Guide to buying LED bulb replacements for turn and rear signals

Many people have had great success replacing the stock halogen turn bulbs on their vehicle with LED replacements. But there are some key pieces of information that need to be addressed, before the replacement can be done. Should one buy the LEDs locally, or online? What type of LED do I buy? What color? Hopefully this short write-up will help answer some of these questions, and add to my previous posts on using LED bulbs.

Buying LED Bulbs Online

Generally, across all consumer goods categories, the advent of online shopping has revolutionized the entire experience. It is my humble opinion that buying online is the best source for your LED needs. I’ve listed some examples :-

Super Bright LEDs

Motorcycle LED lightsโ€Ž

Custom Dynamics

You can also, of course, buy specific LEDs from your choice of Amazon.com or Ebay.com as well. There are many good sources for LED bulbs. I specifically would like to call out ‘JDM A Star’, a retailer on Amazon, who consistently stock high quality LED bulbs. I have purchased all my LED bulbs over the last 2 years through them.

Buying LED Bulbs Locally

I’ve found that Wal-Mart tends to stock some of these LED bulbs (both 1156 & 1157 sockets) . I am sure that auto stores (Auto Zone, Advanced Auto Parts, etc) locally might also have these in stock, at retail locations. So If one wants to buy them locally, it’d be best to call up and enquire.

However, the key problem when buying from Wal-Mart /local store Is that you’d need to make sure it’s the latest technology bulb, and not an older version. How can you do this? The LED I used, bought from JDM A Star on Amazon, had 144 SMDs! I’m not sure you’d get this from a local store ๐Ÿ™ that is my major concern buying locally. Wal-Mart or another store could order these in for you, and you’d have to call them up to check availability.
How to choose a bright LED bulb (and what are SMDs?)

Most modern LED bulbs have a # of SMDs. The SMD (Surface Mounted Diode) is the little square diode you see on an LED bulb. The higher the # of SMDs , the more output on them. We’d like to get these higher output ones. LEDs may also have a projector lens at the front.

Example of low SMD count LED (older, probably less output in general…cheaper)

Example of an older/smaller LED bulb

Below is an example of a newer LED bulb type, more SMDs, likely more light output and powerful

Projector lens on LEDs (the JDM A Star 144 SMD bulb, with the lens projector visible)

The projector lens, visible in the front of the LED bulb

Also, the LEDs with more SMDs tend to be longer in length too. So one needs to make sure you these can be properly used in your particular ride. Generally they fit most bikes. Some unlucky bikes might have too tight a space, so use the respective manual/measure the space length available. The positive side is that most online retailers (especially Amazon) offer free returns.

A size comparison of my V Strom stock 1156 halogen turn bulb, vs the Amber LED replacement I installed

As you can see, the LED I used, bought from JDM A Star on Amazon, had 144 SMDs!

The Amazon-sourced LED Amber 1156 bulb I bought. It has a high # of SMDs ๐Ÿ™‚

If you can get a similar number of SMDs from your chosen source, that’s great! As of early 2016, the 144 SMD count LED bulbs seem to be the latest tech. But even if SMDs are lower in count, you might get a brighter output (there are 48 SMD bulbs that are fantastic and much brighter than stock bulbs)

Also, make sure the right socket is in play. Two wire solutions are generally 1156 sockets, while three wire (rear tail brake combined) bulbs are 1157 sockets.

Different types of sockets

You can use this handy tool to lookup info on your vehicle. Please also confirm/verify with your vehicle’s manual!
Phillips Auto light – Bulb Finder

Types of sockets : 2 wire & 3 wire

You need to choose the color you need based on the output, not based on the bulb housing! What I mean by this is, that if you’re buying turn bulbs, get Amber bulbs. It doesn’t matter of your lens housing is Amber or clear. You might be tempted to buy white bulbs if you’ve Amber/Red bulb lens housing…. Please do not ๐Ÿ™‚ . The physics of light and how colors work, guides us to buying the color you wish to see.

How to choose color of LED | Does my Lens Housing Color Matter?

An Amber housing absorbs all other colors except Amber…. If you’ve a while LED rated for 5W, then only the Amber sub-component of that 5W light output is being transmitted by your housing. We don’t want that !

If you instead use an Amber LED bulb rated for 5W, then all that 5W output gets transmitted out through the Amber housing. This is what we need! More light, better! So always buy the bulb based on your need, not based on the housing lens color.

 

 

Hope this helps anyone trying to update their motorcycle/car/truck lights to LEDs.

Please feel free to bring any corrections or updated additional info if you have any. I’d humbly appreciate your feedback! ๐Ÿ™‚

Regards,
Vishnu

thepaleobiker

V-Strom 650 || Modifications || Reducing Buffeting Part 2 – Rick’s Mirror Extenders

I finally got around to installing Ricks Mirror extenders from www.adventuretech.biz

Continuing on from my earlier article on the Windshield replacement, I look forward to seeing how much the dirty wind around my helmet has reduced. It had already reduced significantly thanks to the Givi – I can now listen to my favorite podcasts (On Point – Tom Ashbrook by NPR) on my Sena headset, which I could not do before while on the Stock windshield….

