Over the weekend my 24 led strips came in the mail after a month from venturing across the pond. Here's a link to what I bought-
24 LED Strip Under Car Grill Light Flexible Lamp Amber | eBay
and looked like this-
My bike came with the Clear Alternatives integrated rear tail light, and even though it really cleaned up the looks of the bike, it was quite lacking when it came to providing adequate turn signals (especially when the brakes are on).
I made a license plate bracket for my bike about a month ago that properly spaced the license plate away from my 2-Brothers RH exit exhaust. I installed some led license plate bolts and got to thinking. I thought about using the two lower boltholes for amber led bolts and hook those into the rear turn signals.
I thought about using these-
and calling it good. However, I didn't like how they would have exposed wires on the back, you wouldn't be able to see the RH signal in traffic due to the exhaust, it would look like an afterthought, and yada yada yada.
It was at that moment I looked at the ridge of the plastic tail section itself. I liked the fact the led strips would be up higher than the exhaust on the right side, and I had a vision that I thought would look pretty clean.
One problem. A huge dilemma. Is it worth it to drill holes just to mount those turn signals? That's a lot of holes. Lots of holes to mis-align and mess up. Crap. However, I psyched myself up for the task with a couple techniques I've picked up over the years.
Masking tape. I laid down some tape where I thought the strips would go, then marked exactly where every led would go. I can't give an exact spacing dimension since it varied slightly due to the quality of manufacture of the product. After making a vertical mark indicating the center of each led, I then ran another piece of tape to mark the intersection of each drill hole.
Once that was done, it was time to center punch each hole. I used a harbor freight automatic center punch ($2) to mark the holes through the tape and lightly into the plastic.
Now here is the key. Once the center punch holes were established, it was time to start drilling. PILOT HOLES! PILOT HOLES! PILOT HOLES! I can't stress that enough. I started off with a 3/32" hole and made sure they were aligned straight. It's much easier to drill into plastic using a tiny bit than using a big one off the bat. If I were to cut to the chase and use the correct size of bit, I run the risk of having the drill bit walk and mis-align the holes.
And once the pilot holes are in, time for the big bit. I used a 15/64" drill bit and it provided a very snug fit for the led strips. The pilot hole allows the bigger bit to just glide right on in and no worries or hassles about the bit walking all over the plastic.
Once the big holes were made, I gently removed the tape. The key is the peel the tape over itself. DO NOT PULL STRAIGHT OUT ON THE TAPE. It WILL pull paint! I managed to only lose two flakes of paint (my bike has been repainted so I suspected it was gonna happen). Didn't do too badly considering I made 48 new holes in that plastic.
I used a big drill bit to deburr each hole. Make sure not to go too far since plastic doesn't stand a chance against a drill bit lol.
Now it was time to install the strips! It probably would have gone a lot smoother if I had used a little larger of a drill bit (maybe a 1/4" bit). It took a lot of massaging to get the little lights to pop into their place, and the use of a little pick on the inside to move the lights around worked AWESOME. I secured the leds in place with a little RTV.
I hooked the lights up and smiled as my vision was coming together just as planned-
The strips throw out a respectable amount of light, just what I needed to replace the CA integrated unit.
Then before I knew it, I had to rush to school to study for a final. So the bike is still partially disassembled in my shop, until finals week is over and I can finally get the bike out in the sun to take some more shots of the effectiveness of the lights.
I'm gonna have to pick up a led flasher to reduce the speed of the flash. I also have led front signals (integrated into the mirrors) and about the only resistance present is the little 1.7watt turn signal dash indicator. I had one burn out, and it either causes the leds to spazz out or hold steady color. I found my local Cycle Gear actually had the led flasher units for $20-
SPEEDMETAL Flash LED Relay - Parts & Accessories - Cycle Gear
I thought about using those load equalizers, but those are kinda sketchy since they get so hot at times (or at least they did on my brother's 2006 ZX-6R with integrated tail).