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How many of you ride with your head light on in daylight and have you encountered problems with keeping the battery charged? Any comments?
 

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You should always ride with the headlight on, you want to be as visible as possible for safety. If riding with lights on drains your battery there is a problem with your charging system.
 

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That's a question that should get a 100% Yes from the US as it is Federal Law to have the headlight ON over here.
Many of the older Honda had a 3 position Headlight Switch. OFF - Low Beam - Hi Beam.

On those bikes they added a secondary set of windings on the Charging system when switched to Hi-Beam
On later Models the OFF Position was eliminated (Federal Law - Headlight Always - ON) and there was only Low & Hi.

Many of us over here tie the White & Yellow wires together inside the headlight to activate the secondary windings full time.

If your charging system doesn't keep up - I would ask if you are running the original sytle rectifier.
The selinium Rectifiers break down over time and when NEW were only about 80% efficient in converting the AC output to DC.
A 40 year old version is likely to be 50% efficient or less.

Changing out that one part to a modern Electronic rectifier can get you up over 90% in efficiency.
There are multiple threads on different options to do this.

Lawn Mower Tractors with a Battery & Electric Start are a source of an electronic version that can be substituted into our bikes.
 

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Yes, headlight on is required in (I believe) most states here, certainly in Florida, but I would ride with it on full-time even if not the law. Certainly can't hurt to make yourself more visible... as for battery drain, do the mod Yendor mentioned and put in a modern rectifier/regulator combo to improve the charging system as much as possible
 

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I put a Oregon cycle reg/rect in and it's the best. I tried a lawn mower unit but it would barely charge above 12 volts. I think they're all different and you never know what you'll get.
 

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^^^agree with the Oregon Cycle unit. my bike had one on it when I bought it and it works really well, even with my lithium ion battery, though Sparck Moto's unit is plug and play and apparently works well with standard batteries
 

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^^^agree with the Oregon Cycle unit. my bike had one on it when I bought it and it works really well, even with my lithium ion battery, though Sparck Moto's unit is plug and play and apparently works well with standard batteries
Thanks Tom, this site is great for info. I am going to order one now from Spark Moto to go in the bike with the new battery (lead acid).
 

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Nope. I almost never ride with the headlight on. It's not required in Alabama. I don't need a lecture about it, either. I wear a white helmet, which stands out in traffic more than a vintage headlight, especially among all the cars that now have daytime running lights. I've ridden motorcycles for 53 years and know how to ride defensively.
 

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^^^and I don't disagree, Dale - I'd probably ride with mine on here anyway, but I'm not sure how well it has worked for better visibility... bikes get turned in front of all the time, have been for decades and that isn't likely to change. Goes back to what I've believed since being a young rider first, then a car driver after - if everyone had to learn to ride first, they'd be better car drivers later
 

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In any case, if the headlight is on, and the charging system working perfectly well, the battery will still begin to discharge somewhere below about 2000 rpm on high beam, and below about 1600 rpm on low beam (assuming the stock 25/35W lamp). If you have to idle for any time longer than a minute or two, switch it off. I have the Oregon Cycle unit, and have replaced all the accessory bulbs with LED (tail lamp included), and those rpm numbers dropped a bit, but not much.
 

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If your bike is newer than about 1974 (I think that's when it happened) you can't turn the lights off in the first place, at least with stock wiring.
The ones I ride the most are old enough that they can turn the lights off, and I'll admit I generally do leave it off.
If I get stopped I just cop a "I forgot" plea and show the cop the handlebar switch - which on my old bikes are supposed to have a lights on/off switch.
 

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The yellow /white bypass mod only works on bikes with the ability to switch off the headlight completely otherwise both sets of windings are outputting anyway. As for the rec/reg update, most scooter (designed for the road) should work fine.
I don't ride with a light on during the day but I do wear hi-vis
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks All! Wonderful to have so many opinions and good advice.
In Australia? ... certainly South Australia, riding with lights on is mandatory on cycles made after 1984 for older cycles not.
I also like to be seen and always wear a Hi Vis vest and ... white helmet. I grew up riding old British machines and the electrics on them were marginal. When riding with lights on for an hour or two the battery held up but not all day or night. I have not tried it on the 450 but will now.
The selenium rectifier has been replaced with one made up using a 35 amp bridge rectifier and I think it is working efficiently, but I still have the Honda voltage regulator.
Perhaps I should fit a modern all in one unit?
Thanks again all this forum is a real treasure!
 

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The stock regulator is a shunt type (it shorts out the alternator), based on the then-new tech SCR, which is triggered by a Voltage reference. I've never tested one, but it IS possible the reference could drift over time. Modern rectifier/regulators should have a more accurate, and stable, reference. Many of them are also shunt regulators, which is fine; most modern bikes use shunt regulators, especially the multi-phase ones. The Oregon Cycle regulator is a series pass regulator, which means it blocks the current from the alternator instead, which reduces the small load to the engine instead of maximizing it when the reference Voltage is reached. Neither type is inherently better, but I installed the OC one, even though it is a lot more expensive. The down side of the series type is, it needs a fairly large heat sink, compared to the others, so making room for it is another issue.

