Custom LED Modules: Motorcycle LED Auxiliary Lights

Custom LED Modules: Motorcycle LED Auxiliary Lights by Reuben Perry

I will begin by making clear that these modules can be used for so many different applications – although the principles are the same for just about every application, I will be running through my particular purpose of adding lights to my motorcycle.


Row 1: All off, Aux lights off, amber lights on, white lights on.
Row 2: The custom set up, the rest are same as above, but from the front.

As a motorcyclist, I greatly value the possibilities of making others more aware that I am on the road amidst them. While I make myself more visible, it doesn’t change the fact that I drive as if no one can see me. Safety – is my first priority.

To be more visible, I add lights! I am an LED fiend. I LOVE LEDs. I found some motorcycle LED running lights on one of those ‘affordable’ Chinese ‘we have everything’ websites. I had purchased items from them before that were decent, so I thought I would give those lights a shot. I purchased 4 LED lights for a total of $50. Not bad, right?? They worked great for a while and I was quite pleased with them. Only a handful of months and a few thousand miles down the road, one of them burned out. A couple months later, one of them lost the focusing lens on the freeway, and a couple months later, one of them kept loosening and twisting to point backwards!

My solution was to build my own. This article is to show you how I did it, and how easy it really was – and all for under $200. If you have absolutely NOTHING in your garage, then you will spend a small amount more on some basic parts like wires, cable ties, etc…



To make sure I got high quality parts, I contacted my favorite LED supplier, LED Supply (http://www.ledsupply.com) and priced out the parts I would need. There were still just a couple things they didn’t supply, but I will give you links or ideas for those. LED Supply has a handful of options for the LED housings, and many options for the LEDs and Optics! I chose their ‘Dynamic LED Housing’ because it allows many different applications, but the biggest reason is because if the lens or LEDs get damaged, or if I want to change the optic pattern, or colors of LEDs, I can do it simply by unscrewing the housing and swapping parts out!

I wanted to add some bright white auxiliary lights, but also wanted to be able to have some fog lights. Why would I want fog lights on my motorcycle – I drive across a swamp on my way to work that gets extremely foggy on cold mornings – fog lights would be useful for the mile or two of fog. So I asked LED Supply if they could build me a custom 3-up star for my project. 2 white Cree XPLs in series, and one amber Cree XPE2, on one star. They happily obliged and I set off building my own high quality aux lights!

I’ll give you my parts list, and then give you my step by step process WITH PICTURES! How lucky are you?

My parts list:

I didn’t get this, but it’s a good idea to get the electronic waterproof spray from them as well so you don’t have to worry about riding in the rain. @ $15.99: http://www.ledsupply.com/accessories/led-seal-silicone-spray-sealant

Other items I had to find elsewhere:

With that finally out of the way, we begin!

Step 1: READ EVERYTHING FIRST! You never know if you want to do something a little bit differently!

Step2: Get your parts!
All boxed up!
Out of the box.
Out of the packaging.

Step 3: Dry run mate the parts together.

Step 4: Polish everything you want to shine! I used Mother’s Aluminum Polish and a shop rag.

Step 5: Next, only if needed, drill the center hole of the led star and heatsink for the 4 conductor cable to fit through. A crescent wrench or a vise would be best to hold the star in place.

Step 6: Solder the wires onto the star terminals. Make note of which wires you have going to each positive and negative pad.

Step 7: Use a hacksaw to cut the threaded rod into sections just long enough to thread into the heatsink block, and go all the way through the p-clamp with enough room for a locking nut.

Step 8: Mix a small amount of thermal epoxy and apply it to one end of the threaded rod. Thread this into the heatsink block without coming out the other side. Wipe any beading or excess away from where the rod enters the block.

Step 9: For the best possible mate, grind off one point of the copper female threaded fitting. Grind this point down until you have the best fit into the heatsink block.
Marked points to grind.
Dry run to check fit.

Step 10: Mix a small amount of arctic silver epoxy 1:1 and epoxy the copper fittings onto the heatsink blocks. I positioned mine with the hexagon points toward the rear of the heatsink to protect the LED housing itself, but positioning is completely up to you. MAKE SURE that when you epoxy this, that you don’t have any excess coming forward from the copper fitting. The LED housing needs to be able to thread down against the fitting for best thermal conduction.

