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How To: Make Your Own Low Wattage Blinkers
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DandyDan
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Joined: 17 Oct 2007
Posts: 1076
Location: Victoria, BC

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: How To: Make Your Own Low Wattage Blinkers Reply with quote

Problem:
I don't know how widespread this problem is but my 1983 Beluga suffers from a lack of electrical generation. I don't know how many watts my alternator is putting out but it sure isn't very much because whenever I flick on the blinkers the extra 34W of draw (17W/bulb) means by headlight and taillight blink off whenever the blinkers go on. When my Beluga is just putting along just the headlight (23W) and taillight (5W) are on for a total of 28W and they work fine. However, if you turn the blinkers on (an extra 34W) that you are using more than double the juice which in my case exceeds what is available.

Solution:
The solution is to either create more juice (clean the stator and magnets, run at higher RPMs, get a new/better stator etc) or use less of it (lower wattage bulbs). I ordered a couple extra brakelight bulbs for spares last week and I noticed that the taillight is only 5W yet it is adequately bright. 5W of lighting seems totally sufficient for the blinkers yet they draw 17W each for a total of 34W every time you flick em on. This got me wondering if there is a way to use the 5W taillight bulb in the blinkers to lower the wattage. The following is what I did to use them:

1 - Pick yourself up 4 of the 1154 brakelight bulbs from Canadian Tire or another automotive parts store. They costed me $3.89 for two bulbs:


2 - As you can see below, the stock turnsignal bulb (right) has two knobs near the bottom whereas the brakelight has one and the bottom and one part of the way up. This is so you get the bulb right side up in the taillight. In order to use it in your blinkers you need to file off the abnormal knob which easily files off with the file on your Swiss Army knife.


3 - If you've done step 2 correctly then your brake light bulb should now easily fit into your turnsignal socket. Now you need to find a way to get the taillight terminal connected with the turnsignal terminal in the socket. The stock taillight bulb has a single terminal in the center (because there's one filament) whereas the brakelight has two terminals as you can see below:
[

Since the brakelight has two terminals and we want the 5W one to light up first you need to identify which one it is....obviously it's the small filament as shown below:


What you need to do now is use some electrical tape to cover up the higher wattage brakelight terminal. You can use trial and error like I did to figure out which terminal lights up which filament or you can just learn from me and hold the bulb with the 23W filament upwards and then it's on your right:


5) The last step is to get the remaining bare offcenter terminal connected with the center turnsignal terminal. To do this you need to insert something into the socket to effectlvely widen the terminal. You can use a bit of wire or metal. I clipped a bit of metal off a hose clamp and inserted it. I know it sounds ghetto but it works great:


6) Now get the rest of the turnsignals done and go for a ride. Your blinkers should now be blinking brighter than before and your other lights won't be flashing off as the blinkers flash on. If your blinkers aren't flashing then you probably haven't tossed in an aftermarket flasher relay yet (6Vrelay.com) for $15 + $3 shipping which will flash regardless of the load unlike the stock relay which only flashes if your load is bang on.


Last edited by DandyDan on Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:44 pm; edited 4 times in total
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pics are coming soon but in the mean time here are a few additional important comments:

- You will need a variable load flasher relay for this to work. These are available at www.6Vrelay.com for $15 + $3 shipping. If your blinkers aren't blinking at all now you likely need one of these anyways. The stock relay is designed to only work if your load is within a narrow range so often old alternators won't have enough juice to hit this range. Aftermarket relays don't care what your load is so any old Beluga with non-blinking signals is going to need one even if you aren't planning on doing this mod.

- I have done this on one side of my scooter and the other side is stock. I was out riding last night and it was obvious that the properly illuminating 5 watt bulbs were quite a bit brighter than the hardly illuminating 17W bulbs so don't think you are going to be less visible if you do this.
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DandyDan
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Joined: 17 Oct 2007
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Location: Victoria, BC

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This site sells a bunch of 6V bulbs and they sell lower wattage versions of them. I'm going to look into this more and see if I can use one of the taillight bulbs:

http://www.scooterworks.com/Bulbs_6_Volt_C122.cfm
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roadcapDen
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 404
Location: Burlington, ON CDA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Dan, just a thought...if i may...

Have you cleaned off the rust / dirt etc (if any) from inside the flywheel magnets and on the stator pick up coils?

My old Allstate Vespa was all rusted up inside so the electric's weren't getting thru as well as they should.
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DandyDan
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Location: Victoria, BC

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No I haven't....that sounds like a great suggestion. The thought briefly occured to me but I brushed it off thinking it likely wouldn't make a difference. I'm pretty to the whole old scooter scene since I bought my two previous scooters new so it's good to hear from you that this may help.

I'll pop the fan cover, fan and flywheel off sometime this weekend (hopefully) and see what that does. I hate electrical problems but hopefully I have patience enough to haul out my multimeter and see how much voltage I'm making so I can compare before and after the cleaning.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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roadcapDen
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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 404
Location: Burlington, ON CDA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The magneto magnets loosing thier charge can also happen, but usually on older bikes than yours, I had my old 1958 Vespa remagged.

They wouldn't let me post a link but you can look under
scooterworks,
flywheels,
re-magnetizing
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roadcapDen

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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay I'll check those sites out. Thanks a lot!

