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Discussion Starter #1
I searched the forum for any existing threads about this issue but couldn't find anything. I'd like to add a switch to my bike that would allow me to turn the headlight on and off manually. I, of course, want to only do this is it's not going to cause me any headaches in the long run. Trying to go the simple route here, if at all possible. Has anyone here done it? How difficult is it to do? What would I need? I can work every other aspect of a bike comfortably but messing with wires really makes me nervous. I have wiring diagrams for my bike and know how to get around with them but I really need someone who's done this or knows how to do this to give me some tips, dos and don't s etc....

Thanks in advance.
 

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85 VN 700
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Outta curiousity... why?

You'd need to run a switch to a relay - but honestly unless there's a good reason to do so, you'd probably just be asking for trouble (it's illegal in the states to run a bike w/o a headlight - nevermind the possibility of screwing some wiring up).
 

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I think the headlight wiring on our bikes is a little "over-engineered" if you ask me. My cop bike had an on/off switch for the lights, probably for sneaking up on unsuspecting suspects or something. But the complexity of our headlight system makes it more difficult to mod, but also makes it more vulnerable to failing. I think it is cool that the headlight isn't drawing current while starting the bike, but it's pretty nerdy to have it automatically switch the wiring to the high beam if the low beam fails. I mean, isn't that the first thing you would do manually anyway? So, I'm not against changing it, just need some bigger brass ones to go fooling around in there... Or someone else's experience and a good writeup. ;)
 

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The PO of Orleans had done exactly that - rewired the headlight and put in a switch. I am on the road, but can send you pics on Monday. I'm not fond of it, but have to look at the wiring harness before I "undo" what was done. Doesn't look hard - just a little time-consuming.
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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Outta curiousity... why?

(it's illegal in the states to run a bike w/o a headlight - ....)
There are alot of states that don't require headlights.

And Fergy, what I think had a roll in the 'one goes out, the other comes on' headlight is when the bike was desinged.
In the 80's, there were alot more saftey issues being addressed and the industries got off the 'Gotta be faster' trend and got on the 'Gotta be safer' idea.
Sure, the average rider would probably just switch over to the other beam, but it's a selling point, just like the neutral finder.
Both are handy, but are they really needed?
 

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The simplest way to add a switch to the headlight would be to splice it into the ground wire (black with yellow stripe) going to the headlight itself. This would interrupt both the high and low beam circuit without disrupting any other circuit paths.
 

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Quote--There are alot of states that don't require headlights.


Sure --give the cages a really good reason to say "I didn't see the bike" --
not to mention the fight with the insurance companies you'll no doubt encounter!
Seriously though--I may not wear a helmet all the time, but I would never consider riding without a headlight. Mine is on " hi/bright" all day long until I have to dim it at dark. The more light the better you'll be seen!
 

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and the Adventure Cycle
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Quote--There are alot of states that don't require headlights.
Sure --give the cages a really good reason to say "I didn't see the bike" --
not to mention the fight with the insurance companies you'll no doubt encounter!
Seriously though--I may not wear a helmet all the time, but I would never consider riding without a headlight. Mine is on " hi/bright" all day long until I have to dim it at dark. The more light the better you'll be seen!
I'm not saying it's a good idea to ride w/o the headlight on, just that not all states require it, as with helmets. And if it's not required by the state, what kind of fight can the insurance companies expect to put up?

The way I see it, alot of people don't see a bike not because of the lack of visability of it, but more because it's something smaller than what they are driving, so it's that much less of a threat to their safety.
Because of that, their brain doesn't register the fact that if they pull out in front of the bike, or cut it off on the road, bad things will happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The reason I want to do this is in case i'm idling in traffic for a long time and want to give the battery a break. Otherwise, the light will be on at all times pretty much.
 

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The thing that made a big difference for me was switching to an LED Tail/Brake light. Now when I have to hold the brake because of a slope it makes little to no difference than if I don't have to hold the brake.
 

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The reason I want to do this is in case i'm idling in traffic for a long time and want to give the battery a break. Otherwise, the light will be on at all times pretty much.
Hmmm...hadn't thought of that. The switch plus the LED taillights might make a difference. I'll send pics on Monday - I do know that the PO drilled out a hole in the top of the headlight shell to put in the switch. Just goes in with a lockring (kind like the locks on the "trunks").
 

