S1000aRRgh: Thoughts Of Mutiny

Last time I took the S1000RR to the BMW dealership to have it serviced according to its maintenance schedule, I pointed out that there seems to be something going on with the white LEDs on the bottom of the main display. One of them was turning a distinct yellowish color. The service tech looked at me and said: “LEDs are either on or off, they don’t dim and go out.” I replied: “That’s what I thought.” They checked it, found nothing wrong (as I knew it would turn out). I felt a little silly, but told the dude I wanted it on the record for future “just in case” reference. Not too long ago, I was washing my bike and I noticed another yellowish cast appearing on the left side of the display. Where once was one, now there are two. WTF?!? This has been bothering me. The bike gets hot. Damn hot! You can’t ride the thing in shorts, you will burn your knees on the frame. I found that one out the hard way when squidding around Myrtle Beach, SC in July. That’s the sort of heat we are talking about. In 100°F weather in rush hour stop-and-go traffic, the temperature readout climbs as high as 223°F. I’ve seen it in the 230s. But the bike doesn’t complain, as a matter of fact, so far it has been regulating its heat output without overheating. I don’t even know what the danger zone would be, but I’m assuming there’s an idiot light for that, too. With the recent rear brake failure issue, this is coming back to haunt my brain. Is there a way these symptoms could be related? The bike has always been finicky with the rear brake pedal. I like to drag rear brake during slow maneuvers and sometimes the brain of the operation just tells me no, and the lever loses all pressure and goes limp under my foot. Annoying. Overshot my driveway once because it did that to me and I was not expecting that at all. Putting the bike in ‘Race Mode’ seemed to have solved that problem, hence I thought that to be of design rather than a malfunction. Now? I’m not so sure. Then there is the issue of the turn signal failing to cancel. Sometimes it just won’t cancel when you push the button. I noticed it first after I had the first alarm system installed, on the way home from the dealership. But clicking the button to the right first, then pushing it in its center position for the cancel function seemed to help. Alternatively, I could wait for it to auto-cancel on its own. Here I thought it may have to do with the bike not accepting its new toy. We found out later, from BMW, that the unit was obsolete and had been superseded by a newer version, which my bike wanted.) I also had that checked, along with the main display when I had to come back to get the alarm units switched. Again, the fault could not be duplicated by the technician. Of course not, that’s The Law, after all. Hubby suggested it was probably an issue with the button itself or the contact underneath it. I let that one go, too. If it was a mechanical problem, it would quit altogether soon enough and it wouldn’t have to be reproduced, it would just be. Same with the LEDs, really. I figured eventually they would probably fail. And the warranty would take care of it. The strange thing is that the signal canceling issue became almost non-existent after the alarm units were switched and the anti-theft system was in perfect working order. Coincidence? Perhaps.

I still couldn’t leave it alone. The first clue that something could be amiss was the limp rear brake lever, the intense heat transmitted through the frame always made me wonder if that was within operating specs, then the first LED yellowed, shortly thereafter the turn signal cancel function stopped working intermittently, then the second LED yellowed, next was the rear brake failure due to ABS pump failure. So I did a little quick googling and I came across this gem on the web:

A Non-contact Method for Determining Junction Temperature of Phosphor-Converted White LEDs

An excerpt of an interesting study conducted by scientists at the Lighting Research Center of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY

The original paper by Yimin Gu and Nadarajah Narendran can be found in PDF format at the RPI’s website. [direct link, opens in new browser window]

Funny Fact:
When I installed the rear fender eliminator kit and had to splice the new license plate LEDs into the stock wiring harness (before hitting the CANbus) and the ground wire came undone during routing of the wrapped wire bundle, the bike threw a fault. Told me plain and simple that I had a bulb out. Yeah. That’s important to know, if the rapidly blinking front right turn signal didn’t already give that little tidbit of information away. Truly, that is the mother of all idiot light warnings.

Cascading Systemic Failure… can you smell the ozone? OMG! This is so not funny! x/

…another thought keeps creeping into my mind: “heat is the main cause of electronic failure”. Screw this, I need a beer. Prost! *lifts her bottle of Warsteiner* We shall see what comes of this when the brake dust settles.

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