F800GS headlight upgrade

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by FlatBroke, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. FlatBroke

    FlatBroke No Guts No Gravel

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    Has anyone tried the Osram Rallye 65 watt H7's in their 800gs yet. I was considering an HID kit but was hesitant after doing some research and thought I would try the bulb upgrade first. Standard H7=55W=1400 lumens, Osram Rallye=65W=2100 lumens. On paper it looks like it might be a viable upgrade although I'm aware the high performance bulbs won't last as long as the stockers. Would be worth the cost to me if there is a definite improvement. I live in the heart of Whitetail country.


    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=600><TBODY><TR><TD>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD><IMG border=0 hspace=0 alt="Osram Rallye 65w Ultra High Output H7 Special-Service Bulb SALE!" align=left src="http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-91565365470012_2089_501498" width=72 height=104>[FONT=arial, helvetica]Osram Rallye 65w Ultra High Output H7 Special-Service Bulb SALE![​IMG]This bulb, for racing and special-service usage, is the highest-output, most efficient H7 available from anyone!. This is a 65-watt bulb (10 more than an ordinary H7) that produces 2100 lumens (700 more than an ordinary H7). Same 500-hour rated lifespan as a good quality standard H7 bulb. Perfect upgrade for motorcycles, racing headlamps, diving lights, agricultural and industrial work lamps.

    [/FONT]

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    #1
  2. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    What in your research made you hesitant about HID's?

    My HID's use only 35 watts and light up the night.
    #2
  3. jaycommando

    jaycommando Been here awhile

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    some lads have been reporting a burning or smoking of the silver surface inside the headlamp with the use of HIDs.
    #3
  4. replicant

    replicant consummate n00b

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    I put one of these on my 650GS: http://www.kbcarstuff.com/4300k_Motorcyle_Xenon_HID_Conversion_Kit_p/mc-4k.htm 3200 lumens, and no problems so far.

    Besides the improved visibility and illumination, I like that there's no filament to break, so it should last longer than a halogen.
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  5. FlatBroke

    FlatBroke No Guts No Gravel

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    Read this and thought I would try the bulbs first. This does not apply to HID lamps that are designed for HID. I just can't afford that type of lighting right now. This article is about the conversion kits.<TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD></TD><TD>[​IMG]


    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=600><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=600>[​IMG]


    [FONT=arial, helvetica]<CENTER>Candlepower doesn't sell "HID kits".
    We easily could, and we'd make a lot of money doing it,
    but we never have and we never will.
    That's because they're dangerous and illegal.

    Here's why:
    </CENTER>

    An "HID kit" consists of HID ballasts and bulbs for retrofitting into a halogen headlamp. Kits for replacement of standard round or rectangular sealed-beam headlamps usually include a poor-quality replaceable-bulb headlight lens-reflector unit that's not safe or legal even when equipped with the intended (usually H4) halogen bulb. Often, these products are advertised using the name of a reputable lighting company ("Real Philips kit! Real Osram kit! Real Hella kit!") to try to give the potential buyer the illusion of legitimacy. On rare occasion, some of the components in these kits did start out as legitimate HID headlight bulbs made by reputable companies, but they are modified (hacked) by the "HID kit" suppliers, and they aren't being put to their designed or intended use. Reputable companies like Philips, Osram, Hella, etc. never endorse this kind of hacked usage of their products. Nevertheless, it's easy to get "HID kits" from China bearing the (unauthorized, counterfeit) brands of major, reputable companies. See this page for just a few examples of the many packaging options offered by just one Chinese maker of "HID kits".

    Halogen headlamps and HID headlamps require very different optics to produce a safe and effective—not to mention legal—beam pattern. How come? Because of the very different characteristics of the two kinds of light source.

    A halogen bulb has a cylindrical light source: the glowing filament. The space immediately surrounding the cylinder of light is completely dark, and so the sharpest contrast between bright and dark is along the edges of the cylinder of light. The ends of the filament cylinder fade from bright to dark. An HID bulb, on the other hand, has a crescent-shaped light source: the arc. It's crescent-shaped because as it passes through the space between the two electrodes, its heat causes it to try to rise. The space immediately surrounding the crescent of light glows in layers...the closer to the crescent of light, the brighter the glow. The ends of the arc crescent are the brightest points, and immediately beyond these points is completely dark, so the sharpest contrast between bright and dark is at the ends of the crescent of light.

    These images shows the very different characteristics of the filament versus the arc in terms of overall shape and luminance distribution. You can see that the filament is cylindrical and has a bright center dimming towards the ends, with a sharp light/dark edge formed by the sides of the filament coil and the empty space just outside the filament. The arc, on the other hand, is crescent-shaped. Its got bright ends and a fuzzy light/dark edge formed by the layers of the sides of the arc. Differently-shaped, differently-sized, and with a different distribution of light within it, the two light sources cannot be interchanged without spoiling the intended optical focus.


