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Headlight upgrade

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Glad to find this forum. Hope somebody here has experience doing this.

 

I want to put a better headlight on my 2002 Honda XR250R. The stock 35 watt incandescent bulb is way inadequate.

 

 

I've looked at aftermarket halogen, LED and HID options. At this point the halogen models look more affordable and less complicated. I'd rather not have to put in a new stator.

 

 

Here's my question. What is the output out of the stator on this bike? I've looked for it in my shop manual and all over the web. Not finding it, where can I?

 

 

Will it power a 55/60 watt two element H4 halogen bulb, plus the 5 watt tail light? If not how about a 35/35?

 

 

Stators are generally rated at so many watts a some given rpm. For example 80 watts at 5000 rpm. Is there some down side, besides dim lights, putting too much draw on the electric system? Is it possible to damage the stator, regulator or something else   running lights at near or over the stator capacity?

 

 

Thanks,

Long Ride

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I'd highly recommend going LED (good info here and here).  I'm currently testing out one of the Chinese ebay lights.  Will post up a review in the next week.

 

Pros: huge light output, white light instead of yellow, low heat, low power draw (22-30W), less costly than HID, waterproof

Cons: more expensive than halogen, new product, so long term reliability is not known

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Don't hold me to this but I think the 250 and 400 have the same generator so you should just be able to run a 55/60W H4 and a tail light at the most.

 

35/35 H4 is almost useless IMO and not really any better than stock. Even a 55/60W unit needs a good sized and designed reflector to do anything.

 

I happen to like the lower kelvin color (heat range, whatever) of the halogen bulbs. Sometimes LED lights make the area close to your bike to bright (road signs also) and actually reduce the distance you can see and identify objects because you have so much light close to you reflecting back to your eyes. That's why I like to run a halogen main light and a set of LED aux. lights. The 2 colors / beam shapes blend well for a nice balance and spread of light.

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Redpoint said:

 

I'd highly recommend going LED (good info here and here).  I'm currently testing out one of the Chinese ebay lights.  Will post up a review in the next week.

 

Pros: huge light output, white light instead of yellow, low heat, low power draw (22-30W), less costly than HID, waterproof

Cons: more expensive than halogen, new product, so long term reliability is not known

 

------------

Thanks for the reply, Redpoint. You have me thinking about the Cyclops and the ADVmonster.

 

In any case I'm gonna have to replace the stock headlight unit with something aftermarket. I suppose I could go with a round bucket made for a H4 halogen and add in one of those LED bulbs at any time. Unless the H4 draws too much wattage.

 

Anyone here seen ADVmonster's  four LED bar unit in service? http://stores.advmonster.com/f40-light-bar-with-spot-flood-beam/  Its kinda ugly but looks like it puts out. I like how their bulbs have no fan and need no rectifier. Is it too early to get user feedback yet on those two products?

 

I didn't find the Chinese ebay light you linked to. But I'd pay more to have something simple and reliable. The riding we do gets remote and I don't like getting hung up way out there.

 

Cheers

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Michigan400 said:

 

Don't hold me to this but I think the 250 and 400 have the same generator so you should just be able to run a 55/60W H4 and a tail light at the most.

 

35/35 H4 is almost useless IMO and not really any better than stock. Even a 55/60W unit needs a good sized and designed reflector to do anything.

 

I happen to like the lower kelvin color (heat range, whatever) of the halogen bulbs. Sometimes LED lightsicon1.png make the area close to your bike to bright (road signs also) and actually reduce the distance you can see and identify objects because you have so much light close to you reflecting back to your eyes. That's why I like to run a halogen main light and a set of LED aux. lights. The 2 colors / beam shapes blend well for a nice balance and spread of light.

 

---------------------------------

 

Thanks, Michigan. I haven't seen a 35/35 in action that I know of so I appreciate the  opinion.

 

According to my book the 250 and the 400  look  different. I still haven't found a for sure spec on the output. I know its easy enough to test the voltage coming off the alternator, or the AC regulator. I'm gonna have to consult an expert to tell me how to test the max amperage or watts I can draw.  And what about how it won't always be putting out max.

 

Yeah, people say halogens are yellow. But I have them on my truck and they seem fine to me there. Not as yellow as the incandescent light on the bike.

 

I'll keep digging on this and figure out the best way to go.

 

Cheers

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Trailryder said:

 

I believe the stock stator is rated around 75-80 watts, so plenty for what you want to do.    

 

------------------------

 

Thanks Trailryder,

 

The XR250L has brake lights and turn signals and battery charger and electric cup holders. So I would hope I could  fit a decent light on the 250R without upgrading the alternator.

 

But hey. If the thing only put out 80 watts and a 55/60 bulb draws 115 watts, aren't I already overmax with just that light? I'd have to just use the high beam and leave the 55 watt element unpowered. That would be better than what I have now . . .  but not ideal.

