Ironhead Headlight questions… [Archive] – The Sportster and Buell Motorcycle Forum



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Kichard

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6th April 2012, 03:07

I’ve got the stock headlight (pretty sure) lol. Doesn’t seem TOO bright..Any advice on a newer/brighter ones..? Or do I just have to aim it differently..? Sorry I’m a noob..


bustert

6th April 2012, 03:36

the best thing is to replace the stock sealed beam with a more modern setup that uses the h4 and up technology. that way, wally world sells many options in relations to head ligghts. all sealed beams degrade over time and turn more yellowish. there are places on the net that sell the polycarbate 5 inch replacements, i got mine through an antique car site for under 40 bucks.


IronMick

6th April 2012, 03:46

I bought a used HD headlite from my indie – it takes an H4. I do not know what year bike it is from.


Kichard

6th April 2012, 04:13

It a 1980..


racerwill

6th April 2012, 04:27

HD makes a replacement light set-up that fits and looks like the original but uses the H4 automotive bulb…… tons brighter and bulbs are available everywhere…… total cost was about $80 for everything you’ll need including the bulb

Ww


Kichard

6th April 2012, 04:30

Ah that’s awesome! 🙂


ryder rick

6th April 2012, 05:26

Be careful with brighter headlights.

The generator output is only 10 amps continuous.

High output headlights will drain the battery eventually especially on high beam.

Night vision eyewear?


Flying Monkey

6th April 2012, 05:38

I would also suggest checking out swapmeets in your area. I saw a number of H4 reflectors at a recent meet here. Almost a direct swap. Bulbs are easy to find.

Actually, I found myself an HID lighting system that fits right into the H4 socket. Came in a plastic bag for $50, along with some newfangled HD automatic door opener black box thingy.. but it works.

Con: Has a ballast and igniter… I’m going to hide them in a bikini fairing, though.

Pro: Only 35 watts, easy on the generator! And f-:censor-in’ BRIGHT, even at idle!

I’m going to be attempting to wire it all up, along with LED signals and a digital speedo/tach, over the next couple of months. I’ll try and post some pics for you all.


Kichard

6th April 2012, 05:39

So will the H4 drain my battery??


MN Mailman

6th April 2012, 10:35

When my stock went out, my Indy had a stock HD light that I got.

Works fine, no battery problems. More expensive than a replacement sealed beam, but a much better light too.


IronMick

6th April 2012, 12:42

… I found myself an HID lighting system … Only 35 watts, easy on the generator! …

35 watts will most likely be way toooo much for the gen. Check that system to see how many amps it draws. This is far more important than the watts. The gen puts out 10 amps; a standard H4 will draw about 4; the rest of the lighting, ignition, etc will draw another 4; about 2 left to charge the battery. No extra.

I have not measured these things so these numbers are just guesses. Get an ammeter and measure then yourself before installing that HID. If it draws too many amps it will soon wreck your gen and regulator.

So will the H4 drain my battery??

I am not familiar with the amps draw of H4 bulbs.

No. A standard H4 is 55 watts low beam and 60 watts hi beam. This is what i have been using in my IronHeads for 8+ years with no problems.

You can get H4 in higher watts – 55/85 and 55/100 for example. On hi-beam these may melt the plastic recepticle.


Flying Monkey

6th April 2012, 13:36

You confuse me, Mick.

You say that 35 watts is way too much, then tell me you’re using a 55 watt H4 ?? :confused:

Ballast states “Normal input current: 3.5 Amps”


IronMick

6th April 2012, 14:09

You confuse me, Mick.

You say that 35 watts is way too much, then tell me you’re using a 55 watt H4 ?? :confused:

Ballast states “Normal input current: 3.5 Amps”

Sorry about that. I was thinking about running additional lights such as running lights, and you are talking about replacing the headlite. Guess i am not awake yet!

I would still measure the amps draw on the various circuits with the bike running, perhaps with only the headlite off, to see what is left. Then you know for sure if there is 3.5 for the HID plus some to keep the battery charged up.

I am not so good at this electrical stuff, but it seems to me that you could use the special 10 amp section of a multi-meter, and simply measure at the output side of the MAIN 30 amp circuit breaker. You might get some other opinions as to how to measure this if you too are electrically challenged.


