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R1100GS: Instrument Cluster/Panel Bulb Specs and Options?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by LoneStar, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Anyone know offhand what the bulb size and wattage specs are for the little bulbs that illuminate the speedometer? :deal
    Had to change a bulb out years ago but can't find the size specs anywhere and searching has proven fruitless.

    I remember they made colored versions of the bulbs in the next larger size up but not for the tiny bulbs on the 1100. Red would be cool :wink:

    Any alternative and newer options like LED's maybe?
    #1
  2. ErricZ

    ErricZ Been here awhile

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    Oh goodness, I just went through this.

    Those bulbs that are listed on the fiche and in the manual are (4) 12v / 1.7W for the speedo/tach and the (9) 14v / 3W are for the rest of the lights. But there are made by Toshiba ONLY for BMW!

    The accepted practice seems to be purchasing the #74 bulb from autozone, et al. and using it for all the bulb replacements. It's a 14v/1.4W and it does a passable job.
    #2
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  3. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    I thought that I had found some slightly higher wattage ones in the parts stores. Brighter is better so you can read the odometer and trip meter. L.E.D. 's, why not?
    #3
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  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Thanks Erricz! It's a pain in the butt replacing those things. I'm going to be getting into it next week and just going to replace all the bulbs while in there. Thanks for listing those for me!

    Vintage do you have any experience with LED's ? The long life aspect would be great since you wouldn't have to replace them for the life of the bike

    Wouldn't know where to begin adapting them...
    #4
  5. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    Good plan to replace them all. If I fail to seat the rubber sockets properly then socket pops out after a while. I use bulb grease on the contacts and dab Dot 5 silicone brake fluid on rubber parts- great preservative. R.Shack may have some LED that will fit . Maybe the bay has some Chinese with the proper base. I personally wouldn't want to chop the factory bulb harness just to fit LED.

    Often thought that having a custom AL gauge housing would be nice but who's got the time? One thing you can easily add now to get riding is add a micro-flex arm light, led or halogen with dimmer.

    Before you open the gauge housing buy the triangular plastic piece inside that always breaks. Maybe some spare screws too.
    #5
  6. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    #6
  7. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    Has to be Dot 5 silicone if using as a rubber preservative. Nice find on the '74' L.E.D.'s let us know if you can read the odometer
    #7
  8. Oilybimmer

    Oilybimmer Long timer

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    I just used the same type as I use in the car, "tiny capless 12v 1.2 watts", changed all four easily.
    #8
  9. dfwscotty

    dfwscotty Long timer

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    Was on my list of things to do on my 1100. Lost one of my gauge lights recently.

    Thanks for the good info!
    #9
  10. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    I'm going to order a couple sets and see how they work and will let you guys know. The last time I did the bulbs it was a royal pain cause my hands are big and they're so far in there IIRC.

    One thing I HATE is the high beam instrument light :lol3 - it's so bright it's annoying and makes it harder to see the road at night. I finally got some of the dark limo tint and made a small piece to cover the warning light and dimmed it enough so it's less obnoxious. May try to do something about the bulb so it's weaker.

    I'm going to just pull the whole cluster down anyway as I'm going completely over the bike and checking wiring harnesses, bolts and yada yada. I also plan to install the Wunderlich Dual Headlight system at the same time.

    Going to get the standard brightness LED in white and will try red and amber in the brighter LED versions. That way I can change my instrument lights to match my outfits :lol3

    If anybody is running the LED's already would love to hear your comments.
    #10
  11. Farnsrocket

    Farnsrocket Manos arribas!!!

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    Very cool........can't wait to hear the feedback!
    #11
  12. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Ordered from these guys http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&Page2Disp=%2Fspecs%2F74-xHP.html#photos and had the bulbs in 2 days!

