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Discussion Starter #1
Sigh... if the low beam were any dimmer, it'd actually suck up ambient light. The high beam is better but still not the brightest. HID's are out for now, and I'm not ready to add driving lights just yet. Soooooo... best H3 and H7 bulbs?
 

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One thing you need to do is make a new better ground wire from inside the headlight to the frame, Some will say go to the battery ground.
Inside the headlight bucket ther is a flat locking tab to hold the bulb in, it is aslo the ground for both lights. BMW uses very small wires that do not make for good grounds.

In the past few months I was looking for new bulbs and found a new sylvaina H7 that is very bright for high but I only found the old silverstar for the H3.

Then just after I put them in I saw a post that had HID's that cost less than the Sylvaina bulbs.
So I would go surfing for that post on the low beam.
I have read that when using HID for Highbeam it is not to bight when you just flash it off / on.

I got a great set on driving lights for $14 that use H3 bulbs and they fit under the fairing
 

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I ran into problems with the ground wire on my '03 as well. The dealer re-attached the wire initially and that worked fine until it burned up causing them to use a heavier wire. And I feel your pain on the lack of light coming out of the front of this bike. I had PIAA's installed under the cowling and they worked great. All of the HID kits seemed to large for the bike, but the newer generation kits seem to be smaller and less expensive.

Maybe you could attach a light to your helmet like the bicyclist do? :confused:

Good luck in your quest, I eventually sold the '03 for the '10. The '10 is a great bike, but I still miss my '03.
 

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RBEmerson said:
Sigh... if the low beam were any dimmer, it'd actually suck up ambient light. The high beam is better but still not the brightest. HID's are out for now, and I'm not ready to add driving lights just yet. Soooooo... best H3 and H7 bulbs?
Re-think HIDs, especially in your lo-beam! You can get them for $25.00 and up. This route is cheaper, cooler and more energy conserving than hi-powered halogen lights.
https://www.ddmtuning.com/category.php?CA=61
 

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For less than $100.00 I installed 2 HID kits on my bike, with relays, thus bypassing all that substandard BMW wiring. Just remember that most "better" bulbs, that is if they are any better, have a shorter life than the original and eventually will dim too as they wear out.And the ones claiming to be Xenon bulbs..... :rotf:

And....that is a $500.00 headlight you may want to protect it. :bmw:

You live in PA.....lots of wood rats there, same as here. :eek: Be careful! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
brucecha said:
Re-think HIDs, especially in your lo-beam! You can get them for $25.00 and up. This route is cheaper, cooler and more energy conserving than hi-powered halogen lights.
https://www.ddmtuning.com/category.php?CA=61
This is for real? I thought HID systems were well into three figures, not "walking around money". Also, it looks as though DDM doesn't support the H7???

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Good point about protecting the headlight. A headlight guard and Scotchlite panels for the backs of the bags get ordered ASAP.

We currently have a good-sized buck in the area. We haven't seen his harem recently but no doubt they're around, all waiting to jump out in front of me at dusk. Gngh...
 

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1. Check and fix the grounds anyway.
2. Connect a digital voltmeter as close to lit the oem bulb with the motor running. Theoretically you should see around 14 volts. With a bad ground and skimpy wiring I bet you see only 12 volts or less. That's why the oem lamp lasts a long time and is dim! There isn't a lot wrong with the OEM reflector unit.
3. Search the forum and find out how others have done their HID conversions.
4. Look at what Pirate sells:

http://pirateslair.net/HID.htm

5. Take note of what he says about a high beam conversion. It's not straightforward plug and play and only adds a long throw narrow pencil type beam.

6. If you choose to replacing the oem with another tungsten headlamp bulb, if that's what you want to do, you'll realise that it isn't so easy as it seems and short lamp life will be a future pain in the butt.

Fit a popular tried and installed reliable HID kit and you should never need to change the bulb whilst you own the bike.



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One other item. Check to see if the headlamp is aimed properly. Every lamp I've seen is aimed low.

Sitting on the bike, in front of the forks and to the right of the headlamp cover is a plastic, white lever. Pushing it up or down from the center position lowers the lamp. Should be in the center (sticking straight back) position. At the pivot point, there's a plastic white hex head that is the fine adjustment. Adjust so the lamp lights up the trunk(boot) of the car in front of you, but doesn't light up the interior. Close enough for gov't work ...



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RBEmerson said:
This is for real? I thought HID systems were well into three figures, not "walking around money". Also, it looks as though DDM doesn't support the H7???

- - -

Good point about protecting the headlight. A headlight guard and Scotchlite panels for the backs of the bags get ordered ASAP.

We currently have a good-sized buck in the area. We haven't seen his harem recently but no doubt they're around, all waiting to jump out in front of me at dusk. Gngh...
If you just do the low beam its just as quick to add HID then it is to just replace the OEM bulb...and just about as cheap...DDM is a true bargain...you will be amazed of the out put....I went with 55w 6000...WOW!!..just on the edge of blueish white..Adding the high beam is more work than just plug and play like the low beam...you have to cut into the socket adapter bla bla bla....but just the low is 10 times better than the stock High beam..To make it easier to change bulbs or to add HID...take the head light module right out of the bike..you'll save your sanity and cut fingers plus to find a spot to stick your igniter you'll have to remove the plastic anyway...
 

