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Thread: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

  1. #1

    Question Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Hello everyone. I'm newly registered here, although I frequent this forum for lots of great info (I'm somewhat of an lumen-fanatic). I've done a few searches but can't find exactly the information I need, so here goes:


    I'm looking at purchasing high powered LED lights to upgrade the brake lights in my 2000 Ford Taurus. The lights look well-made and are direct drop-in replacements for my 3157's socket, and they have 40 '1210 SMD/SMT LED Chips made by CREE Electronics' on each bulb. Now what I'm unsure of, is which color to buy. It is my understanding that a red filter (the plastic tail lens in this case) will block out all light except red, but the manufacturer uses a poorly lit yellowish bulb to illuminate the tail lights from the factory. So my question is, if each of the red and white versions of this product produce the same output of light, which will produce better light through the filter, red or white Cree LEDs? I would imagine the ultra-bright white Cree LEDs that I've seen in action would do a fantastic job of illuminating my tail lights, but when I saw the red version it made me stop and think... what if the red would look brighter/better (more red)?

    Now the first thing that popped in my mind was to do an experiment myself, buy a set of each and put a red one and a white one on at the same time and see for myself. However, buying a pair of each color would run about $85 shipped and I don't feel like losing out on shipping charges to send back the pair that I will not be using. So here I am. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback anyone has to offer. Thanks.



    PS:

    Here are the links to the products I'm considering;

    White:
    http://store.ijdmtoy.com/40-SMD-S25-...ku35_sku36.htm

    Red:
    http://store.ijdmtoy.com/Brilliant-R..._red_sku34.htm




    -Nate

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Why don't you just use 3457 ?
    6.5K diving light, 5K cool-white, 4K neutral-white, 3K warm-white, 2.7K extra warm-white

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by CryoChronic View Post
    Hello everyone. I'm newly registered here, although I frequent this forum for lots of great info (I'm somewhat of an lumen-fanatic). I've done a few searches but can't find exactly the information I need
    You may have searched the forums but not found the information you wanted; as there are no LED drop-ins capable of replacing the 3157 or any other filament bulb for a vehicle's external signalling functions.
    The lights look well-made and are direct drop-in replacements for my 3157's socket
    Physically well-made, but not in the sense of their fitness to perform the task that the 3157 was designed to perform-- the lamp assembly was designed around that particular bulb, and those LED bulbs are not a 3157.

    Now what I'm unsure of, is which color to buy.
    Simple: None of them.

    This thread, though older, is still relevant today.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 10-03-2010 at 05:44 PM.

  4. #4

    Post Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    Why don't you just use 3457 ?
    I'm interested in the many benefits of LED lighting over incandescent type bulbs, especially the safety from increased stopping distance as discussed here on CPF as well as many other places on the net.



    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    You may have searched the forums but not found the information you wanted; as there are no LED drop-ins capable of replacing the 3157 or any other filament bulb for a vehicle's external signalling functions.
    I'm not sure to which external signaling functions you are referring. The LED bulb assembly links in my first post perform the exact functions as required for my vehicle, with stage 1 and stage 2 (as they call it; really bright and insanely bright as I call it), functionality for parking light and stop light/turn signal. To avoid 'fast flash' I may also need load resistors, but they are not required on all vehicles.



    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Physically well-made, but not in the sense of their fitness to perform the task that the 3157 was designed to perform-- the lamp assembly was designed around that particular bulb, and those LED bulbs are not a 3157.
    Also not sure how the drop-in LED replacements in question would fail to perform as good as, if not much better than the incandescent version which they are designed to replace. I have seen just one CREE LED perform, and I have since sought after Cree LEDs in all my devices and gadgets. These bulbs have not one but FORTY Cree LEDs, arranged in a pattern to offer 360 degree coverage (which can be seen in the graphic above and below), which will work with the tail light housing's reflector even better than the factory incandescent bulbs, thanks to the extreme brightness of the LEDs.