Whether a new regulator will improve your charging system is left to you to find out, if you choose.:confused:
 

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Here in the UK, all new bikes have the headlamps hard wired to run with the engine on. However, so far it has NOT been made a legal requirement to run with a headlamp on.

( Partly why I'm in favour of Brexit, I don't like being told what to do by faceless legislators. Oops, politics, sorry …. )

I see no value in running with a headlamp on in broad daylight, and consequently do not do so. Obviously, in rain or poor visibility, lights on.

I'm not a fan of hi vis per se. I do wear a fluoro yellow Arai full face on my Hornet, because that gets used at speed, on motorways etc, but bimbling around the back lanes on the 175 I usually wear a black Bell open face. Gloves, jacket, boots, Kevlar jeans at all times, but that's a separate issue, as is the old chestnut about 'loud pipes save lives'.

Basically, the other party has to actually look at you to see you. All the lights and dayglo in the world won't save you from the driver who pulls out without looking.
 
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During the day I ride with my high beams on. It's more in people line of sight so you get seen but it's daytime so you're not blinding anyone.
 

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For the record, in the US riding during the day with the headlight on is not a federal law, but rather up to the states. Here is a link to that and some other laws, state-by-state:

https://www.motorcyclelegalfoundation.com/state-by-state-guide-to-motorcycle-laws/

The map is a little confusing because the green areas show "modulating headlight permitted" -- which doesn't say whether you need a headlight on or not during the day. But I believe the answer is no, at least for AZ and MA where I have lived and I am guessing the other green states as well.

Honda removed the off switches for headlights around 1975 IIRC, although I have a '75 550K in Seattle that has an off switch (and have been pulled over there for forgetting to turn on my headlight).

I had a little CB160 in AZ and MA and didn't ride during the day with the headlight on due to it's anemic charging system. I replaced the rectifier with a reg/rec but it still wasn't enough in stop-and-go riding. Never got around to replacing the headlight itself with LED because -- I didn't ride much during the night.
 

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You should always ride with the headlight on, you want to be as visible as possible for safety. If riding with lights on drains your battery there is a problem with your charging system.
Roo, As others have said in that States, its been the law since 1979. It's a question that seldom comes up over here. That said, I've been riding since slightly before that time. ;) There were still plenty of bikes on the road for years afterward that weren't equipped with lights that automatically come on with the ignition switch. Mine was one of them! ...it's story time.

About, 1976 I had a minor road accident in my mom's Ford. The cops were called. One of the questions the trooper asked both drivers was "did you have your headlights on?" Hmmm. Seemed an odd question since it was daytime. :-? Soon after the debate about daytime (M/C) headlight use began. Then I began paying more attention to those who ran with their lights on. It was even promoted for car drivers to do, but NOT regulated for them until 40-some years later. Today all new vehicles have daytime running lights, though plenty of older cars w/o them are still around. The difference can be dramatic! :eek:

Even a full-sized car, that is just the right color in just the right road and light conditions can nearly disappear even in the daytime. Light use changes that 100%. You can just imagine the difference for a M/C which offers a miniscule target to see by comparison to a car. Many trucking companies have mandated it to their drivers even in big rigs for decades. THAT should tell you all you need to know about visibility benefits. When daytime headlight use became mandatory, plenty of guys ignored it trying to be cool. I was probably one of them more than once. There is a lot I still don't know. A lot I know but ignore or forget to do. The headlight is automatic - tied into the ignition - on all my road bikes today, but even if it wasn't, I'd rather be alive and boring than cool and dead. ;)

As to battery draw. I can't help you there EXCEPT to say, everyone here in the States uses it. "My battery died because of using my headlight" I think is one question I've never seen asked on HondaTwins! Just might be something in that. ;) One option you may want to consider if it is an issue is an LED bulb, which draws far less current.
 

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There is an argument that in certain light conditions a bike close to the observer with one headlight on looks a lot like a automobile in the distance with two headlights on. In a similar vein, we get a lot of 'adventure bikes' over here ( Ewan and Charlie wannabees on B Ems ) who mount twin running lights on their crash bars, spaced about 3ft apart. Again, in the wrong conditions, easily mistaken for a car further away, leading drivers pulling out from a side run thinking that they have plenty of time and space.

Also that a bike headlamp, dipping and bobbing under braking, can look like a car driver flashing his lights to give way to another.

All new cars in the UK come with daytime running lights (DRLs), which are smaller and separate to the main headlights, again adding to the confusing clutter of lights out on the road.

At the end of the day, I'd rather have a free choice, than be dictated to by legislators ( in Brussels ? ) who in all truth would like us to stop using motor vehicles entirely. As with mandatory helmet wearing, seat belts and airbags might make cars safer, but probably encourages at least some of us to drive faster than maybe we ought.
 

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Roo, As others have said in that States, its been the law since 1979.
Not so -- see my post and the link.

Newer bikes may not have "off" switches, but it's certainly legal to ride in several states without headlights.
 
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