How to replace your dash lights with LEDs


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
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welmack
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Gone but not forgotten:
1953 Cushman
1963 Harley 74
1962 Harley 74
1984 Suzuki Madura
1984 GL1200
1988 GL1500
2005 GL1800 CSC Trike
2013 Harley Sportster XL883L
Loved them all at the time but I prefer the 1500's.

Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by welmack » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:27 pm



Having traveled the lower 48 for 42 years I generally have a pretty good idea where the next available fuel is. In riding around the area I live in I push it until the light comes on. On my trike that means I have about 20 miles of fuel left. I do keep an eye on the gauge, especially when it get down around empty. I might play around with some of the resisters or just leave the incandescent bulb in. I was just wondering.



faulkner72
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by faulkner72 » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:07 pm

I wanted to thank you so much for the step-by-step tutorial on replacing dash lights. I would never have thought I could do this but your article gave me the confidence I needed to complete it.

I would like to add several bits of information to this article after completing my own LED replacement.

On the disassembly, I do not see how you can get access to the speedometer cable on the back of the dashboard without disconnecting it at the wheel. At least that is what I had to do to get enough space to unscrew the cable from the back of the dash.

As for the selection of LED bulbs, I think I have a better choice for main illumination bulbs than what was specified in this article. The author went to a great deal of trouble trying to diffuse the point source of light on the bulbs that he chose. I found that a 360 degree bulb works so much better for these four bulbs and you don’t need a diffuser, just plug them in. The number for the bulb is WLED-CWHP5: Cool White. Here is the bulb and a picture of the result.




Also, although I did not do it, I believe the 360 bulbs would also be a better choice for the cruise control indicators. The cruise control indicators are different from the rest of the indicators on the dash in that they are punched out letters across the face of the indicator that span the width of the indicator. The light shines through the letters. Consequently, the point source of light tends not to light the edges of the words evenly. Though I don’t have any proof of this, if I were doing it again, I would try amber 360 bulbs of the type I used for the main illumination bulbs to attempt to get an even illumination across the entire word for the two indicators.

Faulkner White

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by FM-USA » Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:06 am

WOAH... that's one BRIGHT set of dash lights.

I wanted bright but not that intensity. I like riding late after sunset to well into the weeee morn'n and that much would be a distraction.. for me.
Is that mileage meter really that bright or is the camera gathering more light?

As per that photo, that fog look is interesting.
Does look good tho. ;)
"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." W.C. Have a wonderful flat tire day while doing 99mph.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by faulkner72 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:07 am

It's not distracting at all. Trust me.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by FM-USA » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:19 am

I'm interested in brighter dash lights.

The camera might be picking up more light.
IF you're taking another photo, stand back a bit, say where the passenger sits distance.

As I mentioned, it does look good.

I just noticed, the trip meter reset button has light spilling out. That's got to be bright inside. :P
"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." W.C. Have a wonderful flat tire day while doing 99mph.

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welmack
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:55 pm
Location: Amarillo, Texas, US
Motorcycle: 1998 Goldwing GL1500SE
Gone but not forgotten:
1953 Cushman
1963 Harley 74
1962 Harley 74
1984 Suzuki Madura
1984 GL1200
1988 GL1500
2005 GL1800 CSC Trike
2013 Harley Sportster XL883L
Loved them all at the time but I prefer the 1500's.

Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by welmack » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:38 pm

MikeB wrote:I guess that explains why I was not able to find them. I will call them tomorrow and see if they have a suitable substitute.

EDIT:
I clicked into the links you provided and I was able to order some WLED-WW6: Warm White and 74-WWHP3: Warm White. I don't think I will need to call them after all.

Thanks for the reply.

I'm not very knowledgeable about these LED bulbs. My question is where you used these bulbs. I'm assuming these were for the main illumination and the panel. Thanks for updating this post as I was also having trouble tracking down the bulbs.

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MikeB
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by MikeB » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:04 pm

welmack wrote:
MikeB wrote:I guess that explains why I was not able to find them. I will call them tomorrow and see if they have a suitable substitute.

EDIT:
I clicked into the links you provided and I was able to order some WLED-WW6: Warm White and 74-WWHP3: Warm White. I don't think I will need to call them after all.

Thanks for the reply.

