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Illustrated HID Impact/Install


David

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Effectiveness of Auxiliary HID Lights

 

lights4.gif

 

The above is an illustration of lighting, particularly designed to contrast what you can see in the real world from the rider's perspective. This was shot on a very dark night this weekend. There are three objects that are 60 yards away: wooden slat fence, small sign, and a traffic cone. The camera was on a tripod and the white balance and exposure were all controlled manually and were identical for each shot. They were then merged in Photoshop to create the GIF.

 

The first of the four steps is low beam only on my 12GS. I have a 55w Philips VisionPlus H7 bulb in there.

 

The second adds Motolights mounted on the calipes. They don't help a huge amount, but if you picture the fence as a deer, you can see how they'd light it up. Same is true for the most close in stuff. At any rate, I use Motolights primarily to be more conspicuous and they work well for that.

 

The third switches on the high beam (same H7 bulb). The beam pattern is very tightly focused as it only adds light near the three objects.

 

The fourth adds HID lights. Note that I haven't aimed them carefully yet. I think I might spread them out a bit to light up the sides of the road more.

 

I have full resolution shots of nearly every combination if you want to see something else. For instance, here's an illustration of the difference between high beam and high beam + HID (without Motolights in the equation).

 

You could run these during the day and they'd help other people see you without annoying them. If that's all you want, though, go for Motolights. Mounted low they are more effective, cheaper, and easier to install.

 

I've only had the HID lights out twice at night. On neither occasion did I get flashed, but that surprised me, because they put out a freakin' amount of light. They are very similar to the effect of a set of 910 lights unless you aim them far down. I'm going to experiment more and see if I can run them at night without endangering other drivers or myself (if they run into me). I don't even want to annoy them. I think too much light is a lot more irresponsible than loud pipes.

 

The 12GS lighting is better than my RT was, stock. But it's still not enough. I was giving a few rides on the Blue Ride Parkway late at night during last El Paseo, I discovered that I was outrunning my lights in the twisties at anything above 50 mph. Not good. So this'll be a great enhancement.

 

Specs

 

These are Hella Micro DE Xenon HID lights that come in a complete kit.

 

01.jpg

 

I believe this is what's called a 3rd generation HID system in that the ballasts are really small (3.0 x 3.5") and the allowed wire length is significantly greater. The components are first rate--very well made with excellent connectors and instructions.

 

02.jpg

 

I believe the lighting has a color temperature of 4,300K. They use magnesium FF reflectors with a focusing lens, which allows a long throw from a small reflector. Each light is about 2.5 x 3.0". If you want to compare the power efficiency to an H7 bulb, consider that each light puts out about three times the light at one-half the power. Each of these draws only 35 watts of power--pretty remarkable when you look at the first picture, especially for any of you who are alternator challenged.

 

They come on nearly instantly. Supposedly it takes one 1 second to come to full power, but I'd be hard pressed to time it that long.

 

The kit was purchased from http://www.motogear4you.com for $695. It's run by Raffy K., a rider active on the LT board. Customer service was great. I probably could have shopped around and got it cheaper, but I didn't since he was helpful in answering some questions.

 

I bought a bike-specific ilghtbar from Best Rest Products, also with flawless customer service. There are several others available and I imagine most any of them would work.

 

Installation

 

Here's a shot looking up, toward the oil cooler. The highlighted circle is the attachment point for the light bracket:

 

03.jpg

 

The main bracket support is fastened to part of the sub-frame with two screws and then two u-bolts, as illustrated here:

 

04.jpg

 

Here's the right-side light on the bracket, with the power cord locked onto the back of the bulb. The 90-degree rubber boot is a drain. The light easily adjusts up/down and right/left without tools. In fact I can aim them as I'm riding by reaching down while underway. The bolt that attaches the light bracket to the lightbar was a bit too long. As you'll see in a later photo, I put a red cap on until I can find shorter ones (they didn't have a black cap in the size I needed at Ace):

 

05.jpg

 

Here's the same light from the front:

 

06.jpg

 

I put a relay near the battery and tapped the yellow headlight wire (emerging from the leftmost boot) as I've highlighted in this shot. Using this source ensures that the engine must be running for the HID lights to burn--having the key on is not enough. I like this added protection against battery drain. I've done the Motolights the same way.

