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electrical system capacity

17 posts from 6 voices
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  1. webster98

    well i know you can put anything on a bike and it will work but im looking to NOT tax the charging system or battery to shorten the battery life

    im thinking of adding a set of driving lights to my bike that will be wired straight to the battery thru a relay to be "always on" when im riding at night.

    i dont drive at night that often so i dont "have to" have these lights so i'll add them only if they wont tax the battery and charging system

    what extra capacity does the bike have to handle something like that because i know driving lights pull a lot of power from the battery.

    im sure there is a limit to what accessary lighting you want to put on these bikes but rarely do they advertise anything but wattages for those lights.

    i should also add that im just looking to get that dark spot between the headlight and tire filled in so i dont need super lights just something in the cheap $25 range lights if anyone knows a good set

  2. tbone319

    you shouldn't have any trouble running light 55 watts or less , most bike i've read cruisers that is are some where in the 300 watt range .but there's smarter guy than me here that can probably tell you exactly how many watts your bike has ..

  3. girgnt1zbt

    You should be fine. Mine used to have Yamaha driving lights and it was fine. I wouldnt want to add much more to the electrical system along with the lights though.

  4. webster98

    so any cheap set of driving/fog lights would be fine to run "all the time" without draining the battery? this is what i was looking at:

    im sure it counts as nothing but my rear flashers are now running lights but they probably cant be measured the small amount of juice those 3w bulbs use

  5. recumpendpop

    The following link will tell you ALL about the load on the 650 electrical system and the capacity of the charging system.

    The 650 charging system is pretty anemic.

    Lots of good info.

  6. webster98

    The following link will tell you ALL about the load...

    thanks, so i dont have to wory about carb heaters in louisiana so it still looks like 55w driving/passing lamps can work but it will max out the limit of what the bike can handle

    i guess if i do do it i should only use at highway speeds

    i dont suppose there is a mod out there to improve our charging systems is there? i hate anything marginal that "just" does the job and having a charging system that can restore a weak battery would be my preference

  7. bkman

    My 1100 seems to be happy with as much as 100 Watts of extra lighting on board. I DID recently switch to 35-Watt lamps in my driving lights because my battery is getting older - and because they are PLENTY bright without the 50 Watt lamps. Most OEM and afterMarget light bars I've seen have 35-Watt lamps in them anyway. There may be 55-Watt light bars on the Marget, but I'd be careful using them. I have a Volt meter on my bars to keep an eye on things and, when I'm idling with my driving lights on, the system voltage drops to about 11V and then stabilizes there. That's enough to keep things going, but it is certainly not charging the battery at that point. If I had 110 Watts of light onboard, I suspect it would go much lower than that.

    Since the battery and alternator work in concert, it is difficult to predict just how much overload will be tolerated (and for how long) in any given situation. It depends largely on the overall condition of the battery. A good battery will tolerate relatively long periods of "overload" but I feel pretty certain that, when you're idling in traffic, you're going to be draining the battery too much with two 55 Watt lamps blazing away.

    The charging system is not current regulated - it only seeks to maintain a target voltage. A newer battery will hold the voltage higher for longer periods of time when the charging system can't keep up, but it must supply power to do so (which discharges it). In this situation, the voltage will sag. This is normal, and it will stop (stabilize) when an equilibrium is reached. This equilibrium, however, will be at a lower voltage as the electrical load is increased. So the real question is just how low will it go. My suggestion would be to get a voltmeter, like the Kuryakyn one

    Install this when you add your lights. If you see that the voltage stabilizes at or above 11V at idle, you're probably going to be fine. If it falls below that, you're risking a long walk.

    The 650 charging system is not the same, but I would be real surprised if it was a whole lot more or less than the 1100 in terms of output (about 330 Watts, if I remember correctly).

    You can "cheat" by rasing the idle speed just a bit, too. That will buy you some extra fudge.

  8. webster98

    the trouble with the light bars i have seen is they all want $250-$400 for em and my budget is $20-$25

    what about LED driving lights? are they any good or just crap that shines a narrow beam and do they all need load equalizers? they seam to thats why i dont use LEDs in my flashers and brakes

    it doesnt need to be as bright as the headlight, just as long as it removes the dark spot so my plan is to try the walmart light kit mod

  9. quicgmicg

    what about LED driving lights? are they any good or...

    Driving lights don't need load equalizers because they don't have to flash. (You can get around load equalizers in turn signals if you go to an electronic flasher.)

    I've not yet seen a set of LED driving lights that were inexpensive enough for my taste. Most that I see in the under $100 range are daytime running I'm thinking they wont do much for night time vision...they are designed more to be seen...than to help you see.