I'm not very knowledgeable about these LED bulbs. My question is where you used these bulbs. I'm assuming these were for the main illumination and the panel. Thanks for updating this post as I was also having trouble tracking down the bulbs.
They are used for Main Illumination , not the LCD panel illumination.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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skywatcher67
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by skywatcher67 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:15 pm

WOW

Thanks for the hard work and pictures.

I went to superbrightlights.com to order the bulbs but could not answer a few of their questions:

1. Beam angel?

2. Most have a bulb than ends with car or brv. Which one?

3. can I leave the lights that are working good alone and replace the broken ones with leds?

4. I noticed you said that the Reverse, Low Fuel, Cruise on and Cruise set needed certain voltage to work correctly.
The cruise control worked great when I bought my 2000 1500 Se Trike about a year ago. The flashers never would set.

I have noticed some of the lights on the dash board are not working. Being mostly clueless would one have to do with the other?

Just learning!

Thanks for the great articles. Very helpful to this cycle challenged dude!

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by FM-USA » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:45 pm

Few years ago I've done some test playing with LEDs. If you want a softer huge of light wrap a small piece of wax paper around the bulb. Want a slightly different color, wrap a tinted piece of cellophane around it. Low wattage LEDs don't get hot enough to melt either so you're safe.

Want more reflected light?
Use Gloss White not polished aluminum foil as a reflector. Foil not only absorbs some light, around 12 to 25%, but reflects a reflection of light. Whereas white paint spreads the light with a ting of white. Want blue or green or red, etc. reflection, use pastel paint of said color.

My first TOY with white paint was 1978. Noticed it had a 'not so bright' backup lights. Opened those lights up and seen there was a frosted silver reflector. Painted the whole cavity with gloss white and (seem to) nearly double the light output. LOL, my older brother noticed it after looking into the light (eyes blinking trying to see again :D ).
"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." W.C. Have a wonderful flat tire day while doing 99mph.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:55 pm

skywatcher67 wrote:WOW

Thanks for the hard work and pictures.

I went to superbrightlights.com to order the bulbs but could not answer a few of their questions:

1. Beam angel?

2. Most have a bulb than ends with car or brv. Which one?

3. can I leave the lights that are working good alone and replace the broken ones with leds?

4. I noticed you said that the Reverse, Low Fuel, Cruise on and Cruise set needed certain voltage to work correctly.
The cruise control worked great when I bought my 2000 1500 Se Trike about a year ago. The flashers never would set.

I have noticed some of the lights on the dash board are not working. Being mostly clueless would one have to do with the other?

Just learning!

Thanks for the great articles. Very helpful to this cycle challenged dude!
I used the narrowest beam angle - it's only projecting forward to illuminate the face from behind, so no need to have a wide beam angle. I don't know which bulb is better on Superbrightleds, but they keep changing their page URLs - a quick look now sees the correct bulbs listed as CAR.

You can leave the working ones if you want - but judge your time in taking everything apart and putting it back together the next time one of those old bulbs burns out, against the extra couple dollars it would cost to buy the LEDs to replace them all at once. I did all of mine at once.

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skywatcher67
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by skywatcher67 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:46 am

Thanks for the quick info.

Can't tell you guys enough how helpful this stuff is.

Ride On!

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kiptap
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by kiptap » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:20 pm

As always, one job turns into two... While trying to remove the clear bezel the trip reset rubber cracked in half. I looked on-line but it looks like its part of the clear bezel as far as replacement. Here's my answer. Hope it works.


Of course it couldn't just be one job into to two.


Anyway onward to the LED's!

kiptap
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by FM-USA » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:55 pm

On rubber items that need to stay flexible once glued back together I've used RTV Black silicone.
It's also a good thin skim coat sealer for spider (shrink) cracks.

My Honda 500-4 intake rubber tubes were cracking badly, so I pressured in and skim coated all 4. Never had an issue.

I've never tried Plasti-Dip so I'm lost to it's long term pliable abilities.
"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." W.C. Have a wonderful flat tire day while doing 99mph.

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kiptap
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by kiptap » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:12 pm

FM-USA wrote:On rubber items that need to stay flexible once glued back together I've used RTV Black silicone.
It's also a good thin skim coat sealer for spider (shrink) cracks.

My Honda 500-4 intake rubber tubes were cracking badly, so I pressured in and skim coated all 4. Never had an issue.

