Plug and play LED headlight conversion - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 8 Old Dec 14th, 2019, 12:43 pm Thread Starter
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Plug and play LED headlight conversion

Hello everyone, I recently purchased a 2000 K 1200 LT.
It's Winter time where I live in Southern Oregon. I'm hoping to spend this time doing maintenance and improvements on my new ride. One of the things that I want to improve is the headlights. I bought the bike with the low beam burned out. I wanna replace the high beam and low beam with LED lights. I've been on the eBay and a few other forums but I find it confusing.
Is there any recommendations for plug and play headlights both low and high beam?
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post #2 of 8 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 3:02 pm
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

Some here have done the LED conversion. Biggest choice you have to make is fan or conductive cooling. Conductive it a mass of braided wire that may not fit in the space, where as the fan cooled will generate radio noise. Someone that has done it is bmwcoolk1200 so I am sure he will chime in and he has a 2000.
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John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
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2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
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Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #3 of 8 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 12:27 am
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

Hi Hotchu--congrats on your purchase! I have done the LED conversion using the fan type. I had to cut a hole in the plastic housing to vent the fan and it was a simple install. I also have the conductive cooling braided wire LED as a spare.
I think any will work better than the stock bulb... especially if the previous owner hasn't replaced, or upgraded it in the last 20 years.
I removed the radio and speakers after I purchased mine a few years back, so the fan type isn't an issue for me.
I use bluetooth for music, gps, and phone connectivity and they aren't affected.

Bob
Covina, CA
2000 K1200LTI Champagne


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post #4 of 8 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 8:09 am
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

Is there much difference between the LED and HID as far as projected light? The HID is quite effective and simple to install. Mine lasted at least 8 years.

Dano
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post #5 of 8 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 3:37 pm
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

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Originally Posted by DanDiver View Post
Is there much difference between the LED and HID as far as projected light? The HID is quite effective and simple to install. Mine lasted at least 8 years.
That depends greatly on the reflector or lens design as the case may be. And that is the main problem with retrofits is that the new light source is not matched to the light management optics. A comparison of a headlight that was designed as either LED or HID from the start, will likely slightly favor the LED, although the difference is pretty minor.

I am still waiting for laser headlights to become widely available and thus less expensive.

https://www.theretrofitsource.com/bl...-hid-vs-laser/

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post #6 of 8 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 9:28 pm
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

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Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
Some here have done the LED conversion. Biggest choice you have to make is fan or conductive cooling. Conductive it a mass of braided wire that may not fit in the space, where as the fan cooled will generate radio noise. Someone that has done it is bmwcoolk1200 so I am sure he will chime in and he has a 2000.
Yes, I have done it on my 2001 LT. The low beam is fairly straight forward H7 and I would recommend using a braided copper heat sync over the fan type. The first one I have listed is of the type I used although it is brighter. With the lumen wars that went on, it is hard to find ones like this that are not just ridiculously bright. The ones I am using are 2500 lumens per bulb and these are 3200 lumens. 2500 is more than enough for a low beam. I see the highway sighs light up in bright daylight. The only thing to watch out for is not to break off the plastic clips on the reflector. You have to angle the bulb in to get the spring clips in the right position under the square block with the wire and then squeeze them and get them fastened. The ballast on these are larger than the ones I used so they may not fit under the rear cover as mine did with no hole in the back. A hole is not bad but the wire connections are all under the cover so fitting it all under was nice and remained water proof. There are types like this with far greater lumen output but don't fool yourself into thinking that brighter is better even on a motorcycle. You may have to angle the adjustment all the way down to keep from getting flashed even with my 2500 bulbs. These are reflector headlight fixtures, not projector type so don't go stupidly bright.


