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bigredmark

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IMG_9296.jpg   

The introduction of LED lighting offers great upgrade options for incandescent lighting that was originally supplied with the Honda BIG RED ATC’s. I recently upgraded a 1985 BIG RED with an LED headlight and wanted to do the same to some of the older model BIG REDS. The objective of the upgrade was to have the headlight fit into the existing housing, use the existing lighting switches, and not alter the wiring harness. I met all these goals when I upgraded a 1984 BIG RED 200ES. This same upgrade can be used on the 1982 and 1983 Honda BIG RED 200E’s but it will require additional modifications to mount the headlight to the retaining ring. I bought the LED light from ebay. Here is the link to the one I bought
LED LIGHT for BIG RED. (if the link doesn't work search for a 4 X 6 LED Headlight)

 

1984 Honda BIG RED 200ES LED Headlight Upgrade

 

The LED headlight upgrade is easier to install on the 1984 as compared to all the other BIG RED models since the headlight is held to the retaining ring by spring clips. The existing spring clips can be used without modification.  First thing to do is remove the headlight assembly from the housing. There is two Phillips head screws that need to be removed from the bottom of the headlight housing and then the headlight and retaining ring can be removed from the housing by tilting the retaining ring. Once removed disconnect the three wires to the headlight bulb and remove the headlight assembly.

IMG_9253.jpg  IMG_9254.jpg 

Original light and close up of spring that retains the headlight in the retaining ring
IMG_9255.jpg 
Original headlight and LED light


IMG_9257.jpg 

Pic of LED light

Wiring- The wiring on this LED will plug right into the connector for the 1985 – 1987 250ES BIG REDS but will not work with the 82-84 model BIG REDS without modification. I cut the 3 prong connection plug off of the LED light and crimped and soldered on 2 male bullet and one spade connector so they can connect up without modifying the original wiring harness.
IMG_9292.jpg  IMG_9293.jpg 

 

The color coding of the wiring between the light and wiring harness will not match. Here are the connections I made based on the LED light I used:

The YELLOW wire from the LED light will connect to the GREEN on the wiring harness

The BLUE wire from the LED light will connect to the WHITE on the wiring harness

The BROWN wire from the LED light will connect to the BLUE on the wiring harness

Note that this information is for reference only. You will need to verify your own wiring.

 

The new LED light will fit into the headlight retaining ring and the existing springs can be used to hold it in. Note to make sure the LED headlight is oriented correctly. Some of the LED lights are marked top and some are not. What I found is that the top row of LEDS light up on low beam.

IMG_9301.jpg 
LED headlight mounted in original retaining ring

The headlight looks different but it performs a lot better than the original 45 watt incandescent light in my opinion.
IMG_9296.jpg 

  IMG_9303.jpg 
Low beam

IMG_9304.jpg 

High Beam
IMG_9289.jpg 
Low beam original incandescent
IMG_9305.jpg 
LED Low beam

IMG_9291.jpg 
High beam original incandescent

IMG_9308.jpg 
High beam LED. Notice that you can see the garage in this pic.


1982 – 1983 BIG REDS

The headlight was mounted to the retaining ring using two screws (top and bottom)for the 1982 and 1983 models instead of using the spring clips. This will require some modification of adding a bracket to the LED headlight or to the retaining ring to secure the LED headlight. I have not done this modification myself but I am sure it can be done. Here are some pictures of the 1983 headlight for reference.

IMG_9248.jpg  IMG_9249.jpg 

Note the tab on the retaining ring and the threaded plastic block in the headlight.

I have used this same LED light on the 1985-1987 BIG REDS. Here is a link to the article. 1985-1987 BIG RED LED Headlight Upgrade

Any suggestions or details of your own modifications are appreciated. Please consider sharing them on the forum.


