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Old 08-09-2007, 10:39 PM   #1
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Pleased with 3 watt LED tail lights.

The other day I got a little white box in the mail from http://www.superbrightleds.com full of LED's for my car and motorcycles, and the most impressive of all of them was the 3 watt Luxeon LED's for tail lights, and back up lights, I can finely see behind me with my back up lights, and a friend was fallowing me the other night and said that the side with the LED tail light bulb was much much brighter

the left (drivers side) outer brake light, and the white back up light are both 3 watt LED's, the passenger side lights are stock, when the brake pedal is pressed the brake light LED gets about twice as bright, from what I can tell the duel brightness 3 watt LED draws about .75 watts while in on the lower setting (running lights, or parking lights) and about 2.75 watts on full brightness, and the single brightness white 3 watt LED that I have for a back up light is around .23 amps or around 2.76 watts, and is bright enough that you can't look right at it, it also dosn't seem to have any dead spots in the light out put, in otherwords it's nearly as bright while looking at it from the side as it is looking at it straight on, so it makes use of the stock reflector, and spreds the light out.
the only down side is that these are not cheap, at nearly $25 each, but they come on faster, and are brighter, and because they put less electrical load on the car the battery should last longer, the alternator should last longer and the engine should have less load so it will use less gas, but I put it in the same catigory as having a radio, or other frills, I can't clame they will have a pay back other then lasting forever and being safer.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:59 PM   #2
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Nice plate!
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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 08-10-2007, 06:13 AM   #3
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How well does the blinker work with the LEDs? I had installed a set of LED tractor trailer brake lights on my wife's Jimmy mail wagon as due to the way she used it (brakes always on stopping at mailboxes) she kept melting light housings. The LED tail lights lasted longer than the vehicle did, but the blinkers would blink like a bulb was out due to the lower electrical load the LEDs put on the system. The flasher interpreted it as an open in the circuit. I never have been able to find a flasher that just blinks normally regardless of the load, they all have the "I see an open so I'll blink like mad" feature. I'd like to do LEDs myself, but I don't want to have to put a resistor pack inline to make up the load loss as all that will do is turn alternator energy into heat.
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:32 PM   #4
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I just seen a new Toyota today, the 3rd brake looked like it was very dim until you walked right behind it and it was super bright. Hey your 3rd brake is out on that demon Honda pictured also, its not a good idea to look directly into the white LEDs they may burn your retinas. also on reg vehicles if the customer wanted to tow a trailer they would have to get a heavy duty flasher- this way it wouldn't flash fast as if a bulb was out. Not sure if the HD flasher would work with LED i guess ask the company you got it from.
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Old 08-10-2007, 04:14 PM   #5
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and the most impressive of all of them was the 3 watt Luxeon LED's for tail lights, and back up lights, I can finely see behind me with my back up lights, and a friend was fallowing me the other night and said that the side with the LED tail light bulb was much much brighter
Yep. Have had those same Luxeon modules in both my CRX and my wife's Civic for over a year now. The light is actually more visible (and crisper) than the stock bulbs, they come on faster (they are LEDs after all, so they don't have the incandescent warmup time), and they are much lower power than the stock bulbs as well.

However, other than the cost, I did come across one serious "down side" the other day. Seems that a couple of the Luxeon modules in my wife's Civic weren't working anymore. When I removed the reflector to have a look, I was rather surprised to see the top of the Luxeon unit snapped off and rattling around in the lens assembly. And naturally these failures occurred a little over a year after I bought them (which means no warranty left).

At first I wondered why these two Luxeon units broke (when all the others have been reliable), then it hit me. The units that failed were both installed in the trunk lid on my wife's Civic. And apparently shocks to the modules caused by opening and closing the trunk, caused the weakest seam (which just so happens to be on the SIDE of the unit) to crack, ruining the unit.

I still plan to keep the Luxeon modules in the other places (that don't open/close/slam so much), but it seems like they aren't a good choice for installing in a trunk lid. So for the present I'm back to stock incandescent bulbs in my wife's trunk lid (even though the outer lights, on the car itself, are still Luxeon). However, I'll probably end up converting the trunk lights back to LEDs at some point. But I'm going with one of the cheaper LED modules for the trunk lid, in the hopes that it might hold up better (albeit with a little less light on those inner trunk lid lights). And even if it doesn't last longer, at least it will be cheaper.

So if I were you, I would also be careful about putting the "top heavy" Luxeon modules in any lenses that have a lot of physical side forces (i.e. your trunk lid), as I've already found that they eventually have problems in such situations...
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Old 08-10-2007, 04:24 PM   #6
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How well does the blinker work with the LEDs? I had installed a set of LED tractor trailer brake lights on my wife's Jimmy mail wagon as due to the way she used it (brakes always on stopping at mailboxes) she kept melting light housings. The LED tail lights lasted longer than the vehicle did, but the blinkers would blink like a bulb was out due to the lower electrical load the LEDs put on the system.
Simple answer. Replace the flasher unit with a unit that doesn't care about electrical load. Such "electronic flasher units" can be gotten from various car parts stores.

In my case, I just bought the updated flasher from superbrightleds, along with my LED modules. I think they were selling them for around $13 each, and you had to get the model that matched your car's electrical system. In our case, we found the "Japanese" model from SuperBrightLeds was fine electrically in our Hondas, but we did have to modify the Honda flasher clamp a bit (as the replacement flasher was physically slightly wider than the stock Honda flasher was, so we had to modify the clamp before the new flasher would physically fit in the car).
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:47 AM   #7
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Yeah, I've looked high and low for a flasher, all the "heavy duty" flashers I was able to turn up still had the short detector in them. This was from local parts stores though. I'll look into your online source, thanks.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:44 AM   #8
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So if I were you, I would also be careful about putting the "top heavy" Luxeon modules in any lenses that have a lot of physical side forces (i.e. your trunk lid), as I've already found that they eventually have problems in such situations...
I wonder if you could reinforce them with epoxy or something... I have not seen one so I don't exactly understand how it might be done, or if it would be impossible...
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:35 AM   #9
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Yeah, I've looked high and low for a flasher, all the "heavy duty" flashers I was able to turn up still had the short detector in them. This was from local parts stores though. I'll look into your online source, thanks.
I got my flasher unit from http://www.superbrightleds.com (along with the LED units themselves). As long as one of their "generic" flasher units ( http://www.superbrightleds.com/flashers.htm ) will fit your car's electrical system (take a look at your existing flasher to see if it matches any of these flasher pinouts), than you should be able to get the replacement flasher for around $18 ($13 for the flasher + $5 shipping).

NOTE: I got the generic "Japanese" model flashers (one for my CRX, and a 2nd for my wife's Civic), and they work great in both cars, keeping the flash rate constant no matter which mix of LEDs and/or incandescent bulbs we are using at the time. The only down-side I've noticed so far, is that their generic "Japanese" flasher unit is physically about 1 or 2 millimeters wider than the stock Honda flashers. This meant that we had to first remove some of the plastic flasher "locking clip" from the car, before the new flasher unit would physically plug in. But once that was done, the new flasher unit plugged in and ran, like it was made for the car from the get-go!
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:10 AM   #10
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in the photo the center brake light isn't on because the brakes aren't on, when you press the brake pedal the differnce between the LED's and the traditional bulb becomes even more clear.
now that I've gotten to check out the 3 watt LED's I plan to order some for my turn signals as well, along with a turn signal flasher, mostly because I want to replace as many of the bulbs that come on when you turn the parking lights on, so I can use my parking lights as running lights in times of lower visibilty.
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