GL1800Riders Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of MAY's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 70 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at getting some brighter headlights on my 08 ABS. One manufacturer sells H7 bulbs that are "55/110" and say that they draw 55W, the same as the original bulbs, but put out 110W of equivalent light.

I can't seem to get my head around that. Experience tells me that there's no free lunch, perpetual motion machine, or money for nothing.

Can anyone provide some clarification to this confusion?

tia
 
G

·
Of course there's a perpetual motion machine...

We all know that a slice of bread will fall on the carpet with the buttered side down and a cat will always land on its feet. So, when you tie a piece of buttered bread to a cat's back and drop the cat above some expensive carpet, it will just spin there and never land. :joke:

BTW, light output isn't directly related to electrical power (watts). For example, compact fluorescent bulbs put out the same amount of light (lumens) with far less power consumption than incandescent lights. So perhaps the manufacturer was indicating that their bulbs could produce more light output than a standard halogen 55W bulb without using more electrical power. Obviously, this would require different bulb design.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Of course there's a perpetual motion machine...

We all know that a slice of bread will fall on the carpet with the buttered side down and a cat will always land on its feet. So, when you tie a piece of buttered bread to a cat's back and drop the cat above some expensive carpet, it will just spin there and never land. :joke:
LMAO and looking for my cat and some toast
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
Lights

If you want real lights, go with HID. These lights put out more light than a 55W Halogen, but only draw 35W.

I tried all kinds of Halogen bulbs and found some that were super white in color to the stock bulbs. One I installed the HID, the best bulb I had found looked like a dim flashlight. :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,616 Posts
The 55/100 bulbs you refer to will output a "cooler" light and look brighter to the eye. Top light output is 6400K (also called "TRUE COLOR" in the sewing an embroidery world).

I have these > PIAA XTREME H7 < and am pleased with them. They are 4000K (Kelvin). Tho I would not say they ouput 110W, they are brighter. I have not measured the power consumption. The blue caps look really cool in the Hi Beams. I don't get too many complaints from the drivers coming my way, but I have aimed them low.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
883 Posts
ldr_doug

I agree the HID's are bright & probably the way to go.

I was going to put PIAA 910's under the mirrors until I talked to a few LD riders & they suggested 80 watt Phillips Rally bulbs

I put 80 watt Phillips Rally bulbs in the high beams last spring. The rally bulbs along with PIAA 1100X's would almost start forest fires. Problem was when I had to dim to the lows I couldn't see anything. I tried the PIAA 55/80's in the lows, it wasn't what I wanted, they were still too dim. So, I put the 80's in the lows. WOW! What a difference. It's exactly what I was looking for.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,119 Posts
I agree the HID's are bright & probably the way to go.
I was going to put PIAA 910's under the mirrors until I talked to a few LD riders & they suggested 80 watt Phillips Rally bulbs
I put 80 watt Phillips Rally bulbs in the high beams last spring. The rally bulbs along with PIAA 1100X's would almost start forest fires. Problem was when I had to dim to the lows I couldn't see anything. I tried the PIAA 55/80's in the lows, it wasn't what I wanted, they were still too dim. So, I put the 80's in the lows. WOW! What a difference. It's exactly what I was looking for.
Hi Sleddog,
I was thinking about something like the Phillips Rally bulbs, but was concerned about the added heat affecting the bulb's longevity and damaging the headlight plastic. Also can the bike's wiring take the additional power.
Have you used the Phillip bulbs long enough to see if they damage any of the above concerns?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
883 Posts
WinginHunk,

I too was concerencd about the extra amp draw, & any detremental effect on componants. I talked to several people that had been using them in Gold Wings for an extended amount of time. Based on conversations with them, I decided to give it a try. I put them in the High beams at the beginning of '08 riding season, since March of '08 I now have over 40,000 miles without any issues. Based on having no problems with them in the highs, I decided to put them in the low beams. At this time I only have about 700 miles using them in the low's.

I do make sure the connections are tight where the lamps plug in. Any loose connection will cause increased load & heat build up. After installing them I reached down & felt the plugs/wires, if I could have felt any thing warm, I would have removed them. I cannot feel any heat at all.

In the end any one trying them has to make their own decision if they are willing to take the risk.

Sleddog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the info all.

I've decided to put the H7s in the low beams and will investigate the Philips 80W H7 Rally bulbs.

I've lusted after the PIAA bulbs [HID or not] but the price and installation costs are too deep for my thinning wallet.

I'm a bit concerned about extensive higher than normal current loads in the OEM harness during periods of very warm weather [100F+]. The low beams are on all the time whereas the highs are far more intermittent in usage.