Kichard

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6th April 2012, 15:06

Thanks for all the help fella’s. I’m gonna give that h4 a shot. I just want something that makes me feel a bit more safe riding at night…The HID IMO isn’t totally necessary for me at this point…I’d rather stay away from headaches at this point in my life haha.


ryder rick

6th April 2012, 15:36

There isn’t much room in the stock headlight for a ballast either.


boneheaddoctor

6th April 2012, 16:09

I’ve been running an H-4 55/100W since 1983, shortly after I almost drove through a barbed wire fence at night because the stock headlight was so dim I didn’t see the road make a hard 90 degree right turn until too late to turn…and almost too late to stop.


ryder rick

6th April 2012, 17:32

35w @ 12v = 2.91A

55w @ 12v = 4.58A

100w 2 12V = 8.33A

A TAIL LIGHT BULB IS 8w + 21w on brake – 8w @ 12v = .66A

Ignition system 3A

+61404532026 = 8.24 that leaves 1.76 amps to charge the battery.

You go backwards if you hit the brakes or switch to high beam.

And 1.76A is barely over a maintenance charge for the battery.

This assumes your Gen puts out a full 10A

In my state you have to run your headlight at all times, I run it all the time anyway to help the loosers see me.

Note* A 7″ headlight seems to put out a lot more light per watt than a 5″

7″ Halogen sealed beam = 42w

The VTwin alternator conversion puts out 17A


Monkeywrencher

6th April 2012, 19:51

I can’t remember the year but I remember reading the later generators put out a bit more amps. I was looking for a new headlight for my 82 as well taking into consideration of the gens amp output. I eventually gave up on it for now.

Edit:I have read that the gen changed from a 10 amp gen to a 13 amp gen around 1982? I havent looked in my manual to verify.


racerwill

7th April 2012, 01:22

I put the Harley replacement h4 light in my ’80 and also in my ’91 and in both cases the lighting was improved drastically….haven’t had any battery charging issues yet but it’s only been 4 or 5 years…..

do it…. you’ll love it

Ww


IronMick

7th April 2012, 01:31

… I have read that the gen changed from a 10 amp gen to a 13 amp gen around 1982? …

Yes, in 1982. No one makes those or parts for them so if it goes bad just replace with the earlier 10 amp gen.


Kichard

9th April 2012, 02:37

Anyone have a link for one of those replacement headlights?


m.breen

9th April 2012, 02:54

[QUOTE=AsSeenOnTV;3889912]http://www.harley-davidson.com/browse/browse_products.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=+61404532026&locale=en_US&bmUID=+61404532026&bmLocale=en_US[/

Wow….$400 for a L.E.D. headlight. I’d like to see that.


Flying Monkey

9th April 2012, 04:19

Another option:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/HARLEY-DAVIDSON-BOSCH-H-4-HEADLAMP-HEADLIGHT-BULB-/+61404532026?pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&hash=item46023fba51


bustert

9th April 2012, 04:44

the h4 common is 55 watts not much higher than stock sealed beam. the hid is great but will draw massive power upon startup and will drop once up to temp. could be an issue if your lights are setup for on with ign on. they also put out higher heat load so make clearence room and the ballast are expensive. another point is that you must test the ballast system first anytime the bulb goes out because a bad ballast will destroy an expensive bulb.


Kichard

9th April 2012, 09:40

Another option:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/HARLEY-DAVIDSON-BOSCH-H-4-HEADLAMP-HEADLIGHT-BULB-/+61404532026?pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&hash=item46023fba51

Just ordered this…Is there any re-wiring I need to do? Or is it just removal and installation of the new one?


Kichard

9th April 2012, 20:44


racerwill

10th April 2012, 03:26

that looks like it…… he says it’s a little cloudy….hmmmm

as far as install, it goes in just like a replacement sealed beam would….. just remove the retaining ring, remove old lamp, in goes the new and re-install retaining ring……

Ww


Flying Monkey

10th April 2012, 03:37

There may also be metal alignment tabs around the rim of the bulb that need to be bent to sit properly into the rubber ring.


Kichard

10th April 2012, 04:15

Right on fella’s. Hopefully I get it soon! Def wanna do some night riding on one of these nice spring nights!


Monkeywrencher

12th April 2012, 06:43

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=+61404532026

Not that I would pay this price for it, but will this bulb housing fit into our bucket?

