XJ600 headlight upgrade project

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by julietkilo, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    OK, so this is probably going to be a somewhat lengthy thread, you've been warned.

    I've been doing a lot of riding in the dark on my 1998 Yamaha XJ600 Diversion since I got my motorcycle license in July 2018. Being the not-so-very-morning person that I am, I tend to start out late in the afternoon and often finish riding on the wrong side of midnight. Admittedly Norway is the land of the midnight sun, but the spring and fall seasons here in Norway's narrow west coast valleys come with some very dark afternoons and evenings.

    And so I found myself needing better light performance from my XJ600, because I've grown accustomed to decent headlights.

    My trusty Can-Am Spyder that I've been riding for a couple of years has 2x low beams and 2x high beams (all Hella projectors, I discovered...), and I installed Opt7 LED bulbs in the lows. I also added a 40W Lazer LED bar to the Spyder's fairing, which quite literally turns night into day on the road ahead of me.

    This was the kind of light performance I wanted for my XJ600 too. And so I went ahead and bought a fairly expensive H4 LED bulb from Cyclops, only to find out that the XJ600's headlight wasn't too impressed with its new bulb... the reflector and glass are probably showing their age, because the output hardly changed at all.

    The little gain I got was likely more from the fact that LED's offer full light output from their lowest rated voltage (usually 8-10 volts), whereas the halogen H4 that I replaced probably suffered from low voltage through the 20 year old wire harness.

    After googling for a few weeks I went out on a limb and ordered a Baja Squadron Pro, that I planned to install on the XJ600 fairing (like I had done on my Spyder). It wouldn't be pretty, but it would give me the same kind of light performance that I was used to from the Spyder - but in a much, much smaller package.

    Only problem was that although the high beam power lead from the H4 would feed the Squadron Pro, the low beam would still offer very poor light from its H4 low beam halogen filament. So switching from a great Baja high beam to a bad halogen low beam would leave me semi-blind on the road.

    I guess it was about that time that I started looking into low beam options, thinking I could fabricate some kind of solution to replace the original headlight. I searched for weeks for a new projector light that would fit inside the limits of the headlight housing, and came close to ordering a used headlight from ebay to modify so it would accept a projector light inside.

    Then it dawned on me: I know how to do simple 3D CAD. I've done some CAD work in the past, using Sketchup (free) to draw (on a very basic level) an extension to my parents' log cabin and some other easy stuff. Now would be a good time to step up my 3D game and learn new Sketchup tricks. That way I could design a purpose-built light module to replace the OEM headlight, and have it 3D printed.

    Luck would have it that not long after this realization, I found the perfect projector for my application from a company called Furore Products in the UK. It was small enough to fit alongside the Squadron Pro within the confines of the fairing's headlight opening, and cheap enough that I went ahead and ordered one.

    The ball was definitely rolling, but I had no idea what I was getting my self into....


    Photo below: My Yamaha XJ600 and my Can-Am Spyder (the latter is equipped with the aforementioned Lazer LED bar ... which is to blame for this whole modification mess I guess).

    20180808_143941.jpg
    #1
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  2. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    I've made CAD drawings of relatively square objects before in Sketchup. My parents' cabin as per my previous post, a garage, shelves, and other square stuff. Square stuff is easy to do in Sketchup. But I had no experience with arced objects, and to make matters worse the XJ600 OEM headlight arcs two ways (at least!).

    Making the finished CAD drawing for a printed module that would fit both the low beam projector and the Squadron Pro for high beam, took several months and included laser-assisted measuring as well as good old measuring tape (the tape actually worked best!). Several dimensional test prints were ordered along the way to verify fitment - only to discover I had measured wrong, or misunderstood something, so adjustments had to be made to the drawing. Again. And again. And again.

    During this process I was also trying to source a high quality parking light, which I finally found at a company called Oznium. At least I hope it's high quality, I haven't really tested it yet. But it's a 1W LED lamp with threads that allow me to install it like a bolt, it's weatherproof, and it's not chinese junk.