I also like the color difference. The H7s are a different color and when the high beams are on, there's a good contrast in lights the cars see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,014 Posts
Watts is watts. Every manufacturer tries find some kind of edge to make it seem like their bulb is better than the next guy, so they claim their bulbs put out an amount of light equivalent to a higher wattage bulb. The problem is, there is no standard amount of light output for a 55 watt bulb, so what are they comparing it to? It's just an advertising gimmick.

Nothing has changed dramatically in the way of materials since the invention of the halogen bulb. Yes, you can make a bulb brighter. All you have to do is decrease the resistance of the filament slightly, but longevity will suffer because the bulb will run hotter. The Philips Silverstar is a good example.

Even better, if you read the fine print on a package of many bulbs, including Silverstars, their claim of increased light output is in comparison to a 3 year old bulb. They justify the false advertising by claiming that this is just a way of telling the consumer that this is how much they could gain by replacing their old worn out bulbs with Silverstars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
bright

---ldr Doug. Type in Daniel Stern Lighting. Read what hes' got about HID's and other H-7 bulbs. Some good info. This web site helped me decide NOT to go with HID's. When you finish there. Check out www.candlepowerinc.com. I went with 4 of the Osrams 65w rally bulbs. If you need more light than these bulbs put out. Wait until the sun comes up!!:22yikes: :lol: Iam very pleased with mine!! Hope this helps.:doorag:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,616 Posts
Even better, if you read the fine print on a package of many bulbs, including Silverstars, their claim of increased light output is in comparison to a 3 year old bulb.
True. Because of the way halogen bulbs work, older bulbs will be dimmer than new. Halogen bulbs "destroy" and "rebuild" the filament while they are on. Tungsten atoms evaporate from the filament and combine with the halogen gas then redeposit themselves on the filament. The outer shell is quartz. The heat distribution inside the envelope is critical and that's why you should wash down the bulb surface with isopropyl alcohol before installing perfectly clean bulbs.

Any bulb older than three years or so, should be replaced anyway.

The "cooler" 4000K bulbs are brighter to the eye than even a new "regular" halogen, but some don't like the white lite (it's similar to LED lisghts).

NOTE: Your state laws may forbid lamps of wattages higher than 55w.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
---ldr Doug. Type in Daniel Stern Lighting. Read what hes' got about HID's and other H-7 bulbs. Some good info. This web site helped me decide NOT to go with HID's. When you finish there. Check out www.candlepowerinc.com. I went with 4 of the Osrams 65w rally bulbs. If you need more light than these bulbs put out. Wait until the sun comes up!!:22yikes: :lol: Iam very pleased with mine!! Hope this helps.:doorag:
Daniel Stern has a lot of good info about those bulb claims.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
883 Posts
---ldr Doug. I went with 4 of the Osrams 65w rally bulbs. If you need more light than these bulbs put out. Wait until the sun comes up!!:22yikes: :lol: Iam very pleased with mine!! Hope this helps.:doorag:
If you're impressed with 4 65watt bulbs, just imagine what 4 80's are like!:shock:

I did forget to dim my lights late one evening & got pulled over in Adair, OK. I had 80's in the high beams, PIAA 50/80's in the lows & PIAA 1100x's under the fairing. The officer walked up to me & said (In the best Roscoe P. Coaltrane accent) "Ya know wa I plled ya over"? I knew I hadn't been speeding so I said "No officer I don't" He replied with "cuse thims the brightest damn lights I ever saw on a motorsicle" I apologised & said I'd pay more attention. He said "Whal figerd it's late at night, & youer prolly tared, so id jes brngit to yer tension, wat kinda sicle is this anyway" I said a Goldwing. He said "we mus not haf any round here cause I aint never seen lights that bright" I said "ya most guys probably ride Harleys around here" He said "ya they do, thas prolly it, you be safe & pay tension to them lights"

Sleddog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,070 Posts
...BTW, light output isn't directly related to electrical power (watts). For example, compact fluorescent bulbs put out the same amount of light (lumens) with far less power consumption than incandescent lights. So perhaps the manufacturer was indicating that their bulbs could produce more light output than a standard halogen 55W bulb without using more electrical power. Obviously, this would require different bulb design.
This is true as different lamp designs are more or less efficient. For instance, those "rugged use" "heavy duty" incandesant bulbs use a thicker element to resist breaking when they get knocked about but they usually put out less Lumins compared to the "regular duty" lamps.

Different manufacturers also have their own proprietary (secret) gas within some bulbs to enhance their efficiency. Halogen is one example.

The efficiency and ruggedness of the incandesant lamp is also a factor of what the material the heating element is made. Tungsten is used in higher output and higher quality bulbs. Tungsten Halogen bulbs are near the top of the heap.

