Another Headlight Question


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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bigsteveswing
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Another Headlight Question

Post by bigsteveswing » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:01 am



This may be a strange question. On my stock 1500 do both headlights operate on low and high beam? I rarely ride in the dark but i noticed yesterday that only one light is on when low beam is on, then when I switch to high beam nothing is lit. Do i need 2 new bulbs or is something else going on?

I really would like to go to LED in the future but just want to get things working for now.



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WingAdmin
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:26 am

bigsteveswing wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:01 am
This may be a strange question. On my stock 1500 do both headlights operate on low and high beam? I rarely ride in the dark but i noticed yesterday that only one light is on when low beam is on, then when I switch to high beam nothing is lit. Do i need 2 new bulbs or is something else going on?

I really would like to go to LED in the future but just want to get things working for now.
Both headlights do both low and high beam. Sounds like you have either some burned out bulbs, or an electrical issue - either a connector or possibly fuse/relay.

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bigsteveswing
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by bigsteveswing » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:59 am

Thank you. That's what I thought. Being that the low beam works on one side I am hoping it is just bulbs I need. Are they available at any auto parts place or do I need special bulbs?

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CrystalPistol
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by CrystalPistol » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:20 pm

bigsteveswing wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:01 am
This may be a strange question. On my stock 1500 do both headlights operate on low and high beam? I rarely ride in the dark but i noticed yesterday that only one light is on when low beam is on, then when I switch to high beam nothing is lit. Do i need 2 new bulbs or is something else going on?

I really would like to go to LED in the future but just want to get things working for now.
Don't know about your bike's light, but they do on mine. Just two dual beam headlights mounted side by side.

Sounds like you could use two new bulbs, at least. If that don't fix it, maybe a headlight relay or switch or fuse?
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bigsteveswing
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by bigsteveswing » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:09 pm

Little update:
I ordered 2 new bulbs this morning, H4 halogens for $7ea. Then while I was warming the bike up I turned the high beams on and still nothing, when I reached up to flip the switch back they lit up, so apparently my switch needed a little cleaning. Hit it with some contact cleaner at work today, seems to be better. Still have one burned out low beam but both highs are working. Thanks for the suggestions.

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CrystalPistol
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by CrystalPistol » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:30 pm

bigsteveswing wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:09 pm
Little update:
I ordered 2 new bulbs … etc … better. Still have one burned out low beam but both highs are working. Thanks for the suggestions.
I replaced mine as a pair a few years ago, keep OEMs in blister pack as emergency spares as both were still OK.
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Sadanorakman
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by Sadanorakman » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:03 am

bigsteveswing wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:59 am
Thank you. That's what I thought. Being that the low beam works on one side I am hoping it is just bulbs I need. Are they available at any auto parts place or do I need special bulbs?
The following is a bit of a long read, but maybe worth it...

I believe each original GL1500 Honda headlight lamp (bulb) are rated at only 45W and 45W for the Dip-beam and Main-beam filaments respectively.

Before the advent of HID and latterly LED lamps, when the original lamps failed, folk would tend to replace them with what they 'thought' was the same H4 auto-lamp. Sometimes this was done knowingly to get the extra brightness, and sometimes because they just didn't realise there was any difference.

The standard Auto H4 lamp has a 55W dip filament, and a 60W Main Filament (so 10W and 15W higher respectively). This means increased light output, but of course also current consumption, and the amount of heat that builds up inside the headlamp unit that needs to be dissipated. It seems that the Bike's harness can handle this extra 20% current without catastrophy, but some discolouration is sometimes seen in the chrome reflector above the lamps on high-mileage bikes.

Some that know no better try-out 80W/100W 'high' Wattage bulbs. These draw way too much current for the stock harness, which could lead to melting and ultimately fire. They will also destroy the innards of your headlight due to excessive heat-output if used for long enough. Fitting these would be a monstrous mistake, that could ultimately cost you your bike.

There are alternative 'brighter-output' versions of standard (Auto) H4 55W/60W lamps available, such as the sylvania Silverstar. These achieve brighter output by way of an 'optimised' filament that doesn't draw any more current, but is typically thinner and/or has a smaller, tighter-wound radiant part that runs hotter, therefore burns brighter, but has a substantially lower lifespan to ordinary lamps.

I ran a Toyota Avensis which had projection headlamps for ten years and 250,000 miles. For the last three or four years I used to fit these osram or sylvania brighter 55/60W lamps, and they certainly did make a pleasant difference in the depths of winter and poor weather. I used to have to swap them out at the start of each winter though, as I'd typically get around 12 months out of them before one would fail. (typically the kerb-side lamp would fail first, as this receives more vibration and shocks from driving over drain grates).

