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Will upgrading headlight bulbs put excessive strain on the electrics

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by BrightBlue, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Ok, so I have finally had it with the weak headlights on my beloved VTR - when riding with others at night bikes miles behind me still light up the road ahead better than I can and I want that to change.

    I've already switched to a 2 headlight conversion but after doing so found that it was blowing the fuse constantly. I called the installer who recommended that I fit a 15amp fuse instead of the regular 10, but that I'd have to bring it back in and get weaker lamps otherwise it would put too much strain on the bike's electrics.

    Short version, is that true? Even the bulbs that got switched out were weak, so I wanted to go for a pair of those ultra bright bulbs, but that would require even more than the 15amp fuse?
  2. It depends on what you're doing.

    Those 'ultra bright' halogen globes (usually marked +20, +50 etc) use the same amount of power as a standard globe, 55watts on low and 60 watts on high. So the fuse and wiring isn't affected. They are brighter by sacrificing bulb lifetime.

    Then there are 'off road only' 90/100watt bulbs. These use more power and can blow fuses. What will usually happen, however, is that the wiring is now undersized for the current flowing through it and will get warm or hot. This heat is lost power that is not getting to your lamp, so the 90/100 watt bulb doesn't actually get much brighter. (Technical term: voltage drop).

    Sometimes the wiring will melt or smoke.

    If you switched to a 2 headlight conversion, and those two headlights both have high/low beams (as opposed to your single high/low beam OEM lamp) then you've doubled the power and doubled the current. Your wiring from the fuse block to the headlamp assembly is now much too small and will be dropping voltage significantly. You should re-run much heaver wiring (e.g. 20 amp wiring (and I mean real 20 amp wiring, not supercheap auto 20-amp wire)) from the fuse block to your lamp assembly. This should significantly improve the light output.

    Then you've got to look at lighting patterns. This is a function of the reflector and lens (if there is a lens).

    Failing all that, you can put in a HID retrofit kit (illegal, about $40) or a full projector replacement (at about $400).

    Finally, the stator on your VTR is rated to produce between 250 and 300 watts (at 5000RPM upwards). You need about 60-100 watts to run the ignition system leaving about 150 - 200 to charge your battery and run your lights. Therefore, try not to exceed about 100 watts of constant lighting load to avoid stuffing your battery.

    My apologies if I rambled on a bit.
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  3. I put a couple of Narva Blue Plus 90 globes in my bike a few months back. Based on my research, these gobes use a different gas mixture and do not have significantly shorter life, even though they produce more light at the same power. I can't find the link with the information right now, but a little research is sure to find it.

    Mind you, some of these afternarket globes aren't made to the same standard as the globes used by OEMs, so they do have a checkered history in terms of reliability and life. There are lots of stories on the web about failures.
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  4. HID's are the way to go. I firstly did my low beam to see if it was worth while and it certainly was, so recently did the high beam. Evert time I go out at night, my mates can pick me from a mile away, even when I'm behind them.

    I don't care if they are illegal, I want to see where I'm going and I want people to see me! If a cop does pull me over, I would discuss the visibility versus the legality of the head lamps.
  5. That's pretty much exactly what I needed to know, at least now I can plan a route forward.
  6. and ride away with a canary sticker on your bike and the hassle of getting a roadworthy.
  7. Yep and so be it, he can canary me for other stuff while he's at it!

    I'm sick of living in fear of a canary, been there done that. If they want to ping you for something they will. Sheesh, I got a canary on a 3 month old car...I laughed at him!
    • Like Like x 1
  8. No it wont.
  9. You'll be unlikely to overload the alternator or the battery but some OEM wiring can be a bit thin and I have seen handlebar switches with burned contacts from simply putting a bigger globe in.

    Last time I did a headlamp upgrade, I bought a big relay with a fuse for both main and dip, ran aheavy power fed from the battery +ve terminal with an inline fuse and wired it so that all the OEM electrics saw was the juice to throw trhe relay. Worked beautifully and I had a high-beam like a f'kin death ray.

    Not much globe life though. I suspect that the interior of the headlamp was getting a bit hot.
  10. i have a hyo 650R and everyone knows, the electrics aren't great of the bike.

    i had projector lenses already on the bike from factory, but they were using halogen bulbs and had shit as output.

    i've since upgraded to 35W 6k HIDs and have used a separate wiring harness with a fused relay and a switch. the 35W HIDs use a lot less power than stock halogen globes and produce a lot more illumination. the only downside is, the ballast when warming up pull up about 9amps or current and then only 3amps when running.

    the only bit of stock wiring i'm using is the cable that connects to the halogen globe and instead, i've connected them to a switch. this way, i can turn the bike on without having to worry about the ballast pulling all the current needed for start up.

    using the that setup^^^, i haven't had any issues at all and the OEM harness is fine as i've connected mine directly to the battery.

    someone on the hyo forums installed a projector in his headlight (lens type) and its a massive difference:
  11. I'm using the Phillips Xtreme Vision 55W H7's on my '09 Ninja 250R. They are a straight swap replacement and won't require any more current/voltage than your current bike system.
    I'd recommend trying these out before you go for any full HID setup as they can be a real right PITA to install when you start talking about beam gathering/focusing/aiming, ballasts, swapping out headlight reflectors to culminate the light from a HID, wiring harnesses....for $80-something dollars, try out a set of the Phillips Xtreme Visions or equivalent competition lamps. :]

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  12. Yeah, the Phillips globes were my second choice. About the same price, but the Narva globes got a few more good writeups. Next time I may try the Phillips, depending on how these globes go.

    The light from the new ones is an improvement, but I am yet to find out how long the will last. I expect about five years, or 1000 hours of use, or 40,000 Km of riding, which is about what I got from the OEMs.
  13. the blue/white tint globes or +50, +90 globes will always have less service life than the OEM halogen globes.

    i used to use +90 philips power plus in my car and had them go off after about 6-8months. then i swithced over to the narva ones and been over a year and they are still going great.
  14. RoderickGI, what sort of price are we talking on the globes?
  15. I can't actually remember Grey, other than I thought they were about as much as I would pay for a pair of globes. I got them from Repco in a two pack with two blue side (parking) light globes. Like this on eBay. I think they may have been $78. Not cheap anyway.

    They can be found online for as little as $28.95 each though. The average price in most places now seems to be $55 to $63 a pair.

    I had to buy mine on the day, since I had to pull the globes out to be sure what mount they were. The Ducati manual specified the completely wrong globes, and I had to pull most of the front fairing off to get the blown parking globe out! Hence I bought from Repco, allowing me to reassemble the bike on the day, instead of waiting days for a delivery of cheaper globes.
  16. Which brings about the other problem with higher wattage globes...

    The extra heat buildup can cause the plastic lenses to wrap or in my own case caused a weld line to enlarge and become more obvious. ( plastics term to describe when the part is moulded the flow of material into the mold cavity comes from 2 or more different directions and then 'welds' when they meet ) Looks like a small crack, but its actually a moulding fault.