Waldo also talked a little about the "temperature" of the bulb and that too can influence how well you can see with lights putting out the same wattage but being designed to work at a different temperature, measured in Kelvin. Lights operating at the higher Kelvin temperature are whiter or take on a blue tint near the top end of the scale. Those operating at a lower Kelvin temperature take on a yellow tint.

If you ever noticed on-coming traffic and how some lights have a blue or yellow tint to them? The blue lights could either be high intensity discharge (HID) lights or from regular incandesant bulbs with a blue coating on the bulb. If they are bright, they are HID. If they are dim, they are coated and I would avoid these as they only decrease the light output in order to give it a blue tint.:no: The temperature can help or hinder how well you are able to discern details in the distance at night, and what works well for one person may not for another.

Another factor in maximizing your light output is to have the lamp element placed in the correct position within your Wing's headlight reflectors. The bulbs recommended by Honda are made to be in the correct position so if you are thinking about changing to another design, I would measure the distance from the base of the old and new bulb to see if they are about the same. This is a problem for those going to HID setups as those bulb change this demension significantly. This misalignment tends to "unfocus" the beam and spread the light over a wider area. The Wing headlight is designed to keep most of the light out of the eyes of oncoming traffic and this is lost when that demension is altered. That performance criteria is federally regulated but I doubt you will get pulled over for that violation. Instead you will just seriously piss off oncoming traffic if it is really bad.

My recommendation is to park right next to someone (use your center stands) who has a different bulb in their Wing and take turns using your high and low beams while shielding the other bike's headlight with a towel. Evalute not only the light intensity but its color and focus. Being on a dark road that is tree lined will help gage light "spillage" due to poorly focused setups.

IMHO, the Wing has some of the besting lighting of any bike on the market and is adequate for most riding situations. I know the Iron Butt crowd have needs in excess of most other riders but I have complete some of those rides (saddle sore, bun burner gold) safely with the standard Wing lighting system.

I am not trying to discourage you from improving your Wing lighting but I hope I gave you some good advice to make sure you are making it better and not worse. My recommendation would be to stick with an incandesant bulb designed to plug-n-play in your stock headlight socket (H-7) and ask your friends what they use and why. I wouldn't go too much higher in wattage draw, but your Wing is somewhat over designed so going from a 55/90 watt to a 55/100 or 55/110 will probably not blow fuses, burn wires or connectors IMHO. Replacing the bulbs is a PITA so you also want something that will be reliable as well as bright. Good luck on your quest.:thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,070 Posts
If you're impressed with 4 65watt bulbs, just imagine what 4 80's are like!:shock:

I did forget to dim my lights late one evening & got pulled over in Adair, OK. I had 80's in the high beams, PIAA 50/80's in the lows & PIAA 1100x's under the fairing. The officer walked up to me & said (In the best Roscoe P. Coaltrane accent) "Ya know wa I plled ya over"? I knew I hadn't been speeding so I said "No officer I don't" He replied with "cuse thims the brightest damn lights I ever saw on a motorsicle" I apologised & said I'd pay more attention. He said "Whal figerd it's late at night, & youer prolly tared, so id jes brngit to yer tension, wat kinda sicle is this anyway" I said a Goldwing. He said "we mus not haf any round here cause I aint never seen lights that bright" I said "ya most guys probably ride Harleys around here" He said "ya they do, thas prolly it, you be safe & pay tension to them lights"

Sleddog
That is one of the funniest stories I have heard in a long time. It may be hard to read but when you get it figured out, there is no doubt what kind of accent goes along with those words. I have to ask. You had to be out in the sticks way past long gone nowhere. Thanks for the belly laugh.:clap2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
The only problem I see is running higher wattage bulbs and using the stock wiring, I have seen too many young people run 65 watt bulbs in their vehicle only to melt the harness. (Dealership Service Manager)

I have put HID's in my wing, have 35w in the lows and 55w in the highs. When I can afford it, the low's are getting upgraded to 55w. Also, I do run a power relay for both the low and high beams.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is true as different lamp designs are more or less efficient. For instance, those "rugged use" "heavy duty" incandesant bulbs use a thicker element to resist breaking when they get knocked about but they usually put out less Lumins compared to the "regular duty" lamps.

Different manufacturers also have their own proprietary (secret) gas within some bulbs to enhance their efficiency. Halogen is one example.

The efficiency and ruggedness of the incandesant lamp is also a factor of what the material the heating element is made. Tungsten is used in higher output and higher quality bulbs. Tungsten Halogen bulbs are near the top of the heap.

