LED Bulbs

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LED Bulbs

#1 Post by Paul_1978_yorks » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:26 pm

Has anyone has any success using LED bulbs in their cars, for either front or rear illumination?

I feel the rear lights in particular are not as effective as they could be in 2019, so wondered if anyone had tried any LED alternatives.
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Re: LED Bulbs

#2 Post by RoverRevival » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:18 pm

rover-25x is the led king, and he won't use them for anything other than number plate illumination.....

says it all to me.
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Re: LED Bulbs

#3 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:19 pm

Paul_1978_yorks wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:26 pm
Has anyone has any success using LED bulbs in their cars, for either front or rear illumination?

I feel the rear lights in particular are not as effective as they could be in 2019, so wondered if anyone had tried any LED alternatives.
Don't think LED bulbs are legal for the R8. It might still pass an MOT with them fitted though: https://blog.motoringassist.com/news/fi ... r-legally/

As Dist has basically hinted at, the main problem is brightness and they're too directional. I've raised this point before - car lights have parabolic reflectors in them, designed for a single point light source at the focal point, so all the rays get cast out in a parallel beam and you get maximum brightness. LED bulbs are normally made up of a "head" of several (sometimes dozens) of small LEDs or LED chips. Even if there's one at the focal point, the rest aren't. You generally find when trying aftermarket LED bulbs that the lens lights up nice and bright - brighter than a filament bulb, but the light output were it matters is rubbish. If you look at the Osram "Premium" series, where maximum brightness is required they're a high-tech. single-LED chip that sits at exactly the same point as the filament and they radiate light out at all angles (isotropic) - just like a wire filament.

I'd try some branded ones (philips/osram) - there are only a few different types required - 501, 382 and 239 festoon style. Try a couple as a matched pair left and right and see if you like them before you spend lots of money on a full set. Don't choose the indicators all round, as the flasher requires the correct electrical load to work (it forms part of the flasher circuit). LED clusters generally draw a lot less current (resistance is higher) so If you replaced all indicators with LED bulbs, you'd need to splice into the Rover loom a suitable power resistor in a few locations so the LED bulbs "look" like standard 5W (or 21W) filament bulbs. More trouble than it's worth, although having said that some of the Osram ones quote equivalent power - so type 382 at a genuine 21W. They've either been clever and got an LED chip to dissipate 21W as light energy, or there's a resistor in the bulb. Try replacing just say the back pair to start with - depending on whether they have the correct resistance/load, the flasher will probably still work but might be a bit slower.

Definitely don't buy LED headlamp bulbs. You'll get a lovely, impressively bright lenses in bright white, but you'll be driving and realise you can't actually see anything in front of you. Buy the Philips or Osram ultra-high output standard filament ones (Osram's are Night breakers [in various levels of output over and above a standard bulb - 100%, 150%, 200%]). Think the Philips ones you can get in different tints / colour temperatures. Regarding the other types of bulb around the car, Philips do a "vision +" series that are 60% brighter than standard bulbs in 382/501 series.
Last edited by Johnny 216GSi on Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: LED Bulbs

#4 Post by Julesmat50 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:23 am

Johnny 216GSi wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:19 pm
Don't think LED bulbs are legal for the R8.
IF, and it is a BIG if, you want to believe the advice on the automotive LED light display in Halfords, if your car was not fitted with LED lights as standard, then it's not permissable to fit LED replacements except for interior and off-road use... a bit like it used to be with the 130/90 high output lights not stamped with the EU mark. Of course, there is nothing to stop you doing so if you have that burning desire, but technically it is against current legislation, if Halfords have it correct.
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Re: LED Bulbs

#5 Post by Kriss707 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:18 pm

I've upgraded all the rear bulbs & front side & indicator bulbs on my Cabbie with LED bulbs & they are brighter & quicker illuminating.

I've had no problems with Mot.

The only thing you need to be aware of is Canbus errors. This is when the car thinks the bulb is blown as it uses very little current. This is overcome by paying a little extra for Canbus Error free bulbs, especially in the indecators. Non canbus error indicator bulbs will give hyperflash & you have to put a resistor in-line to give a current, these resistors get hot & defeat the object of using low draw bulbs !

The other thing to note is because the older lights are reflecter style lights you must get the LED bulbs with the LEDs down the side not just on the top.

I haven't tried the LED upgrade for the main/dip as yet as I've heard varying reports on them & £40+ for a supposedly decent kit with built in coolers I want to be sure it worth doing.

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Re: LED Bulbs

#6 Post by ROVER-25X » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:32 pm

Yeah I used a few LED's on my R8 Cabby.

Front Sidelights: Warm White 501 9 LED/SMD Bulbs, nice and bright but keeps that factory look.
Side Repeaters: Amber 501 5 LED/SMD Bulbs, can't use them in the main inidcators as they need resistors, plus the bright ones are pricey.
Rear Sidelights: Red 501 9 LED/SMD Bulbs, look great, nice deep red colour, will add brake LED's eventually.
Numberplate: Warm White 9 LED/SMD Festoon Bulbs,
Interior Light: Cool White 48 LED Panel, just an experiment, will swap to warm white eventually.

Can't find a pic of the sidelights but here is the rear lights.


Comparison of a standard bulb and an LED


This is my Interior light.



Using this Land Rover unit as an upgrade, still to sort an LED for the map light.



Pics of my old Cabby, it was identical to my current one though.

Old LED lights, same set up but cool white LED number plate lights.


I also dabbled with H4 98 LED Headlights over 8 years ago, just big sidelights, they looked really bright but they did
not light up the road what so ever, Police never pulled me but they were useless and scattered the beam.


Comparison with a standard and then an LED bulb.


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