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Thread: Clearwater claims that HEX ezCAN will damage their lights..

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    Registered User skibumwi's Avatar
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    Clearwater claims that HEX ezCAN will damage their lights..

    All,

    This came up in another discussion but I thought it might be worth it to make it a specific topic. I asked the folks at Clearwater if I could use their lights with the HEX ezCAN. Their response:

    "The Ezcan product is not approved for use with our lights. It will, in fact, damage them over time. It will work well on say a halogen light but not with an LED light that uses a switching power supply. Other brands of lights can be damaged as well.
    The Ezcan actually will be turning our light on and off very quickly to accomplish the appearance of dimming. By doing this, the internal circuits will be subjected to stress. The light's internal circuitry will try to correct for the variations in the power supplied by the ezcan
    The ezcan really does not offer any improvements or advantages to our CANopener. The ability to add a horn without a relay is the one advantage. I think you will find that our CANopener is well engineered and works seamlessly with our LED lights and your bike. "

    Just a word to the wise.

    Best,
    Ski

  2. #2
    Registered User ksbmwrider's Avatar
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    HEX ezCAN vs CANOpener

    There is one other major advantage to the HEX ezCan that the Clearwater response fails to mention; It can be purchased without the requirement that Clearwater Lights MUST be purchased with it!

    Seems to me that it would behoove Clearwater to sell the CANopener separately and competitively with the HEX unit and substantially increase their market share and visibility of their quality products.

    While their response with regard to the electronic circuitry and engineering may be correct for some third party auxiliary LED light products, the ezCan should work fine with many products out there. Without direct circuit knowledge and proper installation info there is no way to be sure. Caveat Emptor!

    However... Clearwater LED Lights have a third, low current, pulse-width, intensity control wire that no other marketed LED lights have. That tells me that there is a specific controller circuit that controls the higher amperage and voltage regulation that properly powers the LEDs. So there is reason to pay attention to what their response indicates. I believe that because of that additional circuitry, non-Clearwater lights will work with CANopener, but will not be dimmable without that added control circuitry built into their lights and that additional control wire. The HEX ezCan circuitry does not output this low-level control signal and works directly by chopping the voltage and current sent directly down the two-wires powering the LEDs. Unless the LEDs are built to handle the rapid cycling of the input power, it could turn into a problem.

    Early on, when there was no other product like CANopener on the market, it made sense to keep it as part of a complete package. But... time and the marketplace marches on.

    Last edited by ksbmwrider; 02-21-2017 at 03:31 AM.
    Cheers!
    Ken

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    Ed Kilner #176066
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    I've looked at a couple of web sites for LED driving lights. Have not seen any mention of dimming capability or of a dimmer being available. It may be that the Clearwater approach is the only one suitable for LED lights - most sites show the LED assembly has a controller board between the 12V supply and the LED. If so, the ezCAN will likely destroy the controller as advised by Clearwater.

    Simple incandescent bulbs are readily dimmable; other technologies not so much. Buyer beware!
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  4. #4
    I read the response from Clearwater with a little bit of jocularity, and while I believe they have a product line they are (very) proud of, if price is an indication, they freely admit they are inflexible when asked about supplying the CAN-Opener without lights, the likelihood of them winning my busness is increasingly diminished.

    I have contacted Twisted Throttle and Revzilla with regard to the fuctionality of the Denali lights with the Hex-EzCAN as I was intending to buy one due to the capabilities and the integration through the WonderWheel, and got two slightly different answers. One was not sure if the single beam non dimming Denali lights would dim with the EzCAN, but the other thought they would. For the dual beam lights the wiring setup needed would not work through the default channel options offered through the Hex software to allow them to dim independently.