I've never tried Plasti-Dip so I'm lost to it's long term pliable abilities.
I was going to use RTV but I figured it would just come out like a blob or such an uneven coat for such a small object. I'm hoping the dip will go the distance or if anyone knows where I can get a replacement.
kiptap
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by FM-USA » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:04 pm

AHHHHhhhhh good point.
I didn't think of it's looks, only function.
Come to ReThink on it, that rubber cap is rather thin so adding RTV could make it stiffer.

DARN these little parts!!!+!
"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." W.C. Have a wonderful flat tire day while doing 99mph.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by kiptap » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:54 pm

The Cruise On, Cruise Set and Low Fuel circuits require a reasonable load in order to function correctly. Simply replacing these bulbs with LEDs will cause the LEDs to stay on at all times. There are two options: leave these lights with traditional light bulbs, or add a resistor in parallel with each LED. If you wish to go the resistor route, the values you will need to use are:

Cruise On, Cruise Set: 1K Ohm, 1/4 watt
Low Fuel: 470 Ohm, 1/2 watt (very important that this be 1/2 watt!)

These resistors should be connected in PARALLEL with the LEDs (across the LEDs), NOT in series (in front of/behind) with the LEDs. The easiest way to do this is to connect them across the wires going to the applicable LEDs. Make sure any connections you do are properly insulated before reinstallation.
OK, I'm am going to dive in with full LED's. How many have done the Cruise and Low Fuel with LED's and what can you say about it other that yep they work just fine. (in fact that would be great to hear). I though I read someones didn't work somewhere within this thread.
Also, I do not like the fact that the OEM low fuel light just creeps up slowly getting brighter as fuel gets lower. Does the LED do the same or does it just go on once triggered? I believe WingAdmin and others have put a switch in the gas tank instead of the resistor type float thing. Unless that's easy to do and reasonable in cost, (whats reasonable in cost :lol:) I would have to remain with the OEM setup. Please reply if your Cruise & Low Fuel LED's are working fine, (I have a '96 SE). Also how is the Fuel LED, is it so bright when triggered that it doesn't matter if it gets any brighter etc...

Thanks in advance
kiptap
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:53 pm

Finding the correct value of the resistor for an LED can be difficult if you are not an electronics tech like WingAdmin.

That said, the Low Fuel lamp comes on so infrequently an incandescent bulb may well last the life of the motorcycle and is the correct intensity

The 470 Ohm, 1/2 watt resistor didn't work for me, the LED just stayed illuminated. I used a different value resistor, don't remember the value, and then it would test okay but it never seemed to come on when I had expected it to. At one point on a trip, I fueled at 195 miles and the light was still not on. The remaining fuel was quite below 1 gallon. Subsequent to that, I no longer trusted the light. I did not trust it to come on when the tank was at approximately one gallon remaining, like it used to. So, I ended up taking the LED and resistor out and installed a 194 incandescent bulb. It comes on exactly when it is supposed to, at about one gallon remaining and I trust that if it is not on, I still have over a gallon of fuel in the tank.

As to the Cruise light, it worked with the 1K ohm resistor in parallel to the LED so I continue to use it today.

I don't remember if it is mentioned in other posts above, but the HI Beam and OD lights are pretty bright. Don't forget to add a small piece of index card to the top of those LED's. It will difuse the light adequately.
MikeB
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kiptap
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by kiptap » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:35 pm

MikeB wrote:Finding the correct value of the resistor for an LED can be difficult if you are not an electronics tech like WingAdmin.

That said, the Low Fuel lamp comes on so infrequently an incandescent bulb may well last the life of the motorcycle and is the correct intensity

The 470 Ohm, 1/2 watt resistor didn't work for me, the LED just stayed illuminated. I used a different value resistor, don't remember the value, and then it would test okay but it never seemed to come on when I had expected it to. At one point on a trip, I fueled at 195 miles and the light was still not on. The remaining fuel was quite below 1 gallon. Subsequent to that, I no longer trusted the light. I did not trust it to come on when the tank was at approximately one gallon remaining, like it used to. So, I ended up taking the LED and resistor out and installed a 194 incandescent bulb. It comes on exactly when it is supposed to, at about one gallon remaining and I trust that if it is not on, I still have over a gallon of fuel in the tank.
OK, ya, if that's the case I would rather have a progressive light I can trust rather then a bright light that is untrustworthy. I'll probably go with the incandescent unless someone chimes in with an easy "switch in the gas tank" fix.
MikeB wrote:As to the Cruise light, it worked with the 1K ohm resistor in parallel to the LED so I continue to use it today.
OK, that's good news as those stay on quite a bit and would be an excellent choice for LED's. Thank you for your hands on information.
MikeB wrote:I don't remember if it is mentioned in other posts above, but the HI Beam and OD lights are pretty bright. Don't forget to add a small piece of index card to the top of those LED's. It will difuse the light adequately.
Yes, I forgot about the OD, the Hi-Beam was kind of bright in the first place, but once again, those stay on quite a bit, at least the OD light so LED's would be a good choice. Incidentally I went with the 90 degree LED's not the 30 degree ones as WingAdmin used. Same LED just wider spread. Without getting technical I'll have to bounce 2/3rds lumens off the sidewalls to match the intensity. <-- Here come the Electrical Engineers.

