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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
as nights come earlier and I've been riding my ST4 more frequently these days, I've gotten very tired of cars cutting me off, due to the low visibility of the lighting system.

cars actually tend to move out of the way and I rarely get cut off on my BMW, which runs dual 55W HIDs.

so I went and installed H1/H3 HIDs on the ST4. Despite what older threads have said about just adding HIDs, it is blindingly bright and there is a dramatic improvement on how much road is illuminated. Also, I am no longer "invisible" to cars - a very important safety feature.

the installation was straightforward, but took longer as this is an old bike. the hi-beam was done without removing the instrument cluster, but the normal light has the speedo cable in the way. some previous owner had hacked up the wiring on the normal light, so that required some splicing. The hi-beam bulb required a bit of filing on the base to fit, and the spring came flying off, leading to a fun 10 minute search of the garage floor and even more time, as it was not secured to the housing anymore.

I'm concerned about cooking the wiring harness, but the current draw of HIDs once warmed up is less than halogens, and I tried starting the bike with the hi-beam on and the 15 amp fuse did not blow, nor did the bike have problems starting. But as with my other bikes, I'll stagger turning on the lights - give the main beam 30 seconds, then switch on the hi beam (I ride with both on, day or night).

I can't comment on "beam pattern" being incorrect or whatever other anti-HID arguments I've read here; all I know is that I can actually identify a beam pattern now. So far as I'm concerned, I've finally rectified the main weakness of the ST4. I can SEE.
 

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really no idea on the "ecu". actually not sure how HID even works. I have done around 700klms so far - all seems fine. Will be pulling it apart this weekend for a decent winter clean so can check if its melting anything!!
 

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I think the safety argument is that you'll be blinding oncoming drivers as those brighter bulbs are in a reflector system with a difuser lense as opposed to projector beam system. Don't know if that's the correct terminolgy, but maybe PG can chime in on this one. :)

ECU re HID hmmm, afaik in a true HID system the lights need to be leveled by a motor as the rear of the bike/car is loaded, so they won't blind oncoming traffic. Maybe Paul can speak to that too. :)
 

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ah ha. well, indeed then i will have to test it & see how bright it is when being ridden towards me. as for ECU - seems fleabay seller BS!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
which kit did you get mate ?

i put the low beam one in last week. like you cant comment on pattern & blah blah, but bloody hell its made a HUGE change. finally i can see at night!:):)

Ducati ST4 ST4s Xenon HID H7 Headlamp Conversion | eBay
that's the kit, although you need one H1 and one H3 kit for an ST4; I've bought many from Iain and top notch service each time, even if shipping from England is a bit long/pricey. There are a lot of cheap kits that fail so it's worth it to me. I've been running one kit from this seller since 2010 and no problems.

The improvement on the main beam is good; the hi beam turns into a floodlight that you literally cannot look straight into. 55W HIDs can blind drivers; 35W is sufficient. Call me impolite, but 55W gets drivers to avoid you, and I truly enjoy how cars are repelled, versus having to dodge cars moving into your lane as if you weren't there.

The "ECU" is actually a ballast. The bulbs run at something like 23,000 volts, so the unit basically converts 12 volts into 23,000 volts, which is why HID bulbs need a few seconds to "warm up" - the ballast is ramping up voltage during that time. However, total current draw is about 1 amp less than a regular bulb in practice - theoretically, a 12 volt bulb putting out 55 watts should draw about 4.6 amps, while a 23,000 volt bulb putting out 55 watts would only draw 0.002 amps. In reality, an HID bulb and ballast pulls about 2-3 amps.

In any event, I've got headlights that will turn night into day, all for about $190, and hopefully should be easier on the stock wiring harness (an HID can pull up to 15 amps at startup but within about 10 seconds goes down to 2-3 amps). But these kits aren't exceeding 15 amps, as I've started the bike with both lamps on and the 15 amp fuse did not blow. I did blow the fuse fumbling with wires, which killed the juice to both headlamps, so I know that circuit works!

btw, the relatively long warmup for HIDs makes flashing the hi beam difficult. It will work, but it only has the output of an LED bulb (visible but not illuminating) if the ballast isn't charged. If you don't run with hi beams on normally, and like to use it to flash cars, then converting only the main beam is generally what people do. The HID on my 800SS is a combined H4 hi/lo bulb, which is nice; one ballast, and I can flash the hi beam or keep it on.
 

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Just ordered one for my low beam, thanks for the link.
 

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Ducati Designs
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A 55 watt light, HID, tungsten filament, silk whisker, or flaming flea booger consumes 55 watts. That's why its called a 55 watt light. At 13.2V, that's about 4A.

