Headlight Modulator - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 27 Old 03-14-2016, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Headlight Modulator

Anyone here use a modulator? Seems like a smart idea for many situations. Thoughts?


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post #2 of 27 Old 03-14-2016, 02:56 AM
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Used to on my 90 Honda Transalp and felt it did increase my visibility. Here, some hate them and some swear by them. NTSB testing has shown conclusively that they do work to make other drivers notice motorcycles equipped with them.

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post #3 of 27 Old 03-14-2016, 01:40 PM
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Hate them......hate them.....hate them!!!!!
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post #4 of 27 Old 03-14-2016, 03:13 PM
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There are other ways to get noticed that are not nearly as annoying to those who are doing the noticing.

Wear hi-viz gear. Put some extra lights on the front for conspicuity (I've got a pair of Denali DM1 (I think that is the model) and a pair of Photon Blasters).

Do the SMIDSY weave.
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post #5 of 27 Old 03-14-2016, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big B View Post
Hate them......hate them.....hate them!!!!!
+1
I think they piss people off, they do me when one is behind.
What's next, revolving yellow beacon on helmet?
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post #6 of 27 Old 05-06-2016, 11:47 PM
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I think it's a fine line between useful and annoying.

I just bought and installed the Signal dynamics modulator, and I found that my headlight was turning completely on and off, not the dim/on it is supposed to. The full (or close to) off/on flash is definitely way annoying, even to me seeing the reflection off other cars. That said, the faster flashing rate on the SD module (which is dim/on due to the higher frequency) looks alot less annoying and much more obviously not me blinking at someone (as has been discussed in other threads, of people thinking you're signaling them to turn in front of you or something like that). After a couple e-mails with Signal dynamics, I found the following things:

1. The SD modulator only works with incandescents (OK, it says this in the small print...)

2. The reason for #1 is because the modulator just pulses the power to the headlights on and off completely, and it relies on the slow cooling time of the incandescent filament to prevent the bulb from dipping below the 17% lower limit from FMVSS108 (federal reg)

3. My modulator flashed at 2.76Hz. FMVSS108 states the frequency requirement as 4 + 0.66Hz (240+20BPM). So the SD modulator is not actually legal . This appears to be maybe a recent quality problem for them. The guy at SD confirmed the low frequency himself, and I measured the frequency with a Fluke DMM, so I'm 100% certain that the frequency is actually low. SD said that they don't have access to the source code of the headlight module, so they can't update it to fix the problem

4. SD is releasing an LED compatible version this summer sometime. I would assume that this module will not flip the power on/off, but more of a 100%/33% type cycle, or something like that. I don't know if their frequency circuitry will be any different, but maybe it will be

5. The switching schemes built into the SD modeule are very nice. You can switch modes with 2 honks of the horn (if you've hooked up the heads up horn wire). You can also turn the modulation off by flashing the brights for less than 1s duration. I am able to just turn off the modulation right now with the defective unit, so that is really nice. I'm pulling it off the bike tomorrow and returning it.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that interesting info on the newest headlight modulator thread. I think I might wait for the LED compatible module this summer, as I can't find any modules with the coll features of the SD one for less or equal price.

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Last edited by Nelsonmd; 05-07-2016 at 12:29 AM.
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post #7 of 27 Old 05-07-2016, 12:28 AM
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I've witnessed three SMIDSY situations where the rider almost got taken out by a car and one where a bus tried to pull into the lane of the motorcycle. In all those cases the bikes had modulators on and it appeared the car driver thought they were being given a go-ahead by the bike.

For me about the only time I would want one is while passing multiple cars as in that situation there is never a reason to come over if there is already someone there passing.


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This can help preventing from cars pulling out in front of you (SMIDSY)
SMIDSY detailed report.


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post #8 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 09:12 PM
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Just removed the Signal Dynamics Plug and Play Headlight Module after about 4 months use as I was just TOO visible for my (and other drivers') liking. I'll stick with bright colors and flashing the headlights manually when needed. My "safety first" wife isn't too happy about it though. If she had it her way, my Glee would have training wheels and airbags. lol

I also installed the brake light module which I DO like and keeping. Works great!

Last edited by Seadogdoc; 09-11-2016 at 09:26 PM.
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post #9 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 12:31 PM
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I also have a brake light flasher (3rd brake flasher brand) on both my bikes, and I like it. The one I got is extremely customizable, and has a second flashing pattern for when you hit the brakes hard (G-sensor built in). It's only $30 too... You just have to wire it yourself, but that's not hard if you just buy an extra connector for the tail lights and create a plug and play connector yourself.

Anyway, FWIW, I returned the signal dynamics headlight modulator I discussed above, and I have since converted to LED headlights. My LED's throw alot more light up, though they still have the distinct line across the pattern in the right spot, so I think I have it adjusted correctly. I haven't had any cops pull me over despite passing a number of them at night, but I have definitely noticed they throw more light above the line.

I also feel like people see me much better now too. I feel like I get fewer SMIDSY situations now, so I'm pretty happy. I probably won't get a headlight modulator when the LED ones come out as I don't feel like the marginal benefit is
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post #10 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelsonmd View Post
...
Anyway, FWIW, I returned the signal dynamics headlight modulator I discussed above, and I have since converted to LED headlights. My LED's throw alot more light up, though they still have the distinct line across the pattern in the right spot, so I think I have it adjusted correctly. I haven't had any cops pull me over despite passing a number of them at night, but I have definitely noticed they throw more light above the line.

I also feel like people see me much better now too. I feel like I get fewer SMIDSY situations now, so I'm pretty happy. I probably won't get a headlight modulator when the LED ones come out as I don't feel like the marginal benefit is
Strangely having headlights that are too bright can be counterproductive as well. Sounds like you are on the right track, just be careful with the aiming. If they are throwing light directly into driver's eyes (like high beams) then you may be effectively hiding your location, your speed and what kind of vehicle you are riding. These factors can make a huge difference to the driver's ability to perceive your presence.

..Tom
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2006 DL650: 202,000 km 125,500 miles, Sold
2012 DL650 139,500+ km, 86,700+ miles. Sold
2015 DL1000 New July 2015 180,000+ km, 112,000 miles.

This can help preventing from cars pulling out in front of you (SMIDSY)
SMIDSY detailed report.


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