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Definitive Answer on Higher Wattage Bulbs


moshe_levy

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I just completed my first "mini trip" with the RT, up to the MOA Nationals in VT and back. The lighting has just GOT to be upgraded. I asked this a few weeks ago, but got no definitive answer. I'm hoping someone can tell me:

 

Can the stock wiring harness and headlight assembly handle effectively doubling the wattage of the low and/or high beams from h7/55w & h3/55w respectively to 110W apiece? If not, PIAAs are readily available and should help. Either way, let me know please.

 

I bought the Run-N-Lites at the rally - will install soon and report back here.

 

-MKL

 

PS - I LOVE this bike!!

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Jerry Johnston

On my 96rt the wiring was fine but, the lens fogged up some and I worried more about the switch so replaced it with the org. wattage. It's better to add additional lights.

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I have been running a 80W/100W lamp for about 10 years now in an RT, no problems whatsoever. It helps quite a bit but I still added auxilliary lighting, a couple of Hella FF50's on EMP brackets. That did the trick, haven't found myself wanting any more.

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DavidEBSmith

Definitive answer here? Ha.

 

My opinions:

 

1. I wouldn't install a higher-wattage bulb with the stock wiring. A bunch of people will respond saying that they've been running high-watt bulbs on the stock wiring for a gazillion years with no problems. Unfortunately, all the people whose wiring harnesses melted down are stuck on the side of the road and can't respond. The stock wiring is not generously sized; even if you don't melt the wiring or burn out the high beam switch, you'll get some voltage drop in the wiring and reduce the output and lifespan of the expensive high-wattage bulb. What will make a noticeable difference, even with the stock bulb, is to install a headlight relay and heavier-gauge wiring, either DIY or a kit like the ones from Eastern Beaver. Note that Jim from Eastern Beaver specifically cites the R11xxRT as bikes that have heat problems from overwatt headlight bulbs and recommends against using them.

 

2. PIAAs have short lives, don't live up to the performance claims, and are overpriced. Other than that, they're fine. Better value with a documented performance increase from a standard-wattage bulb is to get a Philips Vision Plus or euro-version Osram Silver Star from Powerbulbs.com (not the U.S.-version Sylvania blue-crap-tinted Silver Star). If you insist on using a high-wattage bulb, get a quality bulb such as a Hella and save the money you would spend on the PIAAs.

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I wouldn't install a higher-wattage bulb with the stock wiring. A bunch of people will respond saying that they've been running high-watt bulbs on the stock wiring for a gazillion years with no problems.
Like I just did grin.gif. But for the record I'll be the first to agree that the right way to do this would to use a relay and that's what I would suggest as well... but what can I say, FWIW I've had no problems with the stock harness and headlight shell, and that includes a lot of running in ungodly hot ambient temperatures. I did check the voltage drop when I originally installed the bulb and while I don't remember the exact figures the results weren't too horrible. If you do use the stock harness make sure that all terminal connections on the bulb and socket are clean.
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I'm very happy with the headlamp relay wiring harness from Eastern beaver, even coupled with a $20 Sylvania brightstar I picked up at an auto parts store. All I guess you really have is these small wires running from the headlamp switch to the headlamp, thats why there is so much voltage loss. The eastern beaver harness has 2 high-quality relays built into the harness. Also, as a previous poster pointed out- Jim (owner of eastern beaver) specifically warns that the R11xx RT is a hot-running headlamp on his web site. However, as you can see, some riders run higher-wattage bulbs and some run stock wattage bulbs. I also put Hella FF50's (relatively cheap) on EMP brackets (snatch up some of these brackets-the guy that was making them is not making anymore-under $60). It really lights up the night for me. I would start by putting on an Eastern Beaver headlamp relay harness- no affiliation, just a satisfied customer. Then, it's a personal decision on upgrading to a higher wattage bulb. For such an expensive bike, I believe that relays should have been built into the lighting system.

