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Turn signals and voltage meter question

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David Elkow
(@4949)
Estimable Member

For your instruments, I can recommend the LED upgrade kit from KatDash.com. I installed their kit for my ‘78, and really like it.  

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Posted : 07/15/2021 17:47
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @john-young

 I have completed the turn signal connections, parking light and brake light connection cleanup. I have a new v. regulator coming and eventually brighten the lighting to the instruments for better night time driving. 

Some thoughts...

Installing wide angle GREEN LEDs for gauge back-lighting makes the cluster brighter, without making them glare or distract.

Installing a narrow angle BLUE LED in the high beam indicator location allows you to see the indicator during the day. That's important because I ride with high beam on during the day for on-coming traffic. 

And then provide similar narrow angle LEDs for the other warning lamps.

For your tail lamp you probably want a wide angle RED, so the entire lens is totally illuminated. For your brake lamp you want a narrow angle RED to focus the light to the rear.

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 07/17/2021 05:06
John Young
(@john-young)
Eminent Member Customer

 I saw the the Katdash setup and it's real nice. I am trying to figure out when ordering bulbs for the various lights and instrument pods what sizes are correct. I've looked at the various bulbs around my bike and see different numbers and letters. I'm missing something regarding sizing comparisons to get the right fitting bulb for the different applications. Can anyone tell me on how I can correctly order bulbs? I've ordered the led headlight that you referenced Dave and should be arriving soon. 

 Update on cleaning my electrical connections: I have done the battery connections and under the tank connections. I was surprised to see how much oxidation was on all the connections. The duck billed pliers were very handy. I did not try to remove the oxidation but put a liberal amount of Deoxit on each connection and pushed on and off the connectors a few times to try to make the connection better.I don't remember the german words you used to describe it Richard but it sounded correct. Only one connection that I couldn't get unplugged (maybe a good thing though) was the larger connector right in front of the new voltage regulator that I installed. If I knew the name of that connection, but I'm in the learning stages. The new voltage regulator has bumped up the voltage needle on the meter a bit. Thanks for that suggestion Richard and "the check is in the mail! Next stage is to open the headlight bucket and see whats in there. Any advance suggestions would be appreciated. I have all the mini fuses but waiting to order those mini holders. When buying the fuse holders can you tell me the wire gauge size I should order? and also I'm thinking I need the inline type?

 I was also incorrect regarding the brake master cylinder under the tank. It is in fact on the bars. That is a relief. In the future I'll look closer instead of spouting wrong info. 

 I have been riding the bike through this process and am getting to know it. It's a great ride. On a negative note though my golf game is suffering from neglect. Now that is A Quality Problem!

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Topic starter Posted : 07/17/2021 13:43
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator

► The Katdash IS very nice, but runs in excess of $400. It's main use is to repair the lamp connections. You see, the OEM flex circuit board has very small tabs that bend down 90° into several holes to allow the bulb holders to snap into place. After 40 years, these tiny tabs break off and the bulb can no longer get the electrical power it needs to operate. So most users are replacing the OEM circuit board simply due to the loss of a tab about the size of the tip of a ball-point pen. There are about 4 small indicator warning lamps and 2 larger gauge illumination lamps. So about 6 bulbs total with 2 contacts each, so the total number of tabs is about 12... and they are all extremely fragile. Katdash simply replaces the bulb holder with a on-board LED... which ends all bulb replacement cares, and thus all tab-loss concerns.

► IF you'd like to retain your OEM flex circuit board, and inspection has shown that all 12 (or whatever) tabs are present, then you can proceed with simple bulb replacement, by colored LED... with 2 highly important caveats....

