How to upgrade my headlight?


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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tylers883
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How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by tylers883 »



I Did some of initial homework but need some help from the experts here.

I learned that my headlight uses an 'H4' style of headlight. I'm finding LED replacements that are 30watt instead of the 55watt OEM bulb. The LED promises to be brighter and it will consume less power, thereby improving my charging system by approximately 2 amps.

My dilema?

My OEM headlight is a sealed beam, isn't it? If i purchase a bulb, i will need a headlight to place the bulb into it. What do i do?


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RBGERSON
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by RBGERSON »

If Oem it's not sealed..but easy to check before you buy..anything..Lots of info on various headlights Windadmin has a very complete how to and test thread with pics of various headlights strengthens.
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB
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Johnyy Smoke
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Johnyy Smoke »

Go with the Sylvania sealed beam halogen bulb. $18 and it does a d***n good job of it! The LED bulbs are AWESOME! But the Sylvania is quite impressive. Regards, Johnny
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tylers883
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by tylers883 »

Sorry, i didnt fully explain my hidden agenda.

In stop and go daytime traffic, i'd like to lighten the load with an LED headlamp so my bike better handles my stereo,

then during night time rural runs i hope to flip a switch to have extra lights come on. They will be add ons, im not looking to complicate the main headlamp.
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SilverDave
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by SilverDave »

Unless a PO replaced it, your machine has a fluted lens with an H4 hi/lo bulb

Both a 30 watt LED or a 30 watt HID kit will reduce the load on your charging system considerably . ( I love what it did for my system charging )

but ..
While both give "Lots of Light " , the flutes will scatter from LED's .
Lots of bright light, but very little down the road.
Only an HID gives a bright aimable light with low beam cut-off.

About the same cost for each :
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/35W-12V-4300K-Xe ... E9&vxp=mtr

LED is plug and play . HID is a little harder to install... but works really really well..

Silver Dave
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Mh434
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Mh434 »

My GL1500 has fluted glass lenses & LED bulbs and I can tell you for a fact that they reach far further down the road than halogens, have nicely-defined cutoffs, and use a fraction of the power of the halogens (roughly 1/3, despite putting out waaay more light). They cost less than halogen bulbs if you buy "offshore", will last virtually a lifetime, and produce far less heat.

During testing, I found that the LED's reached 3X further down the road than halogens. That is a very, very much larger safety margin.

Here's an excerpt from my post regarding testing of my new LED bulbs, from about 15 months ago:

"First, the light is white. Not just white-ish, or pretty darned white, but piercingly, broad-daylight, WHITE!! It's not bluish, though, which I really appreciate. Think of it as very, very light, with a complete absence of color. One thing you will notice is that every, single vehicle driving by with halogens looks like it's driving with a failed alternator, on battery only, and it's in its last mile before conking out. Really - you find yourself wondering how they can possibly drive with lights that dim & yellow! At one point, I was passing another vehicle on a really dark stretch of country highway (cloudy, no moon, no street lighting, nothing at all). He had the newer style halogens which, a few weeks ago, I would have envied. Not so much, now. When I was alongside him, and we both had our high beams on, and as I passed him I noted that while both our lights reached out on essentially the same angle & height, my lights drowned his out completely. It really looked like his lights had gone out entirely.

Okay, enough subjective superlatives - how about something quantifiable? I did some crude measurements & calculations. At 55 mph (90 Km/h for us Canuckians), on high beam you have 11 seconds' worth of brightly-lit road ahead of you. In distance, that's about 300 yards! While I was out there, I passed a guy, dressed entirely in black, walking up the shoulder. With my 60-watt H4 halogens I'd have been lucky to even notice him at 100-150 yards. With the LED's, he cast a hard shadow at 300 yards! Now THAT'S safety. Now, I'm in abject terror at all the years I've essentially been out-driving my lights at highway speed...

One funny thing - there was a guy coming the other way at one point in a Jeep, with his high beams (as well as at least 6 other driving & spotlights) on, and he obviously didn't plan on dimming them. I gave him about a 1/4 second flash of my high beams, and he immediately dimmed them. Further to that, looking in my mirrors, I then saw him pull over to the side of the road and park after I'd passed...no doubt to rest his eyes for a while and allow his vision to return after staring directly into my "midnight suns". Whoopsie! :shock: Hmm - going to have to be careful with that! I wonder if I can decrease that to 1/8 of a second???

Interestingly, not one single driver seemed to have the slightest problem with glare from my low beams (and, in my little slice of heaven hereabouts, people immediately let you know if this is a problem for them!). Clearly, they're not bothering anyone, despite how bright & white they are."


I wouldn't hesitate to go with LED's if I were you. I did a TON of research before I did it...and I'll never look back.
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SilverDave
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by SilverDave »

I did a little more research ... many of the recent , very modern LED bulbs have almost a point source , unlike the ones of just 3 years ago.
A " Point source " bulb of any type will be focused by even 1980 fluted lenses

Drive Safe !!

