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post #1 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 1:07 pm Thread Starter
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Driving lights

Can some one enlighten me on the reason driving lights for the LT cost so much money?
I have found a pair at the local auto parts shop for $29.00. They match my bike color quite nice and are small enough to fit under the nose just like the PIAA lights. I made my own mounting brackets out of aluminum strips, wired them into the low beam harness and they look and work great, in fact they look just like the PIAA lights I have seen in pictures, all for less than $45.00. Now I am wondering if maybe there is a reason people don't do this. Do they draw too much? Maybe the alternator can't keep up and they will drain the battery? I have only been able to take the bike on a few short rides since the install and everything seems to be working right. I might mention that I keep the bike on a tender when not riding, so if they are draining the battery, I wouldn't notice. But I am a little leary about taking a long trip now. Am I just being paranoid or is there something I am missing?

2000 K1200LTI
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post #2 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 2:01 pm
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Re: Driving lights

We are a lazy society as a whole.....especially us guys...when it comes to buying stuff......ie...."hey...gotta have that.....wow that's cool....and everything is there too". Not many of us want to go the the time and small expense to think things out ourselves.

Me? Retired AF....limited income....so I do ALL my own stuff.....am using IPF lights from BESTRESTPRODUCTS.COM , (he's a riding buddy, and I got a really, really good deal) made my own mounts and did the wiring myself..... already have HiD's ......so anything else is mostly "TO BE SEEN" and not so much "TO SEE".......really want to be around for my grandons graduation from Harvard or Yale.......if you know what I mean. As one of the Tech's at SSDBMW in Fife, WA said last weekend.....Patterson, you're the only LT guy that I know of that has that many lights.....and uses them. That was the day I left for the Rally in Redmond.

Anyway....I digress.....some folks have the time....some don't.....some have the natural ability....some are scared of their own shadow.....and the rest of us, just dive in and do our best.

So.....congratulations dude!

Patterson/USAF1....'05 LT
and the little guy behind me is the world famous "Marty Hill"
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post #3 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 2:19 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Lighting is a subjective subject. Why have them at all? I do; for both daytime (visibility) and night time (deer countermeasures).

IMO, if you want to judge the value of a particular lighting arrangement for driving lights, do the math. What is the cost per lumen?

I have VisionX Solstice lights that emit a 5k light (pure white) at 900 lumen each for 1800 lumen total. These light draw just over 1.5 amps total. They are very rugged and cost me about $200. Best of all, they are LEDs so I will wear out before they do.

My other choice would be HID, but the cost per lumen and the current draw make them a second choice for me.

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post #4 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 3:10 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Its always nice to save some extra money. Can you guys post a few pictures from your mounts. Hope there is a chance to find simular products in the European Mainlands or even in the UK

best regards from Bavaria

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post #5 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 3:36 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by PATTERSON
We are a lazy society as a whole.....especially us guys...when it comes to buying stuff......ie...."hey...gotta have that.....wow that's cool....and everything is there too". Not many of us want to go the the time and small expense to think things out ourselves.

Me? Retired AF....limited income....so I do ALL my own stuff.....am using IPF lights from BESTRESTPRODUCTS.COM , (he's a riding buddy, and I got a really, really good deal) made my own mounts and did the wiring myself..... already have HiD's ......so anything else is mostly "TO BE SEEN" and not so much "TO SEE".......really want to be around for my grandons graduation from Harvard or Yale.......if you know what I mean. As one of the Tech's at SSDBMW in Fife, WA said last weekend.....Patterson, you're the only LT guy that I know of that has that many lights.....and uses them. That was the day I left for the Rally in Redmond.

Anyway....I digress.....some folks have the time....some don't.....some have the natural ability....some are scared of their own shadow.....and the rest of us, just dive in and do our best.

So.....congratulations dude!
Patterson, I too want to be seen!! So, I've added a strip of red LEDs to the top case for additional running lights, which I bought for $29.00, and I installed a strip of white LEDs inside the unused part of front turn signal lens for front running lights which cost me $15.00. I wired everything in using waterproof shrink tubes and plugs so I can remove the Tupperware when needed without too much hassle. My next project is to add running lights to the side cases. I have only briefly looked at the reflectors currently in that space, so I am asking, does anyone know how to remove the reflector, and is it solid, or hollow so I can add another strip of LEDs?

Thanks in advance

2000 K1200LTI
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post #6 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 4:16 pm
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Re: Driving lights

The saddlebag reflectors are "sticky-taped" in place. If you get a couple strands of dental floss (or wire)...sneak it around the front or rear edge then just pull it to the other end of the reflector. Clean up the residual tape, and you can get started with what you want to do. Though I did my own running lights with RATSHACK led's, a drill press and soldering some resistors in line, there is somebody already out there that has made them up already, and was selling them here. But that was after I'd already done mine, and I don't have the info anymore......somebody here might know.
I have the Moto-lights on the calipers, with yellow lenses....the IPF's are above the mirrors, mounted them using a set of my RT light brackets.