https://www.amazon.com/SoCal-LED-H7-...H7%2Caps%2C159

The high bean is far from straight forward because it is deeply recessed and it has an oddly shaped hole in the reflector that won't accept most LED H3 headlight bulbs. The bulb below is the right form factor with the pencil like not paddle like tip that will fit through the reflector. The next challenge is to figure out a way to get it to stay there and in the proper position. The LT's H3 is made up of 3 pieces that all need modification. The black plastic piece needed to be cut for the wire to go through on the HID bulb but I don't remember if I had to use it with the LED bulb. I seem to remember that I didn't. The metal piece that fits into the reflector needs some portion of the back side cut off or ground off to allow the bulb to fit all the way up to be held properly. Once you get all that figured out, the poor copper clip that used to hold that assembly probably won't hold this in place so I used tie wraps to hold the bulb assembly in tied to the copper clip and used aluminum duct tape to hold the bulb assembly together before putting it into the reflector. I wish I had taken pictures of it before I got it together so I could show what I did but I was so frustrated and happy when it was done that I wasn't going to pull it apart again for a photo op. The length of the aluminum barrel in front of the copper braids on this is important. This bulb is like the one I used and there are ones with a longer barrel but those would not work well with trying to find something to fasten to and hold them in. Be aware of that if you look for different types.


https://www.amazon.com/Super-Bright-...2C159&sr=8-239

Disclaimer. These are ( Like) the bulbs I used and not the exact ones and I use these for reference for shape, type and as close as I could come to lumen output and hope they would be the same should you order them and attempt this yourself. The 4800 lumen H3 lights up the night and the 2500 or 3200 in this case would light up the day.

Good luck as I have a pile of unusable H3 bulbs that I tried before finding the right form to use with the LT.

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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Last edited by bmwcoolk1200; Dec 16th, 2019 at 10:06 pm.
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post #7 of 8 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 9:59 pm
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

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Originally Posted by DanDiver View Post
Is there much difference between the LED and HID as far as projected light? The HID is quite effective and simple to install. Mine lasted at least 8 years.
Dave, each has their advantages and disadvantages. The HID are easy to put in and make a good choice for the low beam although I have also heard of radio interference from some ballast on those but certainly not all do that. They are generally slow to reach full brightness so use as a HB if you are prone to flashing the HB at others may not produce enough light on a flash to produce the desired result plus flashing ( pulsing ) the HID ballast is very hard on them as they are made to turn on and leave on and if you need light fast, they may not be there quite as fast as you want. LEDs are full bright from the get go.

No matter how you slice the LED, if it only has 2 sides then there will be some dead or weaker areas in the emitted light pattern. On the LT through 2004 I think not being a projector type lense, this doesn't matter as the center where the deadest spot would be is directly behind the HB reflector and the only light that matters is that which is radiated directly left and right which these paddle type LED bulbs are perfect for.

Lumens are lumens so dime for dime if you had equal HID and LED, the projected light would be similar with the caveat that there is likely a weak area in the radiation pattern of the 2 sided LED that reflector types may amplify and the HID is an arc in a bubble that emits light equally all around so the pattern in a reflector may be overall better if positioned at the right place. Projector types are more immune to this dead or weak spot and work better with the LED's overall as they do with HID.

There are 4 sided LED bulbs I have seen that if would fit, would provide a better overall pattern in a reflector but I haven't thought to try any of then on an LT as they would not make any difference. They are likely too large around to fit in the HB reflector anyways.
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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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Last edited by bmwcoolk1200; Dec 16th, 2019 at 10:07 pm.
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post #8 of 8 Old Dec 19th, 2019, 7:05 pm
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Re: Plug and play LED headlight conversion

All conversions, whether HID or LED are compromised because you are putting them in a reflector housing that was not designed for that type of bulb. As a result, you may see fine at night, but annoy or distract other road users with your headlight. Some riders don't care, But I think it's something you should consider. Some combinations are not too bad. It would be great if you end up getting feedback from another K1200LT rider that has used a specific brand and model bulb with good results in that specific reflector housing.
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