    Going into details about all the back and forths of drawing in Sketchup and describing the setbacks, discoveries and learning-along-the-way approach I had to use would take forever to write, but as the saying goes: "A picture is worth a thousand words". So here are three pictures that outline the time-consuming steps involved.

    The first picture with two red circles shows where I started (drawing the 4 attachment points for the OEM light), and where I ended up (with a print-ready CAD file for the headlight housing). The two other pictures show close-ups of these two steps in the process - start and finish. With all the steps in between, the whole CAD drawing (and hence problem solving) process took like 3 months.

    Note that the installation bracket (the lower part with the attachment points) in the last picture did not make it to print production, as it proved to be too big for the printer I'm ordering my prints from. Instead, I had a bracket water cut from 5mm aluminum and am going to use spacers between the headlight housing and the aluminum bracket.

    So far so good.

    adv_1.jpg adv_2.jpg adv_3.jpg
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  3. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    Here's the finished CAD drawing that was used for the final print. Sending a file to the guy who prints them only takes a minute, but is followed by an agonizing 10-14 days waiting period, checking the mailbox every day to see if the print has turned up yet.

    adv_4.jpg adv_5.jpg adv_6.jpg adv_7.jpg
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  4. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    The water cut aluminum bracket was a perfect fit on the first attempt. That doesn't happen very often....

    The plexiglas mockup used for testing and measuring is visible in the second picture.

    adv_bracket1.jpg adv_bracket2.jpg adv_bracket3.jpg
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  5. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    Straight out of the 3D printer, the headlight housing has a pretty rough texture (pics 1 and 2). It actually looks cool and I'd ride with it "as is", but I am going to try and make a mold to make a few copies. In other words the housing needed to be smoother.

    So I sanded the print with sandpaper and tried to expose it to acetone vapor (pic 3 ... which I found how-to instructions for online). This process smoothens the print surface while also improving the bond between the plastic layers of the 3D print (I believe this is called annealing).

    In any case, the test installation in pics 1 and 2 sure as heck looks good, and I can't wait to get all the wiring done.

    The low beam projector lens on the right hand side of the bike uses a standard H1 bulb and works with halogen, HID, and LED. I've tested it with halogen and (chinese) HID so far, up next is a Fluxbeam X from Opt7. With the excellent results I got using Opt7's previous generation LED bulbs in my Spyder's low beam (see post 1), I can't wait to see how these brighter Fluxbeam "X" bulbs will do. They have a slightly higher lumen rating, but we'll see if that actually translates to more light on the road.

    The Squadron Pro from Baja Designs doesn't really need an introduction here, suffice it to say that I've tested it around the neighbourhood at night and it was so bright that one neighbour came outside to see what was causing the sudden brightness on his block... :-)

    I am now waiting for two long M5 bolts to secure the projector, and for the print to harden again after the acetone vapor process earlier today. It could be a few days before I make any more progress, but I'll make sure to post any updates in this thread as they happen.


    adv_print1.jpg adv_print2.jpg adv_acetonevapor.jpg
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  6. 515

    515 Been here awhile

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    nice work
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  7. TonyKZ1

    TonyKZ1 Long timer

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    Wow, that looks great, impressive. You ought to share this over on the XJRider forum too, as I'm sure they'd be interested in your work you did on this.
    #7
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  8. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Interesting. I have a similar idea planned to install high output LED lights into the original headlight "bucket" on my 96 Artic Cat ZR580 snowmobile. I have an extra empty headlight bucket into which I planed to weld in/mold in ABS plastic to mount the lights I choose. Probably three LED round lights; upper center "low" beam, flanked on each side with two "high" beam LED lights. All three together would draw less amps than the current stock bulb.

    Great update project you've started.
    #8
  9. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    Thanks buddy!

