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LED Retrofit - Lots of pictures

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tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:54 pm

Howdy.. I don't post TOO much around here. I'm more of a watcher. I'm doing a LED retrofit, I figured you guys would like to see it. I haven't finished it yet, But its moving along quickly now.


Heres the Housing. The dimples threw off my plans, but it'll end up working better. I wanted a fully clear (Minus the dimples to dissipate light), but it might look better, might not. I shoved a LED in there for test purposes, and I was happy.
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The LEDs. 48 Superflux Per Tail light. I'm running two circuits per tail light, with 24 in each circuit. That'll get explained down a bit.
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One of the Superflux's in the Housing.
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I thought I could bake the housings. Anyone who has tried to bake Tail lights, its not fun. I tried hot water, I baked them, and it didn't get everything. I had to use my dremel for quite a bit of the cutting. I used the wrong bit, and it melted/hacked up some of the light, but its not noticeable.. So I'm happy.
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tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:01 am

Next step was to make a cardboard cutout of how I needed to cut my Perforated board. It was a lil challenge to get it right, took a few trys, but I got it.

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I never took pictures of the Reverse light cut outs.

I Decided to lay the LEDs out on a board so I can get an Idea on how I wanted to mount my LEDs.

It will consist of two circuits. Both Regulated by a LM317 with a 10 ohm, 1/4 watt resistor. I'm doing a constant current regulation, so thats why theres only one resistor ;).

The parking light circuit will consist of 24 LEDs, around the perimeter of the brake light housing. A PWM (Pulse Width Modulator) will regulate the intensity of the LEDs.. a 50%-60% load will regulate the parking lights.
The PWM isn't going to Physically Dim the LEDs, but make it appear dimmer. It makes the LEDs flash so quick that the human eye can't detect it, and makes it appear dimmer. Thats the best way I can explain what it does..
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The Brake/Turn signals will have the 24 Inner LEDs, and Light up the outer Halo to a full 100%.
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The LEDs WILL Get moved around once I actually solder them up.
tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:05 am

I cut the perf boards out next.
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Then I made the bend. I used a Steel Clothes hanger, and Copper thread like stuff. I bent the Clothes hanger, and pretty much sewn the Perf board to the Clothes hanger, then I soldered the copper to try to keep a tight bond. I'm not to worried about it breaking a part in the housing, as it'll be glued in there too.

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Then I painted it with "Chrome" Paint.

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Looks more like silver paint if you ask me, but thats just me.
tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:11 am

Here's the PWM.. I used a Quickar Kit. Simple to build if ya know how to read a wiring diagram, if not, find a picture and go from there.

Out of the box.
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All the parts.
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Give ya an idea on how small it is. Pain in the ass to solder on.
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I organized all the parts.
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Built.
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I took a vid with it hooked up to 3 of Phils Blue 5mm LEDs. Shows ya what it can do pretty much.

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I'm hoping on getting some wiring done tomorrow, but I can't be sure if I can get it done or not. Whatcha Think?
Tim

Joined: Nov 16 2003
Posts: 10795
Location: Kalamazoo, MI


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:34 am

What do you plan to do with that PWM? Sorry, not too familiar with it. Looks like it's just a dimmer for LEDs, which is cool. Nice tails.
tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:35 am

Dim down the parking light circuit. Otherwise they'll be pretty bright for parking lights.
corvettecrazy

Joined: Dec 17 2003
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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:00 am

looks good, looks like you did your research.

I hope you plan to voltage regulate also. The PWM wont regulate voltage, only pulses them.
tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:34 am

corvettecrazy wrote:
looks good, looks like you did your research.

I hope you plan to voltage regulate also. The PWM wont regulate voltage, only pulses them.


LM317.. Going with a constant Current circuit.
itzbjorn

Joined: Jul 21 2005
Posts: 2276
Location: MPLS Minnesota


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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 7:30 pm

I've got those *EXACT* tail lights, and I love em. I'm planning on doing a LED retrofit, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Now you're my test dummy! GET BACK TO WORK, SLAVE! lol...

Keep postin pics, can't wait to see the finished product! Good Luck!
GlowinPontiac

Joined: Mar 04 2004
Posts: 5959
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Post Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:13 pm

PMW= puslse width modulation. it allows you to slow down a motor not by lowering its input voltage but by sending it the full voltage in varying pulses so it slows down but doesnt loose its torque.
tenminutestolate

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Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:22 am

GlowinPontiac wrote:
PMW= puslse width modulation. it allows you to slow down a motor not by lowering its input voltage but by sending it the full voltage in varying pulses so it slows down but doesnt loose its torque.


