Custom LED Fog/Brights/Auxiliary DIY-ish - VTXOA
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Custom LED Fog/Brights/Auxiliary DIY-ish

Custom LED Modules: Motorcycle LED Auxiliary Lights

I will begin by making clear that these modules can be used for so many different applications – although the principles are the same for just about every application, I will be running through my particular purpose of adding lights to my motorcycle.

Mmusicman pointed out that these do not have a focus or cutoff and are dangerous to use in traffic. I have made some adjustments to the positioning which seems to work fine, but I will take some pictures in the dark to show where the light is really being thrown. My lenses produce a narrow spot, but if you want to aim them up higher, they certainly work well as high beams and fog lights(amber).


Row 1: All off, Aux lights off, amber lights on, white lights on.
Row 2: The custom set up, the rest are same as above, but from the front.

As a motorcyclist, I greatly value the possibilities of making others more aware that I am on the road amidst them. While I make myself more visible, it doesn't change the fact that I drive as if no one can see me. Safety – is my first priority.

To be more visible, I add lights! I am an LED fiend. I LOVE LEDs. I found some motorcycle LED running lights on one of those ‘affordable’ Chinese ‘we have everything’ websites. I had purchased items from them before that were decent, so I thought I would give those lights a shot. I purchased 4 LED lights for a total of $50. Not bad, right?? They worked great for a while and I was quite pleased with them. Only a handful of months and a few thousand miles down the road, one of them burned out. A couple months later, one of them lost the focusing lens on the freeway, and a couple months later, one of them kept loosening and twisting to point backwards!

My solution was to build my own. This article is to show you how I did it, and how easy it really was (or wasn't) - for under $200.*If you have absolutely NOTHING in your garage, then you will spend a small amount more on some basic parts like wires, cable ties, etc...

http://ledsupply.com


To make sure I got high quality parts, I contacted my favorite LED supplier, <a href="http://www.ledsupply.com">LED Supply (http://www.ledsupply.com)</a> and priced out the parts I would need. There were still just a couple things they didn’t supply, but I will give you links or ideas for those. LED Supply has a handful of options for the LED housings, and many options for the LEDs and Optics! I chose their ‘Dynamic LED Housing’ because it allows many different applications, but the biggest reason is because if the lens or LEDs get damaged, or if I want to change the optic pattern, or colors of LEDs, I can do it simply by unscrewing the housing and swapping parts out!

I wanted to add some bright white auxiliary lights, but also wanted to be able to have some fog lights. Why would I want fog lights on my motorcycle – I drive across a swamp on my way to work that gets extremely foggy on cold mornings – fog lights would be useful for the mile or two of fog. So I asked LED Supply if they could build me a custom 3-up star for my project. 2 white Cree XPLs in series, and one amber Cree XPE2, on one star. They happily obliged and I set off building my own high quality aux lights!

I’ll give you my parts list, and then give you my step by step process WITH PICTURES! How lucky are you?

My parts list:

I didn’t get this, but it’s a good idea to get the electronic waterproof spray from them as well so you don’t have to worry about riding in the rain. @ $15.99: http://www.ledsupply.com/accessories...-spray-sealant

Other items I had to find elsewhere:With that finally out of the way, we begin! (on the next post)...
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2005 VTX1300C - Darkside Michelin Defender 205/70/15 - Kuryakyn Hypercharger - Mustang Seats - 2up Switchblade - Custom Front Fender - Kuryakyn Highway Bars - Clayton Mod - PAIR Removed - Mobil M110 - Rotella Triple T 15W40 - UV Engine LEDs - Custom LED-Supply Running Lights

Last edited by Dethlore; 01-26-2018 at 12:30 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Step 1: READ EVERYTHING FIRST! You never know if you want to do something a little bit differently!

Step2: Get your parts!
All boxed up!
Out of the box.
Out of the packaging.

Step 3: Dry run mate the parts together.

Step 4: Polish everything you want to shine! I used Mother's Aluminum Polish and a shop rag.


Step 5: Next, only if needed, drill the center hole of the led star and heatsink for the 4 conductor cable to fit through. A crescent wrench or a vise would be best to hold the star in place.


Step 6: Solder the wires onto the star terminals. Make note of which wires you have going to each positive and negative pad.


Step 7: Use a hacksaw to cut the threaded rod into sections just long enough to thread into the heatsink block, and go all the way through the p-clamp with enough room for a locking nut.


