The Aftermarket Lights FAQ
compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.

If you're looking for information on Power Draw see Electrical Misc FAQs &/or Electrical Misc Qs GS

For Installation Tips & Photos of Lights on the F650GS/Dakar click the Link
For General OEM Information - Headlights, OEM Bulb Installation Tips, Headlight Problems
For Reviews on Other Web Pages See Lighting: Other Sources & Reviews

For More information on "How many Lights can I run", "Flashers Don't Flash" and similar Q's see the Electrical Misc FAQs
For Problems with the Rear Brake Light See Brake Light

Before we start, a few facts :
1. The stated output of the CLASSIC alternator is 280 watts.
2. The stated output of the GS/Dakar alternator is 400 watts. The FI type needs more power to run its various electronics, but still has more to spare (unlikely that you will ever flash the main beam, blow the horn, cycle the ABS, turn the heated grips on at the same time).  Andy #982

And a Word of Caution:
Some found that mounting driving lights close to the indicators makes the indicators "invisible" to on coming traffic with the lights turned on.

BULBS

Replacement Headlight Bulbs

Generic Bulbs and Comments

Replacing HL Bulb pointers
NormJ #473

 

Okay, per mason 631's request, here is a brief set of pointers regarding changing the headlight bulb. The reason this may be relevant to anyone is that the little manual that comes with the bike fails to mention how satanically nasty the little clip that holds the bulb in place is. If it were manufactured with some kind of permanent mounting to the white plastic ring on the housing, it would be cake; instead, the tight quarters under the fairing and the clip's demonic desire to pop loose of its own accord make the job a hassle.

  1. If you have the time and are _real_ concerned for protecting your new bulb from being accidentally touched and/or soiled, go ahead and remove the fairing per the FAQ. it will take longer but may be easier; you will have better access to the headlight assembly.

    I did not remove the fairing because one of the crush-nuts (or whatever they are called) that holds my screen on is nearly impossible to reinstall. I am out of valium and my allergy medication is preventing me from drinking the amount of beer it would take me to calm down after the nightmare of reinstalling that little bugger.

  2. Pull off the 3-prong wire plug to the light. this may be easiest from below and in front of bike.

  3. GENTLY begin removing the rubber stopper that seals/protects the back of the bulb and the reflector. do this by starting from the outside circle, gently loosening one section at a time, moving around until the stopper feels "loose". then gently pull it straight back. it has three slots that match the prongs of the bulb. you can put your thumb on the prongs and pull back on the stopper, so that you are not yanking on the whole assembly.

  4. Now, take a peak at the retainer clip that is holding the bulb in place. It is evil. Learn to fear it. It is released by pinching the two right ends together so they both release from little hooks to which they "stick" due to the spring action of the clip itself.

    On the left side is why the clip sucks. When the tension of the clip is released, it wants to move left and back, thus coming free of the "notch" in the white assembly that holds it. It is reinserting the clip into its left side "notch" that is keeping anti-anxiety drug makers in the black; it just doesn't want to go back in _and_ stay in place while you close it over your new bulb.

    SO TRY NOT TO DISLODGE IT FROM THE LEFT SIDE NOTCH!!

    Gently squeeze the two right ends together and keep tension towards the right of the bike as you try and swing the clip open.

  5. Try to do as little jostling as possible when you pull the bulb out. It should come straight back and out. You are quite likely to knock the clip loose right here. If so, savor the moment and trot-out those seldom-used curses you keep filed away for special occasions. Stick the new bulb in keeping the same caution. I found this process to be easiest from the right side of the bike, with the bars turned full left.

    I wore rubber gloves and moved wires out of the way to keep from fouling the bulb glass.

  6. If you haven't dislodged the clip by this point, run out to the nearest 7-11 and buy a lottery ticket. Otherwise, turn the bars full right and stand on the left of the bike. Insert the clip's mid-section into the notch and push it right until you hear it "click". This is easy. What sucks is not knocking it loose while you try to close it over the bulb. I did this by clicking it in the notch, then while still on the left side of the bike, gently folding it over the bulb until it was fully in place but not clipped.

  7. CAREFULLY turn the bars full left and move to the right of the bike. While pulling the clip towards you (to the bike's right), pinch them together and push them forward until they seem to fit in their proper place. Then release them. For me, it took about 5 tries for this step; when it finally worked, it was by allowing one side of the clip to seat first, then doing the next. And in the meantime the clip might very well pop out of the left side of the housing

  8. I cleaned the prongs on the bulb and the socket at this point.

  9. Reinstall the rubber gasket with the utmost in care.

  10. Put the plug back on.

    I sincerely hope that my technique was just dumb-ass from the beginning and that no one has ever or will ever have the same problems changing the damn bulb.

UPDATE:

A few months back I posted an anguished account of my severe difficulties replacing the head lamp bulb. the stupid clip kept coming off and was impossible to reseat. Some joker replied that s/he had zero trouble replacing bulb and that it took only 90 seconds to accomplish. I wanted to track that inmate down and fill their gas tank with bud light. try running your bike on that schwag. Well, parked on the grass in the windy plains of S.D., I replaced my headlight bulb in about 97 seconds with no hassles. That damned clip stayed put no fuss no muss. Go figure.
 

Rewiring the High Beam?

Q. Has anybody rewired their high beam so that the low beam stays on when you turn on the high beam? Testing with that little high beam flasher switch seems to indicate a lot better overall light coverage with this setup. Hard to do? Good? Bad?

Headlight Plug Meltdown

High Intensity Discharge  (HID)

 

See HID by Will England for a good review.

PIAA

PLAZMA XENON BULBs

Philips Vision Plus H4 headlight.

Auxiliary Light FAQs/Installation & Mounting Reports

PIAA/Motolights/HELLA FAQs

Q. How do I install them?

I'm putting the PIAA lights on my '99 F. The instructions say I need to find a wire to tap in to to be a power source for the switch. Suggestions? I don't have a voltmeter or wiring diagram of the bike.

A1.
I connected it to high beam positive wire. Marko

A2. If you use the high beam tap, you will only be able to run the PIAAs with the high beams on. The benefit to that is being able to control the light with the high beam selector (i.e. left thumb). the downside is you can't run the low beams and the PIAAs. I added a second switch during my installation as an afterthought. It's a three-line water-proof switch mounted in the dash. The PIAA relay input goes to the middle line. the other lines are connected to the parking light (my original tap) and the high beam. using this switch allows me to run the PIAAs regardless whether high or low beam (by setting the switch to the parking light side). It also allows me to control the PIAAs by the high beam selector (by setting the switch to the high beam side). this setup gives you the most flexibility AND convenience when riding the back roads. makes it easy to shut down the PIAAs and high beams simultaneously for oncoming traffic, but also allows for lane splitting with the PIAAs and low beam. Mark #403.

A3. I ran mine back to the fuse box under the seat-- to make it switched with the bike and to keep the wiring organized and logical. I put an inline fuse about 6 inches away, also under the seat. My switch is a very neat OEM-looking, weather-proof toggle switch through the dash, between the gauges. Jo' in NJ

A4.  The parking light positive lead is a popular choice and recommended in Cyclegadgets instructions. A word of caution, however: If you inadvertently turn off your ignition to the park position (thereby turning on the PIAA's), and don't notice that you've done so, it won't take long to run down your battery. Also, I've forgotten to turn off my PIAA's in stop-and-go traffic, and have needed a push to get started. Cary in Vancouver.

A5. Relays and driving lights. I installed my driving lights several weeks ago, and I ran a wire from the hi-beam to my lighting relay: this wire triggers the relay which then has my driving lights go on and off with the hi-beam. This has worked very well so far. But Natalie recently posted a comment about having the driving lights on with the low beam by using a 3-way switch. Since I don't drive much at night in busy traffic I never worried too much about that. But winter is here, and last night I ran an errand on the bike, and of course city traffic was busy, and I felt obligated to keep my hi-beams off. I felt pretty invisible with my yellowish driving lights off: I've been told by friends that they REALLY stand out in traffic.   Scott, ID #1244

A6.
1- Get yourself a voltmeter or Digital Multimeter if you can.
2- diagram of the H4 plug/bulb from the driver standpoint:

low beam
____

| |
| |
ground high beam
(green)

I tapped the high beam, added an inline fuse at the battery + lead, and a waterproof two-post switch to disengage the entire system if needed.

