Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Bike of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 66 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to put a condensed DIY out there to take some of the confusion out of upgrading cluster indicator (idiot) lights. When I first heard about fellow Rats changing these I thought it was just another gratuitous mod with little value added. After riding my new bonny a bit I realized they were right. The stock incandescent bulbs are weak and hard to see even on a partly sunny day. On manual cancel turn signal bikes in particular, I like to really be able to see my turn signal indicator and also neutral light. So decided to order the LED’s which are not only brighter, but less sensitive to vibration and last a lot longer than weaker incandescent lamps. This mod is a bit confusing in terms of what to order and how to perform and why a DIY is in order to keep each member here from having to navigate his way through the process. I will preface and say this mod is really pretty easy if you have a roadmap and that is what I want to provide having learned the steps from those before me and developing a few of my own.

Let’s get started:
There are four lights in the cluster. I recommend you not change the blue high beam light for the headlight as it becomes too bright while night riding.

So you need three new lights and this is what I suggest:

Turn Signal Indicator: This is to me is the most important bulb as I found myself always straining to see if my turn signal was either on or turned off.
The bulb you need is a green six head LED light: WLED-G6 which is non-polarized…critical to prevent all signals being deployed when engaging either side. I won’t get into the theory behind this as I want to keep this simple but suffice to say in my opinion installing this light is a simpler solution then installing diodes and a polarized LED which would require more tear up to the harness…doable but unnecessary in other words.
Order Qty=2 WLED-G6 to have an extra from:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/specs/bulb_specs.htm


OK…the other two lights you need are from another company.
They are 3 LED 74 base and are polarized. They are called Tri-Power because for this size base, they kick serious light with 3 LED’s integrated to the same base. Here is the link:
http://superlumination.com/74.htm
You need to order 1 red and 1 green #74 Tri-Power LED for oil light and neutral light respectively. I suggest ordering an extra of each for back up but I didn’t and got away with it. :)

You now have your lights and time to go in.

First you have to get it apart. The following addresses how to get to the indicators which is easy if you have a DIY and a bit more vexing if you don’t.
Note: If you decide to pursue the solder method versus the ram and jam installation of the WLED-G6 into the turn signal indicator position, you want to remove the tach and speedo and cluster from the bike. This as it turns out is easier than it may appear and much preferred to installing the LED’s with the cluster on the bike which is the way I started. You can install the neutral and oil light led lights with the cluster on the bike no problem…but not solder the LED in place to the harness so the tach/speedo and cluster have to come off.

Here are some pics showing the parts involved as I really took most of it apart on the bike:



I actually got the LED’s working on the bike without removing the cluster only to come to the conclusion that ramming the WLED-G6 into the turn signal indicator socket wasn’t the best solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Doesn’t really matter what you do along the way as long as you don’t scratch the bike.
Wrap and tape your baby up before moving stuff around. This due diligence btw is why I try to avoid dealerships. I hate scratches. NO scratches.



The following addresses how to remove the tach/speedo cluster from the bike which is pretty straightforward.
Here are the steps:
1. Place soft towel over the headlight and under the cluster
2. Tape up the handlebar risers in front to prevent scratching.
3. Remove headlight bezel and headlight lens
4. Disconnect two connectors inside the headlight (You identify these by turning the handlebars and studying the two cables of bundled wires that run from under the instrument cluster into the back of the headlight. Wiggle them and you will figure out which connectors you need to disconnect.
5. Take pictures of everything before and after in the event you get lost. You won’t btw…but it is a good precaution.
6. Disconnect the speedo cable…easiest with a small pair of channel locks if you have them…they act like strong fingers.
7. Remove four screws from where the cluster bolts in front of the handlebar riser.
8. Lift the Speedo/Tach cluster off the bike and place it on a bench for a bit of work.

Below are a couple of pics how it looks off the bike. Not hard to remove it and the best way to get to the sockets anyway.



OK..now you have the cluster assembly off the bike and ready to change some lights.
Disassembling the cluster is easy:
1. Remove two small allen head bolts on top of the cluster.

2. Peel/pull off and mark location…or take pic…of little chrome bezeled lenses.

3. Remove two long Phillips screws from under the cluster holding the lower cup in place…this dislodges the cup that holds the harness and sockets.