Step 8: Mix a small amount of thermal epoxy and apply it to one end of the threaded rod. Thread this into the heatsink block without coming out the other side. Wipe any beading or excess away from where the rod enters the block.


Step 9: For the best possible mate, grind off one point of the copper female threaded fitting. Grind this point down until you have the best fit into the heatsink block.
Marked points to grind.
Dry run to check fit.

Step 10: Mix a small amount of arctic silver epoxy 1:1 and epoxy the copper fittings onto the heatsink blocks. I positioned mine with the hexagon points toward the rear of the heatsink to protect the LED housing itself, but positioning is completely up to you. MAKE SURE that when you epoxy this, that you don’t have any excess coming forward from the copper fitting. The LED housing needs to be able to thread down against the fitting for best thermal conduction.


Step 11: Drill a hole in the copper caps just large enough for the cable to fit through (sorry no picture). Cut 2 pieces of copper pipe just enough to fit the street elbow into the cap. Assemble the copper assembly as you see in the previous picture. You can epoxy these, solder, or duct tape if you want… I want to chrome plate them in the future…

Step 12: Solder the cable ends to the 4 pin connectors in a similar method of my wiring diagram… and remember to use heatshrink tubing to protect those connections! Yes, I’m using computer molex connectors… but you should use marine grade waterproof connectors.


Step 13: If you haven’t done so, remove the gas tank from your bike. Prepare the power cables with inline fuses (or use your own fuse block) and use the terminal connectors on the end in case you need to pull the circuit apart ever in the future. Use the diagram included in my parts list.

*Positive connections with in-line fuse blocks.
Connectors for the switches and to ground.

Step 14: Mount your custom LED Lights! Use cable ties to secure the cable along your crash guard bars, or wherever you've decided to mount them. I used chromed stainless steel cable ties.

You can barely see the cable ties!

Step 15: Fit the drivers between the top two frame bars and use electrical tape (or whatever you have around) to mount them securely. Connect the (+) and (-) cables to the switches, and the drivers to the switches (not the battery yet!!)


Step 16: In my case, the switches are mounted in the left neck cover, but you can have them anywhere… Finish mounting the switches.


Step 17: Connect the power cables to the battery – I connected the positive to the battery, and the negative to a nearby grounding bolt.
At this point, your lights are mounted! If you haven’t done so, properly align them so you’re not blinding oncoming traffic and so you get maximum visibility.
There is no need to remove the front forks as is shown in the pictures – I just happened to be rebuilding the forks, brake calipers, and adding an LED headlight at the same time!
The finished project with amber lights and white lights with separate switches. If I have them both on at the same time, I get a slightly warmer color white.






Please let me know what you think! I appreciate the questions and comments!
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2005 VTX1300C - Darkside Michelin Defender 205/70/15 - Kuryakyn Hypercharger - Mustang Seats - 2up Switchblade - Custom Front Fender - Kuryakyn Highway Bars - Clayton Mod - PAIR Removed - Mobil M110 - Rotella Triple T 15W40 - UV Engine LEDs - Custom LED-Supply Running Lights

Last edited by Dethlore; 01-26-2018 at 10:10 AM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 10:40 AM
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It hurt my brain to try to comprehend all this, but I really appreciate your time and efforts. I like being seen too.

2003 1800C Black w/ H-K 3", PC III, Clearview w/s, Hondaline backrest, XM sat. radio, MB 12" shocks, Prog. fr. spgs., Wolo, SPyKER mod, Glen's gas cap, Paladins, Drag Specialties Popsicle pegs, K-N, blackened engine, Kury RTB, mirrors & r. boards, blue LED's, Rivco tach & risers, LeatherLyke bags, backrest bag, w/s tri-pouch, Gen. Altimax RT43, Mich. Cmdr. II, Ult. Lowrider, Showchrome grips. 12-18 VTXCafe Bike of the Month
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 07:43 PM
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I'm not sure what the point of posting this TWICE was ... but I'll post my reply a 2nd time too... just in case someone reading this post (and not the other) will see what the issue is.

This is what normal "proper" cutoff looks like:

Typical stock...



Projection LED...



This is NO cut-off pattern whatsoever...



No pattern, no focus, no cutoff. Looks like a house flood light.
Just wide scattered light, unsafe and blinding up-close at night to oncoming drivers.
It appears the headlight also suffers from the same no focused pattern?

Sorry nothing personal... just calling it the way it is.
Hopefully you've resolved this.

I post this because a lot of riders are uninformed, or refuse to understand.
There is a LOT of information out there about this.

