LED Brake and turnsignal lights? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 12 Old Jul 31st, 2017, 10:34 pm Thread Starter
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Lightbulb LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

I'll admit it, I'm an LED junkie.

Now, after doing some LED retrofits on a trailer, I'd like to replace the incandescent bulbs on the turn and brake lights of my 2002 K1200LT with LED plug-in replacements. Primary goal is brighter, more vivid lights, and faster brake light response time (yes, an extra 1/10th of a second might be the difference between being rear-ended or not).

LEDs draw much less power than traditional bulbs, and I know some vehicles have monitoring circuits that detect loss of load, indicating the bulb failed, and old style turnsignal blinkers were very load sensitive. And to be honest, I'm not overly concerned about that -- swap a couple bulbs, see what happens, if it doesn't work, not out a lot (at least as far as motorcycle mods go), if it does, swap some more. What does concern me is maybe some crazy, "Only BMW would think of doing this" interaction that wouldn't be obvious...like maybe the ABS not working because the left front turn signal light is drawing too little power. (I hope I'm making this up!)

Anyone do this? Did you run into any surprise problems?
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post #2 of 12 Old Jul 31st, 2017, 10:50 pm
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickHolland View Post
I'll admit it, I'm an LED junkie.

Now, after doing some LED retrofits on a trailer, I'd like to replace the incandescent bulbs on the turn and brake lights of my 2002 K1200LT with LED plug-in replacements. Primary goal is brighter, more vivid lights, and faster brake light response time (yes, an extra 1/10th of a second might be the difference between being rear-ended or not).

LEDs draw much less power than traditional bulbs, and I know some vehicles have monitoring circuits that detect loss of load, indicating the bulb failed, and old style turnsignal blinkers were very load sensitive. And to be honest, I'm not overly concerned about that -- swap a couple bulbs, see what happens, if it doesn't work, not out a lot (at least as far as motorcycle mods go), if it does, swap some more. What does concern me is maybe some crazy, "Only BMW would think of doing this" interaction that wouldn't be obvious...like maybe the ABS not working because the left front turn signal light is drawing too little power. (I hope I'm making this up!)

Anyone do this? Did you run into any surprise problems?
The LT doesn't have a CAN bus monitoring stuff like that HOWEVER, the center bulb in the rear brake light assy needs to remain a standard bulb as it is powered through the ABS unit and not through the brake light relay like the rest. It causes issues I don't remember, possibly lighting some dash lights thinking the brake lights are out or other nefarious issue. You have been warned.

I have LED in my turn signals and unless you add a load resistor, they will flash fast. I like that thinking a faster flash might get someones attention so I left them like that. I don't get that fast flash indication of a bulb being burned out but they are LED and probably a lot less likely to fail so I just check them often and ride on.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #3 of 12 Old Jul 31st, 2017, 10:52 pm
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickHolland View Post
I'll admit it, I'm an LED junkie.



Now, after doing some LED retrofits on a trailer, I'd like to replace the incandescent bulbs on the turn and brake lights of my 2002 K1200LT with LED plug-in replacements. Primary goal is brighter, more vivid lights, and faster brake light response time (yes, an extra 1/10th of a second might be the difference between being rear-ended or not).



LEDs draw much less power than traditional bulbs, and I know some vehicles have monitoring circuits that detect loss of load, indicating the bulb failed, and old style turnsignal blinkers were very load sensitive. And to be honest, I'm not overly concerned about that -- swap a couple bulbs, see what happens, if it doesn't work, not out a lot (at least as far as motorcycle mods go), if it does, swap some more. What does concern me is maybe some crazy, "Only BMW would think of doing this" interaction that wouldn't be obvious...like maybe the ABS not working because the left front turn signal light is drawing too little power. (I hope I'm making this up!)



Anyone do this? Did you run into any surprise problems?


I did on my 2007 LT. I'll find the bulbs I used and where I bought them.
My LT has the EHCS. The system didn't like the LED bulbs. I didn't know what the problem was and ended up buying a module and taking the whole damn thing apart.

The LEDs I bought are bright and quick to blink. They do however give a pinkish tint to the brake lights.

In your bike, shouldn't be a problem.
ABS didn't complain.


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post #4 of 12 Old Jul 31st, 2017, 11:04 pm
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

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Originally Posted by mondrage View Post
My LT has the EHCS. The system didn't like the LED bulbs. I didn't know what the problem was and ended up buying a module and taking the whole damn thing apart.
Exactly part of the problem Gordon referred to. The ABS unit in the newer bikes detects whether any bulb in centre rear brake light is not functioning properly... flags it as a "brake issue" and this in turn stops the EHCS from being able to deploy (it's either the "lightning bolt" or "!" sign on the dash). Not an issue on earlier model, as mentioned, only '05 (Euro '04) and up.

