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post #1 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 10:47 am Thread Starter
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Question headlight

I was riding to the cruise in at Portland International Raceway last night and was pulled over by a Beaverton motorcycle cop and was asked to turn on my headlight. Now I understood that it was always on so I turned on the high beam and we parted our ways. I am assuming I now need to get a low beam headlight bulb. What on doe you guys recommend? I talked with the PIA guys at the rally and they recommended one I believe the called SuperBright over the Night tech. He said the night tech gives better lighting but the superbright is much whiter and is much more visible in the daytime. I ride very little in the night.
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post #2 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 11:51 am
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Re: headlight

Go to ddmtuning.com and order an HID system for your low beam. EASY to install and you will get a ton more light out of it. Order a 35 Watt H7 in either 4300* Kelvin or 5000* Kelvin color.

In the meantime go to Freddy's or Bi-Mart and get the cheapest pos H7 bulb you can get.

Reach up under the headlight bucket, release the wire bail and replace the lamp. Nothing to it.

When your new HID comes in it is almost as easy. And you will have way more useable light.

Loren

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post #3 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 12:29 pm
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Re: headlight

x2 on the HID. I started with a 6000K 35w, (too blue and too much feedback from the road signs) went to a 5000K 35w and now have a 5000k 55w. This is the sweet spot for me. If you go with a 35w go with a bulb under 5K.

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post #4 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 1:02 pm
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Re: headlight

Recently installed an HID kit from VVME. I had the identical kit in my 1150RT for about four years with no problems. I personally like the 35W 6000K temp bulb ( a scandalous hint of blue, but not "tuner boy" blue). The kit cost me $58 delivered and comes with a spare bulb and power supply (because it's a car kit). No wires need to be cut and no mods other than a 23mm hole in the plastic headlight bulb cover. Good, cheap, and easy... like me.

Rick
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post #5 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 1:23 pm Thread Starter
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Re: headlight

Loren

Is this the one you refer to?
HID

35W
H7
2 bulb kit
4500K

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post #6 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 1:39 pm
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Re: headlight

I have a slightly similar issue where my 1200LT headlight comes on anywhere from right away to 10 second later. I was driving my crazy on the trip to Bloomsburg.

The bulb is the original on this 2007 bike and does not seem to be dim or bright, just normal when it gets around to is. I was thinking of going with getting a cheap POS bulb to see if the behavior changed. It could easily be the relay, but the bulb is easier to get at.

Any thoughts?

Bill

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post #7 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 4:28 pm
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Re: headlight

Larry, you are close, but you only need a single bulb kit. The DDM 2 lamp kit requires that both high and low beam lamps are the same. On our LT's the low beam is an H7 and the high beam is an H3 so you can't just order a 2 lamp kit.

If you want to upgrade both then order a single H7 and a single H3 kit.

The color you specified is fine(*(degrees )Kelvin) is fine. It is better to order a warmer color, say 4300-4500*K than to order a hot color, greater than 5000*K. The usable light (i.e. the light the human eye can see) is reduced significantly at and over 6,000*K.

When the color goes to purple the usable light is worthless to the point that you had better install a white cane on the front fender. Or maybe some of those curb feelers that were once popular.

This is the least expensive yet most useful farkle you can add to your LT.

Loren

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkniess

Is this the one you refer to?
HID

35W
H7
2 bulb kit
4500K

WAK1200LT
Loren

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post #8 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 4:35 pm
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Re: headlight

This sounds like an HID lamp igniter issue. Quartz lights should be either on or off unless you have a bad wire/connector/ground. Even then it seems odd that it would start dim and then get bright on a regular basis.

As mentioned above it is really inexpensive to upgrade to a new HID system.

Loren

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildBil
I have a slightly similar issue where my 1200LT headlight comes on anywhere from right away to 10 second later. I was driving my crazy on the trip to Bloomsburg.