But I really DO like your handiwork and craftsmanship!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dethlore View Post
I think after doing this write up I did end up turning the aim more towards the ground..
If that's true... take another picture against the same white fence or wall and observe the results.

It should ALSO be noted that pointing a LOT of bright light on the ground directly in front of you can also partially blind you at night, with the foreground being excessively bright and the distance being much darker in comparison.

Last edited by Mmusicman; 01-26-2018 at 07:49 PM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 08:22 PM
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Here are a couple "Halogen vs LED" photos I've used numerous times to illustrate the results of "lack of focus". This is yet another separate issue (besides lack of cut-off) that many LED's often face.

Ironically, the original person who posted these (these are not my photos) intended to show how well he thought his new upgraded LED's "appeared" to be working. I took his photos and drew the circles around the objects I noticed, that caught my eye (the photos were untouched otherwise).

While the LED lights (in these photos) may "appear" to be brighter (and certainly whiter) up close (this is usually due to a wide pattern unfocused light) ... they often lack the focus down the road where the light is actually "effective" and needed. Typically with unfocused light, the ground, trees, and street signs will all "appear" to be brighter around you... but what happens to the light going down the road where you need it? Even on low-beam!

Note: this is not an "endorsement" for "Silverstar" halogens..
it just happens to be what the OP used in his before/after photos.

Note two things in this low-beam comparison photo (below):

* How light is focused at distant objects (circled)
* How much brighter LED appears in foreground close proximity



The example becomes even MORE telling on this high-beam comparison:

* Note distant objects circled
* Note how bright BOTH houses are lit up (you can actually see some focused cut-off)
* Note the complete LACK of distant focus of the LED lights
* Note how much brighter the LED's appear on ground at close proximity
* Note how LED low-beam and high-beam look practically identical



These photo comparisons are obviously between typical focus halogens, and typical unfocused LED's.
Projection LED's are another story completely!

They say a picture can be worth a thousand words! I think these speak volumes!
I think the comparisons more than adequately show the issues of unfocused light.

If you're cruising along at a night speed of 60mph or so... you don't need to be blinded by what is 50' in front of you... you NEED to see what is down the road (coming up fast) in your path!

Some will get all this... some still won't!
It probably depends on if you've already bought into the LED hype.

Technology however, is constantly changing and improving.
But the market is also flooded with the cheap and ineffective stuff too... that "looks" cool.
Just be sure you are informed and know what you are buying!

Cheers!

PS: Now image taking those weak but effective 1500 lumens of focused halogen light, and doubling it to around 3000+ lumens of "Projection LED" lighting! Imagine going even crazier yet to an astonishing 5000 lumens of focused HID lighting! Then add a couple focused auxiliary "real" driving lights! All with proper cut-off, yet lighting up the world... way down the road in front of you!

Last edited by Mmusicman; 01-26-2018 at 09:14 PM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 11:34 PM
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This is the first time reading this thread and i think a good presentation.


Although there are issues in trading different spectrums of light with some things to be addressed, one main thing would be lateral aim. They both will be different.


I love my LED lighting but it came with changing my OEM bucket system totally and not without it's cost, including my hwy lights if you have; .... but i can see a deer's eyes 200 yards further than before and traffic can see me pre or post position no worries. (unless there on the phone) hehe (and that's a plus in my favor)


My eyes did not take long adjusting to a different lighting system for the better I think, I hope...........


Be Safe, Cheer'z
Frog
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 10:52 AM
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Wow, nice cutoff, musicman. Unfortunately my light bucket isnt capable of that beam. Or it hasnt ever showed me that light beam control. The LED lights really depend a lot on diode firing. Which diodes light up for low, high beam. A stock bulb has a 360 degree light throw on LBeam and about 180 degree throw on H beam. (inside the bucket)There is a reflector in the bulb to get the 180. LEDs fire off at about 115 degrees. My LED lights do not. I just get a brighter low beam basically. I have had top, bottom mounted LEDs, Side to side LEDs and really cant tell a great amount of difference between them. Just more light than stock. Mostly I just want more daytime light for recognition. This week I added two 10 degree 10 watt LEDs for specific road lighting for those rare night time drives.
This is all just my experience and opinion. But he has got me to looking building lights. Thanks for the links. ride safe safe travels

With the people left unguided, For so many troubled years
In a cloud of doubts and fears, Their world was torn asunder into hollow Hemispheres......Neal Peart
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