Headlight failure at night


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WingAdmin
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Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:16 pm



I was riding home last night around 9:30, with a big bright moon. I noticed a flicker in one of my lights when I would hit a bump. As I had time to kill riding up I-77 in the dark, I played around a bit. I turned off my driving lights, waited for a few bumps, and the lights still flickered. So probably the headlight. Turning back on the driving lights (which are bright LED) and the road lit up normally again. After a few minutes I noticed things were darker - so I tried turning off my driving lights altogether, and things got VERY dark. No headlight at all! I flipped my high beams on, and the road lit up. Low beams, nothing, high beams no problem. I aimed for some good sized bumps, but the high beams never flickered. Switched back to low beams, and they were now on again. A few more bumps, they flickered on every one. Another bump, and I was once again in darkness, so I switched my driving lights back on, and rode home with my high beams on the whole way. Apologies to all the other drivers on I-77. :)

This morning I had a look - when I whack the fairing, the headlights (both of them) flicker. I figured it had to be my noise filter circuit that I built years ago, that filter noise from HID or LED lights (my headlights are LED) from getting to the radio. Maybe a solder joint broke? I pulled the circuit out - but nope, lights still flickering. Hmm. A bad connection maybe? Oxidation? Broken wire?

I haven't pulled the headlight out yet because I was planning on replacing the LEDs anyway, so I'll try that tomorrow when I have the new LEDs and see what I can see.



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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by DaveO430 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:43 pm

The low beam relay would be my first check.

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:10 pm

DaveO430 wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:43 pm
The low beam relay would be my first check.
Except...the flickering occurs when I hit right around the headlight itself, not anywhere near the relays.

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by ct1500 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:52 pm

Give it a more localized whack/jiggling/poking/prodding above the left fan where the connectors are for the left pod.
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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by redbug » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:01 pm

Back in the early years I would of said a broken filament in the bulb, but I would go for the headlight connector plug, and a loose burnt connection in the plug.
" Ridin on Tulsa Time "

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:55 pm

We should start taking bets, I think! :) I should have the answer tomorrow night...

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by Fiberthree » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:40 am

I put my money on a either a bad connector or solder joint.
Ed

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:47 pm

Well we're not going to find out tonight...I forgot to go pick up the new LEDs today, so looks like it will be tomorrow. :)

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by redbug » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:16 am

Man.. I feel like a bottle of Heinz Ketchup.Arh...
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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:41 pm

Since we're placing bets, I'm gonna bet on the relay. I know it's remote from the vibration, but it doesn't take much to shake a shakey relay :-)

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:39 pm

Well, I pulled it apart tonight.


And the answer is.....



...the headlight modulator!!

Lights flickered as soon as I touched this
Lights flickered as soon as I touched this

I've been using Kisan PathBlazer headlight modulators for many, many years on multiple bikes, and I've never seen this happen before.

When I pulled the connectors off of it, this came out with one of the connectors
When I pulled the connectors off of it, this came out with one of the connectors


Seen from the other side
Seen from the other side

The board is a double-layer board, and the plated through hole (that's what connects one side of the board to the other) had complete failed on both sides of the board. Soldering is not going to fix this, the holes came right out with the connector. So I'm going to have to replace it.

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by Fiberthree » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:43 pm

I wonder how much current was going through it to get it hot enough to do that.
Ed

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:17 pm

Fiberthree wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:43 pm
I wonder how much current was going through it to get it hot enough to do that.
It wasn't melted, it was mechanical failure. Heat won't cause those hole-throughs to come out of the board, the only thing that can do that is movement and vibration.

I know the engineer over at Kisan, if he wants it, I'll send it to him, otherwise, I think I'm going to desolder all of the connectors on it and replace them with actual wires, which I'll then hook up to connectors, so there is no physical stress on the unit itself.

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by ct1500 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:17 am

It is 99.9% of the time owner add ons that cause electrical issues other than the self inflicted. :)
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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:54 am

ct1500 wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:17 am
It is 99.9% of the time owner add ons that cause electrical issues other than the self inflicted. :)
True...which is why, when I was riding home after it flickered and failed, I was blaming my noise-killing circuit for the problem, assuming something I had built had failed. But that turned out not to be the case.

However, this is the first time one of *MY* electrical add-ons (i.e. something I installed) caused the problem. :) That said, I was never all that enthused with the way the Kisan modulator plugs "in the middle" of those connectors, and now I know why.

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Re: Headlight failure at night

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:38 pm

I desoldered all of the pins from the modulator, then cleaned the board up under a stereo microscope, to check for bridges and breaks. I scraped some of the solder screen off a couple traces, and soldered wires directly to them.

The modulator actually only touches two wires in the connector: It interrupts the high beam, and taps the ground. So there is a high beam input, high beam output, and ground. The rest are just pass-throughs.

I wrapped this all up, installed it back in the bike, and it works like new. No more flickering headlight!

Hard-wired modulator
Hard-wired modulator




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