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LED bulbs

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LED bulbs

Posted by lionel_yexley at December 29. 2016

It may come as a surprise to most people but LED bulbs are not legally approved replacements for tungsten filament types.  It is only if there is a complete lighting unit available with LEDs fitted.  Not surprising really as bulbs were always rated according to their "dazzle factor".  Apparently MoT tester will not fail any vehicle with the "illegal" bulbs fitted, so in a sense it is not important - although the Police could do so if they had the resources and time! Laughing.

This applies to all road vehicles.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by john_holmes at December 29. 2016

E marked bulbs are required for post 1986 vehicles, so our old bone shakers can use non E bulbs. As they are a vast improvement, and the wide beam in the pilot position is very good as daylight running light, there is a lot going for the conversion.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by Dan Field at December 29. 2016

This is a good read with lots of good links. I think it's important to note that the uncertainty of the legality of HIds is around headlights. As far as I know there is no real concern about leds replacing rear light bulbs.

http://greyhead.co.uk/are-aftermarket-hid-lights-legal-in-the-uk

i have a passing interest as I'd like to use a total loss system that would last all night for long distance trials, but I don't think the batteries are up to it yet. But leds are the way to go.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by Gordon Johnston at December 29. 2016

It would be an interesting test case - something which improves safety but is in fact illegal. The papers would have a field day.

My 1913 Douglas is fitted with bright bicycle LED lights which are switched on whenever I am out on it. Arguably not legal but I can't see an officer of the law telling me to remove them.

Regarding LED headlight bulbs, I have found them great for daylight running but a very poorly focused beam for nighttime use.

One other point. If you use your bike in the rain, filament bulbs give off enough heat to keep your reflector and speedo and rev counter internals dry.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by Barry Carson. at December 29. 2016

Lionel. what / where is the law on LED lights  .Baz

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by david_evans at December 29. 2016

I ran my IP2 with a HID bulb fitted. Very bright and a good beam apart from a small dark patch in the middle of main beam, this was with a Cibie reflector. 23,000 volts and only 35 watts. I have tried a LED bulb in My Commando and the beam is like a lighthouse in the desert, brilliant but useless.

My alternator supplies about 14 volts in the cruise so with a couple of relays to ensure most of those volts get to the bulb, standard H4 bulbs are pretty good. I do struggle with modern cars with fantastic headlights coming towards me though.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by peter_shand at December 30. 2016

Hello All

I have run a LED H4 head light bulb in my Mk 3 for the past ten  months or so and i,m very pleased with it so far.

The original set up (halogen bulb and original reflector) was an excellent headlight, quite up to 70mph plus speeds at night.

But the reflector was beginning to deteriorate and i wanted to be able to use heated clothing so I embarked on  Led bulb replacements, so reducing the electrical load to provide enough amps for this requirement.

Anyone who has gone down this route will have come across the only drawback to using Leds is the fact that they are a diode, they only work connected a certain way round. All vehicles now are negative earth so you have to buy/make/alter  bulbs that will work connected to positive earth bikes (like ours)

Another requirement that i insisted on was that no modifications were to be made to any of the bulb holders so if a replacement is needed in an emergency a normal bulb can be fitted

All fairly straight forward until it comes to the headlight. There is a website that advertises Led headlight bulbs that will work with a positive earthed machine and looking at the photo of this bulb on this website i recognised the same photo on various ebay sites selling the same bulb at a big difference in price.

The ones on ebay didn't say that they will work on a positive earthed machine but i took a chance and bought a pair anyway.

The box containing the bulbs duly arrived a couple of weeks later. It was a straight plug and play exercise into the new H4 Headlamp reflector. The little black box driver unit makes the bulb polarity insensitive so there is no need for change over relays etc.

The Headlight only draws approx 1.75 amps and the light is now a brilliant white, Daytime now coming up behind cars they now move over far more readily  than they did with the old headlight.

On a night the beam pattern is similar to the original but the traffic signs now standout far more brightly.

Happy new year to all

Regards

Peter

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by David Cooper at December 30. 2016

Reading this just reminded me. My 16h does not use 'modern' pre-focus bulbs and I didn't realise when I put an LED headlight bulb in. The beam was hopeless... Main beam just a floodlight. But after 10 mins out in the dark a few minuted ago I am quietly confident it has been dramatically improved by slackening the clamp and pulling the lamp holder back about 1/8 inch.

Worth remembering for older machines.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by alan_osborn at December 31. 2016

The above words of wisdom mentions a 'black driver box' for the LED to get rid of the problem of polarity ie neg or pos earth bike. The 'black box' will contain a small bridge rectifier and a resistor to drop the voltage supplied to the LED (as of course you are running it on 14V, the voltage all 12V vehicles should be at to charge the battery.)

The other point to note that LEDs tend to 'beam' without a reflector so as a rear light there is little side illumination, and the same with LED indicators.

