LED signal lights - BE CAREFUL - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-07-2012, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation LED signal lights - BE CAREFUL

I recently fixed an issue I had with my signal lights due to LED signal lights on the bike and it is important for people to know this and BE CAREFUL.

Wiring single intensity LED signals as also running lights will cause any added resistors in that wiring to constantly have current applied to them and they will heat up before very long to the point of melting plastic and anything around them. Super hot. It could easily melt through fairing plastic, wiring, whatever, and be a fire hazard. It is extremely dangerous.

The issue is that most LED signal lights come as single intensity (aka filament in old school bulbs) whereas the RC51 has dual filament wiring on the front signal lights. One wire is for the signal light to be a running light (always on) and the other wire is for the flashing signal. Now I've seen some websites that recommend splicing those two wires together an putting it into the LED signal. These websites also recommend a parallel resistor be put into the wiring at that point to slow the flashing rate down. I bought my bike used with the LED signals on it and that was how they were installed. Interestingly the LED signals did work as running lights and signal lights so things looked okay. However, the instrument panel signal bulb error light was on. And worse, was the heat, which I noticed when I started to smell burning. I don't know how long it was like this before me, but thankfully I found this out before doing much bike riding and there is no damage other than to the housings of the resistors.

The PROPER way to run single intensity LED signal lights is to remove the wiring for the running light. Use only the wire on the bike for the signal flash. Doing this also removed the instrument cluster bulb error light I had earlier. You lose the running light option but you won't have any issues or fires.

I also bought a LED plug and play flash relay for the bike. It worked and slowed down the flashing rate of my signals. I have removed the resistors too since they aren't needed. It is much safer IMO to have the LED flashing relay than to add resistors which generate heat.

As another option, dual intensity LED signal lights are quite rare but out there. Proton makes a set. Post if you know any other dual intensity LED signal lights.

For now, I like the look of my Rizoma zero 11 LED turn signals over the Protons, so it looks like I will give up my running light option at this time.

Last edited by kwtoxman; 03-01-2013 at 01:42 PM.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-07-2012, 09:21 PM
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I got a set of Rizoma zero 11 LED's on my CBR900RR. I was going to do the running light modification using 2 diodes to prevent backfeeding the turn signal circuit. I plan to remove the resistors in the circuits i am currently using to slow down the blinkers. I have a LED blinker coming from superbrite LED's. I think this should work and still allow me to have running lights.

I contacted Rizoma and they said they did not see any heat issues with running their signals as running lights/turn signals except there could be some shorter LED life. I agree that taking the resistors out of the circuit needs to be done. I don't think there would be an issue once they are out and using a different flasher unit.

2000 RC51 - stock owned since new 5/2000
2006 RC51 - 2nd owner purchased 4/2015 with 1400 miles
1996 CBR900RR - mild resto/mod - done spring 2012
1990 Honda VFR - original stock owned since 1991
1975 Kawasaki S3 - restored in 2004-5 (sold 10-17)
2003 Kawasaki ZX7R - bought 10/2018
2007 Honda Interceptor 25th Anniversary purchased 7/2014
1972 Honda Mini Trail - 1st restoration in 1992, and 2016 restored to like new condition. (sold 2/18)
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 07:19 PM
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Those are pretty neat, and cheap by Rizoma standards. I don't think the protons use varying brightness led's, they just have a small circuit inside to regulate the voltage or something like that.

Any yes, putting resistors inline with a turn signal isn't the best way to get the proper blink rate. Get a timed blinker that doesn't rely on voltage draw




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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by b.miller123 View Post
Those are pretty neat, and cheap by Rizoma standards. I don't think the protons use varying brightness led's, they just have a small circuit inside to regulate the voltage or something like that.

Any yes, putting resistors inline with a turn signal isn't the best way to get the proper blink rate. Get a timed blinker that doesn't rely on voltage draw
Correction, current draw. Not voltage draw.

Putting resistors in series increases resistance and lowers current flow, and would make matters worse with rapid flashing.
Putting resistors in parallel lowers the resistance, thereby increasing current flow. That's the reason most load resistors used for signals have to have sufficient wattage rating to handle the heat due to current flow.

The reason OEM flashers blink faster with LED signals is due to insufficient current flowing through it.

As you recommended, it's best to replace it with an electronic flasher which can use any type of "bulb".
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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I got a set of Rizoma zero 11 LED's on my CBR900RR. I was going to do the running light modification using 2 diodes to prevent backfeeding the turn signal circuit.
If diodes work that is a great idea. What spec of diodes will be needed (amperage and voltage? I would try it for sure.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 04:02 PM
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If diodes work that is a great idea. What spec of diodes will be needed (amperage and voltage? I would try it for sure.
I found this on the CBR forum web site. I am using the 1400 diodes that they mention. Recovering from rotator cuff surgery so I haven't started tearing anything apart yet but I have all the parts to do it including the LED flasher unit.

http://cbrforum.com/forum/how-mechan...-inputs-84998/

2000 RC51 - stock owned since new 5/2000
2006 RC51 - 2nd owner purchased 4/2015 with 1400 miles
1996 CBR900RR - mild resto/mod - done spring 2012
1990 Honda VFR - original stock owned since 1991
1975 Kawasaki S3 - restored in 2004-5 (sold 10-17)
2003 Kawasaki ZX7R - bought 10/2018
2007 Honda Interceptor 25th Anniversary purchased 7/2014
1972 Honda Mini Trail - 1st restoration in 1992, and 2016 restored to like new condition. (sold 2/18)
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 04:21 PM
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Correction, current draw. Not voltage draw.

Putting resistors in series increases resistance and lowers current flow, and would make matters worse with rapid flashing.
Putting resistors in parallel lowers the resistance, thereby increasing current flow. That's the reason most load resistors used for signals have to have sufficient wattage rating to handle the heat due to current flow.

The reason OEM flashers blink faster with LED signals is due to insufficient current flowing through it.

As you recommended, it's best to replace it with an electronic flasher which can use any type of "bulb".
Give me a break, sub. We mechanical engineers only have to take one circuits class, and I had to take it twice.

Besides, I've never gotten along well with electronics. I hate anything that I can't see that can kill me.




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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thx for the info motley fan. I found a local source for the diodes and I'll try this and report back, hopefully by mid week.
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Those are pretty neat, and cheap by Rizoma standards.
I prefer the look of a stalk signal light and the Rizoma's look good. The flushmounts are okay, but not as appealing to me.
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 12:40 PM
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Give me a break, sub. We mechanical engineers only have to take one circuits class, and I had to take it twice.

Besides, I've never gotten along well with electronics. I hate anything that I can't see that can kill me.
No argument here. I prefer mechanical things myself.
I went into electronics in the Navy simply because: a) it was cleaner than being a machinist mate and, b) as a fire control tech, the opportunity to blow stuff up was quite appealing.
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