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LED Replacement Bulbs for Gen 1 Speedo Assembly


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#1 Ignacio

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:08 PM

Those with Gen 1 bikes know the ass-pain to replace the instrument cluster/speedometer bulbs when they burn out. You rack up miles and time on your bike when one of the four speedometer assembly lights burn out or goes intermittent. Gen 2 owners are fortunate to have redesigned dashes with LEDs stock and up to this point...Gen 1 owners haven't had very good options for aftermarket LED bulbs.

That potentially changed when our Illustrious Illuminati Ionbeam sourced these potential 120 degree LED replacement lights from SuperbrightLEDs.com. And since I had the nose off my old FJR and going to take the nose off my new FJR...a perfect time to drop $30 and do some experimentation.

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I bought a few different colors mostly in the 120 degree variety, but a white 100 degree light just in case and tried it first. First pick is with a 100 degree white LED in place..and pretty obvious hot spot around the 160mph area. I also noticed the 100 degree lights have an extra long bit of plastic glued to them and would interfere with part of the panel in one of the positions. Also note the LEDs have a polarity, so if the light doesn't turn on you have to remove it and install 180 degrees differently.

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Then a stock light bulb on the left and 100 on the right for comparison. Notice the even fill of the stock light. However, the color of the lights is very similar.

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Then I tried a 120 degree white LED instead of the 100. Exposure is brighter, but the fill seems a little better. Still a bit of a hot spot, but not as bad.

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Then let's try 4 white 120 degree LEDs....pretty decent with some hotspots and glare....but 99 years of life or 25,000 miles for the stockers? You decide.

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And since I was spending $4 on shipping anyway....how about $9 for some blue LEDs? I didn't hold out a lot of hope, but I gotta tell you in the dark...I REALLY like the blue and think it will be better on those long night desert rides!

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In summary, 4 NEO3-BHP High Power LED Instrument bulbs for the speedo/tach baclights. I like blue, 120 degree, and $2.29 each. Shipping is $4.39 in a nice bubble wrap envelope via USPS for a total of $13.52.


You can replace your OEM filament bulbs with your choice of blue, white, green, red, or amber from SuperbrightLEDS.com.

I'll report back after I go on a long ride with them and decide.

Ignacio with big props to Ionbeam



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And for the ultra-bonus. From left to right......Green-Blue-White-Amber 120 degree LEDs.
Don't try this at home....it's not safe! I'm what you call an LED ghey rainbow professional. ;)

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#2 JamesK

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:44 PM

Iggy, very nice, thanks. Now I almost feel bad that I don't have to do this :rolleyes:
Just thinking, while you've got the panel apart, why not try just a dab of black marker pen on the side of the LEDs where they give the washout? This is easily reversible but if it works a simple and permanent solution.
The other think I notice is that even the Blue (which would definitely) be my preferred color for the panel appears a little too bright, and might get distracting, annoying or both on moonless all-nighter rides. So why not experiment with sticking a small value resistor in series with the LEDs to see if you can get them to be a touch dimmer, more closely resembling the brightness of the stock incandescent bulbs?
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#3 Ignacio

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 09:58 PM

The stock bulbs are little glass globes, but LEDs are essentially one-sided 3mm flat squares where the light comes out. I don't think one can mask the right area with marker with the degree of precision to affect the hot spots. Maybe it's possible, but not something I'm going to fiddle with.

And wiring in resistors is way beyond what I want to try. These things plug into the back of the board with a satisfying twist and I want a reliable drop-in replacement--not experimental stuff that has a moderate chance of going out during a rally.
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#4 timk

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 05:04 AM

I like em!!!!!! I would like to see red ones, ala like the Pontiacs and fighter jet cockpits.
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#5 FJRMGM

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 05:08 AM

VERY NICE find and props to IonBeam for finding them. Sure wish they had them two years ago when I replaced my '05 dash lights.

that BLUE is very nice looking... Since they are LED once their in they should last longer than the bike.

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#6 timk

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 05:34 AM

How many do I need for speedo/tach, and can these be used in the tirn sigs also? Thanx
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#7 Ignacio

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 06:32 AM

How many do I need for speedo/tach,

Answered already in the post.

and can these be used in the tirn sigs also? Thanx

Go see the first link in the first post and that post talks about turn signal bulbs.
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#8 Fred W

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:48 AM

You know, there is something to be said for going with the red dash lights. When I was in the USN all of our instrument lights were red for a reason. It is much easier on your night vision. Blue would be exactly the opposite, though it is much more brilliant and would make reading the gauges easier.

Whenever I have to do this I'll be ordering both red and blue (what the hell, they are cheap enough) and pick what looks like it will work best.

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#9 FJR Flyer

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:22 AM

All the new combat aircraft now have green night lighting for the cockpit. This was done to be compatible with night vision goggles and systems. The red doesn't play well with them. Just an FYI.
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#10 Ignacio

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:28 AM

All the new combat aircraft now have green night lighting for the cockpit. This was done to be compatible with night vision goggles and systems.

Well, that's good to know...since I have a HUD unit to work with my handlebar mounted AR-15 and holographic night sights.

When I was in the USN all of our instrument lights were red for a reason. It is much easier on your night vision. Blue would be exactly the opposite, though it is much more brilliant and would make reading the gauges easier.


