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Old 02-05-2013, 12:37 PM   #1
JetSpeed OP
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Thumbs down LED Tail / Brake Light Bulb Replacement

I realize that there have been numerous threads on this topic..........kind of, I have not seen a post regarding simply swapping out the 7528 tail lamp bulb for an equivalent LED bulb.

I purchased this red LED bulb (see below) off Ebay that was advertised as being CanBus friendly and cost under $10 each.




The LED lamp fits and works perfectly and is noticeably brighter, both as a Tail lamp and Brake lamp than the stock incandescent bulb, below is the LED in tail-lamp mode, to difficult to photo the brake lamp but it is plenty bright and looks right.





Problem is that I get a "Rear Bulb Out" Error message on the display, no other issues at all just the error.





I know that I can use a resistor to squelch this message but I don't like that idea due to the heat and also having to monkey with the stock wiring, I've searched the Internet and found several posts where people state that there is a setting with the bikes ZFE (computer) that can be switched from "Incandescent" to "LED" rear light and that this can be done by a dealer, I have a willing dealer but he is not aware of this adjustable setting, I am wondering if anyone has actually had this done and knows anything about its existence?
Some have referred to this also as an "LED Software Upgrade" in a few cases.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:59 PM   #2
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Be interesting to see when you get it working, what you think of the brightness vs incandescent. My experience is a white light under a red lens is more visible at a distance than a red light under a red lens.

As for re mapping the CAN controller to except the lower current, I have nothing.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:17 PM   #3
LaurelPerryOnLand
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Yes...just ADD one of these LOAD RESISTORS.
NO "Rear Bulb Out" Error message on the display.
Just mount it somewhere where there's LOTS of adjacent space to alleviate your concerns about HEAT generation.
Then...you don't have to fool around with DEALER and attempts to reset stuff.
This is cheap, effective and it works! Been running this way for over 3 years!

You can find them here:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/searc...ad%20resistor/

Instructions for wiring are found here:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/pdfs/...istor_info.pdf

 photo LoadResistor.jpeg
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Skies View Post
Be interesting to see when you get it working, what you think of the brightness vs incandescent. My experience is a white light under a red lens is more visible at a distance than a red light under a red lens.

I had read in several places that it is best to use the same color LED as the lens, in this case a red LED under the red lens, I think it is just when using LED, I won't profess to understand the science behind that though and it goes against my grain of thinking which is similar to yours but a can say that this red bulb is noticeably more bright than the original bulb, not an incredible difference but definitely brighter.

Wouldn't installing a resistor make the LED dimmer?
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #5
KsFolly
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The resistor is wired in parallel across the bulb. It doesn't make it dimmer.

What it does do is to make total current draw of the led bulb plus current draw of the resistor equal to the draw of a regular bulb. That's how the computer knows the bulb is "out" is it looks at current draw. And an LED bulb by itself doesn't draw enough to register as "on".

K
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:05 PM   #6
STUFF2C
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looks like they have 1157 replacements that already have the resistor built in.
thanks for LEaDing me to their site

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurelPerryOnLand View Post
Yes...just ADD one of these LOAD RESISTORS.
NO "Rear Bulb Out" Error message on the display.
Just mount it somewhere where there's LOTS of adjacent space to alleviate your concerns about HEAT generation.
Then...you don't have to fool around with DEALER and attempts to reset stuff.
This is cheap, effective and it works! Been running this way for over 3 years!

You can find them here:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/searc...ad%20resistor/

Instructions for wiring are found here:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/pdfs/...istor_info.pdf


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Old 02-05-2013, 04:29 PM   #7
LaurelPerryOnLand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STUFF2C View Post
looks like they have 1157 replacements that already have the resistor built in.
thanks for LEaDing me to their site
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:42 PM   #8
Ayrshire Bull
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the lamps in LaurelPerryOnLand's link are also good for the little white parking light up front - just make sure you select the CANBUS friendly ones.

Especially good if you've upgraded to HID lamps - then the colours match.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Skies View Post
My experience is a white light under a red lens is more visible at a distance than a red light under a red lens..
I don't know how this is possible. If both bulbs put out the same amount of lumens, a red bulb with a clear lens should be brighter than a clear bulb with a red lens because the red lens would block the entire color spectrum except for red. You must have been dealing with bulbs with different output.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
stay away from LED light bulb replacements, regardless of how bright they are. some are too bright...

if you are going to replace brake light with LED... replace with entire LED assembly.

reason is an LED brake light module are designed specifically for an LED. with reflectors designed specifically for LED.

you can easily get into a situation where LED replacement bulb may not reflect at certain angles.

would not want to get into a wreck, then get a sharp attorney blaming your use of LED replacement bulb for causing an accident.

Thanks for that disclaimer but I'm actually gonna stick my neck out on this one without hesitation.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:43 AM   #11
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OK cy, this is the type of self righteous reply I don't want to hear, I didn't ask nor do I care about the legalities of using LED lights in place of incandescent bulbs, Ive done far worse.

For all you know (or should care) I'm operating the bike strictly off-road.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:37 AM   #12
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I'm glad my tail light came with the OEM LED version.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:46 AM   #13
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Most people are well aware that modifying almost anything on your bike is technically "illegal" when you get right down to it.
You are even speaking of replacing your tail light with a "an entire LED brake module with reflectors designed specifically for LED's." the two things that are wrong with that is that LED tail/brake light assemblies for the R1200GS use no reflector at all, the other being that it is still technically illegal.

I've seen far too many great threads that started off with good information get derailed by people imposing their legal speak or just being an argumentative dick, If I was interested in the legalities I would be on the horn with the Highway Patrols Vehicle Safety Division, not posting the question here.

The reason(s) for me wanting to change just the bulb are several:
  1. It is inexpensive.
  2. It is easy to do.
  3. The light coming from the taillight assembly looks OEM so as not to attract a LEO
  4. The light coming from the taillight assembly appears to be slightly brighter but the instant ON/OFF of an LED could enhance safety
  5. An LED bulb should be longer lasting and more reliable.
And once again my primary interest is if anybody knows for sure if the ZFE has an adjustment within for the taillight for "Incandescent" and "LED" bulbs?


After some more searching I found a post in which the author states that the ZFE adjustment is only on 2007 and later GS's, if this is true I am curious if there is an software update that can be done to an older R1200GS that would offer the provision to select the type of lighting?
BMW does offer kits to retrofit older bikes with an LED assembly, although from what I hear this makes use of resistors which is OK since many people do not want to be hassled with relying on a dealer to reprogram a computer whether or not it is possible.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:48 AM   #14
JimVonBaden
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I had an aftermarket LED tail light on my GS for years. Works great, brighter, and has a flashing feature you can opt to use or not.

Too bad the company was flakey!

Jim

PS No reflector, none needed.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:55 AM   #15
Ayrshire Bull
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This is all good info guys - a great place to exchange views, information and insight
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