Step 11: Drill a hole in the copper caps just large enough for the cable to fit through (sorry no picture). Cut 2 pieces of ¾ copper pipe just enough to fit the street elbow into the cap. Assemble the copper assembly as you see in the previous picture. You can epoxy these, solder, or duct tape if you want… I want to chrome plate them in the future…

Step 12: Solder the cable ends to the 4 pin connectors in a similar method of my wiring diagram… and remember to use heatshrink tubing to protect those connections! Yes, I’m using computer molex connectors… but you should use marine grade waterproof connectors.

Step 13: If you haven’t done so, remove the gas tank from your bike. Prepare the power cables with inline fuses (or use your own fuse block) and use the terminal connectors on the end in case you need to pull the circuit apart ever in the future. Use the diagram included in my parts list.

 Positive connections with in-line fuse blocks.
Connectors for the switches and to ground.

Step 14: Mount your custom LED Lights! Use cable ties to secure the cable along your crash guard bars, or wherever you’ve decided to mount them. I used chromed stainless steel cable ties.

You can barely see the cable ties!

Step 15: Fit the drivers between the top two frame bars and use electrical tape (or whatever you have around) to mount them securely. Connect the (+) and (-) cables to the switches, and the drivers to the switches (not the battery yet!!)

Step 16: In my case, the switches are mounted in the left neck cover, but you can have them anywhere… Finish mounting the switches.

Step 17: Connect the power cables to the battery – I connected the positive to the battery, and the negative to a nearby grounding bolt.
At this point, your lights are mounted! If you haven’t done so, properly align them so you’re not blinding oncoming traffic and so you get maximum visibility.
There is no need to remove the front forks as is shown in the pictures – I just happened to be rebuilding the forks, brake calipers, and adding an LED headlight at the same time!
The finished project with amber lights and white lights with separate switches. If I have them both on at the same time, I get a slightly warmer color white.




Please let me know what you think! I appreciate the questions and comments!

EChoice Compression Socks Review


If you’ve been reading, you’ll know that I recently started having pains in my feet and legs while sitting at my desk at work. I decided to get some compression socks to see if they helped.

In short, yes, they did help – but different brands have slightly different qualities. These compression socks from EChoice, available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=me%3DALLFV17AZIVHM&field-keywords=compression+socks+women are easier to get on than others I’ve tried – I think due to the fabric feeling a little smoother. The fit and compression was adequate, but I noticed after the first day of wearing these, that the fabric was starting to pill (get little tiny balls of fabric) forming along the sides of my feet. I can only assume this is from the rubbing against my shoes all day. I have other socks that haven’t had any pilling..

If you don’t wear shoes while you want your compression socks on, then these are fine, but if you plan on having shoes on your feet for extended amounts of time, grab a different pair.




Athledict Compression Socks Review


I’ve never had a problem, sitting at my desk all day long, but I recently started getting pains in my foot and my toes would go numb. My brain went straight to worst possible scenarios – blood clot, pinched nerves, etc. After calming down a little, I started trying things I had control over: checked my posture, made sure I was sitting correctly, monitors, keyboard, and mouse all at proper positions. After a couple weeks of that, nothing changed. I saw these compression socks and figured I’d give them a try. They actually have so many purposes that fit my bill, so even if they didn’t help my antsy feet, I could use them for other things.

The product came in a simple bag – probably saves a lot of money not having them in a box. Pulling them, I immediately felt some high quality fabrics. The socks actually feel like a second skin – and tough enough that I don’t fear wearing through the heels anytime soon.

Getting the socks on took a lot more effort than I thought they would, but once on, I felt like I was wearing some high tech Star Wars socks or something. The socks are very comfortable and feel like nothing short of high performance clothing.

In the first day, I felt a difference. I felt like my legs were willing and able to run me across campus if needs be. Had no soreness or numbing, which was nice – it was the first time in about a week that my legs felt that good.

After wearing and washing these for a couple days, the fabric continued to hold up well. There was no peeling (when the fabric gets little tiny balls of fabric forming) visible, which means more praise from me.

Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071ZDT4WJ


3 in 1 Universal Professional HD Camera Lens Kit REVIEW


I’ve always wondered if these were just a gimmick… so I had to try these to put my curiosity to rest.

This lens kit wasn’t sold with a particular brand name – but the box has “SMART & EASY” all over it, so I’m guessing that’s the brand. At first glance, it’s just a box with some well padded lenses and a clip inside. The lenses, as small as they are, actually have decent heft to them. These are built with aluminum, plastic protective covers when not in use, and these are actually made with glass, not poly-carbonate.

I took some shots from the exact same position, pointed at some flowers on the dinner table to show the real difference these lenses make.