There were a few years during which people put HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps in. These ionise a gas that is trapped within a quartz capsule, using a high voltage from an electronic ballast. They are more efficient at turning electricity into light than an old filament bulb, so produce far more light for less current (and therefore less heat). The problem with these, is they don't put out light in the same place as the filament of the original Halogen lamp (which have a shield covering half of the dip-beam filament). This causes a typically bad light-distribution pattern from the headlight unit, because the GL1500 headlights were designed for a halogen lamp, not an HID. This can lead to black-spots in the beam, and dazzling oncoming drivers. In many countries this DIY conversion would also be illegal.

Right now in 2019, if you want great illumination that will improve your riding safety and comfort, there is no real excuse not to fit LED replacements for your H4's. Don't just pick up the cheapest chinese-ebay rubbish, as again the beam pattern will likely be terrible, along with the quality and lifespan of the components. LED's have a much higher efficacy (efficiency) than filament lamps, and can now produce more output than even the HID lamps. They have zero warm-up time (HID lamps take a few seconds to reach brightness, and each start-up 'strike' of an HID lamp causes it fatigue).

So if you want brightness and usability that far outweighs any 55/60W halogen lamp, invest in a pair of QUALITY LED replacements. These will have LED's that mimic the positioning of the original filaments in the Halogen lamps, and will also have effective heat-sinks to dissipate the heat generated by the LED chips. They consume around a quarter to a third of the current that the Auto H4 Halogen would draw, so place much less of a load on your alternator, and the rest of your electrical system.

Wingadmin has put a lot of effort into reviewing LED's, and there is much discussion here within the forums.

Kindest regards
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bigsteveswing
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by bigsteveswing » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:01 am

Thank you for the information. I ordered 60/55 watt versions, same brand and model Cyclemax sells. I have LED conversion on the list for winter work, just want to get something in there for the short term. These were only like $23 shipped and good LED conversion will be over $100.

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Sadanorakman
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by Sadanorakman » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:22 am

bigsteveswing wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:01 am
Thank you for the information. I ordered 60/55 watt versions, same brand and model Cyclemax sells. I have LED conversion on the list for winter work, just want to get something in there for the short term. These were only like $23 shipped and good LED conversion will be over $100.
Yup, that's the challenge. Anyone contemplating led H4 lamps has to weigh up the pros and cons:

- will one set of LEDs outlast four sets of Halogens? ...Maybe, maybe not.

- how many years would it take you to burn through four sets of halogen lamps anyway? (To reach the cost equivalence between the two).

-Do you do a lot of night riding, so would you really need the extra light output?

-think of the inconvenience of gaining access to replace burnt-out lamps multiple times verses possibly the fit and forget with LEDs.

-would a cheap pair of utility LED driving lamps be a better choice? Maybe for you, but for me their not, because I can't ride around with such auxiliary lamps on all of the time at night... They don't have the sharp horizontal cut-off of a dipped beam headlamp, so can't be aimed effectively to give good illumination of the road only without blinding other drivers in built-up areas. They would be great to assist main beam though.

Cheers

.
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bigsteveswing
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by bigsteveswing » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:06 pm

Ok, wife and I went for a ride yesterday and at some point during the ride my high beams went off, including the dash indicator. I thought maybe it was just switch but now I am leaning towards a relay, maybe loose or starting to fail. I cannot get them to come back on no matter what I do with the switch.

Where would the high beam headlight relay be located? Which relay is it?

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Charlie1Horse
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by Charlie1Horse » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:05 pm

Left side relay box #1=Low Beam; #4=High Beam
Try tapping on the relays with a screwdriver handle or something similar to maybe get it to work if it is stuck. This might work but, only temporarily.
Russell

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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:16 pm

Or just swap the low and high beam relays. If it is a bad relay, that will get you going until you can replace the bad one.

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landisr
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by landisr » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:15 pm

Sorry if this might be considered a hijack, but I have been under the impression (rumor?) that the 1500 was designed for 55/60 bulbs, and were equipped with them on European models, but that US units were for some reason delivered with 45/45s. Is this not true? I have used 55/60s in my 94A (bought new in '95) since the first replacement. Have I set myself up for future problems?

Ron in AZ
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Re: Another Headlight Question

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:44 am

landisr wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:15 pm
Sorry if this might be considered a hijack, but I have been under the impression (rumor?) that the 1500 was designed for 55/60 bulbs, and were equipped with them on European models, but that US units were for some reason delivered with 45/45s. Is this not true? I have used 55/60s in my 94A (bought new in '95) since the first replacement. Have I set myself up for future problems?

Ron in AZ
I used 55/60's in my GL1500 for years with no issues.

What DID cause issues was a couple years of a HID bulb. The UV emissions from it appears to have done a little bit of clouding of the parabolic reflector in a couple spots.



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