Sunday, January 20, 2013

XS750 Restoration, Part 15 -- Turn Signals and Brake Lights

I received the LEDs from Superbright LEDs and the front turn signals from Motorcycle Superstore yesterday. I've spent most of the week collaborating with my younger brother, who in the last year decided he was going to learn electronics and now spends his spare time designing and building audiophile-quality amplifiers and such, on designing a solid-state LED flasher so I can replace the old-school, non-LED compatible flasher on the motorcycle with something that does not depend upon current draw to set the flash timing. Just as I was starting to make progress on the design, I found this. Hmmm...$8.95 (plus shipping) for a plug-in replacement for my existing flasher, or $20-40 in parts to build something that I have designed myself, that may or may not even work, and may or may not hold up in a motorcycle environment...let me think about it for a minute. Ordered!

I was very happy with the front turn signals that I received in the mail, but I was surprised at how tiny they were! The ad on the Motorcycle Superstore web site mentioned that they were low profile, but I didn't understand just how small they were -- they fit entirely in the palm of my hand! At first, I was concerned that they were so small that they couldn't possibly be very effective.

However, once I connected them to the motorcycle battery, I was no longer worried about the efficacy of these turn signals. They are seriously bright! You'd have to be blind not to notice these, even in full daylight. On the downside, I don't think my plan to replace the bulbs inside these lights with LED bulbs is going to work. Try as I might, I could not figure out how to get the light bulb out of the housing. Apparently, these are designed to have the entire unit replaced if/when the light bulb burns out. One other problem I noticed is that the short, threaded rod that is used to mount these turn signals is too short to fit through the headlight bucket and the mounting ears that holds the headlight bucket to the forks. I went to Lowe's to find a longer bolt, but while I was able to find a match for the diameter (12mm), Lowe's didn't have the same thread pitch. I needed a 1.25 pitch, but they only stock 1.75. I'm sure I can find the right size somewhere else; I'll just have to shop around a bit.

I was also pleased with the amber "Angel Eye" LED rings and 1157 LED tail light/brake light bulbs that I received. I'm shooting for something more or less along these lines, only with amber (the Angel Eyes) around the outside for the turn signals and the 1157 in the center for the tail lights/brake lights (the 1157 bulb is dual intensity). Both the Angel Eyes and the 1157 bulbs are quite bright; they are going to look sweeeeet when I get the housing built...

...which I started laying out today. Late last year, I bought a sheet of 3mm aluminum for the turn signal housings; today, I cut a template out of leftover poster board and transferred the template to the aluminum sheet. Hopefully, in the next week or so, I can start cutting the pieces out of the aluminum. I'll still need to make the barrel of the housing out of something; I haven't yet decided what. It would probably be trivial to do a fiberglass layup. Alternatively, I could cut a rectangle of thin, sheet aluminum and roll it into a tube. We'll see...

...To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. LED lights has a low power consumption and long and predictable lifetime.The lifetime of LED street lights is usually 10 to 15 years, three times the life of current technologies adopted. LEDs also have low maintenance cost.