Idiot lights

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Idiot lights

Postby hphilbo » 14 Jan 2021 15:57

Hi, basic question I know but how are these re-lamped. I have a 76 sport with the three small round lights that appear to be retained by knurled aluminium rings. As items such as these are fragile and probably irreplaceable I’m reluctant to apply much force. Amazingly the high beam one is working but the bulbs need replacing in the others.
Regards,
Phil
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby Steve Brown » 14 Jan 2021 18:03

It's a long time since my bike had those, they break easily and are hard to find so take care! I think though, the bulb and it's holder are pushed in from underneath. Can't recall what bulb either but they will be available and possibly as LED replacements too.
If you have 3 to spare I'm interested!
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby nickst4 » 14 Jan 2021 21:01

Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs in idiot lights can be tricky. The extra brightness is generally welcome but LEDs can glow dimly if there is a tiny current that reaches them despite the function they indicate being inoperative. That has certainly happened for me on a neutral light and a fuel-low light. Needless to say, the polarity of the circuit is also important for LEDs.
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby Steve Brown » 14 Jan 2021 22:47

nickst4 wrote:Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs in idiot lights can be tricky. The extra brightness is generally welcome but LEDs can glow dimly if there is a tiny current that reaches them despite the function they indicate being inoperative. That has certainly happened for me on a neutral light and a fuel-low light. Needless to say, the polarity of the circuit is also important for LEDs.


Quite right, and actually I found LED too bright for a Main beam warning as it was very distracting at night! Brighter almost than the main beam :oops: Other than that fine.
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby Ming » 15 Jan 2021 07:42

[quote="Steve Brown"]... I think though, the bulb and it's holder are pushed in from underneath. Can't recall what bulb either but they will be available and possibly as LED replacements too. [quote="Steve Brown"]
IIRC they are a small wedge bulb, and the holder pulls out from underneath. Quite easy to replace with LEDs, though they can be bright, as said. It is possible to add a small resistor to each to limit current though.
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby 3potjohn » 15 Jan 2021 08:55

I tried LED instrument lights. I returned the main beam idiot light to the original for that same reason. Too bright.
The one I would like to do is an indicator bulb but too much faff with polarity issues. One fine day I am going to replace the ones on the Coguaro on which there are an indecent amount but so fiddly to get to. I’d have to be stuck, bored with no bike riding to do before I attempt it.........oh wait a minute......
Some of the bulb holders on my K Sport had a tendency to drop out over bumps but have had a severe talking to.
John
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby nickst4 » 15 Jan 2021 11:08

Apart from a predilection for LED headlights which has got me into hot water here before, a favourite use of LEDs is for the indicator warning light. Indicators left on is a major problem in bike safety to my mind, but the warning lights are usually feeble and almost always out of sight when looking straight-ahead.

Every bike I acquire gets the treatment, with one or more 5mm LEDs mounted as high as possible in a neat little mount so as to be visible within my field of view. I tried green as per convention, but found that red catches my eye much better, and the beauty of such a passive system is that your eye and brain register the function from the moment the indicators go on, even when wearing a helmet that would silence a beeper. You just can't ignore it. Timed warning lights and/or a beeper are quite unnecessary in my view and can be pretty irritating: I tried that system and felt there ought to be a better solution.

Apart from making a mount for the single LED to fit it high on the console or beneath any screen, the other complication is polarity and taking a feed from both indicators without interference. Fortunately, some kind person in the past provided a little schematic incorporating two extra conventional diodes in parallel, and once the little assembly is made, I simply push the tinned cable-ends into the indicator connectors because so little current is needed. That makes it all very easily detachable and there is no need to mess around with the interior of instrument panels or the original idiot light. Trying to piggy-back an LED on the original idiot light is tricky, as one soon discovers that the polarity reverses depending on which signals are in use and LEDs don't like that. Of course, you can go for handed LED idiot lights to cope with that issue and that even tells you which indicators are functioning, but it's a bit OTT.

If anyone is interested, I can post pics of the circuitry and components required.

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Re: Idiot lights

Postby 3potjohn » 15 Jan 2021 18:00

I would be interested in the indicator LED information. I would probably also try something like it on my old beemer too.
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby robint » 15 Jan 2021 20:21

If you change the flasher relay to an electronic one ( a few £ delivered from the Far East) that sends a regular 12V pulse to the indicator switch continuously as a feed then there is no polarity change issue involved and any LED tell tales (a few less ££ from the Far East) can be used. Have fitted them (choose your colour as well as arrows or not - I have arrows.....) inside the cockpit fairing on my 1978 Sport and work well. Can be seen as two small mounds on the binnacle beyond the clock.
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby norbert » 16 Jan 2021 00:13

LEDs as idiot lights use to be too bright.
I had the great luck that a friend of mine a real electronis specialist built me all the electronis for Dulcinea. All lights except the main light are LEDs and he incorported a sensor that regulates the brightnes of the idiot lights, diming them acording to the conditions (bright in sunlight, dimmed down entering ... a tunel) as well as a potenciometer to regulate the light of the clocks, incredible. I have the three old idiot lights but with colorless lenses and two color LEDs so I have light/highbeam, warning of less than 12V/oilpressure and ignition/indicators.

Of course I have to be aware not to damage the headlight. Looking at the pictures you will understand. I know that this won´t help much, but it shows the posibility of what you can do, if you can do. All the central electronic is in the headlight. We drilled 10 holes in it to pass the wires :shock:

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backside
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Of course he had to order the circuit boards acording to his design (another one for the regulator/rectifier) and for soldering the components on the backside you need laboratory conditions and a very calm hand :roll: The regulator aparts the light circuit from the battery (main light only with running motor) so I come along with a very small 2 Ah batery that fits together with the regulater in the tank tunel. All the switches only use control currents. This is a quite expensive high end electronic instalation. Although I didn´t pay his work (and apart of all the work, he came up to Lübeck to install all the wiring), only for the boards and components I could have bought a rat spare 3 1/2. But as Dulcinea was and will be the main object of all my motocycle life I decided to do the test pilot for this system. And it works well since 2017 and 23.000km :wink:

It is easier trying to drill the plastic of the colored idiot ligts a bit, so that the original bulbs will be a bit brighter :wink:
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Re: Idiot lights

Postby norbert » 16 Jan 2021 02:30

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Strongly modified original old Hella barendindicators
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