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I wouldn't install a higher-wattage bulb with the stock wiring. A bunch of people will respond saying that they've been running high-watt bulbs on the stock wiring for a gazillion years with no problems.
Like I just did grin.gif. But for the record I'll be the first to agree that the right way to do this would to use a relay and that's what I would suggest as well... but what can I say, FWIW I've had no problems with the stock harness and headlight shell, and that includes a lot of running in ungodly hot ambient temperatures. I did check the voltage drop when I originally installed the bulb and while I don't remember the exact figures the results weren't too horrible. If you do use the stock harness make sure that all terminal connections on the bulb and socket are clean.

 

Speaking as an electronic engineer, the stock wiring is a joke and not up to a power installation. I measured a 1.2 volt drop at the headlamp bulb on the standard 55watt bulb. That gives a 25% drop in output. Higher wattage bulbs would draw more current giving bigger drops in voltage, which could possibly make them dimmer than stock.

 

Fit relays and Xennon bulbs. You will love the difference.

 

Andy - who still has not got round to fitting the dashed relays dopeslap.gifdopeslap.gif

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No_Twilight

I agree with Boffin and want to add one thing: relay kits from Eastern Beaver are relatively cheap and easy to install. A fried wiring harness will be very difficult and expensive...seems like an easy decision. I have the kit waiting for time to install right now.

 

--Jerry

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Rich06FJR1300

i installed the xenon light on my RT and what a difference (5000k), its been on there since the earlier part of the year so no problems. Just came back from the rally and noticed one of my PIAA's is out...45 bucks for a new light frown.gif

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Add 1 on the ebbo website.

 

I changed my 99 RT-P to relay operation with a PIAA 80/100 bulb. I observed the naked bulb with standard switching.

It was bright but I could discern the shape of the filament within the glow of the light. With relay operation the bulb was so much brighter I could not discern the filament and I had white spots in my eyes for a while thereafter. From a practical stand point it makes abig difference on the road.

 

I also have Hella micro ff driving lights that I mounted on my crash bars, but you can't have driving lights on all the time and after your eyes are used to the driving lights and you dip them it's like "Who turned out the lights?" You need a really good low beam to fall back on. No matter what you do I would reccomend the relay set up and 80/100 buldb for the stock light.

 

Regards, RT Fink

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one of my PIAA's is out...45 bucks for a new light

CBT Imports, $15.08 for PIAA 910, 110 watt H3 replacement bulb. That fits my budget fine. http://www.cbtimports.com/piaa910.htm They're mounted on "above the mirror" brackets.

 

I just replaced both of mine after one bulb finally died, and those bulbs were on my RT for 60k and on my K100 prior to that. I live in far northeast MN, and I ride at night a lot, on roads where I can use them, so I use them often. I like to see the deer at night, and I enjoy making them blink when they stare at me. They are essential to night safety.

 

I experience no problems with PIAA bulb life, and the 910's on the RT really light up the road. The wiring harness uses heavy gauge wire on the bulb power circuit, and I have good connections to the battery positive and ground. That is key to good bulb life; poor or dirty connecitons equates to higher resistance and more heat which fries the bulb.

 

I use a stock bulb in the fairing headlamp, so there is no issue with burning up the bike wiring harness, and I'm not blinding oncoming drivers on curvy, black, northern two lane roads. Interesting factiod, my low beam fairing bulb burned out about a month prior to the 910 burning out a bulb, and the 910 bulbs had already spent 80k of riding on my prevoious K100 before being moved to my RT.

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As said on one post I'd go with xenon HID lighting...in fact I did smile.gif

 

Choose the temp of the light (from yellow to purple tinge) and

you have a great headlight, reduced filament temparature and a relay thrown in to boot!

 

They cost a few pounds/dollars smile.gif but when darkness falls it will be worth every penny.

 

No extra strain on the switch or wiring, in fact less! As they have a control unit/relay to build the high voltage these bulbs need.

 

These bulbs have no wire filament so are supposed to last until you physically break them...don't want to try that!

 

Regards,

 

Gary

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Can't say enough good things about Jim at Eastern Beaver. The way my modulator (Signal Dynamics) was wired it wouldn't work properly with the relay and it was clicking with every cycle. An email to Jim and he rewired the relay AND modulator, replacing the relay just in case it had been over cycled, shipped it all back to me FOR FREE! clap.gif

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