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BAK04GT said:
If you just do the low beam its just as quick to add HID then it is to just replace the OEM bulb...and just about as cheap...DDM is a true bargain...you will be amazed of the out put....I went with 55w 6000...WOW!!..just on the edge of blueish white..Adding the high beam is more work than just plug and play like the low beam...you have to cut into the socket adapter bla bla bla....but just the low is 10 times better than the stock High beam..To make it easier to change bulbs or to add HID...take the head light module right out of the bike..you'll save your sanity and cut fingers plus to find a spot to stick your igniter you'll have to remove the plastic anyway...
What he said ... both my high and low are 5000 kelvin and scalding white light. The high beam is a bit of a challenge, but since you hve the bucket out anyway ....

Every since I did this all other headlights look dim, dull and yellow to me. My PIAA 1100s look yellow next to my HIDs And like Razel said, aim them right as well.

I run my lights and high beam all the time (well excpet at night when I am not supposed to run the high beam) and I get told l the time I am seen from a long way away.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Many thanks for the leads on Pirates Lair and DDM Tuning. Pirates also has a link to an illustrated how-to which helps me organize my thinking on this project.

BTW, the Cee Bailey headlight cover (used one on my Connie) is on order.

"Weak" wiring is a perennial problem with bike headlights. The lamps draw a bunch of amps and the wires are just big enough for maybe a single LED. Sigh... Murph's Kits carries a replacement headlight harness for the Connie for just that reason. Makes ya wonder why there aren't a few around for Beemers.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Argh! I'm really confused (again). If I get it right, Pirates Lair wants $60 for a single HID H3 or H7 along with shipping? DDM tuning wants $25 for either and H3 or an H7 plus $17 for USPS Priority, which, according to my steam-driven abacus, comes out to $42. So why go with Pirates Lair for this?

The low beam light is, at least around here, about the only light that ever gets used, so why change the high beam? Further, it's my understanding that the beam pattern on the high beam, with an HID lamp, is pretty much a pencil beam (making it a little harder to spot deer, etc. on the side of the road), making the conversion to HID somewhat questionable (particularly as these lights are not "instant on").

I grok HID's or Xenon lamps in general. Our X3 has them and they are, indeed, the way to go. As to "blue is better"... eh, I won't kill for color so much as lumens.

Comments? Input?
 

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Stay in the lower Ks, the more Ks the more reflection you will get in fog and rain.
 

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RBEmerson said:
The low beam light is, at least around here, about the only light that ever gets used, so why change the high beam? Further, it's my understanding that the beam pattern on the high beam, with an HID lamp, is pretty much a pencil beam (making it a little harder to spot deer, etc. on the side of the road), making the conversion to HID somewhat questionable (particularly as these lights are not "instant on").
Dipping the hi-beam is very much a regional thing. Out here in the rural west, where 100mi. between towns is common. A HID hi-beam works very well. Yet I will be the first to admit, when I'm on the interstate, with increased traffic, I use the hi-beam sparingly.
The HID start-up or strike time should be considered when installing HIDs in a hi-beam.

Also, a beam pattern is made by the shape of the reflector/lens or projector, not the lamp. The working width of a headlight will largely be the same with a HID or a halogen lamp, except with a LOT more clarity and reflection with the HID.
The distance seen, signage distinguished, reflectors seen will be much greater with HIDs.
 

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H96669 said:
Stay in the lower Ks, the more Ks the more reflection you will get in fog and rain.
These images from DDMs site may help as well. I opted for 5000 (noon day sun is about 4750)



 

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HID color has its preferences. I'm mostly a daytime rider with low beam always on. I went for 6400K and get such good daytime visibility that cars in front see me in their rear view and slow down. That's a bit of a pain, but at least I know I'm visible.

If you are in a State where HID conversion may be 'questionable' I'd go for around 4K. But slight blue in daylight does get attention.

Yes it's questionable whether HID main is worth the effort. But if you leave in the tungsten main, it's only good as a standby or for using up juice as it is so comparitively dim. I also thought if you HID a low then all the other up front lights should at least look the same color on the bike.



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Discussion Starter #20
Sigh... I am so not liking this. I put in an order for a 5000K H3 lamp set and a 5000K H7 lamp set from DDMTuning. I get an email saying some order number I never saw is on its way to me with only an H3 in it. I sent a reply back saying, in effect, "what's with the email about order 123, my order number is 456, and for an H3 and an H7, not just an H3". A robo-reply comes back "you must call us for any questions about your order". So I called. "456 is your PO number, 123 is our order number for you PO. The H7's are on back order for 3-4 weeks." End of discussion. Nothing in the mailing, nothing in the reply, and a "so why are you bothering me with this" attitude on the phone. :wtf:

DDMTuning... you're definitely harshing my mellow. :(
 
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