LED turn signals without any flasher

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Sidecar Bob
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LED turn signals without any flasher

#1

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Last summer someone on a forum mentioned changing to "flowing" (sequential) signals and it started me down the rabbit hole.

I ordered some of these to see what they were like (search eBay for flowing turn signal with Price + shipping lowers first and you'll find various types for under $10 per pair).
1 - Flowing signals (eBay).jpg
(not my video)

They looked good, were nice & bright (the blue light isn't legal for on road use). They cycle continuously and turn off for a beat between cycles when connected directly to power but when I temporarily connected one to a bike to try it I discovered that the the flasher turned the power off before the cycle finished so it never fully lit.
Hmmm...
So these will work better without a flasher in the circuit. That's right, not a special flasher but no flasher at all, as in the wires that would normally connect to the flasher connected together.

And then thinking about how to make them work on my bikes. The problem was that they would work on the back of Eccles (the winter machine) and on the front of Mr.H but Eccles' front left signal was the original one from the fairing (same fairing as used on GL1100) and the right one was a generic trailer turn signal mounted on the sidecar (both converted to LED panels) and Mr.H had the round, red trailer tail lights on the rear that I installed in 2009 when I added the sidecar (they weren't what I wanted but I already had them and I had already spent a lot on the sidecar).
Front July 2019.jpg
Rear July 2019.jpg
More shopping and found these (also not my video). I figured the lenses I wanted to mount them behind would dim them a bit but they were cheap enough and small enough that I could easily mount 2 in each of Eccles' front signals.


So last fall before I put Eccles on the road for the winter it got new signals (among other small improvements - mo bike is ever truly finished). And I liked them enough that I ordered more of the strips for Mr.H.
The one problem with not having a flasher is that the indicators on the instrument panels don't flash, which makes it even easier to go merrily down the road with the signal on. So after exercising the little grey cells a bit I ordered a batch of flashing green LEDs.

Winter came & went and everything I ordered for installing them on Mr.H arrived. Spring arrived and I moved Mr.H from storage in the shed to the garage to work on it and I realized that I hadn't shopped for something suitable for mounting the strips in for the rear signals. I didn't want to wait for something else to travel halfway around the world (eBay) and we still can't go inside places like Canadian Tire to look at what they have so I started searching through what I had on hand.
And then I remembered that at one time I had trailer signals like on the front of Eccles' sidecar on the back of that sidecar and on the bike's trunk (pic from 2007).
Oct 07 rear.jpg
I dug them out and the metal parts were pretty rusty but the lenses looked pretty good. In fact, after a couple of light passes over the buffing wheel they looked very good.

I'll leave it there for now because I want to get back to work. More later.
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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5speed
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#2

Post by 5speed »

watching..
1982 1100 standard.
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
1986 Yamaha FJ1200
2019 Can-Am ryker (boss's new ride)
2002 Shadow American Classic(sold)
1983 Shadow 500. (sold)
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Fred Camper
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#3

Post by Fred Camper »

Interesting for sure. Perhaps will draw attention to our narrow blinkers which sometimes go unnoticed.
Proud member of the NGW Cartel (Rochester MI)
1977 GL1000 BADDOG (April 2012 BOTM)
1976 LTD - '993 LTD...and so it begins'

You should remember that it's peace of mind you're after and not just fixing the machine. R.Pirsig
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#4

Post by Sidecar Bob »

My signals aren't exactly "narrow"..... :lol:

Here's closer views of what I had for the last decade. When I added the sidecar I wanted the lights on both sides to be the same so I used a set of rectangular LED trailer lights for tail lights and those big round ones as signals. I Some people leave the bike's right hand signals in place when they attach a sidecar; Some even leave them connected but I believe that it is confusing to other road users (many of whom were confused before they got into the car) and I didn't want a non-working signal on the right so I made blanking plates to replace the original signals (& provide a place to mount the left one) and modified the license plate bracket that came with the trailer lights to a mount the right one on the sidecar's fender (I also added reflectors with LEDs in them on the sides because the round lights don't light much to the side).
01 - L & R rear (before).JPG

As usual I forgot to take pics of something before I took it apart so I don't have new pics of the old front signals. I couldn't find one that showed the signal on the sidecar but this shot from when I added the garnish to the speaker/wiring box shows the bike side. It is mounted directly to the box but I used 2 long nuts to extend it past the windshield
Spkr+wiring box garnish 1.JPG

Here's what I came up with for mounting the new rear signals. I used the one metal backing plate that wasn't badly rusted as a template to make 2 pieces of ABS sheet that fit snugly inside the lenses. The left one could mount directly on the blanking plate but I needed a back for the right one so I traced around a lens and cut another piece of ABS just a bit bigger. I could continue to use the modified bracket for the right signal but after a bit of contemplating (while I was getting the garden ready for seeds) I decided that if I cut a piece of 1/2" square aluminum bar (I painted it black right after taking this) to fit I could drill & tap it, then screw the bracket to one side of it and the light to the other so no nuts would show or be open to weather. For the same reason I used screws from the back to attach "book posts" to the backings and screw the lenses to them.
02 - Parts for rear signals.jpg

Partly assembled and wired up (the original wires are very thin)
03 - Rear signals (wired).jpg

Assembled & ready for installation. Everything (including the edges of the lenses) is sealed with clear silicone sealant so the insides should stay clean
04 - Rear signals (assembled).jpg
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#5

Post by Sidecar Bob »

