LED Tail Light Princess Auto - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-12-2006, 08:56 AM   #1
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Name: Alan
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Princess Auto now has a 7" round stop/turn/tail with 31 diodes about an inch or so thick and has a flange with 4 holes to attach with screws. They are usually $35 CDN and now $25 CDN. Anyone tried these - any reports?
If so are they really bright?
Reliable?
How do they work - when operating as stop do all 31 diodes light and when operating as tail fewer light? Or can LEDs burn bright and dim?
I'd like to replace my dim and unreliable original on my surfside, but don't want to go to the trouble and expense if these are not a good choice. I've noticed that some others have as much as twice as many diodes and I assume they must be brighter.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:17 AM   #2
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I put LED tail lights on my Miti-Lite last year. Each side has 30 lamps, half of which light for running lamp. All 30 are on for brake and turn. What a difference from stock lights. A LOT brighter and are guaranteed for 10,000 hours. I just bought new 7" 60 lamp LED's for my Scamp 5th wheel. $85 US including shipping. LED's are a lot more visible, day or night. I'm sold on them. I have two LED's inside trailer, not so sold on them. They are OK for background lighting but don't work very well for reading. Stock lights work better for that....as they say, your mileage may very, but that's my take on LED's.......Mike Bullard
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:30 PM   #3
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Man, Is everybody slow a catching on! I replaced my clearence lghts and tail lights with 60 diaode 7"Grote bus lights over 2 years ago and and reported it on here. They were really expensive when I got them and have really come down in price since. They are so bright when you hit the brake lights that they could potently blind the driver behind you!
After all the bulb and socket problems on numerous trailers of my own and ones of other people I have had to work on over the years they are the only way to go.
It took me longer to remove and disconnect the original lights that to install the new ones.
Go for it man, you will never regret it.
PS Don't bother trying to use LED's as reading lights etc. They are too directional, you are wasting you time. Bin der, don dat! Read the thread on LED's
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:14 PM   #4
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I also installed LED stop/tail/markers on my Love Bug. The first time I pulled it at night my daughter followed me far a ways and she backed way off because the lights are BRIGHT. The ones that I put on are sold by Southwest Trailer for $54 a set plus $7 shipping. On these units, all of the diodes are on all of the time but get twice as bright when the brakes are applied. I also got really tired of trying to keep my dad's boat trailer lights burning so the boat trailer also got LED's. In my opinion, there is no other way to go.

I soldered every connection and used heat shink tubing to seal everything. Do not use crimped connections or Scotchlocks, they will corrode and quit working eventually.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:38 PM   #5
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I purchased my LED Tail lights at Tractor Supply (USA) and they all light up then light up brighter when I hit the brakes.

They are really bright. I also purchased the same thing for our utility trailer because the normal bulb type just go bad on a regular basis.

I also put front and back running side markers on the Egg. I put an extra one up front (Side marker) that blinks with the turn signal.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:46 PM   #6
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I also put front and back running side markers on the Egg. [b]I put an extra one up front (Side marker) that blinks with the turn signal.
Could you post that mod in a separate thread? I have the same idea, and all I have done so far is to purchase the extra set of light fixtures.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:54 PM   #7
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Why are so many folks on this site interested in getting the brightest possible tail lights and brake lights?....has there been a rash of eggs getting rear ended on the highways? I`m led tobelieve that there are people out there that would get quite upset with a couple of blinding tail lights and brake lights on the vehicle ahead of them on a pitch black highwayseems that the existing lamps on our trailers have served their purpose well for the last 30 years or so.......the last thing I want is to have an irate driver behind me tailing me and smashing my tail lights with a tire iron the first time I stop or even worse!....of course, usually by nightfall, I`m in a campsite and lighting the campfire.....I`m comparing the LED lights with 30+ bulbs to the aftermarket blue head lamp bulbs on the young folks cars these days ...especially after they crank up the aim a few turns and blind you on the 2 lane hwys. because they are on low beams already......maybe I`m just getting cranky in my old age, LOL....Benny
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:23 PM   #8
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Ahh Benny, I think you might be missing the point just a little. There are a couple of avantages of LED's. Up here we will see 100's of logging trucks on the highway 24 hours a day hauling beetle killed trees. They are usually carrying 34 tons of logs plus the weight of the the rig, 60 tons plus. Almost all of them are running LED lights. With the mud and sanding of the roads the normal lights can hardly be seen in the day light but the LED's show up even when they have dirt on them. When they hit the brakes I sure want to see them!
The second big advantage is that being sealed units in epoxy there is nothing to corrode and stop them from working. BTW The Grotes are guareented for 100,000 hours. Try and get that kind of service out of a filiment bulb.
I do take your comment in the vain it was intended.
Have a nice day
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:04 PM   #9
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While there have been some references to the big LED tail lights as "blinding", I'm taking that as exaggeration for effect. I would not expect a regular production tail light to be much different from the brightness of the stock tail lights on cars and trucks, since they are all meeting the same standards.

The stock lights on my Boler (the "wedding cake" lens style, Reflect-O-Lite No-150, mounted upside down) are so fundamentally bad (who uses a flat reflector?!) that decent modern lights would be a shocking improvement. Having said that, with some diligent cleaning the old lights are workable for now.

If my current lights didn't work and could not be readily fixed, I would certainly consider the 7" Princess Auto LED units, although it would mean new mounting holes, as my current Reflect-O-Lites mount with three screws, not four.

