Author Topic: Front signals as running lights  (Read 15531 times)

Offline maxtog

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Front signals as running lights
« on: July 01, 2011, 04:19:16 pm »
Summary: I just finished a complex project.  My goal was to greatly increase front and side visibility of the bike.  To do this, I planned on converting the front signal lights to running lights (DRL) by "reversing" their operation and the city lights to bright yellow with strobes.  Days later, I have completed the project.  Have learned a lot.  And the running lights portion is VERY effective at increasing front and side visibility in both day and night.  Here are the details, then pictures to follow.

LED's:  The yellow 1156 LED bulbs I purchased from autoillumination.com were way too dim (measured 2.4 watts on the 120 LED and 3.8watts on the 68 LED).  Despite the claims of the "brightest 1156 bulbs ever", I estimate they were about HALF the brightness of the 22watt incandescent bulbs.  Similar story with the 194 LED bulbs I purchased- they were about 25% dimmer (measured 1.2 watts ea) than stock and very orange (not yellow/amber like the turn signals).  These were huge setbacks, as I had spent many hours researching lights.  I was forced to proceed with incandescents, because there is no point if not bright.  UPDATE 6-2016:  I finally found and installed LED bulbs that are much brighter than stock.

Turn signals:  Typically, front running lights are done with dual-filament bulbs- a low watt for running light and a high watt for the turn function.  I could have done this by replacing the front sockets, somehow.  But the result would be a weak running light which I think has low value.  Instead, I decided to "reverse" the turn signal so the single-filament-bright bulb stays on all the time and flashes OFF when turning, so the running light would be very bright all the time.  I created a controller with two mini 12volt relays and two load resistors.  Strapped it together with tie wraps, and sealed the business side with silicone.  Created and painted a bracket that connects to the top mirror bolt and hangs the unit in front of the wiring boot under the left mid fairing.  Connected it's power to a switch on the dashboard and then to a fuse and the front accessory leads.  One cable runs to each front turn signal where I cut and spliced in the hot wire on each.  The controller "reverses" the function of the signals and has load resistors to maintain the flash rate.   The unit works, but the load resistors get considerably hot with continued used (after 5 min of emergency flashers, it was too hot to touch.  A bigger issue is that the 22 watt bulbs throw off a lot of heat.  After 20-30 min, I measured the temperature above the light housings at 175 degrees max and 120-160 degrees away from the tiny hot spot (directly above the bulb).  I have concerns about the plastic melting or degrading, and also the bulb life.   [UPDATE 06-2015:  I replaced the stock flasher controller with a solid state model so there should be no need for the load resistors in this project anymore.  See additional postings for more info.]  [UPDATE 04-2016: Although they are still incandescent, I have still had no issue with plastic melting]

City lights:  I replaced the stock clear bulbs with 5 watt yellow incandescents for now.  Despite much research, I was unable to find anything brighter that would fit.  I then installed a dual lamp, mini Xenon strobe in each of the same city lights housings.  Since it is a small unit, they are not terribly bright.  The controller is set for one flash every second, just enough to give a twinkle effect- same purpose as a headlight modulator, just far less annoying. Velcroed the controller to the bike, and ran power to a switch on the dash. UPDATE:  I later switched to these VLEDS amber LED's which are almost as bright as incand. - http://www.vleds.com/shop-bulb-numbers/194-168-158-led/6-a.html  and then UPDATE 6-2016, I replaced those with MUCH better JDM Astar LED bulbs.

