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Discussion Starter #1
I was considering getting this set of driving lights and outfitting them with LED bulbs.

The MR-16 bulb (base gu5.3) that comes with the optonics lights is a halogen bulb 55W (approx 850 lumens, 4.5A). I believe the beam angle is about 36 degrees and is considered a wide flood lamp. I know some of you have swapped out the bulbs for 20Watt bulbs which draws 1.66A and provides about 240 lumens.

I think the most common high wattage LED setup for this type of bulb is about 5Watts, drawing 0.42A at 12V. The beam angle would be about 30 degrees with an output of 300 lumens. I am not sure if the LED bulb would actually fit due to the size and height of some of the LED configurations I have seen.

I wanted to add more lights to see off the sides at night where critters tend to lurk, without taxing the charging system of the VN750.

I am just curious if anyone has tried this and were they satisfied with the output of the LED bulbs?
 

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As many know I not only used the Optronic halogen lights on my bike, but sold them along with my "light bar". ( see "driving lights" in my photo link below)

I used the 20w bulbs. Back then LED lights were just coming out, no direct replacement bulb for the M16 existed. Today, I'd have to see the two bulbs side by side to make a comparison. Keep in mind that alot of how the light works is not just the bulb, but the reflector.

I did when traveling at night swing the right side light to shine on the right off the road side. It did help. My thinking now would be to not be so traditional in keeping the lighting symmetrical.....I think I'd mount ONE 55w light right under the headlight with the ability to point it slightly to the right.

Ideally... I'd build a three light bar. With two 20w like my original bar, but with another light next to the right one. Wired so you could only have either both 20w on OR just the right 55w one with a three way toggle.

So depending on the conditions I could choose which to turn on. I guess I'd only go with LED's if I had that chance to compare them.

KM
 

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I've been running the optronics on my Rebel with the 55w bulb in them for the past 3 years. I haven't had any issues with the lare current draw on the rebel, but then, I only turned the lights on while driving at night.

I picked up a new set to mount on the Vulcan, however I picked up a pack of 12 of the 20w bulbs on amazon for $16 shipped. I'll be swapping the 55w on the rebel and also using them on the Vulcan.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001J67UUW/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As many know I not only used the Optronic halogen lights on my bike, but sold them along with my "light bar". ( see "driving lights" in my photo link below)

I used the 20w bulbs. Back then LED lights were just coming out, no direct replacement bulb for the M16 existed. Today, I'd have to see the two bulbs side by side to make a comparison. Keep in mind that alot of how the light works is not just the bulb, but the reflector.

I did when traveling at night swing the right side light to shine on the right off the road side. It did help. My thinking now would be to not be so traditional in keeping the lighting symmetrical.....I think I'd mount ONE 55w light right under the headlight with the ability to point it slightly to the right.

Ideally... I'd build a three light bar. With two 20w like my original bar, but with another light next to the right one. Wired so you could only have either both 20w on OR just the right 55w one with a three way toggle.

So depending on the conditions I could choose which to turn on. I guess I'd only go with LED's if I had that chance to compare them.

KM

I am still undecided on whether I will mount them on the engine guard I picked up recently, or building the light bar (from Knifemaker's design).
I saw that Walmart has the 20W bulbs, so maybe I will get one and compare it to an LED version side by side at night using a spare battery and some wiring.

Since I have modified my rear turn signal stalks to have running lights and blinkers, I am concerned that the 40Watts I add for driving lights with conventional 20W bulbs might stress the electrical system. I may just go ahead and use LED's in the brake light and rear running light to free up some wattage and go with the 20W halogen bulbs up front, depending on how the LED spot lamps compare. It will have to wait till I have some more cash to get the LED version of the M16 bulb to compare.

I was hoping someone out there did the comparison already so I can decide before I spring for the LED spot light bulbs. :baby:
 

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Having destroyed the generator on my EN500, I was sensitive to not overloading my VN750. I did swap out the bulbs on my Optronics lights for 20W halogens but if I remember correctly I bought the 15 degree reflectors feeling they would be more functional by concentrating the light in a narrower beam.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
On paper, these seem to be a good idea. About the light output of a 40w bulb using only 5w of power...

http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-...tion=DispPage&Page2Disp=/specs/MR16-x4W-x.htm

opinions?
Since I didn't pick up the Optronics light kit yet. I am not sure how much room is in the housing. The problem with buying stuff online is that I have no idea what the actual dimensions of that bulb is. It looks longer from base to tip of reflector then the standard bulb. It would be nice if they listed dimensions to be sure it would fit.
 

