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 Modulating Headlight

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Skippy
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Opalsboy
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Opalsboy
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PostSubject: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 19, 2010 11:13 pm

I am building into my scoot system many many safety steps. One I am considering now is "Amperite Head-Alert 2 Motorcycle Headlight Modulator". I am interested in learning from anyone who has had experience with this particular product.

Are there any issues with headlight life being changed by addition of any modulating product? Is stock headlamp affected? Is there a better after market replacement bulb for this application?

What consideration should be given to additional amperage or voltage drop or other electrical issue on the Swings electronics?

If you have installed this product are you pleased or displeased with your choice?

Any helpful advice for installation?

Thanks.. the life you save may be mine...
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edbancro
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 20, 2010 12:04 am

Opalsboy wrote:
I am building into my scoot system many many safety steps. One I am considering now is "Amperite Head-Alert 2 Motorcycle Headlight Modulator". I am interested in learning from anyone who has had experience with this particular product.

Gary, I've had an Amperite Modulator installed on my SWing for about 6-8 months now. I have the regular Head-Alert (not the "2", which adds a light sensor, right?), purchased from J.C. Whitney. I saw the light sensor street-legal version listed on Amperite's web page but couldn't find any place that sold it, so I just used the other one and wired in a by-pass switch for night use, and that works just fine (but it's still technically not legal). Anyway, I've been very pleased with it - seems to be a good, low-cost modulator option (I haven't actually looked at it since it's been on there, but it's working just fine).

Quote :
Are there any issues with headlight life being changed by addition of any modulating product? Is stock headlamp affected? Is there a better after market replacement bulb for this application?
In order:

Modulators supposedly extend the life since the bulb isn't being run at full power as much (and is never actually completely off, which would not be as good for life).

Well, only in that it now modulates Wink The non-modulating lamp seems to be the same, although it would be a little hard to tell with the other modulating.

My stock one seems to be loving life, so it should be just fine (but I think any halogen should play nice with a modulator).

Quote :
What consideration should be given to additional amperage or voltage drop or other electrical issue on the Swings electronics?

With respect to the modulator, there shouldn't be any. I think you might actually gain some available voltage/amperage with the modulator on vs. having it off, simply since one of the bulbs is being run at less power some of the time (I haven't actually got out a meter to check this, and it probably wouldn't be a usable gain anyway since you'd need to allow for the times the modulator was off).

Quote :
If you have installed this product are you pleased or displeased with your choice?

Pleased, but would have been more so if I could have found the version 2 with the light sensor.

Quote :
Any helpful advice for installation?

This modulator is wired in-line on the + side, so you either have to cut the + wire to the bulb (this is the route I choose - I know this is affraid for some people), or if you had male and female H7 (or is it H4?) connectors you could make it plug-and-play (I didn't do this due to cost and time restraints).

Quote :
Thanks.. the life you save may be mine...

I definitely think it helps people see me coming better.
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dspevack
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 20, 2010 12:05 am

Gary,
May I ask why you chose that particular brand of modulator?

Signal dynamics has a nice one with some unique features: http://tinyurl.com/2footnh and Kisantech has one also: https://www.kisantech.com/index.php?cat_id=2

The KT has the light sensor too.

Both are more expensive, true, but also, if you are going overboard on safety, both the SD and the KT have other safety products in their line that I'm sure are designed to work with each other.

Also have you thought about Xenon H.I.D. lighting?

Dan


Last edited by jdeereanton on Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:04 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Used tinyurl.com to allow shorter web link.)
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exavid
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 20, 2010 5:08 pm

I got a kind of 2 for the price of 1 deal this week on headlight modulators. I'd ordered a Kisan plug and play modulator for my GL1800 and was tearing into it (what a chore) to get at the headlight bulbs and found that it already had a Kisan modulator that wasn't working because it had been improperly installed. I reinstalled it as it was supposed to be and what do you know, I worked just as it should. It had been in the bike for six years and never had worked from the first installation. I can't imagine going to all the work to get under the plastic and not testing it before buttoning the bike back up. Even so I couldn't have just let it go, I'd have taken the thing apart again to make it work.
The upside of this deal is that the modulator I ordered fits both the GW and my SW so I spent a whole half hour installing it on the SW. I ended up drilling a small hole and mounting the light sensor just above the center of the air windshield air intake inlet. It works great, modulates both bulbs and is adjustable to select the ambient light level to initiate modulating or shutting it off.
I had a Kisan on my '93 GW for over 80,000 miles and believe it to be one of the best safety accessories you can put on your bike. (Along with a white helmet) The modulator actually lowers the current draw on your bike's electrical system and will extend the life of the headlamp bulbs because it doesn't shut off the light, it just dims and brightens it. I believe the US Federal regs require the modulator to dim to no less than 20% of the full bulb brightness.
To be legal in the US and Canada the modulator MUST have a light sensor to automatically turn it off at dusk. These things are legal in all US States and all Canadian Provinces.
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Opalsboy
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 21, 2010 10:26 am