3- Of course you are using a relay and new wiring for the supply leads instead of the existing wiring, right?
In Summary, Clockwise from left vertical post: Ground (brown), Low (yellow), High (white). The arrangement is logical.  Jason#1027 UT

Q. Do I really need a Relay?

Q. I just added 110 watts of lighting to my '02 Dakar. Hope my battery can survive it. I wired the halogen "Rally" lights to the hi-beam wire just before the wires enter the headlight. Doing this, the additional lights come on with the high beam, and off when on low beam. I may add a switch to allow me to turn them off completely if desired. My question: Will I overload the original headlight wires by essentially doubling the amount of draw through them?

A. Short Answer If you didn't feed the new light with a relay, YES, you are likely to melt down your wiring or switch shortly.

Q What about Alternatives for Mounting them?

For Installation Tips & Photos of Lights on the F650GS/Dakar click the Link

When installing the lights bear in mind NOT to put them too close to the turn signals Here's Why:

Windshield Mounted

Q. Will they overload my Alternator?

Q. Why do I keep Blowing Fuses after Installing them?

Q. OK, the new "ally" lights work great, but I've blown two fuses in two days. But they work great when the fuses are intact. It seems the fuse blows if I start the engine with the high beams (and the Rally) lights turned on. I don't know about the other years, but the '02 Dakar has the lights shut down while cranking, and then they come back on after the engine fires up. This is when the 15A in-line fuse seems to blow. The relay I bought for the lights is not of the same brand, but for a different brand driving light. Could the relay be rated too high, and is drawing more power than the fuse can handle? If I use a 20A fuse, am I likely to blow the halogen bulbs? The short-term fix is to turn off the driving lights prior to cranking, but that requires me to remember to do so.

A1. If I recall, your new lights are rated at 110 W. Add the 55-60 W that your headlight uses and you're at 165 - 170 W. At steady state, the system runs at around 12.6-12.8 V which is 13.5 A. However, as you start up and shut down, the voltage varies. As the voltage goes down, the amps go up. You're not that far away from blowing a 15 A fuse when your steady state is already at 13.5A. I'd try a 20A fuse keeping in mind that the normal fuse for the headlight/turn signals/horn/brake light is already at 15A. As far as blowing your lights, no worries. The fuse just sits there fat, dumb and happy until is sees more than 20A when it blows. It'll pass whatever the load demands but no more than 20A.

A2. Starting the bike with the light on puts a tremendous strain on the battery, that's why there's a cut-out relay in the new bikes. Todd#389

A3. How much current will a dead short pass?[1] It takes TIME to heat the metal of a fuse to the point where it will melt. The higher the current, the less time required. The fact that the fuse melts in a hurry when subjected to a gross over current situation, rather than slowly as when subjected to a 5% over current situation, is an indication that it will indeed pass the higher current. [1] the supply voltage divided by the internal resistance of the voltage supply.

Then Check the Electrical Misc FAQs - Shorts - Blown Ignition Fuse Cure.

Q. Are they any Good?  Opinions

O - Alternatives (generic)

O - Hellas

Pictures of Light "Throw" from your chosen Hella Lights (Text in German).

See also Install Report Below.

O - Motolights

O - PIAAs

O - Touratech Fog & HID Lights

Light Installations for PIAA Lights

PIAA Installation #1
04/11/99
Mark #403

I wrote the following out quickly and in piecemeal fashion. It's not a perfect solution, but it works for me and I actually love the placement. Also easy to adjust angles, etc. The PIAA switch is velcro'd to the base of my left mirror where I can reach it with my thumb. If you try something like this, just don't mount them lower than I did or the wheel could hit under full compression of the shocks.

 

Instead of using a single piece of aluminium, I used 3 pieces that I bolted together. Eventually I will redo this with a single piece, file the two extensions that mount the lights so that they match exactly the shape of the light bases with no overlap (or actually underlap), and paint the whole thing black. So I wont describe exactly what I did, rather I'll describe what I intend to do sometime in the future. You can see the difference between my description and the pictures for yourselves. The one benefit to having done it this way is that the two pieces mounted to the bracket allow the lights to be a little wider apart because of their shape. It's a little hokey, I know, but you can't see the bracket at all unless you get under the bike.

 

I got the aluminium pieces from a local sheet metal shop that I found in the yellow pages. Total cost was less than $20, including the bending and cutting. The shaping and further cutting of the pieces I did with a jig saw and files. The aluminium is really easy to work with. However, it took two attempts with slightly different approaches, each time really an experiment, both times frustrating. It will be smoother next time.

What you need:

The 2 angle is attached to the plastic frame that holds the headlamp (that's the only part about the install I don't like). I drilled two holes into the plate matching the hardware size in a location that I knew would contact the plastic frame. I heated an extra bolt red hot, held up the plate where I wanted it, and melted two holes into the plastic, through the holes in the plate. If you have a flat angle drill, that would be better than melting, but I don't. I had to file notches into the plate where it exited from under the fairing so there would be no metal-to-fairing contact, yet allow the plate to exit as high as possible. Now, mount the lights where you want them and draw around the bases with a pencil. With a saw, take off as much bulk as you can and file the rest to the shape you want.

Obviously, I filed each of the two small pieces individually, then bolted them onto the bracket. The last thing I did was drive a screw through the centre into the plastic tab attached to the fairing for added support. Considering the bracket is mounted to the plastic frame, they are actually very solid and don't vibrate like I thought they might.

Good luck with whatever you do. By the way, the $160 price you found on the internet is the same price I used to negotiate with my dealer. If shipping's not too bad, it's a good price. They're $195 everywhere else I've seen them.

Installation is pretty basic:


PIAA Installation #2
By Flash #412

Homemade Light Bar Installation:

The Wolverine gave me a set of PIAAs that she pulled off her International Scout a decade or more ago. I went down to Home Depot and bought a couple of galvanized brackets used for attaching a wooden 4x4 to something or other for about $2.50 apiece. I cut some of the tabs off the brackets and drilled some holes in them. Using a grinder, I radiused the ends to match the radii of the PIAA brackets. I broke the other corners and edges with a file and then painted them with black semi-gloss engine enamel followed (after appropriate drying time) by treatment with a heat gun to harden the paint.

I drilled holes and mounted the brackets to the plastic engine side covers below the gas tank with a couple of screws each. I soldered some ring terminals on the ends of a pair of pieces of wire an inch or so long to be used as safety restraints in the event that the brackets break from fatigue while I am riding. Hopefully I would notice the light dangling and rescue it if the brackets turn out not to be up to the job.

The brackets follow a line on the plastic that tilts them forward. This is a Good Thing since it means that the lights are tilted somewhat up when the bike is unladen. With a load, the back of the bike drops some which means the lights need to be tilted down so they don't shine up in the trees. If the brackets were level with the ground, I might not be able to get enough down-tilt to keep them where they need to be.

The angle brackets are splayed slightly OUT as attached to the bike. But the PIAA brackets have enlongated holes that allow enough left-right adjustment to get the lights pointed in the right direction.

I ran a healthy wire (via a fuse) from the battery to a relay TyWrapped to the frame that holds the fairing. The relay is activated by a three-position (center off) SPDT switch AND via a diode from my horn relay. The diode connection means that whenever I beep the horn, the lights will be illuminated as long as the horns are blaring (if they aren't already on). (The diode keeps the fact that the lights are on from beeping the horn.) One leg of the switch is connected to the parking light circuit. (I have a Euro lightswitch and can run only the parking lights if I want.) When the switch is in that position, whenever the ignition is on and any lights at all are on, the auxillary lights STAY on. The other switch position is wired to the high beam signal. This means that whenever the highbeams are on, whether flashed or on steady, the auxillary lights will illuminate, but go off when on low beam (or parking light only, or not lights at all).

The light brackets were attached to the angle brackets and the angle brackets to the bike side covers with 4mm screws and hardware. In the photos, the nuts are regular nuts with washers and locknuts. But I later replaced the standard hex nuts with NyLock nuts, retaining the other hardware.

Each light is grounded at its nearby radiator mount. Each of the hot wires runs up around the steering head and into the area under the dash inside some clear plastic Tygon tubing to avoid and chafing and shorting. Where the hot and ground wires join together to go to each light, the pair runs inside heat shrink tubing. The wires simply come out from under the fairing and go to the lights. Molex connectors were used near the lights to simplify removing the lowers when necessary for maintenance or repairs.

