How to LED your windshield


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sjb15316
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How to LED your windshield

Postby sjb15316 » Sat May 17, 2014 2:52 am



This is my first attempt at a "How-To" anything, so please be cautious in attempting this modification. It is really not that difficult, but you will need to 'cut and fit' your connections and for my application, soldering was required. I will make every attempt to give you all the information (and my opinion occasionally) regarding this application.

I've been wanting to do something special with the 'extra' LED's that were left over from my recent projects and thought: "How cool if you could light up your windshield". I searched the forums and there are few 'topics' on the subject of "effect lighting", but nothing like this. So I went out to the shop after researching "How to replace your windshield" (Thanks WingAdmin) and started removing the panels to get to my windshield. Basically use those instructions # 1 - 10 and stop.

I then placed my windshield on top of a cooler with a micro-fiber towel under it to reduce any scratching that might occur while working on it.

Since I'm sure this is the original windshield, I made sure to clean all the surfaces with a cleaner and allowed to dry. While it was drying I measured and 'made up' my string of lights. I use WATERPROOF 3825 RGB LED's (approx 18 pods/ft) and they are marked where you can cut them to length.

(Note: LED RGB 5050 are really nice lights, and they are noticeably brighter but use a greater amount of electricity and may be too bright for this application.)

After getting the length, I soldered the '4-wire' supply line to the strip and heat shrunk the end.




NOTE: LED strips are relatively 'durable' and can withstand a minimal amount of neglect, but please try to be as careful as you can with them because I have had 'strings' to malfunction after bending or dropping them.


Next I carefully placed the strip against the bottom edge of the windshield and using a small drill bit, drilled a hole approx 1/2" from the bottom edge.



I attached the strip "LED up" against the bottom edge of the windshield and secured with a small 'zip-tie'. Once in place, I tightened them down and pulled the LED pod snugly against the bottom edge of the windshield



I made sure to place the hole in between the actual LED pods in efforts to get as much light as I could 'up through the windshield'. I only drilled 1 or 2 holes at a time to make sure I did not get too far ahead of myself and wind up 'zip tie' covering one of my LED's. As with any project, you need to test your lights often just in case you break a connection somewhere along the way, so after every step, I use a 12 volt power supply a buddy of mine gave me. You could use a 12 volt battery or a battery charger, just as long as you don't go over 13.5 volts or so, you are good to go.



This was the finished windshield ready to put back on the bike.
Or so I thought!

Warning: DO NOT make the same mistake I made and start at the wrong end. I had the windshield on it's front and 'wire-tied' it on backwards. Make sure you have your power lead going to the correct side you want. Also, I put the 'head' of the tie on the outside/front of the windshield to allow for more room.



As you can see the "light" is already shining 'up' through the windshield. Now you are ready to reinstall your windshield. Once again, I tested it to make sure I had not 'broken' any connections.
I decided to run my wire right above my left turn signal. My controller and relay and switches are all in the left hand faring pocket. So I removed the turn signal housing to allow for better access to that area.



Pulled it through and wired it into my existing harness and then 'reverse' the directions "1 - 10" to replace your panels, mirrors, and other trim you may have removed.



To me, the effect is pretty cool and if allowed by law in your area, you can still see through the windshield if you wanted to operate at night.



My apologies for the 'final picture'. It's just a nice 'glow' to the windshield. Obviously, the light is brighter at the bottom as it fades towards the top. Since I'm using the RGB LED's, they are 'color-changeable', so I can make my windshield any color I desire.


MY ONLY CONCERN FOLLOWS:

NOTE: I keep my windshield at the lowest setting and 'look' over it. I NEVER move it and do not intend to. The only reason I am mentioning this is - I am not sure how the LED strip will "fair" if it is moved up and down. I could not see behind the face panels so if you 'raise and lower' your windshield, this application may not be for you. I could 'foresee' either the LED strip 'turning to one side or the other' due to friction against the faceplate or possibly pulling loose or breaking a zip-tie and ruining the effect. Please keep this in mind if you decide to 'light your windshield'. Good luck!



