Wanted: Cheap-Route Aux Lighting Advice - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-16-2011, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Wanted: Cheap-Route Aux Lighting Advice

I've seen a lot of nice-looking auxiliary lighting systems on here lately and have decided the time has come to get some on my ride.

I would appreciate any suggestions and tips. At this point, I'm looking at something relatively cheap, say $30 or less that I can just cobble on. The "dedicated" sets are probably the best way to go, but my wife's had a bunch of eye surgeries lately and we're short on cash. Maybe I can upgrade in the future to a nicer set of lights.

I want to put the lights on for two reasons. #1, a backup in case my headlight fails and, #2, to provide more illumination to the sides. I would like to go with one spot and one flood-type, but these don't seem available in the cheap auto "kits." Most of the auto-related ones just seem to be the flood or "fog" type or a "driving" type, whatever that is.

It's not necessary for these lights to provide primary illumination riding down the highway at night if my headlight goes out. In the event my headlight fails, lights that would just give me some "limp-along" capability would be fine: enough light to run at, say, 20-30mph somewhat safely; not necessary to put on something I could run 60 down the highway with with no real headlight.

I would also rather just have a separate switch and not tie these lights in with my headlight switch. It doesn't even matter where I put the switch. I never meet any other cars on these rides so don't need the ability to shut them off quickly if I meet one. I was thinking maybe of putting on that flat part of the fairing that hangs over the tank: easier to reach than up on the dash area somewhere. I thought about an indicator light to make sure I don't inadvertently turn them on during the day, but figure a hand held in front of them every once in awhile will serve the same function.

I've already gotten some good info on these kits, but if anybody else has done this, I'd be interested in hearing what you did.

Some general questions I have are:

-What is the max draw or amps that I could get away with vs. performance? LED lights seem to be the way to go: more light/less draw.

-These lights will be used at relatively slow speeds, say an average of 30-50mph or so on gravel roads. Is the KLR's charging system output reduced as a function of lower rpms? I'm pretty sure it is. I wouldn't go out and ride non-stop for hours at night with the auxiliaries on, but don't want to worry about battery charge, either. I don't have a volt/charging gauge.

-What's the best way to route wires from the battery up to the front? Under the tank? Should I use looms to prevent friction on the wires?

-Where did you mount your lights and how?

As far as mounting them goes, I'm not above doing some butcher work on my KLR as long as it improves function. When I put on my windshield, I even used the end of a big screwdriver I'd heated with a propane torch to melt a slot in my right handguard so I could turn the bars enough to lock the forks instead of buying a different set of hand guards.

Anyway, any and all opinions/advice about a cheap set of auto-store lights that could be adapted to my KLR and any general installation tips (like wiring) would be appreciated.



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post #2 of 8 Old 05-16-2011, 04:26 PM
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Check out my profile pics and see if you can view it in an enlarged state. If not send me an mesage with your private email so I can send you a pic of mine. I bought mine at Wally World for about 16 to 19 bucks and they put off great lighting for the price. They are small 1.5 inch chrome with the wiring kit. I mounted my switch to the upper fairing under the handle bars and it actually looks pretty good. Just let me know and I will shoot those to you!
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-16-2011, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddmurf1 View Post
Check out my profile pics and see if you can view it in an enlarged state. If not send me an mesage with your private email so I can send you a pic of mine. I bought mine at Wally World for about 16 to 19 bucks and they put off great lighting for the price. They are small 1.5 inch chrome with the wiring kit. I mounted my switch to the upper fairing under the handle bars and it actually looks pretty good. Just let me know and I will shoot those to you!
Thanks. I think I saw them today when I was there. They have 3 or 4 options for $20 or less. My only concern is that they all have 55W bulbs, for a total of 110 watts. Is this too much draw on the system? I have an '09 and I believe they have a beefed-up charging system to compensate for things people use like heated vests, etc. Anybody know if this gives me a slight advantage when running two 55W bulbs? These lights wouldn't be on all the time, only for relatively short periods of night running.




