Difference between revisions of "L.E.D conversion"

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Latest revision as of 08:23, 9 July 2018

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advanced technology
One is LED, one is not

This page is designed to be an area for people working on all sorts of car related LED conversions. Feel free to add your stories, thread links, results and how to's.

Rules for mod

Rule #1 for LED headlights:
DO NOT use 8000K+ "blue" or "purple" LEDs for your head lights. That bluish purplish color is not cool, it does not let you see further than a lower K number light and all other drivers will hate you at night. Most things you want to see at night (fuzzy brown, tan, black and 2 leg animals) will absorb and not reflect blue light back at you.
3000K to 6000K is perfect. With the 3000K to 3500K range your LEDs would look like very good quality head lights, depending on the manufacture they can look very yellow. With the 5500K to 6500K range your lights would be slightly whiter colored than a typical good factory spec halogen bulb.
When you start to get well above 6000K, the light may appear brighter but your eyes will work much harder to recognize terrain, objects, animals which will cause eye fatigue.

Rule #2 for LED lights:
Always test before putting them on the road.
Tail lights and brake lights may not be bright enough for other drivers to see if you are driving into the sun set or sun rise. Remember these older tail light reflectors and their lensing were designed for bulbs that radiate light in all directions and not directional LEDs. Also LED head lights may blind other drivers, in some states the police wont hesitate to pull you over and give you a $300 or more ticket for improper equipment.
And I hope they enforce these rules.

How light is measured

Luminosity (LM) is the measurement for total amount of light produced, it will always be directly proportional to Wattage the LED consumes.
Color temperature measured in K is best described as the characteristic color of visible light.

Instructions for mod

There are a few ways to do the LED conversion.
1 buy drop in LED conversions and install them.
2 buy a premade LED, housing and reflector/lens assembly for something non-auto related and install it on your vehicle.
3 buy one of the many styles of LEDs out there and install them into a housing one way or another. There are around a dozen or so popular component LED styles, they range from raw "LED chips", to light bulb replacement arrays like the various G4 bulb replacement arrays and even your standard dome style 3mm, 5mm and larger LEDs.
You can arrange these LEDs in any number of ways in any factory or aftermarket light housing, tail light, running light, dome light, licence plate light and anywhere else they will fit.
The project is limited to the builders imagination, budget, housing space and time. Here are the types of LEDs you will find out in the wild:
LED chips:
These are very cheap high powered cells, they require 12 to 30 volts because LED cells are stacked in series, they put off a lot of heat and a lot of light, beware they will require a metal heat sink.

Replacement arrays:
These cost more and put out at least as much light as the standard bulbs they replace, they usually have a tiny pin based built in heat sink, putting RTV on the back is highly recommended. Plus the RTV can be used to help glue them to the inside of a light housing. These can be low voltage, like 12 volts to higher voltage. Read the package, know what you are buying. 12v G4 replacement arrays are most useful in tail light applications.

3mm, 5mm and 10mm individual LEDs.
Thse are cheap, normally use about 2.8 to 3.4 volts to forward bias them to put out light.
The hard plastic housing makes a good heat sink. and protects the LED material.
These LEDs are also commonly 2 colored.
All hand fashioned vehicle LEDs should have a voltage regulator to protect them against surging voltage from a failing alternator.

Voltage control:
If your LEDs are wired up to use less than the 14.5 or so volts found in a charging system you can use a very cheap and very simple voltage regulator. If you are using the raw "LED chips" that require 20 to 30 volts then you need to find a lap top voltage booster.

User experiences

Some vehicles roughly 2000 and up, including 2002+ Chrysler products with Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) and many European cars, wont like being converted over to LED. They will detect the lack of current draw to the blinker, tail or running light and give you a burned out bulb indicator on the dash or a slow flash.
If you try to install LED flashers all the way around for your blinkers your blinkers likely will not blink. Chances are you will have to put LEDs in the rear and leave your regular flasher bulbs up front and install a heavy duty flasher unit. Or use ballasted LEDs with resistors that mimic the current draw of a regular bulb. This does 2 things. It defeats the purpose of using LEDs to reduce electrical draw. And, if the LED quits working the burnt out bulb detecting system wont alarm.

User data
User Name Car Make, Model, Year Cost of Mod Time to Perform Mod Amps used before mod Amps used after mod power savings Instruction Link additional comments
Oil Pan 4 9th gen chevy suburban $100 1 hour 5 amps per low beam 1.24 amps per LED low beam 3.76 amps saved per lamp [LED head light conversion] A 35 watt LED high beam is substantially brighter than a 55 watt halogen
Oil Pan 4 9th gen chevy suburban around $30 4 hours OE incandescent running + head light draw 17 amps Converting head lights and most running lights only draws 5 amps 15 amps saved while the brake is pressed with head lights on Amp draw before and after LEDs 1157 LED brake lights are far brighter than the original bulbs
Vman455 3rd gen Toyota Prius $150 8 hours halogen projector lowbeams 8 amps total Corolla LED projector lowbeams 1.6 amps total 6.4 amps saved 2015 Murano LED retrofit into 2013 Prius Replaced H11 halogens

Problems / Consequences of mod

If you dont use the correct parts your blinkers wont flash. Even if you do everything right you still might get a burned out bulb indicator on your dash if your vehicle doesn't like LEDs.
It seems like a lot of these LED headlight "upgrades" simply do not work at all for low beam applications with out extensive modification to the housing or to how the LED sits in the housing. Sometimes its as simple as blocking off some of the headlight with tape to cut down glare. Other times the problems encountered with the LEDs is light can split off into some kind of useless pattern for seeing at night or just plain blind other drivers with glare or poor to non existent beam pattern.


Forum thread links

LED lowbeam experiment < This is where we put every thing before this wiki page

LED bulb resistor

LEDs and winter driving

LED trailer lights and snow a no go

LED Headlights from Xenon Depot

H4656 LED lights

2015 Murano LED retrofit into 2013 Prius

Amp draw before and after LEDs

External Froum thread links

super bright reverse lights for 73-91 chevy tail light

More LED info

LED high beams

Custom LED tail lights for 82-92 camaro, using resistor voltage regulation

External links

LED light bar report Lots of info on light bars and LEDs in general.

External links for buying LEDs


Off the shelf motor cycle LED head lights