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w3wilkes

240Z LED Headlight Wiring

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I've gone with LED headlights which I talked about here. All was well until last night. Just went to drive around the block just after dark and flipped the switch and nothing, just running lights and no headlights. Pulled into the garage and for grins hit the brights and boom, headlights, hit low beams and they were on. Apparently one of the jobs of the anti flicker device corrects the current flow (most of the time) to the bulb. Because LED's are diodes they will only fire when current is applied in the allowed direction. Here's what a typical 6024 bulb expects so I'm pretty sure a LED bulb is built expecting this configuration.

6024 Expected Wiring.JPG

The 240Z is wired with power on 3 with 1 & 2 being ground. This is fine for a standard filament bulb, but not for diodes. Most of the time the anti-flicker piece takes care of this. It was a really tight fit to get the anti-flicker device in the stock buckets, but it can be done.

I thought that having LED's on all lights but the dash I really didn't need the harness mod because I'd reduced the amp draw plenty so not to stress the fuse block or multi-function switch. Well after the issue last night I think I'll go with Dave's relay mod anyway because it not only takes the load off the multi-function switch, but also looks like it will allow me to get rid of the anti-flicker device, if this diagram is really of Dave's headlight relay mod. I think the other function of the anti-flicker device is to put info on the circuit so a smart car won't think the bulbs out to trigger some dash light or something to let the driver know they've got a burned out bulb. Our Zed's aren't that smart so I'll bet I won't need the anti-flicker. Here's what I see the before and after of Dave's harness on the headlights as

HRelay Kit.JPG

I really don't think it makes a difference if you're north or south of the equator.

Edited by w3wilkes

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I've played around with three different types of LED headlights. I've never needed the anti flicker. I also have LEDs for parking lights, turn signals, and almost all of the dash lights. I had converted the headlight circuit to relays with switched positives before I ever played with the LED headlights. I know there are several threads on this board where I have advised people about using relays (and switched positive) with LED headlights.

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The only lights that aren't LED on my car are the dash lights. I think you've not needed the anti-flicker because you'd already done the relay conversion.

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LED headlights will occasionally flicker with a lower than needed power supply.

Yes, the Headlight upgrade harness I make (and MSA sells) will give true battery voltage to the headlight pigtails (and headlights)

 

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On 6/14/2018 at 6:30 AM, SteveJ said:

I've played around with three different types of LED headlights. I've never needed the anti flicker. I also have LEDs for parking lights, turn signals, and almost all of the dash lights. I had converted the headlight circuit to relays with switched positives before I ever played with the LED headlights. I know there are several threads on this board where I have advised people about using relays (and switched positive) with LED headlights.

@SteveJ , which of the LED headlamps did you finally settle on?

 

Thanks,

Anthony

Edited by anthony_c

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Like @SteveJ I've gone all LED except for the dash lights. The headlights I went with were these from Eagle Lights and they work fine and the price was the best I could find for the pair. I've also now gone with the headlight wiring harness upgrade from @Zs-ondabrain to get rid of the full power draw through the steering column switch pod and also corrects the power flow through the headlight plug as documented in the first post in this thread.

https://www.eaglelights.com/collections/jeep-led-kits/products/eagle-lights-7-round-led-headlights-jeep-wrangler-cj-jk-tj-97-2015

 

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21 minutes ago, w3wilkes said:

Like @SteveJ I've gone all LED except for the dash lights. The headlights I went with were these from Eagle Lights and they work fine and the price was the best I could find for the pair. I've also now gone with the headlight wiring harness upgrade from @Zs-ondabrain to get rid of the full power draw through the steering column switch pod and also corrects the power flow through the headlight plug as documented in the first post in this thread.

https://www.eaglelights.com/collections/jeep-led-kits/products/eagle-lights-7-round-led-headlights-jeep-wrangler-cj-jk-tj-97-2015

 

Looks like a decent price, but with a 6K color temp i hope we don't cross paths with those things on.

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1 hour ago, anthony_c said:

Looks like a decent price, but with a 6K color temp i hope we don't cross paths with those things on.

I've not had anyone flash their brights at me at night, but they do light up your path! Here's a shot of them on my white garage door so you can see the cutoff. I have the headlight covers from MSA so you notice the reflection on the driveway right in front of my car.

Headlights.jpg

Edited by w3wilkes
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On that note, I didn’t get the time to relay mine so I went for the led option. Absolutely TRANSFORMED my night driving and no being flashed by oncoming traffic either!

 

Here is the LED v halogen candles comparison in day light!!

