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LED Tail Light Bulbs
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is real old subject matter regarding LED usage for the tail lamps & pretty much winds up in the same round file-- garbage.
You CANNOT take a fluted lens with one bulb socket & a reflective backing intended for incandescent bulbs and think for one second it'll do the same job as a late model vehicle with an LED lamps on the back end of it from the factory.
It ain't gonna happen.
Just for the hell if it count the bulbs on some late model Caddy SUV stopped in front of you at a light.
He's got 32 LED's on each side for brake lights,20 on each side for running lights, plus clear non focused lens on each side with zero reflectors behind the bulbs doing the same job as 4 incadescents on each side.
Here's another waste of bandwidth post that has been covered here too many times to count.
Should have done some sniffing in the archives first Doug.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
For instance, the back up lights I just ordered above are single CREE 7W LED. Those are going to to be very bright for back up lights and CREE is a worldwide leader.

I've been running those bulbs as back up lights in my Bay for over a year, they're an excellent upgrade and light up the area behind me like crazy. That said, I'd be leery of using them for turn/brake/tail lights for exactly the reason they make awesome back up lights -- they've VERY bright and they're EXTREMELY directional. If I have to stomp on the brakes, I don't want to blind the guy behind me and cause him to forget to stomp HIS brakes...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jael,

Nice! I agree with that finding and the solution. I've been using Hella twin beam work lamps on the back of my expedition rigs for over 20 years. Have one in a box for the Van. But I am still trying to design a full perimeter up high lighting system that will fit under the drip rail and put out light like your light in all 4 directions without being obvious. Fronts in the grill, rears easy to install, but sides have confounded me so far. Small, super bright LEDs to create a full pool of light that is VERY bright far off for forest night camping.

WIll create a thread as it seems a lot of follks are messing with LEDs now..
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry - I agree somewhat but the state of the art with LEDs is changing and I read this thread to see if there were new developments of interest.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two items of interest to digest;

Until someone manufactures a red , yellow & clear tail light lens that will allow the LED light source along with a stacked multiple bulb holder to give you something to look at your just at best spinning your wheels in knee deep mud.

What came stock on the back end of a Vanagon is in no way shape or form going to give you the same light output using am LED bulb.
It's fluted,& was designed to function only with an incadesent bulb which radiates 360 degrees -- not at all a focused directional bulb which these guys are trying to do again, still.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you also disagree with the LEDs for reverse lights (which currently illuminate nada in my case)...?
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please read what I have mentioned more than once;
A LED bulb (s) are not intended to project out of a fluted lens properly, or as the the lens & reflector was intended to operate with a projector focused bulb.
The tail lamps on your van require a bulb that radiates 360 degrees to maximize the use of the refective rear surface of the lamp and the diffuser lens.
An LED bulb(s) don't, won't, cannot function properly in an incadesent fixture.

It's just the way it is.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please read what I have mentioned more than once;
A LED bulb (s) are not intended to project out of a fluted lens properly, or as the the lens & reflector was intended to operate with a projector focused bulb.
The tail lamps on your van require a bulb that radiates 360 degrees to maximize the use of the refective rear surface of the lamp and the diffuser lens.
An LED bulb(s) don't, won't, cannot function properly in an incadesent fixture.

It's just the way it is.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phillips is coming out with LED signal bulbs which are said to use the projector and be certified in Only Some Vehicles.

Most each and every LED bulb placed in a housing designed around an incandescent filament light source is going to be inadequate no matter if it fires multiple LEDs radially as well as straight into crenellated lenses.

And while some simply go by brightness and say it is brighter, and all is well and I am safer, this is unwise.

I've seen a few LED retrofits into vanagons in my area and some are too bright and dazzzling and others are practically invisible at angles off to the sides

There needs not only to be enough running light, but enough difference between running light and brake light to indicate that one is indeed braking, and this is where many LEDs fail and fail miserably.

Insistence on retrofitting LEDs into halogen housings will not go away, and LEDs are only getting better, but you cant change physics, only accommodate them.

