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Headlight Relays

 
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Flying Duck
PsyKotic Waterfowl


Joined: 27 Jan 2005
Posts: 9789
Location: Bumf***, WA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject: Headlight Relays Reply with quote

Lots of people add headlight relays to their K bikes. Why?

1) The stock wiring for BMW headlights is rather wimpy. It suffices but given the small gauge of the wire, voltage is lost in the circuit. By upgrading to thicker wire (like 14 gauge or even 12) the amount of voltage lost is much less. More voltage to your headlight means more light.

2) Since, from the factory, the headlight does not use relays this means that all of the current travels through the contacts in the high beam/low beam switch on your left handlebar. Every time you switch between beams a little spark is created. Over time and many uses, these little sparks degrade the switch contacts and eventually cause the switch to fail. When you use relays, the current flowing through the switch is reduced to next to nothing and this increases the longevity of your headlight switch.

3) Once you've upgraded the wiring and added relays you can switch to a higher power bulb. If you tried that with the stock wiring chances are you'd melt the insulation off of the wires and have some potentially serious problems. (I run a 90/100W Xenon H4 headlight bulb which is a massive improvment over the stock halogen H4 bulb.)

You have two options when adding headlight relays:

1) Buy a kit from Jim Davis at Eastern Beaver. If you're not into chasing electrons or just don't feel like making your own, Jim's kits are handy, fairly priced and used by lots of K bike owners.

Jim's page of H4 headlight relays:
http://easternbeaver.com/Main/Products/H4_Kits/h4_kits.html


2) "Roll your own"

You can find a couple of write-ups on this over at the IBMWR K Bike Tech Pages:

http://www.ibmwr.org/ktech.shtml

You can either use your existing headlight plug and cut the wires very close to the headlight socket or you can get a new H4 headlight socket and connect your higher gauge wiring to the socket. This is really the "right" way to do things. (I get mine from Jim Davis - http://easternbeaver.com/Main/Elec__Products/Connectors/Headlight_Connectors/headlight_connectors.html )

I'd also recommend using Posi-Taps to tap into the headlight wires from your switch. Jim Davis has those too. You'll need two of the PT1800 type. (I do not recommend using ScotchLocks or T-taps - both have a tendency to fail or cut through the wire you're tapping into.)

Here's a quick and dirty hand drawn wiring diagram for adding headlight relays.



Oh, and be sure to disconnect your battery before doing stuff like this. (Have your radio security code handy if you have an LT.)


EDIT: Here's a better wiring diagram. Note that the wires indicated by thicker lines are the ones where you should use 12 or 14 gauge wiring:


_________________
93 LT (x2)
94 RS
86-97 K75F(K75/100/1100 Frankenbrick)
86 K75C w/paralever, hi perf cams,TURBO!
91 & 92 K75Ss
91 K1
86 custom K100
14 WR250R
IBA #17739 (SS1K, BBG, 50CC)
Buy parts HERE


Last edited by Flying Duck on Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:37 am; edited 3 times in total
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Stoked Steve
Flying Brick Rider


Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 1402
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I didn't know what I didn't know, and kind of wish I still didn't know!

One more item to add to the "gotta get list".

Those prices seem very reasonable, for what you get out of it.

My head is spinning trying to figure which kit would be best, need to read it again.

Thanks for a great write-up Duck. This ought to be a sticky!
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Steve
Virginia Beach, VA
93 K1100RS Mystic Red SOLD
12 Suzuki DL650A VStrom
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Flying Duck
PsyKotic Waterfowl


Joined: 27 Jan 2005
Posts: 9789
Location: Bumf***, WA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim has owned a few Ks. Drop him an email and ask him which kit - then please report back on this thread.

You can tell him you were referred by a duck. Jim knows who I am. I've ridden with him before:



He's a tall guy - he made that K100RS look like a minibike when he was riding. Laughing
_________________
93 LT (x2)
94 RS
86-97 K75F(K75/100/1100 Frankenbrick)
86 K75C w/paralever, hi perf cams,TURBO!
91 & 92 K75Ss
91 K1
86 custom K100
14 WR250R
IBA #17739 (SS1K, BBG, 50CC)
Buy parts HERE
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Stoked Steve
Flying Brick Rider


Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 1402
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went back and re-read the kit options and it seemd like this one would be best. We don't have dual beam headlights do we?

H4 Heavy Duty Single Headlight Relay Kits with Ceramic H4 Socket

I went ahead and ordered it with two additional posi-taps as per your reccomendation.

Thanks for another great lead on an improvement for our bikes.

Now I'm going to contemplate those Catz....
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Steve
Virginia Beach, VA
93 K1100RS Mystic Red SOLD
12 Suzuki DL650A VStrom
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Flying Duck
PsyKotic Waterfowl


Joined: 27 Jan 2005
Posts: 9789
Location: Bumf***, WA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't need the Posi-Taps with Jim's kits. In your case the non-cermaic connector plugs into your old headlight socket to trigger the relays. That's part of what makes Jim's kits so easy to install.

But keep those Posi-Taps around - they'll come in handy some day.
_________________
93 LT (x2)
94 RS
86-97 K75F(K75/100/1100 Frankenbrick)
86 K75C w/paralever, hi perf cams,TURBO!
91 & 92 K75Ss
91 K1
86 custom K100
14 WR250R
IBA #17739 (SS1K, BBG, 50CC)
Buy parts HERE
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Stoked Steve
Flying Brick Rider


Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Posts: 1402
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, he said he now includes two posi-lock connectors so that you don't have to use the socket connecter, which is apparently rather bulky(?). But you can go either way. He also said I ordered the correct kit for our bikes. (The ceramic plug is a slight upgrade, not neccesary, but it was only a few bucks more and all that reading about bulb heat had me concerned)

He's got a great website, very infomative for the non-electrically inclined, a good read if you're curious about better lighting.
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Steve
Virginia Beach, VA
93 K1100RS Mystic Red SOLD
12 Suzuki DL650A VStrom
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Scott_Anderson
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 3028
Location: Central Iowa, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a little disapointed earlier this year when I wanted to order the headlight relay kit with the modulator. Only to find out that he's not selling the Diamond star modulators anymore. Sad
He told me that he's working on a new style modulator but it's not ready yet, and he was having problems with diamond star so he quit using them. Shocked
I ordered the diamond star unit direct so I could have the same setup for both bikes, and the basic headlight relay kit from Jim. Very Happy
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1997 K1100LT 0302488
1995 K1100LT 0302044
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Garmin Zumo 550
"One who does not ask questions is ashamed to learn" Danish proverb
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Jim
Site Admin


Joined: 17 May 2003
Posts: 3764
Location: WHERETHEFUNNEVERENDS

PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott - why did you order the Diamond Star if they have issues? Kisan makes a perfectly good headlight modulator - plug & play.
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Jim
1997 K1100LTSE 94,000
1995 R100RT Classic 13,000 Beemered
1991 K75RTP 46,000 - in progress
1992 R100R 22,000 - FOR SALE

"We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed."
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Scott_Anderson
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 3028
Location: Central Iowa, USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my e-mails with Jim, it appeared that his issues were with the company, not the product.
I have been totaly satisfied with the product on the '97 so I wanted another for the '95.
_________________
Ride safe.


1997 K1100LT 0302488
1995 K1100LT 0302044
Garmin StreetPilot 2820
Garmin Zumo 550
"One who does not ask questions is ashamed to learn" Danish proverb
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