Yeah, Thats what I meant. lol.

itzbjorn - Be prepared. Its quite a bit of work.


I got some white LEDs soldered on, I expected to only fit 12 for the back up lights.. I got 12 on one right now, and its 1/4 full. I'm gonna move them around a bit though, right now i'll have jumper wires EVERYWHERES, and it's just going to be a giant mess and I don't think it'll hold up over time will all the jumpers I would need.
pOrk

Joined: Jan 03 2004
Posts: 8391
Location: Milwaukee Wi


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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:41 am

I saw this on s10forum, looks great so far!
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:53 am

pOrk wrote:
I saw this on s10forum, looks great so far!


lol Thanks! Its kinda funny, cause I've been researching and buying stuff for the past 3-4 months. And every time I think I know what I'm doing, or have a grasp on everything, something else comes up and throws me way off, and effects everything. I seriously did the calculations for my LM317 8 or 10 different times. With different LED counts, different amperage, Voltage.. I regulated it by current, and voltage.
pOrk

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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:03 am

Thats just how it works, better to find and correct the problem now before their installed in the bed of the truck and not lighting at all biglaugh.gif
tenminutestolate

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Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:18 am

Yeah, I'd be ****. I'm thinking about making it so I can tear the Tails back apart in case my wiring fails or something happens.. I could just pop them open pretty quick and fix the problem. I'm thinking a few JB Weld spot welds here and there, then lay a bead of silicone or Hot glue around the rest of it. It'll seal it up great, and be secure.

I bought some Connectors Last night. I wanted to keep the OE wiring, and I was just going to get some Molex Connectors, but those were $4 a set. A user on a different site led me onto 3157 Bulb Bases. I damn near had an accident.. Instantly fell in love.. And $.59 a piece, you can't beat it.

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http://autolumination.com/3157_3156.htm
corvettecrazy

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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:32 am

if the LM317 is a voltage regulator
http://www.muzique.com/schem/lm317.htm

I am curious about what your plans are for actually wiring the LED's and your schematic for the current regulator. 3 per series in parallel with a bunch of series?
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:43 am

I'm using the LM317 to limit current. I Use one resistor instead of two.

I'm going to do 4 per Series. 6 parallel series per circuit. I really don't have a wiring schematic online for the brake/parking lights. Tomorrow I'll post my calculations, I'm about ready to crash..

For the Reverse lights, I'm not regulating them... I think. I have more then enough LM317's. They will only be used here and there. I've got the ones I done in series of 4 right now. Forward voltage is at 3.4 volts, So I'm under powering them a bit. I'm thinking about running the regulator to them, and I'll be able to get 3.4 Volts to each of them, instead of the 3 volts to each.
tenminutestolate

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Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:06 pm

I'm going to retract the last statement, I am going to regulate them.


Excuse the mess in my kitchen.. It was I clean it up before and after, or Clean it up after.. You can tell which one I chose.

Got the one of the reverse lights wired up. 27 LEDs, Wired in series of 3. They will be regulated, so thats why they are in series of 3.

First few wired on.
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Some more on there.
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And for some reason, I don't have a pic with All the LEDs on there with out them on.

Heres the wiring. Kinda sloppy at the top, For some reason, it looks like the Positive and negative are wired together for the wires.
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12 Lit up pointing at my toaster
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All of them lit up. They have 3 volts a piece for these pictures.
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In the housing. I really couldn't get a good picture to show the output. The output isn't that great, but its pretty freaking bright when you look at it.
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pOrk

Joined: Jan 03 2004
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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:14 pm

Is it going to be bright enough to light the way? Probably not eh?
tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:35 pm

Nah, but it'll look badass though.

I got thinking about leaving a bulb for the back up lights. Then I thought its not going to be as cool. The tint that I have on the back window makes it hard enough to see out the rear as it is.. I generally stick my head out the window.

I was going to use Superfluxs.. But the viewing angle was fairly wide.
Phil
Owner, Oznium.com

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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:49 pm

Maybe some 10MM LEDs for reverse lights
corvettecrazy

Joined: Dec 17 2003
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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:07 pm

tuck a set of fog lights under your bumper and put them on a switch. use them when necessary.
tenminutestolate

Joined: Apr 17 2005
Posts: 73
Location: Peck-Michigan


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Post Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:15 pm

I thought about using some 10mm.. I decided to go with the 5mm's.

I like the fog lights, but I'll have a roll pan and drop here within the next few months, It'd look funny.

