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H4 LED + other LED lighting


docc
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Hardly any night riding. I got home late one night and still not sure what to think of 5000 Kelvin lighting to see the road ahead . . .

 

I am inclined to say I cannot see the road as well even with the increased "lumens."

 

There is the matter of "lux" . . .

 

Thanks for the links & report on your LED trial docc. Fortunate to find in time those meltdowns etc.

 

I was all set to follow down the same path with this LED swap - until I noticed your late one night thoughts on its actual performance!

 

The night riding aspect captures my interest.

 

What's your conclusion here for increasing our V11's headlight capacity in lighting up the road ahead for better night riding vision?

 

Is it that LED bulb swaps as a technology in general for V11's isn't all it's cracked up to be insofar as an upgrade for increasing night riding vision...

or just this particular brand of LED bulb being a let down??

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Hardly any night riding. I got home late one night and still not sure what to think of 5000 Kelvin lighting to see the road ahead . . .

 

I am inclined to say I cannot see the road as well even with the increased "lumens."

 

There is the matter of "lux" . . .

 

Thanks for the links & report on your LED trial docc. Fortunate to find in time those meltdowns etc.

 

I was all set to follow down the same path with this LED swap - until I noticed your late one night thoughts on its actual performance!

 

The night riding aspect captures my interest.

 

What's your conclusion here for increasing our V11's headlight capacity in lighting up the road ahead for better night riding vision?

 

Is it that LED bulb swaps as a technology in general for V11's isn't all it's cracked up to be insofar as an upgrade for increasing night riding vision...

or just this particular brand of LED bulb being a let down??

 

Those are all the right questions . . . I am working at divining some "right answers . . ." :nerd:

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So . .  from what I have learned so far:

 

1) Replacement/ "upgrade" LED units do not compliment the existing reflector to project a reliable beam pattern. This is across the board and not just this one unit. The LED unit I referenced has a better lo-beam pattern, but sketchy hi-beam pattern.

 

2) The higher Kelvin "color" of ~5000K ( "whiter/bluer" than the more yellow halogen ~ 4300K), does not reflect the road surface and features back as well.  5000K reflects the road signage and reflective road markings spectacularly. Yet, riders, and drivers, are also reporting unwanted "glare" in rain, fog, or snow with the common 5000K LED.

 

3) Heat generation is problematic. Not just for the LED, but also normal halogen bulbs. And, especially, increased wattage halogen H4. My connector had melted using a normal H4 (riding most of the time on Hi). I have had various other damage experiences with hi-wattage H4 bulbs.

 

4) I am *feeling* more confident with a common Wagner H4 in the Sport for my upcoming ride that could catch us out after dark. 

 

My preliminary conclusion on improving the V11 for better night riding? There is no cheap solution. Early V11 steel buckets/reflectors (Bosch) are probably better than later plastic buckets/reflectors.

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  • 1 year later...
On 3/18/2018 at 6:06 PM, docc said:

The heat from the LED unit's fan is certainly removing more and more of the silver finish from the >back

 

(This LED unit has gone 3,200 miles/ ~5.200 km, pretty much always on Hi-beam)

 

 I also found the H4 mount loose on the LED unit allowing vibration and rotation. Epoxied the cylindrical interface between the unit and the H4 adapter (JBWeld epoxy). The unit appears made to use adapters for different applications.

IMG_4621.jpg

Pretty sure the cheap Chinese LED unit needs replaced after 2 1/3 years and just over 10,000 miles/ 16.000 km. I see my lo-beam now looks brighter than the hi-beam. Not sure what's up, but time to open it up, have a look, and replace the cheap unit with the external driver with this from VintageCars:

VCm3-DualBulb-C-570x570.jpg

 

 

 

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I still have those bulbs in both my Guzzis.  They don't seem terribly bright but no worse than standard 55 wt halogen but no where near a 100 wt halogen.   Hopefully they don't pull much current.  I always have the old H4 bulbs in my tank bag, JIC.

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Bought a pair of PIAA LED 9003/H4 units a few years back. 23/23W draw. Problem on my Kawi is that they fool the reserve lighting device into thinking the bulb is out, so the RLD switches randomly from low to high. Bought a couple of the cheap 9003 LED units on eBay after examining the PIAAs.  What I looked for are the separate driver, fan cooling (although not exactly necessary) and something like Phillips ZES chips. Those chips are some of the latest and three of four of them in a row basically duplicates the shape and positioning of the filament in the incandescent bulbs. Thus, the beam pattern will closely replicate that of the halogen unit. One pair has  COB chips, which are very bright,and seem to throw a good beam, but not as precise as the ZES chips. 