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sjb15316
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby sjb15316 » Sat May 17, 2014 10:52 am

Hey fellow 1500er's... Just a couple of notes.

1). The LED size is used is waterproof 3528 RGB not 3825 as I posted in error.

2). I did not take the bike out for a 'test run' last night as it was after midnight when I finally finished everything up. I am going to take it tonight though and give you a 'visibility report'. The effect is cool, but this may be a 'display only' type of application and not suitable for use during travel at night.

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sjb15316
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby sjb15316 » Sat May 17, 2014 11:31 pm

As promised... I took it out for a ride 'in the dark' and the effect is what I was hoping for. Since I look over the windshield while riding, it really was not a problem for me. I then rode for a while 'slumped over' to test the effect looking through the windshield. I'm going to call it a 'toss-up'. You can still see through the windshield, and I personally did not have a problem with the 'glow'. However I will have to say that visibility was reduced to a degree. I may rewire it and put it on a separate switch where I can leave the other LEDs on and just be able to turn the windshield on and off at my discretion. All my riding buddies were complementary on my idea and wanted to know how I accomplished it.

BOTTOM LINE: I feel each individual rider should assess their personal viewing ability before wiring this to light up 'full time'. Some may simply want to use it for 'shows and display'. Obviously, operating visibility would not be a factor in that situation. Good luck.

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gbearth
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby gbearth » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:42 pm

Hi, I have just done this project using blue led's, and was very disappointed with the result I.e no glow up the screen. I think this may be due to the bottom edge, and intend to clean the edge with some sand-paper.
The other main reason to reply was that I fitted my led's via male/female plug makes it a lot easier to remove the screen. I got the plugs from a model shop as they are small.

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sjb15316
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby sjb15316 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:04 pm

gbearth wrote:Hi, I have just done this project using blue led's, and was very disappointed with the result I.e no glow up the screen. I think this may be due to the bottom edge, and intend to clean the edge with some sand-paper.
The other main reason to reply was that I fitted my led's via male/female plug makes it a lot easier to remove the screen. I got the plugs from a model shop as they are small.



Hey G...

Sorry you were disappointed. Nothing worse than attempt a project with little or no result. I honestly didn't know how mine was going to look until it was done, but I was very satisfied with the results. Two of my riding buddies have 'booked' me to do their bikes this winter in the off season.

The bottom edge does need to be clean and clear of any paint or coating. I do like the plug idea though. Good thoughts.

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:25 pm

sjb15316 wrote:The bottom edge does need to be clean and clear of any paint or coating. I do like the plug idea though. Good thoughts.


Ideally, you should polish the bottom where the LEDs shine in so that it is just as clear as the windshield itself.

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gbearth
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby gbearth » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:11 pm

Hi
Polished the edge with fine sand paper which made the edge become clear. I secured the LEDs with insulation tape as this allowed greater control on the position of the actual LEDs against the edge. I went across the LEDs with about 30 strips then length ways along the strips to prevent the ends curling off. ( should have taken a picture)

Anyway the net result was poor to say the least. Perhaps blue is the wrong spectrum colour for the plastic windscreen. Your original was red green yellow I'm going to leave it for now as I am fed up taking the windscreen off :P

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sjb15316
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby sjb15316 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:58 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
sjb15316 wrote:The bottom edge does need to be clean and clear of any paint or coating. I do like the plug idea though. Good thoughts.


Ideally, you should polish the bottom where the LEDs shine in so that it is just as clear as the windshield itself.



Have you tried doing this yourself? Just wondering since you are giving advice.

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby gbearth » Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:24 am

Hi all

I polished the end edge using a Dremmel, it is not possible to polish the edge to look clear as the screen front, the light reflects differently, and it looks dark ( this is getting too technical for me) the LEDs I am using are the same spec as you suggest but just blue and guess what they do not reflect up the screen, I will try to look for brighter LEDs and will report back, but don't hold your breath :roll:

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:09 am

sjb15316 wrote:Have you tried doing this yourself? Just wondering since you are giving advice.


