How to convert side marker lights to LED strip


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
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Stew
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:40 am
Location: Smokey Point, WA - USA
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
2005 Honda CRF230F

Previous bikes:
2003 Honda Ruckus
1993 Honda Elite SR
1986 Honda CR125R
1979 Yamaha GT80

How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by Stew » Sat May 19, 2018 11:59 am



Here's how I converted my side marker lights to strip style LED, special thanks to TwoTone Trike aka Tony for offering me an extra set in case I messed up! This cost less than $25 in parts to complete.

You will need:
1) From SuperBrightLeds.com 'SWFLS-A30-WHT - Amber', quantity 2
2) From Amazon.com 'Install Bay 89-00-9031 ABS Plastic 12 X 12 X 1/8-Inch'
3) Various tools to cut, sand, file, solder, R&R lights

Pic of LED strip light:


Pic of black ABS plastic sheet:


Remove side marker lights, you only need to remove four screws per side and a few trim pieces:


First make your rough cuts and remove the bulk of the housing. unlike I did, take note of which side is which because you are removing the area that has the L and R markings, lol. Fortunately I was taking a lot of pictures and was able to figure it out.


Next do your final filing/sanding, finished housing next to stock housing. The cut-segments in the LED strip are two inches, this lets you have the strip three segment long, or six inches and still fit in the housing. I cut the opening six and a half inches long to give me a quarter inch space on each end.


Both housings modified. The width of the opening of the housing is 20mm which lets you have three strips high because the strips are 5mm wide, that will work well.


Cut two strips from the ABS sheet, measure everything several times before cutting.


Make sure when cutting the LED strips to size you cut exactly where it says. As a test I cut closer to the LED at the end of a cut-segment to see if I could squeeze one more full segment in there but that last one stopped illuminating.


Here is how I positioned and wired the strips. I made the center one smaller to sort of mimic how an incandescent bulb is brighter in the center where the actual bulb is. You see this often with LED assemblies on cars, trucks and buses where they'll have a tighter grouping in the center for this effect. Note that I cut two slots where the cord will exit the housing and secured it with a zip-tie to the ABS backing.


Here's the housing completed and epoxied together. The black plastic on the housing is ABS so you can glue back together with black plumber cement, model glue or epoxy. I used epoxy to avoid any chance of fumes fogging up the amber plastic.




For the connector I snipped off the bulb socket then cut the LED wire to the same length as the Honda connector, that should give me enough slack for... whatever.


Finally make your last solder connections, heat-shrink them and you're done. I positioned the original black plastic wire sleeve mid-point and taped the ends in place to keep it there for further protection.












And finally the before and after. As you can tell the LED conversion is much brighter and is more attention getting with the many individual points of light reflecting around in there which is a great thing for visibility!






Winging it every chance I get 8-)

19,119 miles when I got it from dad Oct 15, 2017 --- 23,128 miles and counting as of July 30, 2018!

User avatar
Stew
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:40 am
Location: Smokey Point, WA - USA
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
2005 Honda CRF230F

Previous bikes:
2003 Honda Ruckus
1993 Honda Elite SR
1986 Honda CR125R
1979 Yamaha GT80

Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by Stew » Mon May 21, 2018 12:32 pm

LED part number information update:

Outdoor LED Strip Lights - Weatherproof 12V LED Tape Light - Side Emitting - 59 Lumens/ft. - Amber.
In the amber color they are only available in 19.7" length, and are 5mm wide.

Reason for clarification is I went to look up the same part number in red to do the saddlebags and trunk sides and when looking up only by the part number above you get many results.

Also in the after pic it looks a little overly bright and washed out but in person it is just right.
Winging it every chance I get 8-)

19,119 miles when I got it from dad Oct 15, 2017 --- 23,128 miles and counting as of July 30, 2018!

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by WingAdmin » Tue May 22, 2018 4:03 pm

Just curious, if the LEDs are facing outward, why did you use side-emitting LEDs?

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Stew
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:40 am
Location: Smokey Point, WA - USA
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
2005 Honda CRF230F

Previous bikes:
2003 Honda Ruckus
1993 Honda Elite SR
1986 Honda CR125R
1979 Yamaha GT80

Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by Stew » Tue May 22, 2018 5:38 pm

You know I wish I had a good answer for that, lol. As I was drilling down the menus on superbrightleds that's the ones I landed on and didn't think much about it until now. YES, you want regular outward facing LEDs, not side emitting ones.

And since that will nag at the back of mind I am going to order the correct type and re-so them :twisted:, and I might as well order the red ones to do the saddlebags and trunk sides while I'm at it.

EDIT: I do remember now why I ended up with the side emitting ones... The width of the strip was only 5mm vs 10mm on the outward facing ones and I wanted to have three rows. I didn't pay attention at the time that they were side emitting :oops:. Just ordered the correct outward facing style and will stick with two rows.
Winging it every chance I get 8-)

19,119 miles when I got it from dad Oct 15, 2017 --- 23,128 miles and counting as of July 30, 2018!

TwoTone Trike
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Motorcycle: 1999 Honda GoldWing 1500se/2012 Hannigan Trike, 1953 Panhead, 1973 Electra Glide sold

Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by TwoTone Trike » Thu May 24, 2018 10:34 pm

Hey Stew, As good as they look now I can't wait to see what they look like after you correct your oops. :P :P :lol: :lol: By the way what did you use to cut the housings with?

User avatar
Stew
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:40 am
Location: Smokey Point, WA - USA
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
2005 Honda CRF230F

Previous bikes:
2003 Honda Ruckus
1993 Honda Elite SR
1986 Honda CR125R
1979 Yamaha GT80

Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by Stew » Thu May 24, 2018 11:31 pm

I Mostly used my Dremel with a standard cutoff disc which half cut/half melted it's way through the plastic but I also used my razor saw with the red handle in the pic below and the mid-sized file just to the right of it, with a little bit of trimming with the X-Acto knife.



Winging it every chance I get 8-)

19,119 miles when I got it from dad Oct 15, 2017 --- 23,128 miles and counting as of July 30, 2018!

User avatar
Stew
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:40 am
Location: Smokey Point, WA - USA
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
2005 Honda CRF230F

Previous bikes:
2003 Honda Ruckus
1993 Honda Elite SR
1986 Honda CR125R
1979 Yamaha GT80

Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by Stew » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:46 pm

Here they are re-done with outward facing LED's. The overall brightness is about the same... fewer LED's but these ones are slightly brighter plus face directly outward. I double-checked the length of the connector and as it turns out they plug into the harness just fine without the added length I had the first time so back to original length they go.

LED's used this time from SuperBrightLeds.com are: WFLS-A60-BK: 100cm[39.3in] Amber








Last edited by Stew on Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Winging it every chance I get 8-)

19,119 miles when I got it from dad Oct 15, 2017 --- 23,128 miles and counting as of July 30, 2018!

TwoTone Trike
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:52 am
Location: Mt. Sterling Kentucky
Motorcycle: 1999 Honda GoldWing 1500se/2012 Hannigan Trike, 1953 Panhead, 1973 Electra Glide sold

Re: How to convert side marker lights to LED strip

Post by TwoTone Trike » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:53 pm

Those look awesome Stew. They look like they came from the factory that way. Good job.



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