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BruceHarrisJr said:
This is one of those 'public service' announcements-aka a FYI. Take a look:http://www.webbikeworld.com/t2/motorcycle-headlight/upgrade/
Thanks Bruce. After reading the article, I'm wondering why HID upgrades are illegal? Whassup with that -- don't some cars come with HID headlights, and doesn't BMW offer an HID option on the 2006 LT? (or is BMW's Xenon option not HID?) Obviously I don't know much about this technology except that it's out there and every single person who installs an HID on their LT raves about it, and I know I have to do something with my own light.
 

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hschisler said:
Thanks Bruce. After reading the article, I'm wondering why HID upgrades are illegal? Whassup with that -- don't some cars come with HID headlights, and doesn't BMW offer an HID option on the 2006 LT? (or is BMW's Xenon option not HID?) Obviously I don't know much about this technology except that it's out there and every single person who installs an HID on their LT raves about it, and I know I have to do something with my own light.
Yes, HID (Xenon) technology is on cars, and has been for years now. But, that is in reflector/lens systems designed for the different light source, and with automatic levelers to keep them aimed properly as the load in the car changes. I don't know if BMW is using a leveler in the '06 motorcycle adaptation. I Europe an automatic leveler is required on an HID system.

If the lens/reflector system is not made for HID, the light beam will not be the correct shape and cut-off to satisfy DOT, who we all know will take years to adapt to any new technology anyway.

HID is not illegal in the USA, but converting a halogen system to HID by just putting the bulb in the halogen reflector/lens system is.

Don't worry too much about it though. We have been doing it on LTs for years now, have not heard of anyone ever being even noticed by a law enforcement officer. Fortunately, the lens/reflector in the pre-05 LTs is very good, and HID conversion works great, with a nice sharp low beam top cut-off line.

I would think that the Ducati system would be legal to sell as HID, especially if BMW is not putting a leveler on the motorcycle HID option. Ducati designs would be furnishing (hopefully) a probably Hella HID module, not converting a halogen reflector to HID. Hella makes several of the automotive HID systems, and they even have Bi-Xenon reflector systems that use a solenoid to move the bulb inside the housing, or move a blade in front of the bulb to affect high/low beam switching.

Eventually, HID will be far more integrated into automobiles, not just the high end cars as it now is. Of course that is assuming that LED technology does not take over first. That is already heavily in the works, with Hella a key player. We can expect to start seeing LED headlights in some cars by 2010, with Audi coming out with them first in the A8-W12. I guess the W-12 engine from that $1.2 million Bugati is going to show up in an Audi next.
 

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dshealey said:
HID is not illegal in the USA, but converting a halogen system to HID by just putting the bulb in the halogen reflector/lens system is.
That makes sense, but what about replacing the LT's entire lamp assembly, as these HIDs are (I think) -- is that legal? The review said HID was illegal... was he incorrect?

dshealey said:
Fortunately, the lens/reflector in the pre-05 LTs is very good, and HID conversion works great, with a nice sharp low beam top cut-off line..
OK -- so what about the 05s -- are they good candidates for HID conversions?

Thanks!
 

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Howard,

Headlights acheive their DOT approval after completing photometric tests that include the light source. FMVSS 108 is the federal standard that makes it illegal to label the headlight DOT-approved if the original source has been replaced, irrespective of whether the replacement source components (bulb, capsule, ballast, etc) are individually DOT-approved.

Yes, if you replace the entire lighting module, including the original light source, with one that is DOT (or ECE in the EU) approved, then it would be legal. The 2005 low beam seems to work about the same as prior years, maybe a bit brighter. The high beams on all LT model years is fairly weak.

It will be interesting to see just how much BMW will be willing to sell the 2006 HID unit for, and just how much change is required to support the wiring, ballasts, etc. I've haven't witnessed the performance of the 2006 HID headlight yet.

I've not shipped any units with Hella's 90mm HID modules, which as David suggested above, would be legal to use. They are priced way too high to support a product that would sell at a reasonable price.