SilverDave
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Mh434
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Mh434 »

You're right - the LED's of just a few years ago were hopeless, just an unfocused blob of light with no penetration. Recent innovations have lead to very small, extremely powerful single-point emitters, which lend themselves well to precise focusing. Still, they draw a lot more power than the older emitters, yet only about 1/3 the power of an equivalent halogen bulb.

The new LED's require heat synchs for long life, though - they do NOT like heat - so most new ones have very efficient synchs or onboard fans to fix this.
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Hoosier Jack
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

Mh434 wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:40 pm My GL1500 has fluted glass lenses & LED bulbs and I can tell you for a fact that they reach far further down the road than halogens, have nicely-defined cutoffs, and use a fraction of the power of the halogens (roughly 1/3, despite putting out waaay more light). They cost less than halogen bulbs if you buy "offshore", will last virtually a lifetime, and produce far less heat.

During testing, I found that the LED's reached 3X further down the road than halogens. That is a very, very much larger safety margin.

Here's an excerpt from my post regarding testing of my new LED bulbs, from about 15 months ago:

"First, the light is white. Not just white-ish, or pretty darned white, but piercingly, broad-daylight, WHITE!! It's not bluish, though, which I really appreciate. Think of it as very, very light, with a complete absence of color. One thing you will notice is that every, single vehicle driving by with halogens looks like it's driving with a failed alternator, on battery only, and it's in its last mile before conking out. Really - you find yourself wondering how they can possibly drive with lights that dim & yellow! At one point, I was passing another vehicle on a really dark stretch of country highway (cloudy, no moon, no street lighting, nothing at all). He had the newer style halogens which, a few weeks ago, I would have envied. Not so much, now. When I was alongside him, and we both had our high beams on, and as I passed him I noted that while both our lights reached out on essentially the same angle & height, my lights drowned his out completely. It really looked like his lights had gone out entirely.

Okay, enough subjective superlatives - how about something quantifiable? I did some crude measurements & calculations. At 55 mph (90 Km/h for us Canuckians), on high beam you have 11 seconds' worth of brightly-lit road ahead of you. In distance, that's about 300 yards! While I was out there, I passed a guy, dressed entirely in black, walking up the shoulder. With my 60-watt H4 halogens I'd have been lucky to even notice him at 100-150 yards. With the LED's, he cast a hard shadow at 300 yards! Now THAT'S safety. Now, I'm in abject terror at all the years I've essentially been out-driving my lights at highway speed...

One funny thing - there was a guy coming the other way at one point in a Jeep, with his high beams (as well as at least 6 other driving & spotlights) on, and he obviously didn't plan on dimming them. I gave him about a 1/4 second flash of my high beams, and he immediately dimmed them. Further to that, looking in my mirrors, I then saw him pull over to the side of the road and park after I'd passed...no doubt to rest his eyes for a while and allow his vision to return after staring directly into my "midnight suns". Whoopsie! :shock: Hmm - going to have to be careful with that! I wonder if I can decrease that to 1/8 of a second???

Interestingly, not one single driver seemed to have the slightest problem with glare from my low beams (and, in my little slice of heaven hereabouts, people immediately let you know if this is a problem for them!). Clearly, they're not bothering anyone, despite how bright & white they are."


I wouldn't hesitate to go with LED's if I were you. I did a TON of research before I did it...and I'll never look back.
Great write up. Where to get me some for the 1100?
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Mh434
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Mh434 »

The beauty of them is that then new style are a direct replacement for any standard H-4 halogen...which means they'll work properly with any previous H-4 application, regardless of whether it's a car, truck, or motorcycle. Light output isn't the problem (they have PLENTY of light), but rather focusing that light.

In a standard H-4 halogen bulb, the high-beam and low-beam filaments are separate, with one higher and further forward (away from the reflector) than the other. All the H-4 bulbs I've examined have been remarkably consistent in filament placement, which explains why halogen headlights, themselves, all focus the light the same way. In LED replacements, the primary design issue must be to place the LED emitters on the bulb's internal stalk precisely where the filaments would be on the H-4 halogen bulbs. This means that the light bounces off the reflector, and is aimed & refined by the headlight glass, in exactly the same way it is in a halogen bulb.

This was an issue in the design of some of the LED replacement bulbs from just a couple of years ago. In my first-series Pathfinder LED bulbs, the LED emitters for high-beam and low-beam were exactly the same distance from the reflector (although one was properly placed higher than the other). Despite the fact that the fore-and-aft difference only needs to be, say, 1/4" or so, it was enough that I could either have accurately aimed high beams, or low beams, but not both.

The new Pathfinders (as well as the current crop of "offshore"-produced LED bulbs) have the emitters properly (and differently) distanced from the reflector, so as to focus the light in any headlight designed to use H-4 bulbs. So, they can be used as H-4 bulb replacements in any vehicle with headlights designed to use H-4 halogen bulbs.