The PIAAs each have a 55W bulb in them. Turning them on casts a blue-yellow light. Riding out in the boondocks at night, the difference between just the stock headlight and with the auxillary lights is almost like night and day. I think I am spoiled. I haven't taken any long rides at night with my GSP-voltmeter yet. But riding ten miles with the lights on seems to have no deleterious effect on the state of the battery charge. It is summer, so I haven't tried them with my heated grips and/or electric vest. I figure that if I notice the voltage dropping while running heated accessories, I can either turn them off for a few miles or else just unplug one of them. If I were to drop the bike and destroy the PIAAs, I'd probably replace them with some different (MUCH less expensive) lights.

Here are a few photos showing how they ended up. (Sorry about the crappy focus on the second shot.)



F650ST Driving Light
Teddco #1192 GA 97ST
01-Oct-02

Anyone looking auxiliary lighting for an F650 may want to consider he setup shown in the photos.

  • I bought a set of remote controlled, 55-watt automobile driving lights at Walmart, Cyber White Remote Series NV-526W by Navigator, $39.00. Cut one driving light off the wiring harness, terminate and seal bare wire ends in the harness. (I put the amputated light on my wife's Honda Rebel.).
  • Widen the slots in one mounting bracket to the size of the bolts that hold the horn bracket casting on the underside of the lower triple clamp.
  • Mount light bracket under horn bracket bolts.
  • Mount light that is still attached to wiring harness.
  • Fashion a bracket out of pipe hanger and mounted the receiver (visible in photos) inside the fairing, fastened by the nut that holds the right front turn signal.
  • Remove gas tank, route harness, secure with cable ties.
  • I ran hot and ground directly to battery since harness has in-line fuse.
  • Mount remote holder with double sided tape to dash.
  • I added some thin elastic cord on the remote that slips under the holder to keep it in place. Still plenty of room between light and fender.
  • Nice wide, spread out beam that turns with forks.

Optilux Driving Light Install

by Will in CA #1021

 

 

I have installed the Optilux lights by Hella available at JC Whitney for 49.99 plus shipping (part # 07UB3236P this is the round model with clear lens).  In the event a

bulb burns out they use 55-watt H3 halogen bulbs available at most auto parts stores.  I did use the relay that came with them but the wiring harness and switch were really cheap so I got my own 3 way waterproof switch, fuse holder and the stuff to make a wiring harness.

 

FRONT VIEW OF MOTORCYCLE

LEFT SIDE VIEW OF MOTORCYCLE

 

I made brackets that mount the lights to the fairing just above the turn signal lights.

 

 

 

 

 

CLOSE UP OF LIGHT BRACKET

 

 

 

ANOTHER CLOSE UP OF THE BRACKET

 

I used the same rubber nut thingyís and screws used to hold the ďclassicĒ windscreen (BMW part # 46 63 2 345 091) in place hoping that if I take a fall the rubber will pull through the plastic instead of breaking it.  I wasnít sure if they would hold up to the task but they do.  They have been tested now with thousands of miles including rough dirt roads at high speeds with plenty of vibration and nothing has come loose.  

 

CLOSE UP OF THE WELLNUTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLOSE UP OF THE WELLNUTS

 

The switch and indicator light are mounted using a bracket made from stainless steel sheet metal held in place by the two Allen head bolts (replaced with longer bolts) holding the left mirror to the handlebars.  If I were to make another I would put the large hole that mounts the switch another ľ inch or so further away from the handle bar (towards the rider) allowing a little more room to operate the high beam low beam switch.  Because prototypes out of aluminum are easier to make and the metal can be purchased at many hardware stores this is recommended.  The final installation could also be done with aluminum but I like the shine of stainless steel.  Directly behind the stainless bracket are stacked washers as spacers on the new longer bolts allowing the bracket to sit with no pressure on the rounded part of the mirror handle bar clamp.  More washers are required for the bottom bolt because of the design of the mirror handle bar clamp.

 

With a full-face helmet the indicator light is just out of view.  It should be considered that this little light can be annoying at night if itís two bright or in the wrong place.

 

CLOSE UP OF THE LIGHT SWITCH BRACKET FROM THE LEFT

CLOSE UP OF THE LIGHT SWITCH STRAIGHT ON

 

The three way switch is wired so the up position is running the auxiliary light with the high beams the middle position has the auxiliary lights off and the down position runs the auxiliary lights with the running lights (on all the time; thanks Rodskogi).

 

The new relay is mounted under the dash just behind the tachometer.  Using wire ties itís hung from the fairing-mounting bracket on the left side positioned so the terminals point down.  Marking the terminals using tape on the sides makes it much easier to read the terminal numbers with the relay mounted.  Other wise itís very difficult if not imposable to read the numbers with the relay mounted.

  • Run a new hot wire from the terminal 30 on the relay to the battery (remove the fuel tank to do this) with a fuse close to the battery.

  • Two hot wires go from terminal 87 of the relay to the each of the new lights.

  • The other wire on the new lights goes to ground, any good ground to the frame will do.

  • Connect one wire from the relay terminal 85 to ground (a wire can be run from the battery ground although itís not necessary as long as itís a good ground to the frame).

  • One wire goes from terminal 86 on the relay to the middle position of the new switch.  

  • From the EXISTING high-beam wire near the connection on the back of the head light bulb (you may be able to find another spot to tap into this) run a wire to the new switch high position.

  • The low position on the new switch connects to the EXISTING parking lamp wire just behind the head light (you can tap into other spots for this one).

I also included an indicator light (small) letting me know when the auxiliary lights are on.

 

All in all I have many hours invested in the whole get-up but am quite pleased.  Wow!  What a difference.  When I turn them off I wonder if my regular headlight is still on.  On the twisty roads these are really great.  My friends tell me that in the day from afar I look like a car. 

Taillights

Hyperlights and Light Buddies for F650

22/03/00

Scott
#345

Over the past few weeks I have made two lighting additions to my bike that I now consider necessities for safe riding -- both at night and during the day.

First, I installed M&G Accessories' Hyper-Lites. Hyper-Lites consist of two 1-1/4 x 3/4molded plastic units containing two rows of four LED's. When installed, the units act as additional brake lights that are off during normal riding, blink for 5 seconds when the brakes are first applied, and stay on bright until the brakes are released. They also have a set which will blink forever when the brakes are applied, but I chose to spend the extra money to get the ones that are not quite so annoying to others.

M&G suggests that Hyper-Lites be installed under the plastic taillight lens. However, I found that they could be mounted within the lens. Despite the cleaner look this provides, such an installation limits the light's effectiveness as the brake lens tends to scatter some of the light. When mounted below the lens as suggested, they are extremely bright, and impossible to miss.

Installation was surprisingly easy as M&G provides all the wiring and piggyback connectors required. They also provide very detailed instructions that clearly explain by coordinated colors which wires connect where.

With the piggybacks, you merely pull off the existing wire, connect the piggyback, and then re-connect the existing wire to the back of the piggyback - forming a dual connection. With the exception of a short length of visible wire, all the connections fit neatly behind the taillight assembly and out of site. Although I don't recommend it, I should note here that the installation could be completely stock looking if the Hyper-Lights are mounted inside the taillight lens.

Despite testing various mounting locations, and my near mechanical incompetence, installation about 45 minutes. If you install the lights in the location recommended right off the bat, installation should take no more than 30 minutes. Even better, the units work better than advertised and the total cost was $49.50.

 

 

Content with my ability to be seen during braking, I decided to add some running lights to increase visibility during normal riding. This time, my lights of choice were Scooterville's LIGHT-BUDDYs. Similar to the Hyper-Lights, LIGHT-BUDDYs consist of molded plastic units with integral LEDs. However, each LIGHT-BUDDYs unit has only one row of four LEDs, instead of two rows. The special shape and reduced size allows the units to be installed completely within the turn signal pods. Once installed, the lights only have one function. Namely, to remain on at all times as running lights. Although they are on at all times, there is no interference with turn signal operation as the LIGHT-BUDDYs are overpowered by the blinking yellow turn indicators when you turn.