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I have some reservations about the LED lights in this application. I have noticed from a flashlight that I have which has LEDs that they are very bright to look at but do not "throw" a beam like a conventional light. The LEDs don't seem to reflect as well as incandescent or halogen bulbs. Just my observation
 

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Since I didn't pick up the Optronics light kit yet. I am not sure how much room is in the housing. The problem with buying stuff online is that I have no idea what the actual dimensions of that bulb is. It looks longer from base to tip of reflector then the standard bulb. It would be nice if they listed dimensions to be sure it would fit.
This would be my concern also. If I remember right, the 20w bulbs I used required me to alter the base of the light socket in the housing so the light fit well.

The front bezel on the light housing sort if screws on, and the 20w lights I bought were for some reason longer than the stock 55w bulbs.(I used the "spot" light which I think made them slightly longer) The receptacle for the light in the housing had a small round piece of rubber at the back with two holes for the wires to go through.

I cut this off, leaving only enough of the rubber to keep the wires separated. I then put a large glob of clear silicon sealant over the remaining rubber and reassembled the light using the new bulb. This had the added advantage of making the light unit more waterproof, as the wires just exited the back of the light through a hole.

So, by doing something simular, it might be possible to use a bulb that's slightly longer. And by slightly I mean less than 3/16 of an inch....anything longer and I do not think you'd be able to close the housing.

It should also be mentioned these light bulbs have glass covers over the bulbs. Some simular bulbs I have seen don't, and can't be used for that reason alone.

So, I guess we need someone to buy one of these LED lights and let us know if it fits in the light housing. My guess based on the halogen lights is that the narrower beam (spot) would be longer than the wider beam (flood) light.

KM
 

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well at any rate, the 20w bulbs i picked up on Amazon linked above fit the optronics housing perfectly. Also hard to beat that price.

I also tend to agree with Gemguy, while LEDs have come a long way, I still don't know that I would trust using them as spot lights to see buy. Though I do plan on swapping out the tail/brake lights as well as the turn signals to LEDs to reduce power consumption. I'm also considering swapping the dash lights out to LED as well to go even further. of course with the turn signals, I will need to pick up an electronic flasher unit to keep everything working....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
well at any rate, the 20w bulbs i picked up on Amazon linked above fit the optronics housing perfectly. Also hard to beat that price.

I also tend to agree with Gemguy, while LEDs have come a long way, I still don't know that I would trust using them as spot lights to see buy. Though I do plan on swapping out the tail/brake lights as well as the turn signals to LEDs to reduce power consumption. I'm also considering swapping the dash lights out to LED as well to go even further. of course with the turn signals, I will need to pick up an electronic flasher unit to keep everything working....
I used the EP-34 flasher unit from any local auto parts store, which works on our bikes but has a slightly "faster" flash rate. The problem I was having is that some LED replacement bulbs will not function correctly with a mix of LED's and incandescent bulbs in the same circuit. If I use LED's in the front turn signals, the front running lights will not turn on because they are in the same circuit as the dash bulbs. I suppose you could replace all the bulbs including the dash bulbs, but then the R/R would work harder to shunt the unused current generated by the stator.
Switching over to all LED's may not be a benefit to your charging system. The wattage generated by the R/R will either be used by the electrical components on the bike (including accessories), or the excess wattage will be shunted to ground by the R/R. If your total wattage is too high, you will damage the stator. If your total wattage is too low, your R/R can fail because it has to shunt too much wattage and will most likely overheat.
The trick to adding lights and accessories is to not go over the recommended wattage (around 70watts in reserve for our bikes), by lowering usage somewhere else to balance the wattage you are adding.
 

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Hey Ndr, I did the brake and license light with LEDs and I was going to do the directionals. After some thought and some discussion I changed my mind. The directionals stay on for a relatively short period of time so is it worth going through all the trouble? The dash lights are also small and don't draw much power. Is it worth the work to change them out? Good luck whatever you do.
 

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There's no real point in replacing the turn lights with LEDs.... Unless you are going to add "always on" driving lights or heated gear.

The turn lights as mentioned are only on briefly, LED tail lights make more sense. The front "running lights" are always on however.

If your just going to add 40w of driving lights, I think you could benefit from the LED tail lights, using 35w bulbs would equal 70w...so definitely use LED tail lights.... but doing the turnsignals is likely overkill.

In all this I think the first thing you need to add is a good voltmeter. One that has a digital readout would be my preference. Being able to monitor your exact voltage when adding on any other significant drain to the battery us important.

