Are combined amber turn/ white backup lamps feasible?

Resqueline

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Noob here, great forum, sorry if this topic has been covered before..
Having a US car in europe has neccessitated the use of its backup lamps as turn lamps using amber bulbs..
I'd like to recover the use of the backup light as well as retaining the turn light by using a dual contact base and a bayonet LED bulb.
I have seen such a bulb for sale somewhere but was not impressed with the lumen numbers (40/60?). Are the LED's good enough now so that one perhaps could build the bulbs oneself, and what would be the cost? I'd need the bulb to emit in three directions; right, left, & straight up, in order to make use of the reflector. I imagine something like 3 of the latest & greatest 1W LED's of each color could be used?
I have extensive electronics experience but have a hard time getting an overview of the LED's spec's & market, especially when units rated as 100 lumens @ 350mA are then actually made up of 4 chips in series - when you look closely at the specs..
 

Lynx_Arc

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not sure what you are saying... you have to have amber turn signals there but you car normally uses red turn signals? I would
consider mounting a pair of lights around the liscense plate for backup then if possible. If the backup light assembly is separate and replaceable I would say cut the back of it open and make it so there can be two bulbs instead of one as LEDs do not have near enough power to easily make a good flood without considerable expense and design.
 

Eugene

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Someone on another forum ran into this problem. They put amber bulbs in their back up lamps and wires them to the signals then mounted backup lights in the bumper.
Don't put back up lights at the license plate, thats too close to the center and even though the US DOT allows it and some poorly designed cars do it when you start to back out of a parking space people coming down the isle can't see the lights, you need them on the corners.
 

Resqueline

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Yes, european cars are required to have amber turn signals, so importing a US car with it's red turn signals require it to be modified, often resulting in the loss of backup and marker lights (or ugly add-on lights). Eugene got it right.
Ok, so LED's aren't good enough for this kind of use yet (on a reasonable budget anyway:broke:), that's what I was afraid of but all I needed to know.:( I'll have to consider ordinary bumper mounted backup lamps then as there's hardly room for an extra bulb.:eek:oo: Thanks!:thumbsup:
 

Diesel_Bomber

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Australia is the same way, rear turn signals must be amber. The loophole for US imported cars was allowing amber backup lights...........same bulb/fixture works as the rear turn signals and backup lights. Perhaps this would work?

:buddies:
 

Lynx_Arc

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Australia is the same way, rear turn signals must be amber. The loophole for US imported cars was allowing amber backup lights...........same bulb/fixture works as the rear turn signals and backup lights. Perhaps this would work?

:buddies:
Get a dual filament light bulb and have orange backup lights instead of white ones perhaps?
 

-Virgil-

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Euro regs require white backup lights and amber rear turn signals. Sensible rule, but it makes problems for people importing American-market cars with combo red brake/turn lights. Putting amber bulbs in the backup lights sometimes works marginally OK (often the optics don't make a good turn signal), and in that case the usual procedure is to add one external-mount white backup light and a matching external-mount red rear fog light on the other side, since both functions are required in Europe but there only needs to be one of each. An alternative is adding external-mount amber turn signals (often not as hard or ugly as it sounds), using the stock backup lights, and adding one or two external- or flush-mount rear fog lights.

That said, combo white reverse/amber turn probably is possible, see this guy's good but neither cheap nor easy work, though not by means of drop in "LED bulbs" which don't work (see here and here).

Australia and New Zealand allowed any/all vehicles (not just American imports) to have amber back-up lights combined with the rear turn signals. The hookup and operation was the same as the American combination brake/turn light, except the functions combined were turn/backup rather than turn/brake. Many vehicles first sold in those countries had such a setup until AU and NZ adopted the Euro requirements for only white light from the backup lights. Vehicles newer than 1999 in NZ have to have white backup lights and not amber, not sure what the cutoff year is in AU.

Some European countries allow privately-imported cars to keep their full American-spec lighting systems (DOT headlights, red rear turn signals, etc.), but even if it's allowed, it's a really bad idea. "Flashing red light" does not mean anything to European drivers who've had amber turn signals on all their cars for decades...which means they're busy figuring out just what the heck it's supposed to mean, at high motorway speeds, when instead they need to be avoiding your car. KRASH....oops, guess the signals should have been amber after all...
 

