RGS headlight conversion

Andy

Senior member
Howdy,
Thought I'd tell everyone how I turned my original Italian headlight into one compliant for my left-hand traffic roads.
I couldn't find any new headlights anywhere but ended up at a Fiat mechanic who did a few spare parts. He had a small but lovingly stored collection of rusty old Fiat 126 left-hand traffic headlights and told me how to remove the glass from one and swap it with mine. The reason for swapping the glass was because his headlight reflector was shot and mine is perfect, with an H4 lamp fitment (the dipping direction is all done by the pattern on the glass, the reflectors are all the same).
It's pretty easy, you start by carefully grinding away the steel reflector to cut off just the part that surrounds the glass. You should now have the glass lense with just a narrow strip of steel around it like a band. Remove that like peeling open a sardine tin. Now you can clean it up with steel wool or scotch brite or whatever and start on the right-hand traffic light. Remove the glass from your original headlight by hitting it with a hammer. Do it carefully so you don't damage the lampshade inside or scratch the reflector. Dig out the silicone from the edges the clean it nicely.
Now install your recovered lense glass by applying a thin bead of silicone in the recess on the reflector, replace the lampshade, and push the glass into place (make sure it's the right way up...) and then fill the recess up to the top and smooth off so it looks like a proper headlight again. Leave it to set thoroughly before refitting.
Done job!
My headlight now complies and works pretty well with a 100watt lamp, possibly not as good as a proper new one but still heaps better!
 
L

Legs

Guest
Recommend you run the headlight through relays Andy, especially a 100W bulb. Improves the brightness as it removes the voltage drop through the ignition and handle bar switches.
 

Andy

Senior member
Yup too right. I read that on this forum so did that first  :D  That's when I realised I really really really had to correct the dip angle...  :-\

I also fitted an extra switch which alters the wiring to run both filaments in series, which provides a perfect 50w daytime driving light  8)
I can add details if anyone is interested, it helps the battery last longer if you use a bigger bulb
 

Dellortoman

Hero member
Andy said:
I also fitted an extra switch which alters the wiring to run both filaments in series, which provides a perfect 50w daytime driving light

Clever idea Andy. But is it bright enough to be useful as a daytime light? Given that the ambient light level is very high during the daytime, you need a brighter light to be seen during the day than at night. My late brother used to run with his headlights on high beam in the daytime. His theory (rightly or wrongly) being that it made him more visible to oncoming traffic, but wouldn't dazzle other drivers because their eyes would be adjusted to daytime light levels.
 

Vince

Hero member
There is a huge thread on that subject on Adventure Rider.
Seems and I have struck them, it's becoming a thing with GS BMW riders and they love their HID or LED driving lights. To me beyond dumb, it's like staring into the sun even in daylight. Make me look away with the expected safety result when passing head on.I only used my low beam if the weather makes it sensible in daylight, I don't mind if others do use their low beam if they want, never hi beam.
 

Andy

Senior member
Dellortoman said:
But is it bright enough to be useful as a daytime light?

Fair point. But yes I think it does. Mostly the high beam part of the output obviously, but in daytime it looks similar to a standard strength dipped headlight. I started using this mod on my old '76 Gold Wing because they have a pretty small battery and charging system, and it certainly helped extend my battery life (although the battery in the RGS looks big enough to run a small town so perhaps not strictly required...  ;)
 

Andy

Senior member
Vince said:
I only used my low beam if the weather makes it sensible in daylight

Now in NZ all bikes post 1980 must have their dipped headlight on during the day, regardless of conditions. I sometimes ride without a light on my 1976 but not often, because "caged riders" now only seem to notice bikes if their lights are on...  (banghead)
 

Vince

Hero member
Yep, there was a huge fight in the 80s about No Lights On in Oz after the choice was taken away by mandatory lights on which was repealed eventually. Not worth going into the arguments for yes and no but the same thing comes up again with Hi Vis gear. To me, its all a waste of thinking time, 30-tonne bright red firetrucks with lights and sirens blazing get run into all the time. Ride like your invisible seems better than wearing a hi vis target, works for me.
 
L

Legs

Guest
Reckon those bright driving lights on BMWs and the like, along with excessively loud exhausts, don't make you more visible or noticeable, they just piss people off and there isn't a greater risk than a pissed off driver IMHO.
 

2622

Hero member
Location
Sydney
Andy have swapped the glasses over myself however you should really be using butyl mastic as apposed to silicone to reseal.

I tend to use these units now as they are made in India as it goes ( who drive on our side of the road ) and seem to work out OK... its a cheap option and at least have a half decent reflector as is new.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/FIAT-127-126-128-CL-YUGO-SEAT-133-CRYSTAL-HEADLIGHTS-HEADLAMP-H4-SCHEINWERFER-/122493306804?hash=item1c852b87b4:g:BS4AAOSwxYxUs~~N

I always ride with the lights on and dont have any battery issues in fact it takes load of the alternator esp if you have all fields direct to the regulator.. otherwise the excess gets shunted to ground. RGS alternators have heaps of grunt so no issues at all but then again maybe I dont use it enough..  :p :p
Andy enjoy your RGS.
 