Ciao!

pg

Paul Geller
Ducati Designs, LLC
 

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pgeller said:
Howard,

Headlights acheive their DOT approval after completing photometric tests that include the light source. FMVSS 108 is the federal standard that makes it illegal to label the headlight DOT-approved if the original source has been replaced, irrespective of whether the replacement source components (bulb, capsule, ballast, etc) are individually DOT-approved.

Yes, if you replace the entire lighting module, including the original light source, with one that is DOT (or ECE in the EU) approved, then it would be legal. The 2005 low beam seems to work about the same as prior years, maybe a bit brighter. The high beams on all LT model years is fairly weak.

It will be interesting to see just how much BMW will be willing to sell the 2006 HID unit for, and just how much change is required to support the wiring, ballasts, etc. I've haven't witnessed the performance of the 2006 HID headlight yet.

I've not shipped any units with Hella's 90mm HID modules, which as David suggested above, would be legal to use. They are priced way too high to support a product that would sell at a reasonable price.
Ducati Designs, LLC
Paul,

Great info, and from the source! Thanks.

I saw an '06 LT in a showroom recently. I think the Xenon light option was about $500.

Sorry for the additional questions, but I'm new to this. To clarify:
1. Replacing the LT's entire lamp assembly -- as any HID upgrade requires (correct?) -- is perfectly legal?
2. Can HID brightness be achieved by changing just a bulb?
3. Replacing the bulb, only: legal or illegal?
4. Would you have any guesses as to what my BMW dealer suggested replacing the bulb (only) with? He had a bulb in mind that was not HID, but would give an estimated 30% increase in light. Cost was about $30. A better-quality halogen, perhaps?

New question: What happens to the high-beam assembly on the '05 LT? Your product does not replace both low- and high-beams, does it?

BTW: I think your replacement product looks better than the LT original. It's very distinctive, and higher-tech looking than stock.
 

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1. Replacing the LT's entire lamp assembly -- as any HID upgrade requires (correct?) -- is perfectly legal? - I'll let Paul field that one.
2. Can HID brightness be achieved by changing just a bulb? - Not in a million years.
3. Replacing the bulb, only: legal or illegal? - Legal
4. Would you have any guesses as to what my BMW dealer suggested replacing the bulb (only) with? - Many have gone with the Sylvania SilverStars. It's whiter...but no brighter. He had a bulb in mind that was not HID, but would give an estimated 30% increase in light. Cost was about $30. A better-quality halogen, perhaps? Nope...like I said, perhaps whiter but not truly brighter. I compared my LT with a SilverStar sitting right next to my brother's LT with the OEM bulb. No perceivable difference, other than looking toward the bikes, my light looked whiter.
 

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messenger13 said:
1. Replacing the LT's entire lamp assembly -- as any HID upgrade requires (correct?) -- is perfectly legal? - I'll let Paul field that one.
2. Can HID brightness be achieved by changing just a bulb? - Not in a million years.
3. Replacing the bulb, only: legal or illegal? - Legal
4. Would you have any guesses as to what my BMW dealer suggested replacing the bulb (only) with? - Many have gone with the Sylvania SilverStars. It's whiter...but no brighter. He had a bulb in mind that was not HID, but would give an estimated 30% increase in light. Cost was about $30. A better-quality halogen, perhaps? Nope...like I said, perhaps whiter but not truly brighter. I compared my LT with a SilverStar sitting right next to my brother's LT with the OEM bulb. No perceivable difference, other than looking toward the bikes, my light looked whiter.
Appreciate that, Joe. I'll look forward to Paul's replies to the other questions. Just trying to clarify in my mind what's what in this arena.

And thanks for the call earlier today. Wife and I went to Iron Pony (Columbus m/c accessories/parts/clothing superstore) today. It's about an hour trip from our house; longest she's been on the bike, yet. Got her a good armored jacket, overpants, and a neck gaiter. Get a better pair of gloves, raise the passenger footpegs, add a bigger/better windshield and we are good to go for a longer trip!
 

