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Technical LED brake lights on the cheap

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by cederholm, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    Yeah, I know LED's are not traditional but living in NYC I want to make sure the guy behind me knows I'm stopping. I build an LED cluster for my 6v 1930 Coupe using some cheap LED utility lights from Harbor Freight, a broken light bulb, some wire and a little bondo. They plug into the stock light socket and are very bright.

    I picked up two of these and took them apart noting the polarity of the wires on the board. Unlike incandescent light bulbs, LED care about the direction if the current. A little prodding with a multimeter and I figured out how to bypass the switch and I noted the polarity on the board.

    Next I carefully broke a lightbulb and soldered two wires to the remaining incandescent filament posts. Since my car is positive ground I soldered the lead that connects to the body to the positive LED side and the tip to the negative side.

    Then I wrapped the base with some tape and poured bondo in. When hard this will protect the wires and give me something solid to twist into the socket.

    Now this worked on my 6v system. It should also work on 12v but I think you would need a resistor.

    Here are some photos. The last shows the regular bulb on the left and the LED on the right. Hopefully someone will find this helpful.

    ~ Carl
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 731

    '51 Norm
    Member
    from colorado

    There are some seriously clever people on the HAMB.
     
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  3. Good idea , you should be able to fit that little board into a lot of different housings. There should still be a limiting resistor on that board somewhere, otherwise the LED's may have an internal resistor.
    If you try putting an LED straight across a DC power source, they will glow very bright for a second , then they will let the smoke out and die.
     
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  4. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    There is a resistor on the board and I left it in place. I also trimmed the board on the bandsaw and it fits into the stock housing. I should post a daylight pic. It looks totally stock and is reversible.

     

  5. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,355

    clem
    Member

    Great idea, as much as I am anti Led lights, yesterday I was following a traditional hot rod and in not very bright sunlight, ( autumn here ), I couldn’t see the lights coming on.
    Couldn’t help thinking that led lights would be easier to see.
     
    cederholm likes this.
  6. 48stude
    Joined: Jul 31, 2004
    Posts: 1,177

    48stude
    Member

    I know LED's aren't traditional , until you're rear ended in your hot rod. I was on my way to WMSRRU in my Stude in 2000 . I had to make a sudden stop due to the a**hole in front of me. The girl behind me didn't, because she was late for work. Nowadays I'm paranoid, I can't have brake signals that are bright enough.
    Did you ever see one of those stop signs with the blinking LED lights? If I could figure out how to hide one them and make it to jump out when I hit the brakes .Hmm? Bill
     
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  7. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    Jeeze Bill, that sucks! And it's exactly what I hope to avoid. It pains me to put electronics in the car, but I can live with it if it helps protect my car and, more important, my kids when they are in it with me.

    Again, I'm not advocation the use of LEDs but I like that they are small and very bright. If not your "popup sign", perhaps some well hidden blinking LEDs somewhere. They even sell them in self-adhesive strips. I don't want a third light, but if I change my mind I was thinking a thin strip of LED's along a thin strip of plexiglass that can be suction-cupped inside the bottom of the rear window. If attached to a plug it could be removed in seconds when not driving in the city. ...just a thought.

    ~ Carl

     
    patmanta likes this.
  8. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,189

    19Fordy
    Member

    cederholm:
    Nice job.
    If possible post a photo of the HF LED light your bought. Thanks.
     
    cederholm likes this.
  9. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    Now that would have been a good idea from start. Let's see if this works.

    [​IMG]

     
  10. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,131

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Looks to be impressively bright! I've had good results with replacement LED bulbs which are fairly inexpensive and fit in seconds, so I wonder how the costs and performance compares? With the replacement bulbs the original lenses are used, as i expect they are in this solution, which is vastly preferable to the aftermarket replacement complete lite units which are so horribly obviously LED, even when not lit.

    Getting rear ended in an old car doesn't bear thinking about.

    Chris
     
    cederholm likes this.
  11. If you put higher power headlights in you rod then whats the big deal about putting brighter lights where they are more important, on the rear? I am all for more safety. The days are long gone when you could casually drive down the road without watching for some texting kid behind you not noticing you are stopping. I put a strip of brake light LEDs in the back window of my coupe because the old 1948 Chevy tailights could barely be seen at night, much less in the day time.
     
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  12. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,189

    19Fordy
    Member

    Thanks. One more thing, What was the stock bulb number in your 30?
    I assume it was a regular taillight.brake/ light bulb, correct?
     
    cederholm likes this.
  13. I just buy them from the source, https://www.superbrightleds.com/, web site has all the sockets styles one would need and the prices are good. I love DIY, but I also love plug and play.
     
