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Discussion Starter #1
I brought an OEM SJ-413 replacement tail light fixture to work with some LED bulbs to see what the current draw and brightness would be like:




Reverse lamp 1156 LED



Stop lamp1157 LED



1156 Incandescant Note - current is .424 amps!



1156 LED Note - current is .121 Amps! Also brighter!


LED bulbs can be purchased at http://www.superbrightleds.com
 

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Here are a couple of "different angles" to explore ...

Install the 1156 reverse light LEDs and then try backing up at night in a dark location - can you see as far with them as you can with the incandescent lamps?

Install the 1156 turn signal LEDs and then stand "off axis" (off to the side of the vehicle), are they still as visible as the incandescent lamps?
 

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Is it only a coinidence that the (linked) headquarters for this company is only several towns away from you Ack? :rolleyes:
 

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I'm running all LED except headlights & floodlights, for the blinkers you will need a special flasher. I forget the brand/PN but there is a thread here. DO NOT run resistors instead, fire hazzard. I have LED reverse lights and in reverse I can see considerably more than with the OEM but they are mounted in the tailgate so above waist level. I favor LED because they are bright and it gets pretty damn dark here, especially in the woods. If you still have the OEM alternator then that would be another good reason to save a few amps. As mentioned, directional issues can be noted depending on design of the lamp.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow.

Two responses that I was NOT expecting.

My intent of this post - now and in the future - is to help folks here understand the Pros and Cons of using LED lighting on old-tech vehicles like the SJ and similar series of Suzuki vehicles.

I am restoring an '88 Samurai Tintop using the latest technology when possible. I am aware that LED devices tend to be highly directional emitters. However, the current bayonet-style LED units are constructed with an array of LEDs spaced evenly around the central axis of the bulb in an attempt to minimize this issue. Additionally, the OEM fixtures - while not having a metallic reflector - do have a white-colored reflective inside surface. The pictures certainly indicate the devices are a strong light source but, admittedly, are displayed in an experimental environment. It might have been helpful if I had set the camera to manual iris when taking the pictures to get perhaps a better indication of light levels... As the restoration continues, I will report back with updates.


In sourcing the LEDs for these pictures, LED lamps shown were purchased at local auto parts stores. Unfortunately, the #67 bulb - a shorter bulb than it's #1156 brother - MUST be used as the marker lamp in the front turnsignal due to size constraints in the fixture. I did not demonstrate the front turn signal with LED lamps because at the time I took the pictures I did not have a #67 LED bulb to use.

#67 LED bulbs are not generally available at auto parts stores - probably because there are fewer uses for it resulting in lack of sales. As a result, I mentioned SuperBriteLeds.com as a source because their website DOES list #67 bulbs as available in a LED configuration. Not being employed in the Automotive industry. I was -and still am - completely unaware of where SuperBriteLeds.com is located other than on the Internet.

I have no axes to grind or secret agendas to promote in this thread. I am just a Radio/TV Broadcast engineer with a Journalism degree who happens to have an automotive hobby and wants to be helpful.

My apologies if I am taking this topic too seriously. This is just my attempt to inject objectivity into the glacial flow of misinformation that is the Internet...

I do hope that this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm running all LED except headlights & floodlights, for the blinkers you will need a special flasher. I forget the brand/PN but there is a thread here. DO NOT run resistors instead, fire hazzard.
True Dat, caseyjones995!

The flasher unit that one should use with LED turn lamps on an SJ or Kick/Track/Vit is the Novita/Tridon EP34 which is available at most auto parts stores everywhere.

I think I have been spreading the word on using the EP34 for nearly five years here in the forums and in Ack's FAQ! I guess that kind of makes me a total a-hole, then... (I was Deadpool before Deadpool was cool... - comic book/film reference)
 

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I switched out the 1156 backup lamps on my 91 and 95 Trackers with LED's and got an improvement, but had to buy a sampling of LED lamps in order to find which one worked best as there's no way of knowing from reading the descriptions on the various LED websights. The lens and reflective surfaces in the OEM lamp housings are designed for a tungsten lamp which is a single point light source. The LED lamps have multiple surface mount LED's, each of which is a single point of light. The light from those on the sides are pretty much wasted but cant be helped.
I found the LED lamps that work best for me were those which are long enough so that all of their individual LED's are within the reflective area of the lamp housing and have a bright white color light, and the higher the wattage, or candle power, the better.
Some day I might replace the tail lights with LED's because they're always on during night driving. I'm not going to fool with the brake and turn signals.
 

