Author Topic: LED trim lights  (Read 1245 times)

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Offline Tour1

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LED trim lights
« on: December 20, 2014, 12:04:48 am »
It was a warm day last Monday and I though I was driving a jeep, a small herd of sport bikes went by.  Some of them had LED trim lights and in the dark they really helped define the bikes as bikes.  With vertical patterns near the tail light it was obvious when the bike leaning to swerve, too.  They also helped to identify the tail light as a separate object compared to various car tail lights in the background.
I'm thinking these LED lights are more than decorative.  I'd go with amber just to be traditional with truck's clearance lights, but the red, blue, and green ones did make it easy to tell one bike from another.  I'm not sure which colors are legal, or if any are not legal when they are small accent lights.  I figure the amber ones must be ok.
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Offline suprPHREAK

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Re: LED trim lights
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2015, 10:32:40 am »
Depending on your local laws, various colours may have different levels of legality, but generally these rules are true:

White may only project forward
Red may only project backward
Amber is good wherever.

The topic of accent lighting has been discussed to no end on other motorcycle forums and tuner car forums, usually with endless bickering involved. The only way to get answers is to read your state or provinces laws, which at a minimum will define what colour combinations are reserved for specific use, or prohibited from general use (for example, blue-flashing for snow plows, or red flashing for emergency vehicles).

My advice, from experience being a young guy with LEDs on his bike: the less visible the bulb is, the more leeway you get. If you see the linked picture, my old SV650, it is adorned with blue lights, which are generally speaking reserved for police and snow plows. However, since the bulbs themselves were not visible (did not "project") to the front, they infringed upon no laws. (ignore the marker lights in the headlights...those got me hassle!)

http://www.bikepics.com/pics/2007/10/04/bikepics-1045574-full.jpg

Ultimately, your goal is visibility, so play with the light arrangements until you find something that suits your needs and wants, but just be smart about it.

NOTE: even if a colour is reserved for a seasonal vehicle, that colour is prohibited year round. Not many snow plows in July, but the law is the law.

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Offline Tour1

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Re: LED trim lights
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 10:43:18 pm »
I ordered enough LEDs and resistors to outline the plastics, but they're diffuse, like a house light bulb, so they won't "project" IMHO.  It didn't seem necessary to check the laws but you've changed my mind about that.
I plan ambers for the front and sides with a lesser quantity of reds in the back.
I haven't figured out the mechanical attachment or wiring yet, just want each LED in parallel and able to take the full 12 to 15 volts without a separate regulator.
I'd like it to be easy to identify as a motorcycle (or object that one should avoid hitting) at a glance, but it shouldn't create a distraction for the rider or nearby riders/drivers.

Even with an inefficient resistor circuit the total draw will be about an amp (for the 20mA max each that's 50 LEDs, and 100 if the current is 10mA each.)  Brightness is proportional to current so some experimentation is needed.
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