Minor Mods: Increased Night Vision Distance & Durability
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Thread: Minor Mods: Increased Night Vision Distance & Durability

  1. #1
    Junior Member Zooming Jim's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    Metropolitan Indianapolis

    Minor Mods: Increased Night Vision Distance & Durability

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm Jim from Michigan & Indiana, and this is my first post. I appreciate that this forum is here and have used it for advice & suggestions for months. I bought a 2017 TW in April and have put ~2700 miles on it.

    The 1st month of riding my bike, I realized that the stock headlight bulb was basically inadequate for night riding. Although I would like to install a crazy-bright, LED headlight, I want to keep the bike street-legal.

    So the First Modification I made was to replace the factory H4 bulb with a higher-end Sylvania, Silver Star Ultra bulb. This made quite a difference in seeing down the road at night. I'd say this easy-to-do modification made the Low-Beam about 20% better, and the High-Beam about 50% better.

    The Second Mod was to replace the stock Indicator Lights bulbs with more durable LED bulbs. After a slightly bumpy afternoon ride, two of the filaments bulbs burned out (the TURN and NEUTRAL). I bought several replacement LEDs from SuperbrightLEDs. I tried a simple White LED, but found that using the same colored LED as the plastic lens above the indicators looked the best. So it was best to use Green LEDs for the TURN and NEUTRAL lights, and a BLUE LED for the HI-Beam indicator.

    Although the Odometer/Speedometer light was still working, I liked the look a BLUE LED imparted to the instrument and replaced it. Many other colors are available: Red, Green, Purple, Amber, White (various shades--warm to cool) and even Black Light (ultraviolet).

    Next, I replaced the factor Tail Light bulb with a more-durable LED, dual function bulb. There were a few to choose from, some were reported to be "Way too bright, you couldn't see the difference between running light and braking." so I opted for one of average brightness. I think its probably 10% brighter than the factory, filament bulb.

    The most recent modification was to add 2, small off-road lights (10W each, 30' angle). I removed the 2, yellow reflectors on the motorcycle's fork. I had to increase the diameter of the hole slightly, by running a drill through the mount with a bit just a little larger than the existing hole. To power these lights, I tapped into the bike's HIGH BEAM power system (Black for ground/negative, and Yellow for Positive).

    So to use my bright, off-road lights, I need to be using my headlight's HIGH BEAM, then flip another switch to activate the LEDs. This way, if there's on-coming traffic, I can turn off both the off-road LEDs and the HIGH BEAM by simply switching to LOW BEAM. So far, I like this arrangement, and am currently building a mounting bracket for the off-road LED switch (keeping it within thumb distance of my left hand).

    See Pictures Below. Thanks!





    Last edited by Zooming Jim; 07-27-2017 at 03:20 PM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member lugnut's Avatar
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    alliance ohio
    Welcome to the forum.
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    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    Senior Member CS1983's Avatar
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    Howdy. Great info in your post. Thanks!
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  6. #5
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
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    Welcome and thanks for listing what you've done so far. I remember the Sylvania bulb mentioned several years ago but I think it's usually overlooked as the led's are popular. Love the blue speedo lights.
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    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Turtle Wrangling the Sierras
    Nicely done and documented. Always been a fan of auxiliary lighting and usually do as you do; i.e. build a circuit with an arming switch fed from high beam power supply, then use the high beam switch to trigger the circuit on and off.
    A three way switch (On-Off-On) is an upgrade that can allow sourcing 12v either from high beam circuit as above, or directly from a keyed source permitting aux. lighting to be uses independent of high beam. This either/or logic switching can be handy at times.
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    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
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    The blue light for the speedometer looks great. Never thought of anything different than that.
    Sometimes in the bright Sun it is difficult to see the Neutral light. So I' might take a stab at replacing at least those tiny lamps.
    Do you have the part numbers for them for Superbrights? And the link?
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    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Lake Placid,Florida
    Welcome. Just please don't start putting ground effects lights on your Dub! Save those for the Harley.
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    Senior Member old w/??'s Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Great post; especially for 1st. Now everyone will want to know how you posted pics. Usually can't until after around 10 posts.
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  11. #10
    Junior Member Zooming Jim's Avatar
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    Metropolitan Indianapolis
    Thanks for all of the welcomes & tips!

    I do NOT work for Superbright LEDs, but they have a wide selection for almost every application. Although they also have super bright headlights, they are too bright for road use, so I got the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra bulb from Wally-World (don't work for them either).

    Below are screen grabs from the LED site where I bought the replacement bulbs. Just a word of caution, that you may already know: if you try to replace your Turn Signal bulbs, you may need to buy extra equipment to make the Blinking function work. There's something about the lack of current draw from LEDs that cause the factory blinker circuit not to work. I am happy (so far) with the factory, filament bulbs for now, and I don't plan to replace.

    Why I can post pictures in my first post is a mystery I will let the moderators explain.

    This is the Brake Light: Dual function is for normal lighting & Braking Light. Since it also lights my license plate, I chose the Warm White Option. The Cool White Option might even be better.

    These are the little bulbs for your instrument panel. I did buy a few of the WHITE LEDs, but preferred the colored ones.

    These are the really effective Off-Road light pods. I used 30' for both, but you can try 2 different beam angles with the Off-Road LED lights: maybe narrow (10'--30') for the left one, and maybe wider for the right one (30' +). This set up is for street riding and keeping the light concentrated more to the Center and Right side of the road (less spill over to the on-coming lane).

    One last thing, instead of using electrical tape to secure all of the connections, I opted to use time-saving splicers, connectors, etc..., for this project. The image below shows most of the items I used to tap into the HIGH BEAM circuit. They make things easier and secure. Even an inexpensive Voltmeter will help you determine which wires are hot under which conditions--quite helpful!

    BasicSupplies.jpg (Connectors & splicers bought at a store that rhymes with "BOWES")
    Last edited by Zooming Jim; 07-27-2017 at 03:07 PM.
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