I know the newer sporty’s use one retainer ring which is thicker. Anyone know if this would be a direct replacement?


Monkeywrencher

12th April 2012, 07:37

Just ordered this…Is there any re-wiring I need to do? Or is it just removal and installation of the new one?

That auction states it’s a 7″ diameter light. If your still running the original housing, it requires a 5 3/4″ bulb.


Kichard

12th April 2012, 13:38

That auction states it’s a 7″ diameter light. If your still running the original housing, it requires a 5 3/4″ bulb.

:doh

damnit.


Kichard

12th April 2012, 13:39

Anyone have a link to a product I can install into my housing?


Kichard

12th April 2012, 13:42

http://www.jpcycles.com/product/3100166?utm_source=googleproducts&utm_medium=cse&utm_term=3100166&zmam=+61404532026&zmas=1&zmac=1&zmap=3100166

This should work, correct?


Flying Monkey

12th April 2012, 13:47

… crap, crap…

So sorry I mis-lead you…. apologies


Kichard

12th April 2012, 13:49

Dude! No worries man. I can get a refund lol. Its my fault for not questioning the sizes! I think that one I just posted will work? It has an h4 so it should be pretty bright correct?

Mistakes are the only way I learn 🙂


Kichard

12th April 2012, 14:16

Or this?

http://www.jpcycles.com/product/310-075


83XLX

12th April 2012, 14:27

Or this?

http://www.jpcycles.com/product/310-075

That’s the one you want. I have the same unit on my ’83. Make sure you don’t touch the glass part of the bulb when you install it – skin oils can cause a hot spot that will blow the bulb. It fits the headlight bucket and plugs in just like the stocker.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c237/rotcorp52/P1000355.jpg

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Kichard

12th April 2012, 16:40

I can only assume it comes with the bulb?


83XLX

12th April 2012, 16:42

It says so in the ad, a 55/60 H-4 bulb.


Monkeywrencher

23rd May 2012, 06:39

Revisiting this topic again fellas. Will the newer sporty’s h4 bulb and housing fit our rubbers and physically into the bucket? The one that has the bar and shield directly in the center of the glass? Is there a worthwhile improvement over the factory sealed beam? I find myself needing more light. I am satisfied when I’m on bright beam, but the low beam just plain sucks. I find it annoying when you have to limit your speed because you are out running your headlight. I’m not talking mach 1 here either. My bulb must be very old and tired. I have found the candlepower 5.75 h4 with housing to have good reviews. Is it the best all around option?


IronMick

23rd May 2012, 12:10

I installed a newer HD headlite with H4 bulb in my 1978 with no problems. Just fits right in.


MN Mailman

23rd May 2012, 12:49

I installed a newer HD headlite with H4 bulb in my 1978 with no problems. Just fits right in.

Make that two of us…..


boneheaddoctor

23rd May 2012, 13:04

I’ve been running an H-4 bulb with a 100W high beam 55W low beam since 1983. And that was long before Harley used them to my knowledge. Fantastic upgrade.


ryder rick

23rd May 2012, 13:24

Extended operation with the 100w high beam on has been found to drain the battery.


boneheaddoctor

23rd May 2012, 13:39

Extended operation with the high beam on has been found to drain the battery.Yes it has….and yes it does (I’m backing up your statement). I however have rarely had opportunity to use it for more than brief stretches.


IronMick

23rd May 2012, 13:40

Extended operation with the high beam on has been found to drain the battery.

….and melt the plastic socket, wires, etc in the bucket.


boneheaddoctor

23rd May 2012, 13:50

….and melt the plastic socket, wires, etc in the bucket.

Actually I never had that happen in my case and I ran it for 2 years with the stock bucket before I went to a bottom mount housing…however I had a French Marcelle (is that spelled right) metal H-4 light housing and maybe that disipated the heat away from the wiring better. Its been obsolete for a lot of years however…just try finding one.

I don’t know if the the Harley OEM unit is better or worse than that one. No opportunity to compare.

I have no doubt the wrong housing in that stock bucket and you have exactly that happen. I do remember that bucket getting quite warm.


Al Corelli

23rd May 2012, 15:09

Been using the HID for quite some time.