The bulb is the original on this 2007 bike and does not seem to be dim or bright, just normal when it gets around to is. I was thinking of going with getting a cheap POS bulb to see if the behavior changed. It could easily be the relay, but the bulb is easier to get at.

Any thoughts?

Bill

WAK1200LT
Loren

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post #9 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 4:52 pm
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Re: headlight

In my experience the Sylvania Silver Star is an excellent choice for the high beam and worth a few bucks more.

Something to always keep in mind when changing bulbs is to NEVER allow your greasy fingers to touch the surface of the bulb. I always just slip on a silicone mechanics glove - not latex - since it will transfer powder to the bulb surface. ... or simply grip the bulb with a piece of tissue.


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post #10 of 32 Old Aug 4th, 2011, 5:03 pm Thread Starter
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Re: headlight

so my choice is:
hid single

35W
4500K

AND ONLY $27.50 ?!?!

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post #11 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 3:32 am
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Re: headlight

Thats it! Amazingly inexpensive compared to a couple years ago. Make sure to order the H7 for the low beam. Should take only a couple days as they ship out of CA.

Loren

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post #12 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 5:17 am
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Re: headlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa1200lt
Go to ddmtuning.com and order an HID system for your low beam. EASY to install and you will get a ton more light out of it. Order a 35 Watt H7 in either 4300* Kelvin or 5000* Kelvin color.

In the meantime go to Freddy's or Bi-Mart and get the cheapest pos H7 bulb you can get.

Reach up under the headlight bucket, release the wire bail and replace the lamp. Nothing to it.

When your new HID comes in it is almost as easy. And you will have way more useable light.

Loren
WOW !!! Great simple and to the point!

Dano
Tampa, Fl.

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post #13 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 7:33 am Thread Starter
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Re: headlight

I seem to to be beating this to death but if I read it correctly, It says "Full Kit Includes:
- DDM Digital Slim ballast (1)
- HID Bulbs (1)
- Life-Time Warranty

Correct?
Larry

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post #14 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 7:43 am
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Re: headlight

Yup, that's all you need.

FWIW, I'd leave your highbeam alone. HID's require a good "warm-up" period and don't produce the full light until they've warmed up for ~45 seconds. Also, they don't like to be turned off and on repeatedly. I kept my highbeam a halogen light so that I could still flash my highbeams at people.

I don't know if a HID Highbeam makes any difference, but all the halogen highbeam does is light up the trees a little better, doesn't make any difference to what I can see on the road now.
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post #15 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 7:50 am
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Re: headlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by cliff0529
Yup, that's all you need.

FWIW, I'd leave your highbeam alone. HID's require a good "warm-up" period and don't produce the full light until they've warmed up for ~45 seconds. Also, they don't like to be turned off and on repeatedly. I kept my highbeam a halogen light so that I could still flash my highbeams at people.

I don't know if a HID Highbeam makes any difference, but all the halogen highbeam does is light up the trees a little better, doesn't make any difference to what I can see on the road now.
I agree. Had an HID high beam in my GS. Once on and warmed up, it lit the world, but for around town and semi rural areas where you have to dim often, if it was dimmed too long, the warm up period started again. Just not worth it. Now if I lived far out in the county and ran high beams a lot for long periods, I would do it.


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post #16 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 12:01 pm
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Re: headlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sit
I agree. Had an HID high beam in my GS. Once on and warmed up, it lit the world, but for around town and semi rural areas where you have to dim often, if it was dimmed too long, the warm up period started again. Just not worth it. Now if I lived far out in the county and ran high beams a lot for long periods, I would do it.
Well, I respectfully disagree with the two previous posts. I run DDM's hi & lo and love them. I live in an area over-populated by deer & coyotes, and believe me those hi-beams will show their eyes way down the road. If the hi-beam is cold it takes @ 10 seconds to come on, but if dimmed for a minute or less, a couple of seconds. I get flashed enough on the low beams alone, so it's not that big of a deal to have the extra light. If a line of cars are coming & I have the hi on and dim, there's usually no challenge. Every now & then I get some a-hole who wants to have a flashing war....and I always win.

