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A UK Site Dedicated To The Suzuki C800, VL800, VX800, M800, VZ800, VS800, C50, M50 Model Intruder / Boulevard / Marauder
 
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 Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?

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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:37 am

OK; stupid question here my friends; for those of you already living in the modern world anyway... So not that I've had any trouble seeing with my factory lamp, (17 years old it is!), but with all the other options available these days, and as Mal has said in earlier post I was going thru for possible information; "... Too many dickheads on the road not to have a bit of extra visibility"!   And GREAT perspective Mal! I was thinking to upgrade the factory headlamp to either halogen or LED; whatever everyone is having the most satisfaction with? Is an LED headlight even an option now? Anyway; haven't looked too far into product availability, (figured I'd ask the experts first), so I was wondering if there is any available kits that just install a halogen receptacle and reflector into the factory chrome housing units, or do I need to look for a complete new housing that supports/holds a halogen bulb that has mounts/connectors specific to my model and year to insure proper fitment and connection?  As I'm finding things for my bike specifically somewhat difficult to find at times, (have no idea why it's not more popular; other than age possibly?); even aftermarket items, I was wondering what my best options/choices may be? Any suggestions or pointers from the peanut gallery are certainly welcome! sssmily
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v-twin
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:21 am

As far as I am aware your headlight is a normal round 7" unit and will take a H4 lamp, you can get higher brightness Halogen Lamps (such as https://www.philips.co.uk/c-p/12342XVBW/x-tremevision-moto-motorcycle-headlights) which are a lot brighter than a standard lamp but are still 55w so will not overload your electrics. 
Have a look through the lens to see if the 'reflector' is still clean etc if not it might be time to change the assembly completely.
In the UK our bikes have to pass an 'MOT' which is a test for road worthiness, the latest HID lamps are not legal to retro-fit but I'm not sure about the US but they are a lot brighter.
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:24 pm

Thanks Andrew. After reading that, and drilling down through the parts-finder page of the local bike shops website for factory replacement parts, (also shows exploded views of assemblies and such), I see that the bulbs are separate from the actual reflector assembly, (wasn't sure before if it was a sealed unit lamp like the old auto headlights used to be, and older bikes I'd had years past). Before I got to mucking around and taking anything apart; I wanted to get an idea of what the upgrade would entail as far as the swap. I did just a bit of digging this morning, (Googling the original bulb replacement part number, (09471-12060), and came across a slew of options of course. Has anyone had experience with the new COB LED type lights such as this?

Link

I have a couple COB LED work lights and flashlights, and they are blindingly bright! Just didn't know if the halogen has been the rider community preference over these for any particular reason? I'm sure any of the newer stuff is going to be brighter than what I have currently, (even saw one with a built in cooling fan attached to the back of the unit; even though the say the COB units use less power and thus create less heat), but I don't want to go with anything that may lead to other problems down the road as you said with system draw and other things. Also, I see some listings that actually say "Hi/Lo beam" such as this one, and others that don't state it, but you'd have to assume that they are all designed with that capability out of necessity?
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:13 pm

For that price it's worth a try Barry!
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:03 am

Well, after some more extensive digging, I've settled on giving this unit a shot:

Link

It says it's only 40w, which shouldn't overload the system, (saw some higher end ones up to 80w!), but claims a 4500 Lumens output, with 6000-6500K white light range, (Never mind that it lists as a cross reference for "H4 Notocycle Headlight!). I chose it partly because it has three separate light panels, (2 light for lo-beam; all 3 for hi-beam), which I would imagine has a better overall light broadcast on any reflector, but also because of the price. At just over $13 US, I had accumulated just over $11 in the credit card points that I have linked to my Amazon account, so it actually cost me just under $3 out of pocket, so I figured it's at least worth a shot. It did not however say it was DOT approved as some others claimed, but I'm going to take my chances on that account. Will post before and after light pics once I get and have it fitted. Says it should be here by Thursday; gotta' love Amazon Prime!
sssmily
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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:08 pm

Looks good even at the full price Barry so we'll wait & see your results  lgd thumup
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:04 am

Well, I have fitted the LED light bulb upgrade, and just from the inside the garage observation, am slightly underwhelmed with the results, but haven't had a chance to night ride yet, and see the critical true test of vision and visibility. I'd have to say that the low beam shows marked improvement, but the high beam doesn't seem as brilliant as I'd hoped; at least initially. Unfortunately, I didn't take any street "before" shots of night vision in a specific area to compare to, but the light definitely looks a lot "whiter", and I'm not sure how much truth my Motorola phone camera is capturing as far as captured reality, but I'll post the pics for everyone's perspective...

This was the low beam before:





This is after:






This was the hi beam before:






This is the hi beam after:






You really have to look at each side by side to get a fair comparison, which is what leads me to believe that the photos aren't telling the whole truth. The light certainly seems much brighter when looked at, but pictures of the light head on don't tell you much either; other than my eyes hurt! The installation wasn't very difficult, but did require some slight modifications of the rubber boot that covered the original bulb, (to fit the heat sink portion of the LED unit), and also the retention spring that held the bulb in pressed slightly on the side of the cooling fan housing, but a minor twist with a pair of needle nose pliers took care of that easily enough. The "Ching-glish" instructions were quite comical, and only slightly helpful, but any minor mechanical ability would make the swap easy enough. The light came with (3) adapter rings, (one for H4 and a couple other types), plus a spring, in case the factory unit wouldn't work. You can see in the pics a small white rubber seal ring, that left the light a little loose against the adapter ring, but a tiny rubber band installed behind the seal ring took care of that.