  1. The reason the circuit board tabs break off is friction. So if you'll simply use your No-Ox electrical compound as a lubricant, the friction will diminish and the likelihood of more tabs breaking off is greatly reduced. (This savings of yet another $400 will require yet another check. Thank you.)
  2. You cannot replace the Alternator warning lamp with LED simply because the BMW alternator depends upon the internal resistance of the incandescent bulb to operate the alternator. The change from incandescent bulb to LED bulb changes the resistance in the circuit and will hurt the correct operation of a well-planned and otherwise perfectly operating charging system. However, this same thing will happen IF the alternator bulb ever burns out. This is why you are warned to always check for the presence of the Alternator indicator bulb illuminating BEFORE pressing the starter button each time you ride
    1. And here we need to add a caveat onto the caveat !! 🤣  Motorrad Eliktrik sells a resistor you can add to your charging circuit that supplies the required resistance, so that the alternator continues to work correctly with or without the indicator bulb. This would allow the addition of the LED indicator in that one position. This item is not shown on their web site, you must call and ask for it. 

► Indicator bulbs PNs...

Clock & Voltmeter - BA7s-G (Green, 6500K, 5 lumen)

Speedo & Tach - 194-GHP5  (Green, 6500K, 95 lumen)

Indicator Lamps - 74BHP (in color desired, 6500K, 19 lumen)

► I must tell you that although spade connectors are some of the best connectors in use, like all connectors they have a limited life. Therefore multiple plug and unplugs are NOT recommended. In this case, especially because you are adding a highly conductive and connection-promoting compound, multiple plug/unplugs is NOT needed and may indeed be self-defeating. I urge you to forget "if some is good, more must be better" mentality, which only applies to daily mileage on an Airhead and German beers, not maintenance items.

► It is of little concern where the brake master cylinder is now. When we discuss the electrical system, we are more concerned about where the brake m/c has been. If you have Brembo calipers, then the m/c has always been on the bars. If you have ATE calipers, then the m/c was at one time under the tank and that wiring will need washing and other special care, including the aforementioned inspection of the starter relay. 

► As per the photo already provided, the mini-fuse holders (available at most LAPS) already come with the appropriate wire molded into the holder. All you need to do is cut the wire to an appropriate length and strip back the insulation for soldering and crimping. American 1/4" spade connector crimps (both male and female gender) which are FULLY INSULATED in RED (color indicates wire gauge size) will also be required. Blue and Yellow crimps will NOT work.

- For replacing the German fuses inside the headlamp (any model with the colored circuit board) 2 female crimps + 7A fuse are required, 2 places.

- For protecting the Clock, 1 male & 1 female crimp + 1A fuse are required.

 

Hope this helps.

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 07/18/2021 08:36
John Young
(@john-young)
Eminent Member Customer

 I have put the 1 amp fuze on my clock. Thanks as always Richard. I received and installed an LED headlamp bulb, but after reassembly I re-read some earlier posts regarding install. I did not remove the thin metal piece that goes over the bulb. (I'm exposing my learning curve errors). The next time I have the bucket apart I will remove it. 

 Richard, you asked me to let you know what I found in the headlight bucket, and there is only the three prong plug connector for the LED bulb and the backside of the bulb where the fan? is for the particular light I chose. It fit despite the added length of the light fan, into the bucket 

 I have ordered the correct color lights for my speedo, tach, clock and volt meter as well as the red tail and brake light you suggested. Many thanks again. 

  Moving forward I will adopt the one and done reattach plan for all electrical connections that are the spade type.

 I will be on the hunt for where my fuzes  reside and upgrade to mini fuzes once I locate them.

  Had I known how therapeutic doing all this was I would have kept the two airheads I owned many years ago.                               

  To be continued.

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Topic starter Posted : 07/20/2021 12:51
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @john-young

I received and installed an LED headlamp bulb, but after reassembly I re-read some earlier posts regarding install. I did not remove the thin metal piece that goes over the bulb. (I'm exposing my learning curve errors). The next time I have the bucket apart I will remove it. 

You need to separate the reflector from the glass lens to take that part off. I rode like that for several years before I read the suggesting from Scot to remove it. You'll get 98% of the benefit with no down-side with it in, so don't kick yourself too hard. 😋 

You asked me to let you know what I found in the headlight bucket, and there is only the three prong plug connector for the LED bulb and the backside of the bulb where the fan? is for the particular light I chose. It fit despite the added length of the light fan, into the bucket. Moving forward I will adopt the one and done reattach plan for all electrical connections that are the spade type.