4. Now you have it apart and ready to install the new lights as shown in the last picture.

Here is where I take a different path than the guys before me. There are a few different ways to do this. Many install the lights with the clocks and cluster still on the bike…or try to including me. Have a look of a comparison between the standard turn signal factory lamp compared to the WLED-G6:


It is pretty obvious that the LED sheds big light…it does. Notice the center pic is of the base filed down just about to the leads to employ the unsuccessful ram and cram method. I tried repeatedly to install this LED into the turn signal socket on the bike including stretching of the base socket. I got it to fit and work but it kept wanting to come out which I believe will be the case for many over time…even those that have successfully forced this LED into position for the time being. I had no confidence it would stay in place long term and therefore decided to take another approach. The socket works by having prongs insert molded into rubber and the rubber base is pretty stiff and will want to spit out the bigger LED over time IMHO. So the following shows and explains how to solder this LED into position.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I can wax philosophic about whether to do this or not but for me…the positive far outweighs the negative….what engineering is all about. I always try to keep the harness as original as possible when making lighting changes and I have done a lot of wiring and lighting changes on bikes. As mentioned, the socket is not appropriate for this size of LED light…all others are plug and play and fit perfectly. So surgery is required only on one socket.
1. Unravel the electrical tape a bit.
2. Cut the turn signal socket wires off flush with the bottom of the socket and using a punch…push the internal pins out the top of the socket. See pic:


3. I studied this in some detail to determine how to create the most robust socket environment for the new LED. I am very pleased with the result.
4. Cut off about ½” of the bottom of the rubber socket. Do this in increments with tin snips until you see a rectangular hole emerge on the bottom of the socket about the size in the picture. This is where the new soldered leads will protrude from.
Sorry about this picture quality.


5. Now its time to solder and insulate leads onto the new WLED-G6.
6. Create small hooks with the wires coming out of the LED. This is why you order a second LED if you mess this up which you likely won’t. Strip some 20 gage stranded wire and fashion little hooks and interlock them. Solder each as shown. Run shrink tube…do this twice for best insulation to ensure the leads are fully isolated. Finish with a shrink tube that joins the two leads that are separated with insulation.
7. Push the leads into the socket with the bottom cut out. Push it down far enough such that the top of the socket will be left flexible to the same factory fit to the cluster.
Voila:


8. Solder the leads back to the harness. Sorry no pic but very straight forward…leaving a bit extra wire to the harness. Again use shrink tube and stagger the connections to prevent any shorting. I am fussy about a real clean solder job…always using shrink tube which gives any mod like this a factory appearance. That completes the hard part which isn’t that hard…a two beer job even though I don’t drink and mod...though I feel like it sometimes.


Lastly use needle nose pliers to remove the oil and neutral light incandescent lamps and reinsert the #74 Tri-Power LEDs in red and green color respectively. A note about polarity. Once you have these LEDs in place (WLED-G6 is non polar so doesn’t matter) plug the cluster into the bike and test them before putting it back together. This is because the #74’s are polarized and therefore may not work if you have them in backwards. No foul…if one doesn’t work, remove and reverse it and it should work.
Mine btw worked first time…I am either lucky or polarity doesn’t matter for these lights either…lol.

I don’t have a lot of pics showing how to put it back together because I wanted to put the hammer down and get the bike on the road which it now is for the nice weather this weekend.
Assembly is simply reverse of the former..hehe. This is not a hard job at all once you know the steps so those that read this will likely be able to do the cluster lighting change in couple of hours which is the intent of providing this…a consolidated DIY of where to buy the lights, which ones to order, what to take apart and what to do when you get there.

A word about the light orientation on these bikes. I always felt it odd that Triumph would put the single turn indicator light on the left of the cluster and neutral light on the right. It violates any conventional norm I can relate to. This may btw be due to Englishmen riding on the wrong side of the road for all these years ;) Since there is a single indicator for both turn signals, this light intuitively belongs top front and center and where I relocated it to. The neutral light which is a pretty important light also deserves a prominent position and it goes right below it. The high beam switch belongs on the left as it is used intermittently only and where the high beam switch is located and the engine oil light ends up being on the right…still in plain view but not worthy of being in the center. That is my take at least. Have a look at before and after to compare respective positions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Before:


After:



Riding the bike now, the lights are placed intuitively where they belong and now I can see them. When I was riding the bike before, I never really knew in certain lighting conditions if my turn signal was on and found myself always canceling it needlessly.
On sunny days I also struggled at times seeing the neutral light which likely isn’t helped by riding with prescription polarized sun glasses. Here is how it looks lit up in a half lit garage with all the lights on at the same time:


I will say the turn signal light now is very bright. Perfect on a real sunny day but perhaps slightly distracting when dark. It is bright. If you ride a lot at night…which I don’t do much of by intent unless the mood strikes…then this isn’t perhaps the right mod. The good news is…this mod is completely reversible if you don’t like it and you have another option. You can solder any kind of non polarized light into the turn signal position you desire…including the original back in if you don’t like it…pretty simple. But, you don’t want to default back to the original incadescent lamps which are much too weak to hit the sweet spot in any bright riding condition. So how does one tame the brightness of these lights if too bright in darker riding condtions? With resistance. This winter I will likely have my bike apart again and will introduce a 330 ohm resistor to the turn signal LED to soften it just a bit. If I want a bit more dimness, then add a second 330ohm resistor. In between?...add a third in parallel. If you really want to be fancy, you can add a micro switch to switch brightness for different riding conditions. This may not be in keeping with the purity of the Bonny design however. Simple generally is better in my experience. I don’t want to go back to the weak factory light…but this light is now pretty bright. In its current form I still vastly prefer it to the weak turn signal light. The neutral light which is a #74 3 LED smaller light is about right in illumination and so are the oil light which isn’t on often and leaving the factory high beam lamp alone is a pretty good idea as a constant on light can be distracting at night.

