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Old 08-07-2008, 12:30 AM   #21
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Exclamation Powering down the alternator

I have already changed every light except headlights and dash lights over to LEDS. I have noticed with this new mod the car going up hills is effortless not like before. I also notice you don't need any throttle to move the car in first gear. The load on the engine is reduced a huge amount. I have not been able to do any highway testing yet no time...I have been told DO NOT SELECT THE SWITCH ON OR OFF WHILE ENGINE IS ON OR SEVERE ELECTRICAL ISSUES COULD HAPPEN LIKE BURN OUT THE OBDII COMPUTER.... Only select charge on when car is off and if you want to go power off then again select it when the car is off to be safe. I will post my gains cheers.....
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Old 08-07-2008, 04:20 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by DracoFelis View Post
Most cars will turn on their brake lights before you have done enough pedal pressure to actually start braking (and with many cars you can even adjust the sensitivity of the brake light on switch connected to the brake pedal). And if you experiment somewhere you can see this light (or temporarily wire up an extension bulb to the brake light circuit, so that you can see the "brake lights" while driving), you can quickly learn how light of a touch "on the brake" will engage the brake light in your car.

And FWIW another thought I had (which I haven't yet gotten the energy to do to my CRX, but is still on my "to do list"), was to simply wire up a small (red) dash LED to the brake light circuit, so that I can always (easily) see (while driving) if/when the brake lights are on. Yes, I know if I'm braking a lot that my brake lights will be on, but when I simply want to press them just hard enough to engage the lights, the exact pedal pressure is not so clear...


Sounds clever. However, I could see that also getting you "in trouble". For example, you are starting to move forward from an intersection, and yet your "brake lights" are still on for a few seconds (confusing the driver behind you, and possibly even causing undo attention from a cop wondering why you are "riding your brakes").

So IMHO a better choice would be simply another (only on while being pressed) button, that is positioned somewhere that is easy to press when you want to, which only turns on your brake lights (while you press it) and otherwise does nothing. Ideally, you would want this mounted somewhere that it is easy/trivial to press when desired, but otherwise not in your way. For example, maybe you could mount it somewhere on the steering wheel itself (or maybe on your stick-shift if you have a manual)? Or perhaps a floor mounted button would work good, as you don't exactly need your "brake foot" (and therefore it should be "free" to engage the brake lights) if all you are doing at the time is DFCO (and you just want to alert the drivers behind you to the fact that you are slowing down).
In any event, those are some thoughts I had, and you are free to take this advice or leave it as you see fit. Either way it costs you the same amount (i.e. free).

That's a good idea... I'm thinking a floor mounted momentary switch on the left where the MFR's used to put the dimmer switch... Man I miss floor mounted dimmer switches. I think they were a lot more convenient than on the steering column.

-Jay
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:22 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by green swift View Post
I have already changed every light except headlights and dash lights over to LEDS. I have noticed with this new mod the car going up hills is effortless not like before. I also notice you don't need any throttle to move the car in first gear.
Yes, quality LED modules can actually be brighter than stock (many of the cheap modules are dimmer than stock, but some of the quality ones are brighter than stock), while still giving you aprox 90% power savings over incandescent bulbs (a win-win situation IMHO).

And while you can't convert your headlights to LEDs (yet), it is still pretty amazing how many watts those other (secondary) lights (that come on with your headlights, and also if you just use the "1st position" on the headlight switch) add up to. Depending upon the car (all cars seem to have a different mix of bulbs these days), you can easily save anywhere from 50-200 watts of power (whenever your lights are on), simply by converting car lights to LED modules. And while that still isn't a huge number of amps of power, with many cars (especially smaller, and generally more "fuel efficient" cars), it can be more than enough power difference to make a very noticeable (if not real huge) difference in both idle speed and total fuel economy.

OTOH keep in mind that while LEDs are often "a good thing", you get even more power savings by simply turning off lights when they aren't needed. For example, during bright daylight I have my exterior lights all the way off to save on power (and yes, it does make a small difference vs just running my LED modules).

