Custom 2012 WR450F Taillight - (Made by me)


11 replies to this topic
  • DuncR6

Posted May 28, 2013 - 11:53 PM

#1

Background:
[color=Lime]Q:[/color] Why did I do this?
[color=Red]A:[/color] I am extremely picky when it comes to buying parts. I refuse to buy mediocre parts. I have found that there are no good products currently available on the market. Almost all companies use poor quality components. Whether that is due to just not knowing about better components or if it’s by design I don’t know. I can’t really blame them for using the cheaper components though because I completely understand profit (I’m a Financial Analyst). I know that will likely upset some people who are either makers of the other products available on the market, or people who have bought a product and believe in it. This isn’t a slam on those products; rather it’s to inform people. I knew I could build something better for cheaper so the decision was obvious that I would make my own.

I’ll pick on one brand in particular because of the marketing gimmicks that are being used. Gimmicks piss me off because it preys on people who don’t know any different. Anyways, 12oclocklabs.com sells the DRC Edge 2 taillight. Currently on their site it states, “Superbright LED's; over 560,000mcd light output at maximum brightness.” What makes me mad is that they are using this 560k value and trying to make people believe this must be some spectacular unit that’s really bright. The 560k value means absolutely nothing by itself. You need to know the beam angle. An LED with a beam angle of 0.1* could have a super high mcd value, but it would be absolutely worthless in terms of brightness. It would also be dimmer than another LED with a lower mcd value but a higher angle value.

My neighbor has a DRZ400 with the DRC taillight and I was able to see the output in person. The output is incredibly dim (granted it does have a smoked lense). I didn’t take pictures of it, but my stock unit was definitely brighter. We opened the thing up and the size/shape is very similar to the WR’s board so I told him I’d build one. It’ll just take some simple brackets to match up to the mounting points on the DRC housing. So now that I’m way off topic, let’s get back to the purpose of this build…

Goals:
- Must be brighter than stock/other products and be reliable
- (1) Completed unit must be cheaper than buying one
- Must be 100% plug and play using stock wiring and connectors without any modifications to the housing either

Project:
Stock taillight opened
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Stock taillight front side
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Stock taillight backside
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Stock wiring outside of housing. The yellow wire has two resistors(?) outside of the housing. These two components get chopped off and the two ends of the yellow wire are soldered back together up inside of the black tubing so you can’t see it. The wire supplies 12v+ to the brake light circuit and all components on my board are mounted on the board itself.

Stock bolts securing the circuit board. The black mark shows how much needed to be cut off the bolt with a Dremel. This is because I did not reuse the clear diffuser lens shown in picture #1 above…it can also be seen in the background of picture #2.
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Enough with stock crap…let’s see some of neat stuff.

Here are my circuit boards. Basically what I did was I designed board shape in AutoCAD. Then I imported that shape into a circuit board making program. Once in that program I ran all the traces and holes for the components. There was a minimum order amount with the PCB manufacturer so I have a lot of spares. I can now crash A LOT and be able to repair my taillight lol. Overall the entire project cost more than buying a taillight because of this minimum order, but a single completed unit is cheaper so that’s how I justified it.
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Another bonus to making these myself is I got to put a personalized touch on it… “LEDunc” :ride:
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This taillight has (1) 12v regulator for the both the tail and brake circuits. I know I could have been more sophisticated with how I dealt with the dual brightness setup, but for the first time around I opted for simple resistors and diodes. My unit uses about 4.5 watts and draws 400mA. I had no need for the running light in the headlight so I scavenged those 3 watts plus the 0.3watts from the stock taillight. So overall I’m using 1.2 additional watts over stock, not bad at all. These particular LEDs are rated for 70mA, and I let them have 10mA for the running light. When the brake is on, it they start off with 56mA and after 7.5 minutes of being continuously on, they were seeing 63mA. Even though I'll never use the brake for 7.5 minutes straight on the street, I could while going down a long down hill section doing a dual-sport ride.
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Here it is installed in the stock housing. You can see that the holes for the two bolts are a little oversized. I could only do so much measuring and wasn’t 100% sure anything would even fit until I got the PCBs back from the manufacturer. If I did it again, I’d move the holes a little and shrink them now I know exactly how it fits in the housing.
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Here is a comparison with the stock WR450 taillight. The unit on top is the stock light and on bottom is the one I made. I could probably let a little more juice flow to the LEDs for the running light, but it is very close to mimicking the brightness of the stock unit. You can tell that the stock unit unit is very slightly brighter. Not a big deal to me because I care more about the brake light.
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Don’t jump to conclusions and hear me out on this picture. You’re probably thinking, “um why did you do all this effort because the brake lights look exactly the same to me.” I’ve never been a believer in taking pictures of the lights themselves, especially with headlights. Cameras never capture the true story. I’d much rather see the output against a wall.

