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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just figured I'd throw this up here. Got a little bored waiting on some parts for my truck so I decided to tackle a little project I've had stewing in my head for a while now.

Below are two prototype designs I've come up with for LED tail lights. The first one is much more basic and easy to create, but I'm worried about spacing of the LEDs from the outter edge to the lens as opposed to the center to the lens. Hence prototype bravo which will actually place the LEDs equidistant to the inner portion of the lens so the brightness will appear uniform. I made both so that I can try each method out and figure out which is a more efficient design.

The alpha prototype will have 160 LEDs. Instead of using resistors to chop down voltage for high/low dual intensity (for tail/brake), I'll instead use an alternating pattern. Thereby, only half of the LEDs will be lit during run and both arrays will be lit during blink/brake. The upper backup lamp will have 70 LEDs all on the same circuit.

The bravo prototype will have a lower number of LEDs (120/50) but will be closer to the lens and hopefully produce an equal or greater amount of light.

On to the pictures:


PT Alpha alone


PT Alpha with lens


PT Bravo alone


PT Bravo with lens

The alpha would be severely easier to recreate and reproduce, but the bravo (at this point) seems more promising.

I'm currently shopping around for the most suitable LED I can find.

For those of you wondering why I decided to do this instead of simply replacing the bulb with one of the many available LED replacements, I did it mostly for the custom factor but also because I personally feel the replacement LED bulb doesn't look nearly as good as it should or as the potential to look. I hope to achieve almost blindingly bright brake and blinkers, much more "tight" of a blink as opposed to the ragged looking blink of an incandescent bulb, and brighter tail lights. It's also, as I said, one of those little projects I've had floating around in the back of my head for a while now and during some downtime, I get to stay in the garage/my house where it's air conditioned as opposed to turning a wrench in 115 degree weather.

-Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Hybrid 1ton said:
I have at some point in time. I think it'd be hard to try and manipulate those squares to fit the shape you'd want. Maybe for a Wrangler taillight that is square, or maybe even for the later RCs that have more of a square shape, but the earlier models had a curved edge.
True, though, your bravo design looks like it could fit 3-4 of those boards (1.5"x1.5") on the rearward facing panel. But at $10 a piece i bet you could find a cheaper solution. :)
 

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I saw that Radio Shack sells individual LED's.  I don't know about the price or the selection compared to superbrightleds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Radioshack's selection (like with most things) is ridiculously lacking. Radioshack could be such a bad ass place, but they're about four steps away from selling minibikes and generators like Autozone does.

The other problem with generic electronic shop LED's is that they don't produce nearly enough light for something of this caliber. I'll probably find what I need through digi-key or some other electronics house online.
 

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OK, so I was thinking, why not use the square LED's linked to earlier, but with MIRRORED acrylic ? Drilling 36 holes for the 1156-PCB-x36, ( X2, one for the brake and one for the directional ) then use the smaller 1156-PCB-WHP9 for the back up light. if you used the "ALPHA" design , mounted the LED on the non reflective side, so the LED's only show through to the mirrored side. I really think with the super bright LED's and the mirror,you'd achieve the brightness your looking for, not to mention it'd be really "finished" looking. Just my 2cents ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ODSVET said:
I would think the "alpha" seems like the most effective way to get the desired effect... its flat and these are too http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&Page2Disp=%2Fspecs%2Fpcblamp.htm ... I guess I'm missing where your headed with the "angle within the angle" ..
The issue with the angled Alpha design is that the LED's on the edge of the lens will be closer to it than the LED's in the center- that is considering that the entire surface is covered in LED's. Furthermore, the thing I see distracting to the two dimensional design is that is casts the light outward at a 90* angle. A 90* angle to that plane would be point the light (in a focused beam) at roughly 135* degrees to the side of the body and the tailgate, a direction that isn't entirely useful. I want a majority of my light directed backward at vehicles behind me and sideways at vehicles to my flank.

The PCB's would be nice but, based on their own specs, wouldn't output nearly the lumens I'm looking for. Plus, with them I think you'd be able to see the deliberate little square of LEDs shining through the lens. To me, that seems a little more unfinished than a uniform coverage of LEDs throughout.

Thanks for the input though. Keep it coming.
 

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How's things going with this?  Anything new?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry for the lack of updates. Nothing new on this project as of yet. I'm still hunting around for the appropriate lights. I don't want to use substandard LEDs for a cost savings or just because I have them, and then become upset with the outcome of the project. Total investment will most likely be around 50 bucks for both corners, including the plexiglass (which I'm considering going to 1/8" instead of 1/4" for ease of manipulating and cutting it, and also to ensure that the head of the LED protrudes enough from the plexi so it casts properly, instead of flooding the plexiglass with light.)


I've been spending a lot of time getting the rig up and streetable and driving it around. I've got a few more small things to add (flooring material, radiator recirc. can, etc.) and then I'll begin focusing on this fulltime.

Thanks for asking though, Duff {cool}
 

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Hybrid join HId Planet they have a great LED section, I have started conversions for the 80's trucks and ended up going to a 4" round Std truck light instead. and if you don't want to go through the trouble of building in a 2nd circuit to have running and brake levels set up your runs for 12V and use this flasher it does the step down internally. Also use the superflux LED's in Red/Orange color over 5MM units





 
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