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2012 DL650A
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How hard is it to go back to halogen headlights? The prior owner installed some LEDs that scatter light all over the place. While they are pretty bright, I feel bad for incoming drivers at night.

Or are there better halogen bulbs that do not have this effect?
 

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I would not go back to halogen, maybe try different LEDs. Also, halogen pull more electricity which may short out your starter switch without an interrupter kit (see other threads).
 

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If the change was done right in the first place it should be a straight plug & play swap.

Just like replacing a blown globe.

When the LED's were fitted they may have made some changes to the dust covers to get them in, that should not stop the globes fitting, you may have to find a way to seal the cap up again.

If you get stuck for ideas post some photos someone will have the answer you need.

I too hate LED's.....
 

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The prior owner installed some LEDs that scatter light all over the place. While they are pretty bright, I feel bad for incoming drivers at night.
I'd like to add that, while I know a lot of people will disagree with me, this is why I have come to see it as a Bad Idea (tm) to mess with stock lighting on modern bikes (*). The bulbs and reflectors are designed to work together as a unit, to cast light within specific constraints, to avoid exactly what you described. Replacing the specified bulb with a different type will result in a very different dispersion pattern, one which may or may not benefit you, and which may or may not interfere with visibility for oncoming drivers.

Most of the time, we get away with it, if the result is subjectively better for the rider. However, there are risks. In some states, you might get cited for noncompliant lighting, though I haven't heard of this happening very often. You may, in fact, increase the risk of a crash if oncoming drivers' vision is impaired. And finally, in the event of a crash, the other guy's lawyer may credibly argue that your lighting was a factor in the crash. The only thing worse than being injured in a crash is then losing the court case afterwards.

It's not worth it to me. I stick with stock lighting, and where I augment it with auxiliary lights, I try to choose lights which are either sold by the vehicle OEM, or are certified DOT compliant (in the US).

The cost to that, of course, is far fewer options and higher costs for auxiliary lighting. For stock lighting, though. there' s no cost - I just leave it alone, save for adding a headlight relay where appropriate, and a modulator, which (properly designed and installed), is 50-state legal.

And finally: my '08 Wee's headlights were amazingly good right off the showroom floor. They do need to be aimed correctly, but I doubt it's possible to improve on them with aftermarket parts without bllinding everyone else!

Just my opinion, and I know others may differ.

(*) I realize that on vintage bikes, the lighting may be so bad that the safety benefits of upgrading may outweigh the risk of doing so. However, it is still sometimes possible to get DOT-approved aftermarket headlights. Denali has a few.
 

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Switching back to halogens should be simple, just unplug the LEDs and plug in stock halogens. From what I understand the first-gen 650s have very good stock headlights, but I'm not impressed by my 2nd-gen's at all. Older LEDs were pretty bad, but people seem to be happy with newer versions. There are some good threads on this site if you want to see what people have tried.
 

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The Auxito H4 LEDs I put in my 2013 650 recently are great...good low beam cutoff & beam spread is good to the sides too.
Fanless type with heatsink...appx $30 a pr on ebay
 

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I agree that LED's are so much superior to Halogens. Bright and texture free light.

My first LED's were very bad for light scatter and I upgraded them years later for a better set. The quality and compatibility of LED's has improved in leaps and bounds as the manufacturers have improved their products to keep up with their opposition. I would suggest an upgrade to a more recent LED.

Here are some threads to help.
 

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I'm with Brockie, a new LED should solve all your problems in the most straightforward way possible.

It should be plug and play to go from old LED to new LED. But we should not discount the "amazing" wiring skills of previous owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone!

I think what was confusing me is that the LEDs the previous owner installed are the ones with a fan and there is a little silver box upstream from the bulb itself which is ziptied inside the fairing (is it a transformer?). They wired them back to a fuse box they installed under the seat. I don't know where the original connectors are.

There are a bunch of other electronics the former owner installed, most of which started to fail once I bought the bike last fall and actually rode it (former owners averaged ~1k/year). My plan this winter is to clean that all up (I have a PC8 fusebox on the shelf) and install heated grips while I have the tank off to do the valves. I think ultimately it will be cheaper to replace the LEDs rather than buying a headlight relay from Eastern Beaver and going back to halogens.
 

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The little box is the ballast etc that makes the LED work. The original 3 pin plug will be plugged into a female plug at the end of the LED wire, usually 8-10 inches long.
What you will have is the bulb with a wire going to the box and then a wire from that box to the original 3 pin plug.

Many of the good modern LED bulbs have done away with that altogether. Some even have a base identical to an OEM halogen bulb base, making installing them very easy.

These are what I currently have fitted. All the guts is inside and they have a fan which circulates the processor heat into the headlight shell. Look at the very small and shielded LED.
Material property Font Cylinder Gas Electronic device


There are many other improved LED's these days. LED's are so much better and brighter and I would not recommend a return to halogens.

You talked about a headlight relay. The reason for fitting one is that the starter button is not really suited long term to handle the load of 2x halogen headlight bulbs when the starter button is pushed - so people fit a headlight relay to avoid burning out the starter switch. As the load of LED's is a fraction of halogens a headlight relay is really no longer needed.
Also, if you are considering fitting heated grips etc the reduced load of the LED's will ease the load on your alternator.
 

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

I think what was confusing me is that the LEDs the previous owner installed are the ones with a fan and there is a little silver box upstream from the bulb itself which is ziptied inside the fairing (is it a transformer?). They wired them back to a fuse box they installed under the seat. I don't know where the original connectors are.

There are a bunch of other electronics the former owner installed, most of which started to fail once I bought the bike last fall and actually rode it (former owners averaged ~1k/year). My plan this winter is to clean that all up (I have a PC8 fusebox on the shelf) and install heated grips while I have the tank off to do the valves. I think ultimately it will be cheaper to replace the LEDs rather than buying a headlight relay from Eastern Beaver and going back to halogens.
Your lighting problem may be because the bulbs are not installed correctly. @dtalk is correct: the reflector is designed so that the distance and curvature is optimal for the position of the filament, or led element(s) in the bulb. If the bulb is in the reflector even a tiny bit crooked or cocked, the beam at its extremity will be far off.
Some cheaper bulbs may not take this into consideration, and the beam pattern/length will be poor no matter what you do.
I have SuperNova led low & high beam bulbs in mine, and it sounds like that may be what you have from the previous owner. The little box is for vehicles with a controller area network electrical system, or "canbus" and the box is to prevent flickering, or a check engine light or code due to the different current flow. In a non-canbus vehicle, it has no effect. It took a lot of improvising to get the bulbs in the housing correctly, but they have a far superior beam pattern than the stock halogens and while brighter than halogens, they don't annoy oncoming or followed traffic; checked with my wife in her car.
The two most important things to be sure of is that the bulb, regardless of brand, is the correct type, H4,H7, H11 etc for the application- hi or lo beam. The number is not only for the base type, but also its dimensions in relation to the reflector (or outer lens in a projector lamp). Your PO might have used an incorrect bulb number because it fit easier.
The other thing is to make sure the led tower is perfectly vertical in the reflector housing for the best beam pattern and range. The SuperNovas I have have a rotating base, and may shift during installation or over time- I Gorilla glued my 3 tab ring to the base in position.
I've had mine installed for three seasons now with no problems, or flashing hi beams and finger waving from oncoming traffic. On their website, ignore the fitment guide (there are no MC's) and scroll down to the application chart for the correct bulb number for your bike. They do ship individual bulbs.

Light Font Technology Gas Output device
 
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