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Here's a walk-through of a project I started today... just had to share. Click any picture to see it larger.

I've been wanting some high-visibility brake lights on my GT200 ever since I bought it. The stock taillight is pretty bright, but it's an incandescent bulb and just can't match the light output of some of the LED lights that have come on the market recently. Rather than replace the stock taillight with an LED system, though, I decided to add on some cool retro-look bullet lights.

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I got these from Kuryakyn (exact product page is here) who seems to carry a lot of motorcycle cruiser customization parts. They complement the styling of my GT200 pretty well, and they're extremely bright. The wires lead out of the light housing through the bolt hole (it comes with hollow bolts) making for a very clean installation.

First step: find a place to mount them. I agonized over the mount location for over a week, until it dawned on me that there was really only one possibility if I still wanted my already-tight fitted cover to still fit over my scooter -- the bullets would have to be mounted under the top case, where there's some extra room in the cover.

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Next step: Start drilling some holes. I drilled a pilot hole from underneath the top case, using the reinforced grid on the bottom to line things up. Drilling a pilot hole in plastic is always a good idea because larger bits (a) wander around while you get the hole started, and (b) tend to gouge the plastic horribly when they break through.

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Once the pilot holes were drilled, I widened out the hole with a step bit. Step bits are a bit on the expensive side, but they're wholly worthwhile when you're dealing with plastic or aluminum or even sheet metal. I didn't measure the diameter of the bolt to determine how much to widen, I just checked every step or two until it fit snugly through the hole.

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Here's where it got a little bit hairy: the base of each bullet light is a bit bigger than the rectangles in the reinforced grid underneath the top case. I could have used a washer to stand-off the base somewhat and sit it below the reinforced grid, but I opted instead just to modify the gridwork a bit with an xacto knife. It's not pretty, but it's just plastic, and no one will ever see it (except the readers of this forum ).

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The hollow bolts are also a bit long for this application, so I cut them down with the handy Dremel cut-off wheel. I then fed the wires through the bolt, assembled everything, and tightened it down.

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Here's the lights in the OFF mode. Don't be fooled by the bright white coming out of them -- that's just the reflected camera flash.

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Here they are in the ON position. I haven't actually wired them into the GT200 yet, I just used a battery tender to power the lights temporarily to get an idea of how they looked. The photo does not do these lights justice -- they are very bright, well over what the camera can represent when the rest of the picture is properly exposed.

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Here's another shot from an angle:

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And one more, this time in the OFF position again:

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My plan is to wire these into my scooter with a wig-wag device, which will give the two lights an alternating flashing pattern for a few seconds before going to solid-ON when I hit the brakes. I've seen motorcycles with this setup, and it really gets your attention, even from several blocks away. Two alternating flashing lights has a pretty immediate effect on our brains, for whatever reason, and that's just the kind of thing I want cagers to notice.
⚠️ Last edited by jess on UTC; edited 1 time
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@jess avatar
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Petty Tyrant
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UTC quote
Bullet Lights, Part II
Here's part II of the bullet light project, where they actually get hooked up. This shouldn't really be that hard, except that it took me most of the day to figure out where to splice in the lights, how to route the wires, and what kind of quick-disconnect to put on it if I ever want to remove my top case. Hopefully this posting will save someone out there some time.

After poking around the scooter, removing various panels, and tracing the wiring harness through all of it's twists and turns, I settled on splicing into the harness on the right-hand side, toward the back, underneath the right rear fairing. It's almost the only place where the brake and turn signals are actually accessible, and then only barely. Here you can see the harness where it branches between the brake assembly and the right turn signal assembly. The left turn signal branches farther along, underneath where you can't really see it. The red piece of tape is the branch for the brake lights.

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I then carefully sliced open the loom to expose the wires.

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The pink wire goes to the left turn signal:

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The blue / white striped wire goes to the right turn signal:

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The black / white striped wire goes to the brake lights:

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The yellow wire goes to the running lights:

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I'm actually not ready for the turn signal wiring yet, as I haven't settled on what kind of LED turn signals I'll be using yet. However, I figured if I'm going to fish some wires through the scooter up to the top case, I might as well do all of them at once. I didn't use the running light wiring at all -- I hope I don't regret that in the future.

