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Author Topic: Sidecar Head and Tail Light  (Read 865 times)

ExperienceRider

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Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« on: November 15, 2012, 09:23:39 PM »
I purchased a new 2009, 500cc Bullet with sidecar, from a dealer. To pass inspection here in Massachusetts, I had the shop where I had it stored for the winter, install a head and tail light. The bike was returned to me with a dead battery. The reason given, an employee had left the light on. As the bike was to be in a bike show, they gave me a jump, and the show organizer rode it to the show place, where he then charged the battery overnight, and it seemed problem solved. It wasn't. After my first ride, it died. Thinking the battery was shot, I replaced it, three times. I come to find out that the headlight alone was 30 watts, and after having the wires cut, the bike was fine. My question is, what is the correct wattage for my lights?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 02:51:40 AM by ExperienceRider »

AgentX

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 05:23:33 AM »
The sidecar lamp is more for others to see you than you to see anything, right?  Maybe go with an LED unit, and/or lower the wattage on your primary headlamp bulb as well?  LED bulbs in your other lights to help lower the draw too?

The alternators aren't spectacularly powerful on these bikes; running two headlamps is not a recipe for success.  Are the lights running on a relay?  Also seems like a good idea rather than putting all that power through the bar switch.

Ed:  Maybe a second battery in the sidecar as well?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 05:33:06 AM by AgentX »

ExperienceRider

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 01:10:59 PM »
Hi, thanks for the advice. I did approach the bike shop, and was told that the 30 watt sidecar headlight was low enough. I agree with you, after asking around other bikers, I too was told to go with LED lights. What is the wattage limit suggested by Royal Enfield?  I can't get a straight answer from the Enfield dealers
I've contacted, and I need to recoup the money spent on the wrong headlight installation to correct the problem.
Thanks again!

ace.cafe

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2012, 03:51:41 PM »
I seriously doubt that there is any "recommended" headlight wattage for the sidecar, since sidecars aren't normally intended to have headlights.

A 2009 model could possibly be any of 3 different engine types of Royal Enfield, and we don't know which you have.
However, it is doubtful in my mind if any of them have enough alternator output to run any auxiliary lights of the type that might be called "headlight". They have enough trouble driving the one they come with, much less any other one.

Most Royal Enfields, if not all, that I have ever heard of that run sidecars, do not have auxiliary headlights. Or if they do have them, they  certainly don't turn them on for very long.
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72westie

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 05:34:07 PM »
Have you tried wiring in a relay for the sidecar headlight? There is some good reading on this site. I have wired up fog lights to old 6v VW's using this site for pointers. Whenever we install a aftermarket light bar on newer bikes, we wire them off of a relay now.

http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/relays/relays.html

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Arizoni

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 09:59:39 PM »
A relay is nice because it carries the extra current without overloading the ignition or light control switch but it doesn't address the main problem.
The RE's alternator wasn't designed to run extra headlights and keep the battery charged at the same time.
Also, having an additional relay adds one more component to the things that are using the precious little current available because it takes some power to make it close its switch.

After digging around in Mass.'s motor vehicle laws it looks like the sidecar headlight is needed (although the actual requirement for a true "headlight" is rather vague).
If the bike were mine I would add a second battery, not attached to the motorcycles wiring system to run the headlight.
It would have its own off/on switch also mounted in the sidecar.

This extra battery would need to be charged with a trickle charger.

This sounds like the simplest and easiest way to keep the state officials happy.
Jim
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AgentX

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 01:48:30 AM »
With a 35/35w (or LED) main headlight bulb, LEDs in the tail, running gear, and maybe signals (with compatible flasher unit) and an LED auxiliary head/tail on the sidecar, you don't think the alternator could handle it?  Maybe with a second battery wired in to help out at in-town speeds.

It's not that different than running a dual-lamp light bar, which a lot of people do in India.  I think he just needs to run a much less intense headlight on the sidecar.

wpyle

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 02:09:04 AM »
I too have a sidecar on my 2003 bullet. installed batt in sidecar luggage. On the  the sidecar fender only a small light such as the Cobra light on a bmw sidecar. looks good, works good.

72westie

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 03:15:15 PM »
Hitchcock does list a high output stator and rotor, but I am unsure if it fits the ES bikes. They put out 120 watts, that should give you some nice and bright lights
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The Garbone

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2012, 07:15:11 PM »
My sidecar runs a LED tail and side marker light just as every bulb except the headlamp on all my bikes are LEDs.   It solves a great many charging problems.   

I would go with the battery in trunk on a seperate system route,  just to be safe.
Gary
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AgentX

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Re: Sidecar Head and Tail Light
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 04:29:18 PM »
Hitchcock does list a high output stator and rotor, but I am unsure if it fits the ES bikes. They put out 120 watts, that should give you some nice and bright lights

FYI I tried to order the "european made" one listed on their site, 180 watt, but it is discontinued. (As I discovered when I got the order with no alternator in it, which was a major bummer.)

The "high output for kickstart-only" bikes turns out to be a standard RE electric-start 4-wire alternator.  I got one of these locally in India and it was a HUGE improvement nonetheless.  However, in going to install it, I found my old 3-wire alternator only had 2 of the leads running to the rect/regulator...the third wire was just buried in a mass of electrical tape so maybe that's why the new one seems like such a big deal to me.

If you install the 4-wire into a 2-wire input rectifier be aware that you have to experiment or use a multimeter to pair the correct amber and yellow wires with the correct (indistinguishable) purple wires to get proper output.