PIAA Cross Country HID / Trail Tech SCMR 16 HID
Got HID?

[ Friday - January 16, 2009 ]

It's been a good week since I've installed auxiliary lights on the 12R.  Here I thought the stock headlight is plenty good.  It was all fine until my buddy the Captain who showed me his HID conversion , on his '97 Blackbird, and the error of my ways .  To rub salt on the wound, he even mentioned how much safer he felt being able to see at night.  That's it!  I had to follow his example.

The Captain's Blackbird with his low beam converted to HID.

I didn't want to convert my existing lights to HID because of concerns for the light when I do stupid things like ... stall the bike.  HID light don't like to be flickered on and off.  It's either on or off.  Nothing in between.  So I elected to mount external lights.

As for the hardware, I was too naive to know any better.  I purchased the PIAA Cross Country HID from twistedthrottle.com when I should have purchase the Trail Tech lights instead.  In fact, PIAA repackaged the Trail Tech's light and marked up the price by at least 75%.  It goes to show ignorance is not bliss.  Oh well, I already paid for the lights so I might as well put them to good use.

PIAA Cross Country HID - $574.95 (set)

Trail Tech Black SCMR16 HID - $149.95

Can you see the difference between the two units above?  I definitely can't.  Actually there is one difference.  The label.  Other than that, the units are identical.  If you decide to purchase these lights, get the Trail Tech version.  It's the same and it cost less.

What's the big deal with this unit as oppose to going with a different HID kit?  Easy.  The answer has to do with available space for a ballast.  Yes, there is plenty of room under the seat to mount a ballast, but I don't want to run electrical wires all over the freakin' place and back.  Each of these lights have a built in ballast so all that is needed is to mount the light and wire them up.  No need to find that double sided mounting tape and a location to stuff the ballast.

As for where to put lights on the R12R, I ended up mounting the lights on the forks.  There really aren't that many places you can mount lights on the 12R.  It's so bare bone that it's hard to mount the light at a location where it doesn't get in the way.  I researched on the Internet and found out a couple of places that make light bracket mounts.  At $150 for a set of CNC aluminum mounts, I said, "Forget it buddy."  Instead I created my own light brackets using some stock aluminum strips from OSH.  $7 and some quality time with the machine.  Now that's what I call putting your time and money to good use.  Actually, I ended up scrapping a couple of trips of aluminum because I don't have a machine shop and wrecked a couple of mounts.  I started over several times but in the end found what I was looking for.  Still, $21 worth of aluminum is nothing compared to $150.

It's not the pretties looking mount, but it works just fine.

Because the light is symmetric, it doesn't effect the light pattern to mount it sideways.

Am I afraid the light is going to fall off?  Hardly.  I can wiggle the entire bike by grabbing the light mount and tugging on it.

Since I have a set of the Wunderlich flood lights, held over from the R12GS days, I decided to mount one of the flood light also.  Basically one fog light and one focus beam light.  That should do pretty good.

This picture shows how much I trust 3M double sided outdoor mounting tape.

Is it cheese?  Oh yeah baby!  It has to be one of the cheesiest light mount in the world.

Now this is what you call a home grown auxiliary light mounts.  I don't think it can get any more home grown than this.  Aluminum, screws, nuts, tie wraps, and double sided outdoor mounting tape.  What more could any fixer upper guy ask for?

As for the electrical, I still have the Centech AP-1 from the 12GS days so I put that fuse box to good use.  Additionally, Pelican now manufactures micro cases, I purchased one to put all of the electronics into.  This way I don't have to worry about rain water and dirt getting into the electronics.  Yes I ride in the rain and I love it.

Good old AP-1.  It's awesome.

The wiring is still a bit of a mess because I haven't cleaned up yet.  Once everything tests out, I'll
clean house.

I used the accessories plug power to trigger a mechanical relay for the fuse box.  This way all of my electrical stuff will be automatically powered off when the bike is turned off.  Since I'm taking the accessory plug for the relay, what am I going to use for accessory power?  Easy.  The AP-1.  Since the fuse box is hooked up to the bike's battery, I'm going to tap power directly from the battery.  In actuality, this is desirable.  The accessory plug can only handle around 50 watts at 4 amps.  In other words, you can't drive too much from the accessory plug.  If there is too much power draw from the accessories plug, the CANBUS will power down the accessories power.

Later on I leveled off the Pelican a bit so it doesn't interfere with the seat.

I've been told the 12R uses something on the neighborhood of 150 watts to keep the bike running.  Not very much.  On the other hand, the alternator is capable of generating 600 watts output.  This means at least 400 watts of accessories power.  That's insane.  The '08 and later R12GS is even better at 750 watts max output.  However, to be on the safe side, I restrict  myself to 300 watts just in case BMW's claims are false.  Now why would BMW lie about such a thing.  300 watts?  Yes 300 watts.  That's still a lot of available electrical power to plug in plenty of goodies.  I just have to tap power off of the AP-1 instead of the accessories plug.  The AP-1 makes performing such an activity trivial.  Almost like taking candy from a baby.

One light switches for each light.  That way I can selectively power on just the light I want.  It's also good to have the HID on a separate switch because Trail Tech recommends using the HID light when moving at a minimum of 20 MPH.  This way, if I'm sitting in over heating traffic, I can turn off the HID and still have a decent amount of light with just the flood light.

I poked (drilled) a couple of holes in the Pelican mini-case to run electrical wires in and out.  Tada!  There it is.  When I turn the bike key, I can hear the mechanical relay click.  When I turn the bike off, it takes several seconds and then the relay clicks once more.  It all works.  Cool!

Yes, I stole the 20A fuse for the power input to the AP-1.
I have to back fill it eventually but nothing is using that fuse spot right now.

Bla bla bla!  In the end everything is together and it's time to see all those little pebbles on the road in the dark.

All three light are on.  As you can see, the circular bluish light is the HID.

Here is the stock headlight.

The flood light is on.  This helps a bit.

Now this is what I'm talking about people.

At one point I was contemplating swapping out the flood light for another HID.  In the end I decided to hold on to the flood light and mount the 2nd HID somewhere else.  Possibly on the handlebar.  Having a high mounted light will be welcome when I'm out in the middle of nowhere and want to make it to my destination safely on that 14th hour of riding in pitch dark.

Written on:  January 16, 2009
Last modified:  January 17, 2009