Installation of the LIGHT-BUDDYs was a bit more involved than the Hyper-Lights because you have to drill two holes, install final piggyback connectors manually, and snake wires around quite a bit. That said, I don't suggest that this was difficult at all. Anyone who can install the Hyper-Lights and use a drill should easily be able to install the LIGHT-BUDDYs.

 

Basically, the lights stick to the silver reflective surface inside of each turn signal pod. A 3/16 diameter hole must be drilled in the reflective surface so that the wires can pass to the rear of the pod. Then, the ground wire connects to the existing ground in the turn signal pod using a factory installed piggyback connection. The hot wire (with bare end) must then be snaked through the turn signal stalk to the rear of the brake light assembly. Once snaked, you have to crimp a piggyback connector on so it can be connected to the hot of the brake light. Do that for each lens and you are done. All told, installation of the LIGHT-BUDDYs should take less than one hour. Total cost for both LIGHT-BUDDYs came to a reasonable $36.00.

Each product can be purchased through their respective manufacturer. I obtained them from my dealer, Cross Country BMW, who keeps them in stock. Addresses and phone numbers for each are listed below. Hope this tip helps you to be seen. Good luck with the installations.

Scooterville, Inc.
6701 W. Lake Anne Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27612
(919) 782-7539

Opinions on Aftermarket Tail-Lights:

ATL: Aerostich

  • Aerostich has an LED replacement for the stop/taillight bulb that most bikes & cars use.  Being an LED it shouldn't be affected by vibrations as much, and also draws much less current.  The price is about US$17. You can probably find them from other sources as well. For some the hefty price is worth it, as there's nothing worse than having a bulb fail at night on not knowing about it. Don't Screw the two Plastic Cover screws too tight, just snug or you will break the Plastic! HsN.

ATL: Backoff

  • I've used the Back Off and also auxiliary LED flashers, like LiteBright. Drivers really notice both. I guess some states have laws about flashing brake lights, but that shouldn't effect you Harl #380

ATL: Generic

ATL: Hyperlites

  • I also use the Hyperlites. Mounted them lower on the bike than suggested to widen the night profile. Took almost no time to install. Wife says mandatory that I use them on any bike I have because of the visibility improvement. David #651

  • Bought mine from Hyperlites directly. If you use PayPal it is quick and easy. The install was pretty simple and they include decent instructions. I had to bend the new saddle connector a bit to allow the assembly to go back together without pinching the wire. The whole job took about 30 minutes. Having a set of real Torx drivers and a 10mm socket/wrench will make it easier. They are bright as heck. I imagine some people behind you at stop lights will find the blinking feature annoying if you need to hold the brake. It can be altered to blink for a few seconds and then go solid. Ditto on the Hyper Lites. Make sure the surfaces are VERY clean before applying the double stick tape. I had one drop off but they sent new tape at my request. http://www.hyperlites.com/unikits.html  BradG#1002.

  • Ordered Hyperlights late last week and they arrived and were installed last night. Simple two wire hook up and I left the green wire intact so that they flash continuously when the brake is applied versus the 5-sec. flash. I commute 2-days per week here in PHX and wanted some extra visibility during darkness to/from work. This was on a 2001 F650GS Dakar. The instructions say to remove the 10mm nuts that fasten the entire fixture to the plastic mounting. I couldn't see how to get to the 10mm nuts so I loosened the top two Torx bolts and the bottom two just enough to slide the entire plastic piece off of the motorcycle. Then, I could easily access the 10 mm nuts to separate the fixture from the plastic mount. Once you do that, you're at the back of the power connectors. Take off the stop wire and plug in the blinker wire. The stop wire piggybacks onto the blinker wire. The other connection is the ground so you remove it, plug in the blinker ground and then piggyback on the original. Fasten everything down with double-sided sticky take, button it all back up, presto-chango, you're done. The only cutting to consider is a green wire that you might cut if you only wanted the blinkers to work for 5-seconds regardless of if you're holding the brakes or just touch them. There's probably pros and cons to each so I'll leave it intact for now. If you were to cut it, all you have to do is tape off the ends. Very happy with the result. http://www.hyperlites.com/F650.html  Gerry, #951

  • I'd also recommend the Hyperlites. I really liked them on my F650, and I'm probably going to put a set on my Gran Canyon within the next week or two. Get the three-way ones, and they make great running lights (low intensity), as well as brake lights. The instructions for the F650 are also really easy to follow (hey, if *I* can install them without any problems, *anyone* can!). Josh #581

  • I love my Hyper Lights. I wanted to get the lights up higher, so I lengthened the leads, and attached them to the bottom of my Givi top case, as far out to the sides as possible. They are much more visible there than in the standard location under the tail light. I also found that they are very directional - brightness changes a lot if not shining right in your eyes. Take pains to aim them. Scott LS

  • I used a halogen bulb as a tail / stop light for a while. But I found that the added current resulted in pitting and burning of the bulb contacts, to the point where it just stopped working. I went back to the stock tail light, and added LEDs (Hyperlights) for added rear end visibility (love 'em). Bob#550 (Olympia WA).

  • I have a 2001 F650GS fitted with both the Hyperlights (5 second flashing) and Signal Dynamics classic license plate with the single top row of LEDs which mimic the tail light. When I ride in the city (Seattle) probably 80% of the bike messengers who see them comment on how visible the Hyperlights are. None of them have commented on the Signal Dynamics LEDs as yet. The Signal Dynamics LEDs are not as obviously added on as the Hyperlights and this may be why they do not get commented on. Still the positive reactions to the Hyperlights from a group of people whose lives depend upon being seen in traffic makes me happy Iíve added them to my motorcycle (makes my wife happy too). LeeG.

  • Super easy to install, and they are really bright. A friend who followed me in a car once said that they were very bright and noticeable. I have mine set in the blink-for-5-seconds mode. Robert in TX #959 Robert in Texas #959 -- Black '97 Classic

  • Installed Hyperlights on my 02 GS last night. Used kit which has running lights and stop flashers. Install was simple, but did have to make a few modifications. First problem, flasher box would not fit through tail light rear wiring hole. Simple fix, enlarged hole. Second problem. Piggy back connectors pointed wiring connector straight back against lens mount. You are unable to mount lens, without crushing connectors. Simple fix, bent piggy back connector at 90 degree angle. Hyperlights is a great product. y2kcorvette.

  • Installed duel purpose hyperlights on my 02. Took under an hour for install, instructions come with kit. Duel purpose lights stay on under normal riding and flash when you brake. You can set stop flash 5 seconds or non stop flashing. Hope this helps. '02 F650GS, '02 K1200RS, N California. y2kcorvette

  • Installed them on my 03 CSA and I love them! Anything to help be noticed in the crowd! Also had a modulator installed in my front high beam. It's great - flashes the bright light on and off. Automatically shuts off at dusk. '03 F650CSA, Kingwood, TX. d2

  • I did find a very curious thing about the brake light on my '03 CS with ABS: There is about 6 volts across the brake light bulb even when the brake light is not on. In other words, if you remove the bulb, you will find 12 volts across the tail socket when the brake light is activated, but there will still be 6 volts across it even when the brake is not activated. I suspect the 6 volts is the sensor current that others have mentioned as the means for sensing when the bulb filament is burned out. In my case I replaced the bulb with a multi-LED bulb that functions as both tail light and pulsing brake light. What I found was that with the LED bulb the brake light was on all the time. Apparently the 6 volts on the brake light circuit was enough to activate the brake light on the LED bulb, even when the brake was not pressed. My solution was to wire a small 3300 ohm resistor from the hot side of the brake light circuit to ground, thereby simulating the presence of the brake light filament. That worked, and the LED light now works just fine. Will in Arizona, USA, '03 F650CS. DesertRider

  • Next.
     

ATL: Kisan Taillight Flasher/TailBlazer

  • I installed the Kisan taillight flasher and then decided that the stock tail-light just doesn't produce enough light. I ordered some Light Buddies, but then returned them, as I found what I thought was a superior solution. Unknown

  • The tailblazer is a modulator which causes the tail light to blink for 5 seconds when the brakes are put on. I have one of those already. For more info see
    Kisantech.com. The splice-in refers to additional wires which are attached for another function, such as 4-way emergency flashers. Chris #856 '99F Fremont, CA

  • SignalMinder I have them and I think they are great, I don't know which brand I have as I bought the bike with them. MasterITRIT #F650-1231 -- '98 F650 Classic -- '80 Yamaha XT250 -- Rochester, NY.