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powersmoke94

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Reply with quote  #2 
do you by chance know if the 84 200 es charging system is capable of keeping up with a 60w led? ordered one on fleabay just waiting for it but im worried it - A.) wont work worth a damn with no battery and - B.) will drain the battery quicker than it can be charged s-l1600.jpg 
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VilliageI-Idiot

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'm working on an 83 200Es myself.  I would also like to know if the system can keep up with it.  I plan to use a very similar light.  
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bigredmark

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See link for 200ES ELECTRICAL SPECS   The alternator capacity is listed as 70 watts @ 5,000 rpm for the 200ES. The alternator will put out less at lower RPM's. So if you are riding at high rpm with the light on you should be fine. If you are idling a lot you could possibly start draining the battery. Note that the original headlight was rated at 45 watts. The tail light is 5 watts and the neutral light is 3 watts. The LED light mentioned earlier on this post is 45 Watts.The thing is some LED lights are compared to a incandescent bulb brightness in wattage but will draw less. So the 60 Watt LED may be compared to a 60 Watt incandescent but will not use 60 watts. I think you need to know the lumens for a better comparison. I headed to the shop to do a test on a 1984 BIG RED 200ES see pics and captions below. Again this BIG RED has a "45" Watt LED headlight.

IMG_0046.jpg 
Battery voltage ignition off.
IMG_0047.jpg
BIG RED running at idle. 12.99 volts is higher than the 12.69 volts so this indicates that the battery is charging.
IMG_0049.jpg     
Rev it up to increase the rpm's and the voltage/charge rate increases

IMG_0050.jpg
BIG RED running at idle with the 45 watt LED headlight on low beam, tail light on, and neutral light on. Voltage is higher than 12.69 volts so we are still charging and not draining the battery.
IMG_0051.jpg 
  BIG RED running at idle with the 45 watt LED headlight on high beam, tail light on, and neutral light on. Again voltage is higher than 12.69 volts so we are still charging and not draining the battery.

I don't have a 60 Watt LED but the same test could be conducted. I am not sure if you need the 60 Watt LED. I was pretty impressed with the improvement of the 45 Watt LED over the original incandescent bulb. One other note I have run some 1984 BIG RED 200ES's without batteries and the headlight is very dim at idle. It may be the same for an LED. I didn't disconnect the battery to find out.

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powersmoke94

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Reply with quote  #5 
thank you very much. i actually justfound out the 70w @ 5k. i have no taillights so thats a saving right there. 
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powersmoke94

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Reply with quote  #6 
guess ill bust out the multi meter and see how it goes once the light arrives. really only went with with that light cause i thought it looked kinda cool 😋 fingers crossed my bearings/seals, brake levers and all 4 new cables will arrive today so i can do some work to the ol girl
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VilliageI-Idiot

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Reply with quote  #7 
Took this idea and ran my own direction with it.  Here's what I just finished up a minute ago.

1650 lumen CREE LED 27w

Making brackets to mount my LED light. Copying the original, I bent 5/16 rod and threaded the top end. Had to machine some hard rubber bushings for the bottom. Used some modified Honda bushings on top with the metal inserts.

[YCU0RHg] 

They'll be a pressure fit in the bottom with a nut on either side of the top bushing. This will hold it strong but let it wiggle a little so as not to self destruct.

[PJMHo3t] 

Cut off the mounting tabs from the supplied bracket and welded them on. MIG welder died and left me with nothing but a stick welder. Hard for me to do tedious small stuff with a stick. BUT, an old man in a machine shop I used to work in once told me, "Son, you ain't gotta be a good welder as long as you're a good grinder."

[RuOruhZ] 

 

Paint dried FAST so I went ahead and carefully locked it down.  

[1CiAEQz] 

 


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bigredmark

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Reply with quote  #8 
Nice setup! Thanks for sharing.
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HRD

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Reply with quote  #9 

I've gone through the headlight shuffle and ended up with one of the later integral LED units also.


In order that is -

Stock bulb replacement
Installing a sealed beam truck headlight
Switching to a H4 housing and using a halogen bulb
Swapping that to a HID bulb
Ultimately ending with a complete LED assembly



Stock bulb is what it is. They're relatively tough, but not exceptionally bright. The truck headlight was on hand, $0 effort. The H4 housing was very promising in that a at least three lighting technologies (incandescent,HID,LED) can be used in it and in a pinch, an automotive bulb can be found at a local auto parts store or Wal-Mart.

The problem with the H4 housing, is that it's made for incandescent/halogen bulb light patterns. That means it's almost impossible to get a good light pattern with either HID or LED without trying several bulbs or someone else finding the magic combination of bulb in that housing and posting the information for free on the internet. 

Phillips is now selling H4 LED bulbs that are supposed to be ideal for those swaps. Phillips X-Treme Ultinon, with X-Treme pricing. That's a no-go for use on the Big Red.

