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S30Driver

Vintage Led Headlights

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For the longest time, I have watched the evolution of the Led 7" round headlight technology and recently decided to upgrade to a set that fairly well mimic the look of the stock glass sealed beams at a reasonable price.  I did not want the projector Hid look, too high tech looking, plastic, fan cooling, or a blue light hue.   The set I found was from Vintage Car Leds who aim their products at the customer who wants the oem glass look with the advantages of Led bulbs.

I chose the 3500 series of their lamps which are moderately priced, and appeared that with the bulb (4000 LM) / heat sink installed (no silly fan) would fit in the confines of the S30 housing.  

Of course as many are aware, Nissan and many other Japanese auto companies use negative switching of the ground side of the headlight system, the Led's expect the positive side to switch.  That being said & with Dave Irwin no longer an option to supply the 240 kit (easy to adapt to the 280 style round connectors) I decided to build my own high quality negative switched harness.   I did not want to hack the oem wiring, so I replaced the lighting harness all the way to the headlight buckets.

I used real 12 gauge copper wire for the main power source and 14 gauge on the heavy lifting side of the relays feeding the headlights.  On the low current trigger side from the combo switch to the relays is 16 gauge.

My main intent was to make everything reversible without any modifications should the day ever come to put the system back to factory spec.

The headlight assembly fits in the stock housing and its inside bracket but its a close fit,   I tried using my bore scope camera thru the bucket grommet hole but could not get a worthwhile picture as it is difficult to maneuver in there.  Looked to be about 1/16" clearance.   The one gripe I have is that the pigtail from the bulb exits at the back of the heat sink, wish is was the side to provide more clearance.  I also upgraded the headlight plug connector to a more heat resistant porcelain type.  This plus into the pigtail from the Led bulb.

The upshot of all this is ........ a dramatic change in usable light compared to the sealed beams without blinding oncoming traffic.  Also,the very low current now thru the combination switch,  I was saving a nos combo switch that I just installed which has never seen full load current - it should last a very long time.

Impressed so far,  will try to get some action pictures driving after dark,  but so far - highly recommended.

Vintage Close.jpgVintage Led1.jpgvintage Led2.jpgVintage Relays.jpgVintage bucket.jpgVintage Alignment.jpgVintage Off.jpgVintage w fog.jpg

In other news .... I am playing around with the fog / driving lights as a inexpensive solution to fill the gap below the 240 bumper.  Its still in progress, a fun project, will notch the fabricated bar I made to clear the lower grill mount and get them about an inch or more lower.  Again, all factory mount holes were utilized, including relocating the horns. 

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Thanks Charles!  Maybe the owner of the "goon" will consider a set ...

Additionally, I neglected to include some rough current measurements I made :   With the older sealed beams & low beams active - total current draw was 6.8 Amps.

With the Led Headlights active on low beam the current draw dropped to :  1.7 Amps.

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6 minutes ago, S30Driver said:

Thanks Charles!  Maybe the owner of the "goon" will consider a set ...

Additionally, I neglected to include some rough current measurements I made :   With the older sealed beams & low beams active - total current draw was 6.8 Amps.

With the Led Headlights active on low beam the current draw dropped to :  1.7 Amps.

They would look good on the Goon! We could run 4 lamps high and low and still not pull too much power.... 🤔

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Looks great.

So about your measured current draw values... Your original sealed beams drew 6.8 Amps for the pair and the new ones draw 1.7 Amps for the pair?

If so, your new bulbs are consuming about 11W each on low beam. Does that make sense compared to the LED bulb specs? I took a quick look and they say they are 25W, but I don't know if that's for a pair, or if that's high beam, or what.

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59 minutes ago, Captain Obvious said:

Looks great.

So about your measured current draw values... Your original sealed beams drew 6.8 Amps for the pair and the new ones draw 1.7 Amps for the pair?

If so, your new bulbs are consuming about 11W each on low beam. Does that make sense compared to the LED bulb specs? I took a quick look and they say they are 25W, but I don't know if that's for a pair, or if that's high beam, or what.

