Yes, they are. They can be dimmed with the Wonder Wheel on CANopener bikes, or a separately mounted dimmer knob for non-Wonder Wheel bikes.
We use a "dimming" method that actually fools the human eye into thinking that the intensity of the lights is being reduced. While in fact, we are running the LEDs at full power but turning them off quickly so that the eye is "averaging" the intensity and we "think" the light is lower in intensity. So, we turn the lights OFF 50% of the time when the intensity is set to 50%. In the span of one second, the lights are turning on and off approx 250 times! BMW also uses this method to control the brightness and heat output of their LEDs. It is called PWM. Pulse Width Modulation.
If I add high powered LED lights to my vehicle, will I need a second battery?
No, not at all. In fact, adding a second battery will make your alternator have even less power for your accessories. Two batteries require twice the charging power (amperage) to keep them charged. Even fully charged, a battery is a “load”.
It is not necessary to add another battery if you are planning on driving or riding your vehicle while using your accessory. Adding a second battery is a good idea if you want to use your accessory while the vehicle is at rest and the engine is not running. This is the idea behind a “house” battery in an RV or boat. The extra battery is only for powering accessories while at rest. The main battery, sometimes called the “coach” battery is for starting the engine. Often times, both batteries are isolated to keep them from becoming depleted.
On a motorcycle, there are various electrical components that need power while the bike is running. Fuel injection systems, ignition systems, computers and such all need power to keep the engine running. This power needed can be as high as 400 watts! Depending on the headlight design, the low beam may or may not be used while the high beam is activated. Single headlight bikes generally use an H4 bulb that only uses the low OR the high beam. Dual headlight bikes often use BOTH the low and high beam. The difference in power usage can be up to 65-150 watts between low and high beams. Motorcycles come with alternators that provide power to keep the engine running plus some “extra” to charge the battery and run accessories. This “extra” power varies across bike brands and models. With the introduction of “adventure” and “touring” bikes, manufacturers have increased the alternator capacity (watts) to allow the addition of more accessories (heated garments, radios, lights).
For example, a BMW R1200RT motorcycle (years 2013-2020) is unique in that it has a single 55 watt low beam headlight housing and (2) 55 watt high beam housings. So, this bike uses 55 watts on low beam and 165 watts on high beam. This is because all (3) beams are on during high beam. Now, if you compare this to a similar year range R1200GS with the factory LED headlight, it uses about 25 watts on low and about 45 watts on high. So, with the RT you have over 100 watts LESS available power for accessories. For 2021, BMW redesigned the RT headlight to an adaptive LED version. So, power usage on the brand new RT will be comparable to the GS.
Do I have to use the dimmer?
No. However, without the dimmer, Clearwater Lights will be on full (100%) power whenever the bike is running.