Have it in the Fatboy and the RE5. Fatboy has a HI/Lo beam setup. Lots of miles, so far no problems. Ballasts and ignitors all hidden in headlight shell. The slim ballasts are easy to hide.

I still carry a spare H4 just in case.

Got them from HIDcountry.com

I would also suggest checking out swapmeets in your area. I saw a number of H4 reflectors at a recent meet here. Almost a direct swap. Bulbs are easy to find.

Actually, I found myself an HID lighting system that fits right into the H4 socket. Came in a plastic bag for $50, along with some newfangled HD automatic door opener black box thingy.. but it works.

Con: Has a ballast and igniter… I’m going to hide them in a bikini fairing, though.

Pro: Only 35 watts, easy on the generator! And f-:censor-in’ BRIGHT, even at idle!

I’m going to be attempting to wire it all up, along with LED signals and a digital speedo/tach, over the next couple of months. I’ll try and post some pics for you all.


Al Corelli

23rd May 2012, 15:12

It pulls from 2.7 to 3.3 with the setups I have.

I had to be careful, as the RE5 parts are very hard to come by.

The HID pulls less than an H4, which was 5-7 amps.

You confuse me, Mick.

You say that 35 watts is way too much, then tell me you’re using a 55 watt H4 ?? :confused:

Ballast states “Normal input current: 3.5 Amps”


Kichard

23rd May 2012, 15:15

I have the candle power h4 from j&p, but I run the OEM h4 . They both seem decent for output. Hell of a lot better than the stock that came with my bike lol. If ya want my candle power PM me. I don’t use it because I ordered the OEM and had planned on returning the candle to j&p. Never did.


Al Corelli

23rd May 2012, 15:18

HID is lower temp than Halogen.

The ballast is what supplies the “initial surge”, basically transparent to the electrical system.

Watt or amp draw should not be associated with light output.

My preference is, the more light, the better.

the h4 common is 55 watts not much higher than stock sealed beam. the hid is great but will draw massive power upon startup and will drop once up to temp. could be an issue if your lights are setup for on with ign on. they also put out higher heat load so make clearence room and the ballast are expensive. another point is that you must test the ballast system first anytime the bulb goes out because a bad ballast will destroy an expensive bulb.


xlron

23rd May 2012, 15:25

I would eiether put a weatherproof switch on the headlight nacelle or rig the ignition so that You can crank it,then turn the headlight on. This way all your cranking amps go to the starter, so that is the only drain on the Batt until your’e generating juice. I did the headlight route, ask Mick about Ignition route, I’ve seen his post about it in the past.


nikki

23rd May 2012, 18:48

I would eiether put a weatherproof switch on the headlight nacelle or rig the ignition so that You can crank it,then turn the headlight on. This way all your cranking amps go to the starter, so that is the only drain on the Batt until your’e generating juice. I did the headlight route, ask Mick about Ignition route, I’ve seen his post about it in the past.on an 82 and up there is a jumper wire that goes from to the run spot on the switch to the run and lights spots , all you do is move the jumper to run and lights spots thats all you need to do . no need to complicate it . Nikki


IronMick

23rd May 2012, 23:02

on an 82 and up there is a jumper wire …

Same on my 1980 and 1978. Just remove the little green wire that runs between the L and IG terminals on the back of the ignition key switch. I made a loop with it instead of actually removing it, so it is still there if …


nikki

24th May 2012, 00:23

Same on my 1980 and 1978. Just remove the little green wire that runs between the L and IG terminals on the back of the ignition key switch. I made a loop with it instead of actually removing it, so it is still there if …+1 I did the same thing Mick. Nikki


Monkeywrencher

24th May 2012, 05:25

Thanks everyone for all the replies. I appreciate all the great info. I have PM’d Kichard and am working on trying the candlepower one. I am thinking of putting in a Sylvania Silverstar at the stock wattage. I already have my ignition wired for first position ignition only, second position ign and all lights. I have a set of front turns off my brothers 99 Sporty that I put on the factory location on my bars. Since they use a dual filament bulb, I wired the lower parking light filament to come on when I hit the first position of the ign switch. So late at night such as now, when I turn the key, all I see is my oil and gen light, as well as my park lights from the front turn sigs. Once I turn the ign to the full on position, all lights including front park light stay lit. As well as my sucky low beam.:tour


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