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Old 12-09-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
hyena OP
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help - problem with Hello Micro DE halogen

I'm having a problem with one of my Hello Micro DE halogen fog lights. They've been on my GS for over 3 years without trouble - transferred from my previous GS, also no trouble. I think I've only replaced each H3 halogen bulb once. I noticed the right one was out, and when I went to replace it, the clear vinyl insulation over the "hot" connects had a small brown burn spot, and a tiny hole. I figured it had rubbed against the ground plate and shorted, although I would have expected it to pop the fuse. I installed a new standard Osram Sylvania H3 bulb, same as I've been using without trouble, and put a couple wraps of electrical tape around the connection as extra insulation. The new bulb lasted for one ride to work, then failed as soon as I turned the lights on to come home. I just took it apart, and what was a small brown spot in the clear vinyl over the connections was now a large brown burn spot, with a second hole. Large enough it had even discolored the metal ring around the inside of the housing, where that connection was resting. See photo below. The left light continues to work fine. When I put my test light on the ground lead and hot leads, it works fine. Here's my only guess. The hot male lead from the bulb feels like it fits a little loosely into the female lead from the Hella harness. I don't know what to do other than squeeze the female connector tight to improve that contact, and then put some clear shrink wrap over the connection, on the theory the hot leads are not making solid contact. The female connector for the ground makes a solid connection to the ground spade in the lamp lamp housing. Opinions from the electrical experts?

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Old 12-09-2012, 02:01 PM   #2
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That's local heat causing the discoloration due to a poor connection. The male connector may have been made on one side of the female connector only rather than inserted into the female connector.

Check the female for damage and insert the male firmly and straight into the female. Close the female connector with pliers if contact is not firm and snug. I would not add more insulation unless there is a potential for a short. Some silicone grease will reduce risk of corrosion/galvanic action.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:54 PM   #3
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Squeeze it, and keep an eye on this for a bit to ensure that this fixed it. Sounds like a bad/loose contact.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
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Squeeze the sides of the female spade connector. If they move easily the heat may have taken the temper out of the metal. If they have a little spring to them, they are ok. If it lost its temper it may fail again.

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:44 AM   #5
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Thanks, all three of you. I decided to (laboriously) remove the old female connector. There wasn't enough extra wire to just cut it off, so I used a couple of needle nosed vice grips to remove it without any loss of wire. The metal felt like it had lost it's elasticity. I replaced it with a new female end, used dialectric grease, put it in new shrink wrap tubing. Nobody locally sold clear like the original, but I put it in a piece of yellow so if it heats up again it should show the signs. A surprise bonus - the bulb still worked. Hopefully that fixed the problem.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyena View Post
Thanks, all three of you. I decided to (laboriously) remove the old female connector. There wasn't enough extra wire to just cut it off, so I used a couple of needle nosed vice grips to remove it without any loss of wire. The metal felt like it had lost it's elasticity. I replaced it with a new female end, used dialectric grease, put it in new shrink wrap tubing. Nobody locally sold clear like the original, but I put it in a piece of yellow so if it heats up again it should show the signs. A surprise bonus - the bulb still worked. Hopefully that fixed the problem.

Thanks again.
Wise move. You sound like you're a professional electrician to me. And yes, those connectors get brittle if overheated.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:03 PM   #7
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Well, that was short lived, Def. No, certainly not a professional. I just went out for about a 50 mile ride, and the light was back out 10 minutes into the ride. My hot connection is great, but now a different issue. That flimsy little metal latch that holds the bulb tight into the housing, thus keeping it grounded, is loose. I'll mess with it later this evening. I can press in on it and the bulb lights back up fine. The latch doesn't appear to be a part that would be serviced separately. Too many times taking the bulb in and out, and I must have bent it some. Reminds me of the retainer that holds the headlight bulb on the bike. I wish the manufacturers would take into account these bulbs will be changed by amatuers with large, ham hands.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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I'm giving up for now. I carefully bent the retainer so that it held the bulb firmly in the housing. I decided to go for a ride tonight to check it out. I rode into town and after about a half hour was patting myself on the back. The kiss of death...about 30 seconds later both lights went out. Rode home. Fuse blown. Pulled the boot off the right light, and my terminal had failed. I used a "blue" one, so I replaced it with yellow, crimped everything back down, put it all back together. New fuse blew as soon as I hit the switch. Took the boot off and disconnected both leads. New fuse again blew as soon as I hit the switch. Started looking at the harness on the right side, and it appeared when I was trying to get a little more wire, I had messed up the wires about a foot back from the lamp, where Hella supplies that black plastic connector. I could see bare wire, so I took that section of harness off. The plastic socket pulled off the "bike" end, leaving the wires out. But since they were definitely separated, I put in a new fuse, figuring for sure I had eliminated the short circuit. Nope - new fuse popped as soon as I hit the switch. There's nothing amiss up at the battery connections, so I don't know where the short is.

I'm done for now. I'll likely pay a guy in the local club (who installed them the first time, and is far more competent than I am) to fix it. I've gotten five years out of these lights. Options being considered: find the fault and repair these, replace with new of the same thing for $126 from Tire Rack, replace them with LED lights. With option 3 no more fiddling around with bulbs. I liked these lights, but have never been impressed with the bulb retainer, or the short short wires Hella gives you to while still working with the rubber boot.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:31 PM   #9
def
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Don't know if this will help any?

http://www.snafu.org/pics/r1200gs/2008/1031-hella/
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:58 PM   #10
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If you are looking to replace the light bucket, I can recommend PTC factory outlet. The take broken lots from Hella USA and put them up for sale on fleabay. Prices are usually reasonable and shipping is prompt.

http://www.ptcfactoryoutlet.com/
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:38 PM   #11
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Thanks, Def. Those are good instructions, and I appreciate you taking the time to find the link. Mean Moe - I don't see a refurbished Micro DE on that other site, but before that would be an option, I 'd have to find the electrical short. I'm just sleeping on it right now. I might decide to slowly check the harness to see where the short is. It can't be on the right side, at least near the light, since it's now disconnected. Maybe a coincidence the left lamp shorted somewhere, or the switch went bad, relay shorted, etc. You know how tedious that can be tracking down a short. Or how easy, if you're lucky or more skillful than me. Those Hellas have done everything I want of an auxilliary light, which is why I might invest the time trying to find the problem.

I'm also looking at LED's. Specifically, at Rigid and Denali. Got to decide what I really want. They basically both sell what I'll call two power levels of lights. But most customers don't seem to want what I want. Full power during the day for visibility, significantly reduced power at night so I don't blind and piss off on coming traffic. I live in the country, but not in an unpopulated area. I really don't ride much at night on empty roads that would permit use of the high power models. I may well just get the "low" power version from one of those two, which I'm told would still be about half again brighter than my H3 Hellas. Still might be too powerful in traffic at night, unless I angle them down. I like the option of the Clearwater, that come with a reostat to simply dim them down at night, but man...costly ! There's no rush. The bike runs fine without them. I've had my airhead for 32 years, with only the stock headlight. It just feels kind of naked onthe GS not having the extra lights for visibility.

I wired my entire house when it was built, but I hate fine electrical work. I'm better at stuff that calls for a two pound hammer, minimum.
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