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Old August 2nd, 2016, 10:44 PM   #1
Lap202
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Simple LED gauge backlights

So don't have much to contribute to the forums in terms of knowledge as a new rider and a god awful mechanic, but I thought I'd share the backlights I used to replace the dead bulbs in my cluster.

While I was at advanced auto parts to get the 194 bulbs to replace mine, I noticed the 194b blue LED bulbs and was sold. The bulbs were 7 bucks a pop and I found them online for like 4 dollars a dozen, but had to have them now of course.

As a not so knowledgable mechanic, it was easy to pull the bulbs from the cluster and replace them. Only problem I ran into with the LEDs was when pushed in all the way the bulb would go out. To solve this I simply bent the leads straight out to make a solid connection. Some people I've seen online have actually modified the LED bulb with thicker leads, but seems like alot of work.

And finally I put the cluster back together and snapped the pictures. Successful first bike mod 20160801_013337.jpg
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 11:52 PM   #2
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Nicely done sir.

I use red COB LEDs in mine






Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/121900145030
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 02:12 AM   #3
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Do they fit well in the socket? May have to drop a couple dollars while my bikes ripped apart.

Also how are they in terms of brightness?
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 02:38 AM   #4
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They fit the socket good, I had to squeeze the socket first, due to the OEM bulb spread it out a little bit.

They are bright, can even see the red in the daytime.

I did remove the small metal shields in the PreGen cluster, as they weren't needed anymore due to the way the COB LEDs shine the light, which is sideways.

They give nice even lighting, once you adjust them. By that I mean rotate the socket so the light shines better.

Below is an old picture, but you get the idea, if needed I can take a more current one.

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Old August 3rd, 2016, 08:45 AM   #5
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I put cheap JTechNow brand 5x5050 194s in my 500's dash. The smaller ones are for the indicators, which I did at a later time.



I stuck with white so as not to eliminate the colored ranges from the gauges. Also keep in mind that different colors are easier and harder on the eyes and night vision, so picking a certain color just because you like it may not be the wisest idea.

Here's my nearly-new bike with stock bulbs and white LEDs for comparison. I didn't change any of the guards or anything inside the gauges, just plugged in the new bulbs.



Here's a bad night shot, to give you some idea what it looks like when you're actually riding.


They make it look a lot more crisp and less yellowed (even though the bike only has a few hundred miles on it in the pics). I'd love to make the lighting a little more even, but for a $5, 10-minute mod, I'm happy with the results. I've had them in for over 4 years now with no issues whatsoever.
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 12:33 PM   #6
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Very crisp looking dash! Does using LEDS for your indicator lights make them significantly brighter or cause any issues as in being too bright at night?

Was considering using a bright LED for my turn signal to draw my attention to it if I leave it on (my week of driving hasn't built the automatic turn signal off habit )
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Old August 3rd, 2016, 02:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lap202 View Post
Very crisp looking dash! Does using LEDS for your indicator lights make them significantly brighter or cause any issues as in being too bright at night?

Was considering using a bright LED for my turn signal to draw my attention to it if I leave it on (my week of driving hasn't built the automatic turn signal off habit )
5 years of riding and I still struggle with that. Don't get me wrong, it is a safety issue.

The only issue with LED turn signals is you will need to replace the modulator. (not really an issue)
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Old August 4th, 2016, 08:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lap202 View Post
Very crisp looking dash! Does using LEDS for your indicator lights make them significantly brighter or cause any issues as in being too bright at night?

Was considering using a bright LED for my turn signal to draw my attention to it if I leave it on (my week of driving hasn't built the automatic turn signal off habit )
The high beam indicator seemed brighter to me, but I didn't use it much before the swap, so it might be the same. Other than that, there seems to be minor or no difference (but the high beam indicator is really the only one on solid for any real length of time).

On the 500, the illumination bulbs are 194 (T10), while the indicators are T6.5, so they're inherently a bit smaller too. I also got mostly end-firing ones (three LEDs on the end, with a couple stuck down on the sides) since you're looking right at end of the bulbs in this dash setup. Something like this single 5050 end-firing one might be even better.

Keep in mind that LEDs produce light in a different way from bulbs too. If you can, it's better to use an LED colored to match your indicator lens rather than a white one. But if your LED color doesn't match the lens color (like my orange-ish turn signal lenses and my yellow-ish amber LEDs), you might end up filtering out most of the light.


Here are a couple pics (slightly different resultant lighting settings from my phone's automatic operation) with the indicators swapped to LED also. The previous pics still had the stock incandescent bulbs.