I recently picked up a pair of "offshore" LED bulbs (Ebay, from China) and, in examining them, found the LED emitters are placed precisely as the filaments in an H-4 bulb would be. So, they'll work (and focus properly) in my Miata, Ford Escape, etc.

I got my Pathfinder units from Cyclemax (and they were amazing to deal with!!)...here: http://cyclemax.com/inc/sdetail/gl1500_ ... /83/300542

The latest pair I got feature Philips LED chips, and claim to produce 16,000 lumens ( :shock: ) each. The pair was about $73CDN (free shipping), and they seem to be exceptionally well made. Here's a link to a pair of these: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/2x-Philips-LED-C ... 5b3cefb4ce

Sorry for the lengthy post, but there's been a lot of misinformation around about LED headlight bulbs - I've done a lot of research on what's available, and wanted to shed a little light on the subject (sorry, couldn't resist! :roll: )
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Hoosier Jack
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

I went to ebay and found the lights. Why do I need a pair of them for my 1100?
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Mh434
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Mh434 »

Oh...yeah...sorry, I forgot you have one of the one-light 'Wings. Carry a spare? Offer to split a pair with another owner?
Dave Hartshorn
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Dave Hartshorn »

What about using a modulator with LED headlights? Is this advisable? Does it harm the LED? I have a modulator with my H4 bulbs and really like that it brings attention to me (I've had several comments); if I went with LEDs, I'd want to continue to use the modulator.
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by WingAdmin »

Dave Hartshorn wrote: Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:14 am What about using a modulator with LED headlights? Is this advisable? Does it harm the LED? I have a modulator with my H4 bulbs and really like that it brings attention to me (I've had several comments); if I went with LEDs, I'd want to continue to use the modulator.
You can use a modulator with LEDs, however the modulator has to be set up to modulate LEDs. A regular modulator will actually flash an LED headlight on and off, which is illegal - in order for it to be legal, it must not turn off complete, but instead dim down to about 20% output.

Kisan makes a version of their Pathfinder modulator for LED headlights, and that's what I have on my bike. They can also modify the programming in their regular modulator to work with LEDs, if you send it in to them.
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Hoosier Jack
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

These LEDs should work??? $16 Is there anything I'm missing?

https://www.amazon.com/YITAMOTOR-White- ... ingdocs-20
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Mh434
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Mh434 »

Two things about those:

1) they have a fan in the base for cooling - I'm not a "fan" of that idea (sorry - I had to!) because if the mechanical fan fails, the bulb will fail almost immediately after. The later styles have passive heat synchs, which won't fail, and;

2) these ones are claimed to produce 2,400 lumens...vs. a claimed 16,000 lumens for the ones I posted...almost 8 times the illumination.
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tylers883
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by tylers883 »

I agree that a heat sink is better than a fan. I also like multiple COBs so that when one COB fails, you can still drive yourself home.

Also, im planning on installing some additional riding lights for when lighting is more important than the stereo.
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

Well, well, well. That's exactly what I needed to know. Sorry about hijacking this thread. My search continues.
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tylers883
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by tylers883 »

No worries. You didnt hijack.
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jtornese
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by jtornese »

Just to be accurate, the led light "Kits" that have 2 bulbs always state the lumens COMBINED for the 2 bulbs. If you go to the
the link, it shows in the specs, that each bulb is 8000 lumens. I have a set of Stark phantoms I got on Amazon, and they have 4000 lumens each. Now you make me want the 8000 lumen bulbs!!!
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Hoosier Jack
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

I think I'm leaning towards this HID set up. Should plug in to my present light, will give out good light, only 35 watts, 6000K. $24. The ballast is already wired up.

https://www.amazon.com/Xenon-Motorcycle ... ingdocs-20
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tylers883
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by tylers883 »

That is exactly what im looking for. I think i'll order it as a 35W with the 10000k (white color).
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Hoosier Jack
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

The one response I got on the Saunders site is that the 6000K was great, said he wouldn't trade it for anything. It just looks so easy to do. I'm going to take my headlight off today and look it all over before I order.

I considered some bullets to attach to the engine guards but I would have to remove them every time I wanted to pull off the lowers and they may not do what I want them to. Or else attach them under the fairing but I've heard people having clearance problems with the forks. My son has a set of running lights beside the headlight and they work nicely, but I don't have that option. People see him coming down the road.

I'm going for a real headlight. Love the LED option, but I think this fits me better.

One other question. Isn't the halogen something like 50-60 watts?
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tylers883
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by tylers883 »

One other question. Isn't the halogen something like 50-60 watts?
Yes. I keep seeing 55 watts. So a 35 watt LED headlight would reduce the load on your charging system by 20 watts, at 14volts that is a reduction of 1.42 amps(ie 20w÷14v=current)
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Hoosier Jack
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Re: How to upgrade my headlight?

Post by Hoosier Jack »

Oh yeah, you Nova Scotians really know how to do math. I could have done that. I do have the Internet and I guess it would help. :D


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