Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

General electrical problems
bevanclark
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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by bevanclark »

Oh dear, this is embarassing ! I contemplated deleting my posting above, but thought I'd confess instead :).

One of my (many) character flaws is jumping to conclusions.

After some careful testing on the bench of my conventional twin filament tail/stop light bulb and Paul's LED one with an accurate ammeter, I have realised that when I wired the bike a couple of years ago I have swapped the power leading the two filaments. Thus, when I have been depressing the brake, the tail light filament has lit up !

This explains why I couldn't spot a difference when I applied the brake with the lights on when the LED in place - the much brighter bit was already lit up. Also explains why a Warrant of Fitness (similar to an MOT) tester complained that my brake light was crap !

Sigh.

Here endeth my confession.

Cheers,
Bevan
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fpassmore
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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by fpassmore »

There we go, I figured something like that was the problem. Good you got to it first and figured out what went wrong in the first place.
We all do little things to confuse ourselves. Working on my RE headlight yesterday, why won’t this go on when I put the switch on full lights???? This one is modern enough the headlight works when the engine comes to life and there is power from the alternator. Too many variables to keep track of I would say.
Frank
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simon.holyfield
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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by simon.holyfield »

bevanclark wrote: Tue Feb 28, 2023 4:39 am Sigh.

Here endeth my confession.
We've all done it. My latest was rewiring a tail light that was dim in both positions, only to find that the bike wasn't positive earth at all and I'd bought the wrong bulb.
cheers

Simes

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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by nevhunter »

You CAN use a single tail light "Bright" Bulb in series with a resistance and you bypass the resistance to make the bulb brighter, imitating a stop light. The only requirement with this is you MUST have the tail light on "PARK" at least. Nev
bevanclark
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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by bevanclark »

Hi folks,
Another aspect to LED bulb usage:

I have them fitted to my Panther which has a reasonably modern solid state regulator. Am I safe to fit them to my old Ariel that has an MCR2 regulator ? It seems in good condition and has functioned well during the time I have had conventonal bulbs fitted (hasn't blown any bulbs, has kept battery charged but not overcharged and copes with the lights on while running).

What I don't know is whether LEDs are more sensitive to voltage fluctuations than conventional bulbs. Given that the MCR2 is quite a crude, solenoid type of regulator & cutout, I was wondering if it would be better to fit a modern DVR2 regulator before fitting the LED bulbs ?

I'd be interested to know if anyone has fitted LEDs on a bike with an MCR2, or any views on whether it is too much of a risk.

Cheers,
Bevan
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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by ian williams »

hi Bevan ;
ive had leds on bikes with and without voltage regulation , didnt really have any issues apart from bulbs just giving up because they were probably not much good in the first place .

i had a couple of lovely cheap bright pre focus headlight leds but when one of them went out on me in the dark one night while riding the back roads i ditched it in favour of a more commonly used led bulb .

i do find rear tail and stop led bulbs can go out for no reason and also some have brighter stop lights than others so i go through one or two of them and pick the best for brightness of the stop light .

the MCR2 is ok when it works but i have had quite a few problems with the ones i have that have either given up working or have become intermittent , i dont want to use them anymore and so i gut the insides and fit an AO services solid state regulator to the aluminium mounting plate .
any of the reputable solid state regulators are ok though except maybe the wassell one which although it works seems to draw too much residual current [60ma] and flateens batteries within a few days .
i did take an mcr 2 apart and dismantle the coils and found them to be dry and oxidised with a fair bit of break down of the paper insulation etc .
even tried an indian made mcr2 , well it worked for one short ride and then gave up , probably vibrations from the bike caused its demise although it probably wouldnt have lasted if sat on the back seat of a modern car either .

best thing you can do is to get an old non working mcr2 and fit a solid state regulator inside it , that way you get reliable charging and a stable output voltage and its hidden away in the original box .

the leds i think tend to run on a wide range of voltages , some headlight leds run from 5v to 24v , usually they will drop out at a certain voltage .

many of the leds you can buy for motorbikes are sold with dual polarity but some are not .

i keep a filament bulb wrapped in bubble wrap in my tool box on the bike , just in case im going along and the led headlight bulb goes out , so i can swap over , i also have a good bright led pilot led that gives just enough light in the dark so it doesnt drop into a complete black out if i have no headlight .

i think the led headlight bulb is less susceptible to voltage variation than is a filament bulb , youll get same brightness with an led all lthrough its voltage range .

i mostly ride during daylight but i have the led lights on when riding and so far the setup on it is not having any problems .

the only thing i would say is to make sure you have a battery with a good AH rating , i used a 4ah one for sometime but after a couple of trips out of finding my lights dimming and going out after 30mins on my way home i swapped battery for a 12ah one that was designed for a mobility scooter that fitted inside the pu7d rubber case and now have much more capacity .
.

will be interesting to hear how you get on Bevan .

cheers
ian
bevanclark
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Re: Brighter lights - 6v LED and halogen headlamp bulbs

Post by bevanclark »

Thanks Ian for that very detailed and helpful reply.

Since posting, I have removed and tested my Ariel's MCR2 - it does seem to meet the Lucas testing specs.

Having recently retired as a Physics teacher and lost my access to an oscilloscope, I can't examine the voltage control behaviour versus time, so am limited to a static multimeter readjng, but it does seem to be regulating ok.

So, because I'm an obstinate (and stupid) bugger, I'm going to carry out an experiment, which may end badly. I will see if Paul Goff's very expensive (by the time it reached me in New Zealand) LEDs will endure my elderly MCR2. Your suggestion of carrying the conventional bulb as a spare us definitely a good one, which I will do.

LED headlights are illegal in N Z unless part of a complete fitting, so I will have to swap them out before taking each bike for its 6 monthly WOF (aka MOT), but it is worth the hassle for the enhanced brightness and vastly lower current drain. I feel that a 75 year old charging system probably deserves a gentle retirement :).

I'll post the result, good or bad, in due course :)

Thanks again for your helpful response.

Cheers, Bevan
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