6 Volt Electrics Questions

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by dgomezhall, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. dgomezhall

    dgomezhall Adventurer

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    Also posted in "some assembly required" but this will probably get more helpful ideas...

    Working on restoring a old bike with 6v electrics...everything is working, but I'm changing handlebars and need to replace the handlebar control switches.

    Anyone have any experience with this

    Will they work with 6v as I assume they're made for 12v?

    Thanks!
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  2. Ranger Ron

    Ranger Ron Been here awhile

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    It will work just fine. The switch doesn't care if it's switching 6 volts or 12.

    Ron :D
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  3. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    ^this right here . . . . . lot's of things won't care about voltage at all . . . . .
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  4. Wansfel

    Wansfel 50+ yrs on 2 wheels

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    Right on the switches - they don't care, but it looks like there are some indicater lights built into the switch. They might care by only half brightness or not show at all if they are LED based and need higher voltage to light.
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  5. dgomezhall

    dgomezhall Adventurer

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    cool, thanks for the responses...wasn't sure if it would melt the wires or whatnot.

    I'm a complete electrical novice, so this is very new to me, and I apologize for any stupid questions.

    I don't think there'll be any issues with turn signals as those will have to be 6v as well...

    Does anyone know if I could use 12v led turn signals on a 6v system? Would they just be dim or would they not blink/overblink?
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  6. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Twelve-volt LED signals will probably not light up at all.

    Each LED may take only a small voltage, but the designer will string them together to make the best use of the design voltage. If, for example, each amber LED needs 2.2V, a string of 5 would take 11V and the designer could add a small resistor to keep the current (amps) below 20mA or whatever the particular LEDs can tolerate.

    Your 6-volt system won't light that up. If the designer makes the LEDs light up with less voltage then the assembly uses more current for the same light.

    You MAY be able to find 6-volt LED replacements for your BULB instead of entire 6V signals.
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  7. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    They probably won't light at all.

    Think of Volts as a hill. The higher the voltage, the higher the hill.
    Think of Amps as a boulder. The bigger the boulder, the more oomph it has.
    Volts X Amps = Watts, the energy that moves/lights the thing at the bottom of the hill.

    With a 12V light in a 6V system, the hill isn't high enough to generate enough energy to light the bulb. The boulder won't move fast enough.
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  8. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    some automotive/MC LED bulbs are available in 6V versions...the switches will be fine with 6V as was said but a 6V load will pull double the current of a 12v load if the wattage is the same, like for a 45W headlight for example and the switches may not like that...but you will probably get away with it and if you wire relays for the headlight and horn it will not matter. IF the bike is small and has a wimpy horn and headlight the new switch will probably handle the current fine. It might be tough to find a 6V turnsignal relay that works right with LED bulbs but someone may make one

    https://www.superbrightleds.com/search/led-products/6%20volt/
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  9. HapHazard

    HapHazard Waiting for Gudenov

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    You should be OK with the switch, but I see no indication of any "indicator lights" on that switch.
    Either your eyes or imagination is better than mine.:D
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  10. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    I'll say the opposite.... the switch doesn't care about 6/12 volts but it does care about current. not only do the switch contacts need to have the capacity to carry the current, it also depends on the load being switched. incandescent lights that draw 60 watts would be 10 amps on a 6v system and 5 amps on a 12... but thats when up and running. there is an initial inrush current to turn on the light that is about 5x more, so for a few milliseconds the switch has to carry 25 A. it's called de-rating factor... to have good service life for the switch it must be considered

    if you are switching LEDs then it won't be a problem at all since they draw way less current than an incandescent.

    as for a pre-made LED... I dunno.... work & be dim would be my guess. but maybe not even that dim. when I use an LED in a 12v system I put a 680 ohm resister in series to control current (this will be already done on a pre-made). even if I use a 2000 the LED will light but with a lowered intensity
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  11. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    I've worked on a number of 6 and 12 volt bikes, the switches look the same. Nothing is heavier for either.
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  12. dgomezhall

    dgomezhall Adventurer

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    wow, thanks for all the great responses, very helpful.

    Another question...what makes a turn signal 12v other than the bulb? Can you put a 6v bulb in a 12v socket and will it work? If not, what's the theory behind that?

    Thanks!
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  13. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    the flasher
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  14. Wansfel

    Wansfel 50+ yrs on 2 wheels

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    Simplest explanation is to equate with a water system. Voltage equates to pressure and current equates to flow rate. A water balloon rated for full fill at a pressure of 6 lbs/sq" will burst when filled with double the pressure. Like filling a tire rated for 30 lbs all the way to 60 lbs...stand back! Light bulbs glow due to heat based on forcing a current flow at a rated (voltage) pressure. You have heat, light, or EMF (magnetic force) generated by the load devices in an electric circuit. Any of which are power disappaters. Total power is a combination of votage mulltiplied by current rated in watts.

    #14
  15. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    what I said about de-rating factor for switches is true.... but I didn't say it wouldn't work.

    you are keeping the bike 6V but you are incorporating modern stuff? where are the LED;s you plan to use? as signals? they should work but will be dim

    what exactly are you doing
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  16. dgomezhall

    dgomezhall Adventurer

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    I'm restoring a honda passport c70 but making it more motorcycle than scooter minus the small frame and 70cc engine. I'm taking inspiration from this and want to make the turn signals more discrete.
    #16