    I was initially unsure of where to post this thread, as it is automotive lighting-related, however my question has more to do with how filtered light works... and I figured CPF would certainly be home to many individuals who could help me achieve a better understanding of this. So allow me to rephrase my question:

    Given 2 sources of light of equal power draw and lumen output, one WHITE and the other RED, which would perform better through a RED filter?

    The answer may be obvious to those who know it, but I have seen two LEDs of equal power draw and lumen output, one white and one red, and the white LED appeared brighter to my eyes, but I have to wonder if some of this perceived brightness would be filtered out by the red lens, which would make the red LEDs a better choice for a red filter.

    Please someone 'shed some light' on this issue... (lol that's prolly highly unoriginal on this forum).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    That's right -- don't do it. "LED bulbs" are not safe or legal. None of them. Car lamps designed to use filament bulbs must use filament bulbs or they will not perform their intended (and regulated) function safely or effectively. The 2000 Taurus has brake lamps quite a bit more intense than the minimum requirement. There is no good reason to make them more intense. It will not improve your safety, it will just increase glare (which is not the same as visibility). It would be best to leave them alone (maybe put in a new pair of quality 3157s), but if for some reason you feel you must make them brighter, use bulb type 3457.

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by CryoChronic View Post
    The answer may be obvious to those who know it, but I have seen two LEDs of equal power draw and lumen output, one white and one red, and the white LED appeared brighter to my eyes, but I have to wonder if some of this perceived brightness would be filtered out by the red lens, which would make the red LEDs a better choice for a red filter.
    I know the answer, but can't answer it as I know it'll lead you to making a purchase of those toys. I'm also savoring the irony that is the name of the site: "ijdmtoy.com". While many will playfully refer to their vehicles as toys, the lighting system of the vehicle is not a toy.

    Believe me, I do understand the allure of those LED dropins-- I almost fell for them myself many years ago. On paper, it seems like it's a win-win, lower power consumption, faster ramp to full brightness compared to a filament. But on ANOTHER piece of paper, the more meaningful one, it's a lose-lose. Excessive glare, potentially poor effective projected lens luminous area (EPPLA), and the question of the longevity of the bulb. Not to mention that such a drop-in is illegal, and could result in tickets, car impoundment or denial of an insurance claim.

    Put aside the first piece of paper, look at the second one, then decide that you just want to stay with a filament bulb. You may find yourself seeing a significant upgrade by replacing the factory bulb (which is probably one of those "long life" jobs, which start out slightly dimmer and dim over time due to bulb blackening) with a quality non-"long life" bulb.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by CryoChronic View Post
    The LED bulb assembly links in my first post perform the exact functions as required for my vehicle
    No, it doesn't.

    Also not sure how the drop-in LED replacements in question would fail to perform as good as, if not much better than the incandescent version
    It has nothing to do with turn signal flash rate, load resistors, etc.

    Bulb-type lamps (brake light, tail light, parking light, turn signal, sidemarker, DRL, whatever) rely on a point source of light, a glowing filament, that radiates more or less equally in all directions -- a sphere of light -- collecting and distributing that light with optics in the lens and/or reflector. A group of highly directional emitters (LEDs) arranged in a tower/pyramid/globe/whatever formation cannot even come close to approximating such a sphere of light, so the light distribution from bulb-type lamps equipped with "LED bulbs" like this is seriously compromised and never manages to meet even the minimum legal performance requirements (Yes: NEVER. I say that with confidence, having spent many hours testing many combinations of numerous "LED bulbs" in numerous bulb-type vehicle lighting devices). And that will continue to be the case even when such "LED bulbs" put out an amount of light that begins to approach the luminous flux of the intended bulb — which they presently do not. Just peering at the operating lamp and saying "Ayup, that looks bright enough to me" doesn't cut it.

    Just like with "HID kits" in halogen headlights, the problem with "LED bulbs" is at the concept level, not the implementation level.

