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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:mexican wave:Anyone have any luck/opinions/pointers on doing led lights all the way around?
My application is on my 2006 650.:character00201:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea was kinda wondering how bright they are compared to the incandescent bulbs. Arent they 1157 bulbs? The headlight im not too worried.
 

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The first question, IMO, is: "Are these replacements legal?".

Even the most extreme, "I'm going to do what I want and no one is going to tell me..." advocate is likely to try to defend the position of replacing a light with an illegal one is good practice unless some significant advantage is evident.

That said, I use some LED's which are not approved because they appear to provide significant advantage in being seen without irritation/issues for other vehicles. I recall one discussion with a fellow rider who had installed some LED lights which he acknowledged were not as good as the original (and approved) bulbs. His final justification was that the had spent quite a lot of money to buy them and wasn't willing to "waste" his money by taking them out. Where is the face palm icon?

LED generally use less power than do incandescent which can be useful in power conservation (allowing other stuff to be operated). Another aspect of LED versus incandescent is that incandescent broadcast a fairly broad spectrum of light frequency. LED broadcast a very narrow spectrum which is why LED lights which are aimed directly into the eye appear to be much brighter than does the incandescent. This makes LED very useful as indicators but less advatageous in providing light to see where one is going.

This light frequency issue is noticed also when placing an LED of one color behind a different colored lens. The light can almost dissappear.

Signal lights are an easier call than the other lights because one can compare one side to the other quite easily. Simply install into one side and compare with the other. Jumper the two sides together so that both sides flash together and the difference is graphic. Check them out and ask some friends to do so. You have already concluded this method, I am certain but only offer to illustrate what I do and in case someone has a superior method.

Brake and tail lights, I like to get opinions based on, "Do you think other drivers are more likely to notice this light?, and, "Do you think this will bother others?".

I've always tended towards adding additional lights for reliability/redunancy and for additional effect. This has iindicated that there may be some advantage to having both incandescent and LED operating in unison. Example: the read of my bike uses original incandescent signal bulbs because these are needed to allow the front LED's in the signals to operate as both running and indicators. I added a pair of turn signals to the side boxes which are LED. The difference in how the lights come on and wink out catches my attention and others have agreed. I tend to think that causing someone's subconcious to pay attention and so shift to concious thinking might/should be an advantage in not being hit by the inattentive driver.

The lower power draw required by an LED can allow a limited electrical system to power more lights or to free up power for other purposes. The advantage is obviously greater for lights which are in continuous use than for those such as brake and turn which are intermittent. The lower power draw can also help with regards a poorly sized wiring or switch. The LED may be advantaged because the heavier draw incandescent will create a larger line loss/voltage drop so will "receive" less power.

Headlight? Tough one..

My experience with LED headlights is very limited as compared to other lights. Here's what I know and what I think I know. For brevity will not differentiate significantly.

HID headlights draw up to 4 or 5 times as much current for a very short start-up period during which the power drops to less than 1/2 of a comparative quartz bulb. This is only a problem if one attempts to power the HID through the original wiring/switches. A typical HID headlight bulb produces similar light to an almost double wattage quartz bulb so a clear winner from that perspective, IME. The question as to whether there are light aiming issues is a different one which as been discussed to a huge degree without clear conclusions, IMO.

LED headlights come in three categories, IME:
1) DOT approved lights as part of an OEM fixture, much like HID. If one wishes to have a strictly approved one, this appears the only solution.

2) Aftermarket bulbs such as the H4 replacements common on EBay which produce about 1/2 the light output of the quartz bulb, according to the published ratings. IME, this reflects appearance. These are quite inexpensive.

3) Aftermarket bulbs which duplicate/exceed quartz bulbs which cost an arm and a leg.

I install many HID because of the modest cost + riders like them because the can see better, don't receive negative feedback from other drivers, and they use less power than original quartz. The lower cost (#2) LED don't provide nearly as much "see where you're going" light so lose out excepting for some limited applications such as trail bikes which have very poor lights so the LED in a better reflector works better.

I'm not accepting that a much higher cost LED high output (#3) headlight is superior to an HID which performs just as well at a fraction of the cost. HID bulbs are more easily available, IME, while travelling so one can more easily replace which isn't a small thing for some.

Odd, fabricated things can be less than ideal when the fail away from home.

Not certain that some or any of this is useful to you but reflections would be of interest to me as always interested in others' views.

I have only installed replacement bulb type LED into Gen2 lights but plan to find a solution to using something like these EBay panels which fit nicely into the front turn signals on Gen1 and into the rectangular truck clearance lights which work well for additional lights.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/2-Set-Light-...Parts_Accessories&hash=item35bdccd5fb&vxp=mtr

I use them in vehicle dome lights an RV house lighting. The adapaters won't fit the large bayonet bulb sockets used for KLR signals so I break the glass from an old bulb to make an adapter.

