How to change your radio lights to LEDs


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
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How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:21 pm



The GL1500 radio console has small, blue lights inside it that light up the various buttons, as well as the text above each level control. These lights burn out over time, and it's not the easiest task to gain access to them, requiring a fair amount of disassembly. I decided to replace my lights with blue LEDs, which should last for the life of the motorcycle (and then some) - so basically a permanent replacement. You can use this article to simply replace your burned out bulbs if you wish - just skip the portions involving the wiring of the LEDs.

Warning: Switching the radio to use LEDs is NOT a plug-and-play procedure. If you're not comfortable using a soldering iron, then this project is not for you. However, in terms of difficulty when it comes to electronics, this is fairly simple.

As when working with any delicate electronics, protection against static discharge should be observed. It's a good idea to wear a grounding wrist strap to prevent static electricity from jumping from your fingers to a delicate electronic component, which can cause irreperable damage.

I utilized standard 3mm blue LEDs, sourced from superbrightleds.com. You will require five of them for this project. You will also require five 560 ohm resistors, and some heat-shrink tubing.

Note: SuperbrightLEDs has released a replacement LED that is supposed to be able to be used as a direct replacement for these lights, avoiding the resistors and wiring required. They have it listed as model NEO5-BHP, and while it looks like it will work, a Goldwingdocs user who ordered a set found that they do not fit.

Before starting, you will need to remove the seat as shown in How to remove and replace your seat.

1. Start by removing the soft cover from the left fairing pocket, then remove the four screws holding the pocket in place.

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2. Lift the pocket out of the fairing. If your pocket has a 12 volt outlet in it, you may need to disconnect it - or just let the pocket hang out the side by the wires.

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3. Unlock and remove the hard cover from the right fairing pocket.

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4. Remove the four screws holding the right fairing pocket in place.

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5. If your GL1500 is an SE, you will have a knob for the foot warmers. You'll need to remove the set screw for this knob, then pull the knob off in order to get the pocket out.

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6. Remove the pocket from the fairing.

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7. Remove the ignition switch cover by gently pulling up at the bottom as shown until the posts disengage from the rubber grommets. Then release the tabs at the top and remove the cover.

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8. Remove the left top inner cover by pulling the tab free at the rightmost edge as shown.

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9. Follow by pulling each tab free in sequence until you get to the front tab.

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10. This tab locks in place - be careful not to break it. Next, remove the right top inner cover the same way as you removed the left side.

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11. Open the fuel filler door and identify the two plastic locking tabs near the front of the opening.

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12. Rotate the tabs as shown to unlock the radio shelter.

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13. Using a 10mm wrench or socket, remove the two acorn nuts holding the back end of the radio shelter in place.

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14. Lift the back end of the radio shelter free of the studs.

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15. Release the tabs at the front left and right sides of the radio shelter from the fairing.

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16. Lift the radio shelter - you will see the wires that connect the radio to the motorcycle. Carefully turn the radio shelter upside down.

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17. Lift the rubber boot to expose the connectors for the radio.

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18. Depress the locking tabs on each connector and pull it free from the radio. Pull on the connector, never on the wires! The antenna (round wire) does not have a locking tab, it just pulls free.

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19. Remove the radio shelter from the bike.

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20. Set the shelter down on a soft surface such as some carpet, to avoid damaging the top.

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21. Remove the four screws holding the radio to the shelter, and lift the radio free of the shelter.

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22. Lift the back of the rubber boot off the bracket and remove it from the radio.

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23. Peel back the rubber cover at the back end of the radio to expose the screw in the corner.

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24. Remove all of the screws holding the back plate in place. There are five on the main area, two near the connectors, and two more near the top side of the radio next to the antenna jack that also fasten the mounting bracket in place.

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25. Carefully lift the back end of the radio up.

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26. Gently lift the front of the cover free. You may need to use a screwdriver to help it pass up over the lip. You can see the position of the screws that need to be removed in step 24.

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27. Lift the cover free, exposing the circuit board.

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28. Rotate the radio around so that the connector is facing away from you.

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29. There are four screws to be removed next, indicated by the red arrows. You may wish to use a screwdriver with a magnetic bit, to avoid losing the screws while removing them.