    <CENTER>[​IMG]</CENTER>

    When designing the optics (lens and/or reflector) for a lamp, the characteristics of the light source are the driving factor around which everything else must be engineered. If you go and change the light source, you've done the equivalent of putting on somebody else's eyeglasses: You can probably make them fit on your face OK, but you won't see properly.


    Here are some downloadable PDF tests done by DOT and CalCoast Labs on halogen headlamps equipped with "HID kits": <CENTER>Test #1, with 9004 "HID kit" vs. 9004 bulb

    <HR width=10>
    Test #2, with 9006 "HID kit" vs. 9006 bulb
    <HR width=10>
    Test #3, with 9004 "HID kit" vs. 9004 bulb
    </CENTER>

    And here is an English documentary showing the results of installing "HID kits" in European-code headlamps designed to produce a sharp cutoff on low beam:
    <CENTER>



    <EMBED height=355 type=application/x-shockwave-flash width=425 src="" wmode="transparent" yVuSSdZNsZw v www.youtube.com http:></EMBED></CENTER>

    You can read some of the United States Department of Transportation's (DOT) statements on the subject here, here, here, and here—all links will open in new windows. And you can read the German perspective here, and the same from Hong Kong here, and the same from New Zealand here and here. Some "HID kit" marketeers will try to tell you that the kits are technically illegal only because the US headlamp laws are stuck in the past. That's wrong; the world's experts and regulators all say the same thing: Don't!

    Now, what about the notion that it's OK to put "HID kits" into halogen projector headlights because the beam cutoff still appears sharp? Don't be fooled; it's an error to judge a beam pattern just by its cutoff. In many lamps, especially the projector types, the cutoff will remain the same regardless of what light source is behind it. Halogen bulb, HID bulb, cigarette lighter, firefly, hold it up to the sun—whatever. That's because of the way a projector lamp works. The cutoff is simply the projected image of a piece of metal running side-to-side behind the lens. Where the optics come in is in distributing the light under the cutoff. And, as with all other automotive lamps (and, in fact, all optical instruments), the optics are calculated based not just on where the light source is within the lamp (focal length) but also the specific photometric characteristics of the light source...which parts of it are brighter, which parts of it are darker, where the boundaries of the light source are, whether the boundaries are sharp or fuzzy, the shape of the light source, and so forth.

    As if the optical mismatch weren't reason enough to drop the idea of "retrofitting" an HID bulb where a halogen one belongs—and it is!—there are even more reasons why not to do it. Here are some of them:

    The only available arc capsules have a longitudinal arc (arc path runs front to back) on the axis of the bulb, but many popular halogen headlamp bulbs, such as 9004, 9007, H3 and H12, use a filament that is transverse (side-to-side) and/or offset (not on the axis of the bulb) central axis of the headlamp reflector). In this case, it is impossible even to roughly approximate the position and orientation of the filament with a "retrofit" HID capsule. Just because your headlamp might use an axial-filament bulb, though, doesn't mean you've jumped the hurdles—the laws of optical physics don't bend even for the cleverest marketing department, nor for the catchiest HID "retrofit" kit box.

    A relatively new gimmick is HID arc capsules set in an electromagnetic base so that they shift up and down or back and forth. These are being marketed as "dual beam" kits that claim to address the loss of high beam with fixed-base "retrofits" in place of dual-filament halogen bulbs like 9004, 9007, H4, and H13. A cheaper variant of this is one that uses a fixed HID bulb with a halogen bulb strapped or glued to the side of it...yikes! What you wind up with is two poorly-formed beams, at best. The reason the original equipment market has not adopted the movable-capsule designs they've been playing with since the mid 1990s is because it is impossible to control the arc position accurately so it winds up in the same position each and every time.

    There are cars now coming from the factory with single-bulb, dual-beam HID systems, generally called "BiXenon" lamps, but these all rely on a movable optical shield, or movable reflector—the arc capsule stays in one place. The Original Equipment engineers have a great deal of money and resources at their disposal, and if a movable capsule were a practical way to do the job, they'd do it. The "retrofit" kits certainly don't address this problem anywhere near satisfaction. And even if they did, remember: Whether a fixed or moving-capsule "retrofit" is contemplated, solving the arc-position problem and calling it good is like going to a hospital with two broken ribs, a sprained ankle and a crushed toe and having the nurse say "Well, you're free to go home now, we've put your ankle in a sling!" Focal length (arc/filament positioning) is only just ONE issue out of several.