CLEMTOG

Hero member
I have realised that I am getting more (much more) noticed when on my dark green Honda Pan European, because I have a crash helmet with a couple of hi vis (yellow) flashes on it, I would not say that I resemble a cop,(in UK cop bikes are normally white with hi vis) in any shape or form, my leather trousers are black and my textile riding jacket is grey, but I see the cars dividing on a jammed motorway (f/e) allowing me through, it also happens if I catch up a car in lane 3 on a motorway that is travelling at legal speeds and me above it, and even faster reaction if we are both above it!, maybe even with hard breaking, but the best thing is when in urban areas, you do see cars absolutely jamming their brakes on at junctions so as to NOT PULL OUT into my path (very handy) I have seen this cause a minor rear ending of the car behind in the queue, occasionally though it causes cars to take rapid evasive action, swerving even, in order to let me through, even if they have no space to go into! to test the theory I installed two swatch's of hi vis on each of  the mirror pods on the Pan, and guess what, even more notice, with cars suddenly adjusting to the legal speed limit, stopping at pedestrian crossings, and generally being very pleasant to other road users, I have even passed these types and when they realise that they don't have a cop on their tail, they switch back to "normal" mode and will even re-pass me, shut me out or even shake a fist at me! how bizarre is that?

It just proves that the "sorry I didn't see you mate" is bollox, they can see alright they just don't give a toss unless you have the power of the plod, which I don't.

CLEM
p.s. hi vis on mirrors now removed, bloody hell it looked shit
 

Andy

Senior member
Thanks for that link Brett, I'll check it out. As far as silicone/mastic goes, I used a good neutral-cure silicone that I use at work for all sorts of high weather and UV prone situations so I think it'll be ok. But thanks for the tip  :)
Clemtog: top story mate, I might do the experiment here too, sounds like fun  :p

Right. Put the forum on hold... I'm going riding for the weekend  8)

Braaaap...
 

2622

Hero member
Location
Sydney
Andy
Its more to do with the fact that the silicone doesn't have any flex so you are more prone to the glass cracking,
 

Andy

Senior member
Brett, bit surprised that you think silicone isn't flexible, maybe it perishes in your harsh Strayan sun... ;)
And are you sure about that headlight link? Have you used them? Cos it showed me headlight units made for the European market and are listed for right-hand traffic. Can you have another look and maybe tell me where to get the actual headlights you've used, ta.
I'm glad you have a high opinion of the RGS charging system, so do I. I particularly like the system of opening one alternator pole if the headlight isn't running, that saves boiling the battery. Dunno why you'd bypass it. And when the light is running my little load-shedding switch brings the daytime load back to what the designers were expecting, instead of double with my 100 watter. As you say, it probably isn't required but never mind, it's done now  :D
 

sfcpiet

Administrator
Staff member
Location
NRW, Germany
Andy said:
Brett, bit surprised that you think silicone isn't flexible, maybe it perishes in your harsh Strayan sun... ;)
And are you sure about that headlight link? Have you used them? Cos it showed me headlight units made for the European market and are listed for right-hand traffic. Can you have another look and maybe tell me where to get the actual headlights you've used, ta.
I'm glad you have a high opinion of the RGS charging system, so do I. I particularly like the system of opening one alternator pole if the headlight isn't running, that saves boiling the battery. Dunno why you'd bypass it. And when the light is running my little load-shedding switch brings the daytime load back to what the designers were expecting, instead of double with my 100 watter. As you say, it probably isn't required but never mind, it's done now  :D

Andy,

The bypass through the light switch does have its disadvantages... the switch can get quite hot, to the point that the blob of solder at the wire connection melts and causes a short circuit to the handlebar! :D  This I know from my own experience, stopped dead with an almost flat battery at 4am after filling up in the middle of fuckin' nowhere.  Took me about 20 minutes to find the fault, cut away the drop of solder with a pen knife and push started the (fully-laden!) RGS.  All good afterwards.  Maybe the up-rated lighting was at fault, 100/90W H4 in the stock headlight unit, plus a 100W H7 in the Hella high beam light do draw quite a few amps... although the lights themselves were switched through relays.  Just shows what sort of current goes through that tiny little switch at close to max. load!

I have since swapped out the switchgear for more modern units as I accidently switched off the lights completely several times instead of dimming, not really fun when rockin' along at 180kmh in pitch darkness.  The new switches have the lights on/off on the RH side, far away form the dip switch. :D  They also have no provision for the charge coil bypass, but as daylight headlights are mandatory here, I don't see any long-term issues concerning batteries or regulators.

piet
 

Andy

Senior member
Hi Piet, that's real good fault-finding in the dark mate, I'll tuck that little bit of gen away and hopefully remember it at the right time...
You've got some serious lighting on that bike, four times the original! With that kind of strain I can see why bypassing the switch in your case would be a good idea  :D

I don't think I'll need that much light, we don't have 'roos to worry about, just possums and broken-down ducatis...  ;)
 

Rob

Hero member
Location
Midlands, UK
The bypass circuit carries full load from one alternator coil whatever the lighting load.  Therein lies the problem - the constant maximum current flow will create a fair amount of heat across high resistance connections or switch contacts.  This 34 year old connector was a step away from complete failure!
 

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Andy

Senior member
That ain't a step away from failure... I'd say it's already there, nice work noticing it before all the wires were holding hands...
This thread is showing up some good points!
Increasing the load anywhere can have trickle-down effects on other parts. Just fitting a relay here and there is a good start but ensuring that the wiring is up to the extra current is just as important. Connectors and switches are particularly prone to overheating due to use and corrosion and sometimes need to be replaced or bypassed. And we should never forget to fuse any additions appropriately.
And then we probably should check all this stuff from time to time, I had a breakdown once when my main fuse corroded out of its socket, whoops...
 

Dellortoman

Hero member
Brett said:
Andy
Its more to do with the fact that the silicone doesn't have any flex so you are more prone to the glass cracking,

I agree with Andy. I reckon silicone is the goop of choice when you want a flexible joint. I'm sure all those lovely ladies with silicone breast implants would agree. You never hear of butyl mastic boob jobs  :D
 
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