The other issue mentioned above is the increased brilliance of car headlights....in fact this is also an issue of your own ageing process, as we get older our eyes stop 'adapting' to light change, hence car headlights seem extra bright when it is our own 'dim' eyes being apart of the problem. Car headlights out of alignment and cars with one headlight do NOT help either, to say nothing of the lack of Police to enforce such 'trivia'.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by david_evans at January 01. 2017

Peter's observation that "cars in front move over" and "traffic signs stand out far more brightly" is because the beam is all over the place. I gave up on mine for that reason, the beam is pretty antisocial and actually not much of it illuminates the road directly ahead. I used a Cibie reflector on my Rotary and that was good. The Wipac Quadoptic that I have on my Commando now is ok but not as good IMO. I run heated grips on my Commando with a standard halogen H4 bulb and my voltmeter shows 14v in the cruise. I play with the temperature settings to keep the charge up. So at lower speed I back the heated grips off a bit to maintain 14v

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by peter_shand at January 01. 2017

Duly noted comments about the beam pattern on my led headlight.

i said the original headlight was an excellent light and if i could obtain a bulb/reflector that has the same light output/pattern with only 22W i would bite the vendors hand off!

I have also tried other bulb combinations to reduce the electrical load but the Led route has been the most promising so far.

The Led bulb i have fitted has the facility to alter its focus so that will be another thing to try to get the pattern optimised.

I agree with Als comments about the Leds tend to 'beam' (very directional in other words) and this caused me no end of bother with indicators and  trying to create a led array to replace the rear light in my Mk3

The normal bulb illuminates the taillight as well as the numberplate, easy with the usual incandescant bulb that has a almost 360 degree light output.

There is/was an led light board available from america (bulbs that last 4 ever) that did the job but it involved modifing the lightholder assembly which was unacceptable to me. Plus it cost a lot of money!

After making two led light boards and testing a couple of led bulbs given to me (all unsatisfactory, not as good as a normal bulb) i bought a stop/tail led specifically for positive earthed machines. Result! the only downside is the cost. positive earthed bulbs cost more.

What Al said has just got me thinking, Negative earthed Led bulbs are plentiful and consequently cheaper, shouldn't be too hard to equip the wiring harness with a little bridge rectifier connected between the harness and the taillight, giving you the ability to use negative earth led taillight bulbs.

Indicator wise i ended up using Leds that are intended for domestic use and fitting them to redundant broken bulb bayonet caps so enabling there use in standard indicator bulb holders.

After being knocked off a suzuki years ago by an eighty nine year old chap who pulled out on me (luckily only a few minor scrapes and bruises, this was in town at about 25 mph)

I can confirm that a well booted foot goes through a reliant robins front end no bother! as that was what he was driving.

The coppers who attended this incident said that he would  lose his licence do to the fact of his poor vision.

So anything that helps to get you noticed even if it might be deemed antisocial might just save you a lot of grief.

regards

Peter

 

 

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by peter_shand at January 01. 2017

Duly noted comments about the beam pattern on my led headlight.

i said the original headlight was an excellent light and if i could obtain a bulb/reflector that has the same light output/pattern with only 22W i would bite the vendors hand off!

I have also tried other bulb combinations to reduce the electrical load but the Led route has been the most promising so far.

The Led bulb i have fitted has the facility to alter its focus so that will be another thing to try to get the pattern optimised.

I agree with Als comments about the Leds tend to 'beam' (very directional in other words) and this caused me no end of bother with indicators and  trying to create a led array to replace the rear light in my Mk3

The normal bulb illuminates the taillight as well as the numberplate, easy with the usual incandescant bulb that has a almost 360 degree light output.

There is/was an led light board available from america (bulbs that last 4 ever) that did the job but it involved modifing the lightholder assembly which was unacceptable to me. Plus it cost a lot of money!

After making two led light boards and testing a couple of led bulbs given to me (all unsatisfactory, not as good as a normal bulb) i bought a stop/tail led specifically for positive earthed machines. Result! the only downside is the cost. positive earthed bulbs cost more.

What Al said has just got me thinking, Negative earthed Led bulbs are plentiful and consequently cheaper, shouldn't be too hard to equip the wiring harness with a little bridge rectifier connected between the harness and the taillight, giving you the ability to use negative earth led taillight bulbs.

Indicator wise i ended up using Leds that are intended for domestic use and fitting them to redundant broken bulb bayonet caps so enabling there use in standard indicator bulb holders.

After being knocked off a suzuki years ago by an eighty nine year old chap who pulled out on me (luckily only a few minor scrapes and bruises, this was in town at about 25 mph)

I can confirm that a well booted foot goes through a reliant robins front end no bother! as that was what he was driving.

The coppers who attended this incident said that he would  lose his licence do to the fact of his poor vision.

So anything that helps to get you noticed even if it might be deemed antisocial might just save you a lot of grief.

regards

Peter

 

 

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by david_evans at January 02. 2017

Paul Goff has a good selection of +ve earth bulbs and also does a light board for the tail light but it's not that bright. (draws almost negligible current and should last forever) I have a Givi top box on the back of my Commando most of the time and the red reflector around it can be removed and a strip of leds from Maplin works well under the reflector. it gives the impression that you have the starship enterprise on the back seat. I bought a roll of led strip from eBay but under a red reflector it comes out pink. The maplin stuff whilst it is a white led shows through the red Givi reflector as red.