  • I've had flashing brake lights on a couple of bikes and I think they have value as an extra warning to other drivers. I currently have a Run-n-lights model that is a separate light bar that goes beneath the license plate. On a previous bike, I had Life-Brite lights, which are small, separate led lights that attach to the side of the plates. Both of them have worked without problems. One important thing to remember when installing them is that they must be lined up exactly square--that is, facing straight backwards--not tilted up, down, or towards the center of the bike. My husband put his on facing inwards just a little bit and the LEDs did not show up very well at all from behind. When lined up right, they show up very well. We had the Tailblazer flashing bulb, but they were not durable and the electronic flashing control burned out on both of ours very quickly. I've never used the type that fit inside of your turn signals, so can't help you there. But I think that having an extra, external set of lights like the ones above are better to get more attention. Bonnie #1158 -- Northern Illinois -- '02 F650GLA

  • I have the Tailblazer, and I love it. I get a little self conscious about ppl thinking my flashy's are annoying. But otw, it's there and it serves me very well. Plus, the bulb and unit are separate, so Kisantech.com sends a free extra bulb if the light ever goes out....which it hasn't. I really liked how low-tech the thing was. just pop-in and go. FULL ENDORSEMENT. Docc, Austin, TX '02 GSA Black Inmate F6501249'

ATL: LifeBright

  • I've used the Back Off and also auxiliary LED flashers, like LifeBright. Drivers really notice both. I guess some states have laws about flashing brake lights, but that shouldn't effect you Harl #380

  • I've had flashing brake lights on a couple of bikes and I think they have value as an extra warning to other drivers. I currently have a Run-n-lights model that is a separate light bar that goes beneath the license plate. On a previous bike, I had Life-Brite lights, which are small, separate led lights that attach to the side of the plates. Both of them have worked without problems. One important thing to remember when installing them is that they must be lined up exactly square--that is, facing straight backwards--not tilted up, down, or towards the center of the bike. My husband put his on facing inwards just a little bit and the LEDs did not show up very well at all from behind. When lined up right, they show up very well. We had the Tailblazer flashing bulb, but they were not durable and the electronic flashing control burned out on both of ours very quickly. I've never used the type that fit inside of your turn signals, so can't help you there. But I think that having an extra, external set of lights like the ones above are better to get more attention. Bonnie #1158 -- Northern Illinois -- '02 F650GLA

  • Life-Brite Flashing LED Brake Lights: Do they mess up ABS? I called Life Brite and the guy said there were no problems that he knew of. My dad also emailed the guy who we bought these from, here is the email we received from him:
    --------------------------------------
    RE: Re: Life Brite LB-100A

    Your dealer is a moron...er.. I mean... misinformed and you may want to correct them next time you are in there I've sold Hundreds and hundreds of these (and other lights) to 02-03 RS and GT owners and only had one returned because... his dealer told him it would screw up his ABS... and it scared him.

    Here's the deal... You can add any lights you want to the rear of the 2002+RS or GT, but due to the current sensor.. the little idiot light on your dash that tells you if your brake light bulb has burnt out will no longer function unless you can by-pass it some way.. and many are by-passing it. It's a trade off and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the ABS.... Either you have a safer motorcycle for 365 days a year... or you can let your bike notify you 2 times in a lifetime that you need a new tail light bulb. You decide what's more important... If you want to know exactly how everyone else is installing them... I'd post the question to the guys at www.i-bmw.com or http://bmwrt.com/ I've sold many to these guys. Never bothered to ask how they were wiring them but all have said it's a no-brainer...

    and for what it's worth...here is the response from Klaus (owner/designer) Run-N-Lites/Lite Buddy's/Lite Blazers

    From: "RUN-N-LITES Klaus Huenecke" <run-n-lites@monmouth.com>

    The 2002/03 model has the EVO ABS system, which among other things senses whether the tail-light bulb is OK or broken (either measures the current flow, resistance or else) if it senses that the tail light is not functioning, it will send a lower voltage to the brake-light, to make it look as a tail-light, with a higher voltage for the brighter brake light as usual. If someone buys my rear sets Type 10, or the LITE BUDDYs or LITE BLAZER and hooks it up as usual to the tail light, the EVO ABS system will not be able to sense a broken tail-light bulb anymore, because something else is hooked up to the connector and current is flowing all the time. So this feature will not work anymore. But, you are not without tail-light, no need to fear, the Type 10 or LITE BUDDYs will be on. If I explain this to 2002 customers (R 1100 RT, K 12200 LT etc.) they all said: OK never mind I can give up on this feature. To the best of my knowledge, that is the only issue with the new 2002 models
    and my light kits. Klaus.  RideFast

  • Some of the earlier K100 bikes (such as my 1991 bike) were sensitive to current draw in the lighting circuit. They had a warning light that would flash if a bulb went out, or some other problem occurred. Perhaps the dealer thinks that installing a light that draws less or more current will make the bike think that a bulb has burned out, or is not an approved BMW bulb and will trigger the red "warning" light. Affecting the ABS by making changes to the lighting circuit is a new one on me. One other comment: I had one of these bulb-out current sensors on my K100RS. I installed two small additional light bulbs to either side of the main tail light and the warning device was not triggered by the draw of the additional bulbs (even though my dealer warned me that it would have an attack). Sounds like BMW mis-information to me, designed to keep owners from modifying their bikes with improvements that are not engineered and sold by BMW. Richard #230


  •  

ATL: Signal Dynamics

  • I wanted a Signal Dynamics dual LED plate holder, but as they didn't make them in PA size, I convinced them to send me a single LED plate holder and a second separate light-bar for the same price. I installed the LED license-plate holder and then wedged/zipped-tied the LED light-bar underneath the plastic rack in the back, so the light would be higher up and closer to a driver's line of vision. The signal dynamics LED's are SUPER bright (I believe there are 18 LEDís in each bar vs. the Light Buddy 8); one is easily thee times brighter than the stock rear bulb. Suffice it to say you would have to be well beyond legally blind to miss my brake lights. In sum, I think a flashing taillight is less visible than additional lighting. Signal dynamics is highly recommended. http://www.signaldynamics.com/ Mason #631.

  • I have the same lights (Signal Dynamics) on both my Fs; the frame unit on the GS and the smaller pair mounted to the side bag racks. I saw the Hyperlights on a friend's bike installed inside the turn signals. They are nice but I thought very small and not nearly as bright as the Signal Dynamics units. Did have a small problem w/the frame unit however. The two right LEDís started flickering and I had to exchange the unit. Only inconvenience was the takedown and re-install. Art #884.

  • Installed Signal Dynamics red LEDs on 2 bikes recently and honestly, they make the stock tail light look anaemic. Several companies are making LED replacement bulbs, some with a larger center LED that really glows when the brake is applied. These things are BRIGHT!! There are usually 9 LEDs in these, 8 around 1. Some, flip around like Xmas lights but their ads say they are not street legal; only the steady glowing ones are. Problems are 2; The FAQ says the 1157 is the wrong bulb, but will work for a while possibly having corrosion problems "down the road". The other is, I was told today at a MC parts place that the red LEDs do not show well through a red lens. Get the Signal Dynamics LEDs and don't worry about the 5 second thing. Have them on both ABS and non-ABS...., no problems. Art #884

Turn Signals

OEM Turn Signals

from Flash

 

 

Flush-Mounted Front Turn Signals
1/13/99
by Unknown

After repeated collisions in the close quarters garage and several spills on a Colorado Rockies jeep trail had reduced my front turn signals to a re-glued dangling mess, I decided that small markers that did not protrude would be the solution. Lockhart Phillips marker lights provided the answer at a reasonable price. Found at Chaparral Cycle Supply, ask for part number L122-9951 for black body/amber lens. White body/smoke lens are available. Chaparral's number is 800-841-2960 or http://www.chaparral-racing.com for their internet address. Cost is about $13.00 plus shipping. You will need male/female connectors to do a neat job. For $2.50 at my local electronics store I got Waldom molex two circuit nylon connectors. These are the same connectors found on the bike. As with any project, take your time, plan, look, think, go slowly, and always check/double check. If you have no mechanical ability or are accident-prone, get a mechanical friend to do this! Please read all of these instructions before doing anything.