    Consider: The only LED light source intended for use in imaging-optic systems (along the lines of bulb-type car lights) is the Osram Joule, which is currently used in the high-spec Chevrolet Malibu brake/tail/turn light and in several Ford-made vehicles. Its chief engineer tells me they did many millions of dollars' worth of extensive testing and development trying to arrive at a true drop-in for a bulb, that would let OEMs (and maybe eventually end users) retrofit LED light sources in place of bulbs without having to re-engineer or replace any of the optics. The closest they could come was meeting minimal requirements in about 1/3 of the lamps they tested that greatly exceeded the minimum requirements when equipped with the intended filament bulb. Now: d'ya really think some shoestring back-alley hack shop in China selling their stuff on eBay and on websites marketing bling to kids ("JDMtoys"...use your brain, please) is doing better than the well-funded, fully-equipped and excellently-staffed Osram Opto Semiconductors...? Of course they are not.

    And that's without even considering the thermal issues with LEDs. There is not even minimally adequate heat sinking in the "LED bulbs". Consider that an OE LED brake lamp is doing well to have 90% lumen maintenance after 10 minutes' continuous runtime — this loss in output, and the gain with ambient cold/loss with ambient heat, are compensated for in the basic design — and think about what's going to happen to the already-grossly-inadequate output of a bulb-type brake light equipped with one of these "LED bulbs" once your foot has been on the brake longer than about 60 seconds.

    C'mon, think about it: they're safety devices we're talking about here, not toys. Leave 'em alone and let 'em do their job. If you just gotta have LEDs, build a custom bumper or fascia or light assembly incorporating reputably-made modular LED lamp units. "LED bulbs" -- any of them, all of them -- just plain and simply do not work safely or adequately.

    (The Joule was released, of course, but only as a light source to be designed into newly-engineered optics. It's working out very well in that kind of service.)

    These bulbs have not one but FORTY Cree LEDs, arranged in a pattern to offer 360 degree coverage (which can be seen in the graphic above and below), which will work with the tail light housing's reflector even better than the factory incandescent bulbs, thanks to the extreme brightness of the LEDs.
    Sorry, no. That is simply wrong, no matter how well the marketers of those "LED bulbs" have succeeded in making you wish/hope/think otherwise. It cannot be shouted loudly enough: what you want to do is not safe or effective. Don't do it.

    I was initially unsure of where to post this thread, as it is automotive lighting-related, however my question has more to do with how filtered light works
    You're not getting a direct answer for a very good reason: what you want to do with the information is dangerous and illegal. Per rule #11 of this forum, we do not encourage, advocate, or assist with dangerous, illegal lighting mods.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Excessive glare, potentially poor effective projected lens luminous area (EPPLA), and the question of the longevity of the bulb. Not to mention that such a drop-in is illegal, and could result in tickets, car impoundment or denial of an insurance claim.
    Illegality is a real issue, but it is a secondary one. The primary problem is that these "LED bulbs" -- all of them -- ruin the safety performance of the lamps in which they're installed, each and every time. EPLLA is grossly inadequate in virtually every case, nothing "potential" about it. Glare is generally not an issue; the intensity is far too low even to meet the basic functional needs from "LED bulbs" (sometimes you can almost get an adequate tail lamp function when the "LED bulb" is operating in brake mode, but not often). It's a fundamental optical incompatibility, just like an "HID kit" in a halogen headlamp, just like putting on someone else's glasses. He might get a traffic ticket or your insurance claim might be denied, but the far bigger and more serious risk is that of causing or worsening a collision involving death, injury, and/or property damage because he just couldn't resist tampering with his car's safety equipment in a manner he wrongly thought would increase its performance.

    Original poster: From the "LED bulb" vendors you get marketing BS and handwaving and flowery promises that their product works great. From your own head you get guesses and assumptions. From this board you get expert knowledge. Select your next action thoughtfully.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    Illegality is a real issue, but it is a secondary one.
    I thought I was a member of the choir!

    The point I was trying to make was not only is that "bulb" going to be a proximal cause to an accident, but due to being illegal they'd compound the problem. So, yes, legality is secondary (especially to the unfortunate victim(s) sharing the road with the illegally modified vehicle).

    Original poster: From the "LED bulb" vendors you get marketing BS and handwaving and flowery promises that their product works great. From your own head you get guesses and assumptions. From this board you get expert knowledge. Select your next action thoughtfully.
    LED bulbs are the "patent medicine" of the vehicular kingdom.