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30. Turn the radio right side up, and remove the knobs - they just pull straight off.

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31. Gently lift the top of the radio away from the chassis.

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32. Flip the top over onto a soft surface. You can see the three main lights, as well as the two control lights below (connected with black wires).

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33. To remove each light, use a flat-blade screwdriver, and turn 1/4 turn counter-clockwise.

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34. The light can then be lifted free of the board.

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35. The smaller control lights can simply be pulled free of their holes.

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36. Undo the control light wires from their stays.

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37. Gently pull the control light wire connector free of the board. At this point, if you are simply going to replace your lights with replacement OEM lights, you can do so, skipping to reassembly (step 54).

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38. The control lights are tiny light bulbs with a blue silicon cover - these are the same lights that are used in the handlebar grips on later GL1500's.

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39. We will need some small (I used 24 gauge wire) wires cut and stripped to build our replacement lights.

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40. 3mm blue LEDs and 560 ohm resistors are required. The resistors limit the current to the LEDs when connected to the 13.8 volts that the motorcycle supplies. Note that one leg of each LED is shorter than the other. The longer leg is the anode, or positive. It can also be identified by the LED case: one side will be flat, to identify the cathode, or negative side.

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41. Cut the anode (longer leg) of each LED short, and do the same with one of the leads of each resistor. Tack solder each resistor to each LED as shown.

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42. Tack solder a wire to the resistor and remaining LED lead as shown. Important: Cut the wires so that one of the two wires is longer - and solder this one to the anode side (with the resistor). This will help you know which of the wires is the anode (positive) and which is negative.

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43. Slip a two pieces of heat shrink tubing over each lead and resistor and shrink them in place.

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44. Take a third, larger piece of heat shrink tubing and slip it over both leads, heating it in place to secure the assembly as shown.

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45. Take three of your LEDs and connect them in parallel - positive leads to positive leads, negative leads to negative leads. Connect two longer wires as well - one to the positive leads, and one to the negative leads. Solder these in place, and cover in heat shrink tubing. You can see here that I marked the positive lead with red tape, so that I didn't forget which one is which. Hooking them up backwards will cause the LEDs to burn out!

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46. You can see how I have marked the back of the board with positive and negative (ground) markings, to identify where I was going to connect my LEDs.

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47. Remove the four screws holding the button board in place. Lift the top of the board (near the connectors), and pull it free of the tabs at the bottom of the board. Do NOT lift the board more than half an inch or so! If you lift it too far, you can break the tabs at the bottom, and the result will be inoperative buttons on your radio!

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48. turn the board over. You can see the gold-plated contacts for each of the buttons and the light sockets.

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49. This is a good time to clean those contacts, as well as the rubber pads on the buttons themselves that push against those contacts. Use rubbing alcohol to clean them. Once they are clean, do not touch them with your fingers, to avoid contaminating them with oil from your skin.

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50. You can solder your wires to the connector on the back side of the board as shown here. The wire on the left is ground, the wire on the right is positive. Alternatively, you can splice these wires into the harness that connects to the control lights.

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51. Flip the board over and reinstall it, fastening the screws in place. Position the LEDs in the holes that once housed the light bulbs.

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52. I used a glob of hot glue to fasten the wires in place.

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53. After connecting the remaining two LEDs to the original harness that used to have the tiny light bulbs on it (keep in mind which wire is positive and which is negative - note the markings I wrote on the board next to the connector), position them in the original holes. I also fastened them in place with hot glue. Position the wires in the wire stay.

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54. Replace the radio top over the chassis, making sure no wires are pinched.

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55. Replace the screws holding the radio top in place.

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56. Replace the bottom cover. Start by hooking the cover over the connectors at the end, then push the rest of the cover into place.

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57. Replace all the screws on the back. Don't forget to lift the rubber boot to gain access to the last screw hole. The two screws near the connector must also fasten the mounting bracket as well.

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58. Replace the rubber boot over the top of the radio and hook it over the mounting bracket.

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59. Note that there are two different types of knobs - two of one, and three of the other.

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60. They can be identified by the tabs on the bottom. The knob on the left is used for the main and intercom volume controls. The knob on the right is used for the Mute, AVC and tone controls.