With that said the brake lights are similar looking here, but you can tell my unit is slightly brighter than the stock unit.
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Here is the stock unit’s output against a wall in the dark. It’s pathetically dim. The output is basically a dot in the middle and then a narrow band of dim light. You can see that half way up the wall it’s almost dark again. In this picture I took the picture right behind the taillight unit.
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Now here is mine. Not only is it brighter, it illuminates a much larger area. In this picture I had to back up about 10’ behind the taillight in order to capture the width of the output.

I know my measurements weren’t in a controlled lab environment, but when I measured light output from both units I tried making everything exactly the same. My measurements show that my taillight is approx. 5.2 times brighter than the stock unit. I’d say that’s a healthy/worthwhile increase.

You’ll also notice that I don’t use gimmicky keywords to describe brightness. Datasheets and pictures speak for themselves.
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Anyways, that’s my taillight project. Hopefully it inspires others to do some DIYing because you can easily make a better and cheaper solution than what companies offer. Next of the project list: the headlight since again there are no quality options available out there.

I'll check spelling/grammar tomorrow. It's way past my bed time.

Edited by DuncR6, June 03, 2013 - 11:51 AM.


  • SurfaceToAir

Posted May 29, 2013 - 01:25 PM

#2

Really cool! I suppose once you go down this route, you could start integrating signals, etc.. Maybe use dual filament LED? Though might warrant a slightly different housing.

Like the layout. The brightness is great.

Would using 12 volt LED's remove the need for resisters and other components? I suppose you would have fewer options with the shape of the beam, etc though. I dont know enough about LED's but have used them for a bunch of different projects. Love them.

How do you cut the boards out? Dremmel, jig saw.. Other?

cheers!
Dustin

  • DuncR6

Posted May 30, 2013 - 05:25 AM

#3

1.) Really cool! I suppose once you go down this route, you could start integrating signals, etc.. Maybe use dual filament LED? Though might warrant a slightly different housing.

Like the layout. The brightness is great.

2.) Would using 12 volt LED's remove the need for resisters and other components? I suppose you would have fewer options with the shape of the beam, etc though. I dont know enough about LED's but have used them for a bunch of different projects. Love them.

3.) How do you cut the boards out? Dremmel, jig saw.. Other?

cheers!
Dustin

1.) Yeah integrated turn signals wouldn't be hard at all...assuming you use the came color as the brake. It would take some time to redesign the board because at that point I would have to use smaller and different components in order to more easily fit additional stuff to control blinking. Now that I think about it I sort of wish I had used surface mounted components instead of through hole.
2.) Yes that would mean I wouldn't need the resistors. However I think you'd be hard pressed to find any 12v LED that puts out a lot of light.
3.) I used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel. I'd like to buy a belt sander to make everything even more flush, but I'm able to get it really close by hand with a Dremel.

  • Jack Groves

Posted May 30, 2013 - 07:51 AM

#4

I would love a light like that on mine ! ... Even more so if it had indicators !! :D looks great

  • warrens73

Posted June 01, 2013 - 01:04 AM

#5

I started down this path a few years ago to make one with integrated turn signals for my '08 WR450f, but then I got lazy and bought one from bikemonkey.com.au on ebay instead. The way I see it, why re-invent what has all ready been mastered. Just my 2cents.

Edited by warrens73, June 01, 2013 - 01:08 AM.


  • SurfaceToAir

Posted June 01, 2013 - 07:57 AM

#6

This one. http://www.bikemonke...urnsignals.html

That is cool.