 

If 75 watts is right, looks I could get a lot of candlepower out of some LED units for that. Unless they're too harsh with glare like Michigan says. I haven't seen the Cyclops or the ADVmonster  like Redpoint linked to in action. Any body here used them or something like them and have a comment? 

 

BTW this bike is dirt only so I'm not worried about DOT compliance or even low beams. And I'm not racing so I don't need to light up half of Baja. I just want good visibility in the dark so I can get home doing 50 instead of 15 mph.

 

 

Cheers, y'all    

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H4 would draw 55W on low OR 60W on high. There are 2 filiments but they are not lit at the same time.

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H4 would draw 55W on low OR 60W on high. There are 2 filiments but they are not lit at the same time.

Right, what Mich said. A dual filament bulb requires a handlebar switch to switch between the two, they're not run both at the same time. If you're not needing a dual filament bulb(hi/low headlight)for reasons of licensing the bike as a dual sport, then just run a single filament 55 or 60 watt bulb and forget the extra switch wiring.

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H4 would draw 55W on low OR 60W on high. There are 2 filiments but they are not lit at the same time.

 

Ah. Thanks for that bit of info. Should make things easier.

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I'm gonna ask this forum a couple more questions, see if I can get some more helpful answers.

 

Other than putting one of those aftermarket LED bulbs like the Cyclops or ADVmonster into a bucket made for halogen bulbs, I don't find many or any ready- to- use headlights with LED bulbs. Just some spots and fills meant to be accessories.

 

I don't mind setting up a unit made for halogen and later swapping in a LED like the Cyclops. So I'm looking at something like this

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bikers-Choice-Mount-Indicator-Headlight/dp/B00HXCC9AM/ref=sr_1_43?ie=UTF8&qid=1407891573&sr=8-43&keywords=motorcycle+headlight

 

 

Looks like this

 

Bikerschoice_zps1c69335d.jpg

 

Could fit it to the bike with something like these

 

headlightbracket_zps6f37a73b.jpg

 

A tech guy at Baja Design looked up his book and says it tells him the XR250 alternator puts out 70 watts. Enough to run a 55/60 watt H4 bulb. At peak power, that is. I have to wonder how much its going to dim at slow cruising speed.

 

Anyone have experience with that?

 

The existing wiring to the headlight is just a hot wire from the AC regulator, and a ground. Seems like it should be simple to rout that thru a switch and to the lamp. But then I run into a wrinkle. Advice I get from one source says the bike wires are likely too light and couldn't handle the draw, says I'd need a relay.

 

Not sure how that would work. Some heavier gauge wire from the source to the lamp and the relay closes the circuit, I expect.

 

Any ideas? Is it necessary?

 

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If you want simple. Get the Honda glass lens upgrade and run a 55w H3. No switch needed or anything else. Bolts in to stock headlight mask just works mucho better.

Honda has decent wiring harness, no need for a relay unless your over 100w on a single circuit.

Edited by michigan400

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If you want simple. Get the Honda glass lens upgrade and run a 55w H3. No switch needed or anything else. Bolts in to stock headlight mask just works mucho better.

Honda has decent wiring harness, no need for a relay unless your over 100w on a single circuit.

That's what I did.

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Your bike puts out AC power, you can forget about anything LED unless it's made for AC which is rare. A 55 watt bulb will be dim at idle and will melt the plastic lens eventually, plus those bulbs use a different socket than the xr. Realistically for any serious lighting you will need a new charging system complete with a battery or capacitor. Then one of those big 8" round headlights, the stock sized square light is too small to throw enough light no matter what wattage...

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There are plenty of LEDs on the market that work on AC, though an H3 may be harder to come by.  A 24W LED will throw just as much light (arguably more) as a 60W halogen.  No need for a glass lens either.

 

Here's a test shot of my 22W/30W LED.  It's actually much brighter than it looks in the pictures.  The 35W halogen is a candle in comparison.

 

modifications-142200-0-54856100-14082092

Edited by Redpoint

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There are plenty of LEDs on the market that work on AC, though an H3 may be harder to come by.  A 24W LED will throw just as much light (arguably more) as a 60W halogen.  No need for a glass lens either.

 

Here's a test shot of my 22W/30W LED.  It's actually much brighter than it looks in the pictures.  The 35W halogen is a candle in comparison.

 

modifications-142200-0-54856100-14082092

 

Hey Redpoint,

 

At the top of this thread you mentioned you were testing out some kind of ebay Chinese LED. If that's it, what is it called and how would you rate it so far? What did you mount it in?

 

Forgive me, but I mistrust Chinese knockoffs  usually. Seems they cut corners to keep it cheap and there's no one there to stand behind the product. But I'm looking at everything.

