LED 9003 Bulbs - Daymaker Performance on the CHEAP! - Road Glide Forums
Lighting Lighting for Road Gildes

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up LED 9003 Bulbs - Daymaker Performance on the CHEAP!

It doesn't get any cheaper than this!

I bought my Road Glide in early spring of this year and the first time I rode it at night, I knew I had to do something about the headlights. I was going to go with SilverStars (or the like), but at $60 retail, I thought I would look for another option.

The H-D Daymakers and even the Chinese knock-offs are still more than I'm willing to pay for headlights. Not that I'm poor (or cheap), but I'd rather spend my mod-money elsewhere on the bike.

My first attempt were these from Amazon:
Stark 80W All-in-One 360į LED Headlights (H4 / HB2 / 9003, 6000K White)

These are BRIGHT! At the last Bike Night I went to in October, when I turned on my bike to leave, three ladies talking nearby jumped when the headlights came on. I'm not kidding, they're bright.

But........ The beam pattern sucks!

Because the light is emitted from two sides of the triangle (on low beam) and over a large area, the headlight reflector scatters the light rather than produce a focused beam with a distinct "horizon". This is because the headlight reflector is designed for an incandescent bulb which produces light from a very small area at a specific focal point.

Second attempt... SUCCESS!!!

I picked up these off eBay:
2x H4 HB2 9003 180W CSP LED Headlight Kit Hi-Low Beam 6500K Bulbs 18000lm Lamp
Probably equivalent to these on Amazon (I'll get to that later):
NIGHTEYE H4 LED Headlight Conversion Driving lamp Bulbs 6500K Cool White 50W 8000LM Hi/Lo Beam

I installed them (the ones from eBay) yesterday and they are EQUALLY AS BRIGHT as the first set of (Stark) LED bulbs I tried. But since these are designed to more closely mimic the light from an incandescent filament (specifically from an 9003 bulb), the beam pattern is significantly better - almost perfect on low beam. The high beam pattern has a few "less bright" areas, but not enough to call this a failure.

My only "complaint" is that their claim of 16,000 lumens appears (by my eye) to be grossly exaggerated, but since they're about equal to the other LED bulbs I tried, I'd say that they're probably equal to the 8000lm bulbs (assuming it's more honest) in the second Amazon link above (as well as being identical in design and similarly priced).

I really wanted to get in a night ride yesterday and get some pictures, but the weather turned to crap before it got dark.

Potential problems:
All of these LED bulbs get hot at the base. Incandescent bulbs get hot as well, but at the bulb, not at the base. The first set of LED bulbs had cooling fans, but this new set do not. I ran one of the latest set of bulbs off a battery for about 5 minutes and the heat sink was warm to the touch. not hot, but a bit warmer than I expected. I'm hoping the heat doesn't become a problem in the summer.

I'm sure the Daymakers get hot as well, which is probably why they add those metal brackets to help support the fairing mount points for when the plastic fairing gets soft from the heat.

Advantages over Daymakers:
I'm not a fan of projector headlights, personally. Maybe the Daymakers are better, but my wife used to have a 2005 Subaru Outback. The projectors on that didn't illuminate the overhead highway signs on some of the rural highways we used travel. These bulbs will allow at least some scatter above the "horizon" so you can see the signs.


If you're thinking about going this route, make sure the LED bulbs you buy closely mimic the 9003 incandescent bulb (or whatever bulb you're trying to replace). Headlights are much different from brake lights and turn signals when it comes to bulb design. Be sure to look for ones with a long thin row of LEDs and, for the 9003s, make sure they have "cups" under the low-bean LEDs.

Also, there are a lot of older, less-powerful, less-efficient LED bulbs out there. Although the advertised light output may not be accurate, try to go for the highest light output you can get.
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2016 FLTRXS - Velocity Red Sunglo
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stackrat View Post

I'm sure the Daymakers get hot as well, which is probably why they add those metal brackets to help support the fairing mount points for when the plastic fairing gets soft from the heat.
I wasn't in the room when the designers came up with the daymakers so I can't say for 100%, but i'm quite sure that the metal brackets are not for the heat, but rather because the daymakers are heavy and subjected a plastic piece to that much weight (not only static, but kinetic as well) and it won't take long to rip them right out of the mount.

I like to read posts like this. i'm glad to see people experiment and see what works and what doesn't. even if I do already have daymakers, it's still nice to see what options are available.

but I do have to wonder, how much total did you spend on 3 sets of led bulbs?

I understand the concept of reality, but find it too confining for a way of life.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2016, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by skratch View Post
but I do have to wonder, how much total did you spend on 3 sets of led bulbs?
I only bought two of them. The first set from Amazon was $37 when I bought them and the set from eBay was $44, so $81. What I got in return was good performing headlights and all the fun of a science project.
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2012 FLTRU - Ember Red Sunglo
2016 FLTRXS - Velocity Red Sunglo
>>> Apparently, I have a "thing" for redheads.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 11:43 AM
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So which ones would you suggest in the end. The ebay ones or the ones from amazon?

Really like this idea.

Thanks
DC
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Here's what I'm saying...

The specs on these bulbs from eBay...
2x H4 HB2 9003 180W CSP LED Headlight Kit Hi-Low Beam 6500K Bulbs 18000lm Lamp
... are, by my eye, overstated - at least double. I think they're adding the low beam and the high beam, which for this bulb, it's either one or the other.

They appear to be physically the same as these bulbs from Amazon...
NIGHTEYE H4 LED Headlight Conversion Driving lamp Bulbs 6500K Cool White 50W 8000LM Hi/Lo Beam
... but I didn't buy those so I don't know that for a fact. The specs on these are less than half of the eBay ones (which I think are double what they really are). Your mileage may vary.

Generally, I trust Amazon more than eBay. Their ratings and reviews are on the products themselves, regardless of who's selling them. EBay's ratings are only on the sellers.

The way I look at it, it's an $8 gamble. You can spend the extra $8 and get the eBay ones which I can attest are bright (just not as bright as the eBay ad says they are), or save $8 and get bulbs that are identical in appearance and probably identical in performance.

2012 FLTRU - Ember Red Sunglo
2016 FLTRXS - Velocity Red Sunglo
>>> Apparently, I have a "thing" for redheads.

Last edited by stackrat; 01-07-2017 at 10:07 PM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the tutorial! was looking at the Baggerbags lights last night but wanted to check with others on this site as to whether they have had any experience with them. Cheaper that HD oem daymakers but they had some bad reviews, so I don't want to take the plunge without further investigation. This may be an even better way to go. Definitely cheaper!
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