Depending on the LED's design, you can put a glob of hot glue on top to diffuse the light a little. I think I may have gone back and done that to the high beam indicator (I thought about it, and I've used that trick on other LEDs before, but I don't remember if I actually did it here).

Because it takes less power for the LEDs to light up, the Neutral indicator will actually flicker as I shift between 1st and 2nd. It was a bit distracting at first, but it's a good indicator that you've hit first while downshifting (helpful if you miscount or lose track of your gear shifts). When I'm downshifting for a corner, it's a great indicator that I missed 2nd, without having to bounce the shifter off the bottom of 1st or find out the hard way when I let the clutch out. A poor man's really limited gear indicator, if you will.


As allanoue said, using LEDs in your actual turn signals will require a new flasher relay, because the low load of LEDs is closer to a dead bulb than a working one, so they'll hyperflash.

Also, the 250 uses a single turn signal indicator for both sides. It works by running a leg to each side's + wire. When one side's signal is turned on, power flows from that side and grounds through the other side. The stock bulbs' high resistance keeps them from lighting up, but efficient LED signals will usually be lit up by this little bit of power coming through, resulting in 4-way flashers from activating either side's signal. This is fixed with a diode kit, which converts the indicator to a dedicated ground and + from each side through diodes, so no power can bleed over to the other side.

Since the stock indicator bulb works by flowing power in opposite directions depending on which side's signal is on, an LED indicator bulb (which is inherently polarized) won't work. One side won't light up the indicator at all, and the other side will work and pass power through, leading to the 4-way flashing. You need to first install the diode kit (to give you distinct + and - wires for the indicator) if you want to use an LED indicator bulb.

I see the rudimentary single indicator as a cheap-out on Kawasaki's part, and suggest everyone install a diode kit. It will work fine with all stock parts, and then it will keep working fine when you go and do **CrAzY mOdS** like switching from bulbs to LEDs. Bikes with individual indicators for each side are inherently immune to this issue.
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Old August 4th, 2016, 09:45 AM   #9
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I did a write-up on using the T6.5 LEDs

Finally my bike is 100% LEDs now!
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 03:13 AM   #10
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So I installed LED lights in the dash, and not paying attention, I put an LED in the turn signal slot. Once done, the turn signal indicator only lights up when the right signal is on, but doesn't light up when the left signal is on. I don't get the 4 way flashing. Would installing a couple of diodes in line help this? Also, if someone could point me to the proper diodes, that would be great.
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 06:52 AM   #11
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I had to add diodes to my '05 when I put LEDs in the dash. A couple in the 1N400X series (replace X with digit) are fine. They're one amp diodes, which is way more than enough, and the last digit indicates their voltage rating. For 12v use, they're all OK, since a 1N4001 is good for 50v and the others go up from there.

Add a wire to connect ground to the negative side of the LED, and put in two diodes, one from the left wire and one from the right, with the banded ends together and connected to the positive of the LED.
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 07:13 AM   #12
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As stated above, here's the DIY link

LEDs have polarity issues, meaning they have a positive and negative side, unlike conventional bulbs, which don't care, hence why you only have a single bulb for turn indicators.

Here's the fix for that issue, it also fixes the all flashing issue when you install LEDs in all four turn signals.

http://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/My_LED_...t#Diode_method

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Old August 23rd, 2016, 08:48 AM   #13
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Sorry @Ghost, wasn't sure if that was for the pre-08 model, or the 08-12 model. Thanks!
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 09:59 AM   #14
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Sorry @Ghost, wasn't sure if that was for the pre-08 model, or the 08-12 model. Thanks!
That's from the PreGen wiring diagram, but it's the same for any single-indicator bike. The only thing that might be different on other bikes is the wire colors.
  1. Cut both wires.
  2. Put diodes on both wires A and B coming from the harness.
  3. Connect the other end of both diodes to wire A on the indicator light.
  4. Connect wire B on the light to ground.
The junction into wire A allows either side to power the bulb, while the diodes keep the power from feeding back into the other side's signals, only allowing it to power the indicator.

I also suggest using the black/yellow wire in the harness to ground the indicator bulb. The frame should be fine to ground to, but this way you're using the existing wire designed to ground the electrical components, and you're not fastening the harness to the frame at an additional point either. I just think it keeps things cleaner.

The Kuryakyn 4709 "kit" mentioned in this thread is basically just the diodes with wires attached. It's a nice "ready-to-DIY" item if you're not the type to have extra diodes and wire laying around, but don't need a fully PnP kit.