Remove the stock turn signals. Be sure you have the electric shut off. Remove the lens cover and then slide the spade connectors off so that the positive and negative lines can be pushed back through the turn signal body to be left dangling under the fairing. Whether you solder wires, crimp, or just tape things together is up to you. Good connections mean that lights will work.

Examine the Lockhart Phillips turn signal. The bulb has two filaments, meaning that this turn signal can be used as a running light and as a turn signal. The filament that burns brightest is the turn signal, the other, the running light. You will need to test to make sure which is which. The instructions here are for turn signal operation only. Isolate and insulate the wire connected to the low watt filament (running light) - tape it out of the way. Ascertain which of the two wires remaining is ground and which is positive. The positive wire will make the bright filament burn. The three wires are black, red, and black/white. The instructions on the back of the package were unclear, so I tested everything myself to be sure which was ground, which was low watt filament, and which was the high watt filament. Make sure that the wiring is long enough for final hook up. Check everything twice! Check the lines underneath the fairing for positive and negative...BMW ground is brown. Each side must be hooked up the same way. The plastic male/female connectors must match up. Check and double check! Make all your connections neat and tidy. Make a final check with your wires all dangling down; do your lights work properly and are both sides of equal brightness? Do these lights flash with their rear counterpart?

The hardest part is the drilling of two holes in the turn signal base plate. A large hole just above the light socket through which the wiring will fit and another, smaller hole, for a mounting bolt to secure the turn signal to the fairing. No holes are to be drilled in the fairing. See the diagram for hole size and placement.

The fairing opening for the stock signals has enough room to pass the connectors through and to allow space for the wiring to keep from being smashed against the fairing body. If wires get crimped eventually lights don't work. When placing the three wires through the large hole you drilled in the base plate, be sure that those wires are insulated from the sharp edge of the hole; use several wraps of electrical tape there. Select a machine screw long enough to be used for mounting the turn signal to the fairing. Used LocTite or a lock-thread nut. One mounting bolt is and the rubber base is enough to keep the turn signal from slipping. Place each turn signal at the same slant and tighten in place. Be sure to use washers with plenty of area on the backside of the fairing. With the base now in place, put the bulb in, connect the male/female connectors under the fairing, and check one last time. Does everything flash nice and bright? Okay, put the amber lens back in place. All done!

Lockhart Phillips 1-714-498-9090

Addendum 10/1/00
Kenny #604

After reading the above referenced article in the FAQ and having the exact same problem with dangling, glued messed-up front signals, I started looking for an alternative to the Lockhart/Phillips lights also referenced in same article. In a local Pep-Boys automotive store, I found marker lights (Blazer #C472FA by federal mogul) that were $4.99 each. They pretty much what I was looking for and identical to the referenced article. The new signal had one black wire while one of the 2 mounting holes served as the ground. After removing the old signals, I cut off the spade connectors, stripped the 2 brown and blue wires, connected the black wire from signal to the brown, and the blue I soldered to the mounting hole on the signal. (while testing it worked either way and very well!) A quick trip to the hardware store, bought 2 metric machine screws M6x30mm, .35 cents, these screws were the perfect length to use with the existing lock-thread nut and washer getting the just-right snugness so as not to break something. The lights are rubber backed so I only used the 1 screw on each side, once tightened down it wasn't going anywhere. Put the bulb in, the amber cover screwed on, no problems. The lights look good (better than I expected) and work great! In fact, with them being mounted in this fashion, I can see them operating which may help to get my attention to turn 'em off! Come on, we've all done it, looked down at the gauges and realized you just rode 17 miles from that turn with my right blinker on! The job took about 20 minutes and was very easy, and I spent less than $12.00.

Feedback/Tips:

Q. Got some Lockhart Phillips from Chaparral to replace my broken, glued, nasty stock front turn signals. I wired them into the bike to test them, and when I hit the turn signal switch, the light will SLOWLY fade on and not blink. I can hear the relay wind up (or so it sounds) but then it won't blink off. Any ideas what the $%*& is up. NOTE: I am not using the light recommended in the FAQ, but a full lens model that can be seen from the side as well as the front. Yes, it is 12V, yes I put pos to pos. and neg to neg.
A1. The wattage of the lights you're installing is different than the stock lamps. The flasher is a thermal device that works on total current flow and changes with the draw. Install an electronic flasher rather than the thermal one. Or match the stock bulbs. Harl #380
A2. Sure is, I had the same problem you need a 10watt bulb. Scott#264

Replacement Stock Turn Signals

 

Replacements from KTM

97 ST VT USA. Peter Jensen #233

 

The KTM flexible signals mount with a 13mm threaded rod, in addition to the signals you must also purchase nuts to mount them. The stock BMW signals mount with a small screw on the classic not sure about the GS's. If you place them right the mount will cover the hole for the BMW mount. You will also need to thread the wires through the threaded rod (put the nut over the wires first) and enlarge the hole slightly. They look just like the stock ones but have a little give.

 

Replacements from Buell

by Sean-STL

 

Part Number Description
Y0503.9 Right Rear / Left Front turn signal
Y0504.9 Left Rear / Right Front turn signal

Comment: It is a direct match appearance wise. These part numbers are for the S3 or S4 thunder bolt (unknown year). The parts cost about $5.50 each and any Harley/Buell Dealer should be able to help you out.


Installation: Leave the harness in the bike and fish it through the new stock.

 

Problem-solving after replacing the Flashers:

by Flash #412

Not blinking at all?

Problem: I am replacing my front stock turn signals with flush mount marker type lights mounted on the sides of my ERMAX windshield/fairing. The problem is the lights do not flash, they just stay on when I flip the turn switch. I think the problem has to do with the current draw of the new lights versus the old. The old lights measure about 2 ohms and the new ones about 4 ohms. The circuit must be designed not to flash if the resistance of the circuit is higher to indicate a problem with the light. Anybody have any insight on this? Can I just install a parallel resistor to lower the circuit resistance and make it work? Any other ideas?

 

Common Solutions:

1. Check the Bulb Wattage/Voltage is the SAME as your OEM Bulbs

2. Check your Battery NEXT. See the Battery FAQ

 

Other things to check:

  • When my VR was going south my turn signal would not blink for left unless I switched on/off a few times and my horn sounded like Ned Beatty in "Deliverance". Check the voltage going to the battery just to rule out VR failure. Chris in Santa Cruz, CA #782

  • If you forget to reconnect the front flashers then the rear flashers will only light, and not flash, The front flashers of course won't work. I discovered this a couple of weeks ago when I had disconnected the front fairing for some electric work and forgot to reinstall the front flashers. Spakur #1117 Icelander in MalmŲ, Sweden 1995 Classic Red F650 with 60.000+ KM.

  • Flashers light but do not flash. I had this problem and it turned out to be a very simple fix. The wire running to the flasher in question was worn bare where it passed near the VR (insulation melted from the extreme heat probably!). It was causing a short. Used insulated shrink wrap and prob. disappeared. Other possibility is that one of the bulbs is burned out. That's always a simple check. See if the opposite number of the flasher that glows solid is out. I've been so distracted by the one that just lights up, I never looked to see how it's companion was behaving! Sean #1015 Ottawa Canada

  • I had this problem a few months ago - the answer was a wrong bulb (which incidentally was sold to me by my local BMW dealer; the voltage was too low. Might be worth checking whether your bulbs are o.k. walkon40.

  • It could also be a Broken Relay. Runaway #1259

  • Put a small resistor in the hot lead that will approximate the wattage of the original lights and you should be good to go. Don't remember the calc's to figure out how big the resistor should be. One of these electronic wizards on this site will be able to help? Bill, #697, Atlanta, Ga.