Lighting "upgrades" are often unsafe illegal downgrades that the buyer absolutely and steadfastly refuses to believe.

From the Candlepower forum regarding installing LEDS into halogen fixtures and if they are acceptable, here is how to evaluate and t goes way beyond 'brightness"
Quote:

If you are doing a purely visual evaluation, install one of the test bulbs (leave the stock bulb on the other side). Turn on the lamps with the truck out in bright daylight. Walk about 25 feet away from the truck and move in an arc (180) from one side of the truck to the other, keeping both lamps in view to evaluate their relative visibility. Watch for how bright the lamps appear, the apparent size of the lit area, any "dropout" angles, any "flash" angles (extra bright light), shadows, etc. Then double your distance to the truck and walk back and forth again to compare the two sides. Once it's dark out, move the truck about 4 feet away from a wall or garage door, at 90 (not crooked), turn on the lamps, and look at the apparent brightness and size of the patch of light shining on the wall from the two lamps. A handheld light meter goes a long way here. If the light patch on the test bulb's side is dimmer and/or smaller, or there are dark streaks/shadows, or (in the daylight observation) if there are angles from which the test bulb is less visible than the filament bulb, the test bulb fails in that application. Of course, if you do see any shadows or bright spots or other artifacts, check to make sure the standard bulb doesn't have a comparable artifact on the other side. Also be sure to compare (day and night) the apparent bright/dim ratio. Often an LED retrofit will have insufficient difference between the bright (brake) and dim (tail) mode, which is very dangerous; it basically renders the lights useless for conveying the message they're supposed to convey.

None of this is sufficient to say for sure that the test bulb is good enough, but it's enough to reject the test bulb if it's bad enough.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know why your confusing halogen with incandesent tungsten bulb fixture
I'm going to notate this again;
If you don't have LED fixtures hung on the back end of your vehicle your spitting into the wind.
Wrong lamp technology into the wrong fixture.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
Jael,

But I am still trying to design a full perimeter up high lighting system that will fit under the drip rail and put out light like your light in all 4 directions without being obvious. Fronts in the grill, rears easy to install, but sides have confounded me so far. Small, super bright LEDs to create a full pool of light that is VERY bright far off for forest night camping.


Mine are obvious but work rather well.

For the front I have a 14.5" 72W 5400 Lumen Flood 35 beam angle Light bar mounted low under the winch. I use this light for a daytime running light when on 2 lane highways and to really light up the surface of the trails when off roading at night.


https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/xtra-seri...1218/2859/

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


On the front above is the 50" Curved 288W 23040 Lumen Narrow Spot 8 beam angle light bar. This light is extremely bright and is used off road or only out in the boonies on open deserted desert and unpaved roads. Flipping the switch on this one is spectacular. I went with the curved spot because it will light up the shoulders of the roadways out passed the right of way to the fences. It is great for seeing the creatures ready to get in your path. On our recent trip it probably saved us across Nevada when a couple elk were ready to cross in front of us. Without it on, I would have never seen them. Shocked And the 8 beam angle does not emit strong light down on the windshield like my old Xenon Hella's did.

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/curved-se...ifications

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Now for the sides. (as seen above) I chose these compact yet really bright lights 3" Square 15 Watt 1750 lumens LED Mini Auxiliary Work Light 18 Spot. For airing tires at night. Looking down that slope below the edge of the road. Shocked These powerful compact lights are the trick. The single 15 Watt LED is perfect. I also have an LED strip light mounted under the Fiamma for night camping. Sorry no pics? Rolling Eyes But those of you who have them understand how nice they are. Its great for letting the dogs out or leave it on to find camp. It sips power. Wink My wife knows the location of all the switches for the lights so when she hears that bump in the night, someone gets noticed!! Laughing Last time it was a Black Bear at camp in Colorado!

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/led-work-...ifications

And for the backup auxiliary lamp I chose the 8" Heavy Duty Off Road LED Light Bar - 36W 2700 lumen 35 Flood. With this beam angle it throws light very wide behind the vehicle. It is great to use when backing up, or for a flood camp light when you need it.

