Here we go, my long wished retrofit of projector headlights!
This is a very detailed write up to give others a general idea of what is involved with retrofitting HID projector headlights and specifically of how I did it with the kit provided by XD Cycle for my 2006 Zx6R.
1. Info and impressions about the XD Cycle Kit
2. Difference between CCFL and Plasma Halos
3. Demon Eye and Issue of brightness
4. How I want my lights to function between Hi/Lo Beams
5. Tools and Materials
6. Disassembly of Headlight and Housing (baking)
7. Installation of Projector
8. Wiring of Lights and Change-over Relay
9. Final Step - Aiming Projectors
I chose XD as it was somewhat affordable (same price as other kits like BKmoto) but with the advantage that they preinstall the demon eye LED and that the halo ring is inserted flush into the projector shroud, meaning, no extra gluing or wiring things together for me... for now.
On the product information in their online shop they explain that their kit is made for the original set up of your headlights. Meaning, if you got one headlight each designated for either low or Hi beam, this kit will work just the same unless you change the wiring to a dual headlight.
Also, before I made the purchase, I verified via email if these projectors have the internal lo/hi beam function with the cutoff shield that is controlled by a solenoid. These projectors don't have this function, cheaper and less trouble as they used to get customer complaints about malfunction of the cutoff shield not working properly. Anyhow, later on I realized that if you want the hi/lo beam function you need to look for Bi-Xenon headlights. I think there is mini morimoto who would fit into bikes.
Another nice thing I was impressed by XD's customer service, they actually called me up to inform me that I got an email with a photo of the Plasma LED ring since it will look yellow when turned off compared to the white CCFLs. They just wanted to make me aware of that fact in case it would matter to me looks wise and might make me want to change or cancel my order. All to assure that I will be a happy customer.
I actually busted one of the demon eye SMD ribbon cables (very thin like tape). Without much of a hassle they sent out a letter with 2 more red SMDs since I couldn't source such large ones myself without knowing the exact specs of what they gave me in the kit.
The instructions provided in the kit are very basic and need a little thinking to understand their wiring.
Since I went with Plasma LED halos (little elaboration on what the differences are in halo rings is further down in the text) they wired up a LED driver and in general finished off all wires with the corresponding connectors (except those with the fuse hooked up) to make it as much plug n play as possible.
I also got 2 switch assemblies with nuts and washers, 4 zip ties, 8 of 18-22 AWG crimp connectors and 2 extra aluminum round brackets (used when mounting projectors into housing for this bike).
There are more and more variations and add-ons besides having just a HID projector... inner halo, outer halo, LED strips, colour changing LEDs, demon Eyes...
Took me a bit to get up to speed on the terminology.
CCFL is superior to the original SMD halo rings and now the CCFL got outdated by the Plasma LED ring which is kind of a hybrid
between the two predecessors. As bright as the SMD ring but without seeing the individual dots of each LED, having a continous ring of light like a CCFL.
I always loved the look of underlit (demon eye) projectors, turns out it's a single SMD (huge surface mount) LED mounted in the housing right behind the convex glass. I actually had to order additional drivers for those two LEDs because in combination with the Halos they don't get full power anymore and shine at only 50% of their actual brightness. A driver makes sure the LED gets the right amount of voltage and current no matter what the input power is like.
The way I want those 3 components (HID, Halos, Demon Eye) to work without the use of external switches is, wire the projector headlights into the Hi beam function and the halos combined with demon eyes on the Lo beam so I can utilize my headlight switch on the left handle bar.
After some brain storming with my electrical more competent fiancée, we decided that a normally closed relay was of need. Reason being, the Hi beams (HIDs) are connected to the Lo beam circuit. The handlebar switch doesn't actually switch over from lo to hi, it just extends the lo beam circuit to the hi beams. So both headlights come on when in hi beam mode. NOW big problem is, that lo beam circuit doesn't turn off until the ignition/key is turned off. Hence the relay. Its job is to break the lo beam circuit at the headlight assembly while keeping the Hi beams running.
Tools and Materials used:
- 10mm socket (mirrors)
- 4mm Allen key (fairing)
- #2 Phillips
- small Phillips to remove each screw holding the OEM lightbulb metal clip
- tiny Phillips to remove retaining clamp of my xenon bulbs
- 2-3 Flat heads (different sizes for prying, small enough to get between housing crack for initial prying open)
- 1/2" wide Pry bar
- Electric Drill
- 7/64 drill bit
- 7/8 Spate Wood bit (cutting hole into cover caps behind light bulbs)
- Electrical Tape
- Saw or orbital with cut disc to cut 1/4 slots into cover caps
- 16AWG multi strand wire on the roll
- 14-16AWG Male Crimp Spade connectors
- 3/16 Shrink tube... get high quality
- 1/8 shrink tube (dual wall, adhesive lined)
- Solder flux core
- Soldering Iron
- Wire strippers
- Utility Knife
- Side cutters
Now on to the steps that took me to get to the final product.
Take Head fairing off, completely separate it from the headlight like you'd usually do when taking fairings off.