BMW 1200 LTC 2002


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post #17 of 32 Old Aug 5th, 2011, 11:40 pm
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Re: headlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razmataz
Well, I respectfully disagree with the two previous posts. I run DDM's hi & lo and love them. I live in an area over-populated by deer & coyotes, and believe me those hi-beams will show their eyes way down the road. If the hi-beam is cold it takes @ 10 seconds to come on, but if dimmed for a minute or less, a couple of seconds. I get flashed enough on the low beams alone, so it's not that big of a deal to have the extra light. If a line of cars are coming & I have the hi on and dim, there's usually no challenge. Every now & then I get some a-hole who wants to have a flashing war....and I always win.
Don't see any great disconnect. Riding in the city where and semi rural area where I live, dimming he high for a line of cars and then bringing it back on for a small break, it sometimes either cooled enough to need to re-heat, or it never fully warmed up before the next car approached. Now coming down Lolo Pass at night, you betcha, the HID high beam was on all the time! Still didn't help bambi, but saved mom, oh and me.

The HID in my LT now is the hi beam from the GS, took it out before I sold it. If this system goes kaput, will most likely get a DDM set up for the both the hi and low as long as the cost is not too much. While I am there, might as well do both. Just don't want to spend the extra money now to only upgrade the high beam.

Larry, when you get your light, if you want help at all, feel free to yell. If it's straight plug and play like my VME kit, unplug old light, plug harness into ballast, ballast to new bulb and put into housing. Just need to tuck the ballast somewhere safe. The plug and play systems are nice because that is exactly what they are, no extra wires to the battery or anything. And if the darn thing acts up, just remove the HID bulb, unplug the harness from the ballast and throw in a reg bulb and you are off and running again.


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post #18 of 32 Old Aug 6th, 2011, 12:00 am
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Re: headlight

Hey Larry,

I'm just going to throw in my 2 cents.
You said that you don't ride much at night, and I don't blame you.
We enjoy touring in daylight, so we can enjoy the scenery.
ALL of my night riding is commuting home from work, between PDX and wilsonville.
All pretty well lighted highway.

I just don't have a need for HID. If you decide to go that route, make sure you don't modify anything to the point where you cant go back if you dont like it.

Rand.
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post #19 of 32 Old Aug 6th, 2011, 8:31 am
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Re: headlight

That looks like a pretty slick setup (DDM)

What is the installation procedure? Is the wiring truly plug and play?
What modifications if any need to be made to housing?

Is the 55W too hot for the hi beam reflectors/housing?

What kindof water proofing is necessary for ballasts?

Just ordered a set and cant wait to improve the lighting on this machine.

Thanks for any input.......

Steve

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1999 Concours 107K Km

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post #20 of 32 Old Aug 6th, 2011, 9:42 am Thread Starter
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Re: headlight

Dear SIT
Thanks for the offer. I'll take you up on it if I need help! I ordered the kit yesterday and will see when it comes. I will be camping with the family at the Cove from Aug 10 to the 17.

larry

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post #21 of 32 Old Aug 6th, 2011, 9:56 am
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Re: headlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleJoe
That looks like a pretty slick setup (DDM)

What is the installation procedure? Is the wiring truly plug and play?
What modifications if any need to be made to housing?

Is the 55W too hot for the hi beam reflectors/housing?

What kindof water proofing is necessary for ballasts?

Just ordered a set and cant wait to improve the lighting on this machine.

Thanks for any input.......

Steve
I'm not sure about the 55's, I have 35's on mine. The ballasts are pretty well sealed, so no water proofing is necessary. I have mine zipped tied up underneath to the frame. Others have taken the nose cone off and mounted the ballasts on top of the light assembly. Pretty hard to get to there if you ever have to get to them, especially out on the road. It's one of those different strokes for different folks things. Your gonna like your new night vision.