    Now: d'ya really think some shoestring back-alley hack shop in China selling their stuff on eBay and on websites marketing bling to kids ("JDMtoys"...use your brain, please) is doing better than the well-funded, fully-equipped and excellently-staffed Osram Opto Semiconductors...? Of course they are not.
    And it doesn't stop with light bulbs-- the internet and cable channels are full of infomercials selling things from "HHO" attachments for cars to fuel line magnets to any number of devices and chemicals designed to triple your mileage, give your ancient car the shine of a $15,000 paint job, and whiten your teeth while you drive -- all at the low cost of $19.95 (and up).

    From there we can go to other products-- does anyone really think that a Ginsu knife will outperform a Henckels Five Star knife? Or that a $19.95 bottle of pills will make you lose weight without diet and exercise ("eat ANYTHING you want!")?

    The promise of better living through cheap products that take advantage of some secret (the secret THEY don't want you to know!) must be alluring for some. However, the automotive lighting industry is not trying to squeeze us for all our worth; the industry is attempting to provide good, safe, reliable products that will keep us from getting killed. If shoving X amount of Cree LEDs on a "bulb" were really the answer, don't you think Osram would have already done that?
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 10-04-2010 at 11:31 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    To add to what's already been said, the reliability of the said LED bulbs is quite pitiful. I know several people that were in love with the LEDs in their cars/trucks until the lights started failing, typically within 6-12 months. Hardly something you want to happen frequently with parts of your car responsible for your safety.

    Also, note the lack of technical specs for the lights you linked. Based on that alone it's obvious that the lights are being sold purely on their "coolness" factor and not how well they replace standard lights.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    The point I was trying to make was not only is that "bulb" going to be a proximal cause to an accident, but due to being illegal they'd compound the problem.
    I got that and I agree with you -- I was just trying to head off the typical "Hahaha, I don't care, I drive by cops all the time with my HID kit/LED bulbs/blue light strips/etc. and they don't care" or "I'll take my chances on getting a ticket, I'm not too worried" kinds of responses.

    And it doesn't stop with light bulbs-- the internet and cable channels are full of infomercials selling things from "HHO" attachments for cars to fuel line magnets to any number of devices and chemicals designed to triple your mileage, give your ancient car the shine of a $15,000 paint job, and whiten your teeth while you drive -- all at the low cost of $19.95 (and up).
    I know people who really, seriously, staunchly believe in this kind of crapola. Some of them are otherwise highly intelligent, thoughtful people. The allure of a special exemption from the laws of physics proves too much for them to resist, and soon they're waving their hands and proselytizing to all their friends.

    From there we can go to other products-- does anyone really think that a Ginsu knife will outperform a Henckels Five Star knife?
    That is a perfect example of a product more famous for its marketing than for its actual function.

    (the secret THEY don't want you to know!)
    There's that, for sure, but in this case it's the marketing of a technology (LEDs) and a description of the advantages of that technology when implemented in accordance with its operational specifics, but in a form that is not in accordance with the technology's operational specifics. "LED brake lights are better, so you should put LEDs in your brake lights". No asterisk, no mention of the pesky fact that "LED bulbs" don't work because it's just plain not how it's done. The same technique is used to market "HID kits": lots of advertising copy about the advantages of HID headlamps, not a word about the pesky operational requirements.

    the automotive lighting industry is not trying to squeeze us for all our worth; the industry is attempting to provide good, safe, reliable products that will keep us from getting killed. If shoving X amount of Cree LEDs on a "bulb" were really the answer, don't you think Osram would have already done that?
    Absolutely. Seriously, if the problem were merely one of insufficient R&D, we would have had working "LED bulbs" several years ago. No, the problem is with the concept.

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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Please!!!!Listen to Alaric and Scheinwerfermann. These LED lights will come nowhere near the specs that your stock lights will have.

    Further, the "bulb" looks like it is primarilly constructed of simple double sided FR4. Very little heatsinking which will quickly reduce the output of those LEDs making them even worse.