Thanks for you input, just waiting on an easy "fuel level switch" fix if any, as I await my LED's to arrive.
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by faulkner72 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:26 am

Hi, I went with the full LEDs for everything including the low fuel light and it doesn't seem to be working. I used the resistor specified in the article. The light lights on startup so I know it works, it just doesn't come on when low fuel. I wish now that I had not replaced that lamp, I really need this light to work.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by MikeB » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:50 am

faulkner72 wrote:Hi, I went with the full LEDs for everything including the low fuel light and it doesn't seem to be working. I used the resistor specified in the article. The light lights on startup so I know it works, it just doesn't come on when low fuel. I wish now that I had not replaced that lamp, I really need this light to work.
Remove the LED and resistor for the low fuel indicator and install a 194 or 168 bulb. That should take care of the issue quite easily.

I was able to reach under the dash and pull out the bulb socket without removing the dash. It is not so hard to do. The resistor is connected in parallel to the LED so just clipping it off was all it took. Depending on where you put the resistor, it should not be a major disassembly and reassembly task.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:31 am

faulkner72 wrote:Hi, I went with the full LEDs for everything including the low fuel light and it doesn't seem to be working. I used the resistor specified in the article. The light lights on startup so I know it works, it just doesn't come on when low fuel. I wish now that I had not replaced that lamp, I really need this light to work.
This is a really tough one to replace with LEDs. The low fuel sensor is a thermistor that allows more current to flow when it heats up. When it is immersed in fuel, the fuel keeps it cool. When the fuel level drops enough that it is no longer immersed, it warms up, its resistance drops, and enough current flows to let the light bulb illuminate. This is why it gradually lights up as your fuel level gets lower - the thermistor is gradually warming up.

The problem with LEDs is that most do not work this way. An LED will not illuminate at ALL under a certain amount of current, and the amount of current to get it to illuminate is tiny compared to that of an incandescent bulb. That's why we need the extra resistor, to further limit the current. The next problem is that LEDs vary - the LED that you put in (that is sold today) might need a different amount than the one put in by someone else.

Also: the current required to illuminate the LED varies depending on the voltage. So if you are at idle, and the voltage is down, the LED might not light up - but at cruise speed, it will.

This variation and the inconsistency in illumination of the LED, plus the unreliability and frequent failure of the thermistor sensor is what led Virgilmobile (and myself) to rip it out and replace it with a float switch. This simply switches on once the fuel level gets low (I calibrated mine to come on when exactly a gallon usable remained), and the LED turns on, no resistor required. We both put flashing circuits in, so not only does it come on, it flashes to get your attention.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by faulkner72 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:57 pm

I actually do not like the way the current switch works. Sometimes it takes so long to come on that the fuel is way lower than when it normally comes on. You actually have no idea how much fuel you have. The float switch sounds good. How hard is it to put one in?

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by MikeB » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:11 pm

If you want to go through the extra work, here is the topic for installing a replacement fuel level switch.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=11167

I couldn't see making this modification. My OEM system is reliable and works very well on my 1998 so I didn't bother making any changes to it.
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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:44 pm

faulkner72 wrote:I actually do not like the way the current switch works. Sometimes it takes so long to come on that the fuel is way lower than when it normally comes on. You actually have no idea how much fuel you have. The float switch sounds good. How hard is it to put one in?
Not only that, I forgot to mention: the amount of fuel remaining when your low fuel light comes on also depends on the outside temperature, because the sensor is temperature-sensitive. The lower the ambient temperature, the less fuel you have remaining when that low fuel light comes on.

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Re: How to replace your dash lights with LEDs

Post by faulkner72 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:49 pm

Now it's starting to make a lot of sense. I ran out of fuel more than once depending on that light to glow at the same time each time.



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