 

I'm basically competent when it comes to mechanical things, but electrons puzzle me. So it was with some trepidation that I dove in. Knapp gave me some pointers, and Ken H.'s explanations of relays made it clearer. When I buttoned everything back up, no one was more surprised that this worked than I was. tongue.gif

 

Anyway, hopefully this picture will save you some effort:

 

07.jpg

 

After I knew how much wire I'd need to route it properly (by removing all the panels and fuel tank), I shortened the harness to get rid of all the extra wire (there's lots). What remains is coiled in the tool tray:

 

08.jpg

 

For a switch, I used what came with an earlier Motolight kit. It was in new condition and works great. I used Velcro to affix it to the inside of the left handguard. It does not interfere with the operation of the clutch; is protected from the weather; and is easy to reach with my left hand. Any ol' switch will do, though, since I'm switching the power to the relay, not the power to the lights themselves:

 

09.jpg

 

Here's a picture of the finished installation:

 

10.jpg

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Whoa! What an awesome presentation (not to mention the installation). I must confess, you have skills. thumbsup.gif

 

Your animation demonstrating the differences should be posted in the FAQ to illustrate the effects of the various types of lighting. There have been a lot of questions lately.

 

Nice job, David. cool.gif

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Very impressive David. The improvement in lighting is quite significant.I think using an intigrated system like the one you have with all components designed for each other (versus just HID bulb)is the best approach. Did you wire the switch off of the high beam line so when you dim your lights, they go off automatically?

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I must confess, you have skills. thumbsup.gif

 

Not really. I'm proud of myself for having dived in rather than take it to the dealer, but if you knew how many hours this took me, you'd be ROTLLYAO. smile.gif

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Did you wire the switch off of the high beam line so when you dim your lights, they go off automatically?

 

No, the HID lights are actually completely independent in that they can be switched on/off regarldess of the high/low beam position. I'm not a fan of "automatic" HID tied to the high beam. Unless, of course, it's a retrofit kit.

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As the person who started the, "Explain the True Advantages of HID Lights" thread, OK, I'm convinced. I don't know if I'm $700 of convinced, but impressed never-the-less! That's a LOT of light!

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Congrats David on a successful installation.

 

Glad to see that it worked out as you planned. That mounting bracket looks good.

 

Excellent write up.

 

Regards,

Raffy

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OK, I'm impressed. And I'm generally pretty cynical. I've seen too many mods that weren't worth the time invested, but any time you can turn night into day, it's time and money well spent. clap.gif

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Nice job! smile.gif

 

Can I get in the queue of folks that get dibs on this bike when you're done with it? smile.gif

 

I think too much light is a lot more irresponsible than loud pipes.

 

I couldn't agree more. smile.gif

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OK, I'm impressed. And I'm generally pretty cynical. I've seen too many mods that weren't worth the time invested, but any time you can turn night into day, it's time and money well spent. clap.gif

 

I agree. I'm skeptical by nature. Someone needs to do this mod with an HID retrofit and demonstrate the difference in light, FROM the rider's perspective.

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Nice job! smile.gif

 

Thank you! I wish I had the electrical knowledge you do, but I'm at least getting the basics. Part of this for me was getting beyond the fear of diving into what to me is a new bike. I was fine on the RT, but this is a different animal.

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I agree. I'm skeptical by nature. Someone needs to do this mod with an HID retrofit and demonstrate the difference in light, FROM the rider's perspective.

 

Yes, they do. And frankly, I don't think they'd see near the effect.

 

I'm quite sure Fasterpill's HID retrofit makes him more visible. But it does not give the difference that your aux lights do, because the reflector and lens work to keep the very distinct cutoff right where stock is. IOW, high beam is still very visible and useful with low beam HID on a K12RS.