    LEDs should never be substituted into housings that are not designed for LEDs originally. Correct me if I'm wrong...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    but what about LED headlight bulbs?

    those are cool cause everyone around can see how bright they are...
    but they wont blind oncoming traffic... how? you say?

    bam! vurtually no light goes directly out the front to blind oncoming cars!


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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    At least now I know exactly where to buy upgrades for a certain car:


    Yes, I think ijdmTOYS.com is the perfect source!

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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    I understand the allure of the LED that CryoChronic feels. I've even listened to the Cadillac salesman telling me how the filament bulb takes 4/10 of a second the reach full brightness where the LED reaches full brightness immediately, so the Cadillac's LED brake lights give the following driver 4/10 second more warning and makes the Cadillac driver so much safer. But that's a factory tail/brake light, designed for LED's.

    Motorcyclists are constantly wanting to be more visible to traffic and to save power, because many bikes have tiny charging systems. They REALLY feel the lure of the LED and the (crappy) HID conversions. My 2007 bike uses 1157 tail light bulbs (yeah, I know, not many cars using them by 2007). Last time I looked into LED bulbs with that base, almost all I found definitely gave less/worse light, though they did use less power. I found one bulb, quite expensive, that actually gave more light, but the LED cluster was so much bigger physically, that I'd have had to do major surgery to my tail light -- which is designed to load the bulbs from inside, without removing the lens.

    And ALL of the LED conversion bulbs had lousy off-axis performance. Since I want drivers to see the rear of my motorcycle, even if they aren't directly behind me, I gave up LED's as a bad idea. I may still ADD some LED lights, but I'm not messing with the factory tail light. Maybe I'll find a brighter version of 1157, but that's all.

    Frankly, I'd suggest that if CryoChronic still wants better brake lights after installing the best bulbs he can get, then add something, be it a bumper strip, a pair of rear deck lights, even even one of those cute lights that goes into a hitch receiver (if you happen to have a trailer hitch on the car).
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Frankly, I'd suggest that if CryoChronic still wants better brake lights after installing the best bulbs he can get, then add something, be it a bumper strip, a pair of rear deck lights, even even one of those cute lights that goes into a hitch receiver (if you happen to have a trailer hitch on the car).
    I suggest he get another car without adding things that don't comply with the regulations. Extra lights, especially "toy lights" like bumper strips or rear deck lights can confuse other drivers-- not to mention a pair of red rear deck lights may be construed as an attempt to impersonate an emergency vehicle, regardless of if they can't be activated independently of the brake light circuit.

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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Well, he seems to have the urge to add something...

    I recall adding a pair of high level brake lights (Hella, if memory serves) to my 1978 Saab 99 Turbo (you'll recall that the high level 3rd brake light came to America in 1986), and they worked well. When I rewired my old '66 International 1-ton 4x4, I added high level tail, brake and turn lights (Truck-Lite). I never had problems there. But I can see that an over-zealous cop who didn't like a particular driver might try to ticket just about any sort of extra lights. And it's always an expensive nuisance to go to court and get it dismissed.

    I agree that some extra rear lights look odd or confusing. But in general, I've not disliked extra brake lights - maybe it's that motorcyclist mindset that makes me want to be more visible.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Is there any regulation that would prohibit the installation of additional [keeping the stock pieces stock, just adding more] auxiliary red LED brake lights on a motorcycle, car, or truck (if they meet/exceed the minimum brightness required and are mounted within the proper height requirements, assuming there are any)?
    Last edited by kingofwylietx; 10-05-2010 at 03:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    And the cynical Libertarian answers:

    There are laws prohibiting or taxing just about everything - somewhere. Nobody can keep track of all of them.

    In my state, the motor vehicle laws are in RCW Title 46 (Revised Code of Washington). But when it comes to lights, they say "as approved by the Commission on Equipment." Nobody seems to be able to find out what that Commission has or has not approved as of this date. My guess is there's a Commission on Equipment out there in Bureaucracy Land somewhere, and they've never even heard of 90% of the aftermarket lights available (because 90% of the vendors will never bother to submit them for approval). So.... guessing that other state bureaucracies are similar.... somewhere in the fine print, most of the aftermarket lights one can buy are probably "illegal" in some manner.