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Any DOT approved headlight (not foglight or driving light) should be legal, although you are obviously limited by the mechanics of what fits your application.

The "not in a million years" comment is a bit strong. Clearly, there are halogen bulbs that produce more lumens than the 35W HID, but they may not be suitable for use in every headlight. A 100W H7 bulb can produce >3500lm at 14V, but would cook the innards of your headlight in short order. It would also be illegal to use on the highway, as increasing the wattage violates the DOT rating and probably exceeds the maximum output prescribed by the regulations. Generally, if the headlight is used with any other source than that with which it was tested, it would be illegal to use. Of course, enforcement is another matter entirely, as most coppers are not equipped to perform photometric compliance testing on the road, and frankly, ther eare more important things for them to be doing.

There are brighter HID setups as well, operating at 50 or 80 watts. None are approved for use on this planet's highways.

Not sure what your dealer is recommending, but there are higher output bulbs out there. Philips Vision +50 bulbs and Osram (NOT Sylvania) SilverStar bulbs do produce some more output and offer a small improvement. You generally can't buy them here but they are available on the internet from Japan and Europe. The Sylvania SilverStar is a watered down version that maintains compliance with the DOT approval of most headlights and produces a somewhat whiter (higher color temp) light that appears brighter.

Not much of this matters on the K12 since the wiring is so poor. I've measured a 1.5V drop at the bulbs on the LT, and that translates to 25-30% lower output than can be achieved at full battery voltage with a halogen bulb. BMW uses one 18G ground wire to carry the current of both bulbs. Why the makers of (almost all) motorcycles go out of their way to save 50 cents on wire and relays/connectors is beyond me.

Ciao!

pg
 

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pgeller said:
Not much of this matters on the K12 since the wiring is so poor. I've measured a 1.5V drop at the bulbs on the LT, and that translates to 25-30% lower output than can be achieved at full battery voltage with a halogen bulb. BMW uses one 18G ground wire to carry the current of both bulbs. Why the makers of (almost all) motorcycles go out of their way to save 50 cents on wire and relays/connectors is beyond me.
Which is why if someone wanted to improve their lighting, but stay with halogens...I would just recommend that they beef up there wiring to 12ga and be done with it. That is one huge advantage HID has over halogens. The stock (crap) wiring doesn't affect it in this fashion.
 

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Here are a few clarifications, Howard.

Paul's replacement headlight assembly does not use HID bulbs. As he mentioned, it is possible but the cost is prohibitive. He uses better quality reflectors and filament bulbs to achieve his increased light output. I have ridden with an LT running Paul's setup, and it is an excellent system overall. It maintains DOT approval because you're replacing the whole light assembly with a DOT-approved setup.

An HID upgrade kit contains an HID bulb, which uses an arc to create a brighter light, and it contains a ballast and igniter to start up and maintain this arc. The kits discussed on this site effectively replace the factory halogen bulb, but use the same reflector and light housing assembly. We can use them on the low beam because the LT's factory light housing has a pretty good upper cutoff so they don't annoy oncoming traffic (if adjusted properly). They fail the DOT rule because you're changing a major component of the factory light, but not changing out the entire light assembly.

You can also buy after-market HID lights that contain the ballast, igniter, bulb, and a complete housing and reflector assembly. Those are DOT approved (and fairly expensive), but can usually only be run as high beam supplements as they're just too bright for oncoming traffic.

Hope that helps some.
 

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meese said:
Here are a few clarifications, Howard...
Hope that helps some.
Helps a lot. Thanks.

So... all things being equal, which of these headlight upgrade/changout options would give the LT the best low-beam AND the best high-beam performance (and, if I had to choose between having only a better low-beam or a better high-beam, I'd go with a better high-beam.