Your R80 has the later style wiring. All your wiring is under the tank on the RH side of the frame. There are very few spade connectors there. It's all large multi-contact connectors for faster production. 

I will be on the hunt for where my fuses  reside and upgrade to mini fuses once I locate them.

On the newer wiring, the fuses are in a well-hidden rectangular black box, to the rear of the tank, but in front of the side cover. All you need to do is unplug the spade connectors and plug them into the mid-sized flat pack fuses that come with 1/4 contacts. You should be using 7A or 10A in both those. Of course, treat the contacts before you plug them in. Green should go with Green/Blk, and Gray should fuse to Gray/Blk.

 

Hope this helps. 

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 07/20/2021 15:57
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

Sounds like you're making some good progress.

One point about DeOxIt. It has something in it that will actually break down oxidation, given sufficient time. How do I know this? I have an agricultural sprayer with an electrical pump. I use it once or twice a year, and the rest of the time it sits in a covered trailer. In use, the wires get soaked with water, including the switch that turns it on and off. In years past, I'd dig the thing out of the trailer, mount it on the side-by-side, then hook the alligator clips to the battery. Then I'd cross my fingers, check my horoscope, hold my tongue just right, and hope it would light off when I hit the button. Most of the time it was OK, but one year nothing I tried got it going. I tried taking the switch apart, but the contacts were buried inside a glued housing, unreachable without resorting to some sort of violence. Got out the spray can of DeOxIt, gave it a generous dose through the cracks around the toggle button, and nada. No help. I was pretty frustrated by then, so walked away and ate some lunch. Came back about an hour later, and just for grins, hit the button again. Darn thing fired right up! And now, years later, it has had no further problems. I've had the same sort of thing happen with safety relays on the tractor. Give 'em a squirt and a bit of time, and the problem goes away. If you've ever had the handlebar switches on our airheads apart, you never want to do it again. Here's a great place for the DeOxIt spray to come to the rescue. No, I don't get a kickback on DeOxIt purchases, but I've had really good luck with it. Perhaps you will, too.

The later airheads, I think from the monoshock models on, did away with the ceramic fuses in the headlight shell and the Christmas tree wiring board. Instead you'll find a small cube of a fuse box that contains mini fuses with blades. On my RT, it's under the large main frame tube, back under the seat. It can sometimes be found under one of the side covers. Check your owner's manual for the exact location. If you don't have an owner's manual, drop by your friendly local BMW dealer and buy one. They might have to order it for you, but I believe they are still available. Unlike the current bikes, the owner's manual has a good section on maintaining and troubleshooting the bike. And the tool kit is also sufficient for completing most of that work. If you don't have the tool kit, the complete kit is still available, but some of the individual tools are NLA. So instead of trying to piece one together, bite the bullet and just fork over the money and get the satisfaction and security of knowing you'll be able to fix most any of the usual problems that might crop up.

As far as the LEDs for turn signals go, the flasher relay relies on a certain current level for the metallic flasher element to heat up and make/break the contact. The later style electronic brain box has similar issues, in that they both expect a certain resistance in the circuit. LEDs only have a fraction of the required resistance, so the relay will either flash fast to indicate a burned out bulb, or not flash at all. SuperBriteLED.com sells a turn signal resistor that gets wired from the hot lead going to the bulb, and the other end is grounded. You'll need one for each side. On my '95 RT, I wired them at the turn signal sockets in front.

I've been using LEDs from ADVMonster in both my motorcycles and cars. Seems like they come out with a new and better generation every time I do an upgrade. All the ones I've had are light years ahead of the factory bulbs. The bulbs in my Vanagon were so bad I was afraid to drive it at night. Now I don't even slow down, and they focus so well I don't blind oncoming drivers.

Motorrad Elektrik also sells an LED tail light array that is vastly superior to the old filament bulbs. It can also be set to flash when the brake is first applied, just the thing to get the attention of that distracted driver behind you.

Keep up the good work, and let us know how it goes.