There's also a ground wire running through this harness, but I decided to run the ground wire from the nice big lug that serves as the main grounding point on the scooter, which is under the seat on the left hand side.

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Next step is to actually splice the wires. Splice might be a bit too strong -- I'm actually using some plastic taps with a blade the cuts the insulation and contacts the metal wire inside.

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Next I taped up the harness to keep it relatively weatherproof, like so:

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I then taped up my new wiring for several feet and fished it through the scooter. The route I took was between the right rear fender and the gas tank. There's a small space in there that you should be able to find if you poke around with something semi-rigid. I used a twig I found on the ground.

The wire then comes out right around what I think is the sending unit for the gas tank.

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From there it gets tucked up under the lip near the seat latch, and then straight back to the left (if you were facing forward) of the seat latch mechanism. There's a small space there that allows the wire harness to come out through some grates behind and just under the seat, where the seat meets the cargo rack on the back.

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Here are the wires, with the harness stripped back and socket pins soldered on. Don't ask how I got them soldered in that spot. You can also see the ground wire here, which came out behind the seat in a similar way.

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Here's the same wires with a handy connector, all taped up and weatherproof.

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Okay -- that does it for the wiring inside the scooter proper. Now for the top case. I started by drilling a pilot hole facing downward from a ledge inside the top case.

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Then I reamed out the hole to approximately the diameter of the second wiring harness.

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Then I connected the brake light wire to the two L.E.D. bullet lights and taped off the tail light wires for later. I left it kind of loose because I still have to acquire and connect a wig-wag unit to make the two bullet brake lights do the alternating flash before going solid after a few seconds of braking.

Here's the two conectors together on the outside of the top case. You can't really see them at all when the seat is down.

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text
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Looks pretty swank.
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Looks pretty swank

Thanks, Bryce. This is the kind of project I really love, for some reason. On every vehicle I own, I seem to gravitate toward electrical stuff and rewiring. Not sure why -- it's not like I'm an electrician or anything -- just one of those things.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has done or is thinking of doing any LED or other electrical projects. Always looking for a new idea...
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UTC quote
i have some blue LEDs tucked behind the side radiator vents & one set under the back of the seat vents (i lopped off my rear rack)
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UTC quote
i have some blue LEDs tucked behind the side radiator vents & one set under the back of the seat vents (i lopped off my rear rack)

You know I want to see some pictures of that, right?
⬆️    About 1 month elapsed    ⬇️
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NapaCoach wrote:
i have some blue LEDs tucked behind the side radiator vents & one set under the back of the seat vents (i lopped off my rear rack)
matt, would love to see photos of the back seat vent LEDs.
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UTC quote
Brilliant Jess! The wig-wag will grab drivers attention and could pay off big time in the piece of mind/do they see me department. Very good idea and thanks for the detailed directions with photos.
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Molto Verboso
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you should be doing instruction manuals for piaggio,
your instructions and pics are excellent!, btw the mod is cool too.
jess wrote:
Looks pretty swank

Thanks, Bryce. This is the kind of project I really love, for some reason. On every vehicle I own, I seem to gravitate toward electrical stuff and rewiring. Not sure why -- it's not like I'm an electrician or anything -- just one of those things.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has done or is thinking of doing any LED or other electrical projects. Always looking for a new idea...
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LX 150
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A while back I swapped the rear bulbs on a Beemer for led "bulbs" which were supposed to be super bright. Well, they were very bright, but you had to be looking straight down the back of the MC to see them. The angle of projection was very narrow. Have you noticed anything like this with these lamps? I sent the leds back.
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Dixiecrat wrote:
A while back I swapped the rear bulbs on a Beemer for led "bulbs" which were supposed to be super bright. Well, they were very bright, but you had to be looking straight down the back of the MC to see them. The angle of projection was very narrow. Have you noticed anything like this with these lamps?
That's a pretty common problem with some of the older LED bulb replacements that I've seen, especially the ubiquitous 1156 and 1157 type bulb replacements. These bullet lights are sold as a unit, i.e. LED panel + housing + lens, and it's a good match. The lens does a good job of diffusing the LEDs to a reasonable angle.