An HID capsule runs at about 130V steady state. 10-20KV is needed to start the arc. Startup current on modern HID ballasts has been reduced to ~10A, so fuse-blowing is rare.

Those HID kits have come a long way. Both in technology and in distance. The ones you're sourcing from England began their life in China. Exotic, to be sure, but here is nothing special about the kit that your source is selling aside from his incredible profit margin. You can buy that same Chinese kit all day long for about $10 (usually 2 for $15).

From a quality manufacturer like Hella, HID-based headlights cost around $400. Today, Hella still charge $400. Germans, go figure.

I've been working with LED headlight modules lately. Very shi-shi, much lower power and bo-ku brightness. That's enough hyphens for now.

IMHO - Riding with your high beam on, so that others can see you by being blinded themselves, is considered rude in many societies. Some in those societies are armed.

pg
DD
 

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that's the kit, although you need one H1 and one H3 kit for an ST4; I've bought many from Iain and top notch service each time, even if shipping from England is a bit long/pricey. There are a lot of cheap kits that fail so it's worth it to me. I've been running one kit from this seller since 2010 and no problems.

The improvement on the main beam is good; the hi beam turns into a floodlight that you literally cannot look straight into. 55W HIDs can blind drivers; 35W is sufficient. Call me impolite, but 55W gets drivers to avoid you, and I truly enjoy how cars are repelled, versus having to dodge cars moving into your lane as if you weren't there.

The "ECU" is actually a ballast. The bulbs run at something like 23,000 volts, so the unit basically converts 12 volts into 23,000 volts, which is why HID bulbs need a few seconds to "warm up" - the ballast is ramping up voltage during that time. However, total current draw is about 1 amp less than a regular bulb in practice - theoretically, a 12 volt bulb putting out 55 watts should draw about 4.6 amps, while a 23,000 volt bulb putting out 55 watts would only draw 0.002 amps. In reality, an HID bulb and ballast pulls about 2-3 amps.

In any event, I've got headlights that will turn night into day, all for about $190, and hopefully should be easier on the stock wiring harness (an HID can pull up to 15 amps at startup but within about 10 seconds goes down to 2-3 amps). But these kits aren't exceeding 15 amps, as I've started the bike with both lamps on and the 15 amp fuse did not blow. I did blow the fuse fumbling with wires, which killed the juice to both headlamps, so I know that circuit works!

btw, the relatively long warmup for HIDs makes flashing the hi beam difficult. It will work, but it only has the output of an LED bulb (visible but not illuminating) if the ballast isn't charged. If you don't run with hi beams on normally, and like to use it to flash cars, then converting only the main beam is generally what people do. The HID on my 800SS is a combined H4 hi/lo bulb, which is nice; one ballast, and I can flash the hi beam or keep it on.

Great to hear. Yes i got the H3 kit. Considering getting the multi one for my monster.

as for the other comments about blinding people etc etc - fair point. But after having my leg broken in seven spots as the guy "didn't see me" im happy to run the risk of pissing someone off. Thankfully im in Switzerland - not Yemen so not many are packing heat:)! cheers
 

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I fitted a HID kit to my car a few weeks back & can confirm the difference from the standard H7 halogen is quite literally night and day! Brilliant lights. :D

Secondly - £56 for ONE H7 setup is a rip-off!

I paid £26 for TWO H7 kits?

XENON HID CONVERSION KIT RENAULT CLIO H7 6000K HID Cool | eBay

Pays to shop around... ;)


+1 on not using you hi-beam so that people can see you, it will only piss people off. HID low beam is bright enough, you wouldnt want an 18-wheeler coming towards you with a full rack of Daylighters lit up, would you...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
several states and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommend in their endorsement study guides to run hi beams during the day, at a minimum (Hurt, 1981)

Hurt, H.H. Jr., Ouellet, J.V. & Thom D.R. (1981b). Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures. (DOT HS 805 862). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety

If I'm on a country highway at night, I run main beam only. But nighttime in an urban setting with streetlights, I run hi beams as well. The overall lighting environment is higher, so it's less blinding to drivers, and it helps to make you brighter than everyone else, which is THE POINT, because cagers need help in seeing objects that move faster and are smaller than other cars.

But as stated previously, on a lonely interstate or empty two-lane road at night, if you pass me, I'm either on my main only, or I've just switched my hi beam off (because I saw you coming and don't want to blind you). But in a multiple car setting at night, such as a major highway or boulevard going through a downtown area of a large city, you want both beams on; you're not blinding people in that situation.
 

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Mr Leakered
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Now I've finally found the source that thinks hi-beams are an accessory, just like running front and rear fog lamps in clear weather. Why not stick a modulator on there and a couple more running lights?

