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35w Halogen too much?

vintagetour

Website User
Non-VOC Member
I have a 50 w Miller Dynamo and points ignition. I recently replaced my standard 45w bulb with a 35/35w halogen headlight unit. Will a halogen bulb overload my Dynamo?
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Halogen Watts are no different to Tungsten Watts , it's the total wattage that is relevant. 35 Watt dip or high , + 5 Watt tail + 21 Watt brake light = 61 Watts . Then there is occasional horn use , but of no practical consequence . As long as you don't sit with the brake light on for long periods when the other lights are on it will be fine.
 

indianken

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Halogen Watts are no different to Tungsten Watts , it's the total wattage that is relevant. 35 Watt dip or high , + 5 Watt tail + 21 Watt brake light = 61 Watts . Then there is occasional horn use , but of no practical consequence . As long as you don't sit with the brake light on for long periods when the other lights are on it will be fine.

I am a little confused here. 61 Watts plus the Watts necessary for a points ignition to function, is more than the stated output of the 50 watt dynamo.

Depending on the battery reserve, riding too long at night with the lights on seem to look like a long walk home?

What am I missing here?

Ken Smith
(electrically challenged)
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Indeed you are missing nothing. The British motorcycle electrical system of that period does sail that close to the wind and is why there is such paranoia about riding a standard , originally equipped Vincent at slow speed at night ! With the system in good condition the headlight and tail light load are no problem , the brake light is only used intermittently so will not normally cause a problem. Points ignition takes about 10 watts or so AVERAGE , and I think the coil ignition machines had a 60 watt Dynamo to cope with this extra load. These days of course no self respecting vehicle electrical designer would even contemplate installing a system running close to 100% capacity at night !!
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
I have never known the heat from a halogen lamp to cause a problem , particularly with real metal reflectors and real glass lenses. One way to ensure that the most lumens possible are extracted from the light is to ensure good earthing from the headlamp unit to the frame. Don't rely on the metal to metal contact through the headstock , install an actual earth wire.
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
When people fit our 360 watt alternator kit to twins I recommend that they fit a 130/90 quartz halogen bulb. One has to ensure that the dip switch and wiring are up to it but there have never been any problems with either the reflectors, glass headlight covers etc. 35 watts is not going to cause trouble but note Tnecniv's comments about the earth. I would always suggest a decent new wire from the battery negative to the headlamp shell. :)
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I had a similar hi-watt bulb in my '77 BMW and the shell got hot enough that I went back to the usual wattage. Your results may vary.
 

peterg

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Howdy Sir,

Couple of things. Whose point ignition/coil sizes, etc? Small m/c oriented ignitions are very forgiving, stock Indian ignitions will function down to 5.5V albeit on low compression motors which don't squelch the spark. How are you regulating that Miller, mechanically or electronically? 2 charge mechanical reg's can draw over 2amps as they age and the points begin to crust over which in turn contributes to more heat in the genie and less output. Disregarding the vagaries of an ammeter, with a healthy battery (8-10 amps), any fluctuation in brightness of your headlight corresponding to a given rpm change is an indication your running parasitic or at threshold.

Effective grounding already mentioned and automatically addressed if you have Coventry type harness which dedicates a headlight ground wire to the aft fixing point on the UFM which in turn takes the battery ground.

A healthy 6V Miller converted to an electronic regulator like a PODtronic with an LED tailight will easily run a 35W halogen in urban/city settings, though I'll readily admit up front to less burden on my setup by virtue of a BTH. It zeroes this load at only 35mph very overgeared on a 46 tooth and 19inch driven wheel.
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Interesting that Bruce Metcalf's headlamp got hot. Mine is a chromed 7" unit (yes I know!!) and it does not get hot when riding at night which is the only time I use a headlight. Perhaps those who live where it is obligatory or who choose to ride in daylight with their headlamp on and who live where the ambient temperature is in the 20s C not the 10s or less could let us have their experience. Perhaps we need to be aware that we are global users and conditions vary. Feedback chaps?:)
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Another option and one I have seen discussed on this forum is to go HID headlight. These give more light for less power than a 35 watt Halogen. A member on here found a really low price source for a conversion kit which worked really well.
 

John Appleton

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Another option and one I have seen discussed on this forum is to go HID headlight. These give more light for less power than a 35 watt Halogen.
They do not use less power than a 35 watt halogen! 35 watts is 35 watts in any money, but they do give more light than a 130 watt halogen for the same power consumption as a 35 watt anything !