Then unscrew the headlight from the fairing stay. I just had 2 connectors to unplug, left turn signal and to the right is the headlight plug.
Before baking, I took the halogen bulbs out and left the 2 big screw caps off since they have soft rubber O rings on.
Preheat oven to 200F. I tried 175F for 3 rounds (cools down too much while prying apart the lens cover) and the glue was just not soft enough, gooping up the knife trying to cut the gap open to separate the glue from the halfs. 200F is mighty hot for hands with minor callus build up but bearable (gloves) and easier to work/cut the glue. My tabs are bent upwards now and I got a dozen gouges from jamming in flat heads and mini pry bars, working my way around it (with 2 people at times). Except for my tools having glue build up, it wasn't a messy job like strings of glue or anything.
The left Hi Beam reflector got a metal dome that extended over the halogen bulb. It's held in position by its 2 metal clips, easy to bent with a small flat head and then pull it off the reflector plastic.
Prep the projector for insertion by unplugging the Halo ring from its little black driver box and remove connector of demon eye LED by sticking a pin into the exposed top of the connectors, bending down the barbs that hold the wires. The barbs can be bent back up to stay in the connector again.
Unscrew the tiny screw, holding the xenon bulb down with its tiny clip. Remove bulb out of projector.
Take off all round plates and spring washer but leave on the white plastic ring as a buffer to protect the reflector plastic.
Thread through the halogen and demon eye LED wires. On the side of the 1in hole in the reflector you see another little cut out with a hook shape on the backside that would usually hold the metal clip in place for clamping down the halogen bulb. This cutout is just perfect for routing the wires through to avoid pinching or breaking them once tightening down the projector to the reflector plastic.
Insert projector and put the smaller aluminum plate on the backside as it is the only one that fits into the original halogen bulb holder. With the black spring washer on, screw down the "wing nut" onto the reflector backside until it gets difficult to rotate the projector by hand.
Now put back the xenon bulb and its cables where the rubber threaded grommet is already attached that I later use to seal the assembly when screwing back on the cover cap.
At this point I went to drill the 7/8 large hole into that cover cap more or less centered and cut the 1/4in slot in between the locking tabs. As usual when aiming for a larger hole, I used a small drill bit (randomly grabbed the 7/64) as guide hole for the big spade drill. I took my time, going slow with the drill especially since i was just holding the cap down on the floor with my hand and didn't want to slip or anything (also prevents plastic from melting around the bit).
The rubber threaded grommet has another larger hole where I threaded through the 2 other LED wires.
Before screwing down the cap, I pulled the rubber upward and pushed it half way through the hole first. With the cap on, it now looks very neat and somewhat sealed against dirt getting into the housing.
Do the same steps with the 2nd headlight minus the metal dome that was there for the high beam function.
Some might want to paint their reflector plastic black. I would do it on other bike models but judging from pictures of previous retrofits on 05/06 zx6r's I feel it takes away the soul that the bike expressed through its look at you from the headlights. Here an example of what a member used to black out his reflectors.
Here a quick idea of how the Change-Over relay looks in logic. Think of it as a triangle relationship. Only two of them (87, 30, 87a) can be connected at the same time.
In detail: The power input (86) for the relay coil comes directly from the red wire of the Hi beam lightbulb spade connector. So when the Hi beam circuit gets active it energizes the coil (not to forget to ground (85) the coil or nothing happens), it will close the switch between 87 (not in use) and 30 while opening the switch from 87a and 30. In reality I only need to put the red power wires of each Halo/red LED light onto the wire of pin 87a since the HIDs are connected to the bike directly, combined with the 86 wire.
Meanwhile, since I didn't (can't) control the bike's internal relays, it will keep sending power to the Hi beam circuit when the hi beam switch is ON. As long as the coil is active, the lo beams are disconnected/cut off from that circuit.
A bit more direct of a description/wiring diagram:
Halos & LEDs red wires combined, connect to Red 87a wire.
Halos & LEDs Black wires combined, connect to Lo beam black spade plug.
Relay Blue 30 wire connects to Lo beam Blue spade plug.
HIDs red wires combined WITH 86 wire, connect to Hi beam Red spade plug.
HIDs Black wires combined with 85 wire, connect to Hi beam black spade plug.
(when I say HID wires, it's actually the wires coming off the ballasts)
... Red deamon eyes not shining bright enough yet, waiting on additional LED drivers and then install those.
For aiming of the headlight to avoid blinding oncoming traffic and having them shine central (not to the sides or inside), the manual explains in the periodic maintenance section ( Headlight beam adjustment) that it should be 0.4 degrees below horizontal.
It says, put vehicle on level ground, 25ft away from a wall. Measure the headlight height from center of the projector to the ground, then go to the wall and mark the measured height -2in! Don't fully trust it. If test rides prove, you're lights are aiming no further than the bumper height of the car in front of you, it's too low. also if it's shining into the mirrors of the car, you're too high.
Thumb screw is for left right aiming in case it shines too far to one side, socket/cross head is for up and down adjustments.