Conclusion/pics:  It was much, much more work than I expected.  And there are issues with heat.  But the goal was met- it looks impressive and I believe it will enhance safety.  Plus, this setup *is* compatible with LED bulbs, if I ever locate suitable ones.  Attached is a no-so-great photo of the bike when the ignition is on but not started.  Then a photo of the controller I made, and two of how it is mounted (and showing the two switches).
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 04:05:01 pm by maxtog »
Shoodaben (was Guhl) Mountain Runner ECU flash, Canyon Cages front/rear, Helibars risers, Phil's wedges, Grip Puppies, Sargent World seat-low & heated & pod, Muzzy lowering links, Soupy's stand, Nautilus air horn, Admore lightbar, Ronnie's highway pegs, front running lights, all LED, helmet locks, RAM Xgrip, Sena SMH10, Throttle Tamer, MRA X-Creen, BearingUp Shifter, PR4-GT, Scorpion EXO-T1200,etc

Offline gPink

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2011, 05:11:14 pm »
Interesting project, Max. I gotta say though, the controller looks like a roadside bomb :chugbeer:
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Offline ZG

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 05:55:49 pm »
Wow, that's quite the undertaking Max!! LED's would definately lesson the system load. Thanks for posting!  :thumbs:

Offline maxtog

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2011, 07:24:54 pm »
Wow, that's quite the undertaking Max!! LED's would definitely lesson the system load.

Yeah, I will jump on yellow LED bulbs just as soon as someone can tell me which ones are as bright (or brighter) than 22W incandescent while retaining good omni-directional light throw.  I estimate they would have to be at least 6W LED's.  I think there is a reason sites like autoillumination don't post any useful info (like lumens or actual wattage)..... they have something to hide.

Quote
Thanks for posting!  :thumbs:

I try my best to give back to the forum that has given so much to me.  I wouldn't have even attempted to buy this bike had it not been for so much information available to reassure me I could mod it (especially lowering), ride it, and be happy with it.
Shoodaben (was Guhl) Mountain Runner ECU flash, Canyon Cages front/rear, Helibars risers, Phil's wedges, Grip Puppies, Sargent World seat-low & heated & pod, Muzzy lowering links, Soupy's stand, Nautilus air horn, Admore lightbar, Ronnie's highway pegs, front running lights, all LED, helmet locks, RAM Xgrip, Sena SMH10, Throttle Tamer, MRA X-Creen, BearingUp Shifter, PR4-GT, Scorpion EXO-T1200,etc

Offline ZG

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2011, 07:46:30 pm »

I try my best to give back to the forum that has given so much to me.  I wouldn't have even attempted to buy this bike had it not been for so much information available to reassure me I could mod it (especially lowering), ride it, and be happy with it.


Good folks, good times!
 
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Offline IRULE

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2011, 11:15:28 pm »
That's a project.  I'm not sure I have the brain nor the time for this project!  I'll just use my piaa running light instead!   ;D
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Offline maxtog

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2011, 05:40:20 am »
That's a project.  I'm not sure I have the brain nor the time for this project!  I'll just use my piaa running light instead!   ;D

I considered using separate lights, but then they would be only visible from the front.  This has the advantage of being seen from the sides and front, plus it is all very "stock" looking.  Due to the heat issues, I am not sure I would freely recommend it to anyone else yet, not until suitable LED bulbs can be located (if ever).
Shoodaben (was Guhl) Mountain Runner ECU flash, Canyon Cages front/rear, Helibars risers, Phil's wedges, Grip Puppies, Sargent World seat-low & heated & pod, Muzzy lowering links, Soupy's stand, Nautilus air horn, Admore lightbar, Ronnie's highway pegs, front running lights, all LED, helmet locks, RAM Xgrip, Sena SMH10, Throttle Tamer, MRA X-Creen, BearingUp Shifter, PR4-GT, Scorpion EXO-T1200,etc

Offline ninjawarrior1400

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2011, 07:49:23 am »
I have Kisan Signal Minder on each of my C-14's....use turn signals as brake lights and as running lights, and incorporates self-cancelling turn signals too!  Works!!

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Offline deathwish

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 09:20:48 am »
Any reason you didn't just replace the 1156 single element sockets and bulbs with 1157s? Seems this would have been an easier way to get running lights on the front and you would only have had to add a keyed power source to the second filament.


