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Thread: LED tail lamps

  1. #1

    LED tail lamps

    Does anyone know if the LED tail lamps work well for our brake and tail lamps? I'm thinking lower current and brighter lights.


  2. #2
    I did some research and discovered that:

    1) The current versions use less current (good)
    2) They light very quickly
    3) LED's, even groups of them, are not brighter than a tungsten bulb, not helped by...
    4) LED's are directional, so there is no assistance from the reflectors inside the housing.
    5) Because of the directional light, off-axis brightness is not as good.
    6) They cost a bunch more.
    but then again.....
    7) The ones that display a circular lighting pattern will create conversation.

    I thought an improvement could be had here, but I'll wait for the next version whatever that is.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CurtEgerer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Sunshine State
    A friend of mine was an engineer with GM's Delphi group several years ago and was involved in testing of LED tailights. We discussed this recently and the 'instant on' aspect of LED's compared to the lag-time needed to heat a conventional filament bulb resulted in astounding differences in brake reaction times of following drivers! -- Curt

  4. #4
    On the other hand, the maximum brightness shouldn't be the ultimate factor. Upon further study, I think one should factor in the speed at which the lamp illuminates and the illumination threshold that fully alerts a following driver the brakes are "ON". However, fog, rain and other atmospheric elements are variables that further reduce real or perceived LED brightness which may or may not offset voltage drop to normal bulbs which results in even slower illumination times.

    Here's a link to a study on the response time of LED vs incandesent bulbs and the potential impact it has on rear collisions.


  5. #5
    You might be comparing an LED bulb assembly with a regular tail lamp assembly. Not the same thing. An LED bulb array and an incandescent bulb both weigh about an ounce (maybe less). They both fit into the bulb socket of a tail lamp assembly which weighs around 5 lbs.


  6. #6
    tail lights. what tail lights?
    72 911t * 74 914 2.0

  7. #7
    I've looked in to getting some round ones to mate up with the 911R style backing plates. I ordered a set of Hella lights, and also a few examples of round LED configurations. When it all arrives, I'll post my findings.

  8. #8
    Well, my backing plates are here from South Africa. Here's a picture of them with the Hella light clusters from Switzerland. Very international car I'm putting together, huh?

    The stock rear tail light assemblies weigh 3.5 pounds each, a little more with the lenses. These fiberglass backing pieces, combined with a pair of Hella clusters, only weigh 23 ounces per side.

    4 2/3 pounds saved. And as a bonus, the new assemblies are less expensive than the stock ones they replaced.

    (Oh, and the LED clusters I got weigh about the same as the Hella ones. They don't look as good, either. I'm going to put them up on ebay.)

  9. #9
    Goldmember ttweed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    La Jolla, CA
    Originally posted by JackOlsen
    Well, my backing plates are here from South Africa. Here's a picture of them with the Hella light clusters from Switzerland.
    Looks good, Jack! DO you have sources for those pieces? Is TRE carrying them in stock?

    Tom Tweed
    Early S Registry #257
    R Gruppe #232
    Rennlist Founding Member #990416-1164
    PCA National DE Instructor
    Read my surf novel!

  10. #10
    Very nifty! The weight saving is surprising. I'm with Tom....sharing your sources?
    (the other) Jack
    1972 911S- viper green
    1970 914/6- tangerine
    1967 Ferrari 330GTC- oro chiaro

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