1. non-HID replacement headlight assembly, like Ducati Designs' product (better reflector and bulbs).
2. an HID upgrade kit (HID bulb, ballast, and igniter; uses stock reflector and light housing assembly)
3. an after-market HID light (ballast, igniter, bulb, complete housing and reflector assembly)

In summary, what I'm looking for is a spectacular improvement in high-beam performance. I want the road ahead of me to light up as though I had a freight train's headlight on it, or one of the lights that police helicopters use to track bad guys on the ground. I live in a rural area and need (want) to see farther out than I can now, with the stock lighting. I do have a pair of Motolights installed; after 2 weeks of having them I think what they are doing the most for me is providing better visibility to oncoming traffic. They provide a marginal improvement in lighting for my use; they could need adjustment, of course.

Can you ride during the day with an HID high-beam or will that vaporize oncoming drivers? (actually, not a bad idea... :cool: )
 

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If you truly want to make daylight like a freight train, then go with the "Eyes of God" Phillips HID setup. On a '99-'04 LT I'd suggest the RBR light mount bracket, but that won't work with the new '05-'06 high beam. So you would probably have to go with the under mirror mounts at the bottom of that same page. But be aware, these will make your stock lights look like they're not even on.

The Ducati Designs kit is an excellent choice, especially if money is not a concern and you want to stay perfectly legal.

But at $130 for a low beam HID upgrade kit, and $220 for low and high beams, the CQLight.ca kits are a must-do for any LT.

If I had an open budget, I'd want the Ducati Designs headlights retrofitted with two real HID low beam lamps for full time use, a high beam modulator on the '05 lower headlight for city traffic, and the Eyes of God for those long, lonely roads. But then again, you could pretty much buy a second bike for the same amount of money.

Some more info about auxiliary lights can be found at http://www.ironbutt.com/tech/auxlights.cfm
 

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messenger13 said:
Don't worry Howard. Soon you will get to experience the ultimate setup first- hand. When I pull into your driveway. :D
I'm gonna have to meet you halfway between Rushville Cleveland when you're done with your winter projects...
 

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meese said:
If you truly want to make daylight like a freight train, then go with the "Eyes of God" Phillips HID setup. On a '99-'04 LT I'd suggest the RBR light mount bracket, but that won't work with the new '05-'06 high beam. So you would probably have to go with the under mirror mounts at the bottom of that same page. But be aware, these will make your stock lights look like they're not even on.

The Ducati Designs kit is an excellent choice, especially if money is not a concern and you want to stay perfectly legal.

But at $130 for a low beam HID upgrade kit, and $220 for low and high beams, the CQLight.ca kits are a must-do for any LT.

If I had an open budget, I'd want the Ducati Designs headlights retrofitted with two real HID low beam lamps for full time use, a high beam modulator on the '05 lower headlight for city traffic, and the Eyes of God for those long, lonely roads. But then again, you could pretty much buy a second bike for the same amount of money.

Some more info about auxiliary lights can be found at http://www.ironbutt.com/tech/auxlights.cfm
Excellent. Thanks, Ken.
 

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Headlights, exhaust, chips, GPS, Com. Sys, what else do I need?

I'm a junior member and seldom visit this site. Mostly because I have no expertise in BMW mechanics; Harley rider for ever until I bought me a 05 LT. I was hoping for a total LT redesign with the new engine and the new 6 spd. trany this year. I already have a buyer for mine and wanted to upgrade. I'm told that it's at least 3 or more years away because the Europeans are losing money on the US market? Seems to me if a 150 HP Full sized touring bike was on the market that'd end in a heart beat? Then again, I guess there's a consensus of riders in the BMW ranks that believe HP is not the point. Touring is the point! So far I've put some 35,000 plus miles on my 05. This coming August in 06, I'm riding around the USA for 5 weeks and plan on reaching Maine(I live in CA). What I need is a head light so I can see at night. A chip to make the bike respond quicker, a GPS/Com system so when I'm lost at least I'll know where I'm lost. So if there are any suggestions from knowledgeable long distance riders who can tell me where my thinking is in error, I'd appreciate hearing from you! Thanks in advance!

Clyde George; aka, cloydg
 
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