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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, all,
I've been thinking about putting some body lighting on my red Kawasaki Ninja EX250, but I can't decide what color would look good. Any ideas?

You can see what my bike looks like on my avatar or on my web site.

I'm kind of thinking that yellow might look good. What do you guys think?

As for the technology to use, I'm thinking about just using LED's for the lights. They're cheap and small. I'm thinking I could string a few of them together in series to match my voltage so I don't need a resistor.

Maybe if I'm ambitious, I might try two colors, which would make a third color if they're both turned on. For instance, red and yellow LED's would let me make the lights red, yellow, or orange.

I'm open to all opinions.
Curt
 

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Hey there, nice bike, nice website too. I also got my bike from ebay, I got a 99 500R and I went to pick it up, it was like 2-3 hours away. But it is also red, it really looks just like yours, and I was also thinking of getting lights, but not yet, but I think that red lights would look really awesome on a red ninja, I doubt orange would be that great, yellow might be ok, but I think red would be the best. But I wonder how blue would look, it might look ok. But when you make up your mind, please post pics of how it looks, especially at night.

Good luck,
Jonathan
 

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Road Snot Needs A Kleenex
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I've got a 2002 Red Ninja 500R myself and am looking to do the lighting thing. I've looked into the "Laser" or "Hyper" LED lights.

As for color, I would have to agree and say Red lighting on a Red bike would look the best, but purple my work with it too.

My plan of attack fo my bike was to drop the bellypan, do the inside of it with chrome body tape to make it more reflective and drop a couple of LED's there for some engine glow, along with some in the rear wheel fender for a soft glow over the rear tire. I'm also considering wiring in a couple above the rear wheel to only light when the brake is applied also. Should look good with the fender eliminator kit I put on last year.
 

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I would look cool if you could make more lights turn on when you go faster. Not sure if that's really posible, or might be more work than you're looking at doing. Go with red lights to accent the color of the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay, I can get the hint. I got three responses, and everyone says I should use red. I really thought red wouldn't show up on a red bike, but now that I think about it, at night the red body of the bike isn't so noticeable, so maybe red lights are exactly what I need.

I think that blue or purple or green reflecting off the red paint would just look like no light at all, but I might be wrong about that. And I thought that red on red would look like white, like when you use a red flashlight to read a map. That's why I was thinking about yellow.

Anyway, the general consensus is red, and I think you guys may be right. I might still try the two color thing, so I can use red or yellow or both (orange?). I was thinking I'd put controller switches on the fairing by the instruments. That's the same place I'm planning to put my digital ammeter when I'm finished building it.

Curt
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, now it's four for four votes for red.

The body lights at stores and online cost a few bucks, but plain LED's are 10 cents or less, and since they're so small, I could put them anywhere. That's why I'm thinking about using LED's.

Hey, ljangell,
Your profile says you have an interest in electronics, so you are automatically an expert. Everyone warns me about hooking up LED's without a matching resistor because the LED's will get fried. I'm not sure whether voltage or current is the problem, but I think they go hand in hand.

Here's what I'm thinking. My Ninja has about 14V when it's running. So if want the LED's to have 2 volts each, I just string seven of them in series. But I have in the back of my mind that when residential electricity was just becoming popular, they decided on AC instead of DC because the voltage would drop from house to house, and the person on the end of the line would have very little power. Am I doing something wrong? Can I just wire seven LED's together (more or less depending on the target voltage) and have them all light evenly with no resistor?

Curt
 

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re

curt-have you looked at spider lights? single or 2 color led's with all the proper wiring(simple to install) and set up to add on more lighting by just plugging the additional lights into the harness that comes with the kit-i use them on my bikes and they are awesome :wink:
i attached mine with velcro under the tank so they can be easily removed without de-wiring them.keep in mind that plain ole led's will cast light in one direction-these lights have some sort of diffuser that cast the light 360 degress for more effect :D
 

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check your local state laws first before doing red or blue lights, people here in Florida get tickets all the time for " impersonating a cop " even tho the lights do not blink/flash

just a heads up..
 