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61. Turn the radio over and replace the knobs by pressing them over their shafts. Note the main and intercom volume knobs can rotate through a wide arc.

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62. the Mute, AVC and tone controls rotate through a narrow arc.

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63. Place the radio back into the shelter. Important: Make sure that the mounting bracket next to the connectors hooks over the top of the shelter - it must do so or else the shelter will not fit back onto the motorcycle properly.

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64. Replace the screws holding the radio in the shelter. If your radio is equipped with the ground plug, make sure it is replaced on the screw shown.

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65. Return to the motorcycle, and with the shelter inverted, carefully snap each connector back into place. Make sure the antenna connector is securely fastened. Don't forget to connect the ground lead (if equipped).

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66. Pull the rubber boot down over the connectors, and make sure it is held in place over the tab in the metal bottom of the radio.

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67. Flip the radio shelter right side up and position it in place. Make sure the front tabs go into their slots at the front of the fairing.

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68. Lower the radio shelter over the studs.

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69. Make sure the locking tabs are still in the inward (unlocked position).

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70. Replace and tighten the acorn nuts to hold the shelter in place.

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71. Now rotate the locking tabs outward to lock the shelter in place.

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72. Insert the front tab of each inner cover into the dashboard.

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73. Gradually work around each inner cover starting at the front and working your way around to the inner back, putting each tab into its slot.

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74. Replace the ignition cover by inserting the front tabs into their slots, then rotating the back down into place, pushing the posts into their grommets.

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75. Replace the right fairing pocket and screw it into place.

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76. If equipped, reinstall the foot warmer knob and its set screw.

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77. Reinstall the left fairing pocket and screw it into place. Make sure the intercom lead wire is positioned correctly in the pass-through before screwing it into place.

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78. The moment of truth! Power up! Your radio will emit a deep blue glow. The color is a deeper, more pure blue than the original lights produced, and should last for the life of your bike.

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djlundwall
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby djlundwall » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:41 am

All I can say is AWESOME!!!

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m2102
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby m2102 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:52 pm

awesome pix and step by step instructions. i would almost try and do it myself,but still going to have a friend more knowledgeable than me close by to supervise. fantastic

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ghostvet
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1997 GL1500SE

Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby ghostvet » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:53 am

First, and I know you have been told this "once or twice" before... but your "how-tos" are freaking outstanding!!!

What do you think about using red LEDs?

I am ordering my parts today for this job. I will order red and blue LEDs just in case.

Thanx once again!

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:32 pm

ghostvet wrote:First, and I know you have been told this "once or twice" before... but your "how-tos" are freaking outstanding!!!

What do you think about using red LEDs?

I am ordering my parts today for this job. I will order red and blue LEDs just in case.

Thanx once again!


The translucent plastic on the face of the radio is blue in color, so using red LEDs will not give you a bright red light as a result - more like a reddish purple. Nothing saying you can't do it!

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:04 am

Just an update for this topic: I've found a seller on eBay: http://stores.ebay.com/warden-jp2002?_rdc=1 who sells wedge LED replacement bulbs that SHOULD be a direct twist-in replacement for the three twist-lock radio light bulbs, so those could be replaced without any soldering. If you search his store for "2pcs T3 T4 T5 Neo Wedge (Spark Blue) Dash LED Bulbs" you'll see them. I've bought product from this seller before, and it is top quality. I'm not sure which size would fit the radio (T3, T4 or T5), but it looks to be a direct replacement.

chalfast
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby chalfast » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:00 am

excellent article .to save time you could get the superbright blue leds already with resistors and pigtail leads on with srink wrap from OZINIUM.COM for $1.29 ea and only $2.50 shipping . Sweet .On another note Change Fuel filter while shelter is off and easy to get at .. Once again SUPER Article You Da Man

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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby chalfast » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:27 am

OOPS that should be OZNIUM.COM . I`ll learn to read what I type .

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seering
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby seering » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:37 pm

Finished this mod today. Looks great!

I'd suggest adding a new step:

12.5 Remove the seat per http://goldwingdocs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=10997

Now on to the AUX input mod before buttoning it back up.

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:20 am

You're right! I'll put that step in!

seering wrote:Finished this mod today. Looks great!

I'd suggest adding a new step:

12.5 Remove the seat per http://goldwingdocs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=10997

Now on to the AUX input mod before buttoning it back up.