 

I had the notion the LEDs put out a lot of heat (why they need the fan), but you're saying what, they don't get hot enough to melt plastic?

 

I can't shake the idea how LEDs give the most lumens per watt and oughto be the way to go. Still outfits like Baja Design offer a race light HID powered and halogen powered and nothing LED powered. Lots LED accessory type lights and few ready to go aftermarket headlights.

 

Except I see now Harley D is putting some on their bikes. They'll sell you one for $500

http://www.harley-davidson.com/shop/motorcycle-lights

 

Daymaker_zps2d7feed5.jpg

 

There's a market niche here for some enterprising manufacturer.

 

Thanks for the reply.

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If you want simple. Get the Honda glass lens upgrade and run a 55w H3. No switch needed or anything else. Bolts in to stock headlight mask just works mucho better.

Honda has decent wiring harness, no need for a relay unless your over 100w on a single circuit.

 

Michigan,

 

That would be simple. No fitment issues, I expect.  And yeah simple is better. Rectifers, relays, ballast, lots of splices, overheating problems . . . its just stuff that is gonna cause a failure eventually.

 

I didn't know there was such thing as a glass lens upgrade. I'm not finding any source doing a Google search. Can you say where you found it?

 

The existing unit is a plastic lens with metal reflector back. And the bulb mounts into a three slot bayonet sort of receiver with a spring to hold it in. Doesn't look exactly like the base of a H3 blub. So how did you get the H3 to fit in the back of it, I wonder? Some sort of modification?

 

I'm considering how Azmaxxed might have a point, the little stock unit is kinda small to throw a big beam. But you have this setup and you are pretty happy with it?

 

 

Cheers, thanks for the reply.

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That's what I did.

 

Trailryder,

 

You're happy with the light output and the beam pattern?  Where did you get the unit?

 

Thanks

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Your bike puts out AC power, you can forget about anything LED unless it's made for AC which is rare. A 55 watt bulb will be dim at idle and will melt the plastic lens eventually, plus those bulbs use a different socket than the xr. Realistically for any serious lighting you will need a new charging system complete with a battery or capacitor. Then one of those big 8" round headlights, the stock sized square light is too small to throw enough light no matter what wattage...

 

Azmaxxed,

 

Not gonna use anything plastic.

 

"A 55 watt bulb will be dim at idle".  That's a big question. Not idle so much but low rpm cruising speed. If that's gonna be a problem with a halogen bulb, it argues for trying one of those LED units Redpoint linked to in his first post. But you also have to wonder how they put out at low rpm.

 

Anyone have direct experience either way and want to say what you think I would get?

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Hey Redpoint,

 

At the top of this thread you mentioned you were testing out some kind of ebay Chinese LED. If that's it, what is it called and how would you rate it so far? What did you mount it in?

 

Forgive me, but I mistrust Chinese knockoffs  usually. Seems they cut corners to keep it cheap and there's no one there to stand behind the product. But I'm looking at everything.

 

I had the notion the LEDs put out a lot of heat (why they need the fan), but you're saying what, they don't get hot enough to melt plastic?

 

I can't shake the idea how LEDs give the most lumens per watt and oughto be the way to go. Still outfits like Baja Design offer a race light HID powered and halogen powered and nothing LED powered. Lots LED accessory type lights and few ready to go aftermarket headlights.

 

 

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

The link to the LED I'm testing is in my last post.  So far I'd rate it a 9 out of 10.  Fitment is was the only stumbling block so far.  It's mounted in an older Acerbis headlight shroud (used to come with the Baja Designs DS kit) that uses an H4 base.

 

It's not exactly a Chinese knockoff.  The bulb is designed by Cree (North Carolina), and just about every housing from every vendor is manufactured in China.  Even the bulbs are made there.  The two sold by the vendors advertising at ADV Rider are also manufactured in China.  I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the eBay ones are the same headlights marketed and sold in the US and Canada by mass retailers.  I know for a fact that at least two retailers are doing this.  Tens of thousands of mountain bikers have been using inexpensive Chinese supplied Cree helmet lights for almost 10 years.  I bought one around 2007 for $90 when HIDs were selling for $500+.  It's still working great today.  You can now get a similar one on eBay for $30.  Same quality, LEDs are just getting that much cheaper.

 

It's impossible to flow power without heat.  But, with the LEDs, the heat is at the base of the bulb, not the where the light is emitted.  The base sits outside of the headlight housing, so the lens doesn't even get warm.  The fan makes sure that the heat is dissipated quickly and doesn't melt your wires.

 

 

If you're still looking at the 55W halogen, do a search on here for glass lens.  There are a few posts with links to where you can buy one.

 

 

 

Edit:  my LED light is full power at idle, but I have a small battery.  It's just about full power even with the engine off. 

Edited by Redpoint

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