Yes, I know what you mean.   I measured it with a Fluke 88 at the battery (series)   My test was using both low beams,  high beams measured about 3.12 A.

I should have measured the voltage as well,  maybe re-run the tests now that the system is all installed.

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Jim

I didnt see it above but which glass housings did you go with?

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Vintage Car Led's has 2 options, the standard glass made by Autopal, and for $70 more the Hella glass housings.  I went for the standard Autopal ones.

When I get another set for the 71 car, I will get the Hella glass ones.

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I found measuring the headlight parameters to be a lesson in "real world" effects. Stuff like...

If the engine isn't running, the battery voltage changes (drops) while you are trying to take measurements (because you're pulling capacity out of it).
The currents are high enough that any amperage measurement results in a noticeable drop across the Ohmmeter, thereby affecting the results.
Voltage measurements need to be taken both at the battery and right at the bulb. That'll tell you how much you're losing in the wiring and switching.

Here's the best I could come up with... Three meters at the same time. One measuring voltage on the battery terminals. Second measuring bulb voltage right at the back of the bulb. Third measuring current draw of one bulb. Here's an example from after I finished my headlight relay upgrade. Both bulbs are lit, but measuring one side.

Voltage measured on the battery terminals while under testing load (two bulbs lit) = 12.26V
Voltage measured right on the bulb prongs of one bulb = 11.56V
Current draw of one low beam bulb = 2.64A

This is low beam:
P1070126.JPG

And this is high beam:
P1070127.JPG

If you go through the math, I'm consuming about 30W per side on low beams and about 50W per side on high beams.

One thing that seemed odd to me was your current draw numbers were higher than mine.

12 hours ago, S30Driver said:

With the older sealed beams & low beams active - total current draw was 6.8 Amps.

My total current draw on low beams should be approx. 5.3A (doubling my 2.64). And that's with relays installed which should increase the current because the system drop is lower. Questions are... 1) Did you have relays in place when you took your reading? And 2) What was your system voltage? (Was the engine running at the time?)

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Relays in the circuit, car was not running, I dumbly did not check the voltage.  It was late, and a hot day a couple of weeks ago when I did this so not fresh in my memory,  Will rerun my tests after I get back from my trip this weekend.   I am guessing that the Sylvania performance sealed beams draw more current than standard sealed beams.

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Well you aren't planning to put your sealed beams back in and run tests for me, are you? If so, that's certainly not necessary. I mean, if your incredibly bored and don't know what else to do with your time, I think the results would be interesting to discuss, but other than that, it's a lot of work for some academic discussions. I don't know what headlights I'm running. I know they're halogen somethings, but I don't remember the brand. Probably Sylvania.

And with that said, all the real world effects of current drop and the like will diminish as the current draw goes down. So all that stuff like power being lost in switches, wires, and connectors will be much less with the LED's as compared to the old sealed beams.

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Well said Captain!  Nope, a little too much hassle for the sealed beam tests.  But, I will rerun the Led current draw test with reference voltage to make sure of my numbers.  All my other lights which activate with the headlights are also Led, I will also see what the parking light only circuit draws.

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17 hours ago, S30Driver said:

That being said & with Dave Irwin no longer an option to supply the 240 kit (easy to adapt to the 280 style round connectors) I decided to build my own high quality negative switched harness.

Even though Dave no longer supplies the headlight wiring harness kit it is still available from MSA.

https://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/PROD/classic10l/12-4651

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14 hours ago, S30Driver said:

I spoke James at MSA before I built my harness and he indicated that they were out of stock.

Too bad. MSA needs to do a better job of putting the "Availability" note on items not in stock! @Joseph@TheZStore - This isn't the only item that doesn't show as not available!

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MSA's sales department is very much more easier than the website. They're nice as can be and always give me a better price than online. Plus the 10% discount we get is always deducted. 

To me their website is more like an old fashioned paper catalog, you find what you need and give them a call to order. I like that. My $.02

Edited by siteunseen

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Don't get me wrong, I also do the phone thing for my orders and you are right on about them being "nice as can be" over the phone. Just wish the website would actually reflect what's really available.

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