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Thread: Brighter 1156?

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    Default Brighter 1156?

    I was replacing tail lights on my 1986 F250. I went ahead and replaced the bulbs. Like my old 1978 Saab 99 Turbo, this truck uses 1157 tail/brake and 1156 backup.

    Even with new dust-free lenses, the F250's backup lights are not that great. I wanted something brighter, and I recalled using the 1195 bulb in the Saab (50cp is better than 32cp) and I still had a couple of them on the shelf. I soon learned that the Saab, like most older vehicles, separated the lens and reflector when changing bulbs so I had plenty of space, but the one piece F250 tail light uses pop-in twistlock sockets and the hole on the reflector will not permit physically larger bulbs.

    Not counting the 50+ watt halogen "melt your wires and socket" bulbs on the bayonet base, is there a better alternative to the 1156 bulb?
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 12-03-2016 at 03:27 PM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Flashaholic* fivemega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Mod Warning
    Last edited by fivemega; 12-08-2016 at 02:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Good point. Doesn't hurt to look. I know there are about a zillion LED versions out there, with some very creative ad copy. I know Philips makes, and I think Sylvania makes, a line of legal for exterior use LED bulbs. No, I don't expect performance like a 50W halogen, was just hoping for something a bit better that still looks like a backup light. I can use LEDs with no problem; this is an older rig with no CANBUS issues or a LCM (like my Crown Vic) keeping track of lighting loads.

    I suppose I should take the time to install and wire in a couple of auxiliary floods in as protected a location as I can find on the rear bumper. In the past, I've mounted tractor floods and used a push-pull control switch and indicator light mounted on the floor shifter, much like the control switch for a two speed axle (in case anyone here remembers that). But I was hoping for a significant improvement before going to that effort.

    Years of fooling around in the woods of Western Washington have taught me there are times when it would be nice to have headlights on both ends.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    I was replacing tail lights on my 1986 F250. I went ahead and replaced the bulbs. This truck uses 1157 tail/brake and 1156 backup.
    The 62cp 796 would be the best incandescent. You MIGHT get good results from the Philips X-Treme Vision LED (there's a potential for it to just not work right depending on the bulb/reflector relationship, but for a no-doubt-about-it (or extremely LITTLE doubt anyway), the 796 is the way to go.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 12-04-2016 at 11:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivemega View Post
    I don't think you can find anything bright as 50W halogen but less heat.
    I suggest search on Ebay for 1156 base
    There's a metric butt-tonne of crap out there on eBay, though. Big promises and terrible performance from the LEDs (which you'll get the most matches on until you add "halogen" to the search string). Eiko has some 50W halogen bulbs out there, and there's Grote's 73140-5 that seems to promise annoying the driver while not letting them see very well. That'd be more in keeping with a reverse lamp serving as a warning light, not a vision light, but then they state "◦Alarm does not meet OSHA or SAE J994 requirements for commercial back-up alarms", so that's still iffy.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 12-04-2016 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Closed a parenthetical comment

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Thanks, Alaric. I'll keep that X-treme Vision LED in mind (though 6000K is not my thing), but the 796 makes sense. It's 21W like the 1156, but 64cp instead of 32cp.

    I know I can get 50W halogen in that SC bayonet base, probably still have one or two around from past projects. But 50W halogen in a small plastic backup light sounds like trouble if it's on for more than a few seconds - not to mention that the circuit is designed for 21W X 2, not 50W x 2. In fact, with the voltage drop from overloading the 30 year old factory circuit, I'd probably get no more light than from the 796 bulbs.

    I will pass on the Grote "beeper bulb." I can sometimes see a use for backup alarms, but I want them loud and switchable. My work truck has a backup alarm that I cannot switch off. 🙄

    Thanks again for the suggestions. 👍
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Hey, an afterthought here: I just went out to look at the backup light bulbs in my old 2000 Crown Vic. One has the marking faded out, but I'll call it 3156 because it has only the one filament. The other is marked 3457K and has two filaments but apparently uses only the major filament in this application.

    Does anyone make a 796 equivalent on the newer flat base? I can probably find some dangerously overwattage halogen and hordes of LED versions, but a 21W halogen version would be nice.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  8. #8

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    There is no wedge-base version of the 796, or anything close to it. :-(

  9. #9

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    Thanks, Alaric. I'll keep that X-treme Vision LED in mind (though 6000K is not my thing), but the 796 makes sense. It's 21W like the 1156, but 64cp instead of 32cp.
    No, 796 is 35W and 62cp, and 1156 is 27W and 32cp.

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Well, thanks. I guess my memory is faulty. I don't know where I got 21W & 32cp, maybe old numbers for 1157 or whatever was in my car back in the day. At least I have some 796 bulbs on the way. 🙄
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton Felix View Post
    the 796 makes sense. It's 21W like the 1156, but 64cp instead of 32cp.
    It's 35W.

