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Old 03-17-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
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Basic LED questions

Background: Like many here, I am interested in the benefits that can be derived from changing over from the original bulbs in my camper to LED replacements. Apparently, unlike most of you, I have no idea about the particulars involved. I am not an electrician, however, with clear enough instructions I can muddle my way through most projects eventually. So with this in mind here is the situation:

Mission: Two parts: 1) replace the interior lights with LED lights. 2) Replace the running light and brake lights with LED lights. Images of current exterior lights are attached.

Focused questions: 1) Will I need to replace the interior fixtures, or are the LEDs for the interior made to simply replace the current bulbs? How do I determine which bulbs to get and where is a good place to get them? 2) My questions for the exterior lights mirrors those about the interior lights. Am I looking at bulb replacement or fixture replacement as well? Am I correct in understanding that special lenses are required for LED lights? Finally, if new fixtures are required, where can I find ones that will require the least alteration of the coach and maintain the vintage look to the greatest degree possible?
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:17 PM   #2
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A Moderator with RTV?

My gawd man!! Is that silicone rubber around that running light?



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Old 03-17-2007, 01:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
My gawd man!! Is that silicone rubber around that running light?



Tom
Not for much longer , you can see more of the caulking nightmare in my Trade Wind gallery on pbase. But back to our topic of LED lighting.............
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:36 PM   #4
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I got so rattled from the RTV thatI forgot what I was going to say

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
... But back to our topic of LED lighting.............
Rodney,

In MY interior, I am considering replacing the incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs (same physical package but the glass is crammed full of LEDs) so that I can retain my original fixtures. You can get more light if the fixture is replaced with one MADE FOR the use of LEDs.

As for the tailights & running (marker) lights, unless you are QUITE handy, you will be better off replacing the entire fixtures. In the case of the marker lights, there is no big cost involved, and it will give you a wonderful opportunity to rid yourself of non-Airstream-approved sealants.

The tail lights, though, are probably going to be expensive as I know of only place where a quality replacement is made, and I will bet that it will be pricey.

Tom
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Background1) Will I need to replace the interior fixtures, or are the LEDs for the interior made to simply replace the current bulbs? How do I determine which bulbs to get and where is a good place to get them?
2) My questions for the exterior lights mirrors those about the interior lights. Am I looking at bulb replacement or fixture replacement as well? Am I correct in understanding that special lenses are required for LED lights? Finally, if new fixtures are required, where can I find ones that will require the least alteration of the coach and maintain the vintage look to the greatest degree possible?
lots of threads on leds rodney...


have you tried that search feature? as bob like to write

L.E.D Basics; gaining an understanding of how to work with L.E.D.s

question #1...
some interior fixtures can remain. there are replacement leds that fit.
in other locations you might want a new/different fixture that makes better use of the leds (track lights or cluster types)

light perception (as you must know) is a combination of objective and subjective parameters.

leds project specific or mixed wavelengths. we all percieve light in a variety of ways and like certain looks more or less.

google led bulbs and 'superbrite/bright leds' and other sites will appear. many led vendors have already been linked here.

Super Bright LEDs

some led bulbs don't scatter the light much and others do. so trying or seeing a bulb in use is essential before investing in mutiples.

i buy one bulb for each application before buying many.

fully 1/2 of the bulbs i've tried weren't satisfactory for some reason (color, lumens, scatter or fit or excessive heat)

question #2....
with the exterior lights the additonal issues are safety/performance related...

will your replacements be better than oem? brighter, faster, good scatter, directional and 'legal colors' for driving?

technically red leds should be covered with clear lens for best highway use, red covered with red or white leds covered with red lens aren't ideal.

again yellow covered with clear is ideal. some bulbs scatter well and others need special lens covers to scatter the light.

there are direct replacements for YOUR yellow running lights.

many of the home brewed set up here are fine, while others are not.

exterior lighting that is intended for traffic safety should comply with the current highway guides,
and again viewing how a fixture/bulb performs is essential imo before investing much money or time in replacements fixtures or bulbs.

led products are improving rapidly so some of the products used just 2 years ago are vastly inferior to the current offerings.

whenever filling at a big truck stop, i check the led offerings and see new/cool products.

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
As for the tailights & running (marker) lights, unless you are QUITE handy, you will be better off replacing the entire fixtures.
Can replacement fixtures be found that will go in the same space?
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:50 PM   #7
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Yes, and he's a forum member

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Can replacement fixtures be found that will go in the same space?
I believe The largest "Vintage" Airstream parts headquarters on the planet stocks them.

Tom
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:57 PM   #8
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Yes I did search, and yes I did read

Hey 2Air,

Yes I did search LEDs, several times. The threads cover alot of ground and did not anwser my specific questions to my satisfaction. Hence, this thread with focused questions. That is not to say that I didnt possibly miss something with the search tools limitations being what they are. Unfortunately, when mining for gold here the over burden of unuseful material can be cost prohibitive...
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Old 03-17-2007, 02:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Unfortunately, when mining for gold here the over burden of unuseful material can be cost prohibitive...
so hopefully any additional posts will be illuminating

cheers
2air'


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www.autolumination.com Tail Light Brake Light Turn Signal LED Bulbs

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Old 03-20-2007, 01:54 PM   #10
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The best source I hav found so far is Super Sright LED's.

