Erica left me...


[ Sunday - April 21, 2019 ]

While on the last curry run, I noticed my right Erica Clearwater Lights was out.  That's odd.  Tapping the high beam switch and it's still off.  That's not cool.  It was working when I got to the restaurant.  Eventually I did find the right cable connection had come off.  Once reconnected, the light worked again.  That is until the commute the next day.  The right light went off again.  Perhaps the cable is loose again... nope, it's on tight.  Annoyed, I did some trouble shooting.  Swapping the wires (right wire with left light), the left light works.  Right light with left wire... nope.  Then magically the right light came on.  "Hey! it's working again."  Famous last words.  Slowly the right light faded to darkness in front of my eyes.  OK, it's dying or dead.  How disappointing considering the light were being operated at only 20% intensity the majority of the time.  I guess intensity doesn't matter.  The electronics still has to endure the Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) voltage .  Perhaps the electronics gave up the ghost rather than the LED's.  Who knows...

Checking my records, I purchased the Erica's back in October 2013 not too long after getting the GSW.   That means I've been used the lights for about 5 years.  That's definitely better than the Cyclops LED H7 headlamp (at only one year).  However, given the amount of money spent ($900) for the pair, I expected the lights to last longer.  Given my experience with LED lights, I'm not too impressed with life expectancy.  A lot of manufacturers claim30K+ hours life expectancy.  That's easily the life of the bike.  If not the remainder of my life time.  But claims are just that, claims.  In my experience the LED would die in a matter of just a couple of years.  This is not my first set of dead Clearwater Lights.  In fact, I had two sets of Glenda's on my 8GS.  Two sets over 5 years.  Not a good track record for a claimed 30K+ hours.  So what am I going to do?  Get another set of lights.  Something more economical.

This time around, I can't stomach another $900 for another 5 years.  So I went with another brand that is more cost effective.  A set of Denali lights.


Denali D4 2.0 TriOptic LED light.

Yes, they're LED's.  At $450 for the pair (Twisted Throttle), I don't mind if they only last 5 years.  Having experienced Denali lights before, I like the brand.  They work, and work, and work.

Denali DM Micro LED Lighting

Even though I infrequently use them, the Micro LEDs shine brightly whenever the power button is push.  I use the Micro LED's when my main head lamps burns out.  Turning them on will reduce the likelihood of cops pulling me over for running without a headlight.  ... "I don't know what you're talking about officer, this is my headlight."  The Micro LED's out shines my Philips X-treme Vision Plus H7 bulb.

Given how the GSW has been rigged for accessory electronics, it takes more time to figure out ways to wire things up cleanly.  CAN-Bus activated accessory power is a cinch.  I spent the day working on the lights on and off.  The ending results works well enough.  For the full brightness, I could have tapped into the high-beam power but decided to put in a switch that I can manual flip instead.  Is it that control freak bit?  I don't think so, but I can never be too sure.


New lights setup.

All done in time for a long trip to Death Valley.

In the end, the Denali lights cost half and are brighter than the Erica's.  These lights are either on, or they are off.  There is no dimming.  Perhaps this simplicity will allow them to work longer.  From here out, I will not buy another set of Clearwater lights again.  The dimming feature is nice but the lights just don't last.  At the cost they're asking for, it's not worth the money.



Written on: April 21, 2019
Last modified: April 21, 2019