ElectricMotorcycleForum.com

  • February 21, 2018, 07:28:47 AM
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Electric Motorcycle Forum is live!

Pages: [1] 2 3 4

Author Topic: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero  (Read 2626 times)

Low On Cash

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero
« on: February 28, 2017, 02:23:55 AM »

Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas


Hey Guys - living here in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, when it gets dark these narrow winding roads can be quite a challenge. I generally take a 25 mile ride to the “2 Wheels” Restaurant in Suches, Ga in the evening and hang out with the guys, so its not unusual for me to come home after dark. The one feature I miss most on my Zero is the lack of whiter and brighter headlights. In this overview, I’ll cover how I achieved this goal and I’ll talk about some basic Pro’s and Con’s of halogen and Lcd’s as a choice.



Headlight Choices - Since the Zero uses a standard H4 bulb, there are a hundreds of headlight options, some just a plug and play and others requiring some modification. Headlight lamps are basically broke down to three major categories:

Halogen -  For economical cost reasons, a basic halogen lamp is what you’ll find in your Zero and most other manufactures bikes and vehicles. Halogen lamps are “Just OK” when it come to brightness and distance however have a fairly long life and are easily found and replaced. The draw back of the “Basic” Halogen lamp is its yellowish color and limited ability to light the road at night.

Halogen Xenon HID -  This bulb has been my choice for my cars, trucks and a few of my bikes. The Halogen HID is manufactured by Sylvania which uses proprietary xenon halogen gas technology to provide the light and performance of a HID lamp (high Intensity discharge). The ZXE bulbs offer a nice white light and in most cases offer 50% more light than the standard Halogen lamp. Because of their easy ability to find, low cost, white light and increased brightness, this is the lamp I chose for my Zero.

LED - Or light emitting diodes are very popular since they offer pure white light and longevity, some Led’s are published to last up to 15,000 hours. In the past, LED lights have been reserved for higher end cars and bikes. The Indian Roadmaster comes with led headlights and fog lamps as does my Honda NM4 also has led lighting stock from the factory.

There’s even a so-called “Adaptive Led Headlight” for motorcycles from JW Speaker which retails for over $800. For the most part, adaptive headlights are a myth for bikes. No they don’t move the beams like some cars do but rather turn on and off different led’s, so as your bike leans over in a turn, a processor detects the angle and turns on different sets of Led’s on either the right or left side of the headlight lamp depending on how far the bike leans to “hopefully” look in the direction of travel. The problem is the headlight assembly is still looking only straight ahead so the additional light is just flooding the side of the turn. In retrospect - a good HID or led low beam light that floods the shoulders will accomplish the same thing without this outrageous cost. While its up to each guy to decide his spending, for me they are out of the question and would be painful to pay $500-$800 for a headlight up-grade.

Not all Led’s are Equal - While Led’s do last a long time, their associated wiring and circuitry may not! Don’t be fooled with some of the Internet “Life-Time” warranties on Led’s since I found many of these dealers only have a P.O. Box, and they know you’re not going to write a letter !
Keep in mind that some Led upgrades require special adapters, resistors and such.  I’ve seen threads where guys actually cut their factory wiring in their bike to install them, don’t alter your wiring since it can lead to problems with the Zero's processor if it detects a different headlight voltage or load it could misinterpret the circuit as open or over-loaded and throw a code. Most important, when purchasing replacement lamps, make sure they are the same wattage as the original to prevent possible heat damage to the plastic headlight housing and lens.

Halogen HID Improved Distance over Led’s - A HID lamp will have improved distance when compared to a Led lamps display design.  Many replacement Led’s have only two elements which radiate light on only two areas of the headlights reflector where a halogen & HID’s radiates a full 360 degrees, so more light is focused on the reflectors to project further down the road in an even amount of lighting, unlike LED’s which provide unwanted lobs of spilled light commonly seen when using them.





