Author Topic: LED Instrument Lights?  (Read 5643 times)

Hughlysses

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LED Instrument Lights?
« on: October 06, 2013, 11:30:19 am »
Just wondering if anybody's tried these yet.  I have not had good luck with bulb life with the stock bulbs (size #194) and I think I have 3 or 4 of them out right now.  Since it's a PITA to disassemble the gage cluster to get to the bulbs, I'm thinking it'd be worth the expense to change to LEDs due to their long life.

I did a little research yesterday and a Goldwing forum suggested these as excellent LED replacements:  http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/miniature-wedge-base/194-led-bulb-5-led-wide-angle-wedge-base/199/

They're a bit pricey (white ones are $3.94 each, some colors are less expensive) but each "bulb" consists of 5 LEDs; one pointing upward and four illuminating to the sides, so it should work well as either an indicator bulb or to illuminate the gages. 

As a way to save cost these single bulb LEDs might suffice for the indicator bulbs; they're only $1.39 each.  OTOH, the most "neutral" color they're available in is light blue, which might cause some issues trying to illuminate a yellow or red indicator:  http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/miniature-wedge-base/194-led-bulb-1-led-wedge-base/197/

Thoughts?

Hugh

J6G1Z

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Re: LED Instrument Lights?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2013, 12:06:10 pm »
That's funny that you brought up LED lighting today. Yesterday I started a post on LED lighting & the same company that you have listed. For some reason my computer hung up when I was trying to post & I lost it all.  >:(

I can't help you with your question directly, other than to say that the one time I bought something from Super Bright LEDs, the service & part were excellent. My limited experience with LED lighting on a motorcycle is the installation of this license plate frame with LED brake/tail/turn signals built in.  http://www.cyclegear.com/CycleGear/Accessories/Add-ons/Other-Add-ons/brand/SPEEDMETAL/LED-License-Plate-Frame/p/44045_59408  After I wired it up, I found that my turn signals would not flash. I ordered this flasher: http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/car-install-supplies/lf1-s-pin-universal-motorcycle-electronic-flasher/193/841/  and now all is well. I have mini incandescent turn signals up front & LED in the back & the flasher operates just fine. Super Bright LEDs has about 50 motorcycle related items: http://www.superbrightleds.com/search/led-products/motorcycle

Another good source for LED lighting is Batteries Plus: http://www.batteriesplus.com

Good luck & please let us know what you find out. I have a Honda MB5 that needs all of its gauge lights replaced.
J.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 12:12:49 pm by J6G1Z »

Bucko

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Re: LED Instrument Lights?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 02:37:53 pm »
A couple of things you should think about:

Probably not a big issue, but reducing the power used by your instrument lighting will mean draining more power through your R/R which could shorten it's life.  Hard to tell if the impact will be significant - not sure how many bulbs there are or what the wattage is  - usually about 3 or 5W.  So say, 6 bubs at 5W = 30W,  Doesn't seem like a lot but one option would be to bump up your headlight wattage a bit.

Make sure the replacement LED's are bright enough.  I swapped all the bulbs in my 900F cluster for LED's (the F bikes have an excited field alternator so there's a power benefit to running LED's - as opposed to total loss systems where power is generated whether you use it or not).  The indicator LED lamps work fine and are bright enough for all round use but the instrument lighting LED are not really bright enough.  OK for highway use at night but in town with all the incident lighting, not very useful (I had to put the odometer light back to a bulb as I couldn't see it with a LED).

LED's have polarity and a LED may or may not work in any given lamp socket.  You can avoid this potential problem (I say 'potential' as it may not actually be a problem for Ascots) by ensuring your use bipolar LED's which will work with voltage of either polarity.  If you're confident you know the voltage polarity at every socket then this isn't really an issue.  Never the less, if you have mixed polarity sockets, using the bipolar LED's let's you get away with only one type of LED so dealing with spares is a little more convenient.



« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 01:22:37 pm by Bucko »

J6G1Z

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Re: LED Instrument Lights?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2013, 08:23:55 pm »
A couple of things you should think about:

Probably not a big issue, but reducing the power used by your instrument lighting will mean draining more power through your R/R which could shorten it's life... 

Thanks for that input. When you wrote R/R, what are you referring to?

J.

Dougie

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Re: LED Instrument Lights?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 06:22:23 am »
Regulator/Rectifier?

J6G1Z

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Re: LED Instrument Lights?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 09:52:10 am »
Regulator/Rectifier?

Doh! I should've been able to figure that out. :-[

J.

Bucko

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Re: LED Instrument Lights?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 01:21:27 pm »
Ya, Regulator/Rectifier.  Most motorcycles (including the Ascot) have a total loss power generation system.  That is, they produce a fixed amount of power (for a given RPM).  Whatever power isn't used elsewhere on the motorcycle is 'shunted' to ground through the R/R (that's why R/R's are typically built as a finned heat sink - to dissipate the heat from the power being shunted to ground.  Designing a total loss power system for a motorcycle is a balancing act between generating enough power for minimum load with a little extra thrown in for temporary increases (and relying on the battery to fill in the gaps) without generating so much power that the excess fries the R/R through too much current - i..e heat.  The fact that you may have to occasionally charge your battery (or put water back in it) is a sign that it's not an exact science.

Some motorcycles have an excited field alternators (like most cars) which generate less power if less power is required so there's not a lot of shunting power through the R/R going on.  The downside is more complexity (and more expensive to build) and parts that need to be replaced, like brushes, and rotor windings that are subject to fail (in addition to the stator windings that all systems have).