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I haven't dealt with an insurance company yet that said "sorry, our insured is a lousy driver and was 100% at fault--heres $xxxx amount of money for your injury and loss of work and vehicle/bike". They are always too busy trying to shift part of the blame on the victim to keep from paying what they should.
Most insurance companies in Wi. are trying to automatically shift 10%-15% of the blame to the victim that was hit because they were actually "just involved" in a random accident. Essentially you are partly to blame because you were on the road and in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is exactly why attorneys/firms get rich collecting 33% or more of your final settelments, because they will fight this type of non-governed behavior from insurance companies and wait several years for it to go to court. The insurance companies know it won't fly in court but end up saving the company from having to pay out for several years until all the sudden there is an out of court settlement just before the actual court date(s).
Wi. never had a helmet law when insurance companies started refusing part or all of settlements. Then the pressure was applied to lawmakers from the insurance companies and the helmet law was passed. It only lasted for a few years and was eventually appealled and removed from mandated law. It is only mandated for helmets in WI. while you hold a learners/temp. permit and/or are under 18 yrs. old.
I could go on & on--but you get what I'm talking about. You are usually better off dealing with your own insurance and let them pay for your injuries and vehicle/bike, than to deal with the insurance co. of the other individual's insurace co. This way your ins. co. has to fight with the other ins. co. and it doesn't involve you at all.
 

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Hi,

I wired a switch for the headlight about 4 years ago, after the headlight cut out and left me literally in the dark on I-95 on a Friday night.

I traced the problem to the reserve lighting unit (RLU). I bought an standard automotive relay (~$4) and a switch ($2) rather than replacing the RLU. Headlight draws a lot of amps so you should use a relay. Relay can be powered by anything that is "live" only when the ignition is on, so that the headlight turns off when you turn off the bike. I could have wired it so it's always on when the bike is on, but I didn't. The reason for installing the switch was so I can turn it off when I'm stuck in traffic on a hot day. As we all know, running the fan for extended time at idle kills the battery. By turning off the headlight (55W), I can get sufficient voltage to prevent that.

If your RLU is fine, I'd suggest that you install a switch for the RLU wire that powers the headlight relay. I think it was a blue wire. Check the wiring diagram. If you can't find it let me know, I can look it up. Again, you don't want to pass the large current required to power the headlight directly through the switch. Switch should turn on and off the relay, and relay does the switching of the headlight current.


It is a good idea to run the light at all times but it sure is nice to have an option.

M
 

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I think the main reason for the automatic cut over to the high beam if the low fails is for daytime riding when you wouldn't notice if your headlight wasn't working. Night time is a no brainer.
As far as riding without a headlight, there are people here who do it but the difference between a lit bike and a dark one is very different. The headlight on gives us much more chance of being seen than without.
 

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i lived on a country road for 8 years of my motorcycle/scooter riding-- and i enjoyed the no light ability

1. i would run without the light on during the day to conserve battery power. why? I rarely met anyone on the road, and the danger was not to be mitigated much by a light-- its the blind turns all up and down the road so i always rode the line ready to get the hell out of the way. i was once almost hit by the school bus, to this day im pretty sure they didnt see me. - that was on my scooter with the light on(no turn off option)



2. at night deer cows and sheep love to run in front of your light, they wont get off the road(sometimes deer love to just stair into your light!)!! but if you turn your light off its less frightening and they will either stop so you can go by, or come to their senses and move to the side.

3. its actually a much stronger signal to turn off and on the light than to just go low/high beam--ifn't you need to signal someone -
 

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Would be great if there was a posted mod for a headlight on/off switch with pic's for us mc riding dummies.



.
 

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Asaracho, did you do a mod yet? SOrry I forgot to post pics - that's what happens when I leave town for work; I get back and forget everything meaningful in life. I'm not sure that the mod done to my bike is according to hoyle, but I'll post some pics today and then folks can make suggestions about how it could be done differently (plus, in case mine fails when I'm on the road, I'd like to know what I need to do to get home safely!).
 

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You just want to be able to turn the headlight off and back on with a switch right.

I will try and do a switch mod on the other lady and when I do I'll do pics and a writeup.
 
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