The Main Headlight - Since my high beam quit working on my Zero, rather than reinstall the same dull stock halogen H4 lamp, I researched what was available in both LED and halogen and opted for the Sylvania HID Attitude - Xenon Fueled Halogen lamps I’ve been using. These retail for around $75 for two lamps, my local parts dealer only charged me $46 with tax for the pair, so my cost was less than $25 for my upgrade. These lamps can be easily found at your local auto parts outlet, Amazon or at some larger Wal-mart outlets. These bulbs are rated at the same exact wattage of 55/60 watts so your electrical system is happy. These white and bright lamps are DOT approved and street legal for your bike. In addition, they are warranted for a full year at any parts store.

HID Attitude Performance - As I mentioned, these Xenon Fueled lamps will be around 50% brighter than the standard halogen bulb so there is an amazing difference in what you’ll be able to see after dark. In addition, the lamp is white in color with a 4200K temperature when compared to the 3000K temperature of the stock yellow bulbs.

Changing the headlight lamp on your Zero is a breeze - you simply remove 4 hex screws on the lamp assembly, place a rag on your front fender to avoid scuffing then pull the lamp forward to revel the power plug. Slide the rubber boot back then gently rock the power plug back and forth to separate it from the lamp. Next, there is a white nylon retaining ring which you’ll turn counter-clockwise and the lamp lifts right out of the assembly. Perform the reverse to install the new lamp being careful not to touch the glass surface with your hands since there is some contact grease on the pin connectors.








I would like to mention that when I went to change out what I thought was going be a defective lamp, I found the bulb was fine. Evidently when the headlight was factory assembled, one of the clips in the 3 prong plug had moved back making the connection intermittent.

Once you get this lamp on your Zero you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. The beam is now super bright and as white as a LED lamp.  On these two shots below I show both the low and high beam results. As you can see, the light is very white. In the high beam shot you could spot a deer at 200+ yards away with ease, note the mailbox reflector and the beam going much further down the road.   





Check out these two images of my bike on my driveway. The reason I used this location is because my driveway is jet black and as you know the worst situation for lighting since there is no reflected light to take advantage of. The low beam is virtually flooding both shoulders of the road and the road is saturated in light.

The high beams are awesome, in the second image you can see way past the fence and road to the trees across the field in the back ground. This is where the Halogen HID lamp exceeds the LED because it has the ability to focus at longer distances, something the LED cannot achieve. Also keep in mind, this is; “high beam only” since the Zero shuts off the low beam, yet the shoulders are still perfectly lit. 





For the same token these lamps will help you at night - so will they help you during daylight hours because you will certainly be more visible as well. In conclusion, for the economical price of $25 this lamp offers security plus it makes it night driving so much easier.

Before I wrap, I wanted to share a tip I found for carrying a small bottle of water on your Zero and have it totally concealed. This little canvas water bottle bag is available at Walmart for around $10 and will slip right in the void behind the headlight assembly. On the bottom of the bag there is a Velcro strap, just warp it around the brake line or a wire to secure the bag. This is really nice when you want a quick drink without stopping.






Headlight: 1- Sylvania H4 HID Attitude - Xenon Fueled ZXE 60/55W

Enjoy - Mike Mas


« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 08:04:50 PM by Low On Cash »
Logged

JaimeC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 520
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 02:46:29 AM »

Just one observation:  "Yellow" in a headlight is NOT a bad thing.  It actually provides better contrast than blue or white and gives you slightly better depth perception as a result.  France actually mandated amber headlights for that reason (I don't know if they still do, or abandoned it when they joined the EU).

Sodium vapor lamps used to light streets are also yellowish, but I think the confusion they caused by drivers who didn't know if they were seeing a street light or a traffic light about to turn red killed those some years back.

It is also why so many shooter's glasses are tinted amber. 