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seering
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby seering » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:36 am

Oh...and one more thing...

My '93 Aspencade had six lights: 4 for the cassette / buttons, and 2 for the labels above the knobs. No biggie since I bought extras when I ordered from SuperBrightLEDs. Others might want to make sure they do the same.

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liquineer
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby liquineer » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:20 pm

I have a 1988 1500 and am just about to take the shroud off to figure out the reason the rear speakers don't work, (I can already see a cut in the outer wire to one speaker, but neither work, so needs looking at further.) and how to connect up to the fader control that is installed but not connected to anything, and as far as I can tell the radio lights don't work, so will look at these at the same time. My radio casette device is different to the one in the article, it has less switches (just six in total) and does not have an illuminated Honda logo panel. I am assuming it will have lights in it- I will defo find out when I open it up, but it would be sad to find it does not have any!
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Mag » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:23 pm

I just installed the rear speaker kit on my 88 and found that the rear speakers actually plug in under the seat, toward the back. Have to admit Honda really thought about preparing the bike for any basic add on, I have seen more empty plugs on the bike that I could use for stuff).

So, if no sound for the speakers could solely be because of that plug in, check that first. If that is all it is, it will be a very simple fix. I would recommend replacing the wiring though if it is split.

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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby liquineer » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:43 pm

Thanks for that information about the speakers- I can't make out if the wires I can see are a previous owners attempt to join the rear speakers to the front speakers, as there are two long white twin wires running along the frame from (I am assuming) the rear speakers to the front speakers and I am assuming hard wired, Is this what you have? I need to get the speakers exposed which is my next job.

Also there is a fader switch at the front just near the ignition key socket which is totally unconnected and has three connector blocks on the back- I am also assuming it should be part of the front/rear fade system.
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Mag
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Mag » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:33 am

My wires go from the rear speakers to just under the passenger section of the seat, hence where it is connected (I bought the rear speaker/fader upgrade kit), so I do not understand the wires you mention that go from the back all the way to the front.

I still have that part of the bike apart, so will take pics today of it for you to show (yes, new Samsumg Galaxy III so gotta play with it).

I will also show the fader control and wiring so you can see that.

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liquineer
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby liquineer » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:57 am

Discovered why the rear speakers were silent- both of them had a disconnected terminal- I think they had worked loose with raising and lowering of the trunk lid over time. I also spliced in a new piece of cable where the other one had frayed.
I think what has been done is the rear speakers have been hard wired to the front ones so will be on when the others are on, hence the long run of wires from front to back-
I certainly would like to see your photos as I think the fader control I have should be the one that is connected in to the wiring loom, but whoever installed it , never got that far- I have seen photos of this one installed in a similar position to mine, so I guess it is in the correct place, but I don't have any connection information to go by.

I forgot to add- I have the radio out at the moment to change the lights over to either plug in LED's if the ones wingadmin talked about (the neo T3, T4, T5 ones) that I ordered will fit, or I will create the replica of the led/resistor combination in this post. I have the LED's and the resistors, so will make up the loom anyway.
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Mag » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:27 pm

First, this is the wiring that is going from the rear speakers. There is a plastic square plug in connect (like all the other plastic block connects). The wires are plugged in to the rubber sock located under the seat (follow the wires). Easy to understand the match, there are 3-4 plastic blocks located in that rubber "sock", the plastic male from the speakers matched the plastic female in the sock.


Second, this is the back of the center plastic cover that is above the stereo unit. The fader knob I have is a simple silver knob that was screwed down. So, the back has 6 wire connects, which on the other end are 3 plastic blocks....plugs in to the plastic unit under the stereo (mine will be hooked up tomorrow).


Fingers crossed this all works ;)

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liquineer
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby liquineer » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:31 am

OK- I can see the rubber boot at the rear, the missing bit is I think the connecting cable from the speakers- also according to another Goldwing site, my '88 may not have had the front sockets wired in initially to the wiring harness, so that I can plug the fader in to them.- If you have a photo of how the fader control is plugged in to the stereo, that would help me in my search for the correct fitting location (if I have it at all) Many thanks

Martin
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Mag
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Mag » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:14 am

Will pic that this a.m. for you since I will be putting the top section together today. Looks like I actually have a bike in my garage now instead of just a mess of plastic/metal.