And I also limit my use of the full headlights (which like virtually all cars, tend to be power hungry) to only when I really "need" them (either to see, or because I'm legally required to have them on), and not when I just want other cars to see me. If I just want other cars to see me (which includes all sorts of marginal lighting conditions from heavy overcast to simply being near sun down), I instead use my secondary lights (i.e. all the exterior lights EXCEPT for the headlights and fog lights). Yes, even with my secondary lights now being LED modules (which only draw about 1/10th the power that the stock bulbs would), the secondary lights still draw a few watts of power when they are on (which is why I turn off even my secondary lights in bright daylight). However, IMHO that power usage (for the secondary LED lights) is a small price to pay to be easily seen (by other drivers) during marginal lighting conditions!

BTW: I'm assuming you don't make this mistake, but just in case anyone else reading it does...

I've actually seen quite a few clueless people run their "fog lights" (the lower set of front facing "headlights", that are only supposed to be run during fog or heavy rain/snow) all the time they have their normal lights on. Apparently they figure they look "cool", or they think it will somehow make it easier for them to see (when in fact most "fog lights" only really help visibility in some types of bad weather). Not only does this waste a lot of power (i.e. lowers fuel economy due to the extra electrical load), but fog lights also tend to blind other drivers (in much the same way as running with your "high beams" always on would do). And to add insult to injury, fog lights are also illegal to leave on all the time in many areas (i.e. in many states, you technically can get a ticket if you run your fog lights when the weather is good, or if you fail to turn them off when approaching other cars).

As to me, the electrical circuit for my fog lights actually has a problem with it, and those "fog lights" mean so little to me that I still haven't bothered to get that fixed after 3 years or so. IMHO just make sure your headlights are top-notch (I have the very bright "Toshiba HIR" bulbs in my main CRX headlight assembly), and your secondary lights (which in my CRX are now super bright LED modules) are in good shape, and "fog lights" seem a bit redundant. Yes, my car has a place where they are mounted, but I still think the times when I want a lot of light "very low" (and am willing to pay for the power usage to get that extra light) will be few and far between. At all other times, "fog lights" (at least traditional fog lights, there are now starting to be after-market LED fog lights) are just a waste of power (and therefore fuel economy) IMHO.
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:06 PM   #24
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i actually found a site that sells the whole led kit for my car. its a bit more than 100 bucks but includes everythign thats practical. saves me a bit of running around too. i may look into getting them at a later point since i cant justify the cost now. all it would take is for me to blow one light though.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DracoFelis View Post
If I just want other cars to see me (which includes all sorts of marginal lighting conditions from heavy overcast to simply being near sun down), I instead use my secondary lights (i.e. all the exterior lights EXCEPT for the headlights and fog lights).
Not only does it save energy, but it prevents glare.

Now if manufacturers could just use those lights, or similar lights, for DRLs instead of using headlights...I hate DRL glare.

Quote:
but fog lights also tend to blind other drivers (in much the same way as running with your "high beams" always on would do).
I've read this countless times posted by others, but despite being very sensitive to glare, most "fog" lights don't bother me -- and certainly don't bother me as much as most DRLs. Especially GM fog lights, which tend to be 27 watt 880 bulbs in diffused housings... Anyway, glare offense for me would be greatly reduced if cars with "fog" lights had their DRLs rewired to them.

Besides glare, lots of dimmed-headlight DRLs end up fooling drivers into forgetting to turn on their headlights, and they're driving with no rear lights on and insufficient forward lighting.

I have my DRLs disabled and just turn on my "secondary" (as you call them) lights when I think they could enhance my visibility, though my GMC has inoffensive dedicated DRLs.
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Old 08-09-2008, 05:01 PM   #26
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Not only does it save energy, but it prevents glare.

Now if manufacturers could just use those lights, or similar lights, for DRLs instead of using headlights...I hate DRL glare.



I've read this countless times posted by others, but despite being very sensitive to glare, most "fog" lights don't bother me -- and certainly don't bother me as much as most DRLs. Especially GM fog lights, which tend to be 27 watt 880 bulbs in diffused housings... Anyway, glare offense for me would be greatly reduced if cars with "fog" lights had their DRLs rewired to them.

Besides glare, lots of dimmed-headlight DRLs end up fooling drivers into forgetting to turn on their headlights, and they're driving with no rear lights on and insufficient forward lighting.

I have my DRLs disabled and just turn on my "secondary" (as you call them) lights when I think they could enhance my visibility, though my GMC has inoffensive dedicated DRLs.
My truck uses the low beam headlights at reduced brightness. I've been driving with my headlights on for many years... Its a byproduct from when I used to drive emergency vehicles and 6 ton trucks. I just got in the habit of always driving with my lights on.

