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Thread: Urgent LED Selection Question

  1. #1

    Default Urgent LED Selection Question

    Need to pick LED's that I can get on Amazon so I can have this mini project done before Saturday.

    I have car tail lights that use an interesting contact system that is prone to failure. The brake light sockets will not hold the bulb sockets any longer. As this is a reoccurring issue resulting in having to replace the tail light assemblies AGAIN, I want to just replace the brake light bulbs with leds. You can see what I'm working with here: Photo hosted on bimmerboard.com. Hotlinking disallowed by forum policy.

    Since I can't use the socket that holds the bulb any longer, I'm just going to solder an LED and whatever other components I need in place. This is where my question lies. I'm not well learned in this area, and don't have time to learn on this one. I need to know what LED's I should buy, and what other components I'd need to work with my car's electrical system. The brake light housing is already red, so I just need a white LED. Preferably a wide angle light dispersion.

    The normal brake light bulb specs are 12v 21w. When the car is on and the brake is pressed, the socket shows 13.4v and when the car is off, 11.34v.

    I don't know if these would be usable, but I have some from a previous project. https://www.ledsupply.com/leds/cree-xlamp-xm-l2-leds

    Thanks in advance. I'm in a rush to make this work before Saturday and need to order components tonight.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 09-26-2018 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Hotlink image converted to URL

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Hello and welcome to CPF.

    As your topic regards an automotive application, which may have very specific applicable rules and regulations which must be followed, your thread was moved to the Automotive subforum so that the experts there may be able to appropriately advise you.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  3. #3

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Sorry, no. Your idea to hack random LEDs into your taillamps is a non-starter; they will not work effectively, safely, or legally that way. The lighting modifications you're asking about are illegal and unsafe, and Rule 11 of this board prohibits advocating illegal or dangerous activity, so there will be no further discussion of that idea.

    It may be possible to get acceptable results with certain particular LED retrofit bulbs. That will require you to buy replacements for the damaged components and let us know what kind of car you're working on (make, model and year) for appropriate guidance.

    I understand this is not the answer you wanted, but it is the correct one.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Sorry, no. Your idea to hack random LEDs into your taillamps is a non-starter; they will not work effectively, safely, or legally that way. The lighting modifications you're asking about are illegal and unsafe, and Rule 11 of this board prohibits advocating illegal or dangerous activity, so there will be no further discussion of that idea.

    It may be possible to get acceptable results with certain particular LED retrofit bulbs. That will require you to buy replacements for the damaged components and let us know what kind of car you're working on (make, model and year) for appropriate guidance.

    I understand this is not the answer you wanted, but it is the correct one.
    Thankfully, it's a track/autox car and doesn't see street duty. It gets trailered to and from the track.

    This is a modification based off the requirements of the car. Autox and track time is rough on the car and the design of the tail lights doesn't jive well. It isn't the bulbs that are the issue. It's the sockets you can see in the picture that lock into the tail light housings. I can't continue to buy new tail light housings over and over just to have the same issue persist.

  5. #5
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by zild1221 View Post
    Thankfully, it's a track/autox car and doesn't see street duty. It gets trailered to and from the track.
    If it has a 17-digit VIN and can be registered in your state, it's best to stay with legal lighting solutions, despite the track/trailering.

    This is a modification based off the requirements of the car.
    If you want the other drivers to get the information conveyed by regulated automotive lighting (stop/turn/rear position lights), it's best to use real lighting solutions.

    design of the tail lights doesn't jive well.
    *jibe

    It isn't the bulbs that are the issue. It's the sockets you can see in the picture that lock into the tail light housings. I can't continue to buy new tail light housings over and over just to have the same issue persist.
    There are some retrofit LED bulbs from Philips and Sylvania that may do the trick, safely and effectively. Knowing what car this is will help us recommend those (looks like a BMW both from the watermark on the hotlinked pic and the shape and bulb layout)-- and then, being LEDs, you could just Gorilla Glue (not the "Super Glue" type, but the light brown 'gooey' type) them into place. They won't go anywhere after that.
    Last edited by Alaric Darconville; 09-26-2018 at 02:38 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by zild1221 View Post
    Thankfully, it's a track/autox car and doesn't see street duty.
    Yeah, still no. "Oh, this is for off-road use only" is the number-one top response to being informed about the safety and legality issues involved with homemade or home-hacked car lights. It's usually bogus. It might not be in your case; it doesn't matter.

    I can't continue to buy new tail light housings over and over just to have the same issue persist.
    For the second time: you can buy new taillights one more time and use carefully-selected LED bulbs that run much cooler than the originals, thus preserving the life of your lamps; if you want helpful help with that, tell us what kind of car this is.

    What you can't do is continue arguing the point. Stop now or the thread ends.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 09-26-2018 at 07:54 PM.

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    Flashaholic* Hilldweller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    ....


    There are some retrofit LED bulbs from Philips and Sylvania that may do the trick, safely and effectively. Knowing what car this is will help us recommend those (looks like a BMW both from the watermark on the hotlinked pic and the shape and bulb layout)-- and then, being LEDs, you could just Gorilla Glue (not the "Super Glue" type, but the light brown 'gooey' type) them into place. They won't go anywhere after that.
    Philips has an LED/halogen bulb look-up tool: Philips LED

  8. #8

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    Philips has an LED/halogen bulb look-up tool
    That is true, but that tool will only say what bulbs Philips wants to sell you. It is silent on the matter of whether they'll work acceptably in whatever lamp you happen to want to put it in; for that you need to ask people who can guide you towards or away from specific Philips or Sylvania bulbs, then do like this.
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 09-28-2018 at 11:50 AM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Hilldweller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    That is true, but that tool will only say what bulbs Philips wants to sell you. It is silent on the matter of whether they'll work acceptably in whatever lamp you happen to want to put it in; for that you need to ask people who can guide you towards or away from specific Philips or Sylvania bulbs, then do like this.
    Ha. I thought they were honest and listing what they had tested....
    Silly me.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    Ha. I thought they were honest and listing what they had tested....
    Well, they were, but then they stopped.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Rather than go through dealing with sucky sockets, try putting DOT-spec trailer lights behind the lenses. Basically, they will replace the socket/reflector part. Yes, it will require some cutting & fabricating, but it should get the job done without too much pain. They come in all colors, shapes and sizes and there are plenty of single- and dual-wattage options.
    Last edited by DenCon; 10-02-2018 at 02:02 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by DenCon View Post
    Rather than go through dealing with sucky sockets, try putting DOT-spec trailer lights behind the lenses. Basically, they will replace the socket/reflector part. Yes, it will require some cutting & fabricating, but it should get the job done without too much pain. They come in all colors, shapes and sizes and there are plenty of single- and dual-wattage options.
    Putting a DOT approved tail light behind a lens of another DOT Approved tail light makes them both illegal to operate. If the OP chose to go that route he should cut holes in the lenses of his tail lights, and mount the dot trailer tail lights in said holes, assuming that his tail lights are perpendicular to ground and not angled at some side or upward angle that would render the lights useless because they'd be out of their designed viewable angle.

  13. #13
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cwol97401 View Post
    Putting a DOT approved tail light... DOT Approved tail light
    There is no such thing as "DOT Approved". The US DOT doesn't have approval authority and we don't have a type-approval system in place.

    Countersinking the new lamp assemblies into the old ones may be difficult but still practicable, though. In that case I'd buy some horrifically cheap "OEM-style" tail lamps that I wouldn't feel bad about cutting into.


    However, after all the effort-- just get genuine tail lamp assemblies.

    If this vehicle is driven that infrequently, and on tracks (and trailered and all that) I don't think they'll fail again as soon as when it was a daily driver.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cwol97401 View Post
    Putting a DOT approved tail light behind a lens of another DOT Approved tail light makes them both illegal to operate
    True. Alaric's also right that there's no such thing as "DOT approval" -- the actual term is "certified", and this isn't just geeks being geeky about words; it really matters because the two words mean different things. But it's not super relevant right now; what you meant is clear enough and you're correct about it.


    If the OP chose to go that route he should cut holes in the lenses of his tail lights, and mount the dot trailer tail lights in said holes, assuming that his tail lights are perpendicular to ground and not angled at some side or upward angle that would render the lights useless because they'd be out of their designed viewable angle.
    Also completely correct.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaric Darconville View Post
    There is no such thing as "DOT Approved". The US DOT doesn't have approval authority and we don't have a type-approval system in place.
    "Certified"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I know you know what I meant.

  16. #16
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Urgent LED Selection Question

    Quote Originally Posted by cwol97401 View Post
    "Certified"... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I know you know what I meant.
    *I* knew what you meant, -Virgil- knew what you meant, and many others who frequent here, but a random person, or someone from another forum looking for "proof" that such a thing exists, wouldn't.

    Perhaps I was overzealous in trying to prevent "DOT approved" and the ilk from gaining any traction at all. It's one of those phrases used by unscrupulous manufacturers and importers and sellers-- and sometimes even the scrupulous ones (with real, legitimate products) will slip and use that phrase.


    I can see how my admonishment above may have looked a bit harsh, and I'm sorry to have written it as sternly as I did.

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