Headlight Burned Out - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2019, 6:51 pm Thread Starter
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Headlight Burned Out

1997 900SS CR.

Well, not the headlight itself, but the plug behind the headlight that plugs onto the back of the bulb. Melted.

Don't know why. Need to figure out why it melted. The 15A fuse was not blown. Blinkers, taillights, brake lights, all work.

On the parts fiche, it indicates this is part of a larger wiring harness, which is no longer available. Would not want to replace the entire harness anyway just to repair the part that plugs into the back of the headlight.

I assume that somewhere I can find a standard plug for the back of the bulb and attach the wires from the harness to the plug. But if I don't know what caused this, it will probably happen again after my repair.

I could use some wisdom here. Such as where to find the plug. Why did this happen.

Best to all,

Bob Ross

Bob Ross
Portland, Or.
1997 900ss CR
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2019, 7:03 pm
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If the problem occurred at the headlight socket, it is most likely due to corrosion, a loose connection, or something else in that area that increased the resistance locally and led to increased heat and the failure. You should have seen a lower than expected output from the light. I am not certain, but it is likely that the socket is a standard H4 socket that can be purchased from an auto parts store and spliced in. It would be best to solder the wires and insulate with heat shrink material. If you are not well versed in soldering, perhaps a friend can help.

Also check the other related connections and system grounds to make sure there aren't problems elsewhere as well. You could look into replacing with a relay harness from someone like Eastern Beaver which wires the light directly to the battery. This improves the conductivity and light performance, though you will still have to replace the H4 socket to use with the relay harness.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2019, 7:04 pm
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Is the headlight bulb oem same wattage as stock or has it been replaced with a higher wattage bulb? --as too the wiring check any and all connections on the harness especially ALL of the grounds, I use in my shop a product for all electrical connections -it is an electrical contact grease that conducts electricity -called No-OX-ID A Special this stuff works great for every single electrical connection--unlike dialectic grease which does not conduct electricity --this stuff does which makes all of your connections sound. a dirty/ corroded ground could cause this issue easy---I take every single electrical connection lose and use this grease on them--then I never touch them again. --Now you could also have an over voltage issue going on--unplug the headlight connector-start the bike and at the battery check the voltage at say 3000 RPM--you should get no more then 13.4-13.9 V at the battery. This is just a starting point

1991 Ducati 900ss, 1991 Ducati 907ie. 1978 Yamaha SR500, 1979 Yamaha RD400 Daytona Special, 1973 Truimph X-75, 1975 Triumph T-160, 1976 Triumph T140, BMW's too many to list
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2019, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by bobross900ss View Post
1997 900SS CR.

Well, not the headlight itself, but the plug behind the headlight that plugs onto the back of the bulb. Melted.

Don't know why. Need to figure out why it melted. The 15A fuse was not blown. Blinkers, taillights, brake lights, all work.

On the parts fiche, it indicates this is part of a larger wiring harness, which is no longer available. Would not want to replace the entire harness anyway just to repair the part that plugs into the back of the headlight.

I assume that somewhere I can find a standard plug for the back of the bulb and attach the wires from the harness to the plug. But if I don't know what caused this, it will probably happen again after my repair.

I could use some wisdom here. Such as where to find the plug. Why did this happen.

Best to all,

Bob Ross
It's a common problem with our bikes. The factory plug is rubbish, and the contacts oxidise, which increases the resistance, which generates heat, which melts the plug. The good news is that it's just a standard H4 plug/socket. Any auto parts store should have one. I bought two when mine died - a regular plastic auto unit, and a ceramic one, in case the basic auto one failed again - it hasn't, even running a 100/90W bulb. The ceramic unit is still sitting on the shelf.

One thing you should do while you're in there - wire in a new 12v supply via a fuse direct from the battery, and use it to supply two relays (one for high beam, one for low), operated from the headlight feed. Outputs from the relays to the headlight bulb (and new plug). Also wire in a new heavy earth supply for the headlight. This should increase the voltage at the bulb from around 10-11v to 14v, with a BIG improvement in light output.

'95 900 Superlight IV #064

Mods are: K&N filter, airbox lid on with rubber trumpets removed, MBP collets, full SMI (SilMoto Italia) spaghetti exhaust with 'open' carbon cans, 41mm FCR's - #182 mains!, Barnett alloy clutch basket, Oberon slave cylinder, Ohlins fork springs, Ohlins rear shock, Verlicchi swingarm.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2019, 6:07 am
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I bought a ceramic replacement headlight plug with larger wiring from the auto parts store. I doubt Iíll have any more problems.