No, I have seen it done at a bike show however. They polished the bottom edge of the windshield until it was smooth and shiny, then laid a strip of LEDs along the bottom edge, pointing up into the windshield. I don't know how many LEDs gbearth is trying to use, but when I saw it done there were a strip of at least 20 or 30 of them.

I have seen pictures of people who did it in blue, so it's definitely possible:


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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby gbearth » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:59 pm

Hi all

I just wish my screen looked half as good as the example it would be great. But the on the example the actual LEDs can be seen at the bottom.

I have used 45 LEDs type 3528 they are water proof (ip65 I think). My LEDs are at the very bottom of the screen with LEDs touching (through the jelly) the screen edge, one side of the LEDs are touching the black seal the other side is covered by the chrome cover.

The LEDs are only fed 12Vdc from one side, do you think there is any advantage to feeding both ends with 12Vdc I don't think it will make any difference.

I will try to find brighter LEDs if you are aware of any please advise. :roll:

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby qbmowman45 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:45 pm

I do like the effect of just having the outer edge glow. So I took one 12v LED and placed (with crazy glue) it against the slot in the Memphis shade that I run and it gave a perfect glow to any raw edge, like around the center vent and behind my Iron Butt sticker.

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby gbearth » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:46 pm

Good news, I had reason to change my windscreen and hey-presto the blue LEDs lite up the screen on the replacement. So the moral is there are screens out there that due to there manufacture will not transmit the light. Well I assume it's due to the way they are manufactured.

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby wingpilot08 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:58 pm

I remember reading somewhere that if you have a "tinted" windshield..the effect is greatly diminished...
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby GoldWingRev » Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:30 am

Do you have any more photos of the result, in situ? I'm considering doing this with side-emitting diodes and am curious as the effect.

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby OmegaTech » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:39 am

Hi All,
Having read this article with some interest I thought I would put in my 9 bobs worth

Light travels in a straight line, any aberrations in that line of travel will refract the light (hence the engraved screen shows up well)

The only place you will see the light is on the edges of the screen with a slight glow in the screen. So if you have fitted a silver banding on your screen its not worth doing

Regards

Ian

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Winston's Chiefs
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby Winston's Chiefs » Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:23 pm

Have this on my 96 as it was already installed when I purchased it and it is okay IF your windshield is scratch free and it should only light up the edges at night if installed properly. Mine are green and red when brakes are applied. I don't mind it sometimes in the evening or night but I have to make sure I have polished all the scratches out or you cannot see worth s--- !
Imagine it would look nice on a etched windshield like in the photo above but for practical reasons I could not see you being able to see well with all the etchings like that pic above.
Just my 2 cents worth

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby GoldWingRev » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:29 pm

Winston's Chiefs wrote:Have this on my 96 as it was already installed when I purchased it and it is okay IF your windshield is scratch free and it should only light up the edges at night if installed properly. Mine are green and red when brakes are applied. I don't mind it sometimes in the evening or night but I have to make sure I have polished all the scratches out or you cannot see worth s--- !
Imagine it would look nice on a etched windshield like in the photo above but for practical reasons I could not see you being able to see well with all the etchings like that pic above.
Just my 2 cents worth



Can you post a few pix?

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Winston's Chiefs
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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby Winston's Chiefs » Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:23 am

Will try to take some pics this evening to see if it shows decently. I have no etchings on mine.

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Re: How to LED your windshield

Postby Winston's Chiefs » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:10 pm

Here are some pics in evening of my lighted windshield, it is dirty and scratched up after a 6000km road trip recently and have not had time to re-polish it to get rid of all the scratches and embedded road grime. If you have scratches you can sand and polish them out, just like you do car plastic headlight covers.
As you can see a lot of crap shows up so unless it is really clean and scratch free it is not the wisest decision to use at night as it is very distracting.
Hope this helps, personally I will probably leave it in for now and only turn it on when the windshield is perfect.
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