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Old 08-02-2019, 10:17 PM   #1
Chris(LF)J
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Brighter headlight

First post on this site, here we go.
Just bought my first bike- 2003 SV650K. I noticed my headlight was a little dull and I wanted a to get a new bulb. Excuse my ignorance, from this point on, I only have a very basic understanding of wiring/tolerances. My dad was saying that I simply need a higher wattage bulb(currently running 60/55) as the bulb itself will not dim until it’s completely dead. Is this true? And if so, what’s a safe wattage to bump it up to? Thank you and again I apologize for my lack of knowledge on this stuff.
-Chris
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:38 AM   #2
RecoilRob
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Re: Brighter headlight

Welcome to the forum!

The headlamp wattage should NOT be increased as this creates additional heat and stress on the wiring which was not designed for it. If you check the running voltage at the headlight socket you'll see that there is a voltage drop compared to what is measured at the battery and this causes the light to be less bright than it should be.

The best solution is to install a relay straight from the battery to the light so the bikes light switch only has to energize the relay which then delivers full voltage to the lamp. You will notice the light becomes much brighter as a result.

Another way to go is the LED bulb replacement which can deliver over 30% more light for far less wattage and therefore stress on the electrical system. The ones I'm running use about 18W compared to 55W while being much brighter and run much cooler as a result. There have been people who installed higher wattage bulbs but ended up with bad results due to the additional heat having no where to dissipate within the lamp enclosure so please consider the relay or LED alternative.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:49 AM   #3
Straticus
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Re: Brighter headlight

My single headlight Curvy uses H4 designated bulbs and I use Xenon H4 direct 55/60w replacements.They are brighter than stock and give a good type of light that lights Road signs/markings well at night.

https://tinyurl.com/y3nj26hj


As Rob says there are now some good LED kits around but you have to make sure they have both the Dip and Main in the system,or at least we have to over here in the UK.

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Old 08-03-2019, 11:18 AM   #4
Barney626
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Re: Brighter headlight

My bike came with some aftermarket higher wattage bulbs in it which has burnt out the electrical connectors under the tank. I now need to run LED bulbs or the connectors melt even more.

Dont risk it.
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Old 08-04-2019, 02:27 PM   #5
Chris(LF)J
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All who answered

Thank you so much for the info!!! A lot of knowledge that will be useful! Thank you all!
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Old 08-04-2019, 03:34 PM   #6
snailman153624
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Re: Brighter headlight

For reference, higher wattage bulbs actually ease the stress on the charging system, but do increase current draw through the wires feeding power to the headlamp socket.

The charging system uses a permanent magnet rotor, and just shunts excess current to ground. Actually putting it to use reduces the load on the shunt in the r/r...so it has much less energy to dissipate as heat.

Personally, I would get a high quality halogen, and consider wiring in a relay with heavier gauge wiring, but stick to the stock wattage. Filament bulbs do dim over time.

In theory LED is supposed to last longer, but in reality LED has a very high failure rate. I don't trust them on a single bulb application... I don't like the idea of getting stranded with no lights at night. Regular bulbs are dual filament, and although I've had one take out the other before, I imagine that's pretty rare.

Finally, a given type of bulb has a very specific lumen output range it has to abide by in order to br street legal. For regular headlamps, this is on the order of 1500-2000 lumens. Anything claiming absurdly higher is either flat out lying, or grossly illegal.

My theory for LEDs is they don't output steady light but are often PWM....so in some cases mfr reports peak output, not the average. It may outlut 16,000 lumens for a 10% duty cycle, but 0 for the other 90% of the cycle, averaging 1600.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:18 AM   #7
Jay V
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Re: Brighter headlight

I have used SilverStar bulbs in the past, but like the H4 LED I'm running now much better.

The overall brightness appears higher with the LED, but the pattern is not as uniform as a conventional bulb due to the layout of the LEDs. When I purchased mine about 3 years ago the product photo showed a more uniform LED layout than what actually arrived. It's an older design now, and has a cooling fan built in. I don't think most are using fans now, but I didn't like some of the designs with long heatsinks. That may have changed by now as well, as I haven't looked into it lately.

It was still an improvement over the SilverStars.

Even with the stock bulb the connector was showing signs of overheating, but I do run high beam most of the time.

I should add it's a '06 SVn (single headlight).
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:18 PM   #8
golden chicken
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Re: Brighter headlight

I went so far as to retrofit a Harley dual bulb headlamp onto my bike. I run an HID low beam and a halogen hi beam with relay so that if either fails, I still have light. I have had HID failures at least twice using the H4 hi/low stock N headlamp and it left me in the dark many miles from home.

That said, for the money, I still recommend going to an HID hi/low setup since the bulb is much much brighter than any halogen and it costs about the same as a halogen relay setup.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:55 AM   #9
Junkie
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Re: Brighter headlight

If you're willing to spend a bunch of money, pick up a JW Speaker Adaptive II. Lots of light and it leans the pattern over when you lean the bike.
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:00 PM   #10
2Afault
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The stock headlight output is lamentably poor. Going with higher output LED bulbs is probably your simplest solution. I’m currently running a pair from Lasfit. They’re decent. Pretty good output, not quite a perfect beam pattern, but good enough. If you want to run anything which draws higher wattage than stock, you’ll need to upgrade to heavier wiring and sockets, and install a relay. Even stock wattage bulbs will be significantly brighter with this upgrade, but may also burn out much more quickly. I personally do a lot of night riding, so upgraded the wiring, and replaced the 7” headlight with dual 5.5” lights. Eventually Got tired of replacing the halogen bulbs and switched to LED. Good luck! You’ll feel much more confident night riding once you get this taken care of. 👍🏼
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