    The most dangerous part of the attempt to "retrofit" Xenon headlamps is that sometimes you get a deceptive and illusory "improvement" in the performance of the headlamp. The performance of the headlamp is perceived to be "better" because of the much higher level of foreground lighting (on the road immediately in front of the car). However, the beam patterns produced by this kind of "conversion" virtually always give less distance light, and often an alarming lack of light where there's meant to be a relative maximum in light intensity. The result is the illusion that you can see better than you actually can, and that's not safe.

    Headlamp beam performance is a lot more complicated than "more light" vs. "less light". There are particular amounts of light that need to go in specific directions, and it's not possible to assess the quality, safety, or performance of a beam pattern without a lot of knowledge, a lot of training and a lot of special equipment, because subjective perceptions are very misleading. Having a lot of strong light in the foreground (on the road close to the car and out to the sides) is very comforting and reliably produces a strong impression of "good headlights". The problem is that not only is foreground lighting of decidedly secondary importance when travelling much above 30 mph, but having a very strong pool of light close to the car causes your pupils to close down, worsening your distance vision...all the while giving you this false sense of security. This is to say nothing of the massive amounts of glare to other road users and backdazzle to you, the driver, that results from these "retrofits".

    HID headlamps also require careful weatherproofing and electrical shielding because of the high voltages involved. These unsafe "retrofits" make it physically possible to insert an HID bulb where a halogen bulb belongs, but this practice is illegal and dangerous, regardless of claims by these marketers that their systems are "beam pattern corrected" or the fraudulent use of established brand names to try to trick you into thinking the product is legitimate. In order to work correctly and safely, HID headlamps must be designed from the start as HID headlamps.

    What about the law, what does it have to say on the matter? In virtually every first-world country, HID "retrofits" into halogen headlamps are illegal. They're illegal clear across Europe and in all of the many countries that use European ECE headlight regulations. They're illegal in the US and Canada. Some people dismiss this because the regulations are written in such a manner as to reject a lot of lights considered good and safe everywhere else in the world. Nevertheless, on the particular count of HID "retrofits" into halogen headlamps, the world's regulators and engineers all say DON'T!

    The only safe and legitimate HID retrofit is one that replaces the entire headlamp—that is lens, reflector, bulb...the whole system—with optics designed and type-approved or manufacturer-certified for HID usage. In the aftermarket, it is possible to use the growing number of modular projector optics, and fabricate your own brackets and bezels, or to modify an original-equipment halogen headlamp housing to contain optical "guts" designed for HID usage (though it should be noted that breaking the seal of a composite headlamp assembly, installing HID optics and re-sealing the lens creates major problems of its own, and does not result in a legal headlamp).

    From time to time, we are asked to comment on what are marketed as "new developments" in HID kits, and those who ask sometimes think these "new developments" might render this article out-of-date. That is not the case, and never will be. Marketers will always be coming up with dazzling new pseudoscience, tempting new hype and sneaky new ways of trying to convince you to buy their stuff. It's what they do. This article will never go out of date, because the problems with HID kits are conceptual problems, not problems of implementation. Therefore, they cannot be overcome by additional research and development, any more than someone could develop a way for you to put on somebody else's eyeglasses and see correctly.


    [SIZE=-8]This publication of this document is authorized by Daniel Stern


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    #5
  6. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Save your money, just get a V-Strom best lights in the industry out of the box.
    #6
  7. FlatBroke

    FlatBroke No Guts No Gravel

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
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    Southern Indiana
    Been there and done that. Just traded my DL1000 on the 800gs. It did have nice lights.
    #7
  8. greenthumb

    greenthumb b00b

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
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    Location:
    Okanagan, British Columbia
    I put a 100W on the high beam side. the only one I could find was a cheapie 'ricer' bulb with a blue tint to the glass, but it has made a significant difference, and the light output is not bluish thankfully.
    No issues with heat, but I dont leave my high beam on all the time.

    LINKY
    #8
  9. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    I was thinking that maybe the CAN-bus would shut down the headlight if it was drawing too much current but if you're running a 100W I guess THAT ain't happening ....

    Also ... I can see the lawyers now ... and on this one I have to agree....