    Communicating with ADVMonster about the EzCAN was much simpler. When asked if the lights would work, the response was 'without full knowledge of the circuitry I can't say absolutely, but the lights are dimmable.'
    Having got the EzCAN installed on my GS along with two sets of ADVMonster lights (Model 30's at the bottom of the forks, and Model 44's at the headlight level on a Denali Light Mount kit) wired through a Y branch on each channel (so the lights turn off on the the side the turn signals are activated) the lights appear to be dimmable through both the preset values in the EzCAN software, and additionally can be over-ridden using the BMW WonderWheel. They also strobe with the horn, and alternate flashing when the Hazard lights are activated.
    I could not be happier with them as an initial attempt to add light to my road presence, given that the pair of ADVMonster lights offer over four times the lumens, and the whole setup was just over half the price of the least expensive Clearwater lights, and that's without factoring the price of the CAN-Opener to intergrate into the BMW controllers.

    Whether they last the distance or fail miserably after a few hundred hours use remains to be seen, but so far it all looks very bright.
    Andrew
    MOA # 210167
    Mars Red RT Triple Black S1000XR Bonneville Black Scrambler (carb)

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    Quote Originally Posted by skibumwi View Post
    ...The ezcan really does not offer any improvements or advantages to our CANopener. ...
    Follow the money. Of course they'll say the competitor's product is not safe to use, but theirs is.

    Like a couple others here, I've used ADVMonster Model 30 lights for about 60,000 miles of commuting. No issues whatsoever, and the customer service at ADVMonster is superb. You can read all the comments by happy customers on ADVRider in the thread on the vendor section of the forum.

    I have Clearwater lights on my F800GT...only because the previous owner installed them. I would never buy them, or Denali lights either. Take an LED light apart, and you'll see that they are incredibly simple. At $40 each, the Model 30 gives you a tight focused spot beam that can be used in traffic and adds usable light where you need it.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
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    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Quote Originally Posted by daboo View Post
    Follow the money. Of course they'll say the competitor's product is not safe to use, but theirs is.

    Like a couple others here, I've used ADVMonster Model 30 lights for about 60,000 miles of commuting. No issues whatsoever, and the customer service at ADVMonster is superb. You can read all the comments by happy customers on ADVRider in the thread on the vendor section of the forum.

    I have Clearwater lights on my F800GT...only because the previous owner installed them. I would never buy them, or Denali lights either. Take an LED light apart, and you'll see that they are incredibly simple. At $40 each, the Model 30 gives you a tight focused spot beam that can be used in traffic and adds usable light where you need it.

    Chris
    One of the themes here is running lights that are dimmable and have miles on them dimmed. It's not clear if your installation uses a dimmer, and what kind.

    It's really terrible that all these manufacturers are not providing proper technical data. It may be that they have small volumes and don't want to say "not dimmable" or "we have not done accelerated testing dimming with x and y Canbus units" , That concerns me.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

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    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 KenDittrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMW Triumphant View Post
    One of the themes here is running lights that are dimmable and have miles on them dimmed. It's not clear if your installation uses a dimmer, and what kind.

    It's really terrible that all these manufacturers are not providing proper technical data. It may be that they have small volumes and don't want to say "not dimmable" or "we have not done accelerated testing dimming with x and y Canbus units" , That concerns me.
    Just like the LED lights in our homes took a good year for dimmable lights to show up - and another six months for decent prices on quality dimmer units. At least in that case sales volume helped the cause. Not so for the relatively small motorcycle market.
    Last edited by KenDittrick; 02-22-2017 at 12:00 AM. Reason: typo
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)


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    Quote Originally Posted by BMW Triumphant View Post
    One of the themes here is running lights that are dimmable and have miles on them dimmed. It's not clear if your installation uses a dimmer, and what kind.

    It's really terrible that all these manufacturers are not providing proper technical data. It may be that they have small volumes and don't want to say "not dimmable" or "we have not done accelerated testing dimming with x and y Canbus units" , That concerns me.
    Here's a couple thoughts that I hope may help. LFarling and desmoderek brought up some good points. One is that if you have a "reasonable" amount of light output, you don't need to dim the bulb. Another is that there are lights with a spot beam output and others with a flood light beam output.

    One of the reasons I chose the ADVMonster Model 30 was that it puts out about the same lumen output as a H7 Halogen bulb...1500 lumens. As my pastor said when I first installed them, looking into them is like looking into the sun. The other main reason I chose them, was that the beam output is a tight 10 degree spot beam. On my previous bike, I mounted them up high on the mirror mounts. That way I could aim them outward and down. The intent was to be able to use them in town without blinding oncoming traffic. I didn't buy a dimmer...because I didn't need one. I was able to aim the light pattern at the end of the low beam light pattern to give me better visibility at night.