In order, I will show a normal shot, focused as close as it can go; then a macro lens shot, a wide angle shot, and a fish-eye shot. Each lens is labeled with what it is: 230 fish eye lens, .65X Wide Angle Lens, 15X Macro Lens.

Besides that, the pictures speak for themselves. The build quality is surprisingly good, and the pictures taken are good quality as well!

The cons that I see are as follows:
The clip is sort of obnoxious and in the way.
If you have one of those thick cases on your phone, the lens may not sit close enough to be as useful.
If you have ANY case on your phone, the lens will sit slightly off of the phone. I have a thin case on my Samsung Galaxy S7, but the offset isn’t affecting the picture too much.

The pros that I see are as follows:
The macro lens allows you to actually get clear sharp images from within about an inch!
The wide angle lens does give you a little more width to those photos.
The fish eye lens really gives a lot of view with its 230 degrees.
Pictures are still sharp and clear.
Possibilities of what you can do with these is really limited by your own creativity.

These lenses are really awesome and I would recommend them if you would rather take those cool shots in places you normally wouldn’t take your bigger nicer camera!
Available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072FQTPPZ






TruPath LED Flashlight w/Case Review

I love doing reviews on LED flashlights – so many things I can be critical about… The TruPath LED Flashlight has now come under scrutiny. They advertise the brightest flashlight – but how can anyone really advertise that? Companies boast their 1500+ lumen single die flashlights – when 1000 lumens is really only reachable under very good conditions with the Cree XML-T6 die (which many of them are advertising that they use).

The TruPath light has an oddity that makes this hard to compare with other lights that I have: it doesn’t seem to have a hot spot! I can tell there is one, only because my camera filters it out a bit easier than my own eyes. It is mostly a solid consistent flood pattern. The flood light is brighter than many of my other lights, but my other lights also have a brighter hot spot – even when compared to the TruPath’s 100% zoomed in hot spot. While this is actually a neat and useful oddity, their advertised 2500 lumen output is bogus, as before mentioned, the Cree XML-T6 has a theoretical output of 325% * 280 lumens (910 lumens) if it’s running at 3000mA, which is considered an extremely high operating current and is considered unsafe or degrading to the health of the LED. Enough of that soap-box… The description says zooming is a twist action, you actually just pull the lens forward.

Otherwise, for the price, it is of exceptional build quality, no loose, shaky parts. It’s waterproof, for the minute I had it in water. And it has a very consistent flood pattern. It comes in a cool case, comes with a pouch, a charged 4000mAh 18650 lithium battery, and a 3x AAA adapter. I don’t think you can go too far wrong with this light in your outdoors or emergency kit.

Available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NALMV1H

Video Review: On YouTube.



Cozlane LED USB Bicycle Tail Light Review

As a motorcyclist and cyclist, I’m a huge believer in ‘making myself known’ in public, especially through the form of lighting. As I’ve been getting back into cycling lately, and especially as I commute 24 miles to and from on the bicycle, I needed to make sure I’m being well marked on the road – so others can purposely avoid hitting me… or purposely hit me I guess – no accidents is the goal!

To begin with – packaging: This light was well packed with little or no room for it to rattle during shipment. The mount is extremely easy to install, move, and adjust. The strap is a softer rubber that simply wraps around whatever you’re mounting the light to. The light itself clips into the rubber clamp in either direction so you can mount this vertically or horizontally. The light can be tilted (it clicks into each position) for some directional adjustment.

Turning on the light, I am very pleased with how BRIGHT it is! The color is very rich and bright. The module has 5 different light modes: Red Solid On, Red Flashing, Blue Solid On, Blue Flashing, Red Flashing – Blue Flashing, and off. Pressing the power button switches modes and holding the power turns it off.

The light has a USB charging port (and it comes with a very short cheap cable).

In use, I’ve taken this on a couple trips to and from work. The light stayed on the whole time to work, but it got turned off at some point on the way home. Also, on the way home, the ride must have been more jolting because the light was actually tilting down instead of straight out where I left it.

Overall Pros: The light is awesomely bright, looks nice, super easy to install, and makes me that much more visible.
Overall Cons: The light did get turned off and the tilt position changed while going over some bumps in the road.