    [​IMG]


    They definitely ARE polarized :D
    [​IMG]


    Alternative 74 bulb for stock replacement
    [​IMG]



    LED's vs 74 bulb
    [​IMG]


    Unfortunately my headlight setup is delayed from Wunderlich so I'll have to wait another week before being able to do the bulb swap.

    In the meantime I cobbled together a brightness test of the bulbs to give an idea of color and brightness compared to the stock bulb. Might make it easier to decide which to use without having to tear the whole thing down again to change colors, etc.

    As a guide I printed a black sheet of paper with white lines spaced 1/4" apart to judge the bulb brightness and somewhat emulate a black speedo with white lettering. Proper exposure of an image showing the brightness of a speedo at night is a little subjective so I shot the following to give a feel for the relative brightness of each bulb compared to another.

    The bulbs were all evenly aligned and spaced apart equally to keep things close.

    Test rig before aligning the bulbs:

    [​IMG]


    I covered the bulbs to simulate the indirect lighting inside the speedo housing.

    Left to right:
    RED (High Power) ••• BLUE (Standard) ••• COOL WHITE (Standard) ••• AMBER (High Power) ••• RED (standard) ••• 74LL (long life)
    [​IMG]


    As you can see the 74LL is the dimmest, with all LED's being brighter to varying degrees, the RED standard being the closer to stock in brightness. I suspect the 74LL is dimmer than a standard 74 since it a "long life".

    I will probably go with the Red or Amber (High Power) for the speedometer and see how it is but the Blue looks good as well. Will use the white LED's for the remaining 9 cluster warning lights except for the *&#&^@# High Beam LOL and will try a standard red in there. The Amber is not as deep orange as in the pic above


    It will be a few days before I can get pics of the installed LED's but I thought the brightness pics might be of interest...
    #12
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  13. switch

    switch Romanian Trailbiker

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    :lurk
    #13
  14. Farnsrocket

    Farnsrocket Manos arribas!!!

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    Very, very, very, very cool man!!
    I love the demo!!
    Great pics too!

    :clap
    #14
  15. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    I like it!
    :lurk
    #15
  16. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Thanks guys - at least it shows the brightness variances. I rode 5 hrs in the 110º heat and man I'm whupped but got home late.

    A pic of the existing cluster with the dead bulb in the tach. I'll shoot with the same exposure settings when the LED's are in for a side by side. BTW the battery indicator light is also covered with limo tint.

    The speedo definitely has the auto parts 74's in it, but I think the tach still has the BMW factory spec bulbs and you can see the brightness difference between the two.

    [​IMG]

    God Almighty my life must suck if I have this much time and inclination to do all this :deal :lol3


    .
    #16
  17. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Well I finally got the LED's in but have not had time to do the headlight install.

    Once I got the front end disassembled I went over all the wiring and found much of the harness sheaths crumbling away ( the bike is 13 years old). There appear to be two types of sheathing for the harness - one that is plastic and another that is rubber based. The plastic is fine after all these years but the rubber is crumbling. What made it a pain is that the two types are bundled together which meant cutting all the ties and following the sheathing out to it's source under the tank and such. The wires themselves all look perfect, just the bundle sheathing. I used either the 3M self adhering wrap or the convoluted plastic loom depending.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I still have the headlight to assemble but went ahead and shot some pics of the LED install.

    To replace the bulbs, you will need to completely disassemble the headlight and much of the front pieces to get at the back of the cluster.

    [​IMG]


    The two bulbs for the tachometer are fairly easy to reach and swap bulbs.

    The two speedo bulbs are not accessible and you will need to unbolt the two bolts holding the unit in, and then push the speedo out the front of the tunnel. Depending on how the assembly tech at BMW zip-tied the wires will determine how easy it is to get to the 2 bulbs. I had to cut the factory zip tie to allow enough slack for the speedo to come forward enough to get to the two sockets.

    [​IMG]

    The remaining cluster lights are across the bottom of the panel and fairly easy to get to.

    [​IMG]

    No biggie but it's not a 10 minute job. Swapping the bulbs is nothing, its getting to the little farts that takes time.

