Site Recommendation: Free Online Private Pilot Ground School

As I was searching for reviews of different private pilot study kits (Sporty’s, Jeppesen, ASA, King, and others), I bumped into this:

Free Online Private Pilot School.

What a find: lots and lots of information available for free. It’s divided into categories (Airplane, Airmanship, Weather, Navigation) and then into topics, each topic containing multiple articles. By definition, I’m not an expert (otherwise I wouldn’t be looking), but it appears to cover all of the required material. I’m still going to purchase a course eventually (whatever the flight school uses), when my financial situation allows me to start going into actual training, but for now, this is definitely a good read to prepare myself.

HID lights “out”

Last Monday, while riding from train station around 7 pm, I got a strange feeling that something was “off”. The brakes worked, the bike handled well, but something was “off”. Only when I made it home and pulled the bike backwards into it’s spot on the parking lot, did I realize that my HID lights were off. I tried restarting the bike, checked the fuses and tried couple of the connectors that I was able to easily access without taking the fairing off to no avail. The “angel eyes” would not turn on either.

During the week I did not have time to take the fairing apart to inspect the wiring and try to figure out what happened. On Saturday morning, as I was preparing my tools to go downstairs to troubleshoot the lights, my one-and-only told me that my “blue lights” look like they are on. Now, this made me scratch my head – while technically, the angel-eyes had separate power feed, and me probably leaving the switch “on” accidentally, it’s a little strange for the lights to just come on. I went downstairs, and, indeed, saw the “angel eyes” on. I turned them off and tried to start the bike. Sure enough, they must have worked for a while because the battery was almost drained.

When I finally started the bike (it’s nice to live on top of a hill), the HID lights did not come on, and nor did the “angel eyes”. After running the bike for a while and letting the battery charge, I took the entire front fairing off and inspected the wiring, disconnecting and re-connecting the wires, and doing what I should’ve done when I put all that wiring together – drawing a schema of new wiring I put in place when upgrading to HIDs. Here are the findings:

  1. Connectors on the kit are not very good – I found water in one of the connectors (hi/low servo feed). Also, as I found out after putting the whole fairing back together, the other connector would break the connection when i moved it. Replacing connectors with something more solid is definitely on the winter “todo” list.
  2. “HID Wiring Harness Controller” unit (the controller that i mounted on the right hand side of the fairing performs “hi/low” switching w/o a problem and clicks when i feed the power to the main power input.
  3. Shielding on H4 connector (which I bought from AutoZone to combine hi and low feeds from FZ6 stock H4/H7 configuration) dried out and fell apart completely.

After brief checking and visual inspection, I put the fairing back on the bike and decided to call it a day – to be honest I became very frustrated with the fact that not having headlights will prevent me from riding these last beautiful days of the season.


Even though the controller unit “clicks”, given that probability of both ballasts going out at once is somewhat low, I suspect that controller unit is to blame. I’ve ordered a similarly-looking control unit but it will take a few weeks to come from China – if I can fix this for $13, it’s worth it.

Overall, looks like moisture is getting into the connectors, and possibly could get into the controller unit. This is not good news. I’ll have do a more thorough testing of the controller and see if it still passes the power to the ballasts.

On a more grand scale, given the findings, I am thinking more and more whether it’s worth going to a more expensive (and higher performance kit). At the end of the day, you get exactly what you pay for, and lighting on motorcycle is extremely important. If i cannot “shape up” this kit by replacing the connectors and control unit more weather sealed, I may go for something from this place.

Additionally, this makes me wonder whether or not I need auxiliary lights which would serve as enhancement and backup for the main HID lights. As powerful as HID lights are, they are a relatively new technology and their operation involves multiple devices which adds multiple points of failure. I believe having an “old-school” regular light-bulb lights as a backup. My concern is – where to mount them and how – after a brief search and getting a quick list of possible solutions from PIAA and Hella, on average, the lights are about 4-6 inches in width, and FZ-6’s mounting points for aux lights are limited.