It is lame that you need to have 5 posts and be a member for 5 days before you can post pics and links.

I should mention that when I'm riding at any speed above 10-20km/hr my scoot is making enough juice to run everything now that I've got low wattage blinkers. At idle, when I grab the brakes the running light goes out and the brakelight starts to come on but it takes a few seconds for the bulb to fully light up so by the time it's lit up you forgot how bright the running light was so you can't really tell it's the brighter brakelight that is on....it just looks like my taillight blinks. At speed this happens a lot faster and I would say my brakelight is functioning adequately.

Another issue I'd love to solve but I'm not really sure how to is my electric starter. Everything works but it turns my engine over incredibly slowly. There is no chance my engine would ever catch turning over that slow. I don't think it's a battery issue because my battery is brand new and even fresh off the charger it's the same story. One idea I had was that it could be the brushes in the starter motor. I don't really know what these do but it seems to suggest in the service manual that these need to be replaced every so often when they wear down so perhaps that is my issue?
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I added pics and changed the text in my initial post...I'm planning on cleaning my stator and magnets soon.
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To conclude this thread, now that I have my stator/magneto cleaned out and my voltage regulator hooked up properly I no longer need these low wattage blinkers. My recommendation is that people clean these areas and make sure their wiring is hooked up correctly before creating low wattage blinkers which should be a last resort.
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've learned that the CV80's magneto is rated at only 48 watts max output @ 8000 RPM. Since magneto output is rises linearly compared to RPM, at 6000 RPM (a realistic cruising RPM) you'd be outputting about 36 watts. This is ridiculously low!

Consider:
Headlight: 23W
Taillight: 5W
Dash lighting: 3W

So that's 31 watts right there, which leaves you with about 5 watts as you're cruising along to run stuff like your horn, blinkers (37W!), taillight (25W), dash indicator lights (3W each), sparkplug and charge the battery.

Imagine you're cruising along at 6000 RPM (36 watts) and then you see a corner approaching so you flick on the signals (+37 watts) and start braking (+ 25 watts). At this point you'd be requiring about triple the watts available. Hopefully you don't have to use the horn!

For comparison, a Vespa P80 from this period is rated at 80 watts. I'm really surprised that Yamaha did this.

On the positive side, it's reassuring to know that my CV80 is normal in that you can't operate the horn the blinkers at the same time (the horn goes silent whenever the blinker flashes) and that the taillight and headlight dim when you flick on the signals, use the horn or hit the brakes. The electrical system proportionately distributes the available power so when you add additional load then everything else should dim.

Does anyone know if the magneto output is something that can be altered? Perhaps by getting it re-wound? Or by using a magneto from another scooter?
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roadcapDen
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Location: Burlington, ON CDA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dunno, how about another battery for LED lights?
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where would you put another battery? Perhaps using LEDs is a good idea though. I know you can get LED brakelights for 12V applications so maybe there are 6V ones available (or maybe we can just toss the 12V bulbs in).

In thinking about wiring in a 12V cigarette lighter, mainly for the novelty of it. Is this a good idea? My thinking is that since our scoots are 6V, this lighter will simply be underpowered but hopefully it'll still heat up enough to light a cigar. Is this correct? Or is there a chance I blow something up?
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leeaustex
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Joined: 11 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:23 pm    Post subject: 12V in 6V Reply with quote

It is my understanding that a 12V application in a 6V system will just result in the 12V component running at lower power, but it shouldn't blow anything up.

A far as the LEDs go, I've been thinking about trying to replace my blinkers and tail light with LEDs but a friend of mine that has a 6V moped replaced his with lights from superbrightleds.com and they worked great for about a day and then blew up.

So, I'm not sure if I want to drop the cash on them to just have them. I'd sure like to find someone who has successfully converted to LED though. They are wya brighter and pull so much less wattage one probably wouldn't experince the dimming issue and the horn might work with the turn signal on Smile
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: 12V in 6V Reply with quote

leeaustex wrote:
It is my understanding that a 12V application in a 6V system will just result in the 12V component running at lower power, but it shouldn't blow anything up.

Thanks, it's reassuring to hear this. Unfortunately, I connected my 12V lighter to the spare 6V battery I have laying around the house and it seems like it doesn't get hot enough to light a smoke. It gets pretty hot so maybe if I held it in for a longer time then it would light but I couldn't get it to light my Captain Black just now.

leeaustex wrote:
A far as the LEDs go, I've been thinking about trying to replace my blinkers and tail light with LEDs but a friend of mine that has a 6V moped replaced his with lights from superbrightleds.com and they worked great for about a day and then blew up.

So, I'm not sure if I want to drop the cash on them to just have them. I'd sure like to find someone who has successfully converted to LED though. They are wya brighter and pull so much less wattage one probably wouldn't experince the dimming issue and the horn might work with the turn signal on Smile

That sucks your friends blew up....kinda scary. I wonder if you'd need to do some more advanced wiring (resistors and stuff) to get them working safely? I did convert to LED blinkers on my last scoot (12 volt Honda Ruckus) and that worked well once I got the proper variable load flasher relay. I haven't tried the LED taillights and stuff though.
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DandyDan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the fiche for the magneto. What parts determine the output? #3? #4? The magnets in the flywheel?

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