Thing about these LEDs is that most can be rotated to achieve the best beam pattern. Some will give only two positions 180º apart, but others have a double silicone seal between the light unit and the H4 mount plate that is secured in the headlight reflector assembly by the wire bails. The only caveat here is that the OEM rubber sealing ring may have to be compressed to seat the light unit; said pressure possibly tending to cause the light unit to back out - thus changing the beam pattern. This requires a little garage experimentation and only time on the road will tell.

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So, that rotational adjustment is what I epoxied in the unit shown on the green mat, above? I remember MartyNZ adjusting his beam pattern by modifying the mounting tabs.

Got the inspection on my list of More Things to Do. I guess I’m expecting to find a burned out LED or two. LEDs probably don’t just get dim, I reckon?

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LEDs get dim when they get too hot.

Efficient cooling of high output LEDs is a rather tricky job and divides Osram from the China cheapos for instance. So your bulb obviously was a China cheapo, running the single LEDs way too hot. That's no problem when it was five USD, question is how good are the 200,- USD units coming from China in the same container

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Looks like the cheap Chinee unit being referenced has burned out both its two Hi-beam LED (who knows, maybe something in the driver burned up. :huh2: )  Switching to Hi-beam, actually dims the two Lo-LEDs (but keeps them on). This explains why the headlight dims when switching to Hi-beam and beam pattern does not change.

Feeling totally dumb-@$$, I started with no eye protection and have the biggest green retinal washouts ever. :blink: After-which I used my welding hood. :homer:

I tried to take some beam pictures in the shop, but the camera adjusts the light level and nothing can be discerned clearly.

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Alright, thanks for letting me have a little fun with that . . .  the Sport in a party hat. :drink:

I had to make some changes to make the self-contained "VintageCars" unit fit. The Bosch steel bucket of the Sport was too shallow to allow my connector. In addition, I have long run a battery positive with ATC circuit breaker and dedicated frame ground with 16 gauge wiring to two OMRON relays in the bucket for the Hi- and Lo-beams.  The relays have wiggled loose a couple times over the years from my marginally-built relay harness.

IMG_0170.jpg

I took all that out and killed the feed (pulled the circuit breaker out). Yet, the factory 90º lamp connectors still would not quite let me close up the assembly (still too long). So, I angled the blades of the LED unit 90º . . .

IMG_0178.jpg

Now my headlamp current is back through (busy) Fuse#5 and (busy) Relay#2/NO contact (via Relay#1/NC contact). My thinking is that with the lower amperage draw of the LED headlamp along with the High Current GH8E OMRON relays, this will be fine. I'll leave the 10 amp fuse in position#5 (down from the factory 15 amp) and monitor outcomes. I can always go back to a 15 amp fuse.

There has long been concern that the charging reference from Relay#2 is affected by removing the headlights from that circuit, so I'll have to watch my charge voltages. Expecting lower voltages, I just did a start-up and found higher voltages (maybe ~0.3v +/-) especially at low idle. Gonna be interesting to see if my longtime battery light flicker at idle after a hard run (battery voltage > charging voltage) changes.

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The actual, individual, LED of this unit are significantly larger than the $30US cheap unit, and the construction/materials look better. This one is about double the money ($64US). Might be a while before I can do a night test out on the actual roads, but the three foot pattern test looks like the Lo- still has a good cut-off and the Hi-  has a more "gathered" or focused pattern. Makes me hopeful!

IMG_0181.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Mikko said:

Oh wow.. just a bit more then just “tossing that baby in” I see...  You should see better voltage using this bulb I would think. It’s a very interesting set up using the relays.  
 

I am going to order this kit from Eastern Beaver: https://easternbeaver.com/Main/Wiring_Kits/H4_Kits/h4_kits.html which is essentially what you’ve made.

These Vintagecar bulbs are impressive aren’t they?

Indeed so! "20 watts" = an amp and 2/3 (standard H4 are ~5 amps). Color is 6500 Kelvin "pure white".

I may re-attach the frame ground and, eventually, the relays again (if I can build a more reliable set of connections/harness) depending on how my charging acts with this change, and if the 10 amp Fuse#5 can't take it.

2 1/2 years/ 10,000 miles is not bad service from the $30 LED unit. More reliable than the high-watt Sylvania SilverStars I tried for a few years (same money!)  . . .

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