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Thread: LED's appearing in unexpected places

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Zelandeth's Avatar
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    Default LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Well, more specifically in cars. (in my case).

    I realise that the vast majority of modern cars use LED's for the warning lights, and in some cases the illumination. Older cars however are the subject of this post.

    As I remember it, VW were among the first to use them, mid 80's saw several models with what were (if memory serves me rightly, I was about ten at the time!), which had 3mm LED's for the warning lights.

    The one which surprised me though was in my Lada. Everything on the dash is incandescent (...for now), apart from the "No charge" warning light...one has to ask why?!? I did ponder whether it was just an oddly shaped light, but on closer inspection, there is actually a rectacular red LED behind that mask with a clear case. Reliability in that case is good - albeit not the best executed of ideas, if it's dark,all you see is a small red rectangle, the symbol itself doesn't get lit!

    Anyone else encountered LEDs somewhere they didn't expect to - cars or otherwise?


  2. #2
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    I can't really remember if it was an LED or not but my Uncle's Datsun Maxima (Early 80's model) seemed to use a green led as an indicator light for the air conditioner switch. My 1990 Toyota Corolla also uses a green led to indicate the a/c is on.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    I think BMW also used LEDs for some indicator lights as well.
    Now adays, we see brighter LEDs that are used for tailights and side markers on vehicles rather than just indicators.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    My folks' mid-80s Plymouth Voyager featured a green 5mm LED for a useless instrument - the "Fuel Pacer" indicator, which was supposed to indicate optimal times to upshift for fuel efficiency (yes, they bought a minivan with a manual transmission).

    The indicator would blink on and off seemingly at random. We always thought it would burn out, but LEDs don't do that, now do they...

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* TORCH_BOY's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    My toaster has a red indercator led.

  6. #6

    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    My waffle iron has a red indicator. But its not an LED. Just a window to the heating element! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Just saw a pickup that had a row of LEDs just below the tailgate. The seem to be connected to the turn signals and brake lights (should be easy enough).

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* nexro's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Traffic lights.
    I noticed those newer traffic lights in my country uses an array of 5mm LEDs. They look very bright, even under direct sunlight!

  8. #8

    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Yep they are everywhere now.
    We used t have fun in college.

    M N O L E D 's
    L I'll B M R 2 L E D 's

    Hard to type it but if you say the letters they sound like words

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    [ QUOTE ]
    idleprocess said:
    My folks' mid-80s Plymouth Voyager featured a green 5mm LED for a useless instrument - the "Fuel Pacer" indicator, which was supposed to indicate optimal times to upshift for fuel efficiency

    [/ QUOTE ]

    So that's what that was for! I had an old Plymouth Duster that I bought used, so it didn't come with a manual, but it had an incandescent lamp mounted behind the hood ornament, facing the windshield, and it seemed to glow whenever the accelleration flattened out from giving it too much gas (this was an automatic transmission). I always wondered whether that was telling me what I thought it was.

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Seeing them used in MR-16 fixtures in jewlery display cases was interesting.

  11. #11

    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    For anyone interested the latest mouser catalog (www.mouser.com) has LED lights premade for automotive and other useage as a new product on page 58 and 59 of their catalog. I just ordered a few do replace some gauge lights in my truck.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    One dark night in the winter of 2000, I was in my new car. I had just parked, but had not yet turned the key off. I can't remember if the headlights were on or off. Off, I think. I noticed that--even though there were no lights around--I could see my hands and other things in the car. There was this really dim red glow to everything. Given that the dash lighting is all red LED lighting, I thought maybe my eyes were just playing tricks on me. I spent a few minutes searching and found a couple of very dim red LEDs in the backside of the rear view mirror that were shining down on the dash area. *very* dim, but the effect was very plesant. Nice touch.

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Went to Sam's Club yesterday to pick up a couple of those Turboflare units (they moved 'em to the closeout section at the other end of the store from automotive). Anyway, while browsing the store I ran across a kite with LEDs in it's wings! It was only around $7.69. Thing is, I don't fly kites (for as often as people have told me to go and do it!) so I didn't pick one up. Anyway, it might be a fun thing for someone who's into kiting.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    [ QUOTE ]
    nexro:
    Traffic lights.
    I noticed those newer traffic lights in my country uses an array of 5mm LEDs. They look very bright, even under direct sunlight!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Quite abit of throw, also. I was waiting for a bus one night with a set of those new LED traffic lights behind me and I could easily tell every time they changed color by watching the light hit a building over a half a block away!

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    I've noticed that too. And I've also noticed that an LED traffic light seems to punch through the visual clutter much better than an incandescent one can, probably because of it's fairly monochromatic output compared to an incandescent bulb behind a colored filter.

