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Old 04-18-2010, 08:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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LED taillights, turn signals, marker lights & headlights!

Hi folks,

I decided to buy some LED replacement lights for the tail/brake lights, the turn signals and the front marker lights on my Scion xA, and I am pleased with the overall results. The taillights are equally bright and they use the optical reflector very well. The brake lights come on instantaneously, and are similar to the old bulbs in brightness.

The turn signals also are very attention grabbing -- they light instantaneously, but also they blink faster now that the current load is so low. The front marker lights are surprisingly bright, and I chose the cool white color, so they look like low intensity DRL's though I don't think they are bright enough to be very visible in the daytime. But I use them at dusk and dawn and in the fog and rain, so for that they are an improvement on the original bulbs.

I'm sure that these use a tiny fraction of the power, but I doubt I'll even notice a FE change. I did it for the longevity, the instant-on, and so if they save power, then great.

Oh, I bought them from Super Bright LED's, and the 8 bulbs cost me about $52 shipped.

Here's the red and amber ones I got:

And the little white marker lights:

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Last edited by NeilBlanchard; 05-19-2010 at 02:50 PM.. Reason: changed title
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I did the same thing with my old VX, my electric car and my motorcycle, I found that alot of the LED's are brighter then the stock bulbs, the red LED's put out a true red light that stands out really well.
for turn signals swapping flashers to a constant flash flasher takes care of the faster flash rate.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
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...the red LED's put out a true red light that stands out really well.
Another benefit is that if you break a taillight lens, the light's still red.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Ryland -- the "constant flasher" you mention is a different unit that plugs into the electrical box? I should ask at the Toyota dealer, or is this an aftermarket item?
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Another benefit is LED's light instantly, regular bulbs take 1/10 of a second to make light.
So at 60 mph the guy behind you knows that you are breaking a little bit sooner which is good for safety.
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Old 04-18-2010, 06:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the "constant flasher" might be something to find in the towing section of the store. You might also get lucky by "circuit bending" the existing flasher.

What I did when I switched to LEDs was to open up my flasher, set it up on the bench w/12 volts and an LED blinker "bulb", and took a small electrolytic capacitor and held it in parallel w/capacitors already on the board till I found one that had an effect on the flash rate, then I tried different sized capacitors till I found one that gave a reasonable rate, and soldered it in parallel and closed it up.

Also beware of LEDs with "built in load", some LED makers got tired of explaining why the flashers acted up and started making their LEDs suck up a bunch of current they didn't need. If you put in LEDs and the blink rate is fine, then they might be no more efficient than regular bulbs because of this.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The other benefit of the instant on LED is that this grabs your attention -- we have a more visceral response to quick "motion" or change.

Mine blink quickly -- I think I'll just get used to it.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Neil -

I got some LEDs from superbrightleds maybe six months ago and I am happy with their performance. I didn't get the blinkers because I thought they needed the "balast thingy" to work properly. What you're saying is that the LEDs "just work" but blink faster? Can you make a video of the before/after blinking?

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Old 04-19-2010, 12:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Lol, I think you can make a reasonable guess at the before without making Neil swap the bulbs out again!!!

IIRC, mine were blinking on about 3 times a second after installation, before tweaking the blinker.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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dcb -

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
Lol, I think you can make a reasonable guess at the before without making Neil swap the bulbs out again!!!

IIRC, mine were blinking on about 3 times a second after installation, before tweaking the blinker.
Yeah, I thought of that, but Youtube makes grainy videos, so I would like to see a before/after from within that "medium" of reality. But your right, it's not fair to ask Neil to do extra work.

Actually, I might have a bulb I can swap in myself. My front yellow running light/turn signals (that I didn't change to LED) might be the same type as my red LED running light/brake light. If they are, I can swap-'em and see for myself. But me too lazy to find out right now.

Here's another silly question from an electronics-impaired fellow like myself. If an LED driver side light and an incandescent passenger side light are on the same circuit, is it possible for the indandescent light to draw more amps *through* the LED and damage it? That thought occurred to me when I was thinking about comparing light intensity.

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