    I tried registering on XJRider a while back to get some feedback on the early stages of the project, and did receive the forum confirmation e-mail.... but I haven't been able to log in, the password recovery page doesn't recognize my username/e-mail, and new user registrations seem to have been disabled (I can't find the link I used to register anymore). So for now, I can't post anything there. I'll see if I can get in touch with an XJRider administrator and ask them nicely to let me in :-)
    #9
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  10. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    Thanks, I appreciate it.

    When you start tinkering with your snowmobile headlight bucket, I'd love to see some pics!
    #10
  11. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    I posted some of the above pics on a Facebook group for Norwegian XJ owners, and received a message about whether or not this mod would be possible on the XJ600's big brother too - the XJ900 Diversion. I did some checking and thought I'd publish the results here too in case anyone's wondering.

    The part number for my headlight is 3HE843204000.

    This light appears to have been used on XJ600 Diversion model years 1996, 1997, 1998 (mine), 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

    If Yamaha's information is correct, it was also used on the 1991, 1992 and 1993 Fazer bikes. Also on 1996, 1997 and 1998 TRX. And finally the smaller TZR 125 from 1992. (Skorpion also used this Yamaha headlight on their Skorpion Sport apparently, but I've never heard of Skorpion until I googled the part number...)

    The XJ900 on the other hand, uses a completely different headlight.
    So NO - this mod is not compatible with the XJ900.
    (If the XJ900 headlight is wide enough to accommodate two aftermarket lights it could be done, but that would require all new CAD designs to be made for both the headlight housing and the aluminium bracket.)

    Source:
    https://www.oemmotorparts.com/oem2.asp?M=Yamaha
    #11
  12. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    So tonight I hooked the Oznium LED parking light up to a 12V battery after dark, and it had pretty much a perfect amount of light output for my purpose. Consider this a recommendation! :)

    I am using the 1W 16mm warm white version in black aluminum housing (no lens) with an IP67 rating:
    https://www.oznium.com/led-bolts-prewired-leds/led-bolt
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  13. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    When test fitting the headlight housing print over the past few days, I noticed that it could/should have protruded 3mm more toward the front of the bike... which I solved using a couple of washers on each installation bolt.

    I also found that the two upper corners were touching the fairing, but softened them using acetone and bent them back a bit.

    Also, the lower curve of the housing didn't follow the fairing's curve as well as I had aimed for. The "panel gap" on the lower curve left a little bit to be desired.

    These are all minor issues, but the more I thought about them the more they ground my gears.

    So last night I sat down with Sketchup again and made revisions to the CAD drawing, fixing all of the above (or so I hope). This one should be pretty close to perfect... As I was finalizing the drawing, I realized that the housing has a very "organic" shape when viewed from certain angles such as the attached picture. Cute! (I also realized I have come a long way with Sketchup since I started making square boxes in 3D just a few years ago.)

    organic-shape.jpg
    #13
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  14. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    I wish every supplier I've dealth with over the years had been on par with Oznium, where I bought the parking light. I just ordered another couple of those lights, since the 3D printed housing has sparked a little bit of interest from XJ riders here in Norway who might want to do this headlight mod themselves.

    I logged into my account on Oznium's website and WHAM! Imagine my surprise when I clicked on a link to track my order and it displayed ACTUAL PICS of my order being packaged! I've never seen this anywhere before, is this common in the USA?? It sure isn't here in Europe!! :-)

    oznium_packing.jpg
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  15. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    Smoothening the headlight housing using acetone vapor rendered it pretty glossy and the surface finish turned out fairly well. However, some of the smaller details "melted" a little and a few tolerances were slightly off after the hours-long vaporing process was done. Not critical by any means, but a little bit annoying after putting a lot of hours into drawing those details with exact tolerances in 3D.

    For this reason, the updated headlight housing version that is currently being printed (see post #13) will not be subjected to acetone vaporing. I'll sand it to the desired smoothness instead, and then brush on a light coat of acetone that flashes off quickly - it stays on just long enough to turn the print surfaces from "matte sanded" into "semi-glossy".

    Acetone vaporing yields good visual results judging by other people's experience with it, but unfortunately this part is probably too large and with too small tolerances for the method to work as intended.

