For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Headlamps: LED vs Halogen

One of the most important pieces of equipment on a bike is the headlamp. Even more critical than being able to see at night, is being seen by others at all times.

The trouble with most headlamps is that they are power hogs. The new headlamp that I installed on my chopper this year is a 55/65 Watt Halogen. The alternator only puts out 180 Watts at full tilt. That means, that I am using a third of my alternator just to run the headlamp. In the past I have run LED's in the tail lamp. In that case, I can take a 15 Watt drain, and bring it down to a fraction of a Watt (about .12W). I had an LED headlamp for some time, but after many surgeries, it was no longer practical to continue messing with. Hence my new Halogen.

After a little searching, I found an LED replacement bulb for the H4 type that was in my new lamp. The only downside is that I no longer have a hi-lo. When I thought about it, it occurred to me how little I use the hi-beam. The new LED bulb consumes about 5 Watts. About 10 percent of the original.

Time for some testing, what have I got to lose besides $15 and a half hour of my time...

This is the 55 Watt Halogen bulb.

Now for the 5 Watt LED.

I think that's plenty bright.
The goal behind using LED lights on my bike is to use the least amount of power possible for lighting, while still being safe. The LED's that I have found fit this goal perfectly. Total power consumption of lights on my bike is now under 6 Watts. That means that the load on the alternator is reduced, and more power is available to the coils.
I call it success. I also it call it well worth my time and money.

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