warmed up a bit and the lights did make a WORLD of difference. A lot more light is cast ahead of the bike, including a fair bit more on the ground directly ahead of the bike. The area in front from about the tire to 4 feet ahead there is more light than I ever remember there being. The extra light here is not annoying at all and I really quite like it. The area from about 5 ft to say 30 feet is filled out nicely and there is definitely more, and brighter light than ever before. There also appears to be a lot more light to the sides of the road and since the light is whiter, I find the color contrast makes objects being illuminated to be much easier to see. Not really sure how to describe this, sort of something one must see to understand. If you have ever driven a car with HID headlights, or one of the new models with LED headlights you may understand but everything the headlights illuminate just seem easier to see.


    This is all after only a short (maybe 30 km's) 20 minute ride. In the whole time, I had not one high beam flash, and not one person ahead of me was seen to be dimming their rear view mirror, and I paid close attention to this as with most vehicles without tinted window it is relatively easy to see someone adjust the mirror. I also paid close attention to the where the light beam was being cast on the vehicle directly ahead of me, and how far the headlights of the cars beside me cast their headlight beams. From fairly quick first impressions on the road, the amount of light being cast is fairly similar to a current body style BMW M3 hard top convertible, as I was riding beside one down the highway for a short period.

    When my wife came outside with me to flick the switches on the headlights from Low to High for me she made an interesting comment. She turned on her headlights (no comment) and when I turned on the new headlights on my bike her comment was "Shit, my headlights SUCK. You were planning on doing the same to my bike, right?" Naturally my response was the same any happily married man would make, "Why, Yes dear!!" LOL. Seriously though, my wife, who normally does not pay a huge amount of attention to adding farkles to her bike was definitely on board with a headlight upgrade. Even with stock bulbs in the headlights (Sylvania Silverstar H4 bulbs in both bikes by the way) she commented that the headlights on her bike were not quite as bright as the stock headlights on my bike. This may in part be due to the fact that the 5th gen has a completely clear headlight lens whereas the 4th gen is not totally clear.


    Am I happy with them, YES, I would have to say overjoyed at this point. Hopefully biking season this year is not far away and I can provide some more comparisons, but for now, I will have to wait till winter ends. I have ordered a second kit for my wife's bike (96 VFR) and plan to retrofit her headlights as well. When I finished I will definitely post up some before and after photos and I will be sure to be more careful about leaving the bike in the same position so that there is a more accurate depiction of the difference.

    Hope everyone has a great New Year and all the best.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  15. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    Great write up as always
    :thumbsup:
     
  16. nookiaz

    nookiaz New Member

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    Yep, Mr. Z convinced me to get my own kit. I'll fly him over for the install :D
     
  17. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Another member sent me this link and this company looks as though it has been around for quite a while. The actual kit looks nearly identical and overall cost is fairly similar.

    http://www.vleds.com/bulb/h4-cxa-2000lm.html

    Might also be worth a look. When I thought about converting to HID lights I odd look into this company but at the time was unaware that they offered LED upgrades. Apparently they do.
     
  18. vfrcapn

    vfrcapn Member

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    The eBay company got back to me a few days ago, apologizing profusely because they had apparently run out of stock on the kits after I bought one. They offered 1) an immediate refund, 2) wait 5-6 business days for them to get it back in stock and a small credit to their eBay store. They also posted a note on the eBay auction that delivery was being delayed 5-6 days. So I'll get it in next week, no big deal. Nice of them to get right on it and offer a couple of reasonable solutions.
     
  19. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Good to know Captain. I would be very interested to hear your comments on the lights. Out of curiosity sake I googled Rocklin, California so I can only assume that your riding season lasts a bit longer than mine. LOL.

    Seems like a really cool little town if I do say so myself. Has a really neat small home town feel, and the town website was interesting to read.
     
  20. stoshmonster

    stoshmonster New Member

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    Big Thanks for the heads-up Zoom-Zoom. :high5:

    Hmmm........you've got me thinking now my friend. I'm seriously going to have to look into adapting this Cree LED light kit to my 6th gen. Looks like it would be simple enough,just need to add 2 wires.

    The stock '02-'05 6th gen. bikes use 2 dual filament H4 bulbs for the low beam lights and 2 single filament H7 bulbs for the high beam lights.

    The interesting thing about the 2 H4 bulbs used on the early model 6th gen. bikes is that only the filaments for the low beams are used. The filaments for the high beams in the H4 bulbs have no power wires running to them so they're never used.

    The low beam filaments in the 2 H4 bulbs are wired to be on ALL the time. When you flip the high beam switch ON you're simply powering up the 2 H7 bulbs which act as your high beam lights.
    It's amazing how many early model 6th gen. owners don't know that.

    To gain a bit more light on my bike I swapped out the stock 55/60W H4's for a pair of 80/100W H4's and swapped out the stock 55W H7's for a pair of 70W H7's.

    A few years ago I looked into the possibility of powering up the 2 unused high beam filaments in the H4 bulbs on my 6th gen. but to make it work properly it required wiring in an extra relay to turn off the supply power to the low beam filaments before powering up the high beam filaments. You don't want both of the filaments in the H4 bulbs on at the same time because it generates a ton of heat and uses a lot of electricity.

    According to your findings Zoom-Zoom the Cree LED lights seem to be using less power and are throwing a broader (side to side) and longer (distance down the road) swath of light. I see that as a definite advantage.

    Riding through the forests of the Kettle Moraine here in the Frozen Wastelands at night with all the beasties about is at times a dodgy and scary proposition. I upped the wattage on my lights and while it did throw a lot more light out in front of me compared to stock I've found that it's much more important to illuminate more of the roadway (side to side and distance down the road) than it is just to make it brighter out in front of you.

    Gotta say from your pics it certainly does appear as though the Cree LED lights throw a broader and longer swath of light. Now then if they threw a broader and longer swath of light AND also threw a lot more light out in front of you compared to stock then that would just be icing on the cake.

    Yep,definitely gonna hafta look into these my friend. :thumb:
     
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