Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
  • Please Support our Sponsors!

Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 01, 2012 3:06 pm



One of the things I've never been happy with was the lights on the saddlebags - the way the lights were lit up with the occasional bulb just didn't look good to me. Honda even tried using high-voltage EL (electroluminescent) lights for a while. These lights are like a long, wide bar that light up along the entire surface. The problem is, they don't last, and fade out over time, or the circuitry required to generate the high voltage for them just fails outright.

Some GL1500's don't have lights in their saddlebags at all, requiring the purchase of saddlebag light kits. My bike had these light kits installed already, however the lenses were in sad shape. I decided to replace my lenses with new lenses, and at the same time, light them up with strips of LEDs. I bought a 16-foot reel of red SMD LEDs, encapsulated in a waterproof jacket. These strips can be cut at one-inch terminators, which allows them to be cut to size.

1. To start, I opened my saddlebags and removed the three acorn nuts holding each light in place:

Image

2. To remove the old lenses, I gently pried up the backing over the tabs of the lenses. These lenses are EXTREMELY brittle, and will crack and break with the slightest amount of pressure. It's virtually impossible to remove them without breaking at least one piece. Of course, I had replacement lenses to install, so I didn't care all that much about breaking the old ones.

Image

3. Some of the lenses are also hot-glued in place. After removing the lens, some of the glue can be left in the channel of the base. Take a small flat-blade screwdriver, heat it with a heat gun, flame, or other source of heat, and use it to remove the glue - it will melt and come right out.

The old backs had molded-in holders designed to hold the original light bulbs in place. After removing the light bulbs and their sockets and wiring, I used a Dremel tool with a cutoff disc to cut off the holders. I left the cuts as shown, however I now wish that I had sprayed some chrome spray paint over the black cuts, as they are slightly visible through the lens now that they are installed.

Image

4. Here is one of the old backs, with the four light bulb holders cut out, next to the new lens that I was going to install.

Image

5. Note that the lenses had some "flashing" flaws. Both the flashing (the jagged bit) and the extrusion posts (visible on the right) had to be ground off before installing it into the back, otherwise it would not seat flush. I used a Dremel tool with a small grinding wheel on it to do this.

Image

6. I cut two slots in one end (one slot is cut in this picture, visible on the top right). This was due to the fact that the LED strips must be cut on their cut lines only - which is every three LEDs. In order to do this, the strip ended up just a slight bit longer than would fit. My solution was to cut two small slots in the end, to allow the strips to fit.

Image

7. I slightly enlarged the hole for the wires to pass through.

Image

8. The LED strip comes on a plastic reel. It is encapsulated to make it waterproof, and has 3M adhesive "peel and stick" backing on the back.

Image

9. You can see the "cut lines" on the strip - the strip can only be cut on these lines. The black dots on either side of the cut lines are used to connect the strip to power.

Image

10. After cutting the strips to side, I cut away the waterproof sealant on the top over top of the power connection points. I then soldered positive and negative wires to the connection points, soldered the wires from the two strips together, and connected a third lead. I then covered the soldered connections with shrink wrap tubing as shown.

Image

11. In order to make sure the adhesive stuck permanently, I first cleaned the back of the lights with rubbing alcohol, to remove all traces of dirt and oil.

Image

12. In testing, I noticed that when the LEDs were placed behind the center "reflective" portion of the lens, very little light made it through - obviously because this part of the lens is designed to reflect light back, so that car headlights will light up the lens.

Image

13. Instead, I decided to position the LEDs behind the top portion of the lens, which has little magnification lenses molded into it. A great deal of light makes it through the lens when placed in this position.

Image

14. I peeled back the adhesive strip from the back of the LED strips and slowly applied the strips to the backs, pressing firmly to activate the adhesive.

Image

15. Once the strips were in place, I fished the wire ends through the feed hole. Note where the strips fit through the slots that I cut in the end.

Image

16. the other end of the strips butts up against the other end of the back.

Image

17. I used a hot glue gun to seal the feed hole, as well as secure the wiring in place. As I mentioned with the chrome spray paint on the cut pieces before, due to the fact that this black is slightly visible through the lens, next time I would have used translucent hot glue instead.

Image

18. Connecting the lights to a 12 volt source (make sure you get the polarity correct!). In a pinch, a 9 volt battery will work as well. I checked that the lights were operating correctly.

Image

19. I then snapped the new lenses in place over the lights, and once more turned them on to see how they looked.

Image

20. I'm quite pleased with the end result, and I plan to retrofit all of my other trunk/bag lights the same way. They're bright, and look great!

Image


User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby OC4648 » Sun May 06, 2012 5:58 pm

Can you do the same thing with the trunk lighting? What about brake lights?
User avatar
OC4648
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: Dover, DE
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500SE

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 06, 2012 8:32 pm

OC4648 wrote:Can you do the same thing with the trunk lighting? What about brake lights?


I'm planning on it, actually. I'll write it up once I've got it done.