Last edited by planalp; 05-16-2011 at 08:38 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-17-2011, 08:47 PM
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good question
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-18-2011, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planalp View Post
Thanks. I think I saw them today when I was there. They have 3 or 4 options for $20 or less. My only concern is that they all have 55W bulbs, for a total of 110 watts. Is this too much draw on the system? I have an '09 and I believe they have a beefed-up charging system to compensate for things people use like heated vests, etc. Anybody know if this gives me a slight advantage when running two 55W bulbs? These lights wouldn't be on all the time, only for relatively short periods of night running.
Kawasaki did a funky thing with the 2nd generation KLR. They did indeed bump up the stator an additional 36 watts but they also added an additional high beam headlight. So if you are not using the highbeam you have the extra 36 watts. The highbeam consumes an additional 55 watts
so you are actually down 19 watts while using the highbeam from what a gen 1 KLR would have. With that said the gen 2's have enough power to run 110 watts of lighting just don't run the highbeam as well or you will be sucking power off the battery. Walmart has some decent kits for cheap. Here are the lights I put on my 05 just for a visual reference. Both lights are angled out slightly to give me more road coverage. These actually put out a good light pattern. I tried a different set of fog lamps and the pattern was only 30 or 40 ft long.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-18-2011, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLO-KLR View Post
Kawasaki did a funky thing with the 2nd generation KLR. They did indeed bump up the stator an additional 36 watts but they also added an additional high beam headlight. So if you are not using the highbeam you have the extra 36 watts. The highbeam consumes an additional 55 watts
so you are actually down 19 watts while using the highbeam from what a gen 1 KLR would have. With that said the gen 2's have enough power to run 110 watts of lighting just don't run the highbeam as well or you will be sucking power off the battery. Walmart has some decent kits for cheap. Here are the lights I put on my 05 just for a visual reference. Both lights are angled out slightly to give me more road coverage. These actually put out a good light pattern. I tried a different set of fog lamps and the pattern was only 30 or 40 ft long.
Thanks for that info, SLO-KLR. I hadn't thought of that. I usually have my high beam on during the day. I've noted there's a pretty good difference in "reach" between the hi and lo at night, but for my intended use of these lights, I think the expanded "width" of my light pattern will be more useful for me.

I ride a lot of gravel roads where I'm fairly close to the side because I have to ride in the wheel ruts: can't stay in the middle. I usually don't ride all that fast at night on these roads, so never "outride" the high beam. I think more light cast to the sides would enable me to see along the sides of the roads better where the weeds and trees are.

I like your lights. From an aesthetic standpoint, I seem to differ from everybody else on the forum. Instead of the smaller units, I'm kind of liking the larger, round lights that are about 3" in diameter. My plan is to install them on the tops of my HT Nerf bars. All the advice seems to be to mount them as high as possible, but there's only a few inches difference between the tops of the bars and anywhere I could mount them near the headlight, anyway. For the light pattern I'm looking for, I don't think those few inches will make a difference. If they do, for the price, I could always relocate them, even if it meant buying another set in the future.

As far as I know, the actual physical size of the light doesn't matter: a 55w bulb is a 55w bulb, but I might be wrong. For some reason, I like the larger, kind of "outdated" round lights.

Interesting info about the charging/headlight differences between the two generations of bikes. Thanks for telling me that.



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post #7 of 8 Old 05-20-2011, 02:30 PM
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I just added some aux LED lamps to my ride this winter - I like em, I think they make me more visible to oncoming cars, and they serve as a backup for the headlamp too. The whole install thread can be seen at this link:
http://www.klrforum.com/showthread.php?t=10352
I've seen those less expensive lamps at Walmart - they may work out well - but I have not tried em.

"No good deed goes unpunished"
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-26-2012, 04:59 AM
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Thanks for the detailed install! Im planning to do a foglight and battery voltage meter install.
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