The purpose made reflector and LED headlights available in the USA are still very expensive. There is extensive correspondence about these on the access norton forum.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by David Cooper at January 02. 2017

I suugest try 'regulator dynamo conversions' LEDs. Rear is straight swap for bulb and gives red tail plus brake and white number plate lamp. Front pilot and speedo are also straight swap. Likewise headlight but mine needed focusing.

My dynamo now has almost nothing to do.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by richard_payne at January 02. 2017

Older bikes don't have to have E-marked lamps but I believe that headlamps are required to have a minium of at least 30 watts...so although an LED unit may be brighter, it's not dissipating enough power as heat to be strictly legal !

My 16H has an original 24w /24w though so I don't know how that stands.

Don't stop / tails have to be 5w /21w as well ?

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by David Cooper at January 03. 2017
That's interesting Richard. I suppose I'll have to rely on nobody taking much interest but it might be a worry in the event of an accident in the dark. It's weird that the law (allegedly) required brake lights after 1936 but the industry did not fit them until years later. So hopefully they don't much care! I've yet to road test the newly focused headlight on the road. I must say I don't much like the cold white light.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by Barry Carson. at January 03. 2017

 cant seem to find much on the law to do with LED lights .  

blinkin eck i tried to understand the regulations in the link below i gave in . Doh! missed Dans link..  Baz

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/contents/made

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by david_evans at January 03. 2017

A good few years ago in an effort to be seen at night, I fitted a 21watt rear fog light wired o come on with the back light. The MOT examiner said I couldn't have a 21 watt auxiliary rear light on all the time. luckily I had fitted a switch. I tend to give rules like that a good stiff ignoring now a days. You would have to be stopped by a pretty keen copper to get caught out.

Changing the subject a little, I recently saw a program about policemen drafted in to the IOM for the TT. one traffic cop stopped a BMW outfit for having an unsecured passenger in the chair. He had almost no idea of the rules and regulations.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by john_holmes at January 03. 2017

Well according to Baz's link Norton Commando Combats are exempt ;)

(3) Nothing in these Regulations shall require any lamp or reflector to be fitted between sunrise and sunset to–

(a)a vehicle not fitted with any front or rear position lamp,

(b)an incomplete vehicle proceeding to a works for completion,

(c)a pedal cycle,

(d)a pedestrian-controlled vehicle,

(e)a horse-drawn vehicle,

(f)a vehicle drawn or propelled by hand, or

(g)a combat vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

Joking aside as the regs only refer to filament lamps and as LED's are not filament then I do not see how pre 1986 vehicles with LED's are covered other than under

 

Restrictions on the use of lamps other than those to which regulation 24 refers

 

Which effectively says don't fit lamp which dazzles.

 

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by alan_osborn at January 04. 2017

Peter S

Re your above re 'little black box' re fitting a bridge rectifier to change the apparent polarity of the LED lamps. On further consideration there is a technical point that makes this a bit of a non starter. If you use this system for the rear light which retains the normal earthing for the lamp, then on a positive earth machine, the rear light housing becomes Negative! the more you think about it a) it doesn't work. b) if you isolated the rear-light metal work from the earth of the bike you would get an exciting time if you touched any metal item from the rear light case to earth! Don't do it.

You might get away with such a system on the head light if the head light earth is kept away from the reflector which might be earthed.

Suddenly my 'good idea' doesn't seem so clever.

IF you are fitting up a specialised rear light on its board then of course this could be incorporated.

A O

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by john_holmes at January 04. 2017

The Headlamp LED bulb I use has the little black box just before the bulb, it goes into +ve or -ve earth systems and is rated for 6V to 24V.

Re: LED bulbs

Posted by lionel_yexley at January 10. 2017

I have become almost obsessed with LED replacement bulbs at home and am gradually replacing all the old tungsten and "Low energy" tube bulbs.  The advantage is not only lower costs but lower amps and less 'stress' on old wiring.

LEDs tend to be problematic for focusing, as people have said here.  Their colour temperature is also important as an LED with a 'cold' light (high degrees Kelvin) will not have any red component so won't work well in a rear light unit.  The red lens is a filter to let red light through - if there isn't any red component in the light it can't let it through!  One of those oddities of physics which a lot of people don't realise.  This is why Paul Goff's rear LED clusters are red!  A tungsten bulb has most of the visible colours so any colour filter will normally work - not so with LEDs.  Colour, in a sense, is all an illusion.  We see the colours that we see because of our Sun's light emission spectrum.  A coloured surface then reflects that part of the sunlight spectrum.  E.g. if our Sun had a different spectrum - more red or more blue - then the colours we see would be different, even if the paint we used , for instance, was exactly the same pigment.  That's why I call it "an illusion".

Lecture over! Sealed

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