 

I've seen garage shots that make the HID light up things like daytime; but someone really needs to do an open setting shot like you've got there. What the retrofit mostly does (despite the accolades for it here by many) is brighten up the area immediately in front of the bike. Long range visibility with just a low beam retrofit is limited.

 

I was never disappointed I did it. Lord knows I've made plenty of worse $280 decisions. But I'm not prepared to say it made a huge difference in riding at night.

 

Of course, I'm still not offering any evidence.

 

How much do those lights weigh, David? I've been toying with the idea of a mount for the Triumph similar to the FJR mounts for the PHids, at the base of the mirrors.

 

Greg

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How much do those lights weigh, David? I've been toying with the idea of a mount for the Triumph similar to the FJR mounts for the PHids, at the base of the mirrors.

 

I'll get the specs for you, but I think it's just ounces. They weigh virtually nothing.

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I'll get the specs for you, but I think it's just ounces. They weigh virtually nothing.

 

Good to know. If you've got specs, that'd be great, not that I'd be doing anything but guessing about the stresses even with such specs. Searching on line proved fruitless for me. I discovered that they had the same low weight as the conventional Micro DE lights, but I couldn't find the weight of those, either.

 

Lots and lots of size measurements, though.

 

Greg

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Nice job on the installation! thumbsup.gif I'll be anxious to see them up close next week.

 

I really like the way you've tapped the high beam circuit. I used the aux power port for relay power and regret doing it that way. I have to remember to switch off the Motolights everytime I turn the engine off or risk draining the battery. If I have time before the trip, I may rewire it.

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Great job David! The illustrations and procedure are top notch. Very neat and clean. I can see from the photos that the light output is multiplied greatly. I have one little thing that bothers me, but it might not bother you and that is when you have to come back down from all the lights being on to normal as in a car approaching, are you night blinded a little bit? I am. I went back to standard lighting with Sylvania Silverstar using relays and the motoligts with 50w fogs and the night blindness isn't as bad when I have to go to low beams. It's probably just an old age thing, but I probably do more night riding than day.

Anyway, my two cents worth. You did a fine job, one in which a "how to do" book company could learn from! clap.gif

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Fantastic post! clap.gif

 

I'm never happy with stock lights on vehicles, and think I may have slightly poor night vision. I have added upgraded lights and spots to my car and ike, but it's nice to see the effect of something like this. When I have a few more $$$ to spend, I've a darn good idea where it's going!

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I have one little thing that bothers me, but it might not bother you and that is when you have to come back down from all the lights being on to normal as in a car approaching, are you night blinded a little bit?

 

It's too early to say, but that could be an issue, and I'll keep an eye on it. I agree that it's possible to have "too much light," both for you and for the oncoming vehicle. Time will tell!

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Here are some shots taken with the OEM bulb, a PIAA super white bulb and a HID bulb installed in my R1100RT. All shots were taken within 15 minutes of each other, the camera was set on manual and the exposure was set for the OEM headlight bulb.

This is the OEM bulb

head1.jpg

This is the PIAA Super White bulb

head2.jpg

This is with the HID retrofit kit, it has a selenoid that moves the bulb from the low to the high position. This shot is with the low beam.

head3.jpg

 

I also run some PIAA white fog lights mounted on my cylinder heads. I would not want to run just the HID bulb as if it went out.. there would be nothing for a back up. Hope this helps folks with there decision making process. With the improvement that the HID bulb makes to lighting up the road.. I won't go back to std bulbs again. In the two years I have been running this set up I have only had two drivers complain of the brightness. One does have to aim the HID lights very carefully.

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Great write-up David! Well done! Very clean install....

 

I put the same set of lights on my LT and the difference has truly been "night and day" - literally.

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I put the same set of lights on my LT and the difference has truly been "night and day" - literally.

 

Cool. Where'd you put them, Tony, and did you wire them to high/low or keep them independent?

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David-

 

For now, they are mounted under the mirrors using a simple 'L' bracket that attaches to the bike - in between the mirror and body of the bike. I might try and source a different bracklet that allows them to be mounted lower - in the area under the LT's tip-over wings. I honestly don't know what the better position would be - everyone has different opinions it seems. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it better for them to be higher or lower? Or have one set high and a different set of lights low? smile.gif

 

The lights are wired completely independent of the high/low switch.