Offline IRULE

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2011, 09:53:45 am »
I considered using separate lights, but then they would be only visible from the front.  This has the advantage of being seen from the sides and front, plus it is all very "stock" looking.  Due to the heat issues, I am not sure I would freely recommend it to anyone else yet, not until suitable LED bulbs can be located (if ever).

How about drilling a small hole underneath the light, no one will see it and you can release heat from the bulb.
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Offline ninjawarrior1400

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2011, 10:30:54 am »
You can get a small cooling fan to blow fresh air on those bulbs and keep them cooler and make them last longer....may take less power and make the bike go faster...
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Offline maxtog

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2011, 08:54:09 pm »
I have Kisan Signal Minder on each of my C-14's....use turn signals as brake lights and as running lights, and incorporates self-cancelling turn signals too!  Works!!

?Unless you change the rear bulbs to red, it would be very illegal to use the rear yellow turn signals as running lights or brake lights.  Of course, that is a quick bulb swap.

But otherwise, sounds interesting at $110.  Of course, my two relays and two load resistors added up to about $25.... but mine is a hack!
Shoodaben (was Guhl) Mountain Runner ECU flash, Canyon Cages front/rear, Helibars risers, Phil's wedges, Grip Puppies, Sargent World seat-low & heated & pod, Muzzy lowering links, Soupy's stand, Nautilus air horn, Admore lightbar, Ronnie's highway pegs, front running lights, all LED, helmet locks, RAM Xgrip, Sena SMH10, Throttle Tamer, MRA X-Creen, BearingUp Shifter, PR4-GT, Scorpion EXO-T1200,etc

Offline maxtog

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2011, 08:55:39 pm »
Any reason you didn't just replace the 1156 single element sockets and bulbs with 1157s?

Yes.  The 1157 bulbs have weak running light filaments and bright turn/brake filaments.  I wanted as bright as possible for running lights (so they would be meaningful in the daytime)- the 1157 method wouldn't have met my objectives.
Shoodaben (was Guhl) Mountain Runner ECU flash, Canyon Cages front/rear, Helibars risers, Phil's wedges, Grip Puppies, Sargent World seat-low & heated & pod, Muzzy lowering links, Soupy's stand, Nautilus air horn, Admore lightbar, Ronnie's highway pegs, front running lights, all LED, helmet locks, RAM Xgrip, Sena SMH10, Throttle Tamer, MRA X-Creen, BearingUp Shifter, PR4-GT, Scorpion EXO-T1200,etc

Offline maxtog

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2011, 08:59:44 pm »
How about drilling a small hole underneath the light, no one will see it and you can release heat from the bulb.

You mean in the lens?

I was actually thinking about drilling a hole above the light [housing].  It is far more protected.  But they are sealed units, I was afraid that if I do that, then moisture and grime could enter the housing and foul it up.

They ran for several hours today and seemed to be OK.  When the bike is moving, it does help to cool them down.  Of course, in the long-term, the plastics still might suffer.

I really wish someone would make 5+ watt 1156 LED's.
Shoodaben (was Guhl) Mountain Runner ECU flash, Canyon Cages front/rear, Helibars risers, Phil's wedges, Grip Puppies, Sargent World seat-low & heated & pod, Muzzy lowering links, Soupy's stand, Nautilus air horn, Admore lightbar, Ronnie's highway pegs, front running lights, all LED, helmet locks, RAM Xgrip, Sena SMH10, Throttle Tamer, MRA X-Creen, BearingUp Shifter, PR4-GT, Scorpion EXO-T1200,etc

Offline So Cal Joe

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Re: Front signals as running lights
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2011, 07:46:14 am »
I haven't taken the turn signals apart yet but is there room to mount another bulb socket? Drill a hole in it and mount a separate socket and connect it as a running light, you can use a brighter bulb and it should be simple. On my gold wing I had  a kit to illuminate with amber lights around the headlight housing, you drilled a few holes in the back of the housing and installed the amber bulbs.

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