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to express my thanks to Marty aka Baltobonneville who coached me throughout this process and who captures the spirit of helping one another which makes this such a great forum.
Ride Safe,
George

PS: I will update this thread with adding a resistor to the turn signal light down the road if I want to tame the brightness of that light a bit which I may decide against. I need to ride the bke a bit more to see if the brightness is perfect overall. Stay tuned also for the DIY on changing tach and speedo lighting color…much simpler.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,855 Posts
Nice work, George, nice write-up, thanks for posting this. I agree, the lights are bright at night, but that's the flip side of having them bright enough to see in bright sunlight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys and thanks again Marty. Its hard to lead and easy to follow and the least I could do since you got me in the door. Since there is so many posts including disinformation out there about this because of the socket and polarity issue...wanted to put a single thread together. I believe this to be worthwhile mod if not add to the enjoyment and perhaps even contribute to the safety of riding these bikes.
Best,
George
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
387 Posts
Excellent post. Thanks once again George. Your pictures have given me confidence to tackle a job that I normally wouldn't consider. Strange, but I am finding that while my new T100 is one of the most comfortable, smooth and best handling motorcycles I have ever had, a large portion of my enjoyment is coming from working on and cleaning the bike, simply looking at it, and contemplating future mods.
Richard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi Richard,
Good to hear you are enjoying your new Bonny. Agree about your assessment...the Bonny is one of the best bang for buck bikes out there which is as much art as riding experience. People just think its cool and it is so easy to ride as you say. Hold off a bit on the LED swap as I have another wrinkle coming that I think is going to be better. I really like the #74LED Tri-Power Marty recommended but find the turn signal WLED-G6 light a bit overpowering. For that reason, I want to put out there a plug and play version of the turn signal indicator with another #74 Tri-power with a very simple diode kluge that works around the polarity issue which will end up being much easier to implement and IMHO offer more uniform lighting between indicator lights. So when the weather predicts a stretch of rain in the next month, I will post a sequel to this which I believe will be not only be better overall but easier to accomplish.
Stay tuned and glad you liked it.
Best,
George
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
:thumbsup: great post. I like the idea of moving the lights around with the signal light being at the top. I'll have to try this next time I'm tinkering around. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys. The position thing is elective of course and feels a bit more natural but now the bright turn signal and neutral indicator light when both on is bit much as they are closer together in the center position. Good to have options. :)
And David...I love your humor btw. :p
Cheers,
George
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
639 Posts
Great job Biker7. I recently put LED signals on all 4 corners of my Thruxton and instantly got a set of 4-way hazard blinkers!! I know you didn't want to go into the reason why, but here it is:

The OEM indicator bulb on your 'dash' is an incandescent bulb, probably a couple of watts, and is on a shared circuit with both left and right side circuits. The problem arises when your LED signals pull FAR less current than the dash indicator bulb!

Since it shares a common wire with both circuits, the dash indicator light gets full power on each side selected (L or R) but glows VERRRRY dimly on the selected side when flashing due to the low power load of the signals. It sends power to all four LED's because it's basically a 'short'. It's not a problem with normal incandescent signal bulbs, but LED's only draw like 1/50th of the power that the standard bulbs do. I came to this realization after staring at the Haynes wiring diagram and saw how the bulbs were connected.

A side problem with LEDS is the accelerated blink rate due to the lower wattage, so you usually need to add an equalizing resistor to slow the rate to a more normal rate. I purchased a Kuryakin unit from Dennis Kirk, and it really just simulates a pair of regular bulbs to cause the flasher relay to cycle at a normal pace.

There are 2 reasons I put the LEDS on my bike. They are very bright, and they are resistant to vibration and eliminate filament breakage, which I was experiencing with my little rigid-mounted 'ice-cube' aftermarket signals. The stock 'portly' incandescent signals are on rubber mounts and don't have this problem.

I removed the dash indicator bulb to test my theory about cross-resistance, and sure enough... the bulbs flash in Left or Right pairs, just as Prince Lucas (deceased?) had intended, and at a normal blink rate.

So, I just ordered a pair of tiny LED's to fit into the dash light tube with separate wiring to the left and right circuits to get my dash turn signal indicator back.

