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LED Bulbs

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by jd, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. I started buying high-powered LEDs a while ago for use in the lab at work and became somewhat fascinated by them. Decided to try a few on the car, starting with interior lighting, and continued to be impressed - gradually working up to the point that the only non-LED lighting on my car now are the headlights and driving lights.

    Have now started on my bikes and thought I'd share the results. Attached are two pictures showing both the standard halogen bulb on my GPX (on the left), and a replacement LED bulb (on the right). Both pictures were taken within 5 minutes of each other with identical camera settings (iso, shutter and aperture) so the fact there's very little difference between the two at least proves I didn't make things worse.

    What the pics don't really show is that the LED bulbs are in fact slightly brighter (evidenced by the light meter on my camera), and since it is a red LED bulb there's also a noticeable improvement in the colour of the brakelight (forgot to set the camera white balance to manual so it's not that obvious in the photos).

    So if they're only slightly brighter and more red why use them? The answer is in the lag time. I'd never realised just how long a standard halogen bulb takes to light up until I compared halogen vs LED side by side on my car. To me that slight decrease in the time it might take some dumb-arse cager behind me to notice I'm braking is more than worth the money IMO, and the fact the bulbs will possibly out last the bike is also a bonus.

    Place I've been buying them from is an ebay seller based in Hong Kong:
    The globes I've been using are the 13w "High Power" 1157s and 1156s which seem to be only sold in pairs (not a problem for me given both my bikes use the same brake light bulb :)). Can't speak for the cheaper refractor SMD based bulbs or the more expensive "ultra power" bulbs, but have certainly not had any problems with that particular seller.

    Next up will likely be some LED indicators for the Kat, but only because the original indicator relay was rooted and figured if I was gonna replace it I may as well buy an LED specific one (about $12 from a Thai Ebay seller). I have more than enough standard 21w bulbs spare now to keep the GPX indicators going for a very long time :LOL:.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jaycar sells direct bayonet and end cap LED replacement units but they come with a they're not ADR Complient.

    Normal "globes" throw light in all directions so the reflector can do it's job but LED's tend to only point outwards.
  3. From what I could find there is no specific ADR requirement on globes, only on lenses and reflectors, and I know none of the globes I've ever taken out of a vehicle have had an ADR marking on them anywhere. As far as I'm aware the ADR simply states that the lights must emit a certain intensity to be visible from a certain distance, and 13w of LED is more than comparable with a 21w tungsten filament (especially when its 13w of pure red light).

    The Jaycar bulbs are crap. The bulbs I've used do throw light in all directions and make full use of the reflector. In fact most of the light comes from reflection, since 10 of the 13 LEDs are mounted on the sides (vs the 3 lower-powered LEDs of the Jaycar bulb).
  4. Thanks for the info JD.
  5. How have you found the aging of the LEDs JD. I used the car ones in my cage quite early on and found that their light intensity fell off after about 12 months. I know LEDs have improved a lot since then just wondering if you have seen any aging characteristics?
  6. Frankly, I wouldn't worry about ADR implications, even if there are any. Noone is going to open up your lights for a look-see so as long as they work well enough, who's going to know?

    OTOH, I'm not sure if I'd recommend reducing the power draw on an old Suzuki. In my experience they need as many Watts bleeding off as possible so as to give the voltage regulator a slightly easier time :D. Not that it's a consideration if you've done the decent thing and replaced the OEM rubbish with something that's actually up to the job.
  7. Yeah I've had them in my car for about 12 months and did notice a slight drop in intensity, but only over the first week or so. I was expecting that though as it's normal for LEDs to have a "bedding in" period.

    I have seen stuff about the early surface-mount types fading over time but that was simply down to them being unable to get rid of excess heat. Shouldn't be an issue with something used intermittently like a brake light or indicator, but I did make sure the bulbs I used in my parking lights had a heat sink since I tend to use those a lot when driving in winter (less glare off misty rain than using the headlights). The manufacturers have also improved on design, the bulbs I put in the bike for example have the LED mounted above the rest of the board, which is a proven method of reducing the junction temperature.

    Edit: Oh and Pat I am planning giving the electrics on the Kat an overhaul given the wiring has already caught on fire on me once already.
  8. Wot? You mean you're one of those perverts who doesn't love the smell of boiling battery acid in the mornings? :wink:

    Considering the four stroke Suzukis were easily the best overall products of any of the Big 4 for nearly a decade, it's rather a shame they penny pinched on the electrics in general and the rec/reg in particular.
  9. when i was pulled over at the RBT they told me my LED stop light was a defect - didnt book me for it tho.
  10. Nah, I just meant anything not made by Suzuki in the aircooled era or by Honda in more recent years :D.

    A lot of guys in the UK used car components. Once upon a time I had the part numbers but, not having owned a Suzi I4 for 15 years, I've lost them.

    Thee days, I'd probably look first at the GS500 component. AFAIK Suzuki haven't changed the operating principles of their charging systems, but I haven't heard of recentish GSs self immolating anywhere.
  11. is it one of those ones that flash 3 times whenever you brake or integrated indicator ones?
  12. Technically those aren't illegal because they dont turn off at any point, they modulate to a lesser brightness - so it can't be defined as flashing, which would be illegal.

    I have a brake light modulator on one of my bikes, the other one I have to manually use the lever to get the light flashing eg. stopped at traffic light at night and dont want to be runover. Heaven help us when they start defecting us for safety modifications - but I wouldn't put it past highway patrol, their priority is harassment and bullying, not safety.

    An LED tail light isn't illegal just because its LED. Most new bikes do use LED for the rear brake light. But if you have indicators integrated and they're not 200mm apart, thats illegal.

    That said, I've been hassled by cops for having an LED brake light, despite it being stock oem standard. This was on during 'R'BT, aka. 'I haven't seen you do anything illegal yet, so I'll pull you over and see if theres anything petty I can screw you over'
  13. I seriously can't believe an LED light is non compliant - they are on so many cars brake lights now, mine included.

    Perhaps it was a previous ADR. I'm not fussed enough to bother looking it up though - if I get a ticket for it, I'll be forwarding it to the manufacturer.
  14. Modifications as such really don't concern me when it comes to police troubles. What I concern myself with is; if I have an accident, will my insurance cover me..?

    A $200 fine is a slap on the wrist (and in safety terms are often talked your way out of unless ur a smart arse), but $600 a post on those cable barriers could be my annual savings have I wipe out 10 posts..
  15. I actually laughed out loud at that, thanks :D.
  16. thats a bright idea.

    Yeah i'm lame :)
  17. I believe we follow the un directive here in respect to the bulbs and their markings - though it may pertain to the "whole" light assembly though
  18. its been said before - the modification has to be shown as contributing to the accident for policy to be null and void
  19. This is true - a friend of mine was a vic police officer - they are not taught the standards etc in academy ( only tires being bald for example ) and he was telling me many guys would study the regulations because if they had nothing to get you on they would revert to this sort of thing just to make sure they have the upper hand on you