Even if some of the LEDs are only on for brake/turn (like Mike's) I believe that they should be brighter than the running (tail) section so that the intention of the signal is clear.
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:16 PM   #10
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Aside from the advantages mentioned, I have two other reasons to eventually change to LED stop/turn/marker lights. Less current draw (not a critical concern, actually) but more important : extremely short ramp-up time to full brightness. I think it may get your attention better as opposed to the lazy ramp-up of incandescents. What would happen if the stop lights took a full second to reach full intensity? They may be ignored or overlooked.

My trailer's lights are ample sized physically but nothing to write home about in intensity. I sometimes wonder if they are enough to alert the driver following or give him the necessary sense of urgency when I brake. Therefore I also plan to add a third high-mounted brakelight if I can find an appropriate unit.
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:39 PM   #11
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Per, I have seen an LED Eyebrow surface mount strip light about 12" long on I think it was a Dodge or Ford van. It would mount nicley above the rear window and I think the casing would need very little modification to fit the curve. I just haven't got around to getting to the autwreckers to find one.The biggest problem would to hide the wires.
At some point in time I seem to recall seeing some self adhesive low voltage wiring looms for surface mounting wiring. Very neat and tidy in apearence. Darned if I can find anyone that has it. Has anyone else seen such a product?
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:34 PM   #12
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Ahh Benny, I think you might be missing the point just a little. There are a couple of avantages of LED's. Up here we will see 100's of logging trucks on the highway 24 hours a day hauling beetle killed trees. They are usually carrying 34 tons of logs plus the weight of the the rig, 60 tons plus. Almost all of them are running LED lights. With the mud and sanding of the roads the normal lights can hardly be seen in the day light but the LED's show up even when they have dirt on them. When they hit the brakes I sure want to see them!
The second big advantage is that being sealed units in epoxy there is nothing to corrode and stop them from working. BTW The Grotes are guareented for 100,000 hours. Try and get that kind of service out of a filiment bulb.
I do take your comment in the vain it was intended.
Have a nice day
The main reason why the logging trucks use LED lights these days, is because LED's are more resistant than the fragile tungsten filament bulbs are, on todays rough roads.... Vibration kills tungsten filament bulbs.......

Yves.
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:48 PM   #13
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Yes! You are absolutely right. That was another plus I forgot to mention.
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:13 PM   #14
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I think the "third high-mounted brakelight" (which is formally called a Center High-Mounted Stop Lamp or CHMSL) is a great idea, particularly for vehicles which use the same lamp for running light and stop light (the lamp just getting brighter is easy to miss).

Unfortunately for those of us with traditional stop/turn combined lights, there is typically no separate brake/stop light signal available to the trailer: that's what the yellow-wired auxiliary wire in the 7-pole RV connector is for, and Boler even ran the yellow wire to the back for me (it was part of the standard wiring, and is not attached to anything at the back), but there's no source of signal for it. Even though my Toyota van has separate turn signals and brake light, the trailer isolator module converts to the old four-wire combined system. I'm not up for hacking a tap and relay into the van wiring for this purpose just yet.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:25 PM   #15
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I believe that the ramp up time is negligible if it can even be measured since I was trying to see if I could even notice a delay in a #1156 or #1157 lamps from the time that power was applied till full intensity and there was no noticeable delay......I also think that making the wire used longer would also not be a factor.....you`d need some pretty fancy equipment to measure the delay times.....sure would be nice to have factual data with which to support the actual differences between the two lamp systems......I can see the idea of the lamps on logging trucks getting dirty under some conditions but once the lamps are opaque from the grime/road mud, there would be no difference whether the lamps were leds or incadescents..... Personally if I was concerned about the delay factor, I would be more concerned about the attentiveness of the driver and his age as reaction time nomally slows with age...I know mine did.....That is the real delay factor.......... I also don`t think that vibration is a factor in lamp life with my trailer and if it was I`d use lamps with supported filaments if they are available for #1157 lamps.....a good idea as was mentioned earlier is to update to the high mount brake light.......also if everyone of us went to the leds it would reduce the maintenance time needed on our trailers and heck we`d have less to do .........Benny
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:59 PM   #16
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In the USA the Department of Transportation limits the brightness a tail light can have. Purchase DOT approved LEDs and you will not have a problem.

The LED's last longer, pull less amps, can get wet and do not have the plethera of problems that cheep bulb assemblies have.
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:55 PM   #17
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Ramp time
While I would have trouble measuring the time it takes for a typical incandescent automotive bulb to turn on to nearly full intensity from off, or to turn off, I can certainly see the difference looking at vehicles in traffic. In fact, with some incandescent assemblies now being designed with faceted reflectors so they look like they are composed of a number of small point light sources (to look like the more expensive LEDs) the best way to distinguish the design is by switching time. I find it more apparent on the going-off side than the coming-on side of the cycle: the LEDs just "snap" off while the bulbs take a perceptible time to dim.

The ramp time is really quite short, even in relation to response time. I would expect any improvement to come not from a reduction of the tiny fraction of a second taken to turn on, but from the greater chance that the very sudden transition will be noticed by the other driver.

Vibration
Benny has a good point, that some bulbs are better than others at handling vibration. I have used both standard and "rough service" bulbs in my ordinary "trouble light" style of work light in the garage, which gets banged around and dropped. The rough service bulbs really do last much better, but they are costly and less efficient. Still, they eventually die, and an LED would last much better. Tail lights are just a permanently installed version of the same situation.

Dirt
I think a significant problem with dirt, aside from obscuring the lens, is interfering with contacts. The advantage in dirt and water of the LED design is simply that the LEDs last so long that they are not made removable or replaceable; when they die the whole lamp is replaced. Non-removable means no contacts, which means no loss of contact, and thus reliability.
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