Removing the stock mirror – you actually don’t need to separate the two pieces like I did – Learn from my missteps ! ๐Ÿ™‚

The removed stock rear view mirror, and it’s parts (I wrongly separated the stalk from the lowest screw nut)

Rick’s extenders come with a nice spacer that sits atop the stock female thread on the handlebar

You need to place the new black spacer on top of this female thread, and use Rick’s extended long bolt.

You simply put the space over the female thread, use Rick’s long bolt to secure the extended piece ; You need to use an 8MM Allen key to tighten up the bolt.

The new, installed mirror extender! Super sexy & looks stock ๐Ÿ™‚ . You just need to install back the mirror stalk onto this extender. Use blue loctite if needed

That’s it! Now you can screw back in the stock mirror stalk into the female thread on Rick’s extender. Done ! The improved visibility is nothing short of amazing.

Additional Pics to follow :-

Improved rear visibility! Vastly better. I no longer see just my shoulders ๐Ÿ˜€

Regards,
Vishnu
‘thepaleobiker’

How to Disable Annoying On-Screen Keyboard in Windows 10 (or 8)

 

What can I say? I really enjoyed the update to Windows 10. The new OS is really slick and nice, the transitions are pretty awesome. The mail app is actually fantastic (integrates well with Gmail!). Its been a pretty sweet affair so far….

Except for one nagging issue – There is an On Screen Keyboard that pops us each time I login to the system! I understand it is essential for a tablet or a touch screen device, but mine is a plain Jane old school non-transforming laptop! Why does Microsoft think I need an onscreen keyboard?

People searching for help - remove OSK
People searching for help on Google – how to remove OSK

Anyway, I digress. Rant aside, I was sure I wasnt the only one facing this mild annoyance. Sure enough, the simplest of searches on Google brought up tons of people facing the same issue.

The sad thing though is that none of the main solutions worked! ๐Ÿ™ How can it be? I tried the top 3 solutions (Go into Settings-> Ease of Access.. or disable it from Windows Services -> Disabled)

The trick was actually pretty simple. When the OnScreen-Keyboard pops up the next time on your screen, follow the 3 steps mentioned below :-

1) Click on the ‘Options’ key bottom row, third from the right

2) Click on ‘Control whether OSK starts when I login’

3) Uncheck the evil button ‘Use On-Screen keyboard’……

And that’s it! The keyboard has not popped up anymore! The image below should hopefully help some of you out ๐Ÿ™‚

3 steps to remove on-screen keyboard for good
3 steps to remove on-screen keyboard for good

The Boredom Boon – Harnessing the Human desire to Learn/Grow

At some point in our lives, we might have times when we begin to ‘stagnate’ from an intellectual perspective; Such times lead to introspective questions such asย “Am I putting my abilities/time to good use?” or “What should I do next?”

Feeling a sense of ‘boredom’ is a crucial part of the human existence – It is boredom that encourages and nurtures a coupole of other classic human traits, namely, our creativity and resourcefullness. The evolutionary importance of the sensation of boredom is critical – If we were never bored, we would never need to ask questions or play a game. We would not have any past time activity, because we wouldnt need one (we arent bored, so why have a ‘past time’ ? ). Boredom leads to playfulness – ever watched a crow/raven play ‘slide down the slippery roof’ ? What links humans and ravens/crows? Its our intelligence and our liability to get bored.

This brings us back to the original question at hand – What can one do if one is feeling stagnant about one’s current state of affairs intellectually?

Explore a new Hobby ! Learn a new skill ! Travel around locally ย on foot/visit new places !

In my case, I have been honing/practicing newly cultivated hobbies (Latin Dancing, Rock Climbing & Photography) and these have provided some good challenges. But I was itching for more mental stimulation, and this has lead me to look into learning a modern Programming Language.

To many of us (including me..) the idea of learning a programming language is immensely daunting; “I could never create a website/app, its so complicated!” but the allure is great (“I’d love to be able to make a shiny website/app !!”). I’ve taken a peak into the current state of things and its is shocking to see the amount of information available today, guiding anyone looking to learn, with well structured programs and free online learning tools.

As an example, I’ll reference two specific web-based programs I have found to be especially useful for the most simplest/widely used programing tools :-

a) CodeCademy (Great for HTML/CSS, Ruby & Python – arguably the best free resource out there)
If you need to know the basics of building out your own Blog or Portfolio website, CodeCademy is simply amazing in its simplicity and value. Tons of simple walkthroughs and guides that’ll teach you HTML & CSS. If you add in Ruby, you would be qualified enough to create the most complex, the most beautiful of websites! Yes ๐Ÿ™‚ !

Codecademy - HTML & CSS Intro
Codecademy – HTML & CSS Intro

 

b) Khan Academy (Great for a ridiculously vast array of topics, including HTML/CSS, Ruby & Python)
Khan Academy is one of the oldest & most widely respected free online learning tools available today. You can teach yourself a humongous amount of stuff from Khan Academy. With ourย current lookย at Programming languages, there’s enough stuff in Khan Academy to teach you/motivate you and get you competent quickly in a wide variety of languages.

Khan Academy HTML & CSS Intro
Khan Academy HTML & CSS Intro

That’s it! I will keep this series of updates on HTML/CSS and programming and hopefully some of you find this useful and get encouraged and take it up yourself ๐Ÿ˜‰

Regards,
Vishnu
thepaleobiker