-Jay
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:31 PM   #27
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i actually found a site that sells the whole led kit for my car. its a bit more than 100 bucks but includes everythign thats practical. saves me a bit of running around too.
My main word of caution with any LED "kit" (much less a "complete car kit") is to make sure you are either going to get satisfying results (because enough technical detail about light levels/angle is provided before you buy the kit), or that you can return the "kit" if you don't like the results. Because the problem with many LED kits, is that all too many of them (in an effort to trim costs) cut corners on brightness and/or viewing angle, resulting in lights that don't work as well as stock bulbs.

Which is part of the reason I did my conversion over time, as it let me try various modules, and only buy more of the ones that I liked the results from. And the main thing I discovered (after some failed attempts at "penny pinching"), was that it really did seem "worth it" to get the brighter LED modules even if/when (as was often the case) those weren't the cheapest modules available for a given "bulb" replacement. In fact, some earlier attempts to save money, actually ended up costing me more, as I found that some of the cheaper modules just weren't bright enough (and ended up replacing them with the brighter, more expensive, modules anyway).

OTOH when I tried to buy modules on specs (i.e. went for the brightest and widest viewing angle modules), I found that it's now possible to get LED modules that work BETTER (have more effective light where you want/need it) than stock bulbs! So by going with some of the brighter LED modules, I actually got both the power savings AND lights that are easier for others to see (a win-win IMHO, but it did require me to spend a little more initially on the LED modules I bought).

i.e. I'm all for saving power and money. However, with car lights you generally don't want to go with a significantly dimmer than stock "bulb" (or one that has a narrower viewing angle), as doing so will just make it that much harder for you to be seen by other drivers. And sadly, all too many LED modules are currently being sold without any light level specs (which makes you wonder what the makers of those modules are hiding). But if you hunt around (and carefully choose which modules to buy), you can now get the power savings of LEDs, while also getting an upgrade to your effective lighting. So while a proper choice of LED modules will actually make your car easier for other drivers to see, a poor choice of LED modules (which is what you will get, if/when you just buy on price alone) will make your car harder for other cars to see.

BTW: Most of my LED modules have been purchased from http://www.superbrightleds.com (which I have no financial connection with, I'm just one of their customers). I picked them as my main place to buy LED modules for the family cars (after my Dad showed me their web site), as they have a very wide selection of pre-fabricated (direct "bulb replacement") LED modules (making the "upgrade" almost as easy as replacing car bulbs), and their prices are reasonably competitive (compared to other web sites selling similar stuff). And unlike a lot of car LED "bulb" merchants, SuperBrightLeds.com actually posts the light specs of their LED modules directly on their web site (which makes it a lot easier to see what light performance you can expect from each module, vs having to blindly guess if a given LED "bulb" is bright enough to provide satisfying results).
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:22 AM   #28
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Efficiency of automotive alternators is limited by fan cooling loss, bearing loss, iron loss, copper loss, and the voltage drop in the diode bridges; at part load, efficiency is between 50-62% depending on the size of alternator, and varies with alternator speed.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternator)

V-belt are not terribly efficient. Figure 80% after the belt has been used a while.

Toothed belts can be as high as 98% efficient.
(Gates)

My car has a ton of electrical add ons and a 90 amp alternator. Worst case:
90A X 14v = 1260 watts
Figuring 50% efficiency, 2520 watts
2520/746 = 3.37 Hp

I have a problem with switching the alternator on and off. The power to recharge will still have to be generated using gasoline.

I have a deep cycle battery in the engine (because my desulfator seems to like deep cycle batteries) and I have a larger deep cycle I can put on the floor on the passenger side and plug into the cigarette lighter (fused at 30 amps).

Suppose the alternator is disconnected, I can do my run in town, then use house current and a battery charger to restore what current was used overnight. Cost might be a few cents.

The only problem I can see would be the electric choke heater, which runs of ~24 volts AC from the alternator. For testing I could just block the choke open. Ultimately I would want a manual choke.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:36 AM   #29
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Did someone say "desulfator"? Was it a DIY, or a commercially available product?
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:39 AM   #30
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I did. My design. I sell plans cheap. I hesitate to post it here, but message me and I will send you the URL.
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