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LED's

Check with Radio shack even the guy on the FORUM that gives us a discount because his father owns the buisness. They get wired in Parallel. The Led's are polarity sensative and they just won's work if you hook them up backwards/reverse polarity...this is a goot thing! Anyway the long side is the negative and the short side is the Positive side...and they come not only in different colors but in different voltage ratings, thus eliminating either a resistor, or better yet a ZENER Diode (voltage diode about the size of a small LED). You should staw away from Blue for obvious reasons in various states, and even flashing in various states...you can most likely get by with a flashing/rotating brake-light though. because it really never goes out it g=just gets brighter as it rotates and goes back to its normal brightness when it is not rotating...the already set up strings that are offered on the web sites or even somewhere in teis forum are the way to go. Doing it all by hand and shrinkwrapping and soldering is VERY time consuming...buying them is cheap and the work! IF you have any more questions or ANYTHING, I appreciate helping.
 

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Road Snot Needs A Kleenex
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When it's time to do my lighting, I'm going to use some R/C car battery/motor connectors for ease of disassembly at main connection points. I've had good luck with them in water/sand with the R/C Car's and trucks.

I plan to use either the Duratrax Powerpole low resistance connectors or the AstroFlight Zero Loss low resistance Connectors in my wiring. Both are suppose to be close the the resistance level of 13 gauge wire.


 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to everyone for suggestions and advice!

I'm still going to try using discreet LED's instead of manufactured motorcycle lighting. I figure that if I don't like the results I can always pull it out and go for the good stuff. LED's are a fair amount of work, but they're dirt cheap.

And now for the color . . . (drum roll please) . . .

RED . . . and GREEN . . . and BLUE!

I bought some green LED's and some blue LED's, and I still need to buy the red ones. I figure that if I wire them in series with a potentiometer, then I can control the brightness of each color. I think that with these three colors I can mix them to get every color imaginable. Like I could mix red and green to get yellow, or turn down the green and it becomes orange. Cool? The three potentiometers would be mounted on the fairing by the instruments.

And I'll be sure I don't use red or blue for street riding.

This will be a project, and it will take me quite some time to get started, much less finished, but I will post some pics.

Curt
 

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I don't know about where you live but here in MA. some cops will and some cops won't give you a hard time over lights. If you use red or blue lights allmost all of them would give you a hard time, only because those colors are for emergency vehicles only.
 

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Series vrs Parallel

The major problem you run into in wiring series is that if your first led/lamp dies then so does the path for current...no lights...if they are wired in parallel the all but the one burnt out will be working. series is easy to check sort of, but parallel is ultimately the best situation. You have one hell of a task in front of you, but sometimes doing it yourself is a lot more fun than buying it all prewired. Besides runing it through a fuse I would run it from a relay off of the lights before the LED's that way should you have either a light problem or a relay problem you are isolated and have better protetion should something happen and you get a short. I think it's cool! I love the LED's and now they are in 12Vdc so you don't have to worry about running a Zenier Diode (voltage diode) in line or a rectifier or whatever old state of the ARC wiring they used to have...including a rheostat or variable resistor setup...good luck and keep us up to date on the project. Personally I'm going to instal "Glow Wire" on mine through a fuse and relay, without the use of a switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Re: Series vrs Parallel

I know just enough about electronics to be dangerous. I did a lot of studying about LED's. Everyone tells me I must use a resistor, even though I could just string a bunch of LED's in series to cut the voltage. In every calculation I did I just divided the LED voltage by the LED current to determine the LED resistance. But it finally sunk in where the flaw is in my calculation and why the resistor is so important. LED's do not have fixed resistance like a resistor. So if the voltage goes up, the resistance can actually go down, and then the current goes way up and fries the LED. That's why everyone tells me to use a resistor instead of putting the LED's in series. So if the voltage goes higher than I expect, the LED current only goes up a little, and the LED still works.

You're right that I also have the problem of "when one goes out they all go out." But I just can't "resist" (pun intended) the temptation to try it anyway. It's just so much more efficient to not use a resistor. I'm planning to light the air scoop under the radiator first. The red LED's I bought are rated for 2.0V. So I can string seven of them together to match the 14V on my Ninja. If my voltage goes much higher than that I'll fry the LED's and be out about 18 cents (if they can all burn out simultaneously). I just have to try it. If they don't burn out, then I'll try additional colors and additonal locations. If they do burn out, then I'll probably step back and put about three or four LED's in a series with a matching resistor.

That's how I have it figured. If I'm wrong I'll find out pretty soon.

I also saw a chart of maximum LED current as a function of ambient temperature. If the temperature is over 104F, then the maximum current drops significantly. That's no problem for body lights, but it will be a problem for engine lighting.

Thanks for the reminder to put a fuse in the system. I should have thought of that.

And I like rlovrin1's idea to put chrome inside that scoop.

Curt
 
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