Lighting problem

8 replies to this topic
  • mcarp

Posted September 29, 2000 - 06:21 PM


A few weeks back I thought it would be smart to wire both high and low beams together for those occasional night trail riding journeys . I don't dual sport, so I thought why not (2000 WR with the higher output stator) Not so smart now as both headlight and tailight are out for the count!

Here's what happened. I cut the headlight wires and wired a 3 prong adapter from Napa into the existing system. I wired the low and high together while maintaining the ground.
I did this on my last bike with 5,000 miles of success.

Problem is both my tail and headlight don't work at all anymore! I KNOW I wired it correctly---what gives? I try to replace both bulbs-no luck. I put the stock one back on after futile attemps and many beers trying to figure this out-still no lighting!

What the heck did I do? Is there a fuse/resister I may have blown? I even tried the old adapter I knew worked on my last bike that I removed before the sale.

I have not tested it with a meter, but I may go and buy one and give 'er a try.

Anything obvious I may be missing? I am a complete loser for not being able to figure this out? (don't answer that one)

BTW, night riding is WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!
Been doing it for a few years, if you've never done it- TRY IT!

  • techman

Posted October 02, 2000 - 02:17 PM


You probably either blew up the regulator or the stator coil from overheating from the overloading. Your or someone's manual should have the resistance and continuity etc checks you need to do to find what failed. You'll just need a multimeter to do the measurements.

I quite enjoy the rush of night riding too.

  • mcarp

Posted October 02, 2000 - 04:40 PM


I found the problem so I thought I would post the solution in case this happens to someone else. The yellow wire that is very near the spark plug wire failed. This is a lead for both the head and tail light. A little disconcerting considering I put dielectric grease on the coupling and covered it in heat shrink tubing when the bike was brand new. It was heavily corroded and broken-my guess is it wasn't completely sealed and water just sat there after the first wash and corroded away. This is a '00 WR with only 500 miles on it and I wash it after every ride with a garden hose, so watch out!

I just hope there isn't another one that's waiting to fail, like the ignition!

Oh well, life's a b*&ch.

Thanks the reply techman. I think I will grab a multimeter in case I have further problems.

Now I'm all set for those night ventures :)

I don't think the stator would be overloaded, though. The stock '00 stator pumps out 120 watts, 5 short of the demands I was trying toplace on it. I also removed the stator cover and everything looked clean and fresh as can be.

  • techman

Posted October 09, 2000 - 01:09 PM


Glad to hear it worked out for you. I didn't know those stators put out that much power. Usually trail machines put out 40 or 50 watts.

Do you have problems with shadows from your front fender, and do you get the loss of lighting effect when you wheelie?

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  • James_Dean

Posted October 09, 2000 - 02:33 PM


The stator wattage rated may be at a fairly high RPM. I'm curious if you are actually getting better light or if the increased load on the coils is heating the coils and netting you less REAL lighting power. If you measure the voltage at the lights with a single light and then double lights the voltage will most likely drop. Power is proportional to volts squared and this becomes very important when trying to get good light at a lower RPM. Something to think about. :)


  • mcarp

Posted October 09, 2000 - 03:02 PM



With both the high and low beam on at the same time, the lights definitely get dimmer at low RPM's just like the stock light does.

However they are quite bright and do light up the night better IMHO. I would have to say each is not as bright as if only one was on (that's from memory from stock, I didn't wire separate switches. So the sum of 60W high and 55 low is probably not equaling 115-I agree there is less "real light" in this respect. Maybe the wires are too thin as well? Note I removed my tailight bulb.

But the dual pattern it creates allows you to see both close and intermediate distances relatively well--you're right as long as RPM's are kept up to say around 3,500-4,000 rpm's (a guess). But stock was worthless at lower than these speeds, so I don't feel like I have lost anything by doing this.

Yes, when wheeling, the trail gets dark real fast, but usually I'm in negotiating a trail mode not attack mode when the darkness creeps in. You tend to ride a little safer and slower (maybe it's the beers -JK) And there are definately shadows, but they are off the side.

I my last Dual sport had a 6 amp battery to backup the 180W stator, which was a kick-butt setup. I was running 100W high and 55W Low concurrently and could still make the turn signal flash with the brake light on! It would take some of the battery juice, but I charged it regularly and was kickstart so I didn't care.

So if no one has night ridden before, just camp out at favorite riding spot sometime and give it a try. Then you can ride again the next morning too! Best bet is to not stray off too far or bring a GPS as it's easy to get lost :)

  • techman

Posted October 10, 2000 - 03:46 PM


When I get the time and ambition, I am going to mount a couple of either 35W or 50W small lights near my bark busters, aimed a bit down to take out the fender shadow and allow wheelie-ing for whoops etc.

To check if you have wire loss, grab two DVM's and simultaneously measure voltage at the regulator or rectifier and then at the bulb contacts. I'll bet your bad connection corroded too quickly because it was heating with the extra 4 or 5 amp loading. Goldwings actually also had a problem with poor stator connectors heating up. A first fix is splice in a parallel connector to run 1/2 current through each. A second fix is to run a bigger wire and the parallel connector. Don't forget to check the ground return side of the circuit! It may also be suffering the same problems. You could take one DVM and check for existence of voltage between the ground side of the bulb and the battery/regulator ground (should be zero volts).

  • bonez34

Posted October 10, 2000 - 08:29 PM


i too am thinking of mounting lights near my handguards and i think i have found the solution. a co. called trailhead lights makes "head"lights for mountain bikers. they mount to your helmet, however they look like they could be easily modified! BONUS- they sell the shells seperate so you can put whatever bulbs in you want without having to buy the whole geddup--light, battery, helmet bracket, etc. they use the bulbs like the acerbis dhh headlight. check it

  • bonez34

Posted October 10, 2000 - 08:39 PM


oh yeah more bonus goodies! they come in carbon fiber for a trick look and they have a switch on the back of each one for independent operation!! flip through the web site you can find all kinds of bulbs with different wattages- beam patterns like flood and spot and they can be picked up at most hardware stores!! plus the shells are like $25 bucks a piece.


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