'96 Ducati SS900CR, '07 S4RS, '06 Busa, '77 Bonny,
'00 Superglide, '85 Sportster, '78 SR500
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2019, 8:25 am
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I just had to repair the headlight (low beam) connection on a multistrada, same issue. It is not specific to these bikes other than the original connectors may have been a little loose from day one, if the female terminal is loose on the male bulb connection you will create heat that will invite corrosion... that will create more heat that will invite more corrosion....... that will create more heat that will invite more corrosion.......that will create more heat that will invite more corrosion.......that will create more heat that will invite more corrosion.......that will create more heat that will invite more corrosion.......that will create more heat that will invite more corrosion.......You get the picture.

If you simply make sure the male and female terminals are tight to each other and not corroded you should see a long service life out of the wiring regardless of bulb size or wire diameter. Changing the pigtail to a new one is Very much like changing from a old worn out tire to a new round one, Hey this is MUCH better! Well it should be , but if the new connections are loose on the bulb you will be doing the work again some day.

If you are re-freshing a older bike changing out the terminals or at least cleaning and making sure they are a tight connection is a worth while endeavor. Finding the cause of corrosion and reducing its risk later on is always a good idea first. Re-using a old /loose connector and packing it full os a grease that does not conduct electricity (dialectric) will be a bad idea. Clean perfect bikes are MORE likely to have issues as the owners have often washed them more than they rode them and some cleaning chemicals will strip away any protective coatings on terminals so you then increase the corrosion. I had a customer who was using dish soap to wash is carby SS and the bike was pristine in condition, it was also the only carby I had to replace a complete wiring harness on.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2019, 2:29 pm
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Quote:
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/-------------/
I had a customer who was using dish soap to wash is carby SS and the bike was pristine in condition, it was also the only carby I had to replace a complete wiring harness on.

'95 M900, '87 750 F1b, '95 GL1500, '06 620/800 MiniStrada...
Running on coffee and sarcasm...
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2019, 5:15 pm Thread Starter
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Headlight burned out

I suppose if I waited and looked a little deeper I could have answered this myself. Regardless, good to connect from time to time with the world wide support group.

Looks like the damage is limited to the plug. the lamp still works. the fuse is good. I stripped the ends of the wires and tested by turning on the key and connecting a test lamp to the ground and checking the low beam and high beam. the switches seem fine. Getting about 11.5 volts at the light.


I looked up of the web and saw that there are many plugs for the halogen bulbs. I'll go to Auto Zone as soon as I type this. Just need to butt-splice the wires together. I spend more time working on saltwater boats than bikes, so I know way too much about corroded wires, LOL.

The bulb is a 55/60 watt. Any reason not to have the same? If I go higher, I might consider whether I need bigger wire going to the lamp. The stock wire looks pretty small.

Bob Ross
Portland, Or.
1997 900ss CR
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old May 21st, 2019, 6:40 am
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Just change the wiring. It'll make a big difference - even to the standard 55/60 bulb. And it'll give you the option of running a 100W bulb should you so desire - though it's really only worth it if you're doing lots of night riding on dark rural roads - a 55/60 +100 bulb will give nearly as much light, but not load up the charging system as much.

Just be careful if you do go with the 100W solution, as the load on the alternator is getting up towards it's max output. That's partly why I changed as many bulbs over to LED as I could - particularly the ones that are usually on.
The added benefit is that I was going through a incandescent tail-light bulb every few months - I haven't had a problem yet with my LED bulb in several years - and I can see my warning lights in the daylight now. I did try a LED H4 headlight bulb at the time, but it didn't really work properly (LOTS of light, but the beams were in the wrong place), so I reverted back to a halogen.
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'95 900 Superlight IV #064

Mods are: K&N filter, airbox lid on with rubber trumpets removed, MBP collets, full SMI (SilMoto Italia) spaghetti exhaust with 'open' carbon cans, 41mm FCR's - #182 mains!, Barnett alloy clutch basket, Oberon slave cylinder, Ohlins fork springs, Ohlins rear shock, Verlicchi swingarm.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old May 21st, 2019, 6:55 am
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i seem to remember this socket melt as a fairly common issue on a forum back around mid 90's... on my own '95 900SS I replaced the H4 socket with an auto store version... soldered into harness...never a problem since.

I distinctly remember an old 90's funny (but true) forum quote from Mike Checchini "its the connectors, stupid!" Referring to the commonly corroded, original mid push connectors from stator to voltage regulator ....failure was rampant there.

'95 900SS/SP , '07 SS800 . '98 VFR800
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