This light is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Rechargeable-Waterproof-Options-Mountain-Bicycles/dp/B072Q9NQQG?SubscriptionId=AKIAIYFLREOYORYNAQTQ&tag=test0e5d-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B072Q9NQQG/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1497863925&sr=1-7



Sumpri Hand Chainsaw Review


The Sumpri Hand Chainsaw – should be in every camping pack! This very cool half of a chainsaw blade comes in a nice textile pouch with a belt loop, emergency whistle, and a flint/steel fire starter. The blades themselves feel like they could use a sharpening right out of the bag, but it easily cut through a 4 inch branch. Although it still does work up a sweat, when you’re out in the wild, without your luxury tools, this chainsaw will get you the lumber you need for a shelter or a fire.

The pouch that this hand chainsaw comes with is a great extra to store the saw in. The pouch keeps the saw compact and easily portable. This saw will be with me in my regular hiking/camping bag.
Great for the survivalist, outdoor enthusiast, camper, woodsman, any child in Scouts, etc etc.

Definitely worth every penny, and this would make a great gift for friends and family that are also into the outdoors. Of course, a real chainsaw is better, and some people prefer the good ol fashion axe. Just think though, you won’t have to be swinging anything over your head – no wood chips flying – much less danger than an axe can be. But – of course – you’re safe with this kind of stuff… right? Are your kids?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06VXZPZLW
#sumpri #pocket #Chain #Saw #Fire #starter

Review: Red-Guru Trekking Poles


Out of the box, I was pretty excited to get these poles for some hardcore backcountry backpacking – but then I ran into a problem. The instructions, simple as they were, didn’t quite make sense. They mentioned separating the pole where it was white. I didn’t see any white ring on the pole. I couldn’t find any other instructions in the package or online, and I couldn’t find any contact information for help!

After leaving a very negative review, Red-Guru actually contacted me and sent me a link to a video of the poles. When I saw what I was doing wrong, I felt pretty stupid. There is a part on the pole that has two stainless ends – but they are butted together and look like one end. After pulling those apart, I then saw the white ring that I was looking for. I think a simple diagram on the instruction set could have saved me tons of time and grief, and would have benefited Red-Guru as well.

After using these poles as they were intended, I was very pleased with them. They work great and are of high quality materials. The grip is comfortable in my hands and the height can adjust a great deal – enough that I can use them (6′ tall) and my wife can use them comfortably (5’1″). These poles also have an interchangeable foot so you can use them hiking on solid ground, or in the snow or soft dirt.

If you’re looking for some good hiking poles, these work great!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XB9G4P8

Review: SurvivalHax Portable Water Filter Bag w/ Flint and Steel


I’ve been wanting to add more outdoor gear to my line up of reviews, and it wouldn’t be complete with a method of water filtration!

This portable filtration bag is from SurvivalHax, comes with a small caribiner, flint, and steel. The water filtration does its job as far as I can tell without a microscope, and the flint and steel work very well. It’s always best to have a bit of lint from your dryer to start super easily with flint and steel, and make sure the tinder is nice and dry!
When using the filter, always make sure your water is pure!
https://survivalhax.com/products/portable-water-filter-bag

Review: RnS Star EDC Knife


Wasn’t sure what to expect with this knife. Most $10-$15 range knives are gimmicky and boast tactical futuristic looks. Sure they’re still knives, but there are a few things that really separate them from a REAL knife.

The RnS Star came in a small nondescript box. I noticed right away that the ‘serrated back’ of the blade is totally non functional and won’t cut butter… no really, it won’t cut it. This little knife does have some saving graces though.
The 2.5″ blade and 3.5″ overall size is compact enough to fit in that little pocket on the right side of your jeans without feeling like it’s jabbing into the bottom of that tiny pocket. With that being said, if the knife is in the regular pocket, it’s hardly noticeable to the wearer.

Unique looks and design really make up the entirety of this knife without trying to hard to “look cool.” The locking mechanism is unique and is similar to newer utility knives that require sliding a small thumb catch over about 1/8″ to release the blade.

Fit wise, this knife fits perfectly for a 3 finger + thumb grasp – I prefer all four fingers, but if you’re going for compact, this is great. The knife is easy and firm to open up one handed.

Quality wise, this knife feels well built, sturdy, no cheap loose bolts, and isn’t smothered in oil.

Sharpness test!
I compared this to my Gerber Paraframe and Gerber Ripstop II. Both knives have been used a bit and probably need sharpening, but they’re still very sharp for just about everything I use them on. My paper test is on 25# printer paper (so it’s a little thicker than regular stuff). The Gerbers had a rather rough time slicing through and literally rip more than anything else. This little RnS knife sliced smooth and clean right through.

Overall, for the price range – I am impressed with this little EDC!

If you’re in need of nice little every-day-carry knife, this one is on Amazon for about $13: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06W5KRY2V