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Thread: Backup lamp options

  1. #61
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    I disagree that stepping on the brake while starting the engine is a good habit. Anyone who's had cars try to "get away" when started, is doing it wrong.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    Hills and a shot parking brake, perhaps. I haven't abused my cars to break the 'won't roll in park' but some people do.
    If the car hadn't already gotten away, why would it just from starting the engine? Park is at the very least 'neutral' and should also have a pawl or other mechanism to prevent rolling. If the pawl fails, the engine is still not going to be able to drive the wheels. Just climbing in a car ready to roll like that should have started it rolling.

    If the transmission somehow pops out of P or N into R or D or any of the other selections, remember: If you're in the car starting it, you're in the car with a foot near the pedal anyway, so that doesn't quite wash.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 02-08-2012 at 01:36 PM. Reason: *Removed the Ford automatic transmission thing because I couldn't immediately substantiate it.

  2. #62

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Could this be why I used to buy Euro Code Cibie lights marked "Motorcycle?"
    I have probably seen something close to 100% of the conversion (sealed beam shape/size) headlamps Cibie has produced over the years, and I am quite sure I have never seen one that is both "Euro Code" (ECE) and marked "Motorcycle". The requirement in FMVSS 108 that headlamps conforming to SAE J584 (motorcycle headlamps) and not using a replaceable light source type approved for use in cars and trucks, must have the word "Motorcycle" permanently marked on the lens in letters at least 3mm tall did not take effect until late 1990 -- which was probably done because the HB2 (US version of H4) was nearing approval and NHTSA did not want H4 motorcycle headlamps being confused for HB2 car/truck units. No lamps from anyone were so marked before that date, as far as I can recall. No Cibie conversion lamps were designed or redesigned after that date, as far as I can recall. I think you might be mis-remembering. There were Cibie H4 conversion lamps designed in the 1970s and '80s marked "SAE M" with a year code, signifying compliance with SAE J584 (motorcycle headlamp).

  3. #63

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    Ford Country Squire wagons that would shift from P to R all by themselves
    It wasn't just Country Squire wagons, it was a wide range of automatic Ford products made in the mid-late '70s. The problem was sloppy design. There were deaths and injuries and a lot of property damage. The recall "solution" was a dashboard sticker reminding the driver to use the parking brake. Which I think shows how much Ford and NHTSA really cared about safety.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann
    I disagree that stepping on the brake while starting the engine is a good habit. Anyone who's had cars try to "get away" when started, is doing it wrong.
    Agreed. It drives me insane to see people start cars with the brakes applied. Give em a tempermental carburetor'd machine.... They will learn where that foot belongs.. LOL

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    [QUOTE=, why'd you unnecessarily quote my whole, entire post…? …![/QUOTE]


    Whole entire post? I was responding to your whole entire post. Since it was just 7 lines I did not think it excessive. I have been online for about 15 years and have never encountered this. Thanks for pointing it out (again lol) I learn something new every day. BTW, I really do get it now lol.

    Keith
    Last edited by budynabuick; 02-09-2012 at 07:02 AM.

  6. #66

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by drmalenko View Post
    Agreed. It drives me insane to see people start cars with the brakes applied. Give em a tempermental carburetor'd machine.... They will learn where that foot belongs.. LOL
    Honestly whichever way works for you, but **** happens. I'd wager that most people here didn't start with brand new E-class Mercedes as their first car. Mechanical failures and human error can happen to anyone, and I've had plenty of temperamental carburetors (and rebuilt a couple of them).

    I can give you many examples of mechanical failure and human error (or even poor design) both by myself and many others, including people who died, because the brakes weren't on or the vehicle fell out of park (or didn't make it into park)--even in brand new vehicles.