  10. bkman

    I am with you. I can't affort a $300 light bar, and I prefer the look of the low-mounted auxiliary lights to the light bar anyway. A lot of us have the $18 Wal-Mart lights and are very happy with them. I've had mine for probably two years now and they work very well. They are made by Optronics and use standard bi-pin MR-16 lamps, which are availabe in a number of wattages and beam patterns. As I said earlier, I switched mine out to 35 Watt lamps and I can't really see much of a difference. There are even LED MR-16 lamps out there, but I haven't found one yet that fits in the housing. As Mick said, the point of these things (in the daytime, at least) is to create the bright spots of light - easy to see. At night, though, these little lights really help to fill in the dark areas not covered by the low beam.

    If you're not happy with your headlight in general, I'd suggest trying the Sylvania Silverstar ultimate lamp. They're about $30 and they don't seem to last that long (I go through a couple each year) but they make a HUGE difference. The wattaage is the same, so you don't have to worry about heat issues.

  11. webster98

    If you're not happy with your headlight in general, I'd...

    well whats the deal with it going out so much is it the vibration and they all do that or is there a heavy duty version i can use because im sure i'll be trying a new bulb?

    i am still in the figuring everything out stage and night time lighting is now up for exploration and the first test had low beams in the trees and high beam was in the sky lol, but when set correctly i got a low beam "ring" of light that was ok but could be better and the high beam was fine.

    not sure why the low beam looked that way, i never had the covered tip make any difference or visably be blocking part of the light output before so maybe its just a cheap bulb

  12. recumpendpop

    well whats the deal with it going out so much...

    The brighter the bulb the shorter the life.
    Look at the back of the package for the silverstar and it shows the life span.

  13. webster98

    The brighter the bulb the shorter the life.Look at the...

    if thats true then they must be cheaply made, bulbs shouldnt be burning out in less then a year or even once a year or you have a safety issue there.

    where i ride if you loose your headlight you wait till daylight because you will kill yourself

    granted the premiss is true you do sacrafice longevity with brighter bulbs but to me, a bulb burning out quickly is changing it every couple of years

    i just pulled my bulb and i cant figure out what exactly it is, the numbers are: Philips H4 12342 12V 60/55W E1 2C3 U then there is a G8 with the numbers 03 under it and its made in germany

    anybody know for sure what this thing is because the bulbs they show all have letters after the numbers and this one doesnt so it doesnt match any phillips numbers i can find and i see regular stock $4-$10 bulbs with that number as well as $40 super bright version bulbs with that number

  14. recumpendpop

    I have never seen BOTH high and low beam go out it is ALWAYS one or the other.

    Bottom line for you is Don't buy them.

  15. webster98

    I have never seen BOTH high and low beam go...

    good point, i just am used to replacing a headlight bulb maybe once in a vehicles lifetime so the idea of regularly burning them out is hard to get used to being a normal thing.

    i guess if thats how it is then thats how it is and like changing oil i will need to replace the headlight bulb every year as part of routine maint.

    for now i bought this: Sylvania XtraVision Halogen 9003VPS2

    which from what i can see in the daytime has a better light pattern on the wall (no "ring" of light) but i havent seen it at night to see if its any brighter

    when i replace it again it looks like the Philips Vision Plus 9003VPS2 has good reviews on vision and brightness and since you say none of them last that long, i will dissmiss the reports of short lifespan as not being any worse then other bulbs

  16. bkman

    I don't know why the Silverstars go out so often, but I don't worry too much about it. I always check my light before leaving the house, and it is pretty easy to tell if the light goes out while I'm riding because I can see it reflecting in the car ahead of me when I'm stopped at a light. I always run my high beam during the day - the low beam is almost worthless in the daytime. So, it is always my high beam that goes out.

    What you ultimately use is up to you. My point was just that the OEM halogen lamp in this particular bike seems to be really weak. I changed it out the first week I had my bike, and I think I've gone through four of the Silverstars since then. The bike is an '08, so that's a little more than one per year. I guess it isn't as bad as I first stated.

  17. webster98

    i just got back (bike night) and the new bulb i bought works pretty good, i say "good" because its not great or really bright but it does "as stated" which is about 30% brighter and 25% wider beam then stock bulbs so im happy with that and it fills everything in nicely so i dont have that dark area between the bike and the point of the beam so i dont need the extra driving lights i was thinking about adding

    i can see the 50% brighter bulb would have been the perfect choice for me and given a second chance i would have gone with the 50% brighter bulb instead but i was afraid of the reliability so i went with the 30% which i now regret going with the longer lasting version.

    the roads around here have almost NO lighting at all except inside the towns so its always pitch black everywhere plus overhanging trees in most areas to boot so a really bright beam is less important to me then good overall coverage of the whole lane on the road in front of me.


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