    Not trying to push ADVMonster except as an example -- but their Model 60 puts out 3600 lumens with a 30 degree flood light. Great for off-road use. Not so great for use in town. Actually, pretty poor unless you're trying to burn out the retinas of someone who cut you off. There's not much use IMHO of buying a light I have little opportunity to use. And even if you had a dimmer...you'd have to dim the lights quite a bit to keep from blinding other drivers since it isn't a tight focused beam. By the way, ADVMonster sells a dimmer...which indicates to me that there's no issue with using a dimmer on their lights.

    I'll be retiring in April so my riding needs will change accordingly. I currently commute year around in the Seattle area about 40 miles each way. Like I tell people, I don't mind riding in the rain. I don't mind riding at night. But I really try to avoid riding at night in the rain. The gray pavement turns black and soaks up every bit of light that hits it. It is really hard to see a pothole or 2x4 laying on the road. So I looked for quality lighting years ago. The only change in technology that has hit the market recently, has been LED headlights. As far as LED auxiliary lighting, there really hasn't been anything new except higher light output...and in a flood light beam output. I installed the first set of those Model 30s in 2011. They worked flawlessly.

    I can understand the manufacturer's reluctance to comment on other company's products. They have no control over those products.

    Chris
    Last edited by daboo; 02-22-2017 at 12:25 AM.
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
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  9. #9
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Quote Originally Posted by daboo View Post
    Here's a couple thoughts that I hope may help. LFarling and desmoderek brought up some good points. One is that if you have a "reasonable" amount of light output, you don't need to dim the bulb. Another is that there are lights with a spot beam output and others with a flood light beam output.

    One of the reasons I chose the ADVMonster Model 30 was that it puts out about the same lumen output as a H7 Halogen bulb...1500 lumens. As my pastor said when I first installed them, looking into them is like looking into the sun. The other main reason I chose them, was that the beam output is a tight 10 degree spot beam. On my previous bike, I mounted them up high on the mirror mounts. That way I could aim them outward and down. The intent was to be able to use them in town without blinding oncoming traffic. I didn't buy a dimmer...because I didn't need one. I was able to aim the light pattern at the end of the low beam light pattern to give me better visibility at night.

    Not trying to push ADVMonster except as an example -- but their Model 60 puts out 3600 lumens with a 30 degree flood light. Great for off-road use. Not so great for use in town. Actually, pretty poor unless you're trying to burn out the retinas of someone who cut you off. There's not much use IMHO of buying a light I have little opportunity to use. And even if you had a dimmer...you'd have to dim the lights quite a bit to keep from blinding other drivers since it isn't a tight focused beam. By the way, ADVMonster sells a dimmer...which indicates to me that there's no issue with using a dimmer on their lights.

    I'll be retiring in April so my riding needs will change accordingly. I currently commute year around in the Seattle area about 40 miles each way. Like I tell people, I don't mind riding in the rain. I don't mind riding at night. But I really try to avoid riding at night in the rain. The gray pavement turns black and soaks up every bit of light that hits it. It is really hard to see a pothole or 2x4 laying on the road. So I looked for quality lighting years ago. The only change in technology that has hit the market recently, has been LED headlights. As far as LED auxiliary lighting, there really hasn't been anything new except higher light output...and in a flood light beam output. I installed the first set of those Model 30s in 2011. They worked flawlessly.

    I can understand the manufacturer's reluctance to comment on other company's products. They have no control over those products.

    Chris
    Chris, some of us are interested in dimmers, notwithstanding your good point about selecting the right type of beam and output.

    The fact someone sells a dimmer for their light - sure, it will work well. Does it use the Clearwater approach (Battery power + a control wire) or does it use the ezCAN approach, just 2 wires for 12V supply but Pulse Width Modulation to vary the duty cycle) ?

    No problem dimming comes about from doing the dimming the way the lamp system (LED + control board) requires it be done.