 

They have been on for about a week - and on those dark nights - they (so far) are proving to be absolutely incredible lights. I will try to snap some pictures and post.

 

Not my bike - but here is a shot of how they are currently mounted:

micro%20de2%20resized%202.jpg

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Tony, higher is better. The angle will allow you to illuminate the surface of the road without being quite as blinding to oncoming cars.

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Great job David. thumbsup.gif I would like your opinion on just using the one light, tourtech, on the left. Ben.

 

Well, if you are going to use just one, it should be on the left, if for no other reason than you can reach down and aim it without rolling off the throttle. But I have too much of a hang up with lack of symmetry. smile.gif So I'd put it in the middle, probably below the headlight and above the fender. I do think one light would make a remarkable difference.

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The light output is impressive David. I’ve been eyeing a set of these for a while now and will be interested in reading your follow-up reports.

 

What are your thoughts around protecting the lens?

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Greg, it looks pretty solid so I'm not worried about it. I suppose you could construct a mesh, but it'd have to be tight enough to keep small rocks out, which would hinder the output.

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Calvin  (no socks)

David, I have had my micros on my GT for 1000 miles. I absoloutely love them. I was riding sweep in broad daylight, and could be seen for 2 miles.... I fabricated my own quick disconnect mounts. I am addicted to light... wow are they bright. I have them in my reach and can easily aim them while driving.. Close for Traffic at night/far or crossed for long distance or lots of turns. Now I need extra ballasts so I can change them from bike to bike. dopeslap.gif

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Calvin, I forgot that you had mounted them to your GT. Perhaps we could swap rides and take a short night ride at the HCR, or at least let me ride behind you for a demo. I'd like to see how much better they are than my Hella F55's.

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Calvin  (no socks)

Yeah, I always wanted to ride a GT with a motor that needs breaking in... grin.gif Actually I haven't reved my bike to 6500 yet, (15000 miles) as we speak.. I'm from the "ride like your buying" it philosophy. smirk.gif It is most impressive at night, you will be able to see me from Louisana...

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Damn. Why did I have to go and look at this thread. Too bad I didn't see it a couple of days ago, since we are leaving o a trip tomorrow that will involve a fair amount of night riding. There goes another $700. Good thing I get a raise on Friday.

 

--sam

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Ben Peeples
Great job David. thumbsup.gif I would like your opinion on just using the one light, tourtech, on the left. Ben.

 

Well, if you are going to use just one, it should be on the left, if for no other reason than you can reach down and aim it without rolling off the throttle. But I have too much of a hang up with lack of symmetry. smile.gif So I'd put it in the middle, probably below the headlight and above the fender. I do think one light would make a remarkable difference.

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The lights weigh 7.1 ounces each. The mounting brackets for the lights weigh 2.9 ounces each. The rest is the wiring harness and ballasts (2, one for each light). Total boxed kit as it comes from Hella is 6.6 lbs.

 

I'll post pics once I figure this out.

 

 

I have them on an independent switch to allow me to turn them on when I want them regardless if I am using low or high beam (which BTW are also HID. that's 4 HIDs at my disposal). tongue.gif

 

 

Raffy

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What gives with the pictures not showing up?

 

Raffy, the image tag is [ image ] and not [ img ] (delete the spaces). Plus, the image has to end in .jpg.

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Here are the pictures:

 

89Micro_DE_HID_right_side_front_resized-thumb.JPG

 

and

 

89Micro_DE_front_lights_off_resized-thumb.JPG

 

and one from the side. Too bright for a head on pic.

 

89Micro_DE_HID_side_lights_on_resized-thumb.JPG

 

Higher resolution pics are available if anyone wants to see them. PM or email me.

 

Raffy

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  • 2 months later...
...I really like the way you've tapped the high beam circuit...

 

He actually tapped the headlight (low-beam) circuit. The high-beam is white, and the low-beam is the yellow wire. Brown is ground.

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