Author Topic: Better Lights Please  (Read 634 times)

Online Angus

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Better Lights Please
« on: 23.10. 2017 21:50 »
Help before I spend more money trying to see.
I have tried and tried with both the A7, A10 and Norton to get a half decent light, something that when riding in the dark and another vehicle comes up behind you does not cause the road in front to disappear.
All three run 6volt, have additional wiring to earth the headlight
I have tried 5 headlight shells swapping between bikes
Normal BPF 35w/35w
Halogen 35w/35w from Paul Goff
Lucas 40w/45w
Batteries are good, charging is good
DVR2 on A7, standard regulator on A10
LED Speedo and standard stop and tail.
All headlights poor and barely ridable after dark, had a couple of close shaves.
So my winter project is to get at least one with decent lights, the A7.
My original plan was to convert to 12 volts and I have purchased yet another headlight shell (an H4 one).
Having looked online I am considering amending the plan to stay 6 Volt. Installing an LED stop and tail and then I have found a halogen 60w/65w H4 bulb (figuring higher watts is better lights)
Comment suggestions please



1961 A7 since 1976
1960 A10 Gold Flash Super Profile Bike
1958 Matchless G80 Project
1952 Norton Model 7 Plunger (becoming a project)

Offline trevinoz

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #1 on: 23.10. 2017 21:59 »
Higher watts = better lights IF the power source can supply it.

Online JulianS

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #2 on: 23.10. 2017 22:28 »
However high the wattage an efficient light unit is essential. I have found the "new" lucas H4 headlamp with domed glass to give a very poor beam whatever bulb is used. There are better on the market. I use an "old" Lucas flat glass unit which is much better than the"new".

High wattage bulbs really need to be used with a relay to stop high current going through the dip switch.

Online Greybeard

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #3 on: 23.10. 2017 22:46 »
I found some high wattage 6v traditional bulbs that seem pretty good to me. From memory they are something like 45w bulbs. I'm about to go bye bye's; I'll have a look at the box tomorrow to check that figure.
Mind you, I don't plan to do much riding in the dark.

Online orabanda

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #4 on: 24.10. 2017 00:09 »
As Julian said; installing a 6V relay will improve the light.
Add a heavy duty wire (5mm gauge will fit) into the #2 post on the light switch. This will connect to spade 30 on the relay (Power). The existing (blue) line from #2 then is used to provide power into the dip switch. The signal from the dip switch (choose one of the two lines) goes to spade 86 on the relay. Spade 85 goes to earth.

It helps to replace the two power wires into the light bulb holder, with a heavier gauge wire; I use 5mm. These wires connect to spades 87 and 87a.

The part no for the relay is on the attached drawing.

Available on the internet; shop around however.

Online mikeb

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #5 on: 24.10. 2017 03:17 »
I don't think A7/A10/E3L lighting will be great (by modern standards).

if you stay with incandescent/halogen bulbs definitely do the fatter wires and relay trick as above - my a10 is 6 volt and i think those helped a bit when i ran older bulbs. 6v is double the amps of 12v so any slight resistance (dirty contacts etc) is double the loss at the bulb. if you do this then I don't see any great benefit to going 12v.... 6v is fine and will charge at lower revs (or comparable revs if you rewind the E3L to 12v which will likely offer less reliability especially at higher loads)

you are limited to a total of 60w on the e3l and that assumes your revs are high enough to keep it charging (so ride faster!). The DVR2 helps. a belt drive kit can lower the required charge revs. Add up all your bulbs/loads and make sure it totals a bit less than 60W. LED tail/brake will help a lot but even then a 60W halogen will overload your system and may burn out your E3L. No more than 45W if you stick to halogen (and with an LED tail/brake).

my solution (repeated endlessly on other threads, some with pics) was a H4 reflector and CDRC 5th gen 6v LED headlamp and LED board for tail/brake lamps. Its OK... not great... a little 'thin' and glarey.... and still waaayyy better than the 35w incandescent bulb. I even removed the relay as it wasn't necessary any more. If you go LED don't bother with the relays as you will want the space for the LED regulator and the current load is so low.

people here appear to mix up the 5th gen CDRC LED with their older (and inadequate) double dipper. they are very different. I'm sure there will be better LED bulb eventually as the technology is moving fast. Unfortunately the demand for 6v auto bulbs if low. don't buy an LED bulb with a fan - they are all 12V and die by overheating (in headlamp shells). and the fans whine.