BMW 1200 LTC 2002


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post #22 of 32 Old Aug 6th, 2011, 10:23 am
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Re: headlight

Answers to your questions in Red

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleJoe
That looks like a pretty slick setup (DDM)

What is the installation procedure? I removed the nose cone to gain better access and visibility to the work but you can do the job and leave the nc in place.

Is the wiring truly plug and play? Yes it can be. You can take the existing harness and using the male spade connector already crimped to the wire on the kit simply slide the male spade into the female connector. Or you can run a fused wire from the battery to the new harness and use the bike wiring to trigger a relay to turn the headlight on and off. I used the relay as it gives the opportunity to use a larger wire to actually power the light. Some feel the BMW wiring size is marginal. The HID lamp draws less current after the igniter is finished than quartz and about the same as quartz with the igniter running.

What modifications if any need to be made to housing? You need to drill a 3/4" hole in the housing to pass the wires through. A cheap spade bit and a hand drill are all that's needed.

Is the 55W too hot for the hi beam reflectors/housing? HID actually runs cooler than quartz. DDM recommends taking care when using a 55W HID lamp in a small fixture like a driving lamp originally designed for 35W quartz.

What kindof water proofing is necessary for ballasts? The ballasts are sealed. You can mount them almost anywhere in the nose cone area. I used a small piece of high density foam about 1/8" thick between the ballast and the nose cone to isolate the ballast from bumps and then used Gorilla brand duct tape to hold it in place. My ballast is approx 1/4" thick by 2" wide by 4" long and weighs a few ounces.

Just ordered a set and cant wait to improve the lighting on this machine. You are going to look for excuses to ride after dark for a good while. I didn't think the lighting for the LT was really all THAT bad until I got caught in the twisties on a pitch black night. Ordered the DDM's and night has become day. In fact you will notice that you will light up the reflectorized signs along the road in the day time! Loren

Thanks for any input.......

Steve

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post #23 of 32 Old Aug 20th, 2011, 9:43 am Thread Starter
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Red face Re: headlight

well, not quite a plug and play!

Loren and I got together yesterday to install the DDM HID lighting on my bike. As you noticed above, I questioned several times to make sure I ordered the right parts! Loren showed up with everything for the job, including a relay. After pulling the tupperware so I could run the wires properly, we had trouble installing the bulb itself. Soooo we decided to remove the front tupperware that houses the headlight assembly to get a better look at what was going on. It was not until all this disassembly that we realized I had ordered a H1 bulb and not the H7 as I knew I needed. Long story short, My bike is in pieces all over the garage waiting for the H7 bulb to come. It shipped yesterday from CA. I was only able to order the the bulb in pairs so I have two H7 HID bulbs on the way for $15.00!

Also, I now have Loren's Starbucks cup hostage until the install is complete but I gave him my used short BMW windscreen for all his troubles. He also had a great grilled ham n cheese sandwich!

I guess he made out OK.

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post #24 of 32 Old Aug 20th, 2011, 3:06 pm
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Re: headlight

Not only a grilled ham and cheese sammy but also some home grown tomatoes! First I've had this year and they were truly awesome!

See you again when the bulbs come in! Please make sure there are more home grown tomatoes!!!

Loren

WAK1200LT
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post #25 of 32 Old Aug 20th, 2011, 4:45 pm
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Re: headlight

Mine's an 08 RT with a PAIR of H-7s in the low slots (plus an H-7 high). For that, in all 3 positions, I use the excellent 65W Osram Rallye bulb (Candlepower is one source) which has about 40% more output than a stock 55W H-7, made possible by the fact that the Osram 65W bulb uses an H-9 glass capsule in an H-7 base. The H-9 filament is a tiny bit longer than an H-7 filament and that is why it lasts as long as a regular 55W bulb (such types are rated at 500 hrs use which is no guaranty they will last that long)