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/xtra-seri...ifications

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You might have noticed that I am looking at beam angles when choosing lamps. It is important to understand this so I am adding this site for you to read.

http://www.whichledlight.com/led-beamangle

Also when wiring make sure you use adequate size wire for the longer runs and solenoids to protect your switches. Along with fuses to protect the systems.

The 72 Watt front flood bar will pull 6 amps.
The side 15 Watt mini spots pull 1.25 amps each.
The rear 36 Watt flood pulls 3 amps.
The 288 Watt light bar will pull a whopping 24 amps! Cool

I have installed a newer high amp alternator on my EJ22 and carry a new spare in the parts bin. The one thing I have noticed is I upgraded the South African lights to the Hella H4 European headlamps and the H4 100 Watt High beams.
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_1338
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_1316
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_825_141/7_inch_round_h4_european_headlamp.html

I used to think these were bright until I went LED Shocked
With the Curved bar turned on you can barely notice that the H4 lights are even turned on. But the High Beams will reach out there very far. My wife has commented several times that when we turn off the LED's and only have the headlamps on "DRIVING IS DANGEROUS AT NIGHT". Correct lighting really makes a tremendous difference for safety. You have to remember to shut these things off when you see any other vehicle around.

Always be careful and monitor your voltage when turning on lights. The volt meter is a nice gauge to have up on the dash.

Happy Motoring at Night!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom Powell wrote:
The review on Amazon:
"Light were terrible.... You could not even tell they were on because they were so dim. Would not recommend these lights at all."

Hopefully he wrote that in the daytime.

Do they have both taillights and brake lights in the red lens?
I assume the yellow is for turn signals.
Please post your installation and illumination comments when the job is done.

Aloha
tp


Yes, that is a review not "the review on Amazon"... There are several others that are five stars and (pardon the pun) glowing. As I said before, for me... "So far so good". Much brighter than stock. I only use these in the reverse lights (not brakes or turn signals which I am more than satisfied with the GW LED Exterior light kit).
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Last edited by ThankYouJerry on Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: pretty close to 360 projection Reply with quote

https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/tail-brak...tower/526/

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: pretty close to 360 projection Reply with quote

vanaru wrote:
https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/tail-brak...tower/526/

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


X2. Nice lamps. Looks like those in the GW kit that I run. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Philips LED bulbs do look promising and they have been purpose designed by a global lighting manufacturer to replace standard incandescent automotive bulbs.

The blanket statement that LEDs don't work in reflector based fluted/prismatic lens tail lights isn't really applicable these days considering the major advancements in lumens per watt and beam angle control that has taken place in the past 5 years. I will openly agree that most of the aftermarket LED stuff on the market has no place in the Vanagon tail lights, but until I actually see how this new generation of LEDs work, I am going to reserve judgement.

The new Philips LEDs are not currently listed for use in the Vanagon on the Philips application guide and I honestly doubt that they have much interest in testing them and giving them them their blessing for any vehicle over 20 years old, since the condition of any aging plastic automotive lens is going to be questionable at best.

When a global company like Philips gives the thumbs up to use their product in a specific application, they are opening the flood gates for litigation. The handful of sales they would gain from listing the LED 1157 bulbs as a suitable replacement for the 80-91 Vanagon simply isn't worth the time and effort it would take to test the efficacy of the product in our tail lights.

At $26.66 for a pair, it isn't much of a risk to give them a shot and see how they work: http://www.amazon.com/Philips-12839REDB2-Exterior-Vision-Bulb/dp/B00P2D41DW . When my van comes out of storage in the spring, I will test a set out if nobody beats me to it.
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm gonna lean toward Terry on the LED in stop/tail/turn signals though the new Phillips design is a radical departure from current offerings. Here's a simple way to understand the shorcomings of the current LED offerings as it appears above in the side by side bulb pictures above.

