2X12W LED Auxiliary Lites from Clearwater - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-29-2010, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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2X12W LED Auxiliary Lites from Clearwater

I've just installed sets of 12 watt (each lite) LED auxiliary lites from Clearwater on both my wife's (BMW F650GS twin) and my (Wee) bikes. They make a specific kit for both bikes. These look to be excellent quality products and are set up to work very cleverly. In the daytime, they are conspicuity lites, with a troller to adjust the lite intensity to a point a bit shy of being too obnoxious to oncoming drivers. Even in the daytime they are far too bright to run them on full power. At nite, you need to adjust them even a bit dimmer when you are running your low beams. But here's the neat part - flick your headlites on to high beam, and the LED auxiliary lites also jump to full power. And at full power at nite, they are much much more than conspicuity lites. They provide wonderful in-fill lite of the road in front and to the sides of you. They make for wonderful critter lites at nite, lighting up the shoulders and ditches of the road in front of you. And all of this for only a maximum of a 24 watt draw on the limited excess power that our bikes put out. Since my wife and I both run a lot of heated gear, this was probably the most important feature that we were after.

Clearwater's website is http://www.clearwaterlights.com/ The lites I installed are their Glenda lites; they also make even brighter 2x36 watt Krista lite sets.

A set of Glenda lites for a Strom runs $475; the CANbus-friendly kit for my wife's BMW is $499. A bit steep but I think its a clear case of getting what you pay for. I previously tried Trail Tech's mini-HID lites, which ran me about $300 installed, but they were a disaster.

In addition to the two lites, kits include all the needed wiring, Posi connectors, relays, troller, and mounting brackets designed specifically for each model of bike. The installation manuals were easy to follow.

Here's some installation notes and pics for the VStrom kit:

If you install the dimming control system that is triggered onto full power with your high beam switch then you have to tap into your high beam circuit. On my 2008 ABS Wee this is a yellow wire which is easy to locate immediately behind the either of your headlites. The kit provides a Posi-tap connector that easily taps into this line. In the pic below, this connector has already been taped up.




The lites themselves mount onto brackets that attach to the fender bolt in front of the forks:



I already had trollers for my heated grips and heated seat velcro'd to my left hand protector so I just velcro'd the lite troller (the one with the blue line on the troller) to this assembly so that all trollers are within easy reach of my left hand. The Clearwater kit for the Strom also comes with a handlebar mount for their troller.



I already had switched power and ground lines coming up front from my underseat Blue Seas fuse box from my previous auxiliary lites so I simply used these. After that it was simply a case of bringing all the wiring to a common spot behind the left cowling and connecting all like-coloured wires together using the provided Posi connectors. Note that the large blue marette-like connectors provided, unlike most Posi products, don't have an internal metal cone so all the wires going into the connector must be twisted together to contact each other before inserting them into the Posi connector. In the case of the two light-gauge green wires coming from the high beam switch relay and the troller I opted to use a different, smaller, in-line Posi connector that I had on hand because I thought the connector provided by Clearwater to be a little large for this particular connection.



After that, I just taped everything up to make all connections as waterproof as possible and tucked everything away under the cowl where it won't be in the way to ongoing maintenance of the bike.

The lites look great. The trim rings on the lites come in various colours, but not anything close to my bike's Daytona yellow, so I stuck with black.






And they certainly will get you noticed (low beams, about 1/3 power to the LEDs):



Low beams and 1/3 power LEDs into a dark dark alley:



And high beams and full power to the LEDs into the same alley. Note that I didn't use a fixed camera setting, so this the camera underexposed this pic compared to the previous one, but you get the idea:



I highly recommend this product to fellow Stromtroopers. Maybe Clearwater would be willing to do a group buy.

Cheers,
NordStrom

Last edited by NordStrom; 05-29-2010 at 07:17 PM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-13-2010, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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I posted similar installation notes for the install of these Clearwater Glenda lites on my wife's BMW F650 GS twin over on the ADVRider forum. There, the thread attracted a few posters that wondered why the price of the Clearwater lite kits was so high. One poster went so far as to say that the technology wasn't exactly rocket science, and a DYI kit could be put together for a lot less than the Clearwater kits. In response, Glenn Stasky, the President of Clearwater posted the following reponse. Since its got a lot of interesting information in it, I thought that I would add it to this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wheelGlenn
Hi guys,

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to some understandable opinions. Not all products are equal. I established Clearwater in 1990. We have produced many quality products and have over 17,000 satisfied customers all over the world. Some of our customers include many famous brands that you are familiar with. Our philosophy is to create high quality and well engineered products that address specific needs. We are very proud of the products we produce and our customer service is second to none. Just ask one of 16,997 customers, (somehow we pissed 3 off somewhere). Also we have ton of fun here.

It is not possible to judge the quality and engineering of our products until you see and use them. It is sometimes difficult to tell until you see what is inside and behind the design.

ELECTRONICS
Our electronics are designed in house and manufactured in the USA. We have many proprietary parts in our products. There are no off the shelf parts in our products. We use strictly selected LEDs with a very expensive sorting process to achieve a consistent color spectrum. We could easily buy out-of-tolerance LEDs for a fraction of what we pay. In a flashlight or hobby item, one would never know the difference as multiple LEDs would not be displayed near each other at the same time. One of the reasons that our lights are so visible from so far away is due to the specific color spectrum we selected. Our optics are imported from Europe and our wiring used silver plated, Teflon coated conductors.