    Learning as you go along is roughly half the process... :)
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  16. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    The new print arrived yesterday, and at this point I've gotta say that I'm happy with how it fits, panel gaps and all.

    In an ideal world I would have adjusted a section of the gaps on the sides ever so slightly to match those of the top and bottom 100%, but hey - it's at 99% and that's good enough. From a distance of 2-3 feet it looks uniform all the way around.

    The guy who printed it used a finer print resolution this time around, resulting in a higher quality front finish with just some minor texturing. Light sanding to even out the high spots is all I'll have to do by the looks of it ... followed by some acetone on a rag to smoothen everything out and remove any sanding marks.

    These pics were taken before any sanding or other prep work.

    adv_secondprint_1.jpg adv_secondprint2.jpg
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  17. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    I am eager to go for a test ride to try it on the road, but for now we have snow and ice... lots and lots of it. The only thing I've been able to in order to scratch my itch is take more pictures of the fully assembled unit. Thought you'd might like to see them.

    For the professional (hah hah) look I pulled out a roll of wrapping paper that was left over from wrapping Christmas presents just so I'd have a plain white background.

    20190202_165132-1.jpg
    Finally finished up the harness which now ends in a H4 plug to match the bike's socket. Though I still need to crimp 2x 2.8mm terminals to the parking light wires, which will match the connectors in the parking light socket. It's been a pain getting the 2.8mm terminals locally so I might have to resort to ebay. Oh and this photo shows a standard halogen bulb in the low beam.


    20190202_165322-1.jpg
    Same unit, different angle.


    20190202_165718-1.jpg
    Here's a closeup of the harness with a Delphi connector (left) for the Squadron Pro high beam, and female crimp terminals for the H1 low beam bulb (these fit halogen, xenon and led H1's). The Delphi connector uses crimp terminals inside too, but for good measure I reinforced the connections by putting my soldering skills to use again for the first time in a long time.


    20190202_165816-1.jpg
    Here's how it looks after installing a LED bulb and driver in the low beam. The size of the wire harness literally doubles! Fortunately there's plenty of space available in the fairing, but it now needs a few extra cable ties to hold everything securely.
    #17
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  18. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    20190202_165839.jpg
    Closeup of the headlight unit's rear side, with LED bulb installed. Starting to realize that everything is gonna look pretty neat once installed on the bike. On my workbench it's been looking a little messy over the past weeks, with wires and connectors and sand paper and test prints everywhere. Slightly chaotic. Seeing the results materialize like this kinda makes it worth it.
    #18
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  19. zeroviz

    zeroviz Adventurer

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    I'm not sure what kind of material your 3D printer is using (PLA or ABS?), but if you can get it printed with a resin printer, there will be almost no cleanup or sanding necessary and tolerances will be very good, and it will be much stronger....of course it will be more expensive :)
    #19
  20. julietkilo

    julietkilo XJ600 rider

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    Hi zeroviz, I did in fact discuss the materials with the guy who prints for me. Funny you should mention the same thing :)

    I was thinking about ABS printing initially because of its low price, strength, temperature stability and durability. The printer dude then informed me about a material called ASA, which is very much like ABS - but adds UV resistance so it takes a lot longer for it to degrade in the sun. Ever seen white plastic turn yellow and brittle when left outside? That's the sun's effect on ABS and other plastics. So with ASA, that degradation can be avoided or at least delayed to a point where it's not an issue.

    However, I have pretty much decided to not use the 3D print on the bike "as is". Instead, I'll try making a silicone mold and casting a resin copy. That way, if anything happens to the cast resin light on the bike, I can just cast another one quickly at low cost instead of waiting two weeks for a new and expensive print to arrive. If I am successfull in making the mold and copying the print this way, I know there are a couple of people who'd want one for their own bike too. I've never made a mold before, so I don't know that I'm getting into.

    So anyway... although a resin 3D print is not in the works, the final version to go on the bike will probably be resin, albeit cast resin :)
    #20
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