Resqueline

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I actually tried wiring the turns as brake lights, and then tested backing up pushing the brake pedal slightly at the same time. The combined use of 2 pairs of 21W red & 1 pair of amber 21W lamps were only barely helpful - not satisfactory.
The only dual filament bulbs available here are 5/21W, and the turns needs to be 21W. I'd need to get at least 21/25W types (if they exist) for that solution to be of any use. I think I'd really need to use clear 35W halogens to get useful backup lights.

Fog lights are not required here (unless original), so if I go with add-on's underneat the bumper I'd use both as backups.
I've even seen trailer xtra lights screwed onto the plastic lenses of the rear lights to make the car comply with regulations.. That kind of mod makes it hard to decide wether you want to laugh or cry! :sick2:
At least my backups are also side-emitting so they make quite good turn lights.

Yes, I've noticed that the ready-made replacement bulbs are inferior, but I had hoped that discrete LED's from the right sources were getting sufficiently efficient (& affordable) to enable a home-built conversion.
A 21W bulb emits perhaps 3-400 lm. A LED replacement bulb can't be more than 3W in order to stay cool enough (even that is pushing it), so it would need to run at least 100-130 lm/W in order to deliver the same amount of light. I guess we're not quite there yet, even if claims of more than 150 lm/W are made in the press, it's only in the labs.:thinking: Maybe better luck next year..

Yes, using the red brake blinkers as original would be a real safety challenge for a daily driver over here.. :duck:
But then even useful things like side markers and curb turn illuminators are to be blinded off over here..:shakehead
 
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-Virgil-

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Just curious: What country are you in? Most European countries dropped the old requirement that U.S. sidemarkers be disabled quite a number of years ago, when ECE Regulation 48 (which all European countries recognise) began permitting sidemarker lights.
 

irsa76

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What sort of car is it?
Is there enough room to run same LEDs in the backup lights to function as turn signals? I know Premier Hazard in the UK offer hide away LED flashers that can sit on the bottom of the reflector that are pretty bright, not sure if they do them in amber though. Could be worth a look, especially if the there is enough room.
 

Resqueline

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I haven't read the regulations lately but I'd doubt that any reliefs would be made back-effective (or whatever it's called).
The traffic authorities here (in europe but outside the EU) have a mind of their own, and my car doesn't have side markers anyway..
But you might be right Scheinwerfermann. (Funny, there's actually no good english translations for that name..)

Here's what the tail lights look like.

I noticed a 1200 lm light bar here that could be split & perhaps used as a backup light. I was thinking I could be able to cast it in clear resin and replace that plastic wooden deco strip with it. But there's no info on the beam angles, & I haven't ventured out in the cold yet to measure if it'd fit either.
Inserting the Hideaway LED modules (are they white or red?) in my taillamps seems impractical (& expensive), but maybe I could fill the black recess in the cast metal frame with LED's. But these options are a little more involved than I was hoping for.

The latest Cree XP-E R-2's seems to be giving around 120 lm/W. Three of those in a bulb along with three amber LED's would fit the bill, but I guess they cost an arm & a leg..
What's the lumen output of 21W amber turn bulbs anyway?
 
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-Virgil-

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Ah, okay, you're working with an Oldsmobile B-body estate car (wagon). There are actually rear combination lamp clusters that contain a red brake/tail, an amber signal, and a white reverse lamp. They were used on the European-market Chevrolet Caprice estate (wagon). They are rather scarce, but they do exist and might be found through one of the European specialists in American car parts, such as US Cars Basdorf. Any year from 1977 through 1990 will fit and work. Generally in Europe you tend to find most of these cars were privately imported (and still have their American-specification lighting system, either intact or hacked/modified). However, some of them were officially imported (usually through Opel distribution channels), and those do have the European-type lighting systems. Here is a picture of a Caprice (sedan) with original European taillamps.

