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Offline Queensland Ken

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Maybe a lighting project
« on: January 25, 2014, 08:44:22 am »
Raining today so I fitted some Philips +100's to the bike and noticed that they were still a bit yellow in appearance.

So being a good electrician I measured the voltage at the socket terminals.
Do you think I can remember what it was, nope.

Halogen bulbs are supposed to be around 13 - 13.5 volts for max efficiency ?
I "think" the measurement with engine running was about 12 volts.

Checked the bible and it looks like the flash to pass & the low / high beam switch feed the bulbs directly.

I may make up a wiring loom to feed the headlight bulbs via a couple of relays to the battery.

Say we have 110 watts of headlights (high beam) that's nearly 10 amps through the LHS switch block, connectors and the rather small OEM wiring. (or more depending on the total resistance of the OEM lighting circuit)

Maybe another rainy day project.
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Offline Verdun95

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 09:01:34 am »
keep us posted, please  :821:
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Offline DonTom

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 09:29:51 am »
*Originally Posted by Queensland Ken [+]
Halogen bulbs are supposed to be around 13 - 13.5 volts for max efficiency ? I "think" the measurement with engine running was about 12 volts.
If they seem bright enough, I would leave it as is. While the increased voltage makes a small difference in brightness, a little less voltage  makes a very large difference in how long the bulbs last.

-Don- SSF, CA
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Offline Queensland Ken

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 09:58:03 am »
A small voltage drop makes a big difference with halogens.

But I'm a bit more concerned about the lack of a proper headlight relay to reduce the current through the switch block.

Some info I found after a quick search.

The Europeans take a slightly more realistic with their voltage ratings; they consider output at 13.2v to be "100%". The loss curve is the same, though.

When operating voltage drops to 95 percent (12.54v), headlamp bulbs produce only 83 percent of their rated light output.

When voltage drops to 90 percent (11.88v), bulb output is only 67 percent of what it should be.

And when voltage drops to 85 percent (11.22v), bulb output is a paltry 53 percent of normal!

It is much more common than you might think for factory headlamp wiring/switch setups to produce this kind of voltage drop, especially once they're no longer brand new and the connections have accumulated some corrosion and dirt.
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Offline DonTom

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2014, 10:14:34 am »
*Originally Posted by Queensland Ken [+]
A small voltage drop makes a big difference with halogens.

Anyway, try this lamp life calculator and see if it's worth the change.


-Don-  SSF, CA
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 10:19:20 am by DonTom »
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Offline patches

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 06:19:49 am »
Very common modification to the BMW R1100RT was to install a relay set to bypass the handlebar H/L switch.  While this did increase light output slightly the real purpose was to eliminate the commonly occurring failure of this switch.  Hopefully the Trophy will not have this problem.  I don't believe it was an issue on the subsequent Beemers either.  There is company that makes a real nice relay set for H4 bulbs just for this purpose.  I installed one on my R1100RT.

Offline Queensland Ken

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 06:49:04 am »
Eastern Beaver is one company.
Cycle Terminal is another.
I'm sure there are others out there.

Being a Electrician, cough cough, I'll make something up myself, one day.
Hate seeing all my tools go rusty.
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Offline Travelling2bob

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Re: Maybe a lighting project
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 09:57:23 am »
Hi Ken,

If you're so keen to upgrade the lighting what a HID conversion (with ballasts)?
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