In general it is a poor idea to use high output 55W halogen bulbs as replacements especially on any other bike with a single low bulb headlight. Too much chance of ending up with a dead low beam when you most need it with no redundant bulb in the housing except the high. Whether PIAAs. Silverstars or whatever 55W higher output H-7s are all "shorter life" bulbs -rated typically at 150 hrs or less than 1/3 of a normal bulb hence substantially more expensive to use, also. (Compare a $7 cheap normal H-7 to a $25 high output one with 1/3 the life and you can see thaat your bulb costs might go up 10-12X)
Don't expect to find these ratings on makers packaging- they are available in makers spec tables however and sometimes good bulb dealer republish them. PIAAs marketing is especially offensive and intended to deceive by careful selection and manipulation of information to make claims like "85W output from 55W".

Although I'm not much of a fan of HID conversions for the dual low beam RT,for several reasons including the generally marginal quality of cheap Asian ballasts, the compromise of water resistance of the headlight housing by the need to drill or remove the covers thereby exposing the high voltage connections at the back of the bulb, etc - if I owned a single low beam bike I'd probably change to an HID to get enough light. Seeing well enough at night is critical and no single bulb halogen I've ever seen meets my definition of adequate.

Before getting too enthusiastic about 55W HID kits (stock automotive stuff is 35W) it is wise to remember that there is a large current inrush while starting a ballast- it will be 1.5 to perhaps 2X the normal operating amperage of the ballast. On many bikes this may tax existing wiring not designed for it depending on how the install is done. You might end up needing to do more wiring upgrades than just plugging in the HID stuff and glare off fog, rain or signs may be very annoying to you- depending on where and how you ride.

The less "blue" you go, the less obnoxious glare to others, off signs back to you, etc will result. The 4100-5000K zone is a good spot. Higher is likely to be proportionally more annoying. Automotive stock is 4100-4300 for most.

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post #26 of 32 Old Aug 21st, 2011, 5:33 pm
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Re: headlight

My Low bean bulb burned out on me last night. I can usually get the job done. Thought a quick fix. Picked up a replacement H7. Dropped the wire & plastic bucket covering the back of the bulbs. How is the bulb held in place? Spent 1/2 hour trying various things to remove it. I can feel small wires holding it in place. What is the trick for removal.
Thanks for the response.
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post #27 of 32 Old Aug 21st, 2011, 5:40 pm
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Re: headlight

I think the wires you are feeling is the pressure clip holding in the bulb. You should just have to pinch the two end together to get it to release from its clips and then it should rotate out of the way. If I am remembering things correctly. Feel for the two ends that are bent in a circle and squeeze them together and the rotate the retainer away from the bulb. Watch how the bulb comes out too, if I remember, it only goes back in one way, there is a large tab on the bulb base that lines up with a like area on the back of the housing.


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post #28 of 32 Old Aug 31st, 2011, 1:49 pm Thread Starter
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Smile Re: headlight

Loren came by a couple of days ago and we finished up the HID upgrade for my low beam. Yes, the new H7 fit just as it was supposed to. Thanks to Loren, I now have had some very valuable lessons on the proper way to do wiring. This means using the proper guage wire, the right way to solder to avoid using the crimp on only parts and the benefit of incorporating a relay to avoid overloading the stock wiring harness. Its always a pleasure to spend time with Loren!
Thank You Loren! Sorry about no sammies! (Wife was not home)

Done:
  • Oil and filter
  • Rear diff fluid
  • Trans fluid
  • R&R O2 sensor
  • Lubricate shifter linkage
  • new park plugs
  • HID Low Beam upgrade with Bosch relay

Yet to do:
Sept 10 - Tech session (all invited) with Ernie & John at my home R&R throttle cables.