    So... the CANBus system on my client's bike shut down the headlight during a midnight run at 100MPH because it was drawing 74W and that was 10% over spec as this was best option to protect WHAT exactly....? :rofl
    #9
  10. prowler1

    prowler1 Been here awhile

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    upper central midwest by a big lake
    Most HID kits are 35W and are not likely to melt a plastic headlamp housing (on the other hand, those 100W "ultra-white" bulbs will certainly melt a plastic 55W rated housing). I haven't heard of any Buell plastic headlamp housings melting (and they're only about 4-1/2" in diameter) when using these HID kits, and while the noted article above is technically correct about the optics variation when going to a "HID kit", the fact remains that the amount of light produced by the "cheap" HID kit is huge compared to a halogen 55W bulb. Even with "not correct" optics, the amount of light focused out front of the bike is greatly improved with a HID setup. If I can buy an HID bulb kit for $35 vs. $300-$400 for an HID headlamp assembly, sorry, no comparison, I'll pocket the $300 (and I don't even own a KLR.......:D ).
    #10
  11. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    Nature Coast, Florida


    But,....... they're brighter. :lol3


    Seriously though, I've had..... I mean, umm, a guy I know has had his HID
    conversion kit for a year with no problems. They don't burn hotter than halogen, in fact I think they put out less heat and use 35 watts.

    I can see, I mean my friend can see much better and not just directly in front of the bike as stated in the article.

    Oncoming cars never flash at me. Him. My friend the outlaw HID haver.

    :dunno




    .
    #11
  12. rockinrog

    rockinrog Long timer

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    If someone tries the Osram bulb post back with before and after pics/review if you can.
    #12
  13. big adv

    big adv I need supervision

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    CAN Bus is not the 'thing' that controls the lights or shuts them down. The ZFE is.

    CAN Bus(Controller Area Network) is a communication protocol for the various ECU's to communicate with each other and to share information.

    The ZFE is the body electric control module that acts as a fuse box. Only the curcuit protection is electronic and resets itself when the overload condition is no longer present, instead of using replacable fuses.

    It will shut off the light if the aftermarket bulb used is putting the lighting curcuit in a overload condition, thus saving the wiring from overheating and starting the bike on fire.

    If the end user of a product modifies it in such a way as to compromise its design, not even the slimiest lawyer would have a case.

    Earl
    #13
  14. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    I never noticed this until today. I have run my HIDs for just over 3 years/just under 50K miles now. Mine were fine the first couple of years. Had some light "misting" on the glass of the headlight about a year back which looks like it's on the outer surface as much as the inside. This didn't appreciably affect the light's performance and it was still light years ahead of stock.
    I used to ride predominantly at night on empty(ish) roads, so had full beams on a lot of the time.

    A couple of weeks ago, I noticed condensation on the inside of the high beam lense for the first time. Could be the weather we're having here, but I've never had it in winter before, even in snow. This evening I was checking my bike over in prep for a rally and looking at the high beam again, I noticed the reflector (silver surface) inside the head light unit of the main beam appeared to have flaked off in places, showing black plastic behind. It's not that well illuminated in the garage, so I'll take a closer look outside tomorrow, but it looked pretty bad.
    #14
  15. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Yeah... big problem is that once the reflective coating starts to go ... the problem feeds on its self....
    darker = more heat absorbed = hotter = more damage = ..... :cry
    #15
  16. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    fwiw I have the "silver star" H7 replacement bulbs....not the Osram....but similar idea conventional Halogen bulb designed for a bit higher color temp but the same 55w. these are noticably better, brighter than the stock bulbs. and they do match the stock head light/reflector design and laws. I'm happy with them....an I'm way to cheap to do a real HID conversion.


    In the past a used (on other bikes/cars) several of the "100w" bulbs with marginal improvement. These bulbs did not come from the framiliar names like Phillips etc. the light was a bit brighter but not twice as bright and the bulb did run hotter and I had some plastic deformation in one case. I think the extra watts went more to heat than light..ie sloppy design.

    I'm waiting for the LED solution...but that too, like the HID article above said, will require a whole lens/reflector redesigned head light to be effective
    #16
  17. mustardfj40

    mustardfj40 Been here awhile

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    From what I read, you can't simply replace the light reflector only, BMW only sells the whole unit which is expensive?
    #17
  18. KLRscoob

    KLRscoob Been here awhile

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    San Diego CA
    I have been using a pair of 1200kv HID's in my F8GS for 4 years. No burnt out bulbs, no discoloration, no tickets, and more light than I know what to do with!
    #18
  19. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    yeah... According to the parts list the reflector is only available as part of the complete assembly for about $440 USD... you can't just buy the reflector ....... Even if you could get just the reflector, the glass is apparently "glued" in with a adhesive / sealant which "inhibits" dis-assembly ... kind of a bummer .........
    #19
  20. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,457
    Location:
    On a RTW ride - currently touring the U.S.
    No way to replace a cracked lense or damaged reflector, entire new unit only.

    The flaking and discoloration of the reflector with HID lights is common, and AFAIK not really due to extra heat (usually 35W vs. the halogen 55W) but rather the higher UV emission of the aftermarket Chinese HID bulbs.
    #20