I thought about making a bracket similar to those "Hidden License Plate" things.. Where it hides behind the roll pan and when you turn your truck on, it'll pop out. But I'll just have it drop down. It'd be cool to have.
tenminutestolate

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Post Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:02 am

Other pod is wired up.
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Wiring.. Pretty cool ehh?
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Yeah, the Pods don't look like they are pointing even, but I need to trim one of the pods up a bit to make it fit a little bit better.

I got some 3157 Bulb bases in (So it'll be a plug and play, for the most part. Assuming I can fit the PWM, voltage regulators (and Heatsink) and LEDs in the housing, but I won't push it, it could get hot in there), and I hope to have the PWM's positively switched tomorrow. And possibly start on wiring the Parking lights. We'll see.
tenminutestolate

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Post Fri Jan 26, 2007 6:23 pm

Ok, More work done. PWM's are modded, and started on the weather proofing. Current Regulators are wired up, and parking lights for one side is wired up.

Pics.

You can see the LEDs better in person, but the camera doesn't do much justice.
Pics.

PWM rewired. 3 Wires, which means is positively switched now.. Its a glorious thing.
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3157 Bulb Base
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Current Regulator.
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First String Wired up.
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Second string wired up.
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Third string wired up.
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Fourth string wired up.
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Fifth String wired up.
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Everything wired up.
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The actual Board.
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Can't see the LEDs in the board..
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Reverse lights on, And PWM at about 50% load.
Daylight
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Darkness
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PWM Off. Bad pic, but its pretty bright. I'll feel sorry for anyone who has to look at me from the side.
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silentbob97

Joined: Jun 04 2006
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Post Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:30 am

Very cool! Why don't you fill in the middle of the "D" it will look a lot brighter? About what was the total cost of the project?
oldskoolhonda

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Post Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:06 am

silentbob97 wrote:
About what was the total cost of the project?
x2!
corvettecrazy

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Post Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:04 pm

oldskoolhonda wrote:
silentbob97 wrote:
About what was the total cost of the project?
x2!


my guess is somewhere around 80 bucks.

2 PWM is about 30
resistors, and LM317 shoudl have been about 5-10
less than 60 superflux 25
leds for reverse 5-10
board 15
tenminutestolate

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Post Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:28 pm

silentbob97 wrote:
Very cool! Why don't you fill in the middle of the "D" it will look a lot brighter? About what was the total cost of the project?


One step ahead of you.

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Taped in. Not secured in.
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I have a video also.
tenminutestolate

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Post Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:33 pm

http://media.putfile.com/Tail-Light-1

I didn't know how to adjust the camera to work with the PWM, so thats why your going to see the flashing, and the camera tried to adjust for the light everytime too... Not a very good video. I'm gonna pick up a flasher, and then hook it up to that, and hopefully I can get a better vid.

PRICE.
Its pushing about 200-225 With EVERYTHING (That includes all the tools I had to get.. A lot more expensive then I expected, but Its totally worth it.

$35 for Superflux
$25 for PWMS
$20 for White LEDs
$15 for Boards
$5 for Resistors/Diodes
$6 for Bulb Bases.

= $106

I still need 4 Heat sinks, And two project boxes.

Your going to have to factor in Solder, Sealants/Glues, etc. When you want to do it. That **** adds up. Quick.
I'm pretty sure I'm missing a few things.
tenminutestolate

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Post Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:33 am

So whats everyone think?

I got some part right now, I really can't do an update, Cause I'm just sealing up the boards right now to protect them from moisture. I will be mounting everything in a day or so..
tenminutestolate

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Post Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:14 pm

Ok Update. I got the PWM's secured to the board, and a most of it is wired up in the bulb bases. All but one is. Tonite after class I might glue the boards into the housings.

I used 3 bolts and spacers per housing.
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Screws and Spacers sticking out of the board.
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PWM Screwed on.
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Trimmed off the excess threads.
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Covered it in sealant.
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Bulb Bases.
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You can see my wires in there.
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Wired up.
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With the Sealer in the base.
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I fixed the housing too.. Some chrome was lifting off from some tape I used, and I'm deleting the side bulb.

Before:
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Covered the missing chrome, You can still see the side bulb socket.
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Side Covered. I covered a few more spots, but you can't see that anymore.
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So whatcha think?
78_towncar_460

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Post Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:59 pm

I like it,

I bought the stuff to do it a long time ago, for my Electra, but I haven't done anything yet.

My tail lights will be much easier than yours because The only house the DRL and the braking, the reverse lights are mounted in the bumper. Everything is rectangular, and so all I need to do is trim the circuit board down with the bandsaw, not complex shapes or curves.

How long did it take you from the time you unbolted the lenses?
tenminutestolate

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Post Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:16 pm

4 hours over two days would be safe to say. I tried to bake them, got so far and couldn't go anymore, and then switched to the dremel to finish it off. It worked much better.
tenminutestolate

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Post Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:31 pm

Update!