 

d0b00ef91ea781cd1e867c5f50e3b6d0.jpg&key=7d5df8ca904a262d1f7f25dcfebdf5d4afea052f3532bc5f890e0c05b213a298

 

I wanted to experiment so I bought mine for £30ish from AliExpress and they have been superb. Try to avoid going over 3000-4000 lumens as they get silly bright and cause issues.

 

Mine are NLA but here is the newer version ...

 

e6de31b34d7a93efe2bb3fa89cd2938e.jpg&key=7bd4fedcc6b3697eb6a2b288295662cc69a4c649f1b7aeadb6bdd023a4a5de8b

 

£30 26% Off | VANSSI H4 LED Car Headlight HB2 9003 Hi/Lo 40W 4000lm 6000K White High Performance Auto Headlight Fog Bulb Conversion Kit

https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/crVunp44

 

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1 hour ago, AK260 said:

On that note, I didn’t get the time to relay mine so I went for the led option. Absolutely TRANSFORMED my night driving and no being flashed by oncoming traffic either!

 

Here is the LED v halogen candles comparison in day light!!

 

d0b00ef91ea781cd1e867c5f50e3b6d0.jpg&key=7d5df8ca904a262d1f7f25dcfebdf5d4afea052f3532bc5f890e0c05b213a298

 

I wanted to experiment so I bought mine for £30ish from AliExpress and they have been superb. Try to avoid going over 3000-4000 lumens as they get silly bright and cause issues.

 

Mine are NLA but here is the newer version ...

 

e6de31b34d7a93efe2bb3fa89cd2938e.jpg&key=7bd4fedcc6b3697eb6a2b288295662cc69a4c649f1b7aeadb6bdd023a4a5de8b

 

£30 26% Off | VANSSI H4 LED Car Headlight HB2 9003 Hi/Lo 40W 4000lm 6000K White High Performance Auto Headlight Fog Bulb Conversion Kit

https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/crVunp44

 

I'm sort of in the place. The headlight relay kit isn't available for the 260, so I'm thinking LED's are good interim fix until builld my own (working on specs for that now). And I agree, 3000 is a more comfortable color. I use 2700 in my home.

Is that an LED bulb in a generic H4 housing, or something similar to the eagle lights that w3wilkes is using?

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Keep this in mind. The stock lighting circuit has 1 positive and 2 paths to ground. Most cars have 2 positives and 1 ground. The "D" in LED is for diode. It will only allow current to flow one way. Unless the LED headlight is specially wired for the 1 positive and two paths to ground, it will not work properly.

Even more than with the LEDs, the halogen bulbs need full battery voltage to achieve designed brightness.

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12 minutes ago, SteveJ said:

Keep this in mind. The stock lighting circuit has 1 positive and 2 paths to ground. Most cars have 2 positives and 1 ground. The "D" in LED is for diode. It will only allow current to flow one way. Unless the LED headlight is specially wired for the 1 positive and two paths to ground, it will not work properly.

Even more than with the LEDs, the halogen bulbs need full battery voltage to achieve designed brightness.

Yes, I first encountered the directional issue with led's when I installed a dome lamp. Had to scratch my head for few moments. Reading the packaging proved even more helpful.

I spent some amount of my life going through the wiring diagrams before I fully understood the 'what' and 'how' of their 1 positive/2 grounds wiring of the headlamps. Yes it works, but the "why did they do it that way?" still eludes me. The only reason I can think of is that it splits the load across two fuses without adding an extra set of contacts in the dimmer switch. Oh well.

 

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I'm sort of in the place. The headlight relay kit isn't available for the 260, so I'm thinking LED's are good interim fix until builld my own (working on specs for that now). And I agree, 3000 is a more comfortable color. I use 2700 in my home. Is that an LED bulb in a generic H4 housing, or something similar to the eagle lights that w3wilkes is using? 

 

 I don’t like the relay kits so I designed my own and moreover I don’t like relays in a hot / harsh engine bay and want to position them behind the dash on passenger side. I bought all the bits but ran out of time - a job for another day. I will still do it to reduce load on stalk contacts.

 

It is as simple as a take the bulb out, plug the LED replacement bulb in solution. It has a bigger bottom but our cars have plenty of space in the headlight bowls to accommodate. One of the best mods ever! Especially as it reduced the alternator load too.

 

The actual bulb bit rotates so that you can get the beam pattern right - remember LEDs have more directional light. So whereas your halogens have to be top to bottom oriented, these bulbs need to be side to side.

 

42c2e073f313778ce6d15dd2383005dd.jpg&key=696de778dc6f37c30ed3db306d529a3a2e2666a81861f155028ea0f6011cefef

 

Here is when I incorrectly had them facing top to bottom - lots of light but the beam pattern wasn’t going up on the left (as they should on RHD cars).