Chris
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post #5 of 12 Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 8:09 am Thread Starter
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

I actually had to go look up what EHCS...figured it was the ABS system...no, Electric Hydraulic Center Stand. THAT'S why I asked. I would not have connected signal lights with the power center stand.

As indicated, though, fortunately, I don't have one.

The "pink" tail lights, I can see that being a problem if you use white bulbs. The rear plastic seems to be rather "thin", in that the yellow bulbs in the turnsignals come through the red plastic rather clearly. Depending on what's under there, I may play with red and yellow LED bulbs.

Thanks for the info, everyone!
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post #6 of 12 Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 10:03 am
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Cool Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

Hi NickHolland,

I've been using LED for the brake/rear lights for 2 years now on my 2000 LT with no problem whatsoever.
For turn signal I use LED as well, but have had the relay changed to a different kind that accepts the much lower load (no charge, had a warranty issue with the starter relay, so they had the bike to pieces anyway)

I like the fast response and the low amps. Oh, changed the front parking light as well

/Mike
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post #7 of 12 Old Aug 6th, 2017, 3:40 pm
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

So.... Lead me through this.. I can change out the regular bulbs for LEds AND NOT HAVE A PROBLEM ?
leaving the center brake bulb alone. swap out all 4 turn signal bulbs.
2001 LT

Jim

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post #8 of 12 Old Aug 7th, 2017, 7:53 am
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

Not as a replacement of your stock incandescent bulbs for either the stop or turn signals, these come with supplied PosiTaps to get the signals from your brake and turn circuits and DEFINITELY make you more visible from the rear.
I've had them on an 07'GS, 08'RT, 13'K1600, and now my 16'RT and they work perfectly, no error codes, no real damage to existing wires, and a better feeling about being seen from the back by approaching traffic.

https://www.skenelights.com/
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post #9 of 12 Old Aug 7th, 2017, 8:21 am
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by loansumrider View Post
So.... Lead me through this.. I can change out the regular bulbs for LEds AND NOT HAVE A PROBLEM ?
leaving the center brake bulb alone. swap out all 4 turn signal bulbs.
2001 LT

Jim
Jim, yes you can but without changing out the flasher relay or adding load resistors for the turn signals the turn signals will flash fast as if one bulb is burnt out. I like it so I left mine flashing fast hoping it will get more attention.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #10 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2017, 4:52 pm
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

Even better than replacing the bulbs with LEDs, I'd love to see a clear tail light lens with LEDs. It would give the bike a more modern look.
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post #11 of 12 Old Aug 14th, 2017, 12:19 pm
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

The below thread goes into details about replacing the std bulbs with LEDs, including how to make a mod to the flasher. Alternatively, you can search on poster TSTEEPER for the thread. He posted the part numbers from Superbrightleds, plus some pictures of his change.http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/k1200lt/107441-leds.html

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post #12 of 12 Old Aug 16th, 2017, 10:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: LED Brake and turnsignal lights?

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Originally Posted by DeusExMaxima View Post
Even better than replacing the bulbs with LEDs, I'd love to see a clear tail light lens with LEDs. It would give the bike a more modern look.
That would probably be very expensive...custom plastic for a bike that hasn't been made in almost ten years(yikes!).

anyway...update on my experience.


I didn't quite understand something that was said by a few of you, as I hadn't dived into the light assembly yet.

The rear tail light assembly has FIVE bulbs in it -- from left to right, left turn signal (white light, yellow lens behind the red plastic), brake/driving light, center driving light (also lights the license plate), brake/driving light, right turn signal.

The three center lights are all dual filament, but the center one is only a driving light...the bright filament is unused and not hooked up to anything.

So, the center light kinda tossed me for a loop, and while out on the bike, yeah, I forgot about all the good advice, and replaced it with an LED. Worked, but today when I took the bike to work, sure 'nuf, the unhappy "Something's wrong!" light was lit. At which point, I reinvented the wheel and put the center bulb back as it was, and now all works great. I was very proud of my brilliant fix, until I re-read this thread and saw people telling me to leave the center bulb standard. Ah well, you guys tried.

I did make a little mod that I think was good -- the center light's bright filament is unused. Well, I figure you can never have too many brake lights, so I ran a jumper between the (in my case) left brake wire and the center bulb's bright filament. So now, when I hit the brakes, I got two fast acting red LEDs and one slower acting incandescent bulb I didn't have before. And while there, I added a cheap flasher I picked up at a local cheap-stuff store for a couple bucks, which lives right under the light assembly, on the rear fender.

The red LEDs for brake lights avoided the "pink" look that was mentioned.

I have not done anything with the turnsignals yet. Not sure I will.

Total investment: $25 for a pair of red LED replacements (local autoparts store), $3 for the bright flasher thingie and $2 for a box of clips so my additional brakelights were detachable.

Really, a no-brainer upgrade. Getting to the tail light bulbs is probably about the easiest repair one can do on an LT.
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