Thanks for a very interesting write-up.  I'll keep an eye out for those Sylvania bulbs when it comes time to replace my headlight.
Logged
2016 Zero S: Short trips in traffic
2013 BMW C650GT: Long trips in traffic
1999 BMW K1200LT: For everything else

wijnand71

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 04:07:37 AM »

Super post and nice pics! I was recently in doubt of upgrading to LED, but found nothing good enough. But I will try these for sure! Here in Europe they are called Osram SILVERSTAR 2.0 64193SV2. 60% more light is what they say.
My order is on its way..
Logged

clay.leihy

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 08:40:40 AM »

I'm just not crazy about the blue tinted headlamps. The coloring on the bulbs filters out other colors, reducing the total light output. But, simply replacing bulbs with brighter ones is a cheap and easy upgrade.

Sent from my Z981 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 08:43:54 AM by clay.leihy »
Logged
Clay
DoD #2160,6

Doug S

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1148
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 09:46:43 AM »

Oooooh, xenon magic! "Well, actually..." there's nothing magic about xenon. It's a halogen gas, plain and simple.

Incandescent bulbs are very simple devices. You run a fairly high current through a tungsten wire, and it heats up. Heat it up enough and it literally glows, to the point that you can light up a room. But there are problems with the concept. First, if you do it in air, even tungsten will oxidize and literally evaporate in just a few seconds (ask me how I know). So let's put a glass bulb around it, and evacuate the air. That works, but an evacuated bulb tends to implode, so let's fill the bulb with a neutral gas...there are many choices of neutral gases, and they're all good. That's your standard incandescent light bulb, and it's served us well for 100 years or more.

But the tungsten filament still decomposes, the extreme temperature causes tungsten to cast off ions, which deposit wherever, and that erodes the filament. That's why your standard incandescent light bulb has a dark spot on it when it burns out. That's the tungsten ions, cast off the filament, which have accumulated on the inside of the glass bulb. The hotter you run the filament, the faster it casts off ions, and the sooner it will burn out.

Cool trick: fill the bulb with a halogen gas, instead of a neutral gas. Due to an obscure chemical reaction, that causes the cast-off tungsten ions to preferentially plate back on the filament, rather than on the inside of the glass bulb. So, as the filament gets rid of ions, those ions are strongly encouraged back onto the filament. They don't go back in exactly the same place, so eventually you'll develop thin and thick spots, and the filament will fail, but it takes MUCH longer than without the halogen gas. We call these "halogen" bulbs. But instead of just making much longer-lasting bulbs, they design them to run much hotter, which gives them roughly the same lifetime as a regular incandescent bulb, but give a far better, whiter, brighter light. It's a good thing.

Back to xenon....google it, it's just a halogen gas, and it's the one everybody uses in their "halogen" bulbs. So there's no magic, in fact nothing special. This is just a regular halogen bulb which has been designed to throw out more light than most, with the standard tradeoff of much shorter life.

Some of the manufacturers go a step further, and as clay.leihy says, they dye their bulbs a light blue color. This is supposed to simulate a true HID lightbulb (which is a very different, much brighter and much more expensive animal). It's silly, really, as clay points out...design your bulb to run bright, but very short, and then dye the glass bulb blue to make it fool people into thinking it's a HID.

Look, buy whatever bulb you want, just understand what you're buying. These days, either it's a halogen bulb, it's a true HID (rare, expensive and getting rarer), or it's LEDs. I'd argue for my choice, LED, but I think the industry is making the argument for me. LED bulbs are the future just as EVs are the future.
Logged
There's no better alarm clock than sunlight on asphalt.

Shadow

  • Tip Overs: 10
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 713
  • Zero 2016 DSR ZF13.0
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 10:02:27 AM »

Nice pictures and write-up! I've found the '16 DSR front lighting to be sufficient but I do think that high-beam draws a noticeable lot of power at slow speed longer duration riding just to get the visibility I'm looking for at night.
Logged

Chocula

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 11:30:48 AM »

Consumer Reports has a brief write-up on premium bulbs.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/01/halogen-headlight-bulbs/index.htm
Quote
Bottom line. Premium bulbs might be a good choice if you prefer a more intense or whiter light, but don’t expect big changes in the distance you can see compared with standard or new OE bulbs. For the premium bulbs we tested, shop by price.
Logged

grmarks

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 394
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 12:21:28 PM »

Interesting, but is it really a HID as my HID globe comes with a box to boost voltage to 23,000 volts?
I see no mention of this driver box for this globe.