Another thing on the H4 housing with HID or LED bulbs, is that both usually have pretty large backsides for cooling or other electronics and can be a really tight fit into the stock bucket. The HID requires a external box to make it work, so more wiring and stuff hanging out.



The absolute winner is the integral LED headlights. They provide the best light pattern, and most illumination with the lowest power consumption.


So many styles are available now, it's really a matter of what is preferred. The earlier styles with all the separate, no lens LED are being phased out in preference to ones with multiple focal technologies for low and high, like using projector lenses on the high beams LEDs and a flat Fresnel type lens on the low beams. These styles can use less power still, while retaining high lumens and good beam patterns. Many of them have 'halos' or DRL type functions as well, which are more of a novelty for off road use, but they don't have to be wired up if not wanted because there's typically a separate circuit for those functions.

The one I'm using:
DSCN0038.jpg 

The LEDs are mounted in a way that they are somewhat hidden and each has it's own reflector. The top row is high beam, and the bottom row with the wavy
reflectors is low. The center strip is a DRL function, which I don't have hooked up, but probably will because things that are there, but don't work, bug me.

The electrical draw is low enough that I can use high beam while idling and not drain the battery. Low beam is plenty bright and allows for gracious charging at low engine speeds and idling.

DSCN0039.jpg 


The LED spotlight on the rack was an impromptu thing when I still had the HID headlight. I was planning to go on a night ride, which was going to include a lot of slow speed and idling, meaning the HID drew too much power and would drain the battery. I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for something that drew less power. It's space on the rack will be available again when I find a new home for it. I don't use the front rack much, so the LED spotlight can stay there for now.


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phil anderer

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Reply with quote  #10 
That's exactly the same as I was interested in fitting, was it an easy fit ? what yr and model you fitted it to ?  looks cool man [thumb]

Phil
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Fast

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Reply with quote  #11 
Looks really good. I went with a similar headlight and love it. Love the gray plastic too. Unique look. Really nice machine you have.
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HRD

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil anderer
That's exactly the same as I was interested in fitting, was it an easy fit ? what yr and model you fitted it to ?  looks cool man [thumb]

Phil



It in a '84 200ES.


Same basic fit as the one bigredmark posted. Just had to bend the retaining springs a little. Wiring is the same concept, except this one has a couple extra separate wires for the strip in the center that I'm not using right now.

Something else is just about all of these type headlights have plastic lenses. They scratch a whole lot easier than a glass one. I got a pair for $18 though. I checked, and the same seller on EBay doesn't have any more for that price [frown]
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HRD

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast
Looks really good. I went with a similar headlight and love it. Love the gray plastic too. Unique look. Really nice machine you have.



These new LEDs definitely help out the electrically challenged 82-84 Big Reds and provide more light.


Thanks for the compliment on my machine. Maybe the picture lighting is off, but it's actually white, not grey. Although a gloss grey would be rare and cool looking.
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bigredmark

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Reply with quote  #14 
HRD - Your post outlining the different lighting upgrades you tried is great. I think it will help a lot of people who are thinking about upgrading the lighting on their BIG RED. Thanks for sharing.
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HRD

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Reply with quote  #15 
It's possible to go into more detail, but I think that I ended up at the same general technology as you says that more detail isn't needed for everything prior.


Between all my vehicles, I'm currently using H4 Halogen (PIAA bulb), Sealed Beam Halogen, H4 HID, H4 LED, and even the basic sealed beam tractor work lights. Every single one has pluses and minuses.

Except for wanting to keep a stock look on an ATC, the newer LED units are the only way to go. I've not been %100 satisfied with ANY of the H4 HID/LED bulbs that I've tried. The beam patterns are simply not as good as a high quality halogen bulb. I've not bought the newer Phillips LED bulbs that are supposed to create a proper beam pattern, they're too expensive to risk it.

There are some direct replacement LED bulbs for the stock 200ES housing, but I've tried some similar bulbs in other applications, and for pickup truck reverse lights, they're great. I wouldn't use them for a headlight though. Most original 200ES headlight housings have a dulled or peeling reflector, so the bulb isn't the biggest issue anyway. A NOS 200ES headlight, or aftermarket H4 replacement are better suited to those who want to keep a stock look over lighting quality.

The particular LED headlight design I'm using in my 200ES, a friend has been using on his log trucks. If they'll hold up to thousands of miles of gravel/dirt roads on a log truck, they should be durable enough for my application.

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