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Converting to LED bulbs


bpilati

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I experimented in depth with changing the gauge lights. Ill keep it short: Light is complicated and we have old gauges that are actually lit by reflecting light around the gauge walls to the front of the unit. Because of this lighting by reflection, no LED's look right in there. If you had back lit gauges they would look great.

Outside of the gauges LED's are generally awesome. If you replace your flashers with digital units you can swap out your side marker/blinkers as well as your brakes (no modification needed for the brakes).

LED's generally aren't as bright as regular bulbs so you might be disappointed in that overhead light. If you used it as part of a LED courtesy light project it would be a good fit but alone its going to be a massive drop in lighting. A "lumen" is a measurement of actual light and is the only real way to compare different types of light sources. My google-foo indicates that the stock 10w bulb generates around 200 lumens of light, the LED makes 12.

Heres a watts to lumen calculator: Watts to lumens (lm) conversion calculator

Edited by Kurbycar32
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Kurby-

Don't you mean that the LEDs wouldn't look great in the gauges?

You need light bouncing all around the gauge housing, and LEDs are just a little too focused or narrow-beam to get much around the gauge face to light up the face. I think if you had a ring of LEDS around the gauge near the face with some kind of diffuser or mirror, then it might work.

Sometimes a bulb just does a better job at lighting things.

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I've been doing some experimenting lately. I bought some wedge bases for the instrument lights (10 Pcs Heavy Duty T10 168 194 2825 Wiring Harness Sockets Pre Wired | eBay) and some low-profile wedge bulbs (green - Amazon.com: Jtech 10x T10 8-SMD Green LED Car Lights Bulb W5W, 147, 152, 158, 159, 161, 168, 184, 192, 193, 194 2825: Automotive red - Amazon.com: Jtech 5x T10 8-SMD Red LED Car Lights Bulb W5W, 147, 152, 158, 159, 161, 168, 184, 192, 193, 194 2825: Automotive blue - Amazon.com: 8x T10 194 168 501 4-smd 3528 LED Car Light Bulb Blue: Automotive). The green bulbs have 8 SMD LEDs, and they all point forward, illuminating my test gauge fairly well. The low profile bulbs make it where I don't have to remove the lenses from gauges, too. I am looking forward to doing the conversion.

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Kurby-

Don't you mean that the LEDs wouldn't look great in the gauges?

I think that if the gauges were backlit, instead of how they are lit now (reflection) they would look great. I also experimented with an electroluminescent panel (think timex indiglow) wrapped around the inner wall of the gauges. It actually looked ok because the green color was really close to the stock filtered green look, but they weren't great and would require building an AC transformer to run them.

Dont take my experience as a reason to give up though. If you think you can make it better go for it. My conclusion was that the datsun interior is one of those cases where a light bulb just works better. I do have solid state flashers for my LED turnsignal upgrade though

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the one big plus for me to replacing the dome light with led is battery drain. i lost track of

how many times i left the dome lite on and it drained my battery. led dome lite left on

all night doesn't even make a dent in the battery.

another time the brake lite switch thats under by the brake pedal stuck in the on position

and the brake lites were on the whole 9 hours i was at work. walking back to my car

i said to myself oh crap this thing isn't going to start. turned the key and it fired right up.

then i remembered i had put led's in the tail lites. It was my second set because the

first set were china specials that lasted about a month. super brite led's are going on

2 years old now.

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That's why I like to check the brake lamps (and the switch?) when there is a truck with a chromed bumper or grille stopped behind me, or I'm backed up to a big window. Otherwise, I just get out the long stick to check the brakes (and all the lamps) every Thursday.

BTW- I've left the door open once or twice all night, and the engine started just fine, but I don't think my dome light is that bright either. :ermm:

Edited by TomoHawk
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  • 3 months later...

Ha! I thought I was the only one who used shiny cars behind me for testing lights.

My speedometer is dim enough that if a cop ever pulls me over for speeding at night I can honestly answer that I have no idea how fast I was going. I always thought the dim instrument lighting added an ambiance, though I may upgrade to brigheter someday.

Edited by Mikes Z car
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