GoldwingHID HID headlight kit


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GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:04 pm



I had 60 watt H4 bulbs in my GL1500, and along with the pair of 55-watt H3 driving lights I have, I put out a fair bit of light. I also have a 90-amp Compufire alternator to help power it all.

That said, while riding through a back-country road in North Carolina recently, I had a nighttime very-near encounter with a deer that left me a bit shaken. Thankfully he was standing at the side of the road and chose not to dart in front of me - however, even with my high beams on, I didn't see him until it was far too late for me to have done any kind of evasive maneuver.

My truck has HID lights, and the difference in illumination is just beyond compare. After talking to Gary at Cyclemax about the HID lights he put in his GL1800, and what a huge difference they made, I decided I would go that route with my GL1500 as well.

Gary sells the GoldwingHIDs kit for both GL1500 and GL1800 - however, instead of the 6000K (blueish color) bulbs that the manufacturer normally sells, Gary ordered his with the more natural 4300K bulbs - and that's what he stocks at Cyclemax as well. I also prefer the 4300K bulbs - they are a more natural light without the blue tint commonly seen on HID lights, and they also put out more light than the higher temperature bulbs. The kit claims that the HID bulbs put out three times the light of regular halogen bulbs. I was somewhat skeptical.

GL1500 HID Kit
GL1500 HID Kit


Because the GL1500 uses the same bulbs for high and low beams, the bulbs use a magnetic solenoid actuator to move the light arc to the correct place in the reflector for high or low beam. I had always been skeptical of these types of bulbs as well...but I figured, if I didn't like the results, it was fairly easy to pull the kit out and put the original halogens back in.

Installing the kit took about an hour - basically you follow the steps in How to replace your headlight bulbs, only you install the HID bulbs, tiny digital ballasts, and the actuator relay. They supply a high-current wire to connect to your battery; I have an Electrical Connections fuse panel, so I used one of my fuses to power the headlights. The HID lights draw 35 watts apiece, however HID lights draw a large amount of current when they start up, so you can't really rely on the factory harness to run them reliably - you need that custom power supply wire.

I used the included double-sided foam tape to stick the ballasts for each bulb to the inside of the fairing, just below the turn signals. The switching relay I stuffed in behind the right turn signal. The supplied wiring harness allows plug-and-play installation, with no cutting of wires.

Once I finished the install, I went out in the dark to check the results. I was absolutely ASTOUNDED. The amount of light projected out the front of my bike is just incredible. In low beam, the horizontal cutoff is quite sharp, mimicking the factory light pattern very closely, to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. I adjusted my headlight height to be similar to that of the factory halogen beam, and checked it by having my bike on the road, and coming up toward it. My biggest worry, that it would dazzle oncoming drivers and cause a safety/legal issue was unfounded - the lights, to oncoming drivers, look quite normal. From the rider's point of view, the beam spread and reach is also quite normal looking - however it is much brighter.

However, when the high beam is switched on, all bets are off - the result is a huge, blinding white spread of light that reaches a good half mile down the road. Road signs are illuminated so brightly that once they are less than about 30 feet away, they are too bright to read. It almost feels like you're riding in daylight. Animal eyes glow brightly from within the trees and bushes. THIS is what I want for riding in remote areas after dark.

I was also worried about noise in the audio system from the ballasts - this can happen with cheaper ballasts, and motorcycle audio systems are particularly susceptible to noise. Not to worry - there is absolutely no hint of noise in the intercom, CB or radio from this system.

I'm quite happy with the kit. The difference between my 60-watt halogen H4's and the HIDs is almost literally night and day - I could never go back. They are so bright, that in bright sunlight, when I turn my high beams on, I can see the road signs lighting up. That said, I did make two changes:

First, the start-up. HID lights have a limited number of start-ups. Every time the bulb is started up (turned on) it wears out a little bit. Over time, they get dimmer and dimmer. When you turn the ignition on your bike, the lights come on. When you hit the starter button, the lights are turned off, and when you release the starter, the lights turn on again. That's two bulb start-ups for every engine start. Electrical Connection sells a plug-and-play kit for GL1800's that delays powering up the headlights until oil pressure is sensed, meaning the engine is running. I stole their idea and built the same thing for my GL1500, using a 30 amp automotive SPDT relay and a couple 6-pin Hitachi connectors. Now my lights turn on once, when the engine starts.

Second, my headlight modulator. The modulator is completely incompatible with these headlights - you can't modulate HID lights. So I moved the modulator to modulate the position lights that live on either side of my headlight. Now I have HID headlights, plus two modulated lights.

This is a video of my GL1500 riding on a dark, rural road, with the GoldwingHID kit installed, along with two 55-watt halogen driving lights:






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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby thrasherg » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:12 am

Many thanks for posting this. I have been considering HID lights but could not get any clear answers about how well they worked and if they would dazzle oncoming drivers. I ended up fitting up rated halogen bulbs, but think I might revisit my decision!!