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I have LED reverse lights and in reverse I can see considerably more than with the OEM but they are mounted in the tailgate so above waist level.
What I was specifically hoping/looking for was a direct comparison of LED & incandescent lamps in the OE housings - the idea is for folks to understand that whilst LEDs do have their advantages, they are not necessarily the best light source for every application.

I've been "playing" with LEDs since they first became commercially available (late 70's/early 80's), and at this point, all of my vehicles are fitted with the same type of lamp as they originally left the factory with, regular incandescent or quartz halogen, although I did retrofit H4 halogens to previously owned vehicles, as headlamp bulbs, before they became standard fittings in the early 90's - I do have hand wired, custom built LEDs in the "add-in" dash gauges that have been fitted.

I favor LED because they are bright and it gets pretty damn dark here, especially in the woods. If you still have the OEM alternator then that would be another good reason to save a few amps. As mentioned, directional issues can be noted depending on design of the lamp.
LED lighting has it's advantages, one of my vehicles is equipped with a rear facing 18w bar mounted at roof level, so yes, high mounted LED "reverse" light can provide way more light than OE lights, but that was not the reason the lamp was fitted - it's there because I wanted a "high output, low wattage" lamp for campsite use - the other vehicle has an LED strip that I fitted into the side awning, and there again, the need was for low power consumption.

It's been my experience that most "retro-fit" LED lighting, and by that I mean LED lights built & sold to be fitted in place of incandescent lamps, is simply inadequate for automotive use, especially when "bright" is not the only requirement.

The last thing I'm going to mention (and usually this is the first point I raise) is that use of the majority of these "retro-fit" LED bulbs would be in violation of FMVSS108 - at this time I believe Philips are the only supplier of street legal retro-fit LEDs.

Here's a link that some of you might find interesting ...
vision_LED
 

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I believe I tried a brand other than Tridon with the EP34 pn, it did not work, I had to find a Tridon EP34 and it was plug and play. I like the LED lights and use LED wherever possible.

I agree that a retro fit is not always feasible. Most of the lamps in my 96 LS400 are the original incandescent bulbs. The trunk, glove box, door and engine compartment lights are LED and a massive upgrade they were, the rest are original. The LED lights just didn't look right behind the OEM lenses of this particular vehicle. That and I was not in a real hurry to change things in a make/model of car that routinely last 400k - 500k miles faithfuly and rolled off the showroom floor with near perfect functionality. As I find LED lights that throw light in the same way I may change but sometimes the LED can be too bright.

I plan to replace all possible lights on my VMAX to LED just to be seen and not run over. In an application like that brightness is preferable to looking proper, even if just from a safety standpoint. That and I want to leave some amperage for heated grips and driving lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
HOT DAMN! Now we have an actual intellectual and factual discussion here!

You bring up an interesting point, fordem, about the ability of certain LED manufacturers to actually offer a LED lamp that meets government specifications. One would assume that socketed LED lamps that are offered as OEM replacements (as opposed to glue-on strips or display-style LED lighting) would meet government specifications. I believe that the ones I used were manufactured by (or for) Siemens. That does not mean they are US DOT-compliant. That would be making a dangerous assumption - despite the fact that the auto parts store selling them risk liability for selling non-approved lighting for motor vehicles... Check the package labelling of the bulbs that are to be used in functional vehicle lighting. It should be DOT-approved for use in a vehicle lighting fixture. Naturally, in other countries, other named governmental agencies apply.

I shall go back and check my purchases...
 

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I understand Fordem's concerns, I've done a fair bit of design work with LEDs and the specs differ tremendously, some have a very narrow beam angle to increase the 'forward' brightness.

Resistors aren't a fire risk if they are adequately rated but they just dump power so I would avoid them anyway.
 

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I understand Fordem's concerns, I've done a fair bit of design work with LEDs and the specs differ tremendously, some have a very narrow beam angle to increase the 'forward' brightness.

Resistors aren't a fire risk if they are adequately rated but they just dump power so I would avoid them anyway.
I have seen some advertised to throw light like a traditional filament bulb and others just insanely bright. It's hard to know which are which since to the best of my knowledge most of these are cranked out in China. It would be cool to start compiling manufacturer and part # of good quality LED bulbs that work well in place of traditional bulbs. Sadly I dont think I found any yet.
 
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