Intermittent problem with OPT7 HID headlight - Honda CTX700 Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Intermittent problem with OPT7 HID headlight

Hoping the brain trust here on the board can help me before I'm left spending hundreds at the dealer having them unscrew my wife's bike--naturally it's a faired model so at least an hour or more worth of shop labor would be taking all the tupperware off so I'm anxious to see if I can isolate the problem myself.

Quick history lesson--I bought this bike used with less than 400 miles on the odo; it's worked swimmingly for a little less than a year and slightly less than 2K miles...but last week it started acting up. The original owner had apparently done quite a few DIY electrical mods. There were originally a pair of running lights with an activation switch set under the fuel door...he pulled the lights before selling the bike so only the pigtails remain zip tied to the frame and a non-functional switch still sits idly under the fuel filler compartment door. There's an OPT7 HID headlight under the fairing, the ballast is attached to the frame just above the headlight assembly. The headlight is wired to a Fiam superhorn mounted under the left side speaker cutout; the horn is wired to one of those modulators that pulses both the horn and the headlight when the horn button is pressed.

Everything appears to be wired appropriately through a relay that's sitting next to the battery...I can't tell if there's yet another relay hidden somewhere under the fuel tank fairings because I haven't gotten that far removing the plastics just yet (having some trouble getting the front side cowling off). The electrical installation looks decent enough, and as I said, it's worked fine since last summer up to a week ago, but there's quite a bit of electrical wiring snaking around under the main fairing so it's hard to follow the wires back to where they originated...I'm not even 100% clear where the original headlight connector is anymore if I just wanted to just pull the HID and put in an OEM bulb.

Here's the problem. The bike starts fine, runs fine, all other electricals work fine, but sporadically starting a week ago, the HID headlight won't turn on. Infuriatingly, sometimes when I turn the ignition key, the light DOES come on just fine as it should--and it stays illuminated before I press the starter to get the engine going. Other times though, I'll get a short buzzing sound right after turning the key, the light will ignite momentarily, then go dark. If I try the key a few more times, the buzz gets shorter until after 2-3 tries, it doesn't make a sound at all, but the light doesn't ignite even slightly either. Then if the bike sits for a bit, the headlight might ignite just fine, or it might make that quick buzzing sound and restart the "almost light-up procedure" mentioned above.

I've removed some of the plastics around the front enough to tell that it doesn't sound like the buzz is coming from the HID ballast, nor does it sound like it's coming from the relay sitting back by the battery--it sounds a bit like it's coming from right underneath the fuel tank near the front of the bike...but I can't be certain. I've uploaded a quick video snippet of the offending sound/light problem. You have to turn the volume up just a bit to hear the buzz over the sound of the key click because it happens almost right away and it's fairly quick, but you can definitely make it out...sounds like one of those old piezo buzzers to me.


Obviously I can't have the bike on the road without a headlight. I've pulled each of the electrical connections to the headlight/horn modulator and relays that I can find; I've cleaned and treated the contacts with some dielectric grease and reseated them. I have the bike sitting on a Battery Tender junior. I do notice that with the tender connected, even a quick turn of the ignition key when the light DOES come on immediately throws the charger from maintenance mode (steady green light) to charging (blinking green). Could this just be a battery in need of replacement (the one installed now is a Yuasa YTZ12S)--that doesn't feel quite right because the bike starts up just fine and I would think a starter motor has a heck of a lot more draw than an HID igniter.

I don't have any experience with relays so I don't know what a bad relay sounds like, and the ones that I've heard buzzing on Youtube don't sound quite like this one...and I've NEVER heard the buzzing continue if the light DOES ignite properly and stay on as shown in

I also don't think it's the main relay sitting back by the battery...but I suppose I could just as easily replace that one just to be sure. Are there other relays under the tupperware at the front aside from the ones in the fuse box by the battery? Is there a relay in the fusebox in particular I could replace just as a troubleshooting step? Could this sound be indicative of some other problem? I would appreciate any advice or assistance...thanks!