This is how the unit came out of the bike originally:



LED unit in the box:



On the left where the spring comes close to the housing is where I had to bend it slightly to allow fitment, and the white seal ring is visible under the heat fan unit:



Rubber boot from factory:





Rubber boot modified to fit cooling fan:



This is the final assembly with everything back in; I believe the boot still gives the cooling enough air to breathe, although all reports say these things run even cooler than regular bulbs:



Can't wait for night ride weather now so I can see the true "proof in the pudding" as they say... Think my next upgrade is going to be some extended custom mirrors. Those factory units have always been a little short of being able see much around my shoulders, and the new handlebars I put on last year only brought them lower and tighter to center, so something better and sportier is surely forthcoming...



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peardrop3
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:43 pm

As they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating Barry.
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:41 pm

Right you are Peter; just waiting for a "taste" of Spring around here so I can see...  :)
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simbo
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:56 pm

Looks to give a more direct beam Barry, Whiter too 
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:02 pm

Yes Sim; the colour difference from the traditional bulb was distinctly noticable. It also lit up the inside of the garage a lot brighter all around, so I'm expecting the road performance and visibility will be greatly improved.
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:48 am

So it finally got to go out after dark today; got above 70F during the day, and stayed near that after dark, so I left work early to go out and ride one the best day so far this year. Light works great, but I'm pretty sure I have the bulb in upside down maybe? I can see great distance and bright white, (think a couple people even "flashed their high beams" at me, indicating it's obviously quite bright, but it seems to be pointed slightly to the left, and when I click the high beam, it gets really bright about 20 feet in front of me? Should be hundreds of yards in front of me; beyond what the normal beam illuminates. I have to look up the way the bulb was intended to be installed, but I was pretty sure I put it in according to the information I got at the time, which seemed to make sense at the time. Otherwise, the high beam isn't very effective, but I'll let you all know once I've done some investigating...
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captain morgan
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:09 pm

looks like a good improvement
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:57 pm

Yeah, I was impressed as it is Morgan, but found out yesterday that the bulb is indeed upside down in the housing, so it should only get better once I get a chance to rotate it and correct the situation. When I bought the bulb on Amazon, there were no real instructions that said which way to orient it, so I assumed having the high-beam panel facing up would reflect that light higher? After looking up some independent articles on LED bulbs yesterday, they all stated that any three-sided bulb should have the high-beam installed facing down, which I suppose would reflect the light higher forward, as also evidenced by the fact of the light shining only several feet in front of me with it installed in this orientation. Also, I obviously need to make some adjustment to the left/right screw on the housing, as it was pointing too much into the next lane, and I would think it would be better to have it point a little more to the side of our roads over here (and out of oncoming traffic's eyes); to see what may be lurking on the curb/berm. Looks like I'll have a good while to tackle the adjustment, as it's supposed to snow again tomorrow morning, but looks like that should be the last of it for the year. Love riding at night, and will get a few pics on a dark back road where I can stop and take some without traffic interfering...
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:31 pm

So, here are some real world results of the headlight upgrade, now that I've inverted the hi-beam panel to face downward, which in effect, shines the beam higher and farther forward, and a little directional adjustments with the old screwdriver. I'm not as impressed with the hi-beam, (can see the trees pretty well!), but the difference in the low-beam may have well been worth the swap on its own...

Low-beam:



Hi-beam:



Low-beam:



Hi-beam:

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captain morgan
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:45 pm

looks pretty good mate just be carful of parking up at carparks out of town and sitting there flashing hi/lo beam someone might think your dogging 
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:43 pm

Yeah; I thought about that! I took both sets of photos at two different park entrances just around town here, where I'd figured no one would be about after dark, but still wondered who might be lurking in the darkness of the woods around me doing lord knows what! 
lol!
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bagtoracer68
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PostSubject: Re: Halogen/LED Headlamp Upgrade?   Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:22 pm

After about 1k+ miles of riding so far this spring, I started hearing a faint "ticking" sound while riding in the area of the headlight. I'd previously found that the brake cable was curled next to the windshield and bouncing against it during bumps, which I solved by wrapping a small section of rubber hose around the cable in that area, by splitting it down the side and sliding it to where the cable touched the windshield, so I checked for any further such interference issues but didn't find any. Whilst riding this past holiday weekend, (Memorial Day here, in which Kandy started the tradition of riding to the cemeteries of our families and placing flags on all the graves; having a new one added just the day before where her brother was just placed, as he'd passed just that week from lung cancer), I noticed as I passed street signs even during the day, that the light from my headlight was bouncy and flickery, but still working completely. As I suspected, the new LED headlight unit was loose inside the housing, so I took it apart to investigate the reason. Turned out the small plastic retention ring that holds the unit into the adapter ring that aligns the unit into various headlights, (came with multiples for different models), had cracked one of the two small retention tabs off, which allowed the weight of the fan unit on the back of the light to bounce around. Since the light came with two of the bigger plastic alignment/retention rings with three tabs for my model for some reason, I decided just to Super-glue the whole thing together and be done with it. So far it's holding up after a few hours of riding, but although I know there isn't much room inside these units, and possibly I could have managed to damage it when I had to remove it and rotate the bulb to the proper orientation, surely they could have designed something a little more industrious to handle the rigors of miles and miles of bumps and vibration.
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