    But I've never seen any enforcement action of any sort against motorcycles that have extra rear lights. Same for cars. I've had extra high level lights on cars and pickups for years, with no problems. So, as I've indicated, it appears there's "illegal" (somewhere, somehow it's not totally approved, but no cop really cares) and there's "illegal" (well-known to be illegal, and actually ticks off the cops so they act against it.

    I'd do my best to use lights are they were designed to be used (tail lights as tail lights, makers as markers, etc.) and not behave obnoxiously, and I wouldn't expect any problems. But I'm here, and you're elsewhere...
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    The Joule was released, of course, but only as a light source to be designed into newly-engineered optics...
    What's the reason to design a new light with LED tecniq around the LED bulb Joule? If one design a light from scratch with LED tecnology in mind, you want to use the benifits that LEDs have. Like that they can be mounted on a PCB and sealed inside the light, don't need to think of access to replace anything but the whole light. Or that LEDs have a directed beam that you want in a rear light. It's not logical to take a directed beam light sourses and populate them so it is omnidirecional and then use a reflector to direct it again.


    On topic and only for car shows or other off the public streets activety of course: Behind a red filter a red led is best as almost all of the light passes through it. With a white led that contains all colours, everything but red is more or less blocked off, redusing the effictivness. White leds often looks pink behind a red filter.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neondiod View Post
    What's the reason to design a new light with LED tecniq around the LED bulb Joule?
    Excellent cost/benefit ratio. The manufacturer can easily and inexpensively produce a basic (bulb) and premium (LED) version of a lamp for different trim levels of a vehicle. Example is the Chevrolet Malibu. Or the maker can update to an LED tail/brake lamp without retooling the entire lamp assembly, because only the optical reflecting surface and the bulb seat need to be changed. Example is the Mercury Mountaineer (vs. Ford Explorer). Even if starting from scratch, it can be less expensive to design, tool, and make a single optical reflecting surface (w/Joule) rather than multiple such surfaces (w/multiple non-Joule emitters). Also, the Joule provides an easy way of having good performance with a very homogenous, smooth light distribution (rather than the "polka dot" look of multiple LED emitters). The "polka dot" look can be disguised, modified, or eliminated even with multiple emitters, but it is relatively costly and difficult to do it.

    If one design a light from scratch with LED tecnology in mind, you want to use the benifits that LEDs have. Like that they can be mounted on a PCB and sealed inside the light, don't need to think of access to replace anything but the whole light
    This is not necessarily an advantage (light source fails -- as some of them will -- and you're stuck replacing entire assembly rather than just the light source module. As for packaging, of course, but there are applications where there's no shortage of packaging space, so it makes no sense to spend money for a packaging advanage that won't be used.

    Or that LEDs have a directed beam that you want in a rear light
    No. All (real) LED vehicle lamps use optics; we are long past the days of the "shotgun" approach of an enormous number of relatively weak emitters with no or almost no optics. The directional nature of the beam from an ordinary LED emitter is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage overall vs. a lambertian (spherical) emitting light source; it is simply a difference. Linear output can be advantageous vs. lambertian output in certain kinds of optic systems, but vice versa.

    It's not logical to take a directed beam light sourses and populate them so it is omnidirecional and then use a reflector to direct it again.
    Perhaps in theory, but in practice it is a cost-effective, commercially-successful solution that performs well. And plus, the Joule line now includes a really good compact fog lamp and some forthcoming excellent small 14w SAE and ECE low and high beam headlamps. So where is the lack of logic?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    In my state, the motor vehicle laws are in RCW Title 46 (Revised Code of Washington). But when it comes to lights, they say "as approved by the Commission on Equipment." Nobody seems to be able to find out what that Commission has or has not approved as of this date.
    That information is right here, and as state lighting codes go it's quite coherently written (Daniel Stern spends a lot of time in Seattle, wonder if WA hired him ). In a nutshell, the first paragraph at the linked page says lighting equipment items are permitted or forbidden in WA according to the applicable provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, except that ECE headlamps are also legal to sell and use in WA even though FMVSS 108 does not permit them. So basically any lighting device genuinely compliant with FMVSS 108 (and any headlamp genuinely ECE-compliant) is legal in WA, and any lighting device that is not genuinely compliant with FMVSS 108 (except a genuinely ECE-compliant headlamp) is not legal in WA.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Well, he seems to have the urge to add something...
    Gee, if he's got money he's just got to spend or go crazy, he could just mail it to me!

