I like the idea of "see-and-be-seen" and if I had my way I would light up my bike like a Christmas tree to be seen at night. Having a 900 Classic with only one red bulb seen from the rear was not cutting it. I like how some harleys have three red bulbs across the back, where their red turn signals glow all the time for increased visibility at night.
However, rather than spend $100 on the Triple Whammy, I decided to make my own for about $5 and some spare wiring (thanks eBay!)
From eBay, I purchased self-adhesive waterproof red LED lighting strip that uses SMD5050 LEDs (they are very bright for their size. I always look for these LEDs when doing projects like this).
Install was pretty simple. I opened the turn-signal housing, removed the bulb and the metal heat-shield inside.
I tried to find a way to get the wiring through the signal stalk so it would be seamless, but could not get the 1156 socket out of the chrome housing, and so decided to drill a small hole through the housing instead and run the wires under the stalk where they are barely noticeable.
The LED strip has an adhesive backing that is a 3M product and seems pretty sticky. I cut the strip so that 6 of the LEDs are intact. I stuck that to the inside of the housing, following the contours of the rear of the housing, and put a dab of hot glue on the ends for good measure. Sorry for the crappy cell pic to follow:
This shows the strip taped and glued into place in the back of the housing. The wires are just to the right, but to eliminate 'dark spots' seen through the reflector (especially if switching to clear reflectors) and to add a smidge of heat-protection, I covered the wires with metal duct-tape. A keen eye may notice that in this pic I ground-down the plastic ribs inside the housing, but this is not necessary. I was originally going to put the LEDs as a ring around the circumference of the housing, but getting over the screw holes was problematic and this worked just fine.
Then it was a matter of wiring. I can provide more details if needed, but it is very simple. I tapped the red wire for the rear license plate lamp as the + lead for the LED strips. For the - lead, I tapped the green + lead for the turn signal. This way, the current flows from the lamp bulb pigtail, through the LED strip, through the turn signal bulb, then to ground. Why do it this way instead of straight to ground? You could, but I wanted the red light to go away when the turn-signal is blinking. When the turn signal bulb is energized (turned on
) the LED strip sees +12V on both its wires which shuts it off, leaving the bright amber turn signal the only thing lit up.
Nice thing about this mod: It does NOT require clear lenses. Red will show through the amber lenses just fine.
I have a (low-resolution, sorry) video of how this works in action. The left-side turn signal (with amber lenses) is glowing red, and the right-side turn signal is flashing red/amber.
Click on it to see the video if you are curious