  • Or... put some more lights in parallel with your new ones, summing to the stock wattage. Flash 412 (CO)
     

On-again, off-again turn signals:

Q. Here is an odd one: my turn signals do not blink when the engine is off, but work fine while it is running. With the engine off, they turn on and stay on. I never noticed this before, but I can't promise that I ever tried the signals with the engine off before. Is this something I should worry about? Could it indicate that something else is awry? My battery seems fine... I just topped it off recently, and it starts the bike first try, every time. (p.s. I have a '97 Classic). Robert in Texas #959 -- Black '97 Classic
 

  • Pull da bubs out, rub em on yer jeans, stick em back in and I bet they work just fine. The difference? Vibration. The flasher is an electromechanical device which is based on current flow through a bimetallic strip which heats up, opening a switch, stopping current, cooling down, closing the switch and repeating. If you have a slightly oxidized contact on your bulb, it will increase the resistance. It is possible to increase the resistance to a value where the current flow through the blinker relay is reduced to where the bimetallic strip doesn't heat up enough to open, but still passes enough current to light the lights. The positive contact of the bulb is generally soldered with lead-based solder. It touches a brass or bronze contact in the socket. This interface commonly corrodes faster than any similar-metal interfaces in the system. Odds are, it is dirty bulb feet. Take em out and rub them on your jeans and put them back in. There is only one screw per turn signal. It won't even take you as long as it took me to type this. (But you still might have a dirty connection elsewhere in the circuit. ) I'm thinkin' that if the bike still starts, you have enough juice in the battery to light 50W worth of light bubs. Flash #412 (CO)

  • Check your battery and its connections. If the voltage is low or the connections dirty, the system my flow enough current to light the bulb, but not operate the flasher. When the engine is running it would then be running off the charging system. Harl #380


Correct Relay for the Voltage?

Q. My cousins Lars (R11GS, R80GS) and Morten (R11R), both have replaced the orange blinker glasses with white/clear ones on their bikes and I decided to do the same on my 97 F650ST because it looks really good. Aprilia stocks the glasses/lenses (whatever it's called in English) and they were only $7 a piece including tax. I went to an auto parts store and picked up the bulbs needed. Regular bulbs would make my blinkers flash yellow which is not legal. Orange bulbs are ugly and defeats the purpose of clear glasses as they would look orange. Osram makes a bulb called "Diadem" which is clear with a hint of blue and orange, but basically clear and they flash bright orange. They come in packs of two and cost, get this, $29 a pack....I needed 4 bulbs - $58.  Came home and replaced the old bulbs. WTF ? Is the relay singing on the last verse ?.....Shit, stock is set up with 10W bulbs and relay. The Diadem bulbs are 21W. Found a 2-pin, 2x21W relay made by Tridon, $21. Installed everything, works like a charm - with the engine off that is....when the engine is running it flashes WAY to fast, but not very regular, two or three quick flashes then a couple of slow ones. It seems the speed of the flashing increases with the RPMs. What I discovered though, is that when I apply the brakes - the flashing speed is PERFECT....if the lights are off....turn on the lights and flashing speed drops to normal - press the brake lever and it speeds up....sigh ! Only thing I can think of is that the new relay lets too much current pass, but my theory has big holes because if this was the case it (the speed) should drop further the more lights I put on, right ?! So $107 later I have flashers that's not working properly How do I cure this ???? #s
Aprilia glasses: SR50 ($7 a piece)
Osram Diadem bulbs: PY21W - BAU15s ($29 a pair)
Flasher relay: Tridon EP-20 ($21)

  • It sounds like your relay is very dependent on voltage for it's flash rate. If the voltage is low, the flash rate is fine. If it gets higher, the flash rate speeds up. The reason your voltage changes is because of the way the voltage regulator handles the increasing electrical load - things like the headlight, brakelight, and flashers. (The wiring harness and electrical system does not have excess capacity, and some are particularly sensitive to changing loads and poor connections.).

Failed Flasher Relay?

Q. I have installed flush mount turn signals about 6 months ago. When I installed them I could hear the flasher unit (for lack of better term) working over time to blink the lights.  I have found out today that it has quit. Had enough, passed on, died. There are the Lockhart Phillips type and was wondering if anyone else had this happen, and if so what "flasher" specs should I replace it with. (I am not an Electrical Engineer and will not try to fake it.) I am assuming the resistance of the new bulbs, wire, connectors, etc. have increased the resistance and therefore caused the "flasher" to work harder and now thus die. Any ideas?

  • You need a relay that can handle the bulbs you've put in. If the new bulbs are 21W and the old were 10W (like on the classic), you need a relay that takes 2x21W instead of 2x10W. Thomas849 (Norway, '97ST).
     

Turn Signal Warning Beeper

Q. I was thinking to design a simple beeper + LED to remind myself of the turning light. The relevant wiring diagram is Here. This shows two wires going to the turn signal indicator lamp on the dash (part H9031): a BLRT (blue/red) wire and a BLSW (blue/black) wire. Power (after going through the flasher unit) flows into the turn signal indicator lamp on the BLRT wire when the left turn signal is activated, and on the BLST wire when the right turn signal is activated.

1. How is the turn signal indicator lamp lit w/o having a ground?
2. What keeps current flowing from, say, the BLRT wire (left) through the indicator lamp, into the BLST wire and lighting the right turn signals? The diagram shows directions of flow. Are there diodes somewhere to prevent backflows? Perhaps "Keys to Schematics" would help. It is at:

A1. What you need (for the LED) are two diodes (1N4148 for example) a resistor (to step down the 12 V.) and (of course) the LED. The two diodes are necessary since you want to connect left and right to the same LED but you don't want the current to flow back and turn on the four lights at once. If you don't need it, you can avoid to connect the buzzer (a 12 V. Piezo beeper). Just remember that diodes and LED have a polarity that you have to respect. The resistor value depends on the LED. I am leaving for a trip in a couple of hours, so I don't have time to give you all the details. If anybody is interested, I can fill in the blanks. Here is an ASCII art schematic

Left ----[1N4148]--+
+--+--[Resistor]---[LED]-+-- Ground
Right ---[1N4148]--+ | |
+---[12V. Buzzer]-----+

Giovanni.

A2. Use a _small_ 12 volt indicator lamp available in green and other various colors and sizes from Radio Shack instead of an LED. Since there's no polarity involved, you can connect it across the two positive wires of the left and right blinker. The tiny indicator lamp will ground back thru the much larger filaments of the blinkers that are off. I've had this setup on my Classic for a couple years, with the indicator bulb as high as I could get it, tucked under the windshield cover. Todd #389.

Fliplites

  • Here's a possible product for those of us who go offroad or otherwise want to protect the turn signals: www.fliplites.com Maybe with the Touratech mini blinker? Todd#389

Lighting: Other Sources & Reviews

Modulators

 

Generic Modulators:

  • If you're interested in little project, you could make your own modulator, fairly cheaply. See http://www.buchanan1.net/nother_mod.shtml. or Google your way with "headlight modulator" motorcycle. I'm soon to do front and taillight, with superbright LEDs, and markers in blue built into the turn signals, once I find some clear lenses for them (blue really jumps out at you, even in daylight). Aleksander, Dubai.

  • Generally speaking, the modulator itself is legal in every state. I would think you would want it to work when on low beam - as it makes the headlight alternate between low and high. I would also think you would want it to stop modulating when you put it on high beam. I don't know much about the light sensitive switches to deactivate the system, but I'd think a on/off switch for the modulator would be necessary. I don't have one of these, never ridden with one and don't plan on installing one, so none of this is from experience, just what I've read, heard and seen. What I had read is that the switch from high beam to low beam kept both filaments from reaching max heat and extended the life of each. Now I guess I'll have to look and see where I saw that. Modulators have been around for over 15 years. I don't see them getting that popular in 5 years. I see the Hardley crowd interrupting their new bike electrical systems to be able to turn OFF their headlight while riding - and they have a more powerful lobby (think tariffs in 80's and getting rid of helmet laws). JMO Gar, '97 classic, red

  • Actually, AFAIK it only works on the high beam and the 'flashing' effect is from the duty cycle of operation, from 100% to around 17% power, so that the filament is in continuous operation. To switch from high to low would probably kill one or the other filaments in fairly short order due to the on/off surge of current. The photo cell is to prevent modulator operation after dark (or near-dark). It may be federally required, and certainly is in some states. I had a KRIS on one of my '81 RT's and liked it. Hal #15, Glide OR, '97 F650ST/Sputnik, '97 Ural SportTourist, '87 Honda Helix/Friendship (Sharon's), '74 R90/Ural

  • It's high beam only, w/a light sensitivity sensor. It works when headlight is on bright then the sensor registers daylight. You can put in manual switch but then you're out of code. It doesn't switch between low and high just modulates intensity of high. davidhpark711

  • Be aware of the downside to running your motorcycle with one of these devices.