    I don't understand why Hex does not say "here is a list of lamps that can be used with our dimmer". That would be good for them and for the lamp manufacturers, who would have to give them assurances it was a true claim. That might be the problem, of course.

    Perhaps time will show us a good solution. That's what prompts international standards of course, so we know we can connect various electronic devices together. Plug and Play requires standards for connector, cable, and software protocol compatibility. Exhaustive testing would be a bonus, but might be impractical.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

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    Educate the uneducated please. What is so special about the "Clearwater" approach?

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
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    Registered User skibumwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMW Triumphant View Post
    Perhaps time will show us a good solution. That's what prompts international standards of course, so we know we can connect various electronic devices together. Plug and Play requires standards for connector, cable, and software protocol compatibility. Exhaustive testing would be a bonus, but might be impractical.
    Yep, there's the crux of the issue, lack of standards. Any "new technology approach" suffers from compatibility issues until the market decides the winner. Additionally businesses can decide to keep their technology "in house" (think Apple) to reduce the number of companies that can supply products while others (think Android) tend to be more open sourced and excited to see multiple companies adopt their solution.

    Ski

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    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Quote Originally Posted by daboo View Post
    Educate the uneducated please. What is so special about the "Clearwater" approach?

    Chris
    There are two ways to dim conventional incandescent lamps. Use a variable resistor to supply a lesser than 12V voltage, or supply full 12V for less than full time - supply full voltage pulses mixed with zero voltage pulses, with the timing allowing some off time and some full on time.

    LEDs are more complex. Generally, they don't need a full 12V, so some kind of control board sits between the 12V supply and the LED which in some cases may require 5V or so. To do dimming, the control board should have some electronics to supply Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to the LED. An LED is a semiconductor device, not a tungsten filament, and has its own requirements, else it will burn out.

    The Clearwater lamp has a control board inside the housing along with the LEDs. I believe there are 2 wires from the battery and a third wire that goes to a dimmer variable resistor or their CANopener device and that allows the dimming function.

    Hope that helps.
    Ed
    2015 R1200RT; 2011 R1200RT RIP; 2000 Triumph 900 (sold)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksbmwrider View Post
    There is one other major advantage to the HEX ezCan that the Clearwater response fails to mention; It can be purchased without the requirement that Clearwater Lights MUST be purchased with it!

    Seems to me that it would behoove Clearwater to sell the CANopener separately and competitively with the HEX unit and substantially increase their market share and visibility of their quality products.

    While their response with regard to the electronic circuitry and engineering may be correct for some third party auxiliary LED light products, the ezCan should work fine with many products out there. Without direct circuit knowledge and proper installation info there is no way to be sure. Caveat Emptor!

    However... Clearwater LED Lights have a third, low current, pulse-width, intensity control wire that no other marketed LED lights have. That tells me that there is a specific controller circuit that controls the higher amperage and voltage regulation that properly powers the LEDs. So there is reason to pay attention to what their response indicates. I believe that because of that additional circuitry, non-Clearwater lights will work with CANopener, but will not be dimmable without that added control circuitry built into their lights and that additional control wire. The HEX ezCan circuitry does not output this low-level control signal and works directly by chopping the voltage and current sent directly down the two-wires powering the LEDs. Unless the LEDs are built to handle the rapid cycling of the input power, it could turn into a problem.

    Early on, when there was no other product like CANopener on the market, it made sense to keep it as part of a complete package. But... time and the marketplace marches on.

    Actually they will sell you CANOpener without buying lights. It is not advertised on their website, but if you call or email they will. I know because I bought one last year and use it to power the brake light on the deluxe top case. It costs $200 as a standalone part.

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    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Larry
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    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    Read the thread and it answers all my concerns. I will now feel comfotable running my Clearwater Darlas via the ezCAN.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS
    Current: 2019 R1250RT/'06 Ducati ST3s/'06 Vespa GTS 250ie/'91 R100GS/'86 R80RT/'83 R100RS/'76 R90/6/'75 R90S/'73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT/'04 R1150RT/'81 Honda GL1100/'77 Suzuki GS750/'73 Norton 850 Commando

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