Here's another simple visual representation of the mod, using the wire colors in the Kuryakyn kit.




I've been thinking about making a new style of PnP diode mod, but I'm not sure how cheap I could make it, for it to be something that people would actually buy. The idea should work on both PreGen and NewGen, just with slightly different connectors as needed. In theory, it could be adapted to any single-indicator bike with the right connectors.
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Old September 14th, 2020, 07:57 PM   #15
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Sorry revive this old thread. I find that my 2010 Ninja 250R has dim gauge back lighting and the gauges are difficult to read at night. I'd like to upgrade three gauge bulbs to brighter LED's and have them preferable in red. But I don't know how bright I need them to be. Ali Express and Ebay have T-10 bulbs that range from 30 lumens to 2000 lumens. The 2000 lumen bulbs are meant for car reverse lights and will obviously be too bright. On the other hand, I am concerned that 30 or 60 lumen bulbs won't be any brighter than the stock bulbs. I found some that are 300 lumens and I'm wondering if these would work (link below). Can someone comment and ideally share what bulbs they installed and the lumen output of these?



https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...archweb201603_
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Old September 15th, 2020, 07:56 PM   #16
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Sorry revive this old thread. I find that my 2010 Ninja 250R has dim gauge back lighting and the gauges are difficult to read at night. I'd like to upgrade three gauge bulbs to brighter LED's and have them preferable in red. But I don't know how bright I need them to be. Ali Express and Ebay have T-10 bulbs that range from 30 lumens to 2000 lumens. The 2000 lumen bulbs are meant for car reverse lights and will obviously be too bright. On the other hand, I am concerned that 30 or 60 lumen bulbs won't be any brighter than the stock bulbs. I found some that are 300 lumens and I'm wondering if these would work (link below). Can someone comment and ideally share what bulbs they installed and the lumen output of these?



https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...archweb201603_
I'm pretty sure you'll never find a 2,000 lumen T10 bulb. A 55W H4 headlight bulb is about 1,100 lumens. A standard 194 bulb should be about 25 lumens.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00877SL2M/ is what I bought for my 500 years ago (see my pics above). I'm not familiar with the 250's internal dash layout, but these 5x5050 LEDs do a good job of putting light out in all directions from the socket, similar to an incandescent bulb. For indicator bulbs or depending on the dash layout, something like https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQB8JFQ/ that is only end-firing may work better.

Some LEDs will be slightly higher quality and output than others. https://www.superbrightleds.com/ generally has good products. However, just about any T10/194 LED bulb made for automotive use will probably work just fine these days.
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Old September 17th, 2020, 01:07 PM   #17
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Thanks InvisiBill. That really helps. From this website https://www.saving-star.com/smd-led-comparison/, a 5050 LED chip will produce about 24 lumens. So a 5 X 5050 bulb should produce about 120 lumens. That's 4.6 times more lumen output that a standard incandescent bulb (i.e. 120 lumen vs 26 lumen). I realize that lumen output doesn't take into account the light dispersion angle, so 4.6 times more lumen does not necessarily mean 4.6 times brighter, but it gives me some reference to go by.

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Old September 17th, 2020, 06:14 PM   #18
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Also note that human eyes responds differently to different wavelengths. It's most sensitive to range that sun puts out, around yellow-green band of spectrum. LED lights tend to put out light in blue end of spectrum and will not look as bright as same lumens output in yellow-green end.
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Old September 17th, 2020, 06:37 PM   #19
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Also note that human eyes responds differently to different wavelengths. It's most sensitive to range that sun puts out, around yellow-green band of spectrum. LED lights tend to put out light in blue end of spectrum and will not look as bright as same lumens output in yellow-green end.
Gearbox Paul said he'd like to get red LEDs. That's a good choice because the human iris doesn't respond much to red, so even if he gets bright ones it shouldn't affect his night vision appreciably.

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Old September 18th, 2020, 07:41 AM   #20
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Ah, good point about night vision.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 05:24 AM   #21
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Thanks for comments and insight. I just ordered the bulbs in the link below. They are 3X 3030 LED's. Vendor quotes about 300 lumens (I'm sure 300 LM is for the white bulbs). I ordered 4 red and 6 white. I hope to use the red's for the gauge lights, but if they end up being too bright or I don't like them, I'll still have 6 whites that I can use for interior lights (dome lights, etc.) on my car. Delivery is 50 days... I'll post before/after pictures of the gauge back lighting once I've received and installed the bulbs.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000...4da54c4dPCikSq
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