    I won't criticize, whichever works for you. Personally, from my experiences, I'd rather be on the hook to replace a $4 bulb than replacing my wife.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    I have probably seen something close to 100% of the conversion (sealed beam shape/size) headlamps Cibie has produced over the years, and I am quite sure I have never seen one that is both "Euro Code" (ECE) and marked "Motorcycle". The requirement in FMVSS 108 that headlamps conforming to SAE J584 (motorcycle headlamps) and not using a replaceable light source type approved for use in cars and trucks, must have the word "Motorcycle" permanently marked on the lens in letters at least 3mm tall did not take effect until late 1990 -- which was probably done because the HB2 (US version of H4) was nearing approval and NHTSA did not want H4 motorcycle headlamps being confused for HB2 car/truck units. No lamps from anyone were so marked before that date, as far as I can recall. No Cibie conversion lamps were designed or redesigned after that date, as far as I can recall. I think you might be mis-remembering. There were Cibie H4 conversion lamps designed in the 1970s and '80s marked "SAE M" with a year code, signifying compliance with SAE J584 (motorcycle headlamp).
    Memory is admittedly hazy. And I probably misused that "Euro Code" descriptor. For a while, some folks tended to use the method to describe the nice pattern we saw from the imported H4 lights, the sharp low beam cutoff, horizontal to center, then 15 degree rise to the right. I don't even recall if the lights were marked ECE. I may still have some in the shed, so I should look.

    Now you've made me curious. I think I'll see if I have any of my old headlights (I hate to throw away a cracked light, on the chance I might make it into a spotlight or manage to take it apart at match it to another lens someday), just to see if I can find that "M" marking on any of them.

    But I wasn't talking about glass markings. I meant that sellers or importers added stickers saying "motorcycle" or "motorcycle use only." I think it was a legal ploy during a time that the lights were not approved for automobiles in America, but it was legal to import or sell them as motorcycle replacement headlights. Seems to me that somewhere around 1979 or so, Washington, Oregon and Massachusetts approved the H4 lights I'd already been using for some time. I'm not sure the feds ever did. I think the old fed "sealed" standard led to the Cibie Bobi and then eventually evolved to the various bulbs with O-ring seals, 9004, 9005, 9006, 9007, etc.

    That's interesting about the permanent marking in 3mm letters requirement. But that's much later than I recall buying lights with the "motorcycle" stickers on the packages. I think it was just another ploy. Heck, I recall buying some 150 watt sealed beam spots with clear convex lens, in boxes with the Simmons brand (same as the rifle scopes and binoculars) from Sportsman's Guide on sale. They had a sticker on the back of each bulb that said "no use for automotive headlamp" but they had exactly the same mounting lugs as a 5-3/4" high beam, exactly the same slip-on connector and even exactly the same three raised "DOT aiming" bumps for a spirit level aimer. I want to say this was in the late 1980's or early 1990's. (No I never used them in high beams, but they were decent spotlights. I think I still have two or three in the shed). Can't imagine stock auto wiring beginning to carry those 150 watt lamps, but I'm sure some fools tried...

    My Raybrig R118's arrived. I'll try to get the swapped into the Corolla this weekend. Maybe I will pick up an ordinary new 921, just to compare.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Oops, duplicate/double post.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 12-01-2012 at 02:06 AM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  9. #69

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by drmalenko View Post
    Agreed. It drives me insane to see people start cars with the brakes applied.

    Strange that would bother you?

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Speaking of insane starting (a guy with a username of budynabuick may know this), Dad's 1953 Buick Super V8 Hardtop with Dynaflow transmission, started by turning the key on in Park and pushing the accelerator hard to the floor. There was a switch under the gas pedal. I've no idea what idiot at GM thought full throttle starts of cold engines was a good thing, but I don't think it lasted long.

    I'm still lobbying for auxiliary backup lamps, but I haven't had time to install any lately.

    The 796 bulb replaces the 1156, making more light at the same wattage by going to halogen. Is there a similar halogen upgrade for the 3156?
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  11. #71

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Ah, stickers. Yes, those were applied by most of the US importers of ECE headlamps, and said something to the effect of "This headlamp conforms in full to all applicable provisions for headlamps on any vehicle in Canada. In the USA, this headlamp conforms in full to all applicable provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 for use only on motorcycles." Which wasn't a lie; most of the lamps in question did meet SAE J584 and were lens-marked as such. The stickers were an effort at showing good faith effort to properly declare and import only legal equipment (i.e., so as not to get their inbound shipments seized and destroyed), or it was a wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of deal...depending on your perspective!