HIH
 

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So far, the only LED swap I've done on my bike was the tail light, which I switched from the OEM light to a modulating LED setup. When I hit the brakes, the brake light flashes several times before staying solidly on.

Personally, I think the flashing brake light grabs the attention of the cage driver more than the eegular brake light did.
 

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So far, the only LED swap I've done on my bike was the tail light, which I switched from the OEM light to a modulating LED setup. When I hit the brakes, the brake light flashes several times before staying solidly on.

Personally, I think the flashing brake light grabs the attention of the cage driver more than the eegular brake light did.
Must be something to that, our company changed the landing lights on our planes to alternate on / off. I had heard that flashing light was 5 times more visible than a steady one. So a flashing brake light sounds like a good investment!
 

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I modified several sport tourers (which have dual brake lights) to use a KLR signal flasher in series with the brake light circuit. The signal flasher required about 3 seconds to reach temperature when it began to flash the brake lights.

Maybe time to do the modification to my KLR.

The effect was a solid brake light on first application, then flashing. Correct or not, I share the impression is that flashing catches more attention.

Anything which shifts the "driving while unconcious" into system 2 thinking can only benefit our safety, IMO. I wonder if there is research to indicate whether this is correct?
 

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One thing about that modulating tail light - if I remember correctly, it's NOT approved by the DOT.
 

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I'm personally against LED's in bikes:

Few reasons:
- CRI - color rendering index. This is one of the most important parts. Bulbs usually cover the whole spectrum of the visible light, whereas LED's have weak spots around the red part. That results in a beam that lacks a lot of the contrast between colors - and may make some elements less visible. To make matters worse, the most efficient LED's (in terms of Lumens from 1Watt) that are most commonly found are most impaired in that matter. There are some LED's that come a bit close to Incans - but a few, and are not easy to find.

- Heat - bulbs heat up much more than LED - that helps in warding off moisture/water/ice from the housings (it's much more important for cars that are driven below freezing point)

- Question of legality is a mixed bag. I know those are forbidden even for interior lighting in Germany, in my country - never bothered to check.

- For some reason - but I lack the physics here as backup - incandescent sources "pierce" trough fog/smoke tad bit better then led's. Something from my own experience, shared by some friends. Don't ask for proof though ;)

- LED's rely heavily on drivers - for the stock voltage is around 3,5V IIRC. So a buck driver is always required - and that is unnecessary complication that can go wrong.

- LED's come in a lot of "temperatures" that describe the tint. Practically from "Yellow" 2500k to angry blue "10000K". That has a huge impact on CRI and thus on visibility of objects at night. Bulbs are a lot more predictable here.

- And a personal reason: Unless the light is somewhere around 3000K (warm white) from a LED with a CRI of more than 90, I can't stand the light of a LED - it really makes me want to puke. It's pale, lacks color and is, well "boring" - that is in contrast to the colorfully rich light of a well driven bulb.

Head, Tail, Brake and Meters - I'd go for bulb/no exception!
Turning light - LED's might be fine - but I read somewhere that the stock relay will not cooperate.
 

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If memory serves me correctly, you need some sort of special device for your turn signals on the KLR if you want to run LEDs. Apparently the KLR expects some sort of load and without it the lights won't blink.

Someone a while back, who worked for an aviation LED company produced a LED headlight for the Gen 2 bikes. (2008+) I don't remember if that was here or ADV rider. The pictures he posted were impressive.

Then there are those flashing tail lights. Those are so very annoying when you are in staggered position and having difficulty figuring out whose tailight is whose.

So in summary, I have never put LEDs in. Too expensive for a marginal benefit IMO. Bulbs are cheap and last long enough. A 90% reduction from 5 watts is hardly worth celebrating.

Just my opinion.

At one point I bought a regular headlight that was painted blue. It was like 2 bucks on ebay and made me feel like I had a HID. So there is that.
 

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If you want to run LED front & rear on most KLR's, you will have to accomodate the low LED current flow. Unless someone has swapped out the OEM flasher the LED lights will not provide enough load/current flow to cause the flasher to operate.

Non-technicians often refer to the signal flasher as "a flasher relay" which tends to confuse the question since a techician will generally assume that the mean a conventional relay associated with the signal circuit. Same thing happens with "starter relay".

The OEM signal flasher uses a bimetallic (two metal ribbons welded together to form a thin strip) strip or arm to operate the flasher. Since the two metals have a different rate of expansion when heated, this causes the strip to bend when heated and to straighten again when cooled. The strip, being thin, has much surface area and little mass so it heats and cools rapidly.

When the signal switch is closed, the current flow from switch to signal flasher and then to the direction lights, causes the bimetallic strip to heat up. The heating bends the strip. The strip is placed in the circuit so that the current through the flasher (from signal switch to lights) passes through the strip and the strip is anchored at one end. The other end of the strip has a contact area (some of the better ones have a contact button) which is usually plated with tungsten or some material which resists burning.