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  14. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,126

    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Seat belts, lights that can actually be seen, radial tires, etc, are safety improvements that are not "traditional", but after spending a lot of time & money in building a car, I like to drive my cars a lot and intend to take every possible advantage I can to prevent someone from rear ending me. Though they're not something I would ordinarily talk about because they aren't "traditional", I'm pretty sure if these items were available when I was first into hot rods back in the early-60's, I would have used them then.
     
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  15. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    I don't know the number, but it is a standard single filament bayonet bulb. In fact I saved the original 6v (tossed it in my on-board tool bag) and I sacrificed a 12v bulb from my "pile of parts".

    One note about breaking the bulb, place it in an old sock or something and give it a light tap with a ball-pean.

    ~ Carl

     
  16. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,382

    GordonC
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I am all for being seen/safe as well but currently have regular bulbs in my rear taillights. I will be changing them over to the 1157 style from Super brights when I get a chance. I also do not like the look of third brake lights, but am going to take a spare model A tail light I have, fill it with LEDs, mount it to a magnetic based stalk, and then I can pull it out from the rumble seat area and stick it on the tulip panel of my roadster when I am traveling, then just pop it back in the trunk when I am parked. Hopefully it will save my car from being ruined by some mush mind texting and driving!!
     
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  17. Very creative and a good safety update. Getting rear-ended is always a concern.
     
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  18. Steves46
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 440

    Steves46
    Member
    from Florida

    I embrace period correct and/or traditional on my old car and truck but when it comes to safety, I too use LED brake light bulbs which so far has helped backing off some of the bumper riders in my neck of the woods.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  19. EW_
    Joined: Apr 10, 2008
    Posts: 82

    EW_
    Member
    from DFW

    Non-traditional but may increase safety.
    These are intended for third brake light.
    For incandescent bulb:
    http://metraonline.com/files/products/INSTRUCTIONS_IBBLF.pdf
    For LED light:
    http://metraonline.com/files/products/INSTRUCTIONS_IBLEDBLF.pdf
    When brake is applied, it flashes rapidly a few times, then slower a few times, then solid.
     
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  20. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,000

    jimmy six
    Member

    Is there any perameters we should look at with the listing of "lm's", since I see them as low as 90 and a high of 5000 to keep our turn signals functioning normal with a standard flasher. If so should the front and rear be the same using LEDs on all 4 corners... Superbrightleds show many bulbs....Thanks.
     
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  21. Fabber McGee
    Joined: Nov 22, 2013
    Posts: 1,009

    Fabber McGee
    Member

    cederholm likes this.
  22. Fabber McGee
    Joined: Nov 22, 2013
    Posts: 1,009

    Fabber McGee
    Member

    Thanks for this thread, it reminded me that I've been going to buy some of these and I just did.
     
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  23. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621

    cederholm
    Member

    Sorry, I really don't know. I haven't looked into LED turn signals but I know there some special considerations.

    First, Fabber, where is the fun in that?:rolleyes:
    In truth I have led bulbs in an off-topic car and they are fine. But instead of just replacing the bulb I wanted a flat array that covers the whole lens to see if there was a difference. And yeah there is a big difference. Try comparing one of your flashlights to your LED brake lights and you'll see what I mean. And remember in NYC one needs all the help they can get. :D

     
  24. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,900

    dirty old man
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    On my roadster I have a louvered deck lid, and on the highest row of louvers the exterior surface is close to horizontal due to rake in the whole car. I removed the screwed on inner cover that was made when deck was louvered, rigged up a mount bar and fastened the 7red leds I bought into the bulge of the louvers, wired it up and reinstalled the cover.
    You don't notice the leds when not illuminated, but press the brake and the whole ass of the car is lit up:):cool:.
     
  25. Bird man
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 664

    Bird man
    Member
    from Milwaukee

    Just placed an order with superbrightled. I would recommend ordering on line, good website. It was a long arduous 15 min. ordeal over the phone. Guess we'll see what arrives.
     
  26. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 3,014

    The 39 guy
    Member

    Hi Carl, I can't see your pictures. There is just a blue box with an red X on it for each picture.

    Sam
     
  27. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,893

    BJR
    Member

    So I may have missed it but what did you do for brake lights? The Led's only have one brightness, and I assume you are using them for running lights. You did say single filament bulb you soldered the LED to.
     

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