Pictures?? Maybe.....if the guy who stole my camera at the Redmond Rally returns it......(2 weeks later, and I'm still steamed.)

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post #7 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 5:44 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Most halogen lights will run @55w each, and that includes the PIAAs, so there is no difference in load between them and a cheaper set. The alternator on the beast can more than handle the extra load, so no worries there.
If you found lights that match the bike in color and deliver the conspicuity you want for less money, you are good to go! Same deal on the red LED for the back and white ones for the fornt. A little ingenuity goes a long way toward your safety.
Since you found an alternative to more expensive lights you may want to do a write up, with photos and diagrams, especially for the light mounts. That's what this site is all about: sharing ideas!

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post #8 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 5:50 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Best lights for a add on in my case were a pair $40 Autozone clear lens fog lamps, then tossed the H3 bulbs buying a pair of DDM micro ballast H3 HID's for another $40

For actually less than $80 have aux lighting that makes daytime out of the darkest night.
drawing only 70 watts total ... sweet !!

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post #9 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 8:18 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPearson
Can some one enlighten me on the reason driving lights for the LT cost so much money?
I have found a pair at the local auto parts shop for $29.00. They match my bike color quite nice and are small enough to fit under the nose just like the PIAA lights. I made my own mounting brackets out of aluminum strips, wired them into the low beam harness and they look and work great, in fact they look just like the PIAA lights I have seen in pictures, all for less than $45.00. Now I am wondering if maybe there is a reason people don't do this. Do they draw too much? Maybe the alternator can't keep up and they will drain the battery? I have only been able to take the bike on a few short rides since the install and everything seems to be working right. I might mention that I keep the bike on a tender when not riding, so if they are draining the battery, I wouldn't notice. But I am a little leary about taking a long trip now. Am I just being paranoid or is there something I am missing?
How about some pictures?

I bought the PIAA kit on ebay and got a decent deal, but they still cost a small fortune. I went that route as I am still working and making decent money and what I am shortest on now is time. So, I wanted a kit that would fit and not need a lot of time consuming fabrication and farting around.

The main concern I would have with your solution is overloading the low beam circuit. I am not sure how much current the stock low beam draws, but if you add that to what your new lights draw you will know what the wiring and relay has to provide. I suspect you will find that you are now running at or above the current capacity of the wiring and possibly the relay. If this is the case, then you run the real chance of starting a fire. If you have seen the posts here about LTs that have had electrical fires, the cost is FAR greater than what you saved by rolling your own lights vs. buying a PIAA kit that comes with separate power supply lines and relay.

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post #10 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 9:15 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by motorhead
Best lights for a add on in my case were a pair $40 Autozone clear lens fog lamps, then tossed the H3 bulbs buying a pair of DDM micro ballast H3 HID's for another $40

For actually less than $80 have aux lighting that makes daytime out of the darkest night.
drawing only 70 watts total ... sweet !!
Motorhead, How did you wire your lights in? As I stated, I wired into the low beam harness. Voyager brought up a concern of overloading the low beam circuit, which now has me somewhat concerned.

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post #11 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 9:41 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by PATTERSON
... there is somebody already out there that has made them up already, and was selling them here. But that was after I'd already done mine, and I don't have the info anymore......somebody here might know....
You are most likely referring to Larry Schumer of RiderWest - www.riderwest.com

Larry makes what I think is one of the nicest OEM-looking lighting upgrades for the LT. His Saddlebag Reflector Kit for BMW K1200LT replaces the sidecase reflectors with LEDs that are running lights and turn signals. Very nice, and doesn't make the LT look like an older Gold Wing in a light parade.

Checking his site just now, I see that this is now a discontinued product. Still, I'd contact him regarding this.

I have no affiliation with Larry, I just really like this product that he developed.