 
Logged

Ashveratu

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 02:34:52 PM »

Jaime C made some really good observations about "yellow" lights and I would like to make a couple more. A yellow light and a white could both be illuminating the exact same amount of area but the white light will seem brighter because it actually irritates our eyes more. Since us Humans were raised on a planet with a yellow star, we are more accustomed to yellow light, go figure. Blue light is also more irritating to our eyes as well.
Logged
2014 Brammo Empulse in Yellow

2013 Zero S 11.4 - Black *Returned to Zero for full refund*

BrianTRice

  • Unofficial Zero Manual Editor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2378
  • Nerdy Adventurer
    • View Profile
    • Personal site
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 01:57:12 AM »

This is a great write-up, Mike.

I took some time to clean up the wiki's headlamp aftermarket section to accommodate some of this:
http://zeromanual.com/index.php/Zero_Aftermarket#Headlamp

A second pass would probably be able to work this in.
Logged
Zero: 2016 DSR, 2013 DS
Also: 2012 Suzuki DL-650 V-Strom Adv

Low On Cash

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2017, 09:03:14 AM »

This is a great write-up, Mike.

I took some time to clean up the wiki's headlamp aftermarket section to accommodate some of this:
http://zeromanual.com/index.php/Zero_Aftermarket#Headlamp

A second pass would probably be able to work this in.

Thanks Brian! The manual has been a help to me numerous times.
Logged

Low On Cash

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2017, 09:42:02 AM »

Hey guys, while it does not pertain to the Zero (at least yet) the beautiful 6 Cylinder BMW K1600GTL offers a real working Adaptive headlight. To my knowledge it's the only “real” adaptive headlight on a motorcycle. Unlike the JW Speaker's fixed Adaptive fixture, The BMW uses a unique mechanical/electrical arrangement where the headlight fixture is stationary however it reflects its beam onto a rotating mirror assembly that is controlled by a processor which measures the bikes lean angle to moves the mirror the correct angle for light around a curve. What a super headlight system!

Regards - Mike




« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 11:37:04 PM by Low On Cash »
Logged

Low On Cash

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2017, 11:33:35 PM »

Nice pictures and write-up! I've found the '16 DSR front lighting to be sufficient but I do think that high-beam draws a noticeable lot of power at slow speed longer duration riding just to get the visibility I'm looking for at night.

Thanks for the reply - While I have not confirmed it myself - I've read that once the Sylvania ZXE Xenon Fueled Halogen lamps warm up (gases) they reduce their current draw. Some have stated it goes down to 35-40 watts which would be a good thing for us on longer trips.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 11:37:39 PM by Low On Cash »
Logged

hubert

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
  • '14 Zero S, nuke charged
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2017, 12:05:57 AM »

France actually mandated amber headlights for that reason (I don't know if they still do, or abandoned it when they joined the EU).

Just my 2 cent. France never "joined EU" because France was one of the EU founder nations (in 3 months we will elect a new president, hopefully it will not be that blonde shouting lady who wants a "frexit"). Yellow headlights were used until about 20 years ago. When the move towards "regular" color was announced, some motorbiker societies wanted the motorbikes to remain yellow, so as to be better distinguished from the "white" car crowd, but they were not listened at.
Logged
2014 Zero S
Velomobile "Quest"
Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Low On Cash

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
    • View Profile
Re: Whiter - Brighter & Safer Headlights For Your Zero - Mike Mas
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2017, 01:34:29 AM »

Oooooh, xenon magic! "Well, actually..." there's nothing magic about xenon. It's a halogen gas, plain and simple.

