Monday, June 1, 2015

The Ups and Downs of L.E.D. Lighting for Cars.

I love L.E.D. lights. Flashlights, Christmas lights, home appliances, homes, and especially on cars, and I've seen some nice setups on many vehicles. I have been in the process through trial and error in converting mine to L.E.D.s or Light Emitting Diodes as the incandescent bulbs burn out. As the front and rear lamps are a bit of a pain to get out in my car, and the way these look, it should be pretty easy to get these to work. As with any new technology, there are tradeoffs. When I converted the lights in my 16 year old refrigerator to these, there were some mods to the double socket I had to do to get these to work. The upside is that I will never have to change these again and the light is awesome. In the case of my 2006 Pontiac Torrent, there are some lights you can do, and others that are better left alone.

I haven't done the instrument lights in L.E.D.s yet and will wait until these burn out before considering it.

Interior lights can be done, provided you can find or adapt the bulbs. The two map lights take 194 bulbs and the two rear lights need hooks or loops to work. I soldered on staples to make these work. These should be done in white or amber light and will look great when done. Red lights are a bit dim and blue can be a bit irritating, but these can work too.

License lights are 194s and should be done in white light to prevent problems with the authorities. You need 2 of them.

Reverse lights can be done without trouble as these are a 3157. These MUST be in a white light for safety's sake. If you hit someone in a car with improperly modified reverse lights, the courts will have a field day with you.

Side markers are 194 and need to be done in red for the rears and amber for the fronts. Using white lights will greatly reduce the light output behind colored lenses.

Headlights should not be converted as this car uses daytime running lights. Keep the halogens. H.I.D. bulbs don't last as long and are more expensive. L.E.D.s will generate a lot of heat.

Stop, tail and front running lights need to remain incandescent. Putting L.E.D. lights in these will cause the turn signals to light up when the brakes are applied, the high mounted stop lamp to flash when the turn signals or hazards are activated and the turn signals to flash too quickly to be seen. As this is run through the B.C.M. or body control module, there is no converting over to a heavy duty flasher to correct this. Yes, you can try hooking up resistors to the lights, but this is a scary proposition. These get hot enough to melt plastic, (by the admission of the manufacturers), burn flesh,  and this means hot enough to cause a fire. In practice, it will not stop the high mounted stop light,  (which is an L.E.D.) from flashing with the turn signals or hazards because the resistance is too low in the replacement bulbs. Either way, you're likely to get a fix up ticket and/or doing expensive electrical work. Save your money and leave these alone.

The fog lights are probably good candidates for L.E.D.s, but these will need to be white or amber to do any good. Red or blue lights will attract attention you do not want, mainly from the police.

As with any project, there are things we can and should do, but there are things that we should be wary of doing, especially when our car is designed for a specific part. Unless the originals are no longer available, these are best left the way they were. Maranatha!


Aaron's stuff said...

Have you seen online LED Calculators? They will show you how fast they will pay them selves off. The difference between a $10 60 watt Equivalent bulb that uses 10.5 watts and a Philips for $2.50 that uses 8.5. It will pay its self off in just 4 Months.

Walter Grace said...

Dale, I have L.E.D. lights all through my house and even in my 17 year old refrigerator. Putting these in a house is always a good idea, some cars, not so much.