    I recall adding a pair of high level brake lights (Hella, if memory serves) to my 1978 Saab 99 Turbo
    If they're the ones I think you're talking about, that's a very seldom-seen accessory marketed for a few years in the mid-late '80s by Hella in Germany and a couple of other European countries. It was a pair of cube-shaped brake lamps, about 2½" on a side, each on a height-adjustable round aluminum pole (black anodized to prevent distracting reflection). You wedged each end of the pole in between the rear glass and its rubber seal, then adjusted the lamps so they were the same height and aimed directly back, thus giving you left and right high-level auxiliary brake lights. The single central 3rd brake light was not yet allowed in Europe (it became legal in 1993 or so, mandatory for 1998).

    I never had problems there. But I can see that an over-zealous cop who didn't like a particular driver might try to ticket just about any sort of extra lights. And it's always an expensive nuisance to go to court and get it dismissed.
    I wish the cops would crack down on idiot (or high-on-drugs) tow truck drivers who slap the (intended) left and right magnetic-mount brake/tail lights together side by side on one side of the towed vehicle, then when they're done towing they throw them side-by-side on the back deck of the truck.

    I agree that some extra rear lights look odd or confusing. But in general, I've not disliked extra brake lights - maybe it's that motorcyclist mindset that makes me want to be more visible.
    It has to be done right. Every schmoe (I'm not saying you are one) has his own ideas of what increases visibility/conspicuity/safety. Most of these ideas are baseless and without merit, and many of them are downright unsafe. Anything that causes a fellow traffic participant to have to figure out what signal is being presented, even if "only" for a fraction of a second, is bad. This includes brake light flashers, auxiliary lights of nonstandard position, color, or operating parameter, etc. Just the other day I saw some moron in a MINI who had replaced his car's amber front sidemarker lights with red ones, so all four (front and rear) were red. Real brilliant!

  24. #24
    Enlightened Neondiod's Avatar
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Good explanation Scheinwerfermann, I really learnd something

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    If they're the ones I think you're talking about, that's a very seldom-seen accessory marketed for a few years in the mid-late '80s by Hella in Germany and a couple of other European countries. It was a pair of cube-shaped brake lamps, about 2˝" on a side, each on a height-adjustable round aluminum pole (black anodized to prevent distracting reflection). You wedged each end of the pole in between the rear glass and its rubber seal, then adjusted the lamps so they were the same height and aimed directly back, thus giving you left and right high-level auxiliary brake lights. The single central 3rd brake light was not yet allowed in Europe (it became legal in 1993 or so, mandatory for 1998).
    You're right, that's exactly what they were. Good description. I did this in the 80's. I patronized a lighting and specialty accessory shop in Seattle that sold Cibie, Marchal, Hella and other good things.

    And thanks for that link. I think the rules have been simplified a bit since I last looked. Frankly, I don't see any way the Commission on Equipment could look at EVERY lamp being sold; there are just too many.
    I do try not to buy too much cheap junk when it comes to lights.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 10-17-2010 at 03:18 PM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  26. #26

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    So, with respect, how can people generalize that LED's don't work? Is it just the bulb-replacement types, or are you talking about LEDs in general? I ask b/c tons of vehicles have LEDs now ( I assume, therefore, that you're speaking of aftermarket parts).

