Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Bulbs! Bulbs! Bulbs! - Standard Sizes, and LED Conversions

After doing a bit of searching around online, I found plenty of threads about the main headlight, but little to nothing about the other stock bulb sizes (and therefore, replacement options) on our machines. So, I thought I would try and put together a comprehensive list of bulb sizes/fitment for (at least) the Vulcan Nomad 1600s. Mine is a 2006 model.

I have also added information about converting the bulbs to LEDs, a link to a good explanation of one required (diode) modification, and discuss three options to solve the fast/solid indicator issues.


HEADLIGHT:
H4 bulb
- stock incandescent can be replaced with xenon/halogen, HID, or LED lights
- pay attention to wattage with xenon/halogen, taking into consideration current draw and heat output
- HID require a warm-up time, likely negligible for most riders, but a possible consideration
- LED lights require (and seem to all come with) a conversion kit. Be sure of fitment

LED's: These headlight bulbs ended up being a really good option, particularly for the cost, and they work great. 40 bucks for 9600lm total, so 4800lm each bulb, and they work great.
For 20 bucks more, these bulbs are an even brighter option, at 6000K EACH (12000k lumens total), and work great.
Each of those options gives you two bulbs, so keep an extra, or go in with a friend for some nice savings. The car bulbs work the same as the "moto" versions. Either way, make sure you are paying attention to whether the advertised lumens are the TOTAL for the pair of bulbs, as opposed to each bulb.

Note: If you go with the Kisan Headlight Modulator, unfortunately you have to buy the one for motorcycles. The one for cars has a Master and a Slave unit, and cannot be used for two motorcycles.



RUNNING/DRIVING LIGHTS:
(Clear lights on either side of headlight, stock Kawa bar with switch on right)
H3 12V 25W

LED's: I ended up buying these LED bulbs, and they work great.



FRONT TURN SIGNALS:
1157 (P21/5W is the European designation)
- so, the same 2357/2357LL bulbs that fit the brake light will fit the turn signals. 2357 is also available in Amber.

LED's: I ended up buying these LED bulbs, and they work great. They are different from the ones for the rear turn signals (linked below).



BRAKE LIGHT/TAIL LIGHT:
Dual filament 1157 bulb: combo tail light (5w) and brake light (21w)
- 2357/2357LL (available at any auto parts store) produces the same brightness for the tail light (3 lumens, same amps) but 25% more light for the brake (40 lumens vs. 32, 2.2A vs 2.1A, 1.28 watt/4.76% increase).
2357LL is a very cheap and worthwhile incandescent upgrade, available at any auto parts store (and likely walmart).

LED's (FLASHING): I ended up going with this flashing LED brake light, and it has worked great. Bright, and flashes a few times before staying solid. No kit required, if your bike will handle LED bulbs (see note at bottom).



REAR TURN SIGNALS:
1156 (P21w)
- looks similar to the 1157, but there is no second, dimmer (5w) filament. The light is only on when the turn signal is activated, and off otherwise
- 796 is a replacement, same 21w but 64cp, instead of 32cp
- 3497 is also a brighter replacement option

LED's: I ended up buying these LED bulbs, and they work great. They are different from the ones for the front turn signals (linked above).

BTW, in addition to replacing the bulbs with LED bulbs, I ended up also adding red LED strips inside of my rear turn signal housings, a-la this Kuryakyn Triple Whammy thread, and am thus far happy with the results. It turns your rear turn signals into red running lights, which then blink yellow (with the red LED's deluminating) when you use the turn signal.



LICENSE PLATE LIGHT:
W5W, or 2825
- t3 or t3.25?
I believe either will work. LED bulbs do exist, but this was the one bulb I haven't yet bothered replacing with an LED.



Other Questions:
Do H4 LED replacement/conversion kits for cars NOT tend to fit our bikes? There are clearly bulbs sold specifically for motorcycles, but that doesn't always mean ONLY motorcycle-specific parts will work. And I can't find much info on general "automobile" H4 bulbs/kits not working for bikes.
Answer: Car H4 bulbs/kits DO in fact work on our H4-headlight-using motorcycles. You just get two bulbs for that price, instead of paying extra for only one bulb, because... motorcycle.




NOTES ON SWITCHING TO LED BULBS:


If you start plugging in LED bulbs, without making other modifications, your lights will begin having problems. You may get a fast blink. You may get both sides blinking, instead of just the appropriate side blinking, when you use the turn signals. You may get all of the turn signal bulbs staying on constantly.

If switching directional indicator (turn signal) bulbs to LED's:
In order to switch all of my bulbs to LEDs, I ended up using diodes to prevent the "both signals blinking" phenomenon. I believe this modification is unavoidable, if you switch to LED bulbs in your turn signals, because the OEM circuit actually grounds each side's bulb through the other bulb. And with LEDs requiring less power, that means both side illuminate.
The second post in THIS THREAD does a good job of explaining how to fix the problem with both signals blinking. The second half of the post in question has a rather straightforward diagram and "how to" explanation for fixing the problem easily with a couple of diodes.

