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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know what I can do to make my 1982 Honda cm450c headlights any brighter. I swear it seems they only put out enough light to see around 5 ft ahead of me and 4 feet to the sides. With high beam on it might be 6 feet in front and 6 ft to the sides. I can really hardly tell any difference in between high beam and low beam.
And on the same subject. Can I replace the light bulbs or do I need a whole new headlamp when it goes out?
 

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Nightfly
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Without knowing what size headlight you have or need there is a 7" DOT H4 MOTORCYCLE HEADLIGHT that supposedly fits older Honda's that I found on eBay. $15.95
 

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Well, I found this statement about your headlight that might stop just a simple headlight replacement..
This headlight can be hard to find since it isn't a common size
That statement was found here.

If that's true then a simple replacement might be hard to do. Which is a shame because my first thought was to replace it with a LED replacement bulb. I'd call J&P Cycles and ask them. Because what they are suggesting here may not work looking at the schematic here if it is truly an odd size.

But maybe someone at this forum has actually replaced that headlight with an LED. Got fingers crossed for ya.



If you have crash bars you could add almost anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you I appreciate your time and for those links that you have given to me. I bookmarked those links. At least there is hope. It is not very cheap but not super expensive either.
I'm hoping this bike will last me for 2 years. And I'm trying to save for a new one. So if the light goes out I will probably have to buy a whole new lamp, and not just the bulbs.
I don't plan on going on any long trips, on unfamiliar roads, at night at least. Right now I will have to do with what I have and keep riding in the city at night.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Just remember that dim light is the one that drivers are looking at and not seeing in the daylight.
 
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If it is a sealed beam, your auto parts store probably has a halogen bulb. My 79 XS1100 Yamaha has the same style of sealed beam, as my 78 Chev belch mobile. If it has a replaceable bulb, there are probably better bulbs available.
I think it is probably a sealed beam.

UK
 

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Try these guys (https://store.candlepower.com/ca53mohe.html) I replaced my old reflector housing on my '78GS1000E. I added a Cree LED from ADVMonster and it is perfectly bright at any speed. I would not recommend a LED for your bike because the old shunt R/R's are designed expecting a certain load and can be fooled into overcharging if you reduce the load. I switched my R/R to a Compu-Fire series R/R so that problem doesn't exist for me any more.
 

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Try these guys (https://store.candlepower.com/ca53mohe.html) I replaced my old reflector housing on my '78GS1000E. I added a Cree LED from ADVMonster and it is perfectly bright at any speed. I would not recommend a LED for your bike because the old shunt R/R's are designed expecting a certain load and can be fooled into overcharging if you reduce the load. I switched my R/R to a Compu-Fire series R/R so that problem doesn't exist for me any more.
Interesting. Didn't realize that about that bike. So if he was to put a LED on his bike would a Compu-Fire resolve the potential over-charge possibility? This is all a little(lot) over my head so I'm asking for me and him.
 

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Yes it would. There are cheaper alternatives mainly the SH-775. The Series R/R switches on and off when charging is needed. A lot easier on the Stator. The shunt R/R is either producing a voltage on all three phases or shunting it all through one leg of the stator. It's just a cheap crappy system compared to the modern Series R/R but persists even today because it is cheap to manufacture. On the old bikes especially, high contact resistances (that green patina, corrosion, dirt and rust ) in bullet connectors, multi wire connectors, switches and grounds skew the load the R/R is seeing and a reduction in load such as a LED headlight bulb that can drop the load as much as 40 watts is basically telling the Shunt R/R that it needs to be charging all the time. Not a particularly good system and can burn out a lot of stators. The GS series of Suzuki bikes were particularly bad for this. I changed mine over nine years ago after several stator burn outs and have never had a problem since. That is a simplistic explanation, I am certainly not an engineer.
 

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Does anyone know what I can do to make my 1982 Honda cm450c headlights any brighter... Can I replace the light bulbs or do I need a whole new headlamp when it goes out?
A lot of older bikes (as well as cars) had headlights that are borderline by contemporary standards – both in terms of output as well as desperation pattern. As was suggested, about the easiest way to go modern is to get an H4 housing – the actual H4 bulb is around 30+ years old itself, but you don’t need to use the standard bulb if you want more light – there are HID, LED and over-wattage alternatives that fit the H4 reflector housing. You may have to do a bit of very minor surgery to get a modern H4 reflector to fit your housing, but generally they are quite basic and simple of themselves – and the 7” bracketry is about the easiest to use.

I am seriously electrically challenged, but have done the conversion on a late 90s Kawasaki, mid-90s Harley as well as my wife’s earlier model Miata… I won’t say it is a no-brainer, but as bike mods go it is quite straightforward… The over-wattage conventional incandescent H4 is about the easiest installation (you can use the DOT variation too of course), and probably consumes the most power as well (typically 80/100 watt or 55/100 watt to as much as 130 watt), which may be a limiting factor on older bike alternators with limited output… Once the H4 reflector/housing is in place, the HID and LED conversion is electrically usually uncomplicated on older bikes (that don’t have bulb-out warning circuits) – but (BIG “but”) -- not all HID/LED “bulbs” are created equal – and although you may find all sorts of stratospheric lumen quotes, if the light elements aren’t correctly designed to sit in the correct relationship with the H4 housing reflector, you may get a light pattern that is iffy to distracting at best.