I've also seen some newer LED replacement bulbs that have the LEDs oriented around the outside of the unit, facing sideways and even slightly backwards, in addition to forwards. The idea is that a regular incandescent bulb radiates approximately in a sphere, while LEDs emit directly out the top of the device. By aiming some LEDs in other directions, it more closely approximates the characteristics of an incandescent bulb, which is then usually bounced back by the reflective housing that most automotive and cycle bulbs are mounted in. This ends up resulting in a more diffuse pattern of light coming through the lens instead of the specular light typical of LEDs.

Part of the problem, too, is that most lenses are designed with incandescent bulbs in mind, and these just don't work very well with LEDs. More diffusion at the lens would allow the light from LEDs to be scattered at a wider angle, with a resultant reduction in specular light transmission directly in front of the LEDs.
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UTC quote
That was the neatest mod I'd ever seen someone do themselves

Matt's gill lights are neat but they don't add safety along with style
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Nice project!

When comparing the brightness of LEDs to filament bulbs, its important to compare using a consistent metric. Lumens is a consistent metric. Also, keep in mind that the use of lens, and light diffusion, generate losses. The more light bends or travels through a medium, the more light is absorbed or deflected.
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that is a very slick addition and by far the best job of documentation I have ever seen. Thanks Jess.
⬆️    About 1 year elapsed    ⬇️
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Jess

Great documentation on the project. I want to do someting similar by putting LED's behind the lenses in the top case and add the modulator. Going to be a winter project. Question: has anyone done this to a GTS and are the colors of the wires etc. the same as in Jess's post. Unlike Jess, I am electrically challenged but want the added safety on the scoot for my wife.
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V Spot wrote:
has anyone done this to a GTS and are the colors of the wires etc. the same as in Jess's post.
The wires are the same colors. I used the same technique to tap into the wiring harness on my GTS to add the integrated brake light on my GIVI top case.
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Olivia Newton-John
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jess:

go to my website www.opshd.com, click on parts + accessories, then on turn signals. if you're ever in the mood to do a mod with a set of these, let me know, i'd be willing to send you a set so that i could get a pic off them on a vespa. until now, i've only been selling them to harley people, but i think they'd look good on a scooter. i'm out of the yellow element ones, but i've got a set of red ones you can use.
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This is from Chads site above:

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⚠️ Last edited by TFauch on UTC; edited 1 time
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Olivia Newton-John
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Olivia Newton-John
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thanks, i was too lazy to do that myself Laughing emoticon
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Don't forget the other view 8) And Jess has a new GIVI for his red GTS. Hmmm Laughing emoticon

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UTC quote
this is a great write up, this might have just inspired me to a similiar mod. The top case for the LX has a non operational brake light on it. It looks like it should be a second brake light however is just a strip of red plastic. I might look into putting a couple LED's in there and wiring them up to function with the other brake light. Thanks for the idea!
⬆️    About 2 months elapsed    ⬇️
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LEDS
I like the LED ideas they are low voltage and look great. I own an ET4 150cc and just installed the clear euro style turn signal and right away had to modify. Three super bright blue LEDS in each light did the trick. I used 3 volt LEDS with a 510 ohm resistor to bring the 12volt system down to the 3 volts I needed. I also wanted park lights so i place the LEDS on a switch, they can stay on for hours with little battery drain. would like to post pics but don't know how for this mod
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UTC quote
Great post Jess, I have done something similiar with more less expensive led lights so I will post them once I take pics. My main question is that I'm interested in installing those same type of kuryaken lights but for the front as driving lights or amber lights. Does anyone know if this has been done or can it be done?
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flcruzr wrote:
Great post Jess, I have done something similiar with more less expensive led lights so I will post them once I take pics. My main question is that I'm interested in installing those same type of kuryaken lights but for the front as driving lights or amber lights. Does anyone know if this has been done or can it be done?
I think the critical question would be where to mount them on the front. If you had a rack (or front crash bars) Kuryakyn sells P-Clamps that you could use to attach them. Other than that, I don't see why you couldn't do it.
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