FYI: Yes, running in a urban area with high beams on is stinking stupid and only causes folks to be pissed off and distracted from other possible, real issues. Not to mention target fixation.

Psst: I hear you get more wattage with a fast idle lever.
 

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Look, the ST's are nice bikes - but the lighting is crap. I put HIDs on mine about 3 years ago after trying the usual bulb upgrades and such ......... received all the usual b.s. on this forum about current draw, additional relays/wiring/fusing issues, blinding on coming traffic, etc etc. Now I see we've escalated the argument to getting shot at. WTF? I have not had any electrical issues, never even been flashed by on-coming traffic ...... and guess what?..... I can see! More and more vehicles are on the roads with HIDs. If you want to see, just go get 'em.
 

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Ducati Designs
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All good points, Kismet. I'm glad you take responsibility for your actions. Many don't.

Remember that the "Hurt Report" was published in 1981, based on data accumulated in the period between 1977 and 1979. At that time, most motorcycles used a single tungsten, sealed beam headlight, capable of producing maybe 500 lumens at peak output (unless they were British, where photons were actually collected, not emitted!). Today's modern halogen and HID headlights are much more effective and conspicuous. I doubt that Mr. Hurt would suggest using two 3200 lumen HID lights for conspicuity. I suspect if the report were written today, you'd see a recommendation for additional, wider-spaced, lower-intensity lights as we see in modern cars, rather than a blinding, offensive headlight.

By the way, the term "main beam" is used by the rest of the world to mean "high beam". You meant "low beam", or "dipped beam" if you're from the other side of the pond.

Cheers

pg
DD

several states and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommend in their endorsement study guides to run hi beams during the day, at a minimum (Hurt, 1981)

Hurt, H.H. Jr., Ouellet, J.V. & Thom D.R. (1981b). Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures. (DOT HS 805 862). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety

If I'm on a country highway at night, I run main beam only. But nighttime in an urban setting with streetlights, I run hi beams as well. The overall lighting environment is higher, so it's less blinding to drivers, and it helps to make you brighter than everyone else, which is THE POINT, because cagers need help in seeing objects that move faster and are smaller than other cars.

But as stated previously, on a lonely interstate or empty two-lane road at night, if you pass me, I'm either on my main only, or I've just switched my hi beam off (because I saw you coming and don't want to blind you). But in a multiple car setting at night, such as a major highway or boulevard going through a downtown area of a large city, you want both beams on; you're not blinding people in that situation.
 

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I have zero problem with HID retrofits, if done right. For me, that doesn't necessarily mean hacking in an automotive lens, just fit them behind OEM projectors, don't drive/ride around with hi beams on, and have the sensibility to set the beams. I've seen plenty of bikes and cars with HID retrofits behind OEM projectors. They seem to throw out good light without harshness. Asses (drivers and riders) who fit them to reflectors and don't even give a shit, I have a problem with. I've had riders following me with lo and hi beam HIDs on in mid summer daylight riding. It was damn distracting seeing the flicker in my mirror.

Not to mention the trends noted above: operating 24/7 with all possible HIDs or halogens on, again drivers and riders alike. What safety conscious tard drives with rear fog lights on in tight commute traffic? Seriously?

So yeah, folks here pontificating about running HIDs in a reflector (hi beam) with any on-coming traffic is just going to lead others to do so. It touches a nerve.

Have a good one.
 

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Ducati Designs
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Sorry to offend, Lesco. Try not to take it so literal.

pg
DD

Look, the ST's are nice bikes - but the lighting is crap. I put HIDs on mine about 3 years ago after trying the usual bulb upgrades and such ......... received all the usual b.s. on this forum about current draw, additional relays/wiring/fusing issues, blinding on coming traffic, etc etc. Now I see we've escalated the argument to getting shot at. WTF? I have not had any electrical issues, never even been flashed by on-coming traffic ...... and guess what?..... I can see! More and more vehicles are on the roads with HIDs. If you want to see, just go get 'em.
 

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No offence taken PG. Although, you know, it might not be outside the realm of possibilities in some States. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Now I've finally found the source that thinks hi-beams are an accessory, just like running front and rear fog lamps in clear weather. Why not stick a modulator on there and a couple more running lights?

FYI: Yes, running in a urban area with high beams on is stinking stupid and only causes folks to be pissed off and distracted from other possible, real issues. Not to mention target fixation.

Psst: I hear you get more wattage with a fast idle lever.
keep riding with your stock lights. they're good. with luck, an 18-wheeler won't be offended by your polite riding, so much so that he won't even notice the thump.
 
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