Note the stock bulb on the left. Its filament is designed to be precisely in a spot defined in 3 dimensions inside the curved reflector of the tail light called the "focal point". The reflector then focuses the light to exit the lense to maximizes use of the light where it is needed. Naturally the tailight has a federal standard to be seen straight behind, and also to the sides a certain number of degrees.

Now look at the LED bulb up above. It has light sources emitting from various spots on the surface of what is essentially a barrel shape. Importantly, the focal point of the Vanagon tail light reflector assembly is still in the same spot - somewhere directly in the center of the barrel. Notice there is no LED emitting from the center. So the idea of this LED bulb assembly is that festooning a bunch of LED emitters all over it will through sheer numbers happen to bounce enough light out through the lense in about the right locations and angles to approximate the original bulb. Kind of a shot gun approach.

It may work. It may not. But I wanted to frame the challenge so you understand how incandescent lights work and how LEDs do not match up with how they work.

I personally have not considered using LEDs in the tail/brake/turn lights because of this problem. If I'm in foul weather making a left hand turn and on the brakes, I want to know the semi 300 feet behind me is directly in the strongest focal projected area of my rear lights. I know as others here do (Terry) that there is a chance that that trucker's eyes are temporarily in a dimmer section of the chopped up light output of an LED bulb's output pattern. And that can matter when split seconds matter. How likely is it? Hmmm, no idea and guessing would imply a level of knowledge I don't have.

I have a bunch of extra bright incandescent bulbs sitting on the passenger seat of the Vanagon ready to go in all the rear lights. And I have an LED third brake light sitting on the workbench ready to install.

This new Phillips LED bulb is interesting, and I agree with the assertion that they would not certify it for use in incandescent housings like the Vanagon has without having millions in research to prove it puts out light in the right places. I may also snag a pair of those to check out. These are the first LED bulb designs I have seen that work WITH the incandescent reflectors, and may well be the tipping point for me.

As Neil Young puts it "The times, they are a-changin'"

To me, the back up light is not a risky place to put an LED and I'm willing to check it out since others rave about them. Will see.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
I have a bunch of extra bright incandescent bulbs sitting on the passenger seat of the Vanagon ready to go in all the rear lights.

Be careful with those, I have seen melted taillight housings and license light housings with those.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I should have specified. These were recommended to me by Daniel Stern as being quality lamps with exacting filament placement, not a heat problem and a bunch more light output. They are special order items from Honda and not cheap. I'll report on them on a separate thread. I will do a picture with half the Van equipped and half the van on normal stock bulbs like others have done usefully.

You make an excellent point that there are a lot of junk bulbs out there from China, etc that put out too much heat.

DougM
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These? http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4...honda+bulb
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:

I personally have not considered using LEDs in the tail/brake/turn lights because of this problem. If I'm in foul weather making a left hand turn and on the brakes, I want to know the semi 300 feet behind me is directly in the strongest focal projected area of my rear lights. I know as others here do (Terry) that there is a chance that that trucker's eyes are temporarily in a dimmer section of the chopped up light output of an LED bulb's output pattern. And that can matter when split seconds matter. How likely is it? Hmmm, no idea and guessing would imply a level of knowledge I don't have.


This quote begs a plug for GW's 3rd Brake Light. It is LED. It is BRIGHT. It is adjustable (aims up and down). It's ridiculously easy to instal. Excellent safety product that no Vanagon should be without IMHO. Best of all... it's $5 off during Jan 2015: http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=23669&category_id=&category_parent_id=

IdahoDoug wrote:

As Neil Young puts it "The times, they are a-changin'"


Not sure Neil Young ever covered this Bob Dylan classic. Wink

IdahoDoug wrote:

To me, the back up light is not a risky place to put an LED and I'm willing to check it out since others rave about them. Will see.


You're gonna love it. If not, what did it cost ya? $13. BFD. If Terry doesn't want to try them for himself that's his prerogative. I'll raise a glass of Penetrol in the honor of freedom of choice... then hope Terry doesn't back into anything.
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