(Oh, and your car in stock form does indeed have sidemarker lights, built into the rear lamps and front corner lights)

As for "Scheinwerfermann": The translation is conceptual rather than lexical. :)
 
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Resqueline

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Great, thanks for the info & the link! I'll see what they have to say, I just sent them an email now.

Hehe, yes, I've noticed something "illuminating" about many of your post! ;-)
 

-Virgil-

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As another option, I have had very good work done by David Azzopardi in Australia, who was even able to make me a set of amber rear sidemarker lamp/reflector units for an American vehicle originally bearing non-Euro-approved separate red rear sidemarkers. Retroreflectors that actually work are exceedingly difficult to make, but the ones he makes work very well. In this case, you'd probably want to send him a pair of American-spec Caprice wagon rear lamp clusters (one red section above and one red section below the white reversing lamp) and have him make you new ones with the lower section amber.

Oh, and to answer your question, an ECE PY21W amber 12v 21W bulb produces 280 lumens at 13.5v (rated reference flux). But you're right to doubt the efficacy of a homemade LED-emitter retrofit. Mostly these fail miserably.
 
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Resqueline

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Oohh, custom cast lenses.. Link duly saved, nice to know with my interests & I'm sure he'd replicate the Olds rocket emblem on the lenses too, but I sense a fair amount of dough changing hands there..

As much as 280 lumens you say.. I don't think I've seen any 1W amber 93 lm/W LED's yet, but 47ish lm/W exists so it'd require 6 amber LED's/bulb. 6W for half the time is still only 3W so it could still be done all-in-all, but it's probably gonna cost as much as a euro replacement light, plus a whole lot of work and with uncertain results..

Ah yes, the cornering lights, a friend had those on an 89 model but not my 88, maybe it was an option. Up front is also something you could call marker lights, but I'd just call the rear lights "wraparounds".

:thanks:a lot!
 
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-Virgil-

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Glad to help out. Hey - you gonna use the 165mm x 100mm Bosch or Hella H1 projector low beam units to convert the headlamps? Or just plain H4s?
 

Resqueline

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I have H4's in the outside pair and US sealed beam highbeams in the inside pair. It's been approved that way. The high beam lighting (with all 4 on) is good, but the low beams suck. I'm not aware of good alternatives to improve this, please educate me..
 

-Virgil-

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Hella 1BL 005 380-011 and -021
Bosch 0 301 740 011 and 012

ECE H1 projector low beams with built-in parking lamps, in 165mm x 100mm rectangular housing to fit in place of rectangular sealed beam. Of course it is much deeper than a sealed beam or H4, so you may have to make room for the extra depth by enlarging the hole at the rear of the headlamp bracket. You can put the numbers into the Bosch and Hella online catalogues to come up with dimensional drawings. There are two numbers because while the projector is the same, the parking lamp is located to one side of the projector, which means for symmetry there are left and right units available. The beam performance is very much higher with these than with any H4; they were engineered for trucks and buses. Looks like Stern's got a beam plot for it (last image of the linked page).
 

Resqueline

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:thanks:again! Great beampattern on that Bosch lowbeam. Interesting to see the differences between makes also.
But I'll have to sacrifice one pair of highbeams to get that lowbeam.. Not quite sure what I'll want to do. There are some rules about low/high beam placement to look into too I think.
 

-Virgil-

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:thanks:again! Great beampattern on that Bosch lowbeam. Interesting to see the differences between makes also.
But I'll have to sacrifice one pair of highbeams to get that lowbeam.. Not quite sure what I'll want to do. There are some rules about low/high beam placement to look into too I think.

You wouldn't run afoul of any low beam/high beam placement rules — the only such rule that would restrict how to mount these lamps is an American rule requiring that the low beams be outboard of the high beams if the two are separate and placed next to each other. There is no such requirement in Europe (the low beams can be inboard or outboard). As for the high beam itself, you would have a net improvement in high beam performance if you would replace the American sealbeams with some good ECE high beams (I like Valeo Cibie #082398 with H1 bulb). Either way, you still have four lights on high beam because you wire the low beams to remain on with the high beams.
 
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