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Larry Kniess
Beaverton, Oregon
BMOA #161285
2001 Honda 750 Nighthawk - SOLD
2001 BMW K1200LT - SOLD
2003 BMW K1200LT - SOLD
2007 UNI-GO trailer - SOLD
2011 Can-Am Spyder RT-S SE5 Limited
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2009 Suzuki 650DL-ABS V-Strom

Last edited by lkniess; Aug 31st, 2011 at 3:22 pm.
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post #29 of 32 Old Aug 31st, 2011, 2:33 pm
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Re: headlight

Glad to lend you a hand Larry. After twisting the throttle on your bike I now understand why people complain about stiff cables. You NEED to get those cables replaced!!! As for the sammies.... remember why I was a little late getting to your place? New biscuit recipe at home! Um ummm! Great biscuits! I'm pretty sure additional chow would have just gotten in the way!

Loren

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkniess
Loren came by a couple of days ago and we finished up the HID upgrade for my low beam. Yes, the new H7 fit just as it was supposed to. Thanks to Loren, I now have had some very valuable lessons on the proper way to do wiring. This means using the proper guage wire, the right way to solder to avoid using the crimp on only parts and the benefit of incorporating a relay to avoid overloading the stock wiring harness. Its always a pleasure to spend time with Loren!
Thank You Loren! Sorry about no sammies! (Wife was not home)

Done:
  • Oil and filter
  • Rear diff fluid
  • Trans fluid
  • R&R O2 sensor
  • Lubricate shifter linkage
  • HID Low Beam upgrade with Bosch relay
Yet to do:
Sept 10 - Tech session (all invited) with Ernie & John at my home R&R throttle cables.

WAK1200LT
Loren

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post #30 of 32 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 3:59 pm
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Re: headlight

Great thread and info not sure why i wasn't subscribed to this when it started.

HID's are definitely the way to go, just make sure you go with a company that has a lifetime warranty on all components. DDM does so that is great another choice is 1 Off MotorSports, recently we did a comparison video of halogen vs. HID's on a motorcycle. There is a ton of comparison videos but most of them are for cars, you can watch the video with this link;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CetBvfIDxRI

Also we (1off) is building a video library for installing HID's so if there is anyone that hasn't upgraded yet let me know and we can discuss getting a sizable discount for your efforts.

Sincerely,

Spencer Tibbs


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post #31 of 32 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 6:35 pm
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Re: headlight

So on the 35W vs 55W question, it seems like if you're willing to run a relay and do the wiring on the 55W then this would be the way to go. I haven't seen anything yet that suggests the low beam housing is too small (actually it's larger than many cars), but I believe it will need a relay due to the initial draw taxing the wires and maybe switches (if the BMW doesn't already run a relay). Would this be a set of rational assumptions?

I ask because 55W is substantially brighter than 35W - I know this because I have a 55W HID conversion installed on my Honda VTX1800 (with a relay) - and it's a substantially smaller housing than the BMW light housing. It does get warm in there, but it works GREAT. I've had it for over a year now and would never go back - it's way brighter than most cars (and it really gets noticed). The Honda setup I have is the solenoid based hi-lo setup, which is not needed for the BMW. Hmmm - this might make an interesting mod - conversion to H4 then upgrade to hi-lo solenoid HID while leaving the existing high beam ('05 and later) as Halogen - now that would be bright. Ah the possibilities....

BMWMOA member

Current rides:
2005 Dark Graphite Metallic BMW K1200LT
2002 Pearl Orange Honda VTX1800 Retro

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post #32 of 32 Old Sep 1st, 2011, 9:10 pm
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Re: headlight

55 Watt is definitely not too much for the headlight housing. The HID's run cooler than the quartz lamps. The 35's put out so much more light than the 55W quartz that you would likely not need the 55 for the low beam side. The problem is can you run 55W on low beam and not aggravate the oncoming traffic. If you want to run a 55W lamp I would put it on the high beam circuit.

As far as using a relay goes I add them to the 35W lamps as the BMW wiring is marginal in stock configuration but is plenty capable of supporting a few 10's of milliamps when used as the trigger for the relay.

jm2cw

Loren

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