Thanks guys... and David, after looking at the links you provided, I am now leaning toward the Signal Dynamic model. I guess I was going strictly by price before. All of those models have advangages. I think it was the SD unit that I had read about several months ago... I will spend some more time reading before putting check in mail.
Thanks again Ed and Ex....
Ride safe everyone.
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Skippy
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 12:59 pm

Hmm, I dunno about you guys in the US etc. but I don't think this is really much of a 'safety' device! Here in the UK car drivers have been known to pull out on motorcyclists who have had there headlights on during the day, the bike has gone down in a dip and then up - from the drivers point of view he thinks he's been 'flashed' out of a junction etc. Disaster folllows shortly after, with the biker injured and the driver claiming 'I was flashed out!!!' (and yes we do have daytime running lights as well now - that only changed about 8 years ago).

Incidentally, the definition of a flashed headlight in our Highway code is the message 'I am here' - far to many road users think it means 'go ahead - your right of way' - hence the accidents Sad

Having a pulsing headlight can't be good for your eye sight either can it??? I assume that the daylight/night sensor stops the modulation when the ambient light level drops below a set point?

I rather like the idea of the rear brake light - that really does draw attention to what a rider is doing.

I think I'll go down the HID Route (oh and leave my blue tinted stobe for emergencys only Smile )
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dspevack
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 1:07 pm

Opalsboy wrote:
Thanks guys... and David, after looking at the links you provided, I am now leaning toward the Signal Dynamic model.

Ummmm, Who is "David"? Shocked
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Opalsboy
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 1:15 pm

Hello Skippy... there is no such thing as a perfect solution to the cage driver that pulls out in front of a (car, scooter, train, ambulance or Corsair)... but it is my experience that pulsating light is an attention getter. I consider them relatively new in the US. They are getting to be very common now and I BELIEVE most drivers notice them. As I said, some cagers just seem to be blind to any kind of warning or alarm.
You are right about the sensors turning the modulation off at dark.
Having the lights, horns and all the other safety features does not replace the requirement to use caution and care on the road. You have to be always aware of the threats around you and be prepared to take defensive action. BUT EVERYTHING HELPS....
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Opalsboy
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 1:21 pm

I think David is Dans evil twin.... sorry about that. Embarassed

I have really got to get my trifocals worked on.cyclops


BTW... I did go the SD route... thanks David... Wink


Last edited by Opalsboy on Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:52 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Thank became think..)
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 1:48 pm

edbancro---- thanks for your reply as well. I learned a few things from you.
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Skippy
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 3:03 pm

Gary,

Yep, I have to agree 100% about 'being prepared' for anything when going out for a ride. I've got a funny feeling that having a modulating or strobing light here in the UK is a big no-no, but will have to confirm that with my friendly MoT tester to be sure.
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edbancro
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 3:09 pm

Skippy wrote:
Hmm, I dunno about you guys in the US etc. but I don't think this is really much of a 'safety' device! Here in the UK car drivers have been known to pull out on motorcyclists who have had there headlights on during the day, the bike has gone down in a dip and then up - from the drivers point of view he thinks he's been 'flashed' out of a junction etc. Disaster folllows shortly after, with the biker injured and the driver claiming 'I was flashed out!!!' (and yes we do have daytime running lights as well now - that only changed about 8 years ago).

Incidentally, the definition of a flashed headlight in our Highway code is the message 'I am here' - far to many road users think it means 'go ahead - your right of way' - hence the accidents Sad

The modulation is fast enough that the two shouldn't be confused; I think that's why the modulation rate (plus the fact that it may never be completely off) is written into the law. And I haven't heard of many people mistaking it for a flash-to-pass/pull out, the fast modulation rate does seem to make them take a second look and realize that that's not what the motorcyclist is doing.

Skippy wrote:
Having a pulsing headlight can't be good for your eye sight either can it??? I assume that the daylight/night sensor stops the modulation when the ambient light level drops below a set point?