Gary

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby thrasherg » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:35 pm

Unfortunately I looked at the WEB site and they only offer an HID conversion for the low beams on the GL1800!! I really wanted a system like your 1500, where the HID operated for both low and main beam. I don't know if it's worth replacing just the low beam halogen bulbs for HID and keeping the main beam as Halogens? I would think Main beam is where HID has the biggest benefit from a driving point of view?

Gary

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:16 pm

thrasherg wrote:Unfortunately I looked at the WEB site and they only offer an HID conversion for the low beams on the GL1800!! I really wanted a system like your 1500, where the HID operated for both low and main beam. I don't know if it's worth replacing just the low beam halogen bulbs for HID and keeping the main beam as Halogens? I would think Main beam is where HID has the biggest benefit from a driving point of view?

Gary


I agree, the main beam is where you get the biggest benefit. That said, I know the manufacturer DOES have a low/high HID kit for the GL1800 that includes four HID bulbs - replacing both low and high beam bulbs. Call Gary at Cyclemax, and he will be able to order it for you.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby 86GW1200 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:23 pm

Another case of no luck for 1200 crowd?

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:43 am

86GW1200 wrote:Another case of no luck for 1200 crowd?


The GL1200 uses an H4, just like the GL1500. So you could certainly adapt the GL1500 kit, using one of the two bulbs/ballasts. It would even still be plug and play, because the kit plugs into the headlight connector that normally plugs onto the H4 halogen bulb. You'd have one bulb and ballast left over for projects, or as a spare.

Alternatively, I know the manufacturer makes a kit for "other bikes" using just a single H4 bulb that would work fine. It's not one that Cyclemax carries, but again, if you call Gary, I'm sure he could order it for you.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:25 pm

thrasherg wrote:Unfortunately I looked at the WEB site and they only offer an HID conversion for the low beams on the GL1800!! I really wanted a system like your 1500, where the HID operated for both low and main beam. I don't know if it's worth replacing just the low beam halogen bulbs for HID and keeping the main beam as Halogens? I would think Main beam is where HID has the biggest benefit from a driving point of view?


I was into Cyclemax today, and talked to Gary about this. The reason he doesn't stock the four-bulb (high beam) kits is because of the start-up of the HID bulbs - something I didn't think about. HID bulbs can take up to 30 seconds to get to full brightness, and remember - their life is limited by the number of times you turn them on. If you're out in the dark, every time you switch to high beams, that's another startup - and it will be a few seconds before you actually GET high beams. Something to think about.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby thrasherg » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:08 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
thrasherg wrote:Unfortunately I looked at the WEB site and they only offer an HID conversion for the low beams on the GL1800!! I really wanted a system like your 1500, where the HID operated for both low and main beam. I don't know if it's worth replacing just the low beam halogen bulbs for HID and keeping the main beam as Halogens? I would think Main beam is where HID has the biggest benefit from a driving point of view?


I was into Cyclemax today, and talked to Gary about this. The reason he doesn't stock the four-bulb (high beam) kits is because of the start-up of the HID bulbs - something I didn't think about. HID bulbs can take up to 30 seconds to get to full brightness, and remember - their life is limited by the number of times you turn them on. If you're out in the dark, every time you switch to high beams, that's another startup - and it will be a few seconds before you actually GET high beams. Something to think about.


That is exactly why I wanted a GL1500 solution where it's one bulb that is mechanically altered.. Not feasible perhaps on the 1800, but I was hoping we could have two 35Watt dipped(low) HID bulbs (Always on) and then two 35 watt main beam HID's that are always on but have an electro mechanical arrangement that would flip them up in high beam and down in low beam.. it would require similar power to the stock setup (Stock powers two low or two main beams so 120 watts), this arrangement would require 140 watts, but would be more complicated due to the electro mechanical movement required for main (Hi) beam.

Gary

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:06 am

You would have to have a completely redesigned reflector that has cutoffs designed for dual-filament bulbs to do that, I suspect. For sure the high beam reflectors don't have the cutoff devices that would limit the output in low beam.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby lopeha55 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:19 am

Thanks for the wrIte up! I was wondering what to use & how it would work. Both questions answered now.
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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby hermgoode » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:15 am

I've had HID's on my 1977 GL1000 for almost five years....you may still be able to find them on Ebay.
No high beam, but who needs it with HID's!

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby nico1 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:02 am

Hi WingAdmin,

I'm very interested in this conversion. Couple of questions for you if you have time:

1) Can't you just keep the lights turned off with the on/off switch until the engine has been started?

2) Any chance you have a video showing the HID setup working on your GL1500 please? I'd also be interested in seeing what the switches which come with the kit look like on the bike i.e. where they are mounted.

Thanks, Nicholas.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby hermgoode » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:19 am

The light works just as any other lights...come on when the igition is turned on, go out when you start the starter.
Wiring is very simple, just replaces the old headlight set up, except you have a small adaptor that converts the voltage. Usually there are installation instructions with the lights.
Try Ebay or try Google...there are dozens of these available.