 

c249a3629bc5ce52804b04686c181fad.jpg&key=61977da26a0f872b86d967a206c05b0b6cd318dce54a7ce66dbac679a79d8403

 

 

 Also you will notice a “hotspot” directly in front of the car which is where you don’t want the light (as it makes your eyes close up and reduces your night vision).

 

I don’t have a photo of it corrected but suffice it to say the light spread is far more uniform without any obvious hot or dead spots and the beam pattern had a very sharp cut off and break point. The cut off is important to avoid dazzling.

 

Phillips are the market leaders but are expensive at 4 times the price. So I took a punt with the cheap Vanssi ones as others had used them without issue.

 

One last thought - in the UK, we have some European legislation on type approval for use of LED bulbs. And the majority of non-factory fitted don’t have the approval. But UK law is fuzzier about the approval. It is more focussed on practical things like beam pattern and dazzling. I have passed and sat behind many a police car at night without bother. I have however been pulled over a few times by police who are car enthusiasts and wanted to have a good look at a rare beast!

 

Just make sure you don’t get into hot water with law enforcement in your jurisdiction.

 

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3 hours ago, AK260 said:

It has a bigger bottom but our cars have plenty of space in the headlight bowls to accommodate.

That's great info,  so are you saying that there is enough there space in the headlight bowl so you don't have to cut a hole in the back?

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That's great info,  so are you saying that there is enough there space in the headlight bowl so you don't have to cut a hole in the back?

Exactly!  

Lots of space for the heatsink and connectors without touching the bowls or being squashed in.

 

Edit: just read the rest of the thread properly.

 

I’ve never had the “directional” issues mentioned above but I wonder if a European ‘77 260z has different wiring to early 240/260?

 

On flickering - only get that issue on cranking. If idle is set too low, I see them drop in brightness a little. Even with a custom undersized pulley, my alternator spins slower than stock due to the ATi damper’s blooming stupid half sized pulley.

 

 

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AK260,

In the states we look for the "D.OT. Approved" label.

Lots of options on amazon, none with a brand name that i recognize.

Edited by anthony_c
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AK260,
In the states we look for the "D.OT. Approved" label.
Lots of options on amazon, none with a brand name that i recognize.


I hear you!! That’s why I went with Vanssi because at the very least, I knew others had success with them. Frankly if they weren’t great, at £30 (c.$40) for a pair I could afford to put it down to experience and bin them without feeling like I’ve been taking food out of my children’s mouths or crying too much about it. But, 2 years on and no regrets yet!

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As SteveJ mentioned earlier, in order to run LED's on a US spec 74 260z I would need to re-wire the dimmer switch to switch on hot instead of ground. I'm not prepared to go that far so will probably just drop in a relay and be done with it. Depending on amp load I may upgrade to halogens, but tbd.

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That’s good thinking - otherwise too much hassle!

I’ve found that on 4 other classic cars I’ve helped with, the 50% brighter H4 halogens with relays will rival most modern car halogen headlights.

There are the 120% brighter halogens but they tend to have a blue tint I really am not a fan of.

Defo do a before and after shot in the same lighting conditions.

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1 hour ago, AK260 said:

I’ve found that on 4 other classic cars I’ve helped with, the 50% brighter H4 halogens with relays will rival most modern car halogen headlights.

Absolutely,  but I would add that the power and ground wires need to be at least 12ga

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Once the kids FINALLY went to sleep, I went out for some carb playing / tuning at night. So I thought I’d take some photos to show how well the LED bulbs work behind standard H4 lenses. It was bugging me that I hadn’t shared that ;)

 

The iPhone camera does it no justice but here’s the beam pattern with a rock solid horizontal cut off on the driver’s side (RHD car) and the break in the middle kicking the light up onto the pavement side of the car.

 

e73bce5159913eb058f8f466579482cf.jpg&key=af026f6b1dfb29ebc246d16ebcc14074920b4e24aa02267ed274b3a221012a0e

 

And here is dipped beam on a piece of (sorta) straight road:

 

338df1ca880da1f23d429fbd12d6febe.jpg&key=2ec9020f2def4846d611842feda8bd436bd082151d8d0de1f8e5d18ef8f6c379

 

And high beam:

 

0ce401cb280856a699aaa3724c86d761.jpg&key=eced7842b50b6cd8a9a4925ba28f77c5b3e6d1fe5ccee2526c939d42e805b968

 

You can just about see the way the high beam lights the stuff in the distance - like I said the iPhone 6s camera isn’t great at night - time for the upgrade I’ve been putting off! ;)

 

Oh and got stopped by the local police again. Got the usual chat: “I used to lust after that car as a little boy sir!! Straight six, right? Sounds really nice!”

 

 

 

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