No, it's not (at least not at night), and yes, that's why it's on there Smile My [somewhat illegal] modulator doesn't have one (enter manual override switch), and it would definitely cause problems if left on at night (I don't think one could ride at night with it on).
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edbancro
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 3:11 pm

Opalsboy wrote:
edbancro---- thanks for your reply as well. I learned a few things from you.

You're welcome Smile Those SD units do have some nice features - if I'd been willing to spend more I'd probably have gotten one of those - excellent choice cheers
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 4:10 pm

edbancro wrote:
the fast modulation rate does seem to make them take a second look and realize that that's not what the motorcyclist is doing.

If you you are directly facing on coming traffic or following behind someone they may see the "modulation cycle" but simply keeping the eyes forward.

To some drivers, a single flash is "OK ... go ahead". I had drivers pull out from a single quick flash to low->high->low beam to warn them. They pulled out without any safe distance and I had to slam on the brakes just in time.

If the driver perceives a single flash as an "OK" to go ... they could be turning their heads to quickly check the other direction and not perceiving any "modulation cycle".



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edbancro
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 6:20 pm

honda_silver wrote:
To some drivers, a single flash is "OK ... go ahead". I had drivers pull out from a single quick flash to low->high->low beam to warn them. They pulled out without any safe distance and I had to slam on the brakes just in time.

If the driver perceives a single flash as an "OK" to go ... they could be turning their heads to quickly check the other direction and not perceiving any "modulation cycle".

The specification is 240+/-40 cycles per minute=about 4 cycles per second, which is probably 2-5 times faster than one can manually switch low-high-low on the go, and [hopefully...] fast enough that someone will perceive more than just a single flash, even with a quick glance.

But I won't deny that there's a risk of someone mistaking is as please-pull-out-and-hit-me flash. I personally haven't had that happen (yet), and there have been several occasions where I thought someone was going to pull out in front of me and then didn't. So, I think it definitely does help, but that's also the sort of thing where I'll never really know what would have happened if the modulator hadn't been on... scratch
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billmc
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 7:30 pm

Guys,

As I was reading through this, the thought just occurred to me. I realize the gizmo works on the headlight, but would it be possible to hook it up to a different color light? Dennis's light bar for example, maybe stick in yellow or some other color? I haven't a clue if this is legal or not, but I'm just thinking out loud.

Bill
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edbancro
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 7:59 pm

billmc wrote:
Guys,

As I was reading through this, the thought just occurred to me. I realize the gizmo works on the headlight, but would it be possible to hook it up to a different color light? Dennis's light bar for example, maybe stick in yellow or some other color? I haven't a clue if this is legal or not, but I'm just thinking out loud.

Bill

Yes, it should work with just about any non-HID filament type bulb (I'm not sure how LEDs would react, my guess is that they would blink instead of modulate). I think yellow is usually legal for fog lights, so an aux lamp in that color should be okay. The text of the law that I found doesn't address the use of modulators on other lights - it only mentions headlights. It's legal to modulate either headlight, so maybe that would extend to fog/aux lighting, but it's rather vague. Probably one of those things that you could get away with even if it's not technically legal (not that I condone any such behavior... pirat )
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Opalsboy
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 9:27 pm

I haven't researched the law here in the US, but I am pretty sure that red blue or green lights would get you in trouble.
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dspevack
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 24, 2010 9:49 pm

Billmc,
(First off, check your PMs)
The modulator devices can be hooked up to regulate power to almost any device, so sure it could be hooked up to external lights. I have mine hooked up to my motolights on my front forks.

You could concieveably hook it up to a horn or fart machine too, although the results might be more humourous and annoying than practical. Twisted Evil
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DennisB
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 25, 2010 8:06 am

Hi All,

As you know, I'll be working on Gary's scooter the first part of next month and I'll be putting together a interconnect headlight cable to make the install of the headlight modulator a snap WITHOUT cutting any Honda harness wires. If anyone would be interested in one just let me know.
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 25, 2010 8:12 am

What do you think, Dennis? Modulating Headlight Icon_lol

Will it be suitable for just spotlights without the modulator?
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DennisB
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 25, 2010 8:23 am

Hi Mike,

I'm a firm believer being seen. The problem would be drawing voltage from the headlight wire. LED type lights draw less current....but I still think a person should run a 14 gauge wires from the battery, fused, relayed, and switch. That way your headlight will stay bright.
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PostSubject: Re: Modulating Headlight   Modulating Headlight I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 25, 2010 8:33 am

Understood - thanks, Dennis.
I have my eye on the LED lights that have been mentioned.
As you say, 'being seen' is so important.
The headlights on the Silverwing are more than adequate here but extra visibility is what I want.
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