For brake lights, I think I might run the two strips along the edges the same way, but then also fill the rest of the area up with strips of LEDs. The two outside strips will be the "running" lights, and will match the trunk lights and bag lights. When the brakes are on, all the rest of the LED strips will illuminate, lighting up the whole light. That's the plan, anyway - I need to test it to make sure there is enough of a difference between "running" and "brake".
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby cregel » Wed May 23, 2012 7:03 pm

when you replaced these with leds did you have to add a load equliser? this was a very good and very well put together article. also where did you git replacement lens? thanks very much
cregel
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 6:57 pm
Location: Hernando,Ms
Motorcycle: 1994 1500 goldwing se

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby Mag » Wed May 23, 2012 11:34 pm

Damn, more projects for my bike....this looks easy enough.
User avatar
Mag
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:58 pm
Location: Silverlake, WA
Motorcycle: 1982 Yamaha Venture (Crashed/Sold)
1982 1100 Silver Goldwing (sold)
1989 1500 Beige Goldwing (sold)
1988 1500 Beige Goldwing (current ride)

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 24, 2012 12:41 am

cregel wrote:when you replaced these with leds did you have to add a load equliser? this was a very good and very well put together article. also where did you git replacement lens? thanks very much


These weren't turn signals, just running lights, so no load equalizer required. The replacement lenses came from http://cyclemax.com
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby gbrooks140 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:55 pm

would White LED's work better then the red ones? seeing how the regular light bulbs a white
gbrooks140
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: Conway SC
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500A Aspencade

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:57 pm

Normally LEDs should be the same color as the lenses they are behind. White LEDs put out a very pure color, unlike incandescent "white" bulbs that actually put out everything from infrared up to yellow.
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby gbrooks140 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:05 am

Ok thanks for the info.
gbrooks140
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: Conway SC
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500A Aspencade

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby jod4810 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:26 am

Thanks WingAdmin , what a great upgrade! I did it to my 1995 1500A and now want to do it to the top box, but it has the turn signals wired to it! Will it still work as running lights and turn signals with the new LED strips? Thanks again for the great site,I learn something new every time I log in. keep up the good work.
Joe D
Wildomar CA
1995 1500A
1983 1100i sold
1979 1000GL sold
1972 CB 500F sold
jod4810
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:13 pm
Location: Wildomar, CA
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Sold
1995 GL1500A

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby gbrooks140 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:32 pm

Thanks for the info and links to do this with. I did my saddle bags and the sides of my trunk.
gbrooks140
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: Conway SC
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500A Aspencade

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:34 pm

jod4810 wrote:Thanks WingAdmin , what a great upgrade! I did it to my 1995 1500A and now want to do it to the top box, but it has the turn signals wired to it! Will it still work as running lights and turn signals with the new LED strips? Thanks again for the great site,I learn something new every time I log in. keep up the good work.
Joe D
Wildomar CA
1995 1500A
1983 1100i sold
1979 1000GL sold
1972 CB 500F sold


Some of those kits that turn the side running lights into turn signals, do so by reversing the polarity when the turn signal is on - that won't work for LEDs, as they are polarity sensitive. So you're stuck with either losing that functionality, or wiring a relay so that the flashing lights pulse the relay, which flashes the side lights.
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby wasp1975 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:38 am

Greetings (and sorry for posting a probably idiotic question).

I've noticed that the upper bag has side lights that go on as soon as I turn the headlights on the GL1500.
However the lower bags do not light up. I've only opened the bags and checked for any kind of wiring (without dismantling the thing and only looking inside) and it doesn't seem to be any wiring what-so-ever. but the upper bags light up!

Does it mean I need to buy a saddle bag light kit for the lower bags? I'll soon enough have to open them and check if there's any light bulbs inside or not...
1997 GL1500 SE
1997 VT750 ACE
User avatar
wasp1975
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:27 am
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Motorcycle: 1997 GL1500 SE
1997 VT750 ACE

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:21 am

wasp1975 wrote:Greetings (and sorry for posting a probably idiotic question).

I've noticed that the upper bag has side lights that go on as soon as I turn the headlights on the GL1500.
However the lower bags do not light up. I've only opened the bags and checked for any kind of wiring (without dismantling the thing and only looking inside) and it doesn't seem to be any wiring what-so-ever. but the upper bags light up!

Does it mean I need to buy a saddle bag light kit for the lower bags? I'll soon enough have to open them and check if there's any light bulbs inside or not...


They do not have lights by default, they come from the factory as reflectors. You can buy aftermarket lights that fit in there in place of the reflectors.
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby wasp1975 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:45 am

WingAdmin wrote:They do not have lights by default, they come from the factory as reflectors. You can buy aftermarket lights that fit in there in place of the reflectors.


I just went to a shop looking for the leds, for the substitution of all light I'd probably be looking for 2 or 3 metres and that goes around 45 € ... then it would be the buying of the aftermarket lights .... would make it a bit expensive. I'll probably just do it for the top bag and leave the other as reflectors for now...