    Second question - how can these be illegal? I mean, you buy them at a store, right? It's not like I can walk into my local pharmacy and pick up a dime bag of coke and a pack of joints. Stores simply aren't allowed to sell illegal items (uh... right?). Or do they get around that sort of idea by saying "We just sell it, we don't put it on the car" (kind of like you can buy a bong at some stores, but you still can't smoke drugs legally)

    As for the OP's question, well, the light goes through a filter. Consider what the filter is supposed to do, and you'll get your answer.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    The argument is a lot of them are poorly made and they were not designed to put out the proper amount of light in the proper directions. They may look brighter but the output 99% of the time is not as the incandescent counterparts.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdinana View Post
    So, with respect, how can people generalize that LED's don't work? Is it just the bulb-replacement types, or are you talking about LEDs in general? I ask b/c tons of vehicles have LEDs now ( I assume, therefore, that you're speaking of aftermarket parts).

    Second question - how can these be illegal? I mean, you buy them at a store, right? It's not like I can walk into my local pharmacy and pick up a dime bag of coke and a pack of joints. Stores simply aren't allowed to sell illegal items (uh... right?). Or do they get around that sort of idea by saying "We just sell it, we don't put it on the car" (kind of like you can buy a bong at some stores, but you still can't smoke drugs legally)

    As for the OP's question, well, the light goes through a filter. Consider what the filter is supposed to do, and you'll get your answer.
    "For off road use only" I.E. either real offroading in 4x4's or show vehicles, or track vehicles. Its on just about every lighting accessory.


    Also,
    It's not logical to take a directed beam light sourses and populate them so it is omnidirecional and then use a reflector to direct it again.
    when was the last time you saw an OEM brake light that just sent a beam of light backwards? They arent illumination devices, they are signaling devices, they are meant to be visible from the whole rear half of the car, not cast a beam behind the car. Ive seen a saturn Ion driving around that has LED conversions in the tail lights which look like just 8-9 5mm leds facing rearwards. The only thing that lights up is a 1" dot on each tail light when he steps on the brakes. Even if he had a SST-90 in there dumping out 2k lumens it would still be a very poor brake light. (And if I ever rear ended him, the first thing out of my mouth to the police and the insurance would be "I was following a safe distance, but I never saw brake lights, I couldnt tell he was stopping..." Its not real cool then when 1 insurance company is after you, and your own doesnt wanna cover you )

    The point of using a large reflector with scallops and dips etc... is that it spreads the light out over a large area, making for a large apparent light source. You either need to illuminate the reflector, or use a large array of LED's and optics.

    If youre gonna do your own conversions dont half-ass it with drop in LED bulbs, (equivalent of putting HID bulbs into reflector headlight housings...)

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mdinana View Post
    So, with respect, how can people generalize that LED's don't work? Is it just the bulb-replacement types, or are you talking about LEDs in general? I ask b/c tons of vehicles have LEDs now ( I assume, therefore, that you're speaking of aftermarket parts).

    Second question - how can these be illegal? I mean, you buy them at a store, right? It's not like I can walk into my local pharmacy and pick up a dime bag of coke and a pack of joints. Stores simply aren't allowed to sell illegal items (uh... right?). Or do they get around that sort of idea by saying "We just sell it, we don't put it on the car" (kind of like you can buy a bong at some stores, but you still can't smoke drugs legally)
    LEDs work very well as most of us design around them almost exclusively now instead of filament, halogen, or HID (personally I guess). We are referring to these LED drop-ins that fit directly into your existing housing. They don't work because they rely on you existing halogen or HID reflector, while requireing their own optics/reflectors to meet the same codes and design characteristics as the originals. The vehicles that have factory stock LED lights have the optics/reflectors, heatsinks, etc. that meet the required codes and produce the correct standards of light.

    When we say illegal we mean that they are not illegal to sell or even own. Just illegal if you install them as they don't produce the correct required image, or intensity.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Red filter (tail light lens) - red or white LED?

    wow, it never stops, why do ppl feel the urge to screw up perfectly good cars, am not just talking about lights, but stupid computer chips, wrong mufflers, intakes, springs, shocks, electric turbos...etc.
    about 10% or so of cars that came into my shop had to be fixed cuz they broke for that exact reason, stupid mods. ppl spend on average 3-4x as much to remove those things and fix what they broke, than they paid for them in the first place.

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