In order to fix the fast-blink and/or the solid-on issues which arise from the LED's having a much lower resistance than standard bulbs... I ended up disassembling the turn signal relay, cutting the jumper inside, and soldering a resistor in its place, then closing the relay back up. This is what you might have seen referred to as the "relay surgery mod."
I have attached photos describing how to modify the OEM flasher relay to handle LED indicator bulbs at the bottom of this post.

This is not the only option, but (if you are able to do it) it is definitely the best option. Other options (and the most commonly offered solutions) are
1) "burning off" and wasting power, in order to trick the system, or
2) replacing the relay with one made for LED's.

The first option doesn't make LED's completely pointless, as modern LEDs do tend to be brighter than their incandescent counterparts. But it does negate the power savings of the LED bulbs. Yes, modifying the OEM relay does involve adding a resistor to the circuit, as well, but you are using ONE tiny 0.33ohm, 2W resistor to modify the relay internally, which uses far less energy than adding FOUR 6ohm, 50W resistors to burn off so much excess energy they get hot and require four not-insignificant heat sinks, in order to trick the unmodified relay into believing that those low-power LEDs are actually energy-wasting incandescents.

The only problem with the second option is that our OEM turn signal relays have a circuit which turns off the turn signal after it has been on for a period of time AND after traveling a particular distance. Replacing the relay with an aftermarket LED flasher relay does not create a huge issue, as you can certainly turn them off yourself, but I didn't want to lose that automatic functionality of the OEM relay.

I don't know if any modifications are necessary, if you do not replace the turn signal/indicator bulbs with LED bulbs.
Replacing only the headlight, running lights, and brake light with LED bulbs should not cause the "both signals flashing" issue, nor the fast-blink/solid issues; but I'm not sure whether it would cause any other issues. Since I have already modified my wiring harness and relay, I can't test this, either.
So, if someone does have experience replacing ONLY the non-turn signal bulbs with LED's, please weigh in and let us know whether any issues arise if you don't make any modifications.


Also, for the soldering-inclined, here's a link to @Seawolf_il 's thread on the DIY Kuryakyn Triple Whammy, which I have now also added to my bike.


(BTW, I have no affiliation with, nor get any kickback from, any of the posted links. I'm just sharing what has worked for me thus far.)
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,164 Posts
the thing with replacing 1157 brake light bulbs with LED is the difference in contrast, I put in a 2357 in my tail light for this reason, the contrast reason, meaning when you're riding the tail light is 5 watts light? then when you brake, the contrast between the tail light to brake light will be increased in order to let the vehicle behind you know that you applied the brake, but with LED bulbs this contrast between tail/running light to brake is not significant enough to grab the driver's attention behind you, which I do think makes putting in any LED bulbs in the rear risky and might even be the cause of being rear ended. I am not a fan of LED bulbs in the rear, LED turn signals are fine but when you're braking you want to have as much contrast between running light to brake light as possible to alert the driver behind you that you're braking. LED bulbs just don't have that contrast between low running light to high brake light to grab the driver's attention.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
On my 750 I've replaced everything except the headlight and instrument lights with LEDs. As for my read lights, there is a significant difference between the brightness of the running lights and the brake lights. So, I'm not entirely sure why btom's aren't doing the same.

I am not an electronics expert by any stretch. My LEDs all came from Custom Dynamics. Everything came as a package and I installed what they sent me. I couldn't begin to tell you that there were so many capacitors, or fuses, or whatever that shiny little things were. Besides, it was a number of years ago, too. All that I know is that they work as desired.

But then again my setup also made the stock turn signals into brake lights and running lights. When riding, they show the yellow all the time and when braking they switch to red. So that takes care of the contrast issue as least as far as those two units go.

My license plate holder is also LED with two bars of red running/brake lights along with two bars of yellow turn signals. So my rear end (no jokes folks) is lit up for days.

But speaking purely about contrast of already-on-red-going-to-braking-red there's a pretty significant difference. I'd say when switching over they almost double in intensity. So, I'd think the best way to swap over from bulb to LEDs is to get them as a set and let the manufacturer figure out what you need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,164 Posts
rear turns should be 1156 bulbs and fronts 1157
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
After doing a bit of searching around online, I found plenty of threads about the main headlight, but little to nothing about the other stock bulb sizes (and therefore, replacement options) on our machines. So, I thought I would try and put together a comprehensive list of bulb sizes/fitment for (at least) the Vulcan Nomad 1600s. Mine is a 2006 model...
Thank you OP for posting this, it is really had to find quick info about the Vulcan bulbs...I got a 20018 Nomad and I am planning to change all bulbs to LED.
Currently I have only the Brake/Tail ligh on LED and I can recommend this one as it is very bright in both modes and has a good contrast between tail and brake intensity plus it is cheap and fits with no issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So glad this post has helped someone else!

I have updated my initial post again, with more links to bulbs that work in every slot, since I have (since my creation of this thread):
- swapped over just about all of my bulbs to LED's,
- added a headlight modulator, and
- added led strips into the rear turn signal housings to convert those turn signals into 3-ways.


Right now, I'm trying to figure out the best way to add some 2-way trailer LED lights to my saddlebags, and wire them in such a way that they function as three ways. When I have moved forward with that, and have made sure it's working without bugs, I will update the original post again.

BTW, @Hawk600, were you able to switch the headlight, running lights, and brake lights to LEDs, without making any modifications? Converting the turn signals to LEDs requires some modifications; but I would love to be able to indicate whether the decreased current draw of the non-directional-indicator bulbs has any other impact on the bike's electrical system. If you have a 2018 Nomad, though, I wouldn't be surprised if you could just swap all of the bulbs (including directional indicators), without needing to make any modifications.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
I went all LED on my Mean Streak. No Kawi light bar but I did add a couple of LED driving lights to my crash bar, if that counts...

I suggest superbrightleds.com, they've got some good stuff. For a little flair I went with white/amber switchback LEDs in the front turns, and for the rear I tried a couple of options and finally just bought a TriStar XP controller for run-turn-brake and went all red.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Hi, anyone got any info on replacing the driving light bulbs with HIDs? They are supposed to be very bright for long range spotlights.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,013 Posts
Hi, anyone got any info on replacing the driving light bulbs with HIDs? They are supposed to be very bright for long range spotlights.
Welcome to the forums!

Please fill in your profile to include your bike/location info and that
is easier using a PC vs the app. This will help others answer questions you may ask knowing what year and model bike you have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hi, anyone got any info on replacing the driving light bulbs with HIDs? They are supposed to be very bright for long range spotlights.
No personal experience with HIDs, but here's some info on them that checks out with my understanding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
No personal experience with HIDs, but here's some info on them that checks out with my understanding.
This is also a very good video. It explains the technical side very well. I was looking at using HID for driving lights, not headlight high/low so the slower start up is not a problem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I have a 2014 Vulcan 1700 Nomad ABS, and have now converted the headlight and spotlights to LEDs. It was easy, although not quite plug-and-play, and makes a huge difference.

The spotlights are on the Kawasaki accessory light bar for this bike (Kawasaki part #K32001-015). The spotlights don't show up in the service manual for this bike. But changing the bulbs was easy. There is a screw with a Phillips head on the front of each spot light, at the bottom of the chrome ring around the lens; back out that screw, and the ring comes off the light housing with the lens/reflector unit. There are two leads to unplug. A spring holds the bulb in place. The bulb fits through a rectangular hole in the back of the reflector; the long sides of the rectangle are longer than the radius of the replacement LED bulb, but the short sides are just a tiny bit shorter. So I had to use a file to grind off a little metal in the middle of each of the long sides; only took a couple of minutes, then the replacement LED fit right in. Plug in the leads, fit the reflector/lens to the chrome ring, put it all in place on the housing, and put the screw back in place to hold it all in. The original bulbs are H3 bulbs; here's a link to the replacement LEDs I used (purchased on Amazon):

Morefulls New Design 1600 Lumens 360° Beam Angle H3 LED Fog Lights Bulbs Lamp 6000k White With Projector, Extremely Bright Fog Lights Bulb or DRL LED Bulb,Lifetime Support(Set of 2)

The headlight is an H4. Here's a link to the DZG replacement LED bulb I used, also purchased on Amazon:

DZG H4 Motorcycle LED Headlight Bulb 9003 HB2 HS1 P43t 6500K CREE Chips High Low Beam Light Conversion Kit 2 Yr Warranty, 1 Pack

Replacing the headlight bulb was, in fact, plug and play.

Here are 3 pictures. The first shows the light output from my right spotlight, with the new LED, vs the left spotlight, with the old halogen H3. The second and third photos show the headlight "before" and "after" I replaced the H4 halogen with the new LED.

I also used those DZG H4 LED units on my 2010 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS, and again, it was plug and play and made a huge difference.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
Great write-up Tector; thanks for posting.

Couple of questions:

How do the beam patterns, original vs LED, compare?

How hot do these things get? With the fan at the front of the lamp, and fully enclosed in the headlight body, it must get pretty warm in there - but perhaps no warmer than a high wattage halogen lamp ????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Good questions. Wish I could give you good answers.

I'm in northern PA, and our riding season is over. The bike was parked for the winter in my garage when I installed these lights (all the garage lights were out when I took those photos). So I have NOT run the bike with the lights on since making the switch.

Beam pattern? Sorry, I can't say. I would expect them to be pretty much the same, since the reflectors are the same and are aimed the same way. But I'm no electrician (certainly no lighting technician).

Heat? Don't know. For what it's worth, I ran my Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS, with the same brand of H4 LED headlights, several times after the LEDs were installed, for 2+ hours at a time, without any problem. Of course, that doesn't prove anything-- as the old saying goes, your mileage may vary, and for that matter, MY mileage may vary (if I go on a longer trip, and/ or it's on a hotter day).

No problems yet, though. Which is like the guy who fell off the 40-story building, and on the way down everybody next to a window he passed heard him say, "So far, so good!".
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top