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LED Gauge/Cluster Light Conversion Question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 57tailgater, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. 57tailgater
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 654

    57tailgater
    Member
    from Georgia

    Has anyone converted their gauge/instrument cluster lights to LED's? I am curious as to what's out there or what has been done to do this. Did a few searches and didn't find anything for HAMB friendly vehicles. I was thinking of doing this on my truck to improve the lighting and thought it may be more reliable and longer lasting. Initial thought was to try to just swap out the old bulbs and sockets. Thoughts? Ideas? Thanks :cool:
     
  2. 1950 mercury
    Joined: May 14, 2011
    Posts: 20

    1950 mercury
    Member

    If you go to the web site www.superbrightleds.com they sell led light conversions for almost all types of old cars they have alot of leds that plug straight in where your bulb would normaly go,i have put led lights in my 1958 ford customline instrument cluster they just go in where the old globes go at the back they work well but when i rebuilt the instrument cluster i found out that it got sand blasted on the inside of the metal that holds in all of the speedo parts so it didn't reflect the led light very well so i painted it in a reflective silver paint it works a lot better now so unless you are pulling your instruments apart you just need to plug the led lights where your old globes go they cost a bit more but use less power.
     
  3. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 356

    Arominus
    Member

    I did it in my previous OT daily driver and it worked really well. I got everything from superbrightleds.com, i will lost most of the functionality of your dash light dimmer after converting, but that didn't end up bugging me all that much.
     
  4. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,206

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    On my '50, I drilled 1/8 holes around the gauge back's perimeter and J-B welded in white LEDs. Gives a nice glow. Each LED has its own 680 ohm resistor heatshrinked in line.
    I also added small bright LEDs to the face of the oil and temp gauges and have senders to each.
    Turn signal and high beams each have LEDs as well.
     
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  5. KENDEUCE
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
    Posts: 332

    KENDEUCE
    Member

    A word of caution on your idiot light on alternator. The bulb is a piece of the resistance that makes it work. Get an electronic guru to explain it better, but it is possible.
     
  6. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,206

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    Very true Ken. Due to space constrictions, I'm running a Toyota "Smallternator" that doesn't use an idiot light.
     
  7. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,269

    mj40's
    Member

    I did the same thing in my 40 pickup and pleased with the results.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  8. 57tailgater
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 654

    57tailgater
    Member
    from Georgia

    Awesome info - thanks guys! I am just looking for the lights in the gauge cluster. The examples look great!

    I am not running an idiot light for the alternator. I installed a diode to take care of any backfeed.

    Why do you need the resistor if you use some type of LED?

    I'm gonna check out that website! :cool:
     
  9. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    If you're looking for reflectivity, gloss white works very well.
     
  10. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,269

    mj40's
    Member

    LEDs are semiconductors, diodes in particular. The current flowing in an LED is an exponential function of voltage across the LED. The important part about that for you is that a small change in voltage can produce a huge change in current. Resistors aren’t like that. The current and voltage in a resistor are linearly related. That means that a change in voltage will produce a proportional change in current. Current versus voltage is a straight line for a resistor, but not at all for an LED.
     
  11. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,206

    1950ChevySuburban
    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    MJ40s - I lightly sanded my LEDs to diffuse the light, yours looks spotty, unless thats just the camera.
     
  12. 33mopower
    Joined: May 18, 2008
    Posts: 243

    33mopower
    Member

    Yeah . I also like to use diffusers taken out of old lcd screens. The wider the angle of the led the better for illumination. Also stick with warm white they just look more like bulbs and less modern. Another thing is I like to use voltage regulators to protect my led's. Even if you calculate your voltage for 14v the alternator can spike above that.
    I like to use quality manufactures like Lumileds, Nichia, and Cree but have had good luck with the products from http://www.besthongkong.com especially the flexible strips.
     
  13. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,908

    40FordGuy
    Member

    That 40 P.U. dash is great ! Show us the rest of the truck, please!

    4TTRUK
     
  14. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,269

    mj40's
    Member

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