Installing LED headlights - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2018, 1:04 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 4
Installing LED headlights

I have a 2004 K1200GT. Has anyone tried installing LED headlight bulbs in this model? I can find nothing on the internet.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2018, 10:58 pm
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Originally Posted by rickhead View Post
I have a 2004 K1200GT. Has anyone tried installing LED headlight bulbs in this model? I can find nothing on the internet.
I did a quick search and found:

DIsclaimer: I've never bought from them, I just provided you with a link to LED bulbs like you requested.

I have not installed LEDs on a 2004 K1200GT. I have however, installed HIDs on my 2007 K1200R Sport. I found them on Pirates Lair: NSSC HID Headlight Conversion Kits from Pirates' Lair at 828.628.7093 EST For your model Bike they also offer all these things: Pirates' Lair: Aftermarket, Custom, and Performance MC Accessories for the BMW K1200RS/GT

What's the difference between LED and HID? Power values... Light Emitting Diodes consume less power than High Intensity Discharges buuuut, tend to produce more heat, weird right? LEDs end up needing a heat sink and sometimes even a fan (Which makes overall power consumption rates questionable). Think of the HID as an incandescent light on steroids with a wireless filament. The arc of the spark is what creates the illumination as it traverses the hermetically sealed gap filled with Xenon (almost always) or other types of Noble or Halogen Gases (very rarely). While HIDs require a ballast to produce a high rate and constant flow of power, the most draw is produced at the initial ignition of the bulb, after it "warms up" power draw is reduced and constant brightness achieved.

Be advised, in case you were unaware, your model Motorcycle uses two types of different bulbs: H7 for low beams and H3 for High Beams. Searching for that syle LED bulb might yield better results.

Also, beware with LED and CAN Bus incompatibility issues. I do not know if your year/model bike has a CAN Bus system, mine does. Normal bulbs draw a bit more power, sending back particular values to the CAN Bus system to let it know that the bike is operating properly. When replacing with LEDs the values decrease due consumption reduction and this will signal false errors.

I wish you the best, Good luck. That website I first linked calls a work around to the LED Issue a "Canceller & anti-flicker"

Last edited by RattleBattle; Jan 7th, 2018 at 11:00 pm. Reason: Spellchecking! xD
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 2018, 2:50 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 4
Thank you for the reply and the link. I have the LED bulbs but installing them is a bit tricky. The H7 fits nicely with some modification to the spring clip retaining the bulb in the mount. The issue is with the H3. The OEM halogen is a totally different set up from LED H3. First the retaining clip is a copper plate that both grounds and retains the halogen in the headlight mount. The LED is not configured to accept this copper piece. Talked to the LED tech and they had never installed an LED in my model bike. They had no ideas except to suggest I put the question to a BMW forum so here I am. I am beginning to come to the conclusion that the H3 LED will not work in my housing. The H7 LED works just fine with my bike.
The only remaining question is what is the effect of running a low beam H7 LED and a high beam H3 halogen as both bulbs are on when on high beam. The low beam LED puts out great light but what happens at high beam when both the LED and halogen bulbs are on? Should I expect some improved high beam light, no improvement or do the two different light beams (one white LED and one yellow halogen) coming together reduce the high beam effectiveness. Putting the question out there before I put my bike back together to test. Any thoughts?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2018, 12:47 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 4
To complete this thread regarding upgrading a 2004 K1200GT headlight from halogen to LED: the low beam H7 LED fits and works just fine basically plug and play; the high beam H3 LED does not work in the headlight for the following reasons: the bulb is too short to extend down into the housing by 1/2" and the halogen retaining strap (which is also the Halogen ground strap) will not retain the LED as the fan housing on the LED is too big making it impossible to use the OEM retaining strap.

I decided to change out my low beam halogen with a LED and keep the high beam halogen. Takes a little getting used to the white light from the LED underneath the yellow light of the halogen on high beam. Works just fine and I love the light emitted from the low beam LED.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2018, 7:43 am
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 23
I had the same issue with the H3 on my '00 K12RS. The H7 LED was EZPZ, just as you said. Finally managed to find an H3 LED with decent lumens without a fan, only has the braided copper "wick" type heatsinks. The H3 is an older and obsolete design.

I managed to get this unit installed and connected using the OEM steel mounting ring from the halogen bulb and some creative retainer clips. Then I had to find a new GROUND connection for the LED pigtail. After all that, the pigtail "box" would not fit under the compartment cover - not enough room. I modified the cover edge seal to let the pigtail out and back into the compartment with the box hanging outside. The H3 unit is only held in place by the braided heatsink loops pushing on the rear cover, BUT IT WORKS!! And, it is SOOOO much brighter.

Going to give it a road test today to see if everything remains in place.
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