Our garage:
2007 Victory Hammer S
2010 Victory Vegas Low
2015 Genuine Buddy 50
2015 Honda CTX700 DCT
2016 Harley Street 500
2017 Harley Road King

Last edited by WildBlue; 06-14-2017 at 07:51 AM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 08:29 AM
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Well the first thing you've done is come to the right place...I notice your avatar is the USAF emblem...good man...I worked 41yrs for the USAF but you are a little too far for me to just drop by...I live in Florida next to Cape Canaveral...otherwise you and I would have some good times tearing that thing down and rewiring everything...just try to find someone closer and invite them over for some help time.

CTXers love to share experiences....


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 09:43 AM
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I would test the battery. The headlight may work off a certain voltage. If it gets too low it goes off. Turning the key off and on can make the battery a little strong from what I understand.

Ride baby ride.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 09:48 AM
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I would try replacing the bulb before tearing the bike apart and beating my head against the wall. Bulbs are fairly cheap and if the new bulb doesn't fix the problem you end up with a spare. Keep in mind that the noise and the problem with the light might be unrelated.
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Last edited by Dobielover; 06-14-2017 at 09:55 AM.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 10:01 AM
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I think with all these electrical add-ons, you've got a lot of quick draw. It's possible you've got a bad relay, plus there is with all of these wires, some loose connections. The one that intrigues me is the horn/headlight modulator being connected. I mean , who does this? That to me seems like a weak point in itself. But yeah, test the battery as you'll at least get a baseline there. And one other thing. Because of your locale, you're constantly bathed in humidity. It wouldn't surprise me at all in the degradation of corrosion inside some of those connections.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 11:11 AM
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The ballast is shot! Put a standard one in for now at least, that will get you back on the road anyway. I would do yourself a favor for the future, rewire that stuff better!!!
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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All good stuff, folks...thanks for the advice. I'll have to pull all the plastics off to get at the wiring between the ballast and the horn modulator...it disappears under the fairing and is zip-tied VERY close against the frame so it's hard for me to follow from above.

If it's the battery, would a YTZ14S with a few more CCAs do the trick? I've got a voltmeter but I've not yet had cause to open it or even learn to use it--I guess now is the time to figure out how to use it and check whether it's the battery or not.

If it's the ballast, my problem is how to get the connector to reach where a new regular bulb would go, The current wiring has what I THINK is the headlight lamp connector wired into another connector that then runs to the modulator and horn along the high beam wire.
https://flic.kr/p/VwNmGY
I believe that's the headlamp connector with the brown and white wires showing in the picture, but even after snipping the zip ties, I'm not sure it will reach to the dust cap where the lamp will be inserted--unless there's yet another connector tied up somewhere that handles the high beam light movement. In any event, I don't think I have much recourse that wouldn't involve either removing all the tupperware to get at the DIY wiring or an expensive battery replacement. But either way, it's probably still more economical than having the shop do essentially the same thing. I'll report back if/when I figure out what in the heck is going on.

Thanks again!



Our garage:
2007 Victory Hammer S
2010 Victory Vegas Low
2015 Genuine Buddy 50
2015 Honda CTX700 DCT
2016 Harley Street 500
2017 Harley Road King
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 12:35 PM
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Check the battery voltage - four ways.
1- before you turn the key on - battery voltage
2 - after key is on - battery voltage
3 - leave key on no start and wait a minute - if headlight is on here even better - battery voltage
4 - start bike let warm for a minute or two - battery voltage

Those four readings will tell more info and direct you to where to check next or what the problem might be, then just buying pieces and throwing them at the problem and hoping for a fix!

Post back your readings and we'll help you out!
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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You all are good peoples...thanks! I'm at work now but I'll try to post those readings tonight after I get home and figure out how to use my particular voltmeter.

Seriously...thanks; I'm all by my lonesome here, but it IS nice to have people so willing to lend a hand even remotely!

Our garage:
2007 Victory Hammer S
2010 Victory Vegas Low
2015 Genuine Buddy 50
2015 Honda CTX700 DCT
2016 Harley Street 500
2017 Harley Road King
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-14-2017, 01:47 PM
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This is an interesting problem. Let us know what the problem was once you get it solved.

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