  12. #72

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    I've no idea what idiot at GM thought full throttle starts of cold engines was a good thing, but it didn't last long.
    Maybe it was more a hot-start thing, so the throttle was properly positioned wide open to clear out the flooded engine that resulted from hot-soaking on a summer's day followed by a nice full stroke of the accelerator pump before the starter switch closed. Come to think of it, though, on cold starts...how do you have both a choke unloader to clear a flooded engine and full closure of the choke blade when cold for a quick start from cold? Talk about an answer to a question nobody asked...

    Is there a similar halogen upgrade for the 3156?
    I wish there were, I could use it on my own cars. As far as I am aware, all you can get are the too-risky 50w items on the 3156 base.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    I'll have to ask Dad what else he remembers about that Buick. I think it was the first year they went to V8 from straight 8. Engine compartment was long, battery was 12v but weird long, thin one with two cells, then two cells, then two cells.

    It must have jerked the choke open as soon as it fired and revved up, even if the driver was quick to pull his foot off the pedal. Along with thermal cycling, one of the worst sources of engine wear is spinning before oil pressure is up. And, though those transmissions were arranged PNDLR, imagine the liability today if a bad switch let you fire it up in gear - at full throttle.

    I agree, I'm disappointed there's no same-wattage halogen option for the 3156. I'm not going to melt my backup lights with the 50W or 55W items. I think some of those are just cheap H3 bulbs hi-temp glued into a 3156 base.

    Guess I need to make time to install my receiver hitch, then mount extra backup lights on that. I've already run a pair of (two wire, running ground you know) power circuits to the rear. The big trailer's battery charging and running/signal/backup lights had best not be added to the car's lighting load; I don't think the Ford LCM would like that.

    Life was simpler before electronic control modules that keep track of lighting loads. Aux backups need their own circuits.

    I still wonder about front corner backups like I had on the old Saab.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 02-10-2012 at 10:56 AM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Well, interesting:

    I stopped at a parts store, wanting a fresh 921 bulb for comparison. I found a red two-pack of Sylvania 921LL, the Long Life version. Markings on the card say 12.8v 17.9w.

    Amongst all the Japanese writing on the Raybrig R118 blister pack cards, is a large 12V 18W marking.

    I popped the new 921LL into the right side backup light, then turned the key on in reverse. To my eyes, they either match or perhaps the original bulb is a hair brighter than the new 921LL They are pretty close, and not much different in regard to "yellow vs white."



    So I went ahead and pulled the 821LL and popped in a Raybrig R118 on the right side. To my eyes, the Raybrig seems both "whiter" (higher color temperature) and somewhat brighter. Interestingly, when I showed the phone camera picture to my wife, on the Android's small screen, she didn't really think the right side light was brighter. So much for subjective observation. I REALLY wish I had a light meter to take some measurements. Heck, the 35MM SLR's of a few years back had meters built in. See what you think. All I can say is the R118 seems brighter. Was it worth nearly 20 bucks (shipping was more than the cost of the bulbs)? I don't know. It's clear that if I really want to see more behind the car I'll need to add auxiliary back lights.

    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    DARN. My first attempt at posting images. Guess I did it wrong. Two attempts to "edit," after I saw that the images didn't make it, and it freezes instead of letting me edit my post. Well, sorry about the images not being there. Guess until I figure this out, you'll have to just take my word.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  16. #76
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Give it time, it'll load. It looks like you embedded the MIME encoding for the .JPGs in the message.
    The preferred method is to upload the file to your host, then use VBBCode to post a link to the image, like
    [img]http://www.colonslash.org/special/386enhmode.jpg[/img]
    I used the 'noparse' tags to write the line above

    It should result in:



    Also: I just started a reply to that post in Firefox-- the editor opens so much faster there. Not trying to convert you to permanent Firefox usage, just suggesting it as an expedient method to clean out that previous post.

    In the meantime, I've hosted the pics for everyone's enjoyment (I'll take 'em down once you get them hosted elsewhere, I s'pose) and posted scaled/cropped versions:



    Originals in same location, named pic1.jpg and pic2.jpg.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 02-13-2012 at 12:15 PM.

  17. #77
    Flashaholic* Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    I found a red two-pack of Sylvania 921LL, the Long Life version. Markings on the card say 12.8v 17.9w
    Maybe those are the 921X I mentioned earlier, which Scheinwerfermann explained as having quite the long life.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 02-13-2012 at 12:37 PM.

  18. #78
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Speaking of insane starting (a guy with a username of budynabuick may know this), Dad's 1953 Buick Super V8 Hardtop with Dynaflow transmission,
    LOL! Yes I am very familiar with this set-up. My screen name comes from the combo of my old best friend (now deceased) dog named buddy and I own a 63 Buick special deluxe (all stainless molding) with the v8 all aluminum with the dynaflow trans hence "budynabuick". BTW, It is a N. Carolina car with no rust purchased new by my now deceased dad. I hauled it up to Mi. and with a little, well a lot of tlc it now runs and looks great.

    Keith, AKA budynabuick PS. I used to own a couple (55 buick 48 dodge) gas peddle start. the good old days
    Last edited by budynabuick; 02-14-2012 at 04:33 AM.

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    I didn't mind the pedal start we had on our 48 and 52 Dodge pickups, as well as many early 50's GM's. But it was a separate pedal. Your right foot served as the starter solenoid. I'm leery of the gas pedal starter switch.

    I recall adding backup lights to a few of our rigs, too. On the 52 Dodge heavy half ton, I made up rear lights that included a pair of PAR36 tractor floods, the put a push-pull switch with indicator light on the shifter. It was in the same please as the two speed axle switch and many medium trucks. Worked great.

    I forget now if it was the 56 International or the 48 Ford stock truck that needed rear lighting, so I swiped a headlight bucket from our "retired" 49 International truck and simply installed a 7" headlight on the back on a dash toggle switch.

    Gotta learn image posting here.
    So I can't just upload from my PC?
    I need to "host" it somewhere on the web, then put that URL into my post?

    I'm still thinking about my old Saab. Scheinwerfermann, do you have any idea of there's a legal reason one could not have backup lights on the front corners of just about any car? I suppose they'd haveto meet the lighting standard same as the ones on the back, but it's not a super strict standard.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  20. #80

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    I need to "host" it somewhere on the web, then put that URL into my post?
    Yes. If you don't have personal webspace, you can use one of the photo hosting services such as Photobucket or Flickr or the like.

    I'm still thinking about my old Saab. Scheinwerfermann, do you have any idea of there's a legal reason one could not have backup lights on the front corners of just about any car?
    None. Auxiliary reversing lamps are permitted. Some Corvettes have them, too, though they're on the rear sides rather than the front sides if I recall correctly.

    I suppose they'd haveto meet the lighting standard same as the ones on the back, but it's not a super strict standard.
    Actually, I think those Saab lamps you're talking about (and the Corvette items I have in mind) conform to the cornering lamp standards, SAE J852 (front) and J1373 (rear). These have tight control of upward (glare) light. J852 has 500cd max at the horizon, 400 max 1░ up, 300 max 2░ up, 200 max 3░ up, and 125 max from 10░ up to 90░ up. At 2.5░ down, the minimum is 300 or 500 cd depending on horizontal angle. So they want those lamps putting light on the road surface, not up in the air or far away. Mount height is 30 to 76 cm from road surface to optical axis of the lamp. For the rear cornering lamps, the minimum requirement at 2.5░D is 40 or 80 cd depending on horizontal angle, and the limit at horizontal and above is 500 cd. Also, "The rear cornering lamps should be illuminated only when the ignition switch is energized and reverse gear is engaged".

    You could meet the intent (and very probably the letter) of the front and rear cornering, i.e., aux reverse lamps, with a fog lamp equipped with a low-wattage bulb. That would practically limit your choice to a fog lamp that takes an H3 bulb, because you can get 35w H3 bulbs, and even 27w H3 bulbs.

  21. #81
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Wow. Moving as I do in motorcycle circles from time to time, I knew about 35 watt H3 bulbs, but 27W is a new one on me. Good to know those options exist. I recall looking unsuccessfully for 35W H2 bulbs a while ago.

    Backing up, I think light to the sides is almost as important as light straight back. After all, we don't always move straight backward. Also, when I had my little parking lot misadventure a year ago (it was early February 2011), I was moving very slowly backward out of my space in a dark parking lot, while the car I encountered came from my right. I was looking over my right shoulder, had to have been looking right at her. She had a dark car and was too busy lighting a cigarette to turn on headlights or even pay attention to surroundings. My ex-cop Crown Vic does have tinted windows. I think really good backup lights that threw light to the sides would have let me see the car as she drove behind me.

    Front end design will make that "front backup" option more feasible for some than others, but it's always worth considering.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  22. #82

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    I have in my notes that Narva #48314 is a 12v 27w H3 bulb. It's an old note; I have no idea if these are actually available. If so, it should be just about perfect for such an application as this.

  23. #83

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Backing up, I think light to the sides is almost as important as light straight back.
    I have some cheap auto store fog lights under the bed of my truck that point down and to the side, and illuminate the pavement behind the rear wheels. You wouldn't think it does much, but it helps quite a bit. No chance of glare, they are tucked up underneath the body. They help see lines backing into parking spots, and nearby objects. I recently disconnected them, and it's a noticeable absence.

    We used to have an odd driveway I had to back into with a nasty retaining wall. That was what originally brought up the idea.

  24. #84
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    I can certainly agree with that. Many times, out in the brush with my old 4x4 International, I've needed light to the side. Sometimes I'd aim a spotlight backward (one mounted at the top of each A pillar), but that put an aircraft landing light right next to my face. The light hidden under the bed is a great approach.

    Now, I went and signed up at Photobucket. Let's see if I have this image posting right.



    Did clicking the image icon, then pasting in that Photobucket jpg URL do it?

    Hmm... doesn't look like it from here.

    Oh well, I guess I can always just put in the location of the image as a link:

    http://s1051.photobucket.com/albums/...onFelix/Backup Lights/?action=view&current=921andR118.jpg

    Frankly, for the small difference, I'm not sold on the cost of the Raybrig R118 upgrade. I think aux. lights will make the difference.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 02-16-2012 at 09:04 PM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  25. #85

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    http://s1051.photobucket.com/albums/s425/HamiltonFelix/Backup Lights/?action=viewĄt=921andR118.jpg
    Nope. Keep trying. I think you probably meant http://s1051.photobucket.com/albums/...hts/?start=all for a link, or for a direct image emplacement:


  26. #86
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Speaking of insane starting (a guy with a username of budynabuick may know this), Dad's 1953 Buick Super V8 Hardtop with Dynaflow transmission, started by turning the key on in Park and pushing the accelerator hard to the floor. There was a switch under the gas pedal. I've no idea what idiot at GM thought full throttle starts of cold engines was a good thing, but I don't think it lasted long.
    I had that system in my 55 Buick special too. It wasn't like it roared to life at full throttle though, you just backed out of the peddle when it started, though I see your point.

    While it may not be a GOOD practice to start the car with the brakes applies, I certainly don't see that it's a bad one. I usually pull the brake on my motorcycle while starting or push the brake on a manual transmission car, sometimes that habit carries over.

  27. #87

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    I purchased and installed 2 of the Feit Electric zenon 921X bulbs from home depot today in the CHMSL, package promises 3000 hours.......initial impression when compared side by side with the old 921 bulb is maybe the 921x is very slightly brighter or whiter, but overall almost identical looking......time will tell if they last longer,which is the real reason I purchased them.

  28. #88
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    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    My apologies in advance for resurecting an old thread, but I ran across this as a result of a google search on aux backup lights and am a bit confused.

    Scheinwerfermann - you pointed out in earlier posts that adding auxiliary lights is of questionable legality, however, in the post below, you mention that there are ways to do it legally.

    From this, I'm taking that as long as the light is low to the ground and projects its beam below a certain plane, then it is legal to have - is that correct?

    I'm looking at using these lights (Blazer UW3534) which cast a flat, wide beam, and from my tests, if properly positioned, don't interfere with the tail/stop lights being discernible, but I would like your input as well.

    See Rule #3 Do not Hot Link images. Please host on an image site, Imageshack or similar and repost – Thanks Norm

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheinwerfermann View Post
    None. Auxiliary reversing lamps are permitted. Some Corvettes have them, too, though they're on the rear sides rather than the front sides if I recall correctly.



    Actually, I think those Saab lamps you're talking about (and the Corvette items I have in mind) conform to the cornering lamp standards, SAE J852 (front) and J1373 (rear). These have tight control of upward (glare) light. J852 has 500cd max at the horizon, 400 max 1░ up, 300 max 2░ up, 200 max 3░ up, and 125 max from 10░ up to 90░ up. At 2.5░ down, the minimum is 300 or 500 cd depending on horizontal angle. So they want those lamps putting light on the road surface, not up in the air or far away. Mount height is 30 to 76 cm from road surface to optical axis of the lamp. For the rear cornering lamps, the minimum requirement at 2.5░D is 40 or 80 cd depending on horizontal angle, and the limit at horizontal and above is 500 cd. Also, "The rear cornering lamps should be illuminated only when the ignition switch is energized and reverse gear is engaged".

    You could meet the intent (and very probably the letter) of the front and rear cornering, i.e., aux reverse lamps, with a fog lamp equipped with a low-wattage bulb. That would practically limit your choice to a fog lamp that takes an H3 bulb, because you can get 35w H3 bulbs, and even 27w H3 bulbs.
    Last edited by Norm; 11-16-2012 at 02:20 PM.

  29. #89

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Regarding reverse lights, what is the best way to do it if you really need BRIGHT reverse lights for safety, since driving where you can't see is obviously dangerous, but you don't want to cause an unsafe situation when you're just backing out of a parking place in normal, everyday, civilized society?

    I understand the legal stance, which seems to be totally concerned with the blinding and confusing of drivers coming up behind you. My problem is that I do actually need illumination, sometimes. I do a fair amount of work at night, in places that aren't lit up. Most of this is technically "off-road"--feeding cattle and stuff like that.

    My solution for a number of years has been to replace the round grommet-mounted lights in the truck's flatbed with old non-halogen PAR36 sealed beams left over from converting tractors to halogens. Interestingly, they will pop right into the same grommet as the regular reverse lights. This gives excellent illumination, and I've never thought about the possible safety implications. The legality is not something I ever fretted about. I'm probably breaking some law or another most of the time anyway......

    So, my point? Should I wire up those reverse lights to their own switch, and run a normal, puny reverse light for normal use? Should that switch be wire downstream of the reverse light to keep me from accidentally leaving it switched on while driving down the road? Is there some clever way to address this that I'm not seeing?

  30. #90

    Default Re: Backup lamp options

    Quote Originally Posted by eng View Post
    Regarding reverse lights, what is the best way to do it if you really need BRIGHT reverse lights for safety, since driving where you can't see is obviously dangerous, but you don't want to cause an unsafe situation when you're just backing out of a parking place in normal, everyday, civilized society?
    Set up your aux reversing lamps with a switch that allows them to be switched on if (and only if) the vehicle's original reverse lamps are on, and once the vehicle is shifted out of Reverse they'll switch off and remain off until the next time they are deliberately switched on. This isn't too hard to do with a momentary-contact switch and a latching relay (like the kind used on rear windshield defoggers). You can even get deluxe about it and put in a delay-release relay in the circuit, with its delay set to (say) 15 seconds, so if you're maneuvering back and forth you won't have to keep hitting the switch again and again but the lights will still automatically kick off 15 seconds after you've shifted out of Reverse. And if you wanted to get really fancy, you could put in an override circuit that would also allow them to be used at will as work lights, as long as the parking brake is applied. None of the circuitry involved is terribly complicated.

    My solution for a number of years has been to replace the round grommet-mounted lights in the truck's flatbed with old non-halogen PAR36 sealed beams
    Those work, but they draw a lot of current and you can do a lot better these days. What to use really depends on how much money you want to put into it and how much of an improvement in seeing you need back there.

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