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post #12 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 10:13 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPearson
Can some one enlighten me on the reason driving lights for the LT cost so much money?
I have found a pair at the local auto parts shop for $29.00. They match my bike color quite nice and are small enough to fit under the nose just like the PIAA lights. I made my own mounting brackets out of aluminum strips, wired them into the low beam harness and they look and work great, in fact they look just like the PIAA lights I have seen in pictures, all for less than $45.00. Now I am wondering if maybe there is a reason people don't do this. Do they draw too much? Maybe the alternator can't keep up and they will drain the battery? I have only been able to take the bike on a few short rides since the install and everything seems to be working right. I might mention that I keep the bike on a tender when not riding, so if they are draining the battery, I wouldn't notice. But I am a little leary about taking a long trip now. Am I just being paranoid or is there something I am missing?
I have done the same thing, but I connected them directly to the battery with a toggle switch inbetween, this way I can turn them on or off at will. Does anyone sees a problem with that?
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post #13 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 10:16 pm
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Re: Driving lights

I'm sure that there are lots of solutions; depends thought on your problem. One of the first things I did was to have Moto light put on so I could be seen. Then as I started to ride more at night I went the HID route. Both were a whole lot cheaper than the alternative. Didn't really think too much about the cost though.

The HID does a great job of lighting up the highway and it looks stock. The Moto is low on the front forks, enlarges MY look and also looks custom. I really don't like to have J C Wittney type products stuck all over the bike and I prefer a look that is as clean as possible. Just my preferences...

Dano
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post #14 of 25 Old Aug 6th, 2010, 11:16 pm
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Re: Driving lights

You want reasonable price, easy availability for the components, great lighting, and a sense of self satisfaction when the job is done check this link out:

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...mirror+install

I originally used the single bolt mount idea and mounted a set of $25 lights but was disappointed in the results. Bought a set of FF50's MONTHS after reading the above post, installed them, and really thought I had something new! Glad I went back to review the original post to find out I had accidentally bought the exact lamps mentioned in the article. The cost for the driving lights is about $60 - $70 including the wiring harness, a switch (I didn't use the switch) and a relay.

Here is what I did differently from the article above.

1.) I used a Dremel tool to cut the relief areas for the bolt clearance on the underside of the mirrors. Ain't got no time for files etc. This is why I bought a Dremel!

2.) I measured for proper bolt length and spacers so that the lights juuuusssst clear the wind deflector wings so they still work fine.

3.) I painted the stainless steel bolt and the spacers black so they match the rest of the trim on the bike.

It is perfectly acceptable to use one of the circuits for the headlight to TRIGGER THE RELAY used to energize the lights. Run a wire back to the battery for the +12V and one to the battery for the ground (earth). Fuse the +12V wire and run the +12V and Ground wires to the relay following the instructions that came with the light and follow the rest of the instructions to finish the job. I use the HIGH BEAM circuit as the trigger for the driving lights. The current draw on the high beam circuit is on the order of a few 10's of milliamps so no worries about too much current draw.

I used the high beam as the trigger because I feel that adding discrete switches "uglifies the beauty" of the LT (unless an autoswitch is used) and because I have the drivers pointing WAAAYY down the road which would cause sterility in oncoming drivers if left on. I don't want to reach for another switch.

Lights on high beam = driving lights on. High beams off = driving lights off.

High beams are on when riding in the daylight.

I also mounted a set of yellow reflectored fog lights under the tip over wings. Again, using a very simple home made mount that can't be seen unless the wing is off the bike. They use the low beam lights as the trigger source so they are on as long as the headlight is on. These lights have a very flat beam and are adjusted so that they are very visible to oncoming traffic but do not blind the drivers. Again use the relay that came with the kit, no external switch.

Mods to come: I will eventually change the quartz lamps out for DDM Tuning HID lamps.They run cooler and draw less current than quartz and the color will match the low beam color.

This is the first MC I have owned where the bike can support hanging on a few extra lights and I have been having a party.


Here are the links for some of the other lights I have installed:

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showpost...82&postcount=1
Wings of gold This is a great mod for about $20. I never thanked Hans for this post. Thank you Hans, I have really enjoyed my Wings of Amber.

Under side case turn signal led strips
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...strip+autozone
I did this one too. Very impressive amount of light after dark. Will wire up to the driving lights too so they are on all the time.

I have become somewhat(?) of a light whore of late. Next projects will be turn signal led's on the mirrors and installing led strips on the side case trim. You can now buy led's in strips with a protective cover that is black between the led's.

So many lights and so little time. Sigh.......

Loren

WAK1200LT
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post #15 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 4:37 am
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Re: Driving lights

I have had these lights on for about 60,000 miles. $15.00 at Wal-Mart.
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post #16 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 6:28 am
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Re: Driving lights

Some real good ideas within this thread.



Looks like I will do some additional winter work on my beamer

best regards from Bavaria

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post #17 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 9:06 am
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Re: Driving lights

It does not mater what brand of light that you install. What does metter is that you have a relay so that the main power is direct from the battery and then is controled by a switch.
I was lazy and took the easy way out and bought the PIAA set at a big discount. The mounts should have been made stiffer.
Driving lights are supposed to be connected to the high beam and fog lights are suppposed to be connected to the low beam.
High beam > Switch > Relay > Light
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post #18 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 11:39 am
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesn
I have done the same thing, but I connected them directly to the battery with a toggle switch inbetween, this way I can turn them on or off at will. Does anyone sees a problem with that?
As long as the switch is rated for the current you are drawing and the wires likewise, then this is a perfectly acceptable way to operate the lights. I trust you have a fuse in the supply line right near the battery, right?