Now, I won't have to replace turn signal bulbs every few hundred miles! LED's for turn signals are very cool inventions that use less power...it's a shame we have to add resistors to our standard circuits (bringing the electric load back up) to achieve a normal blinker rate!!

Cheers!
BLIGHT:motorbike:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hi Blight,
I can write in nauseating detail about electricity which I have always been interested in. I almost became a EE but my gearhead instincts won out. When I was little I was always taking apart TV's and radios...building amplifiers etc if I wasn't building gocarts and minibikes. :) I didn't want to get into circuit theory to dillute this thread as many aren't interested but a couple of things worth mentioning. You comment about adding reistance isn't that big of deal. Flasher pulse rate is about capacitance which is effectively resistance built up over time. Adding resistance...you added Kury load equalizers...simply slows the store rate (capacitance) of power until it dispells ie flashs. You could have gone to radio shack and bought a couple of big ceramic resistors and slowed the flash rate of your Triumph flasher with LED's without incurring the expense of buying a Kury equalizer.
A couple of other things worth mentioning. Many don't understand how the turn signal light indicator light works or why it works. Triumph is a bit of a heretic about this incidentally as most manufacturers that utilize a single turn signal indicator utilize cheap diodes to allow both sides of the bike to feed through a common bulb. But independent of diodes, and with a bulb that can't tell polarity...how on earth is this possible because it seems to defy basic circuit design. It is because...the two wires leading into the turn signal indicator bulb are both + only when each are deployed. This isn't intuitive. The way it works is...when you turn on the left turn signal, the front and rear left turn signal + is not only in parallel with one another but with the turn signal indicator light. So how does the turn signal light flash when the other terminal is also + from the right side? Because when the left turn signal is flashing and left lead coming into the little light is +, the other lead is negative. How so? Because the right side of the turn signal circuit is dormant with the left side deployed. Still not clear? A light bulb is really just a high resistance wire. The + lead is connected to the - lead and when the circuit has no power the bulb will ground with the bike completing the circuit when the left side is deployed and visa versa for the right side. That is how Triumph gets around using diodes for sharing a common indicator bulb for both sides without diodes which are simply valves to keep electricity from flowing back through a + lead. By design, the intent is to flow backwards through a dormant + lead which is effectively a ground with no current running through it.
Lastly...an LED by design is a light emitting "diode". LED's by design preclude bi-lateral current flow and why changing the turn signal indicator LED is beholden to the WLED which is non polar....unless cheap diodes are introduced.

A final note is...I will be changing my turn signal light and introducing two inexpensive diodes and a slightly less bright #74 Tri-Power Green to replace the WLED-G6 discussed in this thread. This will allow plug and play with a simple solder job of a couple of diodes upstream of the stock socket..no surgery. The circuit is simple and I will show it when pull it apart and complete the write up with pictures to supplement the above. I was relucant to share further thought about circuit design but since you brought it up, I thought I would provide a bit more information for those that have some interest in electricity.
Cheers,
George
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,057 Posts
Thanks much for the instructions. I just picked up a 2004 Bonneville and will do this mod. Being 50 and new to riding I want to take every opprotunity to not hit the pavement.

Two questions:

  1. Why buy colored versions of the LEDs. Since the light is shining through colored plastic, wouldn't the clear LEDs provide more light?
  2. How much more light do the 3 head LEDs provide? Would a 3 head be good day/night compromise for the turn signal?


Thanks,

Todd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks Prop. What is pretty astounding really is how changing these little lights makes riding the bike easier. Its a subconsious thing really...always hunting around to see if the turn signal is on after a turn and if you have neutral engaged at a stop. This thread will be expanded in ensuing weeks to provide a non-surgerical :) approach to LED replacement...with just a bit of soldering...much easier and I believe the illumination will be more uniform throughout the cluster.
Will also do a little blurb on speedo backlighting again per Marty's lead on this.

Todd...good questions. The colorized LED's accentuates or supplements the color of the lense. Color, brightness and that sort of thing is in the eye of the beholder as to what looks best. To my eye the WLED6 which is one powerful little LED is a bit too strong. Only my opinion...and it requires cutting the socket which many including me would prefer not to. I can only extrapolate from the neutral light which looks perfect. In summary I believe the #74 Tri-power is the best for all lights except high beam which would be too bright for constant on night riding. You may want to try it in white and let the lense do its thing to create the color you wish. Again...the color issue is subjective. As fate would have it, I am slightly color blind...lol...and to me the LED G6 is too green so a white #74LED Tri-power maybe the sweet spot for brightness and color in the turn signal indicator position.
Best,
George
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,016 Posts
what about LED's fot the speedo and tach? what part # have people been using to replace these?
 
1 - 20 of 66 Posts
Top