John
 

Tnecniv Edipar

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Also , I forgot that they are only available for 12 volt systems. They definitely use less power than filament lamps though. The strike current is momentarily high but the running current is quite low. I'll measure the current on the ones fitted to my car when I get a chance.
 

vintagetour

Website User
Non-VOC Member
Ignition is a Dolphin twin contact. Regulator is mechanical (Triumph I think) and the headlight is aftermarket 7" with H-4 bulb. I built a new wiring harness using heavier wire for 6 volt amp requirements grounded to the UFM bolt and grounding the headlight via terminal strips. All connections are soldered. I would like to run daytime low beam for visibility and high beam for an occasional run across town. I have inspected the dynamo, added new brushes and the voltage regulator is working properly.
Thanks for all the good feedback so far.
Tom
 

johncrispin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Lights & overload etc

If it is of any use, I have found to get the best out of my 35/35w Halogen, by employing the pattern CB250 reflector available from M&P, which fits neatly into the std 6/1/2" Miller lamp. You have to buy the whole assembly (about £35) which gives you a whole plastic headlamp shell plus a 50/50w bulb.
nb!! don't use it! yes you get a lovely bright light but only for a short time !!! It will donald duck the whole system ( notice no swearing there)
I know it seems alot to get just the reflector, but look at the cost of resilvering should you be able to find someone to do it well enough?
I cannot afford the excellent alternatives as offered by timetraveller and the Alton etc, much as I would like them, so the fitting of an Led tailight is also very helpful, ( I don't know how many watts, but it is negligible compared to a tungsten filament, avec the stop light ). I can also run indicators which are 21w each and when the pennies are available, I will change them Led's also. It has held up nicely for the past five years with two dry cell 6v 5ah batteries in series stuffed into the std battery case.
OK I do not go dashing about too much at night but it is an adequate light for up to about 60mph on ordinary roads and balances the full load at about 45mph. Hope this is helpful, J
 

vintagetour

Website User
Non-VOC Member
I too bought the headlight unit new with a 50w bulb but was not comfortable with using it. I found a 35w/35w bulb used for a BMW R-27 upgrade. I believe I will stay with 6volt but try to replace the mechanical regulator with a Podtronics and try the LED stoplight. I have used the Podtronics regulator on my 74 Ducati but the LED stoplight was not a visable during the daytime as the filament bulb. Worth a try though. Thanks for the advice.
Tom
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
If you can live with a full 7" headlight shell rather than the original sized approx. 6.5" then there is another alternative. In the UK there are several companies which sell pairs of reflectors complete with bulbs, glass, rubber gaiters to seal the back of the bulb housing etc. These are intended for people who have older cars to allow them to painlessly replace their incandescent set up with quarts halogen. Price over here is typically £30 so either you have a spare or you get together with a chum and do two conversions at once. Headlight shells made of steel are available at just about every auto jumble and your only problem will be to find one which does not have too many holes in it already to take switches, warning lights etc. Prices for shells tend to be in the £20 - 30 range. One other alternative which I have seen on a couple of Vins is to get the headlight for a Velocette. This is very similar to the Vin item, takes a 7" reflector and has enough space in it for spare cables, flasher units etc. Good luck :)
 

vintagetour

Website User
Non-VOC Member
The headlight shell is Japanese and is fitted with an aftermarket reflector to house an H-4 type bulb. I guess before everyone has a heart attack about all the different brands of accessories I have on this bike I should tell you it has been a cafe special since 1965! I don't want you to think I ruined a perfectly good Vincent. I do appreciate all the help though.
Tom
 

peterg

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
LED's and a possible elec reg shortcoming....

Howdy Tom,

I think you'll be delighted with the Vin LED tail light conversion as sold through the VOCS. It is actually made here in the U.S. by Bulbs That Last Forever for which VOCS has exclusive distribution rights so thus not listed at their site. But, here's an example of their offering for the /2 which gives you some idea of the excellent craftsmanship on the Vin unit which is a drop-in. One need only solder the two very thin leads to each existing socket tabs.

To give you some idea of its illumination characteristics, the VOCS incorrectly sent me a 12V for my 6V system, and not having yet discovered its local origins - which I then subsequently had it modified to 6V - and in a time crunch pre-Daytona Bike Week, fitted it anyway. Though not as intensely bright as the incandescent it replaced, a broader source of light resulted in the same "visibility" as far as I was concered. Important as I live/ride in a major city. Once corrected to 6V, it was no contest. As an indication of the amperage drop, the supply wires are very thin.

PODtronic. Early regulators/voltage regulation as typified by the much maligned Miller cartridge, were the choke point to efficient output on generators that were in fact very robust. Later retro-fits of two-charge and similar mech. regs. of unknown origin did not necessarily improve output/efficiency, just reliability. But, at the end of the day, when going for that last amp or two derived with minimal heat - especially important if one is feeding a battery ignition system - there is no substitute for a good modern electronic regulator.

But, I'll mention possibly the only shortcoming of any modern electronic regulator in context with a generator based charging system. It assumes a positive system charge balance at lower rpm, thus more duty cycle during a typical operating cycle. Thus, its tendency to regulate charge just over load (ie, you won't see huge positive swings on your ammeter) means your not capturing maximum charge bang for your buck and this can pose a potential problem if you ride - lights on - in an urban setting.

Older systems - especially cutout equiped ones - operated on the feast or famine principle because they recognized generator ouput was very rpm dependent and they had to capture as much as they could when it went positive and the capacitor (battery) they're feeding this charge into was generally large (3 x max amp charge output) and lead acid which is an extremely forgiving recipient of overcharging situations compared SLA's such as AGM's.

That said, I would not trade the clicking pair of points and amperage draw of a mech reg for this nearly bullet proof tiny unit that fits in a stock reg housing. I currently have 6 POD's in service on some of my machines.
 

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