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post #19 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 12:29 pm
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Re: Driving lights

I have become somewhat(?) of a light whore of late.



That must make me the"Big Nose Kate" (infamous Tombstone ho) of REAR lighting:

YouTube - ‪RonKMiller's Channel‬‎ Rear Lighting



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post #20 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 12:29 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Driving lights

I have learned two things on this thread. One, lighting, as any accessory,is subjective to ones own needs, likes, costs, etc. Secondly, DO NOT run the lights directly off the headlights!! I went to Autozone and bought a, 12 volt, 40 amp relay and an inline fuse. Two hours later I have installed and all is working correctly. Thanks for all the input.

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post #21 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 12:35 pm
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPearson
I have learned two things on this thread. One, lighting, as any accessory,is subjective to ones own needs, likes, costs, etc. Secondly, DO NOT run the lights directly off the headlights!! I went to Autozone and bought a, 12 volt, 40 amp relay and an inline fuse. Two hours later I have installed and all is working correctly. Thanks for all the input.
Add on lights BEST set up by using a relay going battery direct. What ever way you choose to switch them on or off is as simple as triggering the relay circuit which is very low current.
Mine are done this way and controlled by a device wired into the turn signal cancel circuit known as an Auto Switch. Or a simple dash mounted toggle works just as well.

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post #22 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 2:27 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Driving lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by motorhead
Add on lights BEST set up by using a relay going battery direct. What ever way you choose to switch them on or off is as simple as triggering the relay circuit which is very low current.
Mine are done this way and controlled by a device wired into the turn signal cancel circuit known as an Auto Switch. Or a simple dash mounted toggle works just as well.
Motorhead, I wired my relay directly to the battery, I used the low beam as a trigger so they are on all the time. Actually, this was my first experience with a relay, so I am a little wiser and a lot safer (No chance of electrical fire!!)
Once again, Thanks for all the input guys.

2000 K1200LTI
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post #23 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 4:43 pm
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Re: Driving lights

I have become somewhat(?) of a light whore of late.



That must make me the"Big Nose Kate" (infamous Tombstone ho) of REAR lighting:

YouTube - ‪RonKMiller's Channel‬‎ Rear Lighting

Welcome my big nosed brother!


Quote:
Originally Posted by motorhead
Add on lights BEST set up by using a relay going battery direct. What ever way you choose to switch them on or off is as simple as triggering the relay circuit which is very low current.
Mine are done this way and controlled by a device wired into the turn signal cancel circuit known as an Auto Switch. Or a simple dash mounted toggle works just as well.

I concur. Nothing wrong with a switch but I don't like the looks of extra switches. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AN AUTOSWITCH. Any other switch you add is going to look like an add on. I didn't go the autoswitch route for 2 reasons:

1.) I didn't have one when I did my install
2.) My logic was that I wanted the fog lights on all the time in order to improve conspicuity so the logical trigger for the relay was the low beam circuit and I reasoned you can't have the driving lights lit when night time traffic is coming your way which is the same as the high beam circuit so I triggered the drivers off the High beam circuit. No switch, no holes in the dash, and nothing more hanging off the bars. Not needed. Love the Autoswitch though.

Of course both circuits are fused within 9 inches of the battery and the relays live their lives velcro'd to the fender under the driver seat.

Remember: For led lighting AutoZone is your friend!!! They seem to have a good selection in-house and the prices are reasonable. Remember too that there is a lot of versatility in led lights as they draw virtually no current and the strip lights can be cut at specified lengths, usually 1 or 2 inches, in order to accurately fit your application. Be careful adding blue lights (tempting because they look cool), and probably a good idea to follow federal rules on where you use red and amber lights.

Loren

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post #24 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 6:28 pm
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Location: new berlin, wisconsin, usa
Posts: 338
Re: Driving lights

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Originally Posted by Voyager
As long as the switch is rated for the current you are drawing and the wires likewise, then this is a perfectly acceptable way to operate the lights. I trust you have a fuse in the supply line right near the battery, right?

Thanks for your insight and yes...I did fuse it.
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post #25 of 25 Old Aug 7th, 2010, 8:39 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Posts: 35
Re: Driving lights

Ron,
Where did you get the back-off lighting? I have the Backoff module, but even they say not to put it on the LT as it will cause an ABS fault. I love all the lights....better to see you with my dear!!! lol
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