    1. Most cagers...and Law Enforcement will perceive YOU as an emergency vehicle. I state this from first hand experience, one of the guys I ride with has said device and on more than one occurrence when he used the modulator, cagers have dam near killed themselves...and us...trying to get off the road as we approach from the rear. Also we have been pulled over, as local LE think we....are impostors ( read pretending to be emergency vehicles)

    2. While a legal device, not everyone knows this. refer to #1. Perhaps not worth the hassle to explain to Mr Police Office that it is legal.

    3. Works great to bring attention to your operation of a Motorcycle....... refer to # 1 and #2 :-).

    The upside is all the above...with the exception of spending time explaining and helping your buddy pick up his/your bike after the melee of having Grandma Betty dam near killing ya as she tries to get out of the way on that two way back road:-)
    I have considered installing one myself, however after first hand experience with the above I don't feel it is worth the extra attention it brings, IMHO:-).... I ask any riders using one to turn it off...on low beam when riding in a group. If your riding alone, you may still have some of the above happen :-). Ride in the daylight with your high beams on.....the F650 has the nice little left bar lever to flash the lights when needed....neither the Honda or HD I have have this :-)
    For rear visibility. Add some LED lights. My worst fear is the " but I didn't see the motorcycle" after the M'fer runs me over from the rear with the Excrushion/Suburban/Tank thangy:-) Thumper, Austin TX, 02 Dakar.

  • Hurt report said greatest danger is left turn in front of me and this thing will help. There is a Federal law that supersedes all state laws and makes this thing legal as long as it conforms to the Federal specs. Law also states from what I can gather that this cannot be a "stock manufacturer item" i.e. - can't come on new bike. (Wonder what lobby that came from) One company "Kisan" offers "plug in" models. I imagine that within 5 years you will see these things on 50+ percent of bikes. I know that being seen is my biggest concern and this will really help. May get one for taillight also. '01 F650GSA & 9c1, Memphis, TN.

  • Since installing my aux lights last fall, I'm finding that SUV riders are giving me LOTS of room. That is, when they look my way. (Obviously we can do nothing about those who fail to look: these are situations where cages kill cages) Cages that start to pull out, then look, are stopping right in their tracks, even when I am nearly two blocks away on a 35mph street (i.e., far enough that they would dash out if I were in my truck). My brother observed that the yellowish tint to my lights, contrasted with the white headlight, is a real eye-catcher: nothing else in the traffic flow looks quite like it. I've seen just a few bikes with modulators, and I'm not convinced they caught my attention any more than bright lights. But then again, as a rider I tend to notice just about any bike . . . Anyhow, aux lights might be a possible safety aid. That, and they are handy at night! The below picture gives a rough idea of the result, though it is much more blinding in person, especially when viewed more head-on, or from a distance. I could snap some more "representative" pics if anyone is interested. Scott, ID #1244

  • I have one and use it a few times a week, like a horn, when I see a problem "up the road". It really does get people's attention! I also use it on lonely foggy rides around dusk and dawn, I never tail anyone with it on though. No need to be rude. I use it freeways, period. Bikers are at such a disadvantage here, everything is fair IMO. Joe
    '01 F650GS Inmate No. 1065

  • I have commuted to and from San Francisco on my motorcycle and some times in my car. On one occasion a motorcycle with the modulator was behind me while I was in my car and it annoyed the heck out of me. I now have additional driving lights on the F and when the commute gets nasty I use them. I think they do a good job of bringing attention to my motorcycle and me. The left turn figures are interesting to me. If the person turning left is trying to squeeze in just behind the car you are following and youíre out of site? At this point the person turning left may be very focused on the next auto trying to figure out if they can make it and ready to mash the accelerator. I have noticed several times when traveling behind another auto approaching an intersection and looking through or around the auto the person turning left probably canít see me. It is my belief some of the left turn accidents involving motorcycles might be avoided if the motorcyclist tryís to makes sure he or she is in a spot to be seen by a person turning left. When I approach a situation that may include left turners coming at me I make dam sure Iím in view and then DONíT COUNT ON THEM SEEING ME.
    Will in CA

  • I've been using the Pathblazer(?) for about a year now. No question in my mind that I'm drawing attention to myself in the interest of safety. As far as I'm concerned, outside of insurance, it's one of the smartest and best valued C-notes that I've ever spent. I'm considering the flashing, flickering brake one as well. Derek, Maryland, USA, '99 Classic F650. Derek

  • www.kisantech.com & www.signaldynamics.com seem to be the most widely available. Since it can be really irritating to the driver sitting in the car ahead of you of having your beams flashing continuously in his rear view mirror, I'd suggest just switching it off when in close proximity to the car in front of you. I see it's best value when approaching oncoming traffic. Each site also allows a printout of the federal standard in case of legal problems. 2001 F650GSA Chicago, IL Logan's Ride

  • I'm about to install a headlight modulator on my '03 CSA. Of the three I've found available, here is my opinion: Kisan Pathblazer: simple, straightforward, but basic. Daylight sensor mounts upwards, tied to brake or clutch cable. Some concern about flex, since this unit was designed for a naked-bike type headlight tied into the steering head. High beam installation recommended. $100. Comagination VisiPath: again, simple, plug-in, but I question whether there's room inside the CS's very small high beam housing for the parts. Again, the daylight sensor is meant to be mounted upright, as for the Kisan. High beam installation recommended. $75 (I think). Signal Dynamics: large unit needs to be mounted outside the housing, but OK since the housing is so small anyway. Daylight sensor is mounted pointing down (in contrast to the other two types). There is a control switch for off and two modes of modulation. This unit can be wired into both the low and high beams, as well as into the horn switch to modulate the high beam for 2.5-3 seconds, even if modulation is off. $90. My choice will be the Signal Dynamics unit. Colorado Tom: 2003 F650CS.

  • I bought one of these on EBay last year and I have been using it on my high beam. I commute on my bike and I notice a difference with drivers behavior. Especially if you aim the bike at cars pulling in your way. The modulator varies the intensity of the high beam and does NOT switch between high and low. It has a light-sensor that prevents it from functioning in the dark (including tunnels) I strongly recommend it. Don Carnage, Inmate # 1243, 1997 F650 - Red. Southbury, CT.

  • I installed mine (on a 97) to modulate the low beam, as I do a lot of in-town riding & didn't want to blast people with a high beam. I also put a waterproof switch in the dash so I can turn it off when I'm at a stop light sitting behind someone. Mine's not up to code, as it has no automatic dimmer for when it gets dark. I think it really helps people notice me, and they are easier to pass on twisty backroads because they're not sure if I'm a LEO. I found it on the web somewhere for about $40 from a guy who makes them himself. His web site included the text of the federal reg that states these are legal. I printed it & carried it with me 'till it turned to dust. Never was an issue for me, though. '99 F650, WA. Scott S in WA

  • I have the Kisan Tech Modulator. It works great. Haven't had a bulb failure in 3 years. Modulates the High Beam which is the way I want it. If I'm trying to get attention, I want everything going for me--so high beam it is. If I'm in close traffic and I don't want to irritate drivers, I just go to low beam for a while and that turns off the modulation. The Kisan Pathblazer is easy to install, high-quality and meets federal standards. In California, where you can do lane sharing (lane splitting) it really helps cars see you coming between the lanes and often they will move over a little to let you through. Drivers in CA are used to bikes coming between the lanes during heavy traffic conditions.
    www.kisantech.com Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Dick#420

  • Here is a link to the federal law on headlight modulators. I printed it and will keep a copy on my bike just in case! http://www.soundrider.com/store/kisan/HMFedLaw.htm Don Carnage, Inmate # 1243, 1997 F650 - Red. Southbury, CT.

  • My modulator came installed on the bike - never breaks down, reacts according to traffic conditions, changes with ambient lighting conditions and is legal in all states and countries. What's more, it is not hellishly annoying to the traffic in front of me.. it is, of course, the fingers and thumb of my left hand when used in conjunction with the high beam switch. Whenever I feel uncomfortable with the way a vehicle is behaving I switch the high beam on. and off again. and repeat. At times, when I feel very uncomfortable with the majority of the other traffic, I will just leave the high beam switched on. and then switch it off when I am following someone closely. Very simple, very effective and already installed....Lance, #1303, '01 F650GS, '96 G650ST. y_kiwi

Helmet Lights?