Incandescent bulbs are very simple devices. You run a fairly high current through a tungsten wire, and it heats up. Heat it up enough and it literally glows, to the point that you can light up a room. But there are problems with the concept. First, if you do it in air, even tungsten will oxidize and literally evaporate in just a few seconds (ask me how I know). So let's put a glass bulb around it, and evacuate the air. That works, but an evacuated bulb tends to implode, so let's fill the bulb with a neutral gas...there are many choices of neutral gases, and they're all good. That's your standard incandescent light bulb, and it's served us well for 100 years or more.

But the tungsten filament still decomposes, the extreme temperature causes tungsten to cast off ions, which deposit wherever, and that erodes the filament. That's why your standard incandescent light bulb has a dark spot on it when it burns out. That's the tungsten ions, cast off the filament, which have accumulated on the inside of the glass bulb. The hotter you run the filament, the faster it casts off ions, and the sooner it will burn out.

Cool trick: fill the bulb with a halogen gas, instead of a neutral gas. Due to an obscure chemical reaction, that causes the cast-off tungsten ions to preferentially plate back on the filament, rather than on the inside of the glass bulb. So, as the filament gets rid of ions, those ions are strongly encouraged back onto the filament. They don't go back in exactly the same place, so eventually you'll develop thin and thick spots, and the filament will fail, but it takes MUCH longer than without the halogen gas. We call these "halogen" bulbs. But instead of just making much longer-lasting bulbs, they design them to run much hotter, which gives them roughly the same lifetime as a regular incandescent bulb, but give a far better, whiter, brighter light. It's a good thing.

Back to xenon....google it, it's just a halogen gas, and it's the one everybody uses in their "halogen" bulbs. So there's no magic, in fact nothing special. This is just a regular halogen bulb which has been designed to throw out more light than most, with the standard tradeoff of much shorter life.

Some of the manufacturers go a step further, and as clay.leihy says, they dye their bulbs a light blue color. This is supposed to simulate a true HID lightbulb (which is a very different, much brighter and much more expensive animal). It's silly, really, as clay points out...design your bulb to run bright, but very short, and then dye the glass bulb blue to make it fool people into thinking it's a HID.

Look, buy whatever bulb you want, just understand what you're buying. These days, either it's a halogen bulb, it's a true HID (rare, expensive and getting rarer), or it's LEDs. I'd argue for my choice, LED, but I think the industry is making the argument for me. LED bulbs are the future just as EVs are the future.

Enjoy - Mike Mas


Doug thanks for your reply - While I’m certainly no expert on Xenon technology, but from using them and everything I’ve read, puts them on the top of the food chain when it comes to their brightness, white color and their increased projected distance even over LED lighting. As you can see from my Zero street shots, this single lamp illuminates the street as far as you can see. Riding the Zero with Xenon lamps is a different world for night driving. I’m not afraid to drive in the dark any longer.

I don’t feel your reply is 100% correct - the Sylvania HID Xenon is really a different bulb than a basic halogen you made reference to which has a tungsten filament where the current heats the tungsten which glows to produce light. With the Xenon bulb instead of a filament heating up and glowing like standard halogen bulb, the Xenon use electrodes to charge the gas inside the bulb which is actually producing the light, so its totally different than standard filament technology. Another advantage is the lifespan - most halogen bulbs have a lifespan of 500-1000 hours where the Xenon bulbs are lasting 1000-2500 hours. In any case they are warranted for a year.

The only lamp that will outshine the Sylvania HID Xenon is Laser lighting which is 30-50% brighter than HID or Led’s. Laser lighting uses diodes to create three individual beams of blue laser light which are then directed through a prism, to form a single beam. The beam then has to pass through a phosphorus lens that which then makes it creates white light that is safe for human eyes. Some cars in Europe such as the BMW I8 are already outfitted with laser headlights, Audi has a space age laser headlight that uses a camera to prevent the beams from working when in the proximity of other vehicles either coming or going.

Regards Mike

This is the BMW I8 Laser headlight Lamp



« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 01:44:43 AM by Low On Cash »
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4