    I know I can get 50W halogen in that SC bayonet base, probably still have one or two around from past projects. But 50W halogen in a small plastic backup light sounds like trouble if it's on for more than a few seconds
    I was going to mention that 50W in a reversing lamp is a bad idea. Going to 70W total on the circuit is one thing, but 100W is another.

    I will pass on the Grote "beeper bulb."
    I sure would! It looks almost like a toy to me, but I haven't measured it to see if they're at least getting close to the LCL of the 1156, let alone really being centered on the base. One pic shows they've got the bulb stuck in place with caulk or something like that!
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 12-04-2016 at 11:15 AM.

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    Flashaholic* vadimax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Have you got anyone drive into your rear end "because they didn't notice you"? If not why did you decide that blinding people into the face is a good idea?

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by vadimax View Post
    Have you got anyone drive into your rear end "because they didn't notice you"? If not why did you decide that blinding people into the face is a good idea?
    There are certain angles where certain cars could use some brightness in their reversing lamps where the lens is visible but the light isn't, and you might not notice them backing out of a parking spot.

    And there's room in many reversing lamps for additional light which shouldn't cause problematic glare. We're not suggesting people mount a set of auxiliary high beams on the rear of their car, we're suggesting upgrades within safety limits. It's what we do. If using the 796 in an F250's reversing lamps was a bad idea, creating a hazard and "blinding people into the face", we wouldn't suggest it.

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    Flashaholic* fivemega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Mod Warning
    Last edited by fivemega; 12-08-2016 at 02:43 AM. Reason: Mod Warning

  15. #15

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    The 62cp 796 would be the best incandescent. You MIGHT get good results from the Philips X-Treme Vision LED (there's a potential for it to just not work right depending on the bulb/reflector relationship, but for a no-doubt-about-it (or extremely LITTLE doubt anyway), the 796 is the way to go.
    I can vouch for the Philips LED, provided the housing is compatible. More light than the P21W in my experience. I don't care for, or about the color, but it's more noticeable.

    But it has always been cheaper to buy them in Vision LED packaging, even when the XTV were available. Also a U.S. guarantee that the import lacked.

    25% off coupon currently, too.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 12-05-2016 at 08:16 AM. Reason: Detokenize link

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIntruder View Post
    I can vouch for the Philips LED, provided the housing is compatible.
    That's what can make that LED iffy. The 796, while not as stellar an upgrade in the lamp assemblies the Philips product works well in, is a guaranteed upgrade in any fixture using an 1156.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivemega View Post
    Possibly you mixed up with 1157 which is 21/5 watt.
    1157 is 27/8 watt.

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Hey, those 796 bulbs showed up. Big improvement. First, the new lights have clear lenses and fresh reflectors. I looked at the 30 year old tail lights last night, before throwing them away. Between the dust and dirt inside and the cloudy plastic, I'm amazed they worked. That vintage of Ford pickup has small backup lights, so they need all the help they can get.

    I had fresh 1156 bulbs and one of those claimed 50 watt halogen "melt your socket" bulbs (left over from a project in the 90's involving metal aftermarket fixtures with glass lenses) to play with and compare. I honestly think the 796 put out more useful light than the 50 watt hotrod bulb, possibly because the high wattage bulb caused voltage drop. Also, the 796 makes an effort to preserve the focal length of the 1156. The hotrod bulb looks like someone took the short glass capsule from a cheap H3 and stuck it to the bayonet base of the 1156, so the filament is much closer to the base.

    I changed the bulbs at night, and I just had to fire up the truck and back around to a part of the property with no yard lights. This is the first time that truck has had useful backup lights. I will remember this combination.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  19. #19

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    The 796 has the same LCL (focal length) as the 1156, it's not just "making an effort". And you're right, the 50w melters don't even make an effort.

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    If you want/need more light you should consider installing a pair of grommet mounted 7" oval lights in the rear bumper. Simple, inexpensive and effective. You could also add a three-position switch for ON-OFF-ON(w/reverse lights). Grote even makes a combination STT/backup lamp.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Quote Originally Posted by NovA ProspekT View Post
    If you want/need more light you should consider installing a pair of grommet mounted 7" oval lights
    Well, grommet-mounted 2" x 6", but yeah. Details are here.

    Grote even makes a combination STT/backup lamp.
    True, but it's not worth having.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Interesting idea. I was going outside anyway, to start the 7kw generator because the power just went out. So I looked at the F250 and at the grommet mounted oval Truck-Lites on my car trailer. The flat center band on the Ford's rear bumper looks like about 2-3/4" and total top to bottom of the bumper is close to 7" so I think it's feasible with careful cutting. I didn't want to wrestle a trailer light out of its grommet in the dark and wet snow, but my best measurement for the opening behind the grommet is about 2-3/4" in height.

    I had been thinking of the traditional PAR36 "tractor floods" that we often see, but anything hung underneath or mounted atop the bumper will be easier to break than something actually in the bumper. Perhaps I should check the AW Direct catalog, but I suspect there are some really nice white LED floods available in standard Truck-Lite sizes these days.

    I've had other vehicles with separately switched rear floods for working in the woods. I am wondering if, from a legal standpoint, I'm better off keeping such lights separate from factory backup lights and not trying to pretend they are reverse lights. As I've said, there are times out in the woods when you wish for headlights on both ends. In fact, if you work out in the woods, work accident rescue, or work vehicle recovery (all of which I've done), you will soon wish for powerful work lights on all four surfaces of your vehicle.

    For now, I am still enjoying the new stock backup lights with the 796 bulbs. We drove over to our other property, so I could show my wife what the Loggers left after cleaning up (a brushpile the size of a small two story house, but that's selective logging). Took the 4x4 truck because of the wet snow and mud. By the time we checked the house and headed home it was full dark. It was so nice to have backup lights I could actually see.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 12-11-2016 at 11:39 PM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  23. #23

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Use the lights suggested in the linked thread (which will also outperform PAR36 tractor candles) and you don't have any legal concerns; they're designed and certified as reversing lamps...no pretense needed.

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Thanks. A tough plastic light inside the bumper in a rubber grommet is harder to break than a tractorflood attached to the bumper. I followed to the other thread. The particular linked foxtaillights page is no more, but I found foxtaillights and searched "backup lights." Wow, quite a choice, from single diode to seven to ten. I don't know which is best, but none really looks bad.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  25. #25

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    They're legally all alike, but not functionally all alike. The new link for the lamps you want is here. (I'll go edit that in the previous thread, too)

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Thanks. That looks like a winner.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    Just wanted to say once again how glad I am that I installed brand new tail lights and those 796 bulbs. A buddy called, his CUCV Blazer was stuck in snow where his long drive turns off of the powerline right of way that leads to the County road. I fired up the old F250 and pulled him out of that spot, then led the way to his house. He hung up again, a couple of hundred yards short of the house, and I had to back that distance in the kind of hub deep snow that wants to grab and pull you off of a crowned, icy driveway. Really glad my fresh Toyo 255/85R16 M/T's are taller, narrower and more aggressive than the half worn 31x10.50-15 TXR's on the Blazer, and that my old Super Cab is more massive than the Blazer. But REALLY glad I could see behind me when I had to back up in this crap. Useful backup lights are SO nice. Thanks again for the assistance I received here.


    Edited to add: A few nights later, I was checking our other property, went in the private road which connects to the Forest Service road, then came out on that. Within sight of the Highway, a good sized Alder was across the road, and I did not have saw with me. So I backed up about 1/4 mile to where I could catch a right-of-way that took me across to the private road. Once again, REALLY glad I have functional backup lights.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 01-19-2017 at 02:27 PM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

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    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    I bought some of those LED backup lights from Foxtail Lights (appeared to be shipped directly from Peterson). Be warned, that website is not entirely clear. And its search engine sucks. I thought I was ordering lights with grommet mounting kits, but was apparently ordering only lights designed to be grommet mounted. Also thought I was ordering a pack of extra grommets, but was in fact ordering one grommet.

    These lights do NOT use the 3-pin bullet connector common to my other sealed Truck-lites. They have two tiny pins and need a connector to fit that. Needless to say, my second Foxtail Lights order was placed carefully, after considerable searching of the site. I look forward to receiving the rest of the components I need.

    Edited to add: Well, they delivered quickly, and now I have the right pieces. Assuming one uses their site with care, they do deliver quickly and as ordered.
    Last edited by Hamilton Felix; 01-29-2017 at 10:29 AM.
    There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures. ~James Thurber

  29. #29

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    This 1156 thread caught my attention but not because I need to upgrade backup lights. I have a John Deere 318 garden tractor which utilizes three 1156 bulbs for headlights. The standard 1156 is far from great when working at night. The issue is that the tractor only has a 15amp charging system so it is easily overloaded if not careful. In reading this thread the 796 might work but I suspect would put too much load on the charging system. So I have been looking for LED 1156 replacements. I tried one style off ebay but despite being a 1156 base they would not fit my sockets because the bulb section was shaped more like a barrel and became the maximum OD as soon as it came out of the base. The Phillips Vision LED discussed earlier looks like it would fit my socket but there was some discussion about the nature of the reflector. My tractor reflector is simply a recess that is painted with silver paint (not chrome) so I was wondering if anyone knows how much of the light produced by the Phillips is directed straight forward from the bulb.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Brighter 1156?

    In your application, it seems as though a completely separate light (LED of course) would work better than trying to make what you already have work better. I think, and to quote Forrest Gump " I'm not a smart man.", but one of those LED light bars people are putting on the front of their pickups might actually work good in your case.

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