Cheap, tiny, aux lights you can afford

From: Dan Pierce <>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 21:50:02 EST

I just posted this to the COG list, but since I know there are frugal bikers everywhere, I'll post it here too. Keep in mind, specific mounting methods are on a Concours, but I'm sure you can improvise. Besides, who *doesn't* want a set of shotglass-sized lights for $22?


I just had a brainstorm while wandering through Wal*Mart today. While looking at driving lights, I was complaining quietly about the high cost, giant size, and difficult mounting brackets that come with automotive lights.

Bulbs and sockets Then I saw the replacement bulbs, specifically Rally Dichroic and Clear 55w 2" diameter replacement bulb/reflector assemblies. They were under $9, so I thought I'd pick up a few to try a custom mount.

While looking at *everything* with an eye to whether or not it would hold the bulb, I walked through the electrical department and saw it. The perfect mount. A tough, lightweight, aluminum mounting bracket with a 270 degree mount built into it. That's right, a standard floodlight socket. Here's the best part, the diameter at the end is exactly 2", and it has a hollow body in the mount to allow the wiring to remain internal. The floodlight sockets are under $3 each. Total investment so far, $22.

I got all the parts home and ripped open all the packages like a kid at Christmas. I peeled the protective foam off of the edge of the bulb and stuck it back on just below the lip. With the ceramic socket removed from the socket (one screw at the back) I pushed the bulb into the socket to test the fit. Like a calfskin driving glove. Oh yeah!

I popped the bulb back out using a paperclip through the hole in the back. The foam tape would not hold up to the heat of the bulb under real world use. I'll use JB Weld after I figure out the proper aiming and get a wiring plug on it. I may want to cant the filament slightly to the side to enhance cornering light. I'll test ride it with the foam tape in for to get it right.

Next, the mounting location. The whole assembly is 2.25" diameter and 3.25" long, including the mounting tang that protrudes from the back. I figure, the better to the 42" maximum allowable height, the better. This is just above the mirrors with light air pressure in the forks, and the mirror mounts on the front of the fairing are cast aluminum. I'm going to drill a 3/4" hole near the top outside edge, about 1/2" in from the rubber boot. The mirror bracket is hollow, and has a lot of room inside right there to hold the nut.

The fairing is currently off of the bike, so I won't be drilling holes in the mirror brackets until I can assemble it and get a test-look at the light in that location. It seems like the front will not protrude more than 2-1/2" from the front of the mirror, and well back from the nose and headlight. A little black paint on the floodlight socket will finish the job, or maybe some silver paint on the socket *and* the metal part of the mirror. Yeah, that will blend better on the silver bike.

The light pattern will be the same as a Rally 3262 or 3264. The reflector is faceted like a disco globe, but I think smooth ones are also available. If anybody has either of these models, let me know. A 2" Pilot replacement bulb would probably fit just as well, but don't quote me.

The lights would also fit under the headlight, on the side of the body, on the fork brace, or through the bottom corners of the windshield, or many other locations. They are incredibly small and lightweight at only 5 ounces each. If you mount it to a switch plate cover (or junction box cover) you could probably stick it to the body with 3M tape.

All I have to do now is come up with a plug to fit the bulb. It has two 3/64" diameter, 1/4" long pins 13/64" apart center-to-center. I may have to crimp and solder the leads on. Solder alone would not hold with the heat of the bulb. Also, the standard adjustment is with notches and I'd like infinite. I figure a plastic washer in there will allow infinite adjustability.

That's al for now. If anyone else cares to try this, go for it. I'm not manufacturing them (yet). Let me know if you do, since mine won't be completed until the fairing is repaired.

Did I mention the size is perfect? ;-)

They look store bought, with the cast in letters stating "Suitable for wet locations," "150 Watt max.," and "Aim horiz. or below." All pertinent advice.

Please forgive any grammar errors in here. I'm too excited to proofread. I can afford these!

Dan Pierce --- --- Bailey, MI

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