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Thread: headlight bulb replacement

  1. #1
    Registered User SULLY's Avatar
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    Question headlight bulb replacement

    I lost the low beam on my R11RT, saw the recommended replacement is 60/55. Has anyone a comment on using higher wattage bulbs for replacements? I found Hella makes a 100/80 and a 100/55, I'd favor the 80w low beam- might it overtax the electric system?

    Thanks for any help!

    Sully
    Wherever you are... there you are.

    1997 R1100RT
    1985 H-D FXSB

  2. #2
    CRUISIN
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    Thumbs up PIAA

    I replaced mine with the PIAA H-4 that is rated at 110/100 and is supposed to draw the same power as a standard H-4 rated for 60/55W. I love the results.

  3. #3
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    If the wattage is higher, it does not draw the same power. Maybe they claim more light on the same draw, but 80 watts is definitely more power drawn than 55 watts.
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  4. #4
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    I believe

    Lorazepam has some posts about lighting. In my book he is the Kind of Motorcycle Lights - I rode with him two nights in a row. The one time it was raining and cold, but it was okay - his lights kept my back warm and toasty and they were so good, I put tape over mine.
    He started by going to some kind of white light bulb that he bought at Napa. Search for his posts on light.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  5. #5
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    Found it for you

    He said this bulb was half the cost of a PIAA (he is my kinda guy):

    http://www.sylvania.com/auto/silverstar.htm
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  6. #6
    Registered User SULLY's Avatar
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    Cool Thanks, everyone!

    I appreciate all the fast replies to my post. The Advance Auto parts store had the Sylvania, it's in the bike now, but I don't really ride much at night. If I did, I'd explore the aux light options out there. Having the light stay in the same place when I am turning is kinda weird!

    I hope I get enough light from the 55w...I'm taking it out tomorrow to a late civic meeting so I will be able to check out my ability to see in the dark.

    Thanks again, y'all!
    Sully
    Wherever you are... there you are.

    1997 R1100RT
    1985 H-D FXSB

  7. #7
    honard
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    Head light test

    I previously posted this in the BMW RS Club Tech Forum:

    I decided to compare light output from 2 popular aftermarket bulbs, 1 offroad spec and 1 stock bulb. I also tested an after market headlight relay/switch kit against the stock headlight wiring harness/switch.

    To do my test, I "borrowed" a light meter from work that measures output in foot candles. I waited until dark, rode my bike around the house to my sideyard where it is nice and dark, set up a fan to cool the heads, hooked up a battery charger to the battery and found a good spot on my fence 30 feet away to test the output of light from my bike.

    Bulbs tested:
    General Electric 9003 Halogen Replacement Bulb 55/60 watt approx. $7.00
    Silvania Silverstar 9003 Halogen Bulb 55/60 watt Approx $19.00
    PIAA Xtreme White H4 Halogen Bulb (blue tint glass) 55/60 watt Approx. $35.00
    PIAA SuperHalogen H4 Bulb ("Offroad Use") 90/130 watt Approx. $32.00

    Headlight Harness Tested:
    Stock
    Eastern Beaver Company - Single Bulb H4 Motorcycle Headlight Relay Kit $50
    http://ebeaver.oberro.com

    LOW BEAM TEST RESULTS (in footcandles @ approx 30 feet)
    Bulb
    GE (Stock)
    Stock Harness = 12.7
    Beaver Harness = 15.8
    Silverstar
    Stock Harness = 17.5
    Beaver Harness = 16.4
    Xtreme White
    Stock Harness = 18.5
    Beaver Harness = 17.1
    SuperHalogen
    Stock Harness = 20.7
    Beaver Harness = 20.0

    Higher numbers indicate brighter light.
    Note that Beaver Harness had less light output on low beam!
    Xtreme White had "whitest beam", Silverstar not quite as "white", GE yellow, Super Halogen yellow/white beam.

    HIGH BEAM TEST RESULTS (in footcandles @ approx 30 feet)
    Bulb
    GE (Stock)
    Stock Harness = 45.1
    Beaver Harness = 79.7
    Silverstar
    Stock Harness = 55.3
    Beaver Harness = 89.4
    Xtreme White
    Stock Harness = 46.7
    Beaver Harness = 81.3
    SuperHalogen
    Stock Harness = 64.1
    Beaver Harness =100.0

    Clearly the Silverstar is a much better value than the more expensive PIAA Xtreme White.

    The expensive Xtreme White is only marginally brighter than the stock bulb, although the light apears whiter, it is not measurably brighter.

    The additional light gained by the use of the Beaver Harness in cases >75% is worth the expense if driving in mountains/rural areas at night.
    The light gain between a stock bulb/harness to the SuperHalogen/Beaver harness is 121%!!! The downside is the extreme heat generated from the bulb. I would not use this bulb without the upgraded wiring harness as I would expect overloaded components/wires in the lighting circuit.

    I use this SuperHalogen with Motolights at night when riding in the country. The Motolights do an outstanding job of filling in the voids to both sides and immediately in front of the bike that the high beam misses.

    Hope this is helpful.


  8. #8
    Registered User SULLY's Avatar
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    Exclamation howzat work?

    From reading your post about Beaver harnesses, it sounds like the only thing that changes is the introduction of a low-voltage switching mechanism. I don't unnerstand how it would produce more candlepower on high beam, but less (in some cases) than the stock harness. Is there a simple explaination?

    This sounds like a worthwhile improvement. I have bookmarked their site.

    Thanks for all the research you've done to produce these results, and also for replying to my post....

    Sully
    Wherever you are... there you are.

    1997 R1100RT
    1985 H-D FXSB

  9. #9
    honard
    Guest
    Sully,
    The Eastern Beaver Wiring Harness replaces your stock headlamp wiring harness, but continues to use your stock high/low beam switch.

    It provides additional power to the bulb through direct wiring connection to your battery. This connection is of a lower gauge wire and bypasses the loss of current through the stock light switch by using relays. The new harness plugs into the stock headlamp and stock headlamp wiring harness making the connections very simple. It took me about 10 minutes to connect everything after removing my fairing (another 10 minutes).

    The net result is that higher voltage reaches your headlamp bulb due to less resistance in the new harness vs. the stock harness.

    I originally purchased the PIAA Xtreme White bulbs because of their reputation, however after my studies and quantifiable measurements, I can say that these "blue/white" bulbs are not all they claim to be. The wiring harness upgrade is my recommendation for the first upgrade, followed by either a higher wattage bulb (which may be illegal, check your state laws) or the Silvania Silverstars, then adding Motolights or another aftermarket auxiliary light system to supplement your headlights.

    Good luck.

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