You might go to a higher-dollar website like Headlight Revolution and poke about on their videos, then you’ll have an idea what to look for – I have no connection to them, and you don’t have to buy from them anyway, but their light info is sound… The alternative to the H4 housing is to go to one of the Cyclopes style 7” converter kits – all the above caveats apply here too. Note, regardless of installation, strongly suggest you use a relay and draw power directly from your battery (using legacy switches and wiring simply for switching) or a sub-panel for any over-wattage installations…
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A lot of older bikes (as well as cars) had headlights that are borderline by contemporary standards – both in terms of output as well as desperation pattern. As was suggested, about the easiest way to go modern is to get an H4 housing – the actual H4 bulb is around 30+ years old itself, but you don’t need to use the standard bulb if you want more light – there are HID, LED and over-wattage alternatives that fit the H4 reflector housing. You may have to do a bit of very minor surgery to get a modern H4 reflector to fit your housing, but generally they are quite basic and simple of themselves – and the 7” bracketry is about the easiest to use.

I am seriously electrically challenged, but have done the conversion on a late 90s Kawasaki, mid-90s Harley as well as my wife’s earlier model Miata… I won’t say it is a no-brainer, but as bike mods go it is quite straightforward… The over-wattage conventional incandescent H4 is about the easiest installation (you can use the DOT variation too of course), and probably consumes the most power as well (typically 80/100 watt or 55/100 watt to as much as 130 watt), which may be a limiting factor on older bike alternators with limited output… Once the H4 reflector/housing is in place, the HID and LED conversion is electrically usually uncomplicated on older bikes (that don’t have bulb-out warning circuits) – but (BIG “but”) -- not all HID/LED “bulbs” are created equal – and although you may find all sorts of stratospheric lumen quotes, if the light elements aren’t correctly designed to sit in the correct relationship with the H4 housing reflector, you may get a light pattern that is iffy to distracting at best.

You might go to a higher-dollar website like Headlight Revolution and poke about on their videos, then you’ll have an idea what to look for – I have no connection to them, and you don’t have to buy from them anyway, but their light info is sound… The alternative to the H4 housing is to go to one of the Cyclopes style 7” converter kits – all the above caveats apply here too. Note, regardless of installation, strongly suggest you use a relay and draw power directly from your battery (using legacy switches and wiring simply for switching) or a sub-panel for any over-wattage installations…
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I'm a little confused. Is the H4 housing the same size as the OEM's light housing on the CM450? Are they both 7"?
And the wattage on the lights you are recommending are astronomically higher than the 35 and 50 watt range of the originals. Would I need to get a new and bigger alternator to use these lights with the higher wattages?

And what are legacy switches?
 

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Both are interchangeable. A reflector housing is quite superior to a sealed beam and allows you to use different wattage H4 halogen bulbs. The first post I made in this thread was a link to a place that sells excellent reflectors. My bike had a dull reflector and was very dim when I got it. I used to live in a place where deer dodging was the rule instead of the exception so I went a step further after replacement and put a Cree LED in it. Just about anything is much better than than a sealed beam. You might also have a problem with voltage loss at the headlight. There are relay modifications so you get full power directly from the battery, but one step at a time. If you have a sealed beam, replace it with a new reflector housing for a H4 bulb. If you have a dull reflector housing, just replace it with a good one and Candlepower sells excellent ones. A Legacy switch is what is on your bike. It is old and probably has a green patina on the contacts that may reduce voltage to the light (one step at a time). Make too many changes at one time and you will end up chasing your tail a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Both are interchangeable. A reflector housing is quite superior to a sealed beam and allows you to use different wattage H4 halogen bulbs. The first post I made in this thread was a link to a place that sells excellent reflectors. My bike had a dull reflector and was very dim when I got it. I used to live in a place where deer dodging was the rule instead of the exception so I went a step further after replacement and put a Cree LED in it. Just about anything is much better than than a sealed beam. You might also have a problem with voltage loss at the headlight. There are relay modifications so you get full power directly from the battery, but one step at a time. If you have a sealed beam, replace it with a new reflector housing for a H4 bulb. If you have a dull reflector housing, just replace it with a good one and Candlepower sells excellent ones. A Legacy switch is what is on your bike. It is old and probably has a green patina on the contacts that may reduce voltage to the light (one step at a time). Make too many changes at one time and you will end up chasing your tail a lot.
So your saying that I could buy this? https://www.bikebandit.com/aftermar...lights/emgo-headlight-assembly/p/47325?m=2133

and install this?
https://www.bikebandit.com/aftermar...lights/emgo-headlight-assembly/p/47325?m=2133

Then replace the legacy switches? And I would be good to go?
 

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No, that is not what I was saying. The Emgo is a total replacement for a headlight, and bucket. It is certainly not the quality of the link I provided (https://store.candlepower.com/ca53mohe.html). Typically, you have a lot of wiring in your existing headlight bucket. Do you want to relocate that wiring to a new bucket? With the Candlepower reflector, that I can assure you is of the highest quality, all you have to do is twist in the H4 bulb, plug it in and put it in your headlight bucket. The switch can be taken apart and cleaned (in a clear plastic bag so no little springs or screws go missing forever. DeoxIT D-5 is the best contact cleaner and a light coating of dielectric grease will do the job). Try replacing the reflector housing first, that might do the job for you. ONE STEP AT A TIME. If that isn't enough, either clean the light switch (and ignition switch), or make an end run around the switches directly to the battery with a relay or relay kit to the headlight (https://easternbeaver.com/Main/Wiring_Kits/H4_Kits/h4_kits.html). Never do a whole lot at one time before you test each thing you do. It leads to a lot of problems and makes it harder to correct mistakes (tail chasing).
 

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I may be confusing you with improper terminology. By saying reflector housing I am referring to the glass motorcycle lens reflectors that hold the H-4 bulb.
 
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