As of right now, both tails ARE sealed. Ones drying and will be put on tomorrow morning/afternoon.

Housings.
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Back of the Housings.
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You can see some error on my part when I was taking the housings apart. It shows up close by. You can see the black marks. Kinda icky.
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Same thing on this tail. I really think that it was going to do that no matter what. But it didn't turn out bad for a first time Retro-fit. User posted image

Whatcha think?
Tim

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Post Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:45 pm

Looks nice man. Can't wait to see them on the Explorer. Wish I had the money/skill/know-how to do this.
Moss

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Post Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:33 pm

Ther are going on an Explorer look like an s-dime
tenminutestolate

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Post Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:52 pm

Actually, they are going on my S10.. I forgot to make a gallery for my s10. I sold the explorer months ago..
tenminutestolate

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Post Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:27 pm

Tail lights are IN, and DONE.

They are not that bright in the bright sun, and it was about noon at this point with the pics. Something's goofy with the wiring though. I have to have the parking lights on in order to use the brake lights/turn signals.

If anyone says anything about my bed being dirty, Blow me. lol.

Stockers off.
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On.
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I'll be taking night time pictures later.
corvettecrazy

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Post Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:34 pm

you need to clean your truck biglaugh.gif

I would look into that parking light issue. Doesn't sound that safe.
Tim

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Post Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:44 pm

Looks nice.

I love Beagles.
tenminutestolate

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Post Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:24 pm

Its a good dog.. She's smart as can be. Can sniff her way outta anything.


Night pictures.
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Whats everyone think?
thumpinbass134

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Post Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:18 am

looks good, is the shape that noticable in person?? the d shape would kind of bug me.....
tenminutestolate

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Post Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:57 pm

Yeah.. I designed them to look like that. I wanted it to be like a circular design, but it wasn't going to be possible on my s10 without putting a different set of tails in.
pOrk

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:18 am

looks good, I like the directionals lighting up the middle.
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:37 am

I got thinking today looking over some of the pictures..

I think i'll swap all the cathodes outta my s10, and switch them with 200-300 LEDs between my entire interior, and build a PWM that can handle 2-4 Amps, and control all my interior LEDs with the PWM. That would be awesome.

I could just throw a Potentiometer on there and control the resistance, but say hello to uneven brightness patterns.

*EDIT* I just did the caculations.. I actually think the PWM can handle 3.5 Amps.. Thats a glorious answer right there.
Tim

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:33 am

^ that just blew my mind
78_towncar_460

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:33 pm

LED interior is awesome dude. Everyone that see the LED's I put into my car loves them. 200 or 300 would be really awesome though.
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:39 pm

Tim wrote:
^ that just blew my mind


In a good or bad way?
Tim

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:01 pm

In a I didn't understand one word way, lol
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:04 pm

Ahh..

Imagine 200-300 LEDs for my interior (Footwells, Cupholders, Vents, etc.).

A Pulse Width Modulator is a Driver. It'll send a pulsing signal out. It pulses so fast, that the human eye can't detect it. It'll make the LEDs look dimmer then they actually are, without changing their voltage.

When lower the voltage over a high number of LEDs, they all won't be the same brightness. Some will be brighter then others. The PWM (Pulse width Modulator) will even that out.

Some Pulse width modulators are only built to handle a certain amount of Amps. LEDs draw mA. With all the LEDs added up, i'll be running approximately 2.5-3 Amps, depending on the LEDs I use, and how many I run in series.

Now do ya understand lol?
Tim

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:40 pm

Makes more sense now, yea. I just don't see why you'd want to make the LEDs dimmer.
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:45 pm

For cruising purposes (set the mood with the lady friend, etc). 200 LEDs would be pretty **** bright if ya ask me, and I could have them on and drive, and still be able to see out my windows.

It'd be one of those things that aren't really needed, but pretty cool to have.
78_towncar_460

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:38 pm

How quickly does the PWM you have switch?

I hooked an LED up to AC power and it is a very noticable flicker @60hz, since the LED has not warm up or cool down time like a filament.

I can drive with my D's on since they are so directional. It will look awesome when you are done. I can't imagine what 200 would look like. I only have about 30 in my car around the headliner and it is much brighter than the stock bulb lighting. 200 would be sick.
tenminutestolate

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Post Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:46 pm

What do you mean by switch?

You can't tell that they are flickering in person, maybe once in a great while it'll flicker, but its not enough to notice. In the vid (on the first page, with the Blue LEDs in it) you can, but the frame rate and the PWM aren't synced together, and make it look like its flashing.
The time now is Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:22 am
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