Oh, and one other tip. When the subject of your inquiry changes, start a new thread. That way it'll be easier for you and others to find in the future.

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Posted : 07/22/2021 10:39
John Young
(@john-young)
Eminent Member Customer

Wanted to post my progress following advice from Richard W. and Scot M.

 I have been able to experience my led headlight at night. The low-beam is much better, however the high been isn't any significant improvement. Very difficult to see a difference between the two settings. I'm wondering when the defuser in the headlight over the bulb will change this.

 I cleaned up all the battery connections.

 I found the two oem fuses under the tank in the small black box and replaced them with new mini fuses with fuse holders.

 I have replaced the rear brake and taillight bulbs with LEDs with a big difference in brightness.

 I purchased the two green bulbs for the speedo and tach and will be installing them soon. I am waiting for the clock and voltmeter bulbs to arrive. I need to order another for the parking bulb as well.

 My voltmeter reading has increased and now reads at idle aprx 13.3. It almost reaches 14  once underway. It still wavers when turn signal is engaged. Can you tell me what the optimum needle position should be when idling and when riding?

 As a side note, If you haven't received anther check from me Richard another increased amount should be received any day now. LOL

 And also Scot, Deoxit has contacted me about whether or not you have received your quarterly statement increase. Deoxit is the bomb! LOLAROTG!

 Seriously though, I appreciate all the help you have given me. 

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Topic starter Posted : 07/29/2021 14:37
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @john-young

My voltmeter reading has increased and now reads at idle aprx 13.3. It almost reaches 14  once underway. It still wavers when turn signal is engaged. Can you tell me what the optimum needle position should be when idling and when riding?

On the road at 3500 RPM and higher... after ~10 miles when the battery has recovered from the drain of starting... you should be reading up around 13.3V. This because the Airhead voltmeter reads about 1V low. Most AGM batteries like to see a charge voltage around 14.3V, which you can test with a hand-held meter right across the battery terminals (engine running and rev-ing).

Since you are getting a higher charge voltage, I am assuming you fitted the solid state voltage regulator for AGMs.

 

Very happy to help you. Happy to see things are coming together for you. 

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 07/29/2021 15:51
John Young
(@john-young)
Eminent Member Customer

@wobbly  Thanks Richard! I did install a solid state voltage regulator per your earlier suggestion and that, along with the LEDs moved the needle.

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Topic starter Posted : 07/29/2021 16:27
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @john-young

Wanted to post my progress following advice from Richard W. and Scot M.

 I have been able to experience my led headlight at night. The low-beam is much better, however the high been isn't any significant improvement. Very difficult to see a difference between the two settings. I'm wondering when the defuser in the headlight over the bulb will change this.

Here's why... With a 3-sided column LED construction, 2 of the 3 sides light up on Low Beam. High Beam throws in the last of the 3 sides. Since the same LED chip is being used on all 3 sides, High beam only adds 33%.

Test Number 1

So 'No', from the rider's position you won't see a blinding difference between Low and High, especially when you're in the city where there is lots of extra light. However, it will be noticeable when you get out in the countryside where you'll notice a better light pattern. 

Test Number 2

There's another position to view the bulb from.... and for your riding safety it's important that you take a hike out 50 feet in front of your bike and have your assistant flick the Hi/Lo headlamp beam switch, while YOU look at how on-coming drivers see your motorcycle. What you'll notice is that on Low Beam only about 2/3 of the reflector is illuminated, but High Beam fully illuminates the reflector.  So you need to ride during the daytime on High Beam in order to be fully seen. 

You think I'm kidding? Well the US DOT investigation into thousands of motorcycle accidents (known as the Hurt Report) found that fully 2/3 (66%) of all motorcycle accidents were FRONTAL. Cars didn't see the motorcycle and pulled out in front of the bike. In other words, the accident could have been avoided if the car driver had only seen the motorcycle. And riding on High Beam during the daytime, with a fully illuminated headlamp, increases your chances of being seen. Test Number 2 just proved this fact to you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurt_Report

 

Hope this helps.

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Richard Whatley

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 07/30/2021 07:07
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