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Online BSA_54A10

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #6 on: 24.10. 2017 06:20 »
You are on a hiding to nothing trying to get a 6V headlamp that can overcome the shadows made by the 1000W high intensity idiot behind you.
I just slow down and force them to pass.
In the van I hit the brakes hard and when they abuse me for dong so it is "look mate I am really sorry but with your ultra bright super white headlights I can not see the road in front of me any more .
If the shadow islight  being cast by 2 100 W headlights, you need the same amount of light to overcome it and you are not going the get 200W out of any motorcycle light no matter what you do.
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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #7 on: 24.10. 2017 06:28 »
I find a good reflector makes all the difference. I run a 6V 30/24 BPF headlight bulb in a genuine old stock Lucas headlight plus LED stop/tail. With separate earthwires it's pretty good. But as mentioned, with a bank of searchlights right up behind you, best just let them past and then proceed.
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Online Angus

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #8 on: 24.10. 2017 09:46 »
Thank you so far guys
GB I have tried the 45w/45w BPF bulbs better but still not good/safe.
I will look at the relay to help improve the existing setup.
The new shell/reflector is the WIPAC H4 one, not bought any bulbs yet.
I accept that I will still be blind on occasions and I do pull over and let offending vehicles pass, just want to get the best I can on at least one bike. Others have vastly better lights then mine without trying, so sort of hoped I had missed something.
I try not to ride in the dark as its not enjoyable (regardless of lighting) but when out for a club ride on a Tuesday night its easy to get a bit late and then its dark all the way home. On one ride last year I was following a Panther which went around the corner ahead of me, when the Honda 400 twin behind caught up to us, the road vanished (45w BPF) and I used the bank to get me around the corner. I was luck there was not a ditch.
I think my bottom line is IF I go the these 60w/65w bulbs will they damage the EL3, I dont ride far after dark at most 30-40 miles so the battery would last but I dont want to do damage.
1961 A7 since 1976
1960 A10 Gold Flash Super Profile Bike
1958 Matchless G80 Project
1952 Norton Model 7 Plunger (becoming a project)

Online mikeb

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #9 on: 24.10. 2017 10:17 »
Quote
IF I go the these 60w/65w bulbs will they damage the EL3
some people say they get away with it... but it must add more load so run hot. at worst its a rewind?

btw i took my b33 for a city ride tonight - it has a 12v CDRC 5th gen LED hacked into an old BPF reflector - actually quite adequate lighting, tho i didn't have any SUVs with spotlight bars glaring at me from behind... (they couldn't keep up)
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Online JulianS

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #10 on: 24.10. 2017 10:22 »
The 12 volt advantage is less current for given wattage (and easier life for dynamo 60 watt bulb  = 5 amps at 12 volts, 45 watt bulb = 7.5 amps at 6 volts)  and a significantly greater choice of bulb, either H4 or older BPF.

If going for BPF I think some of the new pattern bulbs seem not to have the filament in quite the correct spot for best beam pattern. There are lots of new old stock 12 volt BPF bulbs out there in various wattages and for left dip. right dip and verticle dip light units.

Worth seeing this other recent post.


https://www.a7a10.net/forum/index.php?topic=12244.0

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #11 on: 24.10. 2017 10:25 »
Much depends on the actual bulb. I found 36/36 BPF bulbs were actually rather worse than 30/24s. Have you checked your regulator output voltage? If it's below 7.5 volts, you are going to get rubbish lights. Just a thought.
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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #12 on: 24.10. 2017 14:11 »
Best 6 V light I have ever used was an old Hela 6V halogen VW kombi waggon reflector & globe. you all know the one it was about the size of a golf ball.

Beware of NOS globes.
In many cases the cement that holds the glass in will be hardened past use and the glass will drop off the first time it gets some decient vibes and then roll around the reflector wrecking that to boot.
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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #13 on: 24.10. 2017 14:33 »
I found some high wattage 6v traditional bulbs that seem pretty good to me. From memory they are something like 45w bulbs. I'm about to go bye bye's; I'll have a look at the box tomorrow to check that figure.
Mind you, I don't plan to do much riding in the dark.
I've got the box here. The bulb is a Lucas LLB1077; 6v 45/40W P36D. Seems pretty good to me. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lucas-6V-BPF-Upgrade-Bulb-LLB1077-/221194688355

Offline rocker21

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Re: Better Lights Please
« Reply #14 on: 24.10. 2017 15:36 »
on my A7ss i fitted a cibie Z beam headlight unit, way better than anything else i have tried and it has an h4 fitting, converted to 12v and LED lights all round and i now have decent lights that i can use on very rural roads as that is where i live, no street lights out here. total load is now less than 30 watts so the dynamo does not struggle to charge even with the lights on, got the srm belt drive kit fitted as well, works fine and i can see where i am going. fitting higher wattage bulbs does not work very well as the dynamo only gives out 60 watts if all is working correctly, so a 45 watt bulb plus stop tail spedo and pilot light is to much for the dynamo , i have found that using a slightly less wattage bulb that can run at full power gives a better light than a higher wattage one that does not have the power to drive it properly, if fitting a headlight with an H4 fitting there is available an Osram nightbreaker bulb at 35/35 watts which i used in my bantam and that was very good and the bantam only has a 50 watt alternator and has to run the ignition as well, i think going to 12v these days is a much better idea and there are some decent bulbs you can use which are not available in 6v.
one other way to do things is to fit an Alton in place of the dynamo and then no problems as you can then run a standard 65/55 h4 bulb at 12v and easily charge the battery.
done this on another A7 and for night use it is very good but even that i have now converted to LED  as it is so much better, but you need to get a decent LED not some of the nasty cheapo ones that are now appearing.