Again, thanks for all the help! I REALLY like the way you explain how to do it...
1997 GL1500 SE
1997 VT750 ACE
User avatar
wasp1975
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:27 am
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Motorcycle: 1997 GL1500 SE
1997 VT750 ACE

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby keith3po » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:19 pm

Hi all,

Signed up so i could say thanks for this DIY article just done top box now for the panniers. :D


GL1500L 1990 ST1100W 1998
User avatar
keith3po
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:08 pm
Location: Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Motorcycle: GL1500L 1990
ST1100W 1998

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:33 am

Looks good! I plan to do all of my back lights this winter, including the turn signals. It's a little more complex for the brake lights, as I have to wire them to be both running and brake lights.
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby keith3po » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:05 pm

Once the panniers are done i will probably do the rest for the side/brake light i was looking at these.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LED-red-strip ... 2575092417

GL1500L 1990 ST1100W 1998
User avatar
keith3po
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:08 pm
Location: Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Motorcycle: GL1500L 1990
ST1100W 1998

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby bndbelle » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:47 pm

I will be doing mine soon. Great idea !!! I bought the same style LED's off E-BAY but in purple to match my bike. Super easy to use and install !!! I also added some single LED's to the front of the bike inside the air intakes. I need to add more.
User avatar
bndbelle
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:13 pm
Location: Wood Heights, Missouri
Motorcycle: 1995 GL1500 SE GOLDWING

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby SgtCharlie » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:38 am

WingAdmin,

Well it's been almost a year since you posted this DIY message and the posts of ppl doing it just keep coming! I'm new to the forum (as of tonight) and only just bought my 1995 Aspencade 7 days ago. The previous owner did nothing to it but ride it a bit, but the owner before him did some extra lighting (in purple because that's the color of the bike). It's fairly obvious to me that he (the 2nd to last owner) did this extra lighting many moons ago as the technology has come a long way since these lights were installed.

I plan on doing this upgrade to the saddlebags as well as the truck and running the two strips across the back of the truck and lower bumper but having Red LED brake lights light up as my brakes.

I'm hoping this won't be too horribly difficult.

I also plan on changing out all my factory incandescent bulbs to LED's (along with a load balancer). I'll put the link here, if anyone else in interested.

http://wingstuff.com/products/34682-bri ... 56-red-led
http://wingstuff.com/products/34679-bri ... 57-red-led

http://wingstuff.com/products/34681-bri ... -amber-led
http://wingstuff.com/products/34680-bri ... -amber-led

They are very expensive, at $15.99 ea. but they put out light to the sides as well as the front, just like an incandescent.

If anyone has any knowledge of a cheaper way to do an Full LED conversion, please let me know and save me some money.

I'll post pics as I start my project.

Thanks again for the extremely well put together DIY!

God Bless,
My current Lighting, Right side
My current Lighting, Right side

My current Lighting, Left side
My current Lighting, Left side
Sgt Charlie
86th Signal Battalion
Fort Bliss, TX
User avatar
SgtCharlie
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:34 pm
Location: El Paso
Motorcycle: 1995 GL1500 Goldwing Aspencade in "Plum Crazy" Purple

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby wingbug » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:39 am

Decided to do the LED conversion on my GL1500 (1988 model). Just looks too cool not to, right?

My saddlebag lights had been fading, and recently went out completely, so it was the perfect time to do it. Upon removing the light assembly, and after taking off the lens, this is what I found. Apparently one of the aforementioned EL light strips. I've never seen anything like this before, thought I'd share.

Tomorrow, I'll check the amount of electricity that was going to the strip (since the original post mentioned it being a high power unit). If more than 12V was going to it, I'll do some home grown wiring to run to my LEDs.
The strip after removing the lens
The strip after removing the lens

Backside of the light strip
Backside of the light strip
User avatar
wingbug
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:26 am
Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 Goldwing

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:39 pm

wingbug wrote:Decided to do the LED conversion on my GL1500 (1988 model). Just looks too cool not to, right?

My saddlebag lights had been fading, and recently went out completely, so it was the perfect time to do it. Upon removing the light assembly, and after taking off the lens, this is what I found. Apparently one of the aforementioned EL light strips. I've never seen anything like this before, thought I'd share.

Tomorrow, I'll check the amount of electricity that was going to the strip (since the original post mentioned it being a high power unit). If more than 12V was going to it, I'll do some home grown wiring to run to my LEDs.


Be careful!!! Those EL panels are activated with 100 VAC, created by an inverter module. Definitely not 12VDC!
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11810
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby wingbug » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:31 am

Had read somewhere that it was some high voltage AC going to that, so I set the tester accordingly. Turned out there was no power getting to the piece (either side), so I guess the inverter had given up the ghost.
User avatar
wingbug
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:26 am
Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 Goldwing

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby Richman2000 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:24 pm

Here is a link a video of my LED Project.



Ride Safe
Rich
Richman2000
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 11:50 am
Location: Merced. Ca
Motorcycle: 94 GL1500SE

Re: Replacing saddlebag lights with LEDs

Postby wingbug » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:41 pm

no need to try the post again. Went to youtube, entered "9IudYDwENh8" in search, and it came right up. Very nice job. Would like to know more about how you took apart the trunk side lights to install LEDs there.


User avatar
wingbug
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:26 am
Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 Goldwing

Next

Return to GL1500 DIY Articles


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest