MG Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" and Costello V8s

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63BlueMGB
Nick B
Kansas City, Mo.
(96 posts)

Registered:
01/16/2011 05:17PM

Main British Car:
1963 MGB

authors avatar
Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: 63BlueMGB
Date: February 21, 2012 06:19PM

It has been to cold out the past couple of weekends to work on my car, So I tried to come up with something that I could do inside. I came across an article about LED Tailights and wanted to see what my options were. Did some research on what was on the market and did like what I fould (price and look). So for about 30$ each and a weekend I made my own. Etched and designed my own circuit and board. Pictures are not great but you get the Idea. Process wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. When I get my car completed I will have to measure voltages and current throught the circuit to make sure it is set up correctly so I get the maximum life out of my LED's. So what do you guys think
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phpePlb5dPM.jpg
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TKMad
Tyler Madia

(16 posts)

Registered:
12/15/2007 05:14PM

Main British Car:


Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: TKMad
Date: February 21, 2012 06:25PM

Looks great!


HealeyRick
Rick Neville

(491 posts)

Registered:
12/19/2007 05:01PM

Main British Car:
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 Ford 5.0L

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: HealeyRick
Date: February 21, 2012 08:30PM

If someone rear-ends you now, her license better read "Helen Keller".


mgbv81970
Scott Wooley
Frederick Colorado
(23 posts)

Registered:
09/07/2011 02:20PM

Main British Car:
1970 MGB 289 Ford V8

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Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: mgbv81970
Date: February 22, 2012 03:25PM

Nice job! ( I plan to copy eventually :)

Scott


classic conversions
bill guzman

(294 posts)

Registered:
01/09/2008 01:58AM

Main British Car:


Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: classic conversions
Date: February 23, 2012 10:29PM

Like what I see.

I would like more info. I would like to make the turn signal an arrow, the stop two opposing arrows and tail light circles.

Can it be done???

You got me thinking specially after I bought a set.


Dan B
Dan Blackwood
South Charleston, WV
(1007 posts)

Registered:
11/06/2007 01:55PM

Main British Car:
1966 TR4A, 1980 TR7 Multiport EFI MegaSquirt on the TR4A. Lexus V8 pl

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: Dan B
Date: February 24, 2012 12:33PM

Or how about Octagonal red lights like a stopsign for stop lights? Perfect for MGs!!!!


63BlueMGB
Nick B
Kansas City, Mo.
(96 posts)

Registered:
01/16/2011 05:17PM

Main British Car:
1963 MGB

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: 63BlueMGB
Date: February 24, 2012 08:21PM

Thanks to all that replied! I was really excited to see how these came out and what people thought. This process is really not that difficult to repeat anyone could do it. However, since I have had them completed I have already came up with a couple of things that I would do different and maybe a different pattern. The only limitation that I could really find when doing these is the size of the boards and the size of the LED's (there are a number of LED out there to use) and getting everything uniform. My tailight is a later version '63 and I am not sure how they differ from the earlier models, so the way the Lens fit in these, it is two different compartments and as you get farther away for the base the lens narrows so that limits the size of the board. It is really all about preference and what you like. I like lines so that is the way I decided to do mine, I really wasn't sure how they were going to turn out but after seeing them, I would have made my lines vertical instead, I think that they would look better on the car , and go better with the MGB Lines. I am thinking about putting together a how to, but need to check some things out first and really to see if anyone is interested? Thanks



Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4578 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: Moderator
Date: February 24, 2012 10:04PM

Fantastic! Congratulations on a great result.

I'd love to see a to-do article come from this, especially if it emphasizes fabrication techniques that have wider applications.

An LED taillamp project has been on my to-do list for at least twelve years. (Back in the late nineties I had easy access to cheap LEDs through my work.) The biggest reason this hasn't moved to the top of my to-do list is that LED technology changes so very rapidly. Cost is coming down quickly, even while the individual diodes get brighter and brighter. Having seventy-five LED's per taillamp looks kinda neat... but by using newer/brighter LED's you could eliminate a lot of solder joints! It's just a matter of time until they're so bright that only two or three LEDs are needed for a whole taillamp fixture.

These are off-the-shelf sealed clear-lens truck taillamps that could simply be installed underneath MGB lenses:
Peterson-StopTurnTail-LED.jpg
more info: [www.pmlights.com]

Notice that they only have 20 LEDs per lamp. I believe these particular lamps can be bought new for about $36 each.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2012 10:05PM by Moderator.


classic conversions
bill guzman

(294 posts)

Registered:
01/09/2008 01:58AM

Main British Car:


Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: classic conversions
Date: February 24, 2012 10:39PM

Is the how to out yet ??? :-)


roverman
Art Gertz
Winchester, CA.
(3188 posts)

Registered:
04/24/2009 11:02AM

Main British Car:
74' Jensen Healy, 79 Huff. GT 1, 74 MGB Lotus 907,2L

Re: Homemade LED TailLights, or not
Posted by: roverman
Date: February 25, 2012 03:17PM

Out in CA, we're not so shut-in,(don't hate us), perhaps an article including #1157/etc. led coversion bulbs ? Twist them in-done. I do like your work and patience. Cheers, roverman.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(6477 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: February 26, 2012 03:32PM

The 1157 bulbs have been around for at least a decade, originally they were very voltage sensitive and would burn out, at which point they would short the inputs and sometimes burn up the vehicle wiring, but no doubt they have gotten better.

I recently bought a 20 watt warm white LED off evilbay that operates at battery voltage. I think it is a rectangular grid array of 20 1 watt elements created on one substrate, giving an illuminating area roughly a half inch square. I took it outside the other night with a battery and lit it up and it easily puts out enough light in a wide enough spread to be used as a supplemental or fog light. (would probably need a top shield) Used behind the stock back-up light lens it would be an extreme back-up light. Used in red or yellow colors it could easily replace the brake and turn signal elements but would be far too bright for running lights. Naturally it produces cool light but they do sell some pretty massive heat sinks designed to be used with these and I haven't tested yet to see how much heat it actually produces. After being on for 5 or 10 seconds it was a little warmer to the touch but certainly not hot, so for a brake or turn signal application you might need a heat sink and you might not. But the idea is that you have enough light intensity and spread in a small enough package that you can replace the bulb directly, or perhaps the bulb and socket, and take advantage of the stock lens' Fresnel pattern.

The big advantage of the 20 watt version is that it has the correct operating voltage. Excessive brightness could be an issue. The rectangular shape and package size could be an issue. Placement of the brake and running light elements crammed right against each other could be an issue. Smaller 1 and 5 watt round pattern LEDs are available which could make ideal running lights if equipped with the right voltage dropping resistor, as well as larger 50 and 100 watt rectangular ones. Were the required voltage available, the larger elements could probably be used for main lighting if equipped with an appropriate lens. Or, multiple 20 watt arrays would probably work if you could come up with a suitable focusing lens or lenses.

Jim


classic conversions
bill guzman

(294 posts)

Registered:
01/09/2008 01:58AM

Main British Car:


Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: classic conversions
Date: February 26, 2012 06:02PM

Jim, I know very little about this stuff.

If I run LED's 1157 replacements or an LED panel as shown in this thread, would I need a different flasher.
Totally agree with you, to bright can cause distraction to the other driver.

New autos have LED lighting but there are not as many LED bulbs, I just took a look at my friends Audi which is all LED.
Audi uses less bulbs but larger. They are visible without being intrusive to the eyes.

What would you recommend Jim, or any one else.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(6477 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: February 26, 2012 07:48PM

I'd suggest doing a search on ebay and checking them out as a first step Bill. You can search LED 20 watt and get hundreds of hits, or narrow it by color, etc. I think the warm white 20 watt was ten bucks with shipping but you might get cool white for less. At least there seem to be more of them. But look at the voltage specification as they do vary, usually with a range of a couple volts. On this one they just spec'd it at 12v which is very ambiguous but I decided to give it a try and it runs very well off a spare battery. It's possible that system voltage could fry it as that could be a couple volts higher, or it might tolerate it without any problem. I haven't tested that yet and I'm in no particular hurry. I'm just planning to play around with it for awhile to decide what I want to do with it and which ones are the best choice. The red and amber 20's seem to want around 10-12v and cost a little more. One 50w white is about 35 volts, but so is one 100w warm white so it depends on how they are wired and it should be possible to find a 100w that takes around 12v. Price does go up though and as time passes they will get cheaper.

There are power supplies too, which would give you a very stable light output, but I've tester led's at a much wider voltage range than their specs and they worked fine. Life might have been compromised but when they fail it's sudden so maybe not that much.

Anyway I just thought y'all'd want to see this.
[www.ebay.com]

Jim


Dan B
Dan Blackwood
South Charleston, WV
(1007 posts)

Registered:
11/06/2007 01:55PM

Main British Car:
1966 TR4A, 1980 TR7 Multiport EFI MegaSquirt on the TR4A. Lexus V8 pl

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: Dan B
Date: February 27, 2012 11:51AM

[www.customdynamics.com]
[www.signaldynamics.com]
[members.misty.com]

These are some links from a thread on the TR7 forum.


classic conversions
bill guzman

(294 posts)

Registered:
01/09/2008 01:58AM

Main British Car:


Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: classic conversions
Date: February 27, 2012 03:09PM

Thanks Jim.One more question Would LED's require a different flasher?



BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(6477 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: February 27, 2012 03:43PM

Maybe not Bill.It really depends on the wattage of the bulb. A standard 1157 has about a 21 watt bright element and a 5 to 8 watt dim element, and by now we should know watt is watt, so if a 20 watt LED can be used it ought to work just like an 1157. I'm guessing it'll need an opaque diffuser of some sort between the LED and the tail light lens though, because 1157 LED lights draw about 8 watts total and the light output is going to be way up there.

Jim


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: February 27, 2012 03:55PM

Most common flashers are made with a bi metallic spring that bends as heat is applied. The heat comes from the current carried by the lamps. If you use lamps with lower wattage in some cases the flasher won't heat up enough to work or will flash very slowly. If that's the case then there are solid state flashers available that work on an RC type circuit and flash at a constant rate no matter what the load.


ex-tyke
Graham Creswick
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
(1166 posts)

Registered:
10/25/2007 11:17AM

Main British Car:
1976 MGB Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: ex-tyke
Date: February 27, 2012 03:58PM

LED specs and performance aside, for best results a red LED should be used in a red tailight lens, yellow in yellow, etc. (A red lens will filter out all but the red portion of the light).
It follows that using a white LED in a red taillight will give inferior results.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(6477 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: February 27, 2012 04:17PM

You'd have to look at the level of red/green/blue required to get white. (Apparently not much blue needed) and the result should be very similar using a warm white LED to what you get with incandescent. Both are quite inefficient but what matters is your objective. If you want the same flasher rate you want the same wattage load and will just have to deal with the extra light by stacking inefficiencies. As for the amber, some testing is needed. Diodes put out a single discrete light frequency so stacking three diodes (RGB) does not necessarily give you a full spectrum light and the amber frequencies might be low.

I've used those solid state flashers for towing and with the trailer lights connected they worked just like the old mechanical flashers. So I'm not sure how they are wired but keeping a steady rate with different loads wasn't something they were doing well. It's been awhile though and they could have gotten better.

Jim


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(6477 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Homemade LED TailLights
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: February 27, 2012 05:58PM

Did some testing with a late MGB lens. Plenty of light, much more in the amber lens than the red but extremely bright in both. Might get by with it on the red but the amber lens will definitely need a diffuser. It almost forces white light through the lens! A lower wattage LED will certainly be needed for the running lights. A heat sink of some sort would be a real good idea for the brake light at least.

A 10 watt might work with a 3 or 5 for the running lights. Those would need a dropping resistor to reduce the current to the right level but would draw less power and generate less heat. One with a large built in heat sink might be adequate.

Jim
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