I set the rear signals aside for the silicone to cure and moved to the fronts. Because of the angle of the sidecar body the outer end of the original signal was always tipped forward a bit. It bothered me a bit at first but I eventually got used to it. When I mounted one of the new, longer signals that in the same hole it looked even worse and I decided if I was going to do anything about it now was the time.
If I had thought about it when I was doing the bodywork on the sidecar I could have hammered in a bump with a face that was parallel to the axis of the machine but to do that now would surely mess up the paint so that was out.
Spacers bevelled to match the angle seemed like the solution but after an hour of searching I gave up on finding anything suitable to make them out of (I really need to get a lathe :orange). But neighbour Lee is always looking for useful things to make on his 3D printers so I gave him a sketch and the next day he handed me 2 perfectly angled spacers.
You probably can't see them in the pic but I lined them up carefully, bolted them together and drilled a hole that is a snug fit on an alignment pin made from #14 house wire, then lined one of them up carefully on the outside of the body while I marked the location of a hole in it for the pin.
05 - Right front (parts).JPG

With 2 coupling (long) nuts between the original left signal and the wiring/speaker box I used a short piece of threaded rod to join the 2 nuts and brought the wires out through the side of the nut closest to the signal. The new signals are enough longer that only 1 of the coupling nuts would be needed to get it past the windshield so after running the appropriate M10 tap into the previously unmolested 3/8" coupling nut I put the bolt that attaches it it to the box into the drill vise, carefully lined it up and drilled through it, starting with a 1/8" bit and working up to the biggest size I dared (the hole exits the end a bit off centre and I ended up shortening it a bit because I drilled out the bottoms of the last couple of threads)(I REALLY need to get a lathe :orange :orange).
The original signals were small enough that it didn't look too bad on that skinny coupling nut but the new ones are wider at the base so it looked wrong just screwed into the nut. I built it up by adding 6 layers of heat shrink (each a bit longer than the nut), then trimming them and finishing up with the disc sander so that all the layers of HST and the end of the nut are perfectly flush.
I think the new front signals are mounted much more nicely than the old ones
06 - L & R front (new).jpg

And the rears look better too
07 - L & R rear (new).jpg

Then it was time to make the changes to the indicators. As I mentioned before, the LEDs in the Danmoto instrument panel won't blink with the flasher removed but there were 2 white LEDs in the face of the speaker/wiring box just below the Danmoto that indicated when the bike & sidecar headlights are on. I removed the white LEDs (& their circuitry) and installed flashing green ones (& their circuitry) in their places, then connected the wires to the non-flashing green LEDs in the Danmoto to the circuits for bike and sidecar headlights. When nothing is lit the only visible difference is that the white LEDs were flat top and the green ones are domed.
08 - Inside spr+wiring box.jpg

BTW: When I first started using LEDs on bikes a lot of them failed prematurely before I learned that LEDs can be killed by voltage spikes that occur in motorcycle electrical systems. Since I have been adding an inexpensive diode to protect the LED from reverse current (as shown below) I haven't lost any.
Note that the resistor can be in either the positive or ground side of the circuit as long as it is in series with the LED and diode. And FWIW, I used 5600 ohm resistors with the flashing green LEDs (0.25 mA) and they were bright enough that I darkened them with a Sharpie to make them a bit less ferocious.
LED circuit for motorcycle use.gif
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#6

Post by Sidecar Bob »

And then the flasher. Here's what it looked like when I removed the shelter
09 - Inside shelter (before).jpg


And here's what it looks like now.
10 - Inside shelter (after).jpg

BTW: As you can see, I've made a few little changes in there over the years. Unfortunately, I don't have a pic of what it looked like originally and the closest I could find online was the one below. But it is an '82, which is slightly different from my '83 and is taken from an angle because of the fairing. If anyone has a pic of the inside of a stock '83 taken from an angle similar to my pics above I would really appreciate if you could post it in this thread so I can add it to my archives.
Inside shelter - left (original) .jpg
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Fred Camper
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#7

Post by Fred Camper »

Detailed progress, thank you for the update.
Proud member of the NGW Cartel (Rochester MI)
1977 GL1000 BADDOG (April 2012 BOTM)
1976 LTD - '993 LTD...and so it begins'

You should remember that it's peace of mind you're after and not just fixing the machine. R.Pirsig
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Sidecar Bob
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#8

Post by Sidecar Bob »

It only took me a month to remember to take video of the new signals when it was a good time to do it and I decided to show all of the lights while I was at it.
The ones with 2 strips (rear on the 'Wing, front on the CX) often get out of synch if I lave them running for a while but I have never seen the strips start out of synch like the rear right did when I took the video (I'm not worried, though because it is still obviously a signal).
The flashing green LED instrument panel indicators work really well and I think I've stopped noticing the solid green light to indicate that the headlight is on and reaching to switch the turn signals off.

Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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Fred Camper
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#9

Post by Fred Camper »

Looks great to me, very visible and better for distant vision issues.
Proud member of the NGW Cartel (Rochester MI)
1977 GL1000 BADDOG (April 2012 BOTM)
1976 LTD - '993 LTD...and so it begins'

You should remember that it's peace of mind you're after and not just fixing the machine. R.Pirsig
User avatar
Sidecar Bob
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Re: LED turn signals without any flasher

#10

Post by Sidecar Bob »

Updated version of the circuit for using LEDs on motorcycles showing how to connect the actual parts (for any LED indicator, not just flashing LEDs)
LED circuit for motorcycle use.gif
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Mr. Honda ('83 GL1100/Dnepr) summer New Engine Thread
The Famous Eccles ('84 CX650EI/VeloUral) winter Never Ending Build (CX500forum)
Click: Colour schematics for all GL1000 & GL1100 and GL1200 standard models plus instructions on how to download the full size version
"A guy with two sidecars can't be all bad." - Cookie
Another guy with two sidecars..... Hmmmm... must be something to that....
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