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Two 55-watt fog light bulbs use about 7 amps of current, and can overwhelm the charging system of an older Goldwing. Here’s something that can be done to improve visibility without putting a big load on your bike’s charging system. If youcan solder and use hand tools, this is easy to do.

Light emitting diode (LED) technology has come a long way in the last ten years and now they’re seen more in the automotive and truck industry, replacing the old tungsten light bulbs in tail and brake light assemblies. The great thing about LEDs is that they have a very long life, and can be permanently mounted without fear of them burning out before 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Many times the operating life of any car or motorcycle! They also use a small fraction of the current (amps) as compared to tungsten lamps.


Super-bright LEDs are now available at a very low cost. I just received 100 13,000 MCD white LEDs that I purchased on ebay for $4 plus shipping.

For my fog lights I used 24 LEDs per side, or 48 total. Each LED uses 30 milliamps of current and 48 of them uses less than 1.5 amps. A small fraction of what the 55-watt lamps used!

LEDs come in all styles and colors. The white ones that I used are rated at 3.2-3.5 volts at 30 milliamps. For LEDs to function, a dropping resistor must be used. With my bike’s electrical system putting out around 13 volts, I placed 4 LEDs in series for each 47-ohm dropping resistor. Since I used 24 LEDs for each lamp, this required six separate circuits and six dropping resistors. The resistors should be placed on the positive side of the circuit. LEDs should not be wired in parallel with the same dropping resistor – they should be wired in series with a separate dropping resistor for each. Each series circuit can, however, be wired in parallel. Hope this makes sense.

Regardless, there’s a bunch of information on the web about LEDs. There are even online “LED series calculators” that you can use to figure out how many LEDs can be wired in series, and what dropping resistor is needed.
 

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Here's a photo of how the LEDs are mounted in the existing fog light reflector.
 

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Mr.1200 wrote:
Marco.Does the LED set up light up the road as well as the 55 watt bulb did??

Very interesting what you've done..I have converted many lights on my bike,(Front Forks/Rotor Covers/Rear Lightbar) and like the durability and long life of the LEDs.as well as their low power consumption..

I didn't use them for the Front/Rear turn signals or Brake lights because I haven't found any that are as bright as the incandescent bulbs,or that will light up the whole light cavity..I found the LEDs to be directional (forward facing)

I have some of theLED bulbsthat have lights on the sides of them as wellas facing forward,but still don't care for their brilliance? Have you found any that are asBright as the stock bulbs are?

I have some spare Front turn signal light buckets,and am going to try and line the bucket cavity's with aluminum foil,to see if the foil will act as a reflectorto illuminate the whole bucket,and cast more light forward??

I'd like to see your wiring (Pics)for installing the drop resistors (Pm me) I like to play with toys (LEDs in this case)
I haven't tried the setup at night, but I don't think they'll be quite as bright as the 55W bulbs since not all the LEDs are pointed in the same direction. Using the curved reflector to mount the LEDs makes for a wider field of view, but as you said each of them has a narrow field of view. I'm sure the lights would be much brighter if I mounted them on a flat plane, but then they would be much more directional. I didn't do it to light up the night, I did it to give car drivers another chance to see my bike... my hope is that by also using the yellow lens, car drivers will giveme a second glance before turning left in front of me!

I probably could have made them a bit brighter by using lower-value dropping resistors, but those are the resistors I had in my junk bin.

As far as tail lights are concerned. Imounted eight bright red LEDs into a very small Radio Shack project box, all pointing straight back and connected it to my brake light circuit and a brake light modulator. It really works great, and gets the attention of other drivers. I set the modulator to blink for 5 seconds then burn steady. The normal brake light is unaffected and operates normally (steady). Friends on other motorcycles have told me that from a distance, the LEDs far outshined the normal brake light.
 

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How hard is it for those (like me) who are not electrically inclined but can work their way around a solder gun? what resistors are  you using and can you send a photo of the in-line wiring?thanks
 

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sanfelice wrote:
How hard is it for those (like me) who are not electrically inclined but can work their way around a solder gun? what resistors are you using and can you send a photo of the in-line wiring?thanks
Here's a website that has all the info youshould need. LEDs have one long lead and one short lead. The long lead is the positive lead.

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Bill_Bowden/led.htm
 

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Hey Marco:waving: a very good idea. Thanks for sharing.:)









:12red::cool:
 

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led's are nice but lights like that dont beam the light straight out i have led work lights and trouble lights in DARK places it lights up areas to an extent but it does not project the light far away the light dissapates too much over a wide area behind a dash board and stuff they work fine in tail lights or brake lights they work great because the light travels further faster and brighter easier to see

i dont know if this idea will work very well a freind of mine has an led foglight set up on his ultra classic and they do not work very well they glow more than anything
 

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Interesting Marco.

I'm looking for more light than the OEM 55w bulbs produce and don't think I can get there with the LEDs. Using less power would be nice but my '08 has a 1400W load capacity. The long life would be _very_ nice if an equivalent wattage could be produced.
 

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One Idea and my apologies if this is off topic but High Intensity Discharge bulbs (the ones that run on a ballast) are really bright and use about 1/2 the power of a normal halogen bulb..Just my 2 cents..
 

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