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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The like on the GL1000 sucks - its old, dim, and probably needs better wiring. The housing is designed for a typical H6024 round 7" light (like on a jeep) and I see that there's some REALLY nice alternatives available. Wanted to get people's opinions / contributions.

IMO, the current top of the heap is the JW Speaker 8700 Evolution. Only downside is it costs $400. If I had money to burn, I'd be mounting that up. Low current draw (2.5 amp), huge lumens (1350), very even spread. Basically the gold standard.


Similarly good but expensive (maybe worth the money) is Truck Light's 27270C model 7" LED. Its used by the miliatary on HMMV's. Cost is about $200. Current draw is a bit higher then the JB speaker (3.6 amp) and light is less even and dimmer outside the hot spot.


Here's what I ended up buying for now. Standard halogen bulb, was drawn in by low price and the built-in turn signals. Market heavily towards Harley owners. $52 With shipping on Ebay.
 

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moron with a hammer
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119 Posts
If you haven't run relays, you should. The headlight wiring on those old GLs sucks. If the switches aren't perfect, you could be losing as much as a couple of volts to corrosion on the contacts, which would make your new light seem almost as dim and terrible as the old one.

I tried a handful of 7" lamps when I had bikes that took them, and I was always happiest with Cibiés. They put the light on the road, and do it pretty evenly. The one I bought new was about ninety bucks. The other two I found on older Japanese bikes and paid next to nothing for. A buddy of mine randomly got one with a headlight bucket he bought on fleabay. As far as halogen goes, they're as good as it gets.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I'll need a relay whatever I run- like you said, all the switches are crap with exposed brass contacts and such. Even after hitting all the contacts and plugs with dilectric grease, the horn won't work (wiring is fine, horn is fine, voltage is just to low), and the light is pathetically dim (also low voltage).

Since I'll be running a relay, is it safe to set the wiring up so that both the high and low filament get power at the same time? That would be to much power for the stock lighting circuit (8+ amps) but is obviously no problem with a relay. Can the bulbs take the added heat?

Already ordered a relay set for the horn... and a much louder horn. Since I don't have turn signals, the signal brackets will be supporting the horn, sitting proud and loud right under the headlight.
 

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moron with a hammer
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119 Posts
As to your switch woes, wipe off the dielectric grease (it's an insulator, after all), clean the contacts again, get a scouring pad on any surfaces you can that might be corroded, and give them a try. Even when they work well, they still suck, but at least they might work better. Older switches often don't have enough pressure between the contacts to completely displace the dielectric grease, which then prevents them from making a solid circuit. You'll want a light coating to help stave off corrosion and cut down on arcing, but that's it.

You can run both filaments at once as long as the bulb, reflector, and lens are up to it. They do get hot. My guess is that the lens and maybe even the reflector you're using are made of plastic. With a standard H4, you can try it, but watch for any signs of melting or scorching. I completely wasted an old plastic Italian lens doing that (which then- of course- proved to be impossible to find) with a piddling 55/50W balloon bulb. For comparison, I ran 100/85W Osrams both-on in 7" Hella reflectors on a cage for thousands of miles with no problems, aside from a second degree burn from bumping into one while fiddling under the hood.

I'd also suggest keeping everything that you wouldn't put in an oven outside of the headlight bucket and carrying a spare bulb. Ballparking it, good bulbs probably last a third or half as long as they would run normally (which to me seems fine), but when they fail, both filaments usually go at the same time.

Edited to add: You do need good bulbs. No-names blow out in no time. Before I melted the lens on the balloon bulb lamp, I was using cheap bulbs which would go at about 90 minutes of continuous use. They'd last for months if I didn't run the light for more than about an hour, but by 90 minutes, they'd get hot enough to melt the solder that sealed the back of the bulb, let air in, and die. I've also had H4s that lasted a day. The good ones are worth the money.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LOL - I thought it was a special conductive grease. That might explain my horn woes, though I'll still want a relay there given the horn I'm running.

Yeah, the housing I bought is 100% plastic. I won't mess with trying to run both elements in that thing, given what you said. Totally forgot about that as the weak link.
 

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moron with a hammer
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119 Posts
Eh. I'd probably try it anyway. Good plastic can take a lot of heat. Plan your wiring so that it can be run either way, and go easy on it until you know whether it can handle it. (Also, read the manual. If it lists a maximum wattage, stick to that.)

I should also have mentioned that the lens I melted was intended for a 35W bulb, and I was putting three times that behind it.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,516 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Light unit came in today. Quite happy with it. Does seem plastic, but good quality (thick, heavy, very hard). High is bright enough not to need help from the low filament, which isn't really bright enough to add much. LED's are brighter than the picture would indicate, will make great turn indicators.
 

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moron with a hammer
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119 Posts
Excellent. Glad to hear.

In my stodginess, I forget that plastic is much easier to shape than metal or glass, so it's much easier to design a reflector that puts light where you want it, rather than relying on 100+ watts of bulb output to get enough on the ground.

Might have to consider that since I'm (yet again) about to stuff an H4 into a scooter headlight in hope that it might miraculously throw enough light for highway speed.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,516 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Indeed, just the fact that it uses a faceted reflector and clear front (not a Fresnel lens) makes it a big step up from a traditional glass unit that doesn't have a removable bulb (which was what I had).
 

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moron with a hammer
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119 Posts
Sealed beams are the WORST. Especially the motorcycle type, which are generally a separate bulb soldered into a standard reflector. I don't know who at the DOT decided to make them mandatory for 50 years, but I can only assume that they're spending eternity basking in the dim glow of their handiwork.
 
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