LED lights in Original light sockets - tail lights - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-29-2007, 02:55 PM   #1
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My tail lights are not very bright. The Surfside has 8" not-quite square lights that don't seem to be easily replaced with the new LED tail light units (which was my first choice). Plan B - I was thinking of replacing the bulbs in the stock tail light units with LED replacement bulbs. Anyone with experience or comments?
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:26 PM   #2
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My tail lights are not very bright. The Surfside has 8" not-quite square lights that don't seem to be easily replaced with the new LED tail light units (which was my first choice). Plan B - I was thinking of replacing the bulbs in the stock tail light units with LED replacement bulbs. Anyone with experience or comments?
Hi,
leds would work ok but if your regular bulbs are not as bright as they should be I would make sure all the grounds are in good shape> I found that in redoing my wiring and cleaning up the ground connections in both the trailer and the tug my regular bulbs lit up as they should and were very visable even in daylight. this may be a more economical fix than going to leds. also if the grounds are not repaired the leds will not function as they should as well.
regards, gerald rush
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:00 PM   #3
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Hi: Try going to www.grote.com and then to product catalogue- then stop/ turn/ tail lights. They list a 2.5x6.5 oval l.e.d. that might fit inside your old lenses...That's what I did ... I took in my lense and asked if they had anything that would fit inside my old lenses sort of a retro look for our old Boler round lights!!! I drilled out the old sockets and screwed in the 10 Diode 4" round stop/turn/tail lights on the base of the old fixture/cut a hole for the pig tail to go through with a 1" hole saw on my drill. At the same time I changed the clearance lights to 13 diode l.e.d.'s. I also made sure that the wire was cut back to untarnished copper ...Neat thing about l.e.d.'s is if you hook them up wrong they just won't light Boy what a differance!!! All my lights were supplied by Traction Heavy Duty Parts Div. of U.A.P. Ontario. Hope this helps Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 03-31-2007, 03:58 PM   #4
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LED units which fit in incandescent bulb sockets are not ideal, because their directional light output pattern is not like the all-directions scatter of a bulb, so they do not work with the reflector and lens as intended.

In my Boler's Reflect-O-Lite tail lights, the reflector design is so crude that it's hard to imagine that it would hurt to use the LED unit, but I haven't tried it.

In my old Civic, I put a common (from Canadian Tire, about $8) LED 2057 replacement unit in place of one of the four brake/tail positions. I don't think the light pattern is quite as good, but it's hard to tell the difference, so based on that experience I would rate the swap as acceptable if perhaps not ideal.

There is at least one brand of LED unit which emits light in all directions, and thus look to me like they would likely be even better... but I haven't tried it. Have a look at the page of 1156 and 1157 replacement units at Autolumination.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:58 PM   #5
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I asked a guy at an RV store here in Yuma about the 1156/7 replacement LEDs and he said he wasn't planning to carry them because of the liability - claimed they have caused fires. Has anyone heard that?
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:08 PM   #6
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there is a 'conversion' plug in that puts the new leds at a 90 degree turn (facing rearward, avoiding the 'directional issue). I don't know IF this conversion device would allow clearance to put the tail light lens back on or not. As for the potential fire hazard.....LEDs put out NO measureable heat.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:16 PM   #7
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Doug, good catch on the angle: my Civic bulb sockets face rearward, so the common LED replacement units work, but in my Boler's Reflect-O-Lites, the socket faces vertically, so the LED unit would need to be one of the right-angle units, or be in an adapter. I doubt an adapter and the "bulb" would fit under the lens.

Even mounting at the correct orientation doesn't really address the directionality issue - with some reflectors and lenses, the light pattern will not be right with a single directional LED.

Since LEDs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, they produce less waste heat. In addition, they do not use heat to make light, so they run relatively cool. At higher powers heat dissipation is an issue for reliable operation of LEDs, but in straight replacement of incandescent bulbs with LEDs of similar light output, there will be much less heat. I've never heard of this fire hazard issue, but I assume that it would be related to failures of some devices, rather than the heat of normal operation.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:43 PM   #8
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With our Casita, the Bargmann Led conversion is just a plug n play 5 minute conversion that is fantastic! LEDs light a moment before a conventional bulb giving that tailgater behind you an extra few feet to stop! And stop they will when you tap your brake pedal, they're a lot brighter. Superbright and TMItechnology web sites give the band width of the light (narrow or wide) to help in decision making. If the tail lite housings are 90 degrees off and I believe most are, I would consider going to complete light units designed for LEDs. IMHO Chuck H.
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:28 PM   #9
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I asked a guy at an RV store here in Yuma about the 1156/7 replacement LEDs and he said he wasn't planning to carry them because of the liability - claimed they have caused fires. Has anyone heard that?
Sounds like the guy is confused...and is thinking about the Halogen Torchieres that [b]were a true fire hazard.
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:09 PM   #10
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If you have a directional beam LED, it's easy to make it a non directional. Scuff the LED across the top and sides, this will diffuse the directional beam and make a more 360 degree beam out of it.
I do it all the time on my R/C airplanes.
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:11 PM   #11
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LEDs light a moment before a conventional bulb giving that tailgater behind you an extra few feet to stop!
Thanks for posting that Chuck. I missed that line the first time around. I just found a similar statement while reading about LED's on Wikipedia and thought that it would be worth repeating, the page says:

"The significant improvement in the time taken to light up (perhaps 0.5s faster than an incandescent bulb) improves safety by giving drivers more time to react. It has been reported that at normal highway speeds this equals one car length increased reaction time for the car behind."

Definately a good reason to convert to LED tail lights that is worth repeating.
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:14 PM   #12
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<snip>"The significant improvement in the time taken to light up (perhaps 0.5s faster than an incandescent bulb) improves safety by giving drivers more time to react. It has been reported that at normal highway speeds this equals one car length increased reaction time for the car behind."

Definately a good reason to convert to LED tail lights that is worth repeating.
True, and given the increased brightness - it they can't stop in time then nothing would have worked!
LED TAILIGHTS

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LED BRAKELIGHTS

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Old 01-27-2009, 12:35 PM   #13
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There are many good things about LED taillights, but the one thing that drives me nuts is how bright the taillights are (as opposed to the brake lights). Regular old taillights always seemed perfectly visible to me, as they should be, but they never screamed "I'm doing something unusual; LOOK at me!" That's what brake lights did (and do). To me, that's as it should be. If I'm driving along, "monitoring" 50 other vehicles in front of me on the freeway, I don't want them ALL shouting that, unless they're all doing something special, like braking.

I find that with the LED taillights, they're so bright, that they look like brake lights all the time. So what happens is that for the first few minutes, I find myself constantly "starting" in my seat, because my driving sub-conscious says "That car is doing something besides just driving along." That happens for a while and then finally I have to put my brain in "ignore" mode, so that I can quit mentally (or physically) leaping for the brake (while my brain processes exactly what is going on).

So now I've got an "ignore" shield on for the vehicle with the LED taillights, and am focusing my attention on the vehicles with regular taillights, which impart meaningful information without freaking out my subconscious. As a result I actually end up paying less attention to the LED taillights than to regular ones (of course LED taillights probably don't have to be so bright, but it seems that they are so bright in their current iteration).

So... I love the "quick on" of LED taillights, and I love really bright brake lights; but I don't think that taillights should necessarily be "as bright as possible just so you see me." There's a place for lower-level "I'm here but everything is going along as it should; I'll let you know if anything special is happening" lighting.


/rant

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Old 01-27-2009, 12:48 PM   #14
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<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">R Ė I hear and understand what you are saying. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">You sound as if you are not the person that caused me to mod my lights to LED. That person is one who has put their driving brain into sleep mode while they have cranked up their music to maximum, are talking/texting on their cell/blackberry while air-heading down the road as if they were the only one in the world. It is that person that I want my lights to drill through the other stuff and get their attention before my rear bumper does.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">Sorry to say but I meet too many drivers like the latter and not enough responsible, attentive drivers such as yourself. Wish everyone would put driving as job #1 and not something that will take care of itself.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">(my return rant) </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">Gosh, I am ready for spring and getting back on the road!</span>

Don

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Old 01-27-2009, 02:08 PM   #15
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My tail lights are not very bright. The Surfside has 8" not-quite square lights that don't seem to be easily replaced with the new LED tail light units (which was my first choice). Plan B - I was thinking of replacing the bulbs in the stock tail light units with LED replacement bulbs. Anyone with experience or comments?
I just changed all my lights on my Surf Side with LED.
I used lights from [b]Princess Auto.
The marker lights are part [b]#8122194 (Red) and [b]#8122202 (Amber).
Now for the rear tail lights,I used the Led#8024899 6" Oval assemblies(they will fit right into your existing lenses),and you can,t even tell they,re there ti,ll you have/use the lights.

I did however cut out the oval shape inside the old lens assembly itself, so it would fit properly,
then simply glued the new assembly, to the inside of the old lens rear assembly.

The difference between the bulbs, and the LED,s is[b] INCREDIBLE.

And for added safety, I purchased a rear brake light assembly, and mounted it on the rear of the trailer.

Sure don,t want anyone rear ending my Baby.!!!!!!
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Old 01-27-2009, 04:56 PM   #16
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There are many good things about LED taillights, but the one thing that drives me nuts is how bright the taillights are (as opposed to the brake lights). Regular old taillights always seemed perfectly visible to me, as they should be
I feel the advantage to the LED's being brighter is when the weather is not so great, i.e. fog or rain, it makes your visibility better. Same thing for when in bright sunlight. If I can't clearly see the tail lights on in front of me, my headlights go on to make my rear end more visible. We are not talking butts here either.
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:30 PM   #17
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Roy,

I agree that visible is good. Now, maybe this comes from my boating background, but I just feel that lights are not only to be seen, but to convey a message. In boating, for example, you don't just put on as many lights as possible (even though that might make you more visible), because certain patterns or numbers of lights mean certain things, and when you violate those, the meaning is lost. So when a boat just "puts on all the lights to be visible," you might know something is over there on the water, but you no longer have any idea what that something is doing. With the proper pattern/number of lights, you know, for example, "Oh, that's a dredge, he's got minimum maneuverability, and I can safely pass to his right but not his left side."

So to apply this to vehicles on a roadway, lower-intensity red lights mean "I'm here driving" and really bright red lights mean "HEY, I'M PUTTING THE BRAKES ON HERE!" I find that the LED taillights in their non-braking position are as bright as brake lights. Very distracting, and they convey the wrong message (yes they get brighter when you brake, but they are at "brake light intensity" normally).

I know for myself, really bright red taillights are starting to have a lot less meaning to me now that they don't specifically mean "I'm braking." They're so bright that I basically try to tune them out so they are not so bothersome. End result, I'll be ignoring your vehicle (or any other one that looks like it has brake lights on 24/7), and concentrating on the vehicles whose lights can tell me something besides just "I'm braking! No, wait, I'm not. No, I am! No, I'm not..."

Now separate fog lights (in the rear) for fog or low-light conditions are great, in my book. But then they don't distract me from the meaning of the tail/brake lights. (My car has separate lights in the back, for example, for driving in fog or other low-visibility conditions.)

I realize that most people here (myself included) cannot control the brightness of LED lights. It's too bad the manufacturers don't. (Does anyone know if there are lumens [intensity] guidelines for things like taillights vs. brake-lights?] Or, even better, perhaps do something like boats and have different colors for different functions, vs. just a brighter version of the same color (not likely to happen, I know).

I was thrilled when cars started coming with amber rear turn signals. On cars that have them, you can now tell the difference between just "seeing" (what you think is) one brake light up ahead (that was really a left lane-change signal) and seeing a real left lane-change signal. Also, with my amber lights in the rear, I can put on my four-way flashers AND my brake lights at the same time (e.g. when all traffic is coming to a sudden stop on the freeway). You can't do that without the ambers that I know of. I use that feature often and hate to be without it when I'm towing. I wonder if I could wire up some amber lights on my trailer, come to think of it...

I know I'm ranting, but I just hate to see new stuff that's (to my mind) not an improvement in safety.

Okay, back to my formerly mild-mannered self

Raya
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:45 PM   #18
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Raya: Believe me, it WILL be an improvement when Roy is able to change out the tail lights for LEDs. It's me that checks the back end before we leave and I have had to go up within a couple of feet some days to see if the lights are really doing what they are supposed to be doing. The originals just do not have enough lumens to be safely effective.

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Old 01-28-2009, 07:07 PM   #19
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<snip>I have had to go up within a couple of feet some days to see if the lights are really doing what they are supposed to be doing. The originals just do not have enough lumens to be safely effective.
Carol Ann
Carol Ann here is an example of what daytime improvement you can expect. In each photo the light on the left is LED and the one on the right is OEM - daytime conditions. The first photo is tail/running lights and the second is brake lights. (Click to enlarge the photo)

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Old 01-28-2009, 09:11 PM   #20
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Raya: Believe me, it WILL be an improvement when Roy is able to change out the tail lights for LEDs. It's me that checks the back end before we leave and I have had to go up within a couple of feet some days to see if the lights are really doing what they are supposed to be doing. The originals just do not have enough lumens to be safely effective.

Carol Ann
Hmm, I wonder if the grounds are all good? Dim bulbs (in my experience) are often a result of poor ground connections. Although LEDs are bright, to be sure, regular bulbs shouldn't be "dim" if everything is working properly. Mine seem as bright as my car (I don't know yet if they use the same bulbs, but they may).

It sounds like you're going LED anyway, but perhaps this will be good information for someone else who thinks that regular bulbs just "are" dim.

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