The contact area rests against a fixed contact which leads to the direction lights. When the signal switch is closed (turned to one direction), the current flow passes through the bimetallic strip and on to the lights. The strip becomes hot because of the resistance to current flow present in all materials.

The resulting heat causes the strip to reach a point where the arm bends away from the fixed contact which opens the contact between the strip and the fixed contact. This opening stops current flow so the direction/signal lights go off, the strip cools, bends back to straight which closes the circuit again. The cycle of heating and cooling continues as long as the signal or directional switch is closed.

The time required to cause the strip to heat enough to bend which opens (turns off) the lights is what controls the time in which the lights flashs on and the time required for the strip to cool off, controls the time in which the lights are off between flashes. One will notice the difference between the time required for the first "off" flash and the ones following. It requires a bit more time to heat the arm for the first time because it does not completely cool during the period of the other flashing.

Remove/burn out one signal bulb and the flasher may refuse to flash in that direction because there may be insufficient current flow to heat the strip enough to cause a flash. If it flashes, it will likely do so at a slower rate because of less heating. Put in a bigger wattage bulb and the flasher will flash more quickly because the larger current flow heats the strip more quickly. Rev. up the engine from idle and the signals will flash a bit faster because the higher voltage increases the current flow.

Now, install one LED bulb and the flashing will change because LEDs usually draw about 1/10 of the current of incandescent bulbs. In this case, the signal flasher will usually refuse to flash off at all so the signal lights will simply remain on. How to address that?

There are many solutions, some quite elegant some simple as a rock but the one to choose depends on what you wish to achieve balanced against what you are willing to invest in time and cost. The usual solution is to simply install some means of creating a normal current flow through the signal flasher. This is the strategy for the "magic" resistor units which most people choose to install. Nothing magic about them although these discussions tend to resemble oil theads in many cases.

All which is necessary is to add some load in parallel with (between the signal wiring for that side) and ground. Usually a resistor is chosen because it is inexpensive, compact and can be arranged so that the heat it produces does not affect other components. From a lighting efficiency perspective, one would be better to leave the original lights in place and to add LED lights to the circuit. This would provide normal flashing as well as additional signal lighting. If this is not your intent, then installing loads can be a very effective solution.

Another solution which likely costs about the same is to install another type of signal flasher which is not operated by load. More advanced signal flashers use electronic circuits with some sort of timer (such as the time required to charge a capacitor) which don't care about the load applied. These are typically identified for use with LED loads but one needs consider that a heavy truck's LED lights can exceed the load of a bike's incandescent bulbs so read the fine print. This type of flasher is simply an "unplug the OEM flasher and replace with the LED type flasher" operation which is so much simpler to accmomplish than adding loads.

If one adds more incandescent bulbs to an OEM flasher circuit, the flasher may wink on for such short periods as to be useless so one may wish to install a conventional electonic flasher such as a Tridon HD12.

Playing around with this concept some more, I have modified a number of bike brake lights to use an OEM KLR flasher in series with the brake lights. Sometimes a small correction in terms of a series resistance is necessary but regardless, the effect is that the brake lights come on as normal, stay on for two or three seconds, then begin to flash.

The effect is very different from the "dance around the may pole" swirling effect from many LED brake light bulbs. I share steferf's reservations regarding flashing brake lights so am eager to hear considered views of the effects. Most of us are more interested in not being rear ended than in the "oh, isn't that cool!" aspect.

As for LED headlights, IME they are not a viable option. They cost more than HID by many times, if of comparable output, and the inexpensive ones produce much less light than an OEM or HID.

Just my $0.02, FWIW.




If memory serves me correctly, you need some sort of special device for your turn signals on the KLR if you want to run LEDs. Apparently the KLR expects some sort of load and without it the lights won't blink.

Someone a while back, who worked for an aviation LED company produced a LED headlight for the Gen 2 bikes. (2008+) I don't remember if that was here or ADV rider. The pictures he posted were impressive.

Then there are those flashing tail lights. Those are so very annoying when you are in staggered position and having difficulty figuring out whose tailight is whose.

So in summary, I have never put LEDs in. Too expensive for a marginal benefit IMO. Bulbs are cheap and last long enough. A 90% reduction from 5 watts is hardly worth celebrating.

Just my opinion.

At one point I bought a regular headlight that was painted blue. It was like 2 bucks on ebay and made me feel like I had a HID. So there is that.
 

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I am actually running an LED board with a bulb adapter base that directly plugs into the brake light socket. I had seen this setup on other KLRs and I liked the brightness and how noticeable the brake light was. When I take the KLR to work, I am in busy city traffic so I also chose to have brake light set to flash 3x rapidly before staying on. This is an option that I can control in that I can have no flash, 3 or 5 quick flashes before the brake light stays on.

I've ridden with guys that have had the rotating LED lights and didn't really care for that type of "animation". Additionally I didn't think it performed as well as the one that I installed. The other guys that I was riding with agreed as much. I just installed the LED brake light switch for greater visibility by others aproaching from behind.
 
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