How to change your car's bulbs to LED
6:10

How to change your car's bulbs to LED

Roadshow
[MUSIC] We talk a lot about headlights on this show. All the time about the new technologies including lazer, high intensity discharge, even LED headlights. But how often do you think are the other lights in your car, the tail lights, the turn signals, the various markers, even the interior light bulbs, all of those Can be upgraded. A lot easier than headlights in most cases and give you some really dramatic improvements. Let's learn how to do it. But first, let's learn why and then we'll actually do an install and we'll see some of the pitfalls I want you to know before you take this on on your car. The reason you would go to LEDs, on all those little bulbs around the outside of your car, there's really four aspects to it. First of all, brighter light I've got a demo right here of a common incandecent, turn signal and stop lamp bulb next to an LED one. There is your incandecent there but take a look at the LED bulb next to it. There is a night and day difference. The next reason you would do, this is to get longer life. As you probably know, LED's basically don't die. I can live that thing on for years and boring any manufacturing issues It'll still be going. That is not gonna be the case with our old friend here invented by Thomas Edison. The third reason you go to LED is energy efficiency. This isn't a huge deal for most of us that are doing after market upgrades. But for automotive designers, they love going all LED because cumulatively Every little bulb in the car, they can really draw down the current that is required to be pushed through all those wires. Take a look at the amperage draw of an incandescent bulb, about 550 milliamps. If I turn on the LED instead, about 52 milliamps. Literally one-tenth the power consumption. And finally you've got this idea of sharper cycling. By that I mean this, look at this bulbs. When I turn the incandescent on, it kinda glows on, and then glows off. When I turn the LED on, it's on right now, and it's off right now. What's going on there is the different nature of how these bulbs energized. Here is what's called a sine wave And this is how a typical filament bulb works. When you turn it on, it gradually arcs up to full brightness and then gradually arcs down again when you turn it off. When you do an LED bulb actuation, it's much more of a square way. It's immediately straight up to full on, And then straight down, like falling off a cliff, when you turn the switch off. That gives it that really sharp, very eye grabbing kind of illumination that I think, and I've got no research to back me here, but I think it makes a brake light or a hazard light more attention grabbing. All right, now we know all the theory and the science, let's go out and do an install. In fact we'll use our Cnet video van. First, make a list of the bulb types your car uses. You can find the type and number of bulbs your car needs at the [UNKNOWN] or Philips automotive bulb sites. Or you can go to Amazon's automotive section, they'll have them there too, as well as lots of no-name brands of the same type. Now once you get the fit you need and the brightness you want, it's also nice to look for bulbs that are without polarity. Because some cars, and I'm looking at you, Porsche, use backwards polarity that will mean some simpler LED bulbs won't work. I wish we were just gonna do little interior bulbs like dome lights, where all you have to worry about is color temperature. Keep it around 3000K for a nice warm white. But we're here to do important lights, none more so than the tail light. Okay, so once I've got my tail light module off, and this is common to every car made in the last 20 years, you're gonna find some simple twist lock connectors. Just a part of a turn, back it out and there's your bulb. And then I take my LED bulb, with an identical base, but with a very different top, of course. That just snaps right in the same way. Notice our incandescent tail light bulb is clear, while the LED replacement is red. That's because LEDs make so-called white differently, and it wouldn't look right if it was a white LED. Generally, buy LED bulbs to match the lens color. So far, pretty easy. And the light tests fine for parking lights, brake lights. But there's a problem. See how fast now the turn signal is now flashing. That's called hyper flash our new LED bulb draw so little power the car's computer thinks it's a blown bulb and it's letting us know by flashing fast. It's annoying and pretty amature looking. Now to cure hyper flash we're gonna gives some load to that LED. We're gonna make it use more energy than it needs to. This is pretty ineligent stuff but you do it with one of these resisters. And these are sold on Amazon, all kinds of them in little kits like this. What you're gonna do basically is piggyback this on the positive and negative wires that go to the flasher part of that bulb. If you've never done automotive wiring, this isn't for you. If you've done a little of it, it's quite easy. This is also what's called parallel wiring. We're not interrupting anything. We're just sort of grafting this onto the existing turn signal circuit. I've identified that the wires I need to get to are the yellow, which is positive turn signal, and the black, which is the ground for that turn signal vault. I use a Scotchlok connector and just graft one end of the resistor to each of those wires. Which resistor wire goes where? Doesn't matter. Okay, we're all crimped up on what I believe are the right wires. Let's check out the bulb. And there we go. There's parking. There's brake. There's turn signal. They all look good. And most importantly, the turn signal's the right rate now. But last thing you gotta do before you button this all up is you've gotta mount that resistor. It can't just be hanging there, cuz it's gonna get hot. It will get as hot as the bulb use to get, the incandescent bulb, and that'll burn things up, like nearby insulation. So I'm gonna get in there and drill a couple of holes on nearby, hard to damage sheet metal. [SOUND] And then I'm gonna **** this resistor down to that sheet metal, giving it an even better heat sink, or place to dissipate its heat. Now, as you can see, this is not a very elegant situation. I'm not a big fan of this whole resistor thing to overcome hyper flash. I think I like this less than hyper flash itself. But either way, you've got to ask yourself, do you want to go either of these routes to go full LED? I like the benefits, I don't like some of the downsides. [MUSIC]

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