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Mag
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Mag » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:08 pm

Ok, I have the pics, and let me tell you they are not even close to where I thought they were. Thanks to another thread on this site, I was able to getthe general idea of them, but still had to really look at it. I will post on the other thread tonight so that it will stay under the correct subject.

Just want to say....the fader is installed.....YES!!!

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liquineer
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby liquineer » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:56 am

Just as an update to the LEDs "2pcs T3 T4 T5 Neo Wedge (Spark Blue) Dash LED Bulbs", I ordered the T3 size from JP Warden, they arrived today- it was a gamble, but they are slightly to small for the hole, and the crunch comes in that the contacts that should go under the circuit board, are on top of the base, which means they are on the wrong side of the board. I also tried some standard bulbs from Lucas industries, UK part number LLB286TFB1, and these fitted in the slots OK, but were the same as the LED's in that the contacts were on the wrong side of the board.I suspect I could have tried to prise them apart and repositioned the contacts, but not sure of the outcome, so did not bother.

So I now have 4 little Lucas bulbs spare and 4 little LED bulbs to spare, which I will utilise in some other project. Total cost was about £15, so I can still eat this week!

In the meantime, I had already made up a loom of blue LED's with soldered on resistors, and had that standing by in case the other bulbs were not correct, which they were not.I had difficulty getting 3mm LED's so went with 5mm, and, for the two smaller bulbs in the small loom already on the board, had to make the holes 2mm larger to take them. No big deal. Will now go ahead and finish that job off. I have already tested the lights using a 9V battery- WOW they are bright, even in daylight- I expect they will be more subdued having to shine through plastic. I will also add the Aux earphone socket for GPS/MP3 players at the same time as suggested in another "how to" article.
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Maddogg
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Maddogg » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:00 pm

Fantastic how to. I learned so much I will give it a try. I have always been intimidated by the inner workings of radios, so I never tried to fix them. 3 questions though. The bulbs look very specialized, so where can I find them. Do they have a part number. I could go on websites for the next 10 years and never find the correct ones. The second question, Do all 1500 radios have the bulbs? I just got my radio back from Sierra Electronics and when I plugged it into the bike, I did not notice these lights. I don't know if Sierra Electronics rebuilds the entire radio or they just fix the problem to make it work. I will have to call them. 3, Are these radios somewhat water resistent? Being on a motorcycle with an exposed radio in the rain cannot be good for it. Thanks for all the info.

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:13 am

Just a note regarding this LED change procedure. Did mine last night. I have a '97 1500 SE. Virtually every thing in the post matches my radio, except for one item. Mine does not have the Honda logo on the face of the radio under the channel change button, but it does have an eject button on the lower left. That button has a red arrow for its only lighting device, and will transmit virtually no visible blue light. The light 'socket' on the lower part of the circuit board seems to be dedicated to that one button, and requires either a red LED, or an original OEM bulb in order to be seen as red. I assume a white LED would not work due to the color spectrum emitted by LEDS. I fortunately, had 2 OEM bulbs that were still working, and used one of those for that particular socket, since I had not ordered any red LEDS for the project. Other than that, everything went smoothly, thanks to your excellent post and photos. The blue buttons and control labels all look great, and are certainly much more visible than the factory lights. Thanks for an excellent reference source.

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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby seelyark1 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:42 am

Admin, is there anything about these bikes that you haven't been into or know about? Amazing what you can learn just reading through these articles. Had to get the right pocket out to clear out a rats nest and I sure didn't see the set screw on the heater knob, Surprised I didn't break anything. Thanks. Now to read some more and learn another trick about this bike.
Ride safe, and smart. Asphalt is like #1 grit sandpaper. Dave

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Re: How to change your radio lights to LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:44 am

seelyark1 wrote:Admin, is there anything about these bikes that you haven't been into or know about? Amazing what you can learn just reading through these articles. Had to get the right pocket out to clear out a rats nest and I sure didn't see the set screw on the heater knob, Surprised I didn't break anything. Thanks. Now to read some more and learn another trick about this bike.


Oh, there's lots! I still learn new stuff every time I get into them.




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