    My panel had 74 bulbs in the speedo and the BMW bulbs in the tach as well as the lower instrument lights. The stock BMW bulb is definitely brighter than the 74's.

    I popped the Amber High Power LEDs in the speedo and Red standard LEDs in the tach. I immediately liked the amber color as it gives more contrast to the lettering and reads quickly.

    As to the warning lights, some interesting differences. First off, I put the Cool White standard LED's in the turn and neutral indicators and immediately they were no longer green but now a crisp blue. Apparently the stock tungsten bulbs gave off enough yellow that it mixed with the blue translucent windows and created green. I like the blue :thumb

    Tested a red LED in the High Beam window but it went completely red and matched the battery warning light. I swapped in an Amber and it created a dull warm yellow which I'm hoping will be easier on the eyes. Cool.

    I put the cool white LED's in the battery warning as well and it looks good.

    One thing I noted is that the cool white LED's in standard brightness are dimmer than the stock BMW bulbs - not a lot and I think it's perfect myself, but if you like bright warning lights then go for the brighter version of the white LED's.

    My only dilemma is the Oil Warning light and Fuel lights - since the LED's are polarized, you have to check them in the sockets to see if they work, and I haven't figured out how to get the Oil and Fuel lights to turn on LOL so if anyone knows a shortcut to get the whole tree to light up I'm all ears.

    While I was in there and the front was disassembled I took the opportunity to repaint the front silver plastic which had been screwed up by the PO. Looks mucho better and I'm glad to get the harnesses redone while it's open.

    So in a nutshell, the bulbs look good, they fit the sockets fine but I'd say they are slightly looser than the stock bulbs - maybe 10% or more but I think the way the rubber base plugs into the cluster it pinches them tight. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the LED's are loose and will fall out, just an observation that they have a little more play than the stockers - time will tell if they'd ever vibrate out but I seriously doubt it. The standard LED brightness is slightly dimmer than BMW bulbs and brighter than replacement 74's

    I have more work to do to the bike so it will be a few days before I get a chance to ride and test them at night but here's a few pics - shot at the same exposure and color temp so you can see the relative color and brightness:

    Stock and 74 bulbs
    [​IMG]

    Amber in speedo / red in tach
    [​IMG]

    Amber in speedo / Blue and red mix in tach
    [​IMG]

    Amber in speedo / Amber and red mix in tach
    [​IMG]

    Amber in speedo / cool white and red mix in tach
    [​IMG]


    I like the speedo and tach way better with the LED's than the dim dull 74's. :thumb

    Can't wait to get the new headlight on!
    #17
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  18. Farnsrocket

    Farnsrocket Manos arribas!!!

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    Looks great! I don't think I like the amber......maybe its nicer on the eyes in person?
    The cool white definitely looks crisper.
    The blue would be a nice change I bet.
    I am diggin' the multicolored tach!!

    So do you remember how many bulbs you need for just the speedo and tach?

    No kidding? Gotta try that out!
    #18
  19. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Hey Farns! I think the blue or green would be good as well. I only bought one blue bulb LOL so I couldn't do much with it. The amber does look better in person, but it all depends on what you like for sure :D

    I'll do the amber and red for a while and next time maybe blue. I do think the white gives great visibility and someone was mentioning whether it would illuminate the odometer - because the bulbs are behind the black faces, the light is bounced around the perimeter which falls off quickly to the central area of the speedo, so the brighter white seemed to bring out the odo a little more

    The speedo takes 2 and the tach 2 also. At $2 +/- each that's about 10 bucks to change them out :deal Pretty cheap for a cool upgrade

    The lower panel has 9 bulbs so you've got 13 in all if you replace all of them. For Christmas you could put all different colors in LOL
    #19
  20. fusionzone

    fusionzone Adventurer

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    does r1150GS instrument panel uses the same kind of bulb ??
    #20