Good luck, you'll love the light.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby tfdeputydawg » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:05 am

Just so you'll know:
Moving the modulator to "aux." lighting now has you "illegal"!
Don't know if you'll ever be stopped or if so how strict the officer will be but, the modulator law states Headlamps may be modulated.
The law does not indicate, nor cover, modulation of "other" forward facing lamps!
It also indicates one may modulate the upper or the lower beams ( not both at the same time)!

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby tfdeputydawg » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:09 am

It would be very interesting to have a photometric check done, to see how this conversion actually checks according to FMVSS requirements!

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:28 pm

There are no additional switches or controls, it simply replaces the existing bulbs.

I have had a couple people ask me how I prevented the lights from starting up twice - once when the ignition is turned on, then off when the starter is pressed, then on again when the starter is released. You don't want this to happen, as each startup lessens the life of the bulbs.

What I did was connect to the oil pressure switch wire, which can be accessed in a 6-pin connector above the right radiator fan. This switch connects the wire to ground when there is NO oil pressure (i.e. engine not running). I connected a 30-amp automotive SPDT relay in the power wire for the HID lights, controlled by the oil pressure wire:



When the power is turned on, the oil pressure switch is closed, which instantly energizes the relay coil, causing the power to the lights to be interrupted, so they do not turn on. Once the engine is started, the oil pressure switch opens, which shuts off the relay coil, the NC contacts close, and the lights are powered up.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:31 pm

tfdeputydawg wrote:Just so you'll know:
Moving the modulator to "aux." lighting now has you "illegal"!
Don't know if you'll ever be stopped or if so how strict the officer will be but, the modulator law states Headlamps may be modulated.
The law does not indicate, nor cover, modulation of "other" forward facing lamps!
It also indicates one may modulate the upper or the lower beams ( not both at the same time)!


I was aware of this - but my modulated lights are LEDs (actually part of the headlight housing), the brightness is nowhere even close to that of a headlight. The modulated LEDs are enough to catch your eye if you see them out of the corner of your eye - but they're certainly not modulating even remotely to the brightness of a modulated headlight. I figured that the chances of me being pulled over for it are really slim.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby nico1 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:44 pm

Sounds like you folks can't turn off your headlights manually on US bikes? On my (euro) GL1500 I have a three way light switch on the handlebar. Off/parking lights on/headlights on. I always turn on my lights after starting the engine.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:51 pm

nico1 wrote:Sounds like you folks can't turn off your headlights manually on US bikes? On my (euro) GL1500 I have a three way light switch on the handlebar. Off/parking lights on/headlights on. I always turn on my lights after starting the engine.


No, by law lights have to be on at all times, so there is no switch. I was going to make a comment that that's not the case elsewhere in the world, but your location says that you're in Milipitas, CA so I was guessing that you wouldn't have such a switch!

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby nico1 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:48 am

Woops, I am no longer in the US. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for being so responsive. Any idea whether the HID kit would be plug and play for a Euro Wing and would the on/off light switch still work? (I'll ask Cyclemax and let the forum know if this is still to be determined)

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby peppilepew » Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:56 am

WingAdmin wrote:There are no additional switches or controls, it simply replaces the existing bulbs.

I have had a couple people ask me how I prevented the lights from starting up twice - once when the ignition is turned on, then off when the starter is pressed, then on again when the starter is released. You don't want this to happen, as each startup lessens the life of the bulbs.

What I did was connect to the oil pressure switch wire, which can be accessed in a 6-pin connector above the right radiator fan. This switch connects the wire to ground when there is NO oil pressure (i.e. engine not running). I connected a 30-amp automotive SPDT relay in the power wire for the HID lights, controlled by the oil pressure wire:



When the power is turned on, the oil pressure switch is closed, which instantly energizes the relay coil, causing the power to the lights to be interrupted, so they do not turn on. Once the engine is started, the oil pressure switch opens, which shuts off the relay coil, the NC contacts close, and the lights are powered up.


I like the idea. Is there back feeding from the relay coil? Is a diode recommended?

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby thrasherg » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:52 am

In general a diode is always a good idea to suppress back EMF, but in this application it is not needed (It will not do any harm if you add one, just ,make sure you connect it the correct way around :D )..

Gary

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:39 pm

thrasherg wrote:In general a diode is always a good idea to suppress back EMF, but in this application it is not needed (It will not do any harm if you add one, just ,make sure you connect it the correct way around :D )..

Gary


Right...there is a great big relatively large gauge wire leading right to the battery, and the battery is a pretty good sink for spikes and noise.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby peppilepew » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:42 am

I was more concerned with back feeding through the relay coil causing a problem. Does the idiot light work properly? Spikes will be taken care of with a diode suppressed relay. I want everything needed when taking the grill off. I use my 1500 as a commuter.

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Re: GoldwingHID HID headlight kit

Postby peppilepew » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:21 am

My kit just arrived. I am impressed with the completeness and apparent quality.




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