Waldo also talked a little about the "temperature" of the bulb and that too can influence how well you can see with lights putting out the same wattage but being designed to work at a different temperature, measured in Kelvin. Lights operating at the higher Kelvin temperature are whiter or take on a blue tint near the top end of the scale. Those operating at a lower Kelvin temperature take on a yellow tint.

If you ever noticed on-coming traffic and how some lights have a blue or yellow tint to them? The blue lights could either be high intensity discharge (HID) lights or from regular incandesant bulbs with a blue coating on the bulb. If they are bright, they are HID. If they are dim, they are coated and I would avoid these as they only decrease the light output in order to give it a blue tint.:no: The temperature can help or hinder how well you are able to discern details in the distance at night, and what works well for one person may not for another.

Another factor in maximizing your light output is to have the lamp element placed in the correct position within your Wing's headlight reflectors. The bulbs recommended by Honda are made to be in the correct position so if you are thinking about changing to another design, I would measure the distance from the base of the old and new bulb to see if they are about the same. This is a problem for those going to HID setups as those bulb change this demension significantly. This misalignment tends to "unfocus" the beam and spread the light over a wider area. The Wing headlight is designed to keep most of the light out of the eyes of oncoming traffic and this is lost when that demension is altered. That performance criteria is federally regulated but I doubt you will get pulled over for that violation. Instead you will just seriously piss off oncoming traffic if it is really bad.

My recommendation is to park right next to someone (use your center stands) who has a different bulb in their Wing and take turns using your high and low beams while shielding the other bike's headlight with a towel. Evalute not only the light intensity but its color and focus. Being on a dark road that is tree lined will help gage light "spillage" due to poorly focused setups.

IMHO, the Wing has some of the besting lighting of any bike on the market and is adequate for most riding situations. I know the Iron Butt crowd have needs in excess of most other riders but I have complete some of those rides (saddle sore, bun burner gold) safely with the standard Wing lighting system.

I am not trying to discourage you from improving your Wing lighting but I hope I gave you some good advice to make sure you are making it better and not worse. My recommendation would be to stick with an incandesant bulb designed to plug-n-play in your stock headlight socket (H-7) and ask your friends what they use and why. I wouldn't go too much higher in wattage draw, but your Wing is somewhat over designed so going from a 55/90 watt to a 55/100 or 55/110 will probably not blow fuses, burn wires or connectors IMHO. Replacing the bulbs is a PITA so you also want something that will be reliable as well as bright. Good luck on your quest.:thumbup:
Thanks for the tips. I'll have to make sure the new bulbs aren't tinted, have tungsten filaments, and have the same dimensions as the OEM bulbs.

As I get older, I find I need more light at night. I thought that by going to the 55/110 bulbs and cranking the headlight control down a half dozen clicks would do the trick - especially at night and into oncoming traffic.

I am aware that exceeding the wattage of the OEM bulbs is asking for trouble so I made sure the power requirements didn't exceed the OEM numbers. Many of the GLs I ride with have gone to the 80w bulbs and run them for years with no indicated degradation of wiring, insulation, or socket.

And I will agree that the wing has above average lighting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,014 Posts
Another factor in maximizing your light output is to have the lamp element placed in the correct position within your Wing's headlight reflectors. The bulbs recommended by Honda are made to be in the correct position so if you are thinking about changing to another design, I would measure the distance from the base of the old and new bulb to see if they are about the same. This is a problem for those going to HID setups as those bulb change this demension significantly. This misalignment tends to "unfocus" the beam and spread the light over a wider area. The Wing headlight is designed to keep most of the light out of the eyes of oncoming traffic and this is lost when that demension is altered. That performance criteria is federally regulated but I doubt you will get pulled over for that violation. Instead you will just seriously piss off oncoming traffic if it is really bad.
You are 100% correct about that, but unfortunately, you are probably preaching to the choir. Aftermarket HID users generally don't care about anybody but themselves. (That's not just an opinion. Read the HID threads in the archives.)

If I remember correctly, Halogen bulbs have horizontal elements, and HID bulbs are veritcal, throwing off the alignment by 90 degrees. The USDOT has been trying to shut down the companies that sell aftermarket HID kits for about 4 years now, but there are still a lot of them out there. They just pop back up under different names.

I would love to run higher wattage bulbs, but I know better. Just because others have not had issues is not a valid engineering criteria. Your headlights are one of the most critical safety features on your bike, and is not something to take lightly. The GL1800 bulbs already burn out too rapidly, indicating heat inside the housing may already be too high. Down the road problems with lenses yellowing, relflectors peeling, not to mention connectors and wiring becoming brittle, or failing completely, are just too much of a risk. The components that make up a bike's electrical system are very carefully chosen. Bypassing that engineering is potentially dangerous.
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top