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Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?
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Author:  ccrunner [ May 4, 2021, 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

Checking in to see if my plan is sound..

My goal is to LIGHT UP the front of this car so I'm more easily seen during the daylight. I'm building a BEC, and watts are scarce, so here's my plan:

--I've swapped out my (2) factory H4 (55/60) headlight bulbs for LED bulbs rated at 26 watts each- they are bright! :D ...

--With my 'extra' watts that I've just freed up, I'd like to also run a pair of yellow (attention-getting) aftermarket fog lights down in the grille.. I can swap out the H3 bulbs they came with for LED bulbs rated at 30 watts each.. ((My math says with this setup, I'll draw 26w (HL) + 30w (fog) = 56 watts per side, where my OEM setup was drawing 55 watts per side))

I'm not the best with electrical theory, so I'm asking is this a sound plan? further, if it is sound, am I ok to run all 4 LED bulbs on the one OEM bike harness relay? If I've done this right, I've doubled the number of lights I'm using, while using virtually the same amount of power to do it..

*Last weekend (daytime) I had a guy turn right in front of me and it scared me.. was he just a jerk? Did he not see me? I'm trying to get other drivers to notice this very small car, and I'm thinking 4! bright LED lights up front would help. Finally, I will not ever be running my headlight high beams, and I'm also running a garden tractor battery that's bigger (capacity) than what came in the donor bike..

Thanks guys :cheers:

--ccrunner

Author:  Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F [ May 5, 2021, 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

It's not that simple. Not enough info to answer.

If you were adding the extra load to a stock bike instead of a car, I’d say probably.

Don’t know what the actual watts are without testing. Could be more or less.

Don’t know how you’ve run the oem bike harness in the car. It may be closer to the exhaust pipes and negatively impact the harness current capacity. Specs are different between wires run separately versus in a bundle. The oem wire gauge is usually minimal for the oem load.

Don’t know the schematic design. It is unlikely that all vfr750s are wired the same.

Don’t know if the oem h4 watts are correct for the bike or just what you found installed.

I would check the amps with a dvm for each led to add up the actual load, check the schematic to know the oem fuse size and oem bulb watts, route the harness and components as well as possible away from heat and potential damage to one headlight, then solder 14 gauge stranded primary wire to reach the other side headlight and fog.

Author:  Rennkafer [ May 5, 2021, 9:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

I'll echo MV8 and say without measuring you don't know "exactly" how many watts you're dealing with. Keep in mind you're probably using more in other lighting that a VFR doesn't have. (more tail lights, more instance). That said a VFR750 DOESN'T come with H4's as standard, they're a 45/45watt with an "almost" H4 base, early VFR800's (what CC is using) reportedly are able to use the H4 with no mods. Haven't owned an 800 myself so no direct experience, I have had a 750. Unfortunately they were putting in a voltage regulator that's a known failure point in both the VFR750 and VFR800. So you do want to be careful about overloading things, and I'd likely do a preemptive strike on the regulator.

Author:  ccrunner [ May 5, 2021, 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

Gotcha guys.. more info: I've transplanted the entire bike harness into the car and have largely left it unmodified save stretching or shortening some wires-- essentially, this harness thinks it's still running a bike. This harness is out of a 2000 VFR800, and yes, the regulator/rectifier is the Achilles heel on this bike.. They are widely documented as a system that is highly prone to eventual failure. Luckily there are easy, virtually plug-in fixes that solve the root of the problem (which I have not done yet, but I will soon).

And yes, the VFR800 calls for 45/45 H4 headlight bulbs OEM, but virtually everyone switches over to the more mainstream 55/60 H4s when they replace bulbs (they fit nicely on the VFR800s).. for years the 800 owners have gotten away with this swap with no apparent penalty..


In order to add these fog lights, it seems I am in fact counting watts, and hoarding them where possible... I can save a few more watts at the marker/turn signal bulbs out on all 4 corners by swapping to LEDs..

The harness is well protected from heat as it's routed in the car; heat shouldn't be an issue..

--ccrunner

Author:  Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F [ May 5, 2021, 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

If it was not clear, the point is, just because the bulb swap is a common mod doesn’t mean you can exceed the mod load.

Don’t accept claims on the LED packaging (or cooling fans for that matter but I digress). Test. Check the volts at the LED then place the dvm in series with the LED circuit (dvm should have a 10 amp fuse protected internal circuit). P= IxE. P=watts, I=amps, E= volts.

It will probably be ok. :cheers:

Author:  rx7locost [ May 5, 2021, 1:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

It is always good to verify the electrical claims on electrical loads where you may be running near the limits. However, assuming the ratings on the H4's and the LEDs are correct, if you were good running your 55/60 H4 bulbs (that's 55 watts on low/60 watts on high beams, then running 56Watts of LED's per side should not be a problem. Of course in your BEC configuration, there might be less cooling available to the regulator. Heat is your enemy. If you can relocate it somewhere it has good air and maybe mount it on a heatsink (with fins) you might be a bit safer.

Author:  Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F [ May 6, 2021, 8:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

ccrunner wrote:
regulator/rectifier is the Achilles heel on this bike.

And yes, the VFR800 calls for 45/45 H4 headlight bulbs

virtually everyone switches over to the more mainstream 55/60 H4s

for years the 800 owners have gotten away with this swap with no apparent penalty..


heat shouldn't be an issue..

--ccrunner


Watts are directly proportional to heat to be dissipated by the regulator.
At a minimum, with no other electrical or reg cooling mods, the bulb swap penalty is a shorter regulator service life.
The bulb swap is probably the only cause of the regulator issue, not Honda engineering.

The fix is additional cooling for the regulator to compensate by adding a desktop pc heat sink and fan with thermal compound. If you do that to the old regulator, it might be ok for a while, depending on how long the higher output bulbs were operated with the current regulator.

http://www.one-ring.net/vfrfaq/reg-rect.html

Author:  Rennkafer [ May 6, 2021, 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F wrote:
The bulb swap is probably the only cause of the regulator issue, not Honda engineering.



No, this is a case where Honda got it wrong. Happened regularly on completely unmodified bikes.

Author:  Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F [ May 7, 2021, 8:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

I'll take your word for it. I worked in a couple different bike shops for a period of time and the problems were usually from owner modifications.

The field current comes through the regulator and the greater the load, the greater the field current needs to be, so the regulator would always be running hotter than normal with the constant headlight load.

IMHO, if it is engineering, they were probably exacting to a fault, with no cushion for real world conditions or guessing what owners may do with Honda's products. Bean counter putting the cart before the horse long-term.

Author:  Rennkafer [ May 7, 2021, 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Converting to LEDs, then doubling up on front lights?

Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F wrote:
IMHO, if it is engineering, they were probably exacting to a fault, with no cushion for real world conditions or guessing what owners may do with Honda's products. Bean counter putting the cart before the horse long-term.


Yep I understand how it works, and I'd have to agree it was likely the bean counter brigade who got their hands into it. Unusual for Honda, particularly back then... but fairly common in other places.

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