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Old 12-24-2014, 07:18 AM   #1
brownricer OP
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Best headlight upgrade?

I ride my old Honda GL500 at night fairly often, and from the beginning I have been trying to do something about the fairly lame original headlight.
It's a stock 7" Stanley H4 bucket, metal and glass, mounted in the fairing with a yoke-style frame that bolts to the fairing at a single point..

I had a SpeedMetal drop-in LED kit for a while- quite a bit brighter, but the high beam pattern was ridiculously high compared to the low beam... then the low beam LED crapped out, after about 6000 miles. Pulled it out and stuck the old H4 lamp back in there... sigh... it's like an old kerosene coach light by comparison.

I then stuck a brighter standard H4 in there yesterday, and it's not bad... but I still would like something that can illuminate what is now in that "black hole"... for example, just last night I was on the interstate doing about 60... the new bulb was lighting the reflective markings very well about 5 seconds ahead in low-beam mode... but I had maybe two seconds to see anything on the dark pavement that wasn't reflective. Hit a small pothole I never even saw last night, and I doubt I would have seen it with the LED rig. It was not a big hole, and I was upright, but had it been a big one, and in a turn... scary.

I've started looking online at the bewildering array of HID/LED projector drop-in solutions, reflector/lens replacements, and dual light setups, and I am not close yet to picking something.

Anybody out there tried some sort of street-legal projector beam unit that worked on a similar motorcycle (single 7" reflector lamp, set in a fairing)? With no or minimal hacking of the fairing? If so, did it yield the desired effect (showing some texture on dark pavement within 300 feet or so)? I don't want to ditch the fairing, but as it is banged-up anyway, I might consider some cutting. The "well" in which the headlight sits actually flares out from a 7 1/2" round hole to a large square area, so I might even be able to squeeze a dual-light setup in there without much cutting.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:47 AM   #2
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before you muck about with changing the light itself, check the wiring! There's an awful lot of corrosion and resistance that can build up over 20+ years

measure the voltage at the light: my SFC had a terrible headlight and, when I checked, there were less than 6v reaching the headlight. I cleaned all the connectors and installed a pair of relays (using a wiring diagram I found in google) - back to 12v at the lights and vastly better light.

total cost was about 10 for relays, connectors & wire and an hour or so of my time.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfc1k View Post
before you muck about with changing the light itself, check the wiring! There's an awful lot of corrosion and resistance that can build up over 20+ years

measure the voltage at the light: my SFC had a terrible headlight and, when I checked, there were less than 6v reaching the headlight. I cleaned all the connectors and installed a pair of relays (using a wiring diagram I found in google) - back to 12v at the lights and vastly better light.

total cost was about 10 for relays, connectors & wire and an hour or so of my time.
Did all that way back; 12V there. The problem is the beam itself,produced by the old reflector bowl and lens. I'm definitely looking for more brightness, but mostly a more coherent beam.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:22 AM   #4
Jim K in PA
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Drop Dan an email. www.danielsternlighting.com

Talk to him about options, and what you are considering. Lots of new stuff on the market, some good, most crap.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:44 AM   #5
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This is what I bought to replace the 7" round in my Hannigan fairing. I am quite satisfied with it...

http://www.futurevisionhid.com/produ...headlight.html



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Old 12-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
This is what I bought to replace the 7" round in my Hannigan fairing. I am quite satisfied with it...

http://www.futurevisionhid.com/produ...headlight.html



Yeah, I was looking at that one today. I guess it will work with the frame I have...if you have any pics of the install in progress, I'd like to see them.
Also: did you get the HID version?
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownricer View Post
Yeah, I was looking at that one today. I guess it will work with the frame I have...if you have any pics of the install in progress, I'd like to see them.
Also: did you get the HID version?
Yes it is a an HID, but no I don't have pics of the install. The 7" head fits like any other halogen unit. The only issues, and it is different with every install, is where to mount the ballast. With the Hannigan fairing, I have a great amount of available space and the install was trivial.
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim K in PA View Post
Drop Dan an email. www.danielsternlighting.com

Talk to him about options, and what you are considering. lots of new stuff on the market, some good, most crap.

Cant say enough good things about this guy. I went thru a few different "blue" lamps from PIAA before purchasing a "white" OSRAM lamp from him. There really is a difference.

Have you considered any kind of Aux driving lights? I just bolted a couple 10W LED units on my Scrambler and run 55W halogens on the Goldwing. I live in deer country and work at night. They work great to light up what is lurking in the ditches.
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Old 12-24-2014, 04:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MightyChosen1 View Post
Cant say enough good things about this guy. I went thru a few different "blue" lamps from PIAA before purchasing a "white" OSRAM lamp from him. There really is a difference.

Have you considered any kind of Aux driving lights? I just bolted a couple 10W LED units on my Scrambler and run 55W halogens on the Goldwing. I live in deer country and work at night. They work great to light up what is lurking in the ditches.
Yeah, I have considered aux lights, but a better main light would be a more elegant solution, so that's my first choice, with cost as another factor.
But I gotta know... which ones did you get?
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownricer View Post
Yeah, I have considered aux lights, but a better main light would be a more elegant solution, so that's my first choice, with cost as another factor.
But I gotta know... which ones did you get?
I've done some HID conversions and spending the $$ for projector lens makes a world of difference. The 7" conversion shown looks like a pretty good deal for everything. Stay with the 5k to 6k color temp bulb for best results. The higher you go the more blue the light, and the less contrast you see, especially in the rain.
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:32 AM   #11
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Fit the Osram Night Breaker Plus H4 60/55W, it made a big difference.
You need to fit a relay and upgrade the stock loom to be on the safe side with these higher Watt bulbs. .
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Old 12-25-2014, 06:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownricer View Post
Yeah, I have considered aux lights, but a better main light would be a more elegant solution, so that's my first choice, with cost as another factor.
But I gotta know... which ones did you get?

Just some cheap Cree LED's off ebay. So far I am impressed with them , I will see how they hold up long term.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/171539383084...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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Old Yesterday, 06:13 AM   #13
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The reflectors are vastly more important than the globes.

It gets dark out here too, nil ambient light at all, nothing. For ages now I always upgraded the headlight lens to a "crystal" lens with a clear face, then fit a quality (like Phillips, Tungsram, etc) Plus-60 H4 globe. As an example, they look like this......
http://www.amazon.com/Round-Crystal-.../dp/B00658ZHFY

I have in the past also always used an additional 5" or 6" spotlight, lately with HID, but I just recently replaced the 400m clear vision with an LED lightbar to instead now have 150m of WIDE clear daylight vision. The best thing about the light bar in actual use on a bike (as opposed to 4 wheels) is that when you tip into a corner, the LED lightbar lights up the INSIDE of the corner. This particular one is a 9-LED 45W 6" version from Aurora.

After trying it all out over the years, this is by far the most effective set-up (especially with my declining night vision), as long as I keep the speeds (due to braking distances) below 120kph. It works on roads through both wide open fields and also tight bush each side.
Here is what I'm currently using.......



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Old Yesterday, 05:42 PM   #14
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let there be (some more) light!

mr ricer,
have you considered / tried a H4 100w? a cheap improvement that would only run you $16 and may get you what you need. you'll def be seen during the daytime to prevent left turns in front of you.

have one in my r75/6 (since 1980) and all my previous/current ducatis too. i usually have a project build over the winter and have upgraded the lighting to H4 100w in all of them with no issues. includes quite a few sohc cb750's, a cb550, cb350, dr650, etc. the vf500f will get one also. huge improvement with no probs.
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