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  • DuncR6

Posted June 01, 2013 - 08:14 AM

#7

I started down this path a few years ago to make one with integrated turn signals for my '08 WR450f, but then I got lazy and bought one from bikemonkey.com.au on ebay instead. The way I see it, why re-invent what has all ready been mastered. Just my 2cents.

Because they haven't mastered it. Companies currently use LEDs that have crappy lumen ouput. If they used good quality LEDs for a reasonable price then I would buy one....but for $125, lol no way.

  • warrens73

Posted June 01, 2013 - 09:33 PM

#8

Because they haven't mastered it. Companies currently use LEDs that have crappy lumen ouput. If they used good quality LEDs for a reasonable price then I would buy one....but for $125, lol no way.

Well I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that one. The tail light that I receive from bikemonkey is extremely well built and extremely bright. The running light is about 50% greater than stock, and the brake light is down right blinding. The turn signals also get brighter when the brake is applied as to not get drowned out by the ultra bright red LED's. But to each their own.

  • MaxPower

Posted June 02, 2013 - 04:45 AM

#9

I really like what you did with the tail light. Maybe because it is such an easy effort for you please realize that it isn't so easy for everyone else. There is a reason that aftermarket lights sell. I would have no clue how to make my own circuit board and even less of a clue how to get all those little lights to light.
I wish brighter tail lights were available. When riding the road, I want to be a noticeable as I can be . I'm looking forward to your attempt on making the head light brighter. Especially without melting the plastic lens

  • warrens73

Posted June 02, 2013 - 05:22 AM

#10

+1 MaxPower. Also to say this isn't a "for sale" post is total BS. It's a marketing post to try and get others to purchase the lights he plans to make out of the other 15 circuit boards that he's has leftover. If not with the amount of money and time required to build his tail light, he will easily the into it for $300+, and it still doesnt have turn signals. Paying $125 for one that is plug n play from bikemonkey is sounding better and better isn't it? Hell, by the time you've incorporated everything they have in their tail light you will have spent enough to buy 3 maybe even 4 of their lights.

  • DuncR6

Posted June 03, 2013 - 11:16 AM

#11

+1 MaxPower. Also to say this isn't a "for sale" post is total BS. It's a marketing post to try and get others to purchase the lights he plans to make out of the other 15 circuit boards that he's has leftover. If not with the amount of money and time required to build his tail light, he will easily the into it for $300+, and it still doesnt have turn signals. Paying $125 for one that is plug n play from bikemonkey is sounding better and better isn't it? Hell, by the time you've incorporated everything they have in their tail light you will have spent enough to buy 3 maybe even 4 of their lights.

I just realized I got my forums mixed up. It's Supermoto Junkie that has a $6.95 fee on for sale ads. I left off the "not for sale" part because I was respecting the forum and trying to skirt around their $6.95 fee for posting a for sale thread. There's no way in hell I'm paying a forum to sell something. I took that part off here, but honestly I really don't care if I do or don't sell the extra boards

In total I think I have about ~$200 (haven't really kept track) into this project. I did price out what a single board would cost me to build assuming I could get just 1 PCB board made. It came out to $30.61 + several hours of my time. Turn signals could be added no problem, but not to these boards since they already have all the holes made. Adding turn signals would increase the cost by less than $5 since all it would take is a couple additional components. The longest part would be redoing the design on the computer and getting new boards made. I did the same thing for my R6 and had PCB boards made just to try it out (that one had integrated turn signals and it did function correctly.) I never finished the build because I lost interest and still have all of those PCBs just sitting in a box.

I just didn't put them on mine so I could keep the design simple plus I wouldn't use them anyways. Since I didn't have to go through any inspection it wasn't worth the effort to me.

Edited by DuncR6, June 03, 2013 - 11:51 AM.


  • SurfaceToAir

Posted June 03, 2013 - 11:50 AM

#12

For others interested in this, but weary of either the cost or complexity of having the board printed for you, it is possible to make your own. Its more work, but if youre ambitious and tenacious enough, its totally doable. There are many ways, but a common one is the heat transfer lazer-jet or ink-jet paper way. Something like this:

cheers-
Dustin




 
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