Things like GPS units , phone chargers, and mp3 players use little power. Heated gear, radios with external speakers, and extra non LED lights use "significant" power. Keep in mind too that 70w limit was figured as " best case"... Meaning your bike is running at a high enough rpm range where the stator output was at it's highest. Plodding along from stop light to stop light in the city or stuck in traffic even that 40w driving light bar may cause a slight strain.

So whatever you end up with... Have a switch to turn off the added lights if you need to ....and have a good voltmeter to tell you when you should.
 

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Yes, agree 100% with KM above.....you really should install a quality voltmeter (one that is preferably designed for MC duty) to monitor the status of your bike's charging system (if you haven't done this already).

Then you'll always know if/when you've later added too much electrical load to your bike's charging system. You basically want the voltmeter to read 12.9 volts--or higher (up to say, 15.1 volts--past that much is also bad news).

I decided I didn't want to cope with the sagging, leaking and corrosion problems that can occur with the factory turn signals. So I replaced them (stalks, and all) and also the rear brake lights with LEDs.

If you do the same, you should find that your bike's charging system (with the voltmeter feedback) can handle two added 35-watt lights up front. This assumes of course that your bike's charging system is in ok condition.

In any case, let us know what you decide....:beerchug:
 

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Switching over to all LED's may not be a benefit to your charging system. The wattage generated by the R/R will either be used by the electrical components on the bike (including accessories), or the excess wattage will be shunted to ground by the R/R. If your total wattage is too high, you will damage the stator. If your total wattage is too low, your R/R can fail because it has to shunt too much wattage and will most likely overheat.
The trick to adding lights and accessories is to not go over the recommended wattage (around 70watts in reserve for our bikes), by lowering usage somewhere else to balance the wattage you are adding.

Wow, never thought of that. I completely forgot about that side of that stator having to dispose of the unused energy, and of course if there is too much of an unused excess that is giving the R/R more work to do.

Thanks for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
There's no real point in replacing the turn lights with LEDs.... Unless you are going to add "always on" driving lights or heated gear.

The turn lights as mentioned are only on briefly, LED tail lights make more sense. The front "running lights" are always on however.
I wasn't sure if this was directed towards me or not, but let me clarify that I converted my rear turning lights to dual filament bulbs in the original stalks, so they are now set up as "always on" and turning lights just like the front ones, but with red lenses.

This was why I was going to replace the rear brake lights and the rear turning lights (with "always on" driving lights).

I have a voltage monitor installed that gives me a heads up when the system is charging an when it is not, as well as when the voltage drops below a certain voltage. I test it often and make sure it stays calibrated. I can also plug in a digital voltage meter on the leads that are directly to the battery (which i use for the battery tender).

Just hoping someone out there has tried the LED bulbs in the optonics lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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I've been running the optronics on my Rebel with the 55w bulb in them for the past 3 years. I haven't had any issues with the lare current draw on the rebel, but then, I only turned the lights on while driving at night.

I picked up a new set to mount on the Vulcan, however I picked up a pack of 12 of the 20w bulbs on amazon for $16 shipped. I'll be swapping the 55w on the rebel and also using them on the Vulcan.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001J67UUW/ref=oh_o02_s00_i00_details
You put 55 watt lights on a REBEL? I have an '04 Rebel, which I have modified to fit me, mostly ride it around locally, because it is still not the most comfortable thing around for someone my size. But I have occasionally taken longer trips with it, including up in the mountains in the winter, where it gets COLD, even in AZ. I have a pair of Widder electric gloves, made for motorcycle use, and I have to turn the headlight off to use them. I don't know how much current they draw, because all the writing is worn off the controller, and Widder is no longer in business. But with the gloves turned on, the headlight dims quite a bit, and the turn signals barely work.
 

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You put 55 watt lights on a REBEL? I have an '04 Rebel, which I have modified to fit me, mostly ride it around locally, because it is still not the most comfortable thing around for someone my size. But I have occasionally taken longer trips with it, including up in the mountains in the winter, where it gets COLD, even in AZ. I have a pair of Widder electric gloves, made for motorcycle use, and I have to turn the headlight off to use them. I don't know how much current they draw, because all the writing is worn off the controller, and Widder is no longer in business. But with the gloves turned on, the headlight dims quite a bit, and the turn signals barely work.
Yup, I've had the same bulbs in for a few years now and haven't run into any problems. Then again, as I mentioned, I only only turn them on at night. Never had any problems with the battery, and the only time I've ever had to hook up a charger in in the winter months when it sits unused for the season.
As far as "long range" on the rebel, I've done a couple of trips down into Virginia and back home through West Virginia. Swapping the seat out for a Corbin and adding highway pegs made a really big difference.
 
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