We use custom metal clad printed circuit boards (expensive) to mount our LED devices. This insures a proper thermal heat path to the outer housing which helps keep the devices in a safe operating temperature.

The dimming function of our lights is accomplished by a patent pending microcomputer which sends digital signals to each light. There are four individual programs in each control pot. We can choose between each of them for varied applications. When switched to low beam mode, our dimming circuit allows one to dim our lights from a low of 12% illumination to a maximum of 85% illumination. Once the high beam is selected, our lights are now told by the controller to latch to full 100% brightness. We clock each light at a rate of 250 times per second. As LEDs are essentially an “instant on” device, there is no lag in turn on time. By switching the lights on and off quickly and then changing the off time, we can fool the human eye into perceiving the lights as dimmed. One added benefit of this process is that when the lights are off, they use no power at all. By programming the dimmer control to match a human eye’s sensitivity, we can make the lights track the rotation of the pot and work in a linear fashion. Our new and even brighter Krista light uses some even more sophisticated electronics to manage life, temperature and dimming. Some electronic and aviation engineers have commented very favorably on the quality and construction of our products.

We have many hundreds of hours in programming and board layout on these products. Multiple iterations of design and prototypes have resulted in a very high performance and unique product that is simply not available anywhere else.

And a matter of fact, we DO have a rocket scientist on staff along with a few EE engineers and a physics major. J

MECHANICAL
There are many reasons our lights are priced the way they are. Every housing is
CNC machined (in house) on very expensive equipment. And each is inspected and sent off for hard anodizing. Then each housing is masked off with high temperature tape and then powder coated for extra durability. All hardware is high grade Stainless Steel and our brackets are either CNC machined aluminum or laser cut SS. You would be hard pressed to find another manufacturer who has the attention to detail that we do. Our mark up on our products is fair and in line with any quality manufactured USA company.


Sorry so long winded, but I just felt the time had come to say a little bit about Clearwater products. The posts on this site are not only some of the most entertaining, but they represent some of the most intelligent and well thought out information. We just hope to add to motorcycle safety and deliver high quality products that may save someone’s life someday. We take the quality of our products and our customer's input very seriously. Feel free to comment or PM me directly. And as always, feel free to call anytime for additional information. Thanks so much. Stay tuned for a special ADV discount on our new Krista light. And if you want to learn more about our efforts to further improve motorcycle safety, check out this link.

http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...?article=40579


Thank you very much.

Glenn Stasky
President

Last edited by NordStrom; 06-15-2010 at 02:07 AM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-13-2010, 04:41 PM
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All I can tell you is that if all lights cost nearly $500 a pair I'd spend a lot of time in the dark. I'll spend money when it's warranted, I've got lots of toys that cost more than that, but that isn't much bang for the buck. To each their own though.

Scott Craig - Nashville, TN
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-13-2010, 10:45 PM
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I wonder how these compare to HID lamps? I'm putting a pair of DDM $70 H4 HIDs on my DL this week. Do you have any idea how the LEDs stack up?

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-14-2010, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. M View Post
I wonder how these compare to HID lamps? I'm putting a pair of DDM $70 H4 HIDs on my DL this week. Do you have any idea how the LEDs stack up?
Those are headlite replacements. Nothing compares to the amount of lite per watt that you get from HIDs. What I was looking for in the Glenda lites was a set of auxiliary lites used mostly for conspicuity, both during the day and the nite. I got this in spades but what I didn't expect was the amount of in-fill lite that I get at nite when I switch to high beams. The Glendas are wired to go to full intensity when I put my headlites on high beam and this gives you a lot of in-fill lite, particularly on the sides of the road when the high beams don't tend to project much lite. However, the lite from the Glendas is not serious down the pavement lite and wouldn't touch the amount of such lite that you are going to get with your HIDs.

FYI, I previously had a pair of low wattage (13 watts each) Trail Tech mini-HID lites on my bike as auxiliary lites. They gave me a surprising amount of additional lite. The lites, wiring, relay, lite bar cost me about $300 but proved to be a disaster. One lite failed within 4 months (but just out of the 3 month warranty period), the other lite would go off intermittently and both lite housings corroded badly within 12 months, despite the fact that my bike is garage-kept (though I frequently ride in the rain).

Good luck with your HID headlites; I hope they prove reliable. HIDs can be glitchy - if available, I'd buy an extended warranty on them. While no doubt the increased brightness of your headlites, particularly on high beam at nite, will give you increased conspicuity, I'm a big believer in establishing a lite-triangle on bikes by mounting auxiliary lites on the forks.

Clearwater also makes a 35-watt Krista HPLED lite that is more focussed for down the pavement lite. I don't have any experience with this lite, but there are a few posts and pics of them on a similar Glenda thread that I posted on ADVRider:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...1&postcount=17

These lites might be more comparable to your HID headlites, plus they can be dimmed for conspicuity use as well.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-14-2010, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCraig View Post
To each their own though.
+1 to that. But it is amazing tho' how your perspective on auxiliary lighting changes when you get run over by a left turner in broad daylight. While it looks like you've made the back of your bikes more visible, you might think of adding something, anything, whatever your wallet's got room for, to the front of your bikes.

Great bike page, by the way.

Safe riding,
NordStrom
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-14-2010, 11:30 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I am a bit worried about the reliability of HIDs. I'll probably wire in a timer to prevent the low beams from being cycled at start-up. I do like the idea of the "fill in" light underneath the high beams. I'll check these out.

Thanks
Steve

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2002 CBR600F4i
2008 GSX-R600, Akrapovic full Ti, PCV w/AutoTune
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