Dang. I was hoping for help with night vision with the blue. Looks like I've got to order some red bulbs and will leave the blues for my local cruising FJR. Thx though. I think the red bulbs will have a similar effect as the blue...just with a different hue.
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#11 Fred W

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:32 AM

Unless you want to use night vision goggles. :P

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#12 charismaticmegafauna

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:40 AM


When I was in the USN all of our instrument lights were red for a reason. It is much easier on your night vision. Blue would be exactly the opposite, though it is much more brilliant and would make reading the gauges easier.

Dang. I was hoping for help with night vision with the blue. Looks like I've got to order some red bulbs and will leave the blues for my local cruising FJR. Thx though. I think the red bulbs will have a similar effect as the blue...just with a different hue.

I've been thinking about this...
I think the USN policy (red lights @ night) was in place for leaving a lighted area and immediately having to notice something (that may be out-there...) in the black of night?
In the real-world (RW), there's usually/often alot of 'light pollution' out-there (maybe lots in the case of an accessorized rally-bike...?).
Maybe?, the blue hues (or some other...?) may be better for the RW...? :unsure:
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#13 wheatonFJR

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:01 AM

Very nice Ig.

Props to both you and Mr. 'Beam.

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#14 Fred W

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:07 AM

I've been thinking about this...
I think the USN policy (red lights @ night) was in place for leaving a lighted area and immediately having to notice something (that may be out-there...) in the black of night?


Yep, that is pretty much the definition of "night vision". When you expose your eyes to shorter wavelengths or a broader spectrum of light the pupils close down to prevent saturating the light receptors (rods and cones) in the retina. Problem is that there is a significant delay before the iris will open back up all the way.

In the real-world (RW), there's usually/often alot of 'light pollution' out-there (maybe lots in the case of an accessorized rally-bike...?).
Maybe?, the blue hues (or some other...?) may be better for the RW...? :unsure:


This is a valid point. If your irises are going to already be closed down due to other light sources, such as those you mention, then the higher frequencies of light (blue, green etc.) may make it easier to see the markings on those instruments.

I know BMW always put red dash lights in their cars (up until ~y2k anyway) purportedly for the night vision reasons. That doesn't mean it was the best thing to do.

Besides, the blue dash looks so cool, yo! B)

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#15 SkooterG

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:59 AM

I've been thinking about this...
I think the USN policy (red lights @ night) was in place for leaving a lighted area and immediately having to notice something (that may be out-there...) in the black of night?
In the real-world (RW), there's usually/often alot of 'light pollution' out-there (maybe lots in the case of an accessorized rally-bike...?).
Maybe?, the blue hues (or some other...?) may be better for the RW...? :unsure:

You got this half right.

The reason for red is to 'keep' your night vision after the 20-30 minutes it takes to acclimate to darkness. Once acclimated to the darkness, you don't wan't 'bright' white, blue, green, or whatever lights to ruin that. Hence the 'dim' red lights. Same reason lights have been red in aircraft for years.

As for new green lights in aircraft, I didn't know that. Interesting. Makes somewhat of sense in regards to the night vision equipment I suppose. Still, I wonder how they affect the eye's night vision?


As for you Iggy, great post. However they look to bright for me. From flying and Navy days I like dim dash lighting. Those look to bright for me. Not a big deal in the city environment, but when riding out in the middle of nowhere, I think the stock lighting is a bit bright and wish it had a dimmer.
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#16 Warchild

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 12:00 PM

Don't try this at home....it's not safe! I'm what you call an LED ghey rainbow professional.

Iggy speaketh the Truth.... few know more about ghey-ing up a FJR more than Ignacio. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Though I don't want to "out" him.... part of his therapy is to out himself.

Still, to give you an idea of how powerful his FJR ghey-ness factor is... after walking around his new FJR several times, Barb and Tyler don't seem anywhere near as hot as they once were, but Fairlaner and Bustanut are starting to look HAWT to me! :spruce_up:


Bottom line..... use appropriate safety measures when implementing the Iggy Ghey-ness Factor onto your FJR, because otherwise, your could end up looking like one of these guys below...

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#17 BkrK12

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 12:08 PM

Audi also used red instrument lighting for years (still might) to help preserve night vision. Also, the Gen II instrument lights (at least on my 2006) are red for the same reason. Been driving cars with red dash lights for about three decades and it seems to me the red helps at night. If we can't dim the instrument cluster, we need to take what we can get.

#18 wa2fst

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 08:10 AM

Is there any net decrease in power consumption with the LED's? Is there a way you could measure it and post the data? The Feejers are always trying to steal back power to preserve the reserve they have. This would be interesting data if available.

#19 Ignacio

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 08:35 AM

Is there any net decrease in power consumption with the LED's? Is there a way you could measure it and post the data?

Of course, in general LEDs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. I've heard rule-of-thumb of 7 or 8 times as efficient.

And since I do have an ammeter that goes up to 200 milliamps....the stock bulb is 76 mA and the LED is 11 mA. Multiply by 4, calculate at 12.9 volts, and I figure that's 3.9 vs. 0.6 watts...so you're talking about a whopping 3.3 watt savings. WhooooooFrickingHoooooo! :)
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#20 deanw

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:29 AM


and can these be used in the tirn sigs also? Thanx

Go see the first link in the first post and that post talks about turn signal bulbs.

Actually, all it says is:

Two larger lights (4YR-83517-10-00) that are the turn signals are at about mid arc in the top. They twist in with plastic inserts.

(snip happened)

There are 2 turn signal bulbs of some other model at the top, but doubt they burn out either being used intermittently.


A somewhat dimmmer replacement for those wouldn't hurt my feelings, if anyone has a reference...