SUPER BRIGHT LEDS home
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Old 03-20-2007, 03:55 PM   #11
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this thread is a good one

check out the thread "LED conversions" by klattu. I ordered ours last week and they are arriving Thursday. The taillight conversion pics are pretty clear about how to do them. Probably won't get to it til next week though as we are running away to Baja for a few days. Debbie
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Old 03-20-2007, 05:11 PM   #12
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LEDs are not created equal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Background:
Mission: Two parts: 1) replace the interior lights with LED lights. 2) Replace the running light and brake lights with LED lights. Images of current exterior lights are attached.

Focused questions: 1) Will I need to replace the interior fixtures, or are the LEDs for the interior made to simply replace the current bulbs? How do I determine which bulbs to get and where is a good place to get them? 2) My questions for the exterior lights mirrors those about the interior lights. Am I looking at bulb replacement or fixture replacement as well? Am I correct in understanding that special lenses are required for LED lights? Finally, if new fixtures are required, where can I find ones that will require the least alteration of the coach and maintain the vintage look to the greatest degree possible?
A lot of good questions....2air is correct in suggesting that you try one of any example before engaging all of your repalcements. LEDs are not created equal and such either are the LED-based products from a multiple number of manufacturers. You asked if special lenses were required...the answer is YES. Because LEDs are a point light source, it is necessary to match the luminous extraction with and optical lens that shapes the beam in an effective manner.

In the case of interior lamps the goal of the lamp is very subjective, in other words, where do you want the light to go and how much. There are no standards and anyone who has purchased LEDs for interior use will tell you that there is a wide variety of choices, some good but most are not bright enough to do the job. It is lumens that determine how bright the lamp is and it is the type of optic (lens) that determines the directional output. Wattage is not a good way to determine the amount of light you are getting from a lamp/fixture, it is only the measurement of consumption of electricity. Too many times people ask for wattage and that is the wrong approach, be careful and ask either for the luminous intensity or lumens when comparing products.

For the interior, it is possible to either retrofit LEDs into existing fixtures or replace the complete fixtures. Stay away from the ones that look like LEDs stuffed into a "bulb" look-alike since they have terrible optics and really bad luminous intensity (very dim). Look for LED lamps that have newer high brightness LEDs that are between 1 and 5 watts per LED. Try a marine store for complete fixtures as they cater to a more demanding customer. You will pay more but the product will be worth it since it is more likely to do the job correctly. For the retrofit type LED lamps, as was mentioned earlier, the internet is probably your best bet.

In the case of exterior lamps, sometimes called safety lamps in the automotive business, the goal is to project the light where the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) say they must go, in other words the light projection is mandated by law and is not subjective. For exterior applications I would suggest reviewing products made by the larger Lighting Companies such as GROTE, TRUCKLITE and PETERSON, all of these companies supply original manufacturers as well as aftermarket stores with both conventional and LED lamps that are legal in all states.

There is always a bit of confusion regarding lens colors and how they work with colored LEDs. In general, colored LEDs have a very narrow wavelength, depending on the manufacturer of the core component, the die, as it is referred to by the industry. The least amount of light loss will be through a clear lens due to total internal reflection and refraction, say about 10%. If the lens color is matched to the LED wavelength, the loss will be say 12%, so the difference is not distinguishable by the eye. The problem comes from colored lenses that don't match the LED wavelength, the loss could be as much as 20%. Today, the manufacturers noted above match the lens and LEDs perfectly, so whether you want clear or colored should be OK either way if you buy from one of the forementioned.

Exterior applications - I would recommend that you purchase complete LED lamp assemblies that are approved (look for a DOT marking on the lens) from any of the major companies. You should be able to clear, amber and red lenses as you desire. Many do-it-yourself stores either carry or can order these brands as well as any auto parts store.

This won't answer all of your questions but hopefully will add to the earlier responses with some more detail.

John
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:36 PM   #13
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Keep Timemachine's comment in mind that exterior light are governed by the DOT. I approached this issue by fitting DOT approved lights into the Airstream fixtures. You can see this on posts #40,49,and 51 of
http://www.airforums.com/forum...hts-23544.html

Just fitting LEDs behind a existing lens that is not designed for that light source will not go good results. That's why I went to the troble of fitting the LED len into the Airstream len.
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:18 PM   #14
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On the interior front, I looked at this and the level of lighting you're going to get from LEDs on the interior on a reasonable is going to be at the "very cosy" light level - without spending many hundreds of dollars you're not going to get anything bright enough to replace a large incandescent or fluourescent fixture.

I'm going to replace the overhead fixture with compact fluourescents, which are pretty efficient & bright, put LED bulbs in the reading lights (probably the 1-3W variety), and put halogens over the countertops mostly for use when plugged in, although I may try out some of the LED replacements for G4 halogen bulbs.
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