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Old 12-09-2010, 11:06 AM   #1
Bill Harris OP
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Old Airhead instrument lamps

Old-style /5 speedo/tach combo. For the dial illumination (not the warning lights) it uses small hard-to-find bulbs that, of late, are prone to burning out too quickly. Not a big deal to replace, but I have to pull the fairing and wiggle up through all the wiring spaghetti to get to them.

What I'm thinking of doing is "upgrading" these bulbs with white LED lamps. I could use the original bulb holders and incorporate the LEDs (and dropping resistors) into them on a permanent basis. I can look around and get "warm tone" white LEDs that would mimic the color tone of the incandescents.

One thing I never have liked about the stock /5 instrument illumination is that it is not bright enough. I would like to increase the instrument brightness in the process and wonder if anyone has done this LED conversion on a /5 speedo and how it worked out brightness-wise. There are different "brightness levels" available in the LED lamps and knowing what works will cut down on the trail-and-error R&D process.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:00 AM   #2
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I went here http://www.superbrightleds.com and got some bulbs for my /5.
(on the top menu select car bulbs, BA9s bulbs)
IIRC, all the ones in the bucket are BA7s (on the same page) with the exception of the charge light and the turn signal indicator. I've heard you shouldn't use an LED for the charge light. The BA7s only come in one brightness, just match the color with the indicator's lens color. They're only .89
I swapped mine over- it looks nice in the garage, but I haven't given it a real night ride as it's snowing in Chicago. I don't expect it to be noticeably brighter. The multi-led BA9's have issues fitting in the original bulb holders. They also have a brake/tail light that is a drop-in.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotdash View Post
I've heard you shouldn't use an LED for the charge light.
I'm 99.9% that the OP knows this but yes, you're correct, you can't simply replace the alt/charge lamp with an LED. The lamp (or a resistor) is needed to enable the alternator.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:46 PM   #4
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I checked the instrument lamps and they are BA7's (actually I found my stash of BA7 bulbs, a box of about 8).

SuperBright LEDs has drop-in replacements for the BA7 bulbs, and at $1.49 each I can't even think of modifying the sockets myself to accept LEDs. At 6200 mcd brightness they would be pretty darn bright, but as "cool white", they'll have that typical white LED bluish tint. For the price, I'll give them a try.

The spec page for the BA7 lamps is at:

http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...ecs%2Fba7s.htm

I wouldn't even bother replacing the warning lamps with LEDs-- I can't remember that last time I had one burn out.
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:55 AM   #5
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Is there a tutorial anywhere to do this?
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:13 PM   #6
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As an alternative to the BA-7 plug-and-play LED replacement, SuperbrightLEDs has an 8mm dia LED lamp that has a much wider (less directional) viewing angle and an output of some 9000 mcd (half again as much). The BMW lamp socket could be adapted to take the LED lamp.

http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...-360_specs.htm
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