    Of course once everything goes LED, there will be a lot of, well, monochromatic visual clutter!
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  16. #16
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    One place where i really did not expect to find LEDs is in a tunnel when approaching Zurich city center. On both sides of the lanes along the escape sidewalk you can find little white bumps every meter each of them containing 6 white LEDs. First i thought that was just some reflective material, but when i turned of the headlights to check, i noticed its 3 nice white LEDs pointing in both directions of the street. There must be tens of thousands of LEDs... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    [ QUOTE ]
    Moe said:
    One place where i really did not expect to find LEDs is in a tunnel when approaching Zurich city center. On both sides of the lanes along the escape sidewalk you can find little white bumps every meter each of them containing 6 white LEDs. First i thought that was just some reflective material, but when i turned of the headlights to check, i noticed its 3 nice white LEDs pointing in both directions of the street. There must be tens of thousands of LEDs... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Say, that is cool. Can you post a photograph or two?
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/popcorn.gif[/img]

  18. #18
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    I will take a picture next time i go to Zurich.

    My girlfriend didn't really share my enthousiasm when i found out its LEDs in the little bumps. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Zelandeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Hmm, LED road markers, anything like These Solar powered markers at the LED Museum?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    From the looks of the solar panel on the device, I don't think those solar powered road marker can withstand being run over... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hahaha.gif[/img]

    Of course I could be wrong [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon3.gif[/img]

    LED's have really come a long way...they were mostly indicators just four short years ago.

  21. #21
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    The solar-rechargeable LED markers on my website were meant to be put on roads; therefore, they SHOULD withstand being run over. But I don't own or have access to a car, so I can't test this for myself. Best thing I can do that would even come close to simulating running them over with a car is to run one over with my 400lb electric wheelchair, and drive back and forth over it a few times. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

    (Edit, a few moments later):
    I ran over the blue LED one several times in my electric wheelchair (left rear drive wheel), and did not damage it in any fashion.

  22. #22
    *Retired* NewBie's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    One of the Ford models has LEDs in the dash. You can adjust your dash to one of 192 different colors....

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Zelandeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Well, my Lada now has red LED lighting in the dash and all the switchgear. Will post pics eventually.

    Chose red for a couple of reasons. Primarily that I had a pile of suitable red LED's laying around, so didn't need to go spend a fortune on LEDs. Secondly, that it'll interfere less with night vision. Thirdly, the pointers on the instrument panel are reddish-orange, and all but disapper under blue light, which would post a small problem!

    Hmm, guess I could test the durability of those LED markers by repeatedly running them over with a four wheel drive - well, if I had one anyway. Right now, I can't afford it, if I find the cash though, will get one and put it through its paces.

  24. #24

    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    BMW on the 3 series (other models as well perhaps) uses LED's for the tail lights now.

    The indicator lamps are LED's as well...

  25. #25
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    The VW Touareg has a rechargeable LED flashlight, which sits in the 12V socket in the centre console.


    http://www.c3cars.com/parts.cfm?M=1&...&VIID=3348

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Bought a bottle of Flexamin glucosamine awhile back. The box included a blinking red LED in the package, so after I got it home I HAD to disassemble the box and rescue the assembly, of course. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    I couldn't believe what I found inside... a 2"x2" PC board with a 3mm red LED (center of board), the blinker chip and THREE CR-2032 coin cells wired in parallel! Their marketing people wanted to make sure that those retail boxes would be happily blinking away for a looooong time! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]

  27. #27
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    I've got a box like this...a CPFer sent it to me two or three years ago. It's been deader than a doorknob for at least a year, but I still have it (points up and to the left), waiting for me to disembowel it for the blinker circuit. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Maybe I'll take care of that tonight, outfit it with three new CR2032 cells, and just stick it somewhere where it will happily blink away for who knows how long. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    (Edit, a moment later)
    OK, I took the board out of the Flex-A-Min box, removed the three dead cells, and replaced them. The red LED is now happily blinking away at about a 1Hz rate. Now I just have to decide where to put it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    (Edit again, a few moments later)
    I decided to lean it up against the side of my argon ion laser, aimed toward the window. If the blinking red LED pisses me off at night, I'll find another home for it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    [ QUOTE ]
    The_LED_Museum said:
    OK, I took the board out of the Flex-A-Min box, removed the three dead cells, and replaced them. The red LED is now happily blinking away at about a 1Hz rate. Now I just have to decide where to put it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Isn't it amazing that they put so much material and effort into making a stupid cardboard box blink? I guess this must say something about the intensity of the cutthroat retail market and product differentiation. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img]

  29. #29
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Just spotted a pair of flashing white LEDs in another retail display this evening. This was a large cardboard sign that was sitting atop a stack of soda cans, and I think it was announcing some sort of contest. The LEDs were placed in the headlights of a photograph of a car that was a part of the display. The distinctive bluish-white blinking of the LEDs caught my eye right away.

    Of course I don't remember anything about the specific message that they intended to deliver; I only remember the LEDs! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/hahaha.gif[/img]

  30. #30
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED\'s appearing in unexpected places

    Me again, [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I've seen white LEDs used in some recent models of consumer camcorders, although they certainly don't put out very much light. I'm assuming these are for night shots where the camera helps out by kicking up the video gain.

    However I've just spotted an ad for a professional-grade camera-mounted eyelight. I wonder how this compares to an equivalent surface area of compact fluorescents in terms of output.

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