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-   -   LED tail lights (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/led-tail-lights-33219.html)

TheTJRod 07-13-2009 09:05 AM

LED tail lights
 
Hey guys. I decided to convert my taillights to LED's. Me and my wife had a great idea of arranging the to show a "T" on the left and a "J" on the right when I brake. The only thing is that the stock cover diffuses the light so much you can't tell what it is suppose to be. Any suggestions on where to get a smooth light cover?

I used 5mm super bright white LED's rated at 20-25kmcd. 8 for running lights and 11 for brake lights. They are brighter than the stock lights.

Here's some pics.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1624.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1626.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1625.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1628.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1627.jpg

Ironman 07-13-2009 09:48 AM

That's cool. Post some pics after it's installed.

daanbc 07-13-2009 02:00 PM

That is way cool! I would check out e-bay for some clear len's. I don't believe you are going to need jeep len's in particular, since you are customizing. I'd look at all the clears they have and go from there. I would usually suggest the junk-yard. But i don't think you'll find anything that your looking for in there for this project. Please keep us informed.

01TJ 07-13-2009 05:43 PM

very nice! from what it looks like, these lenses are smooth:
Rampage Products 5307 - Rampage Diamond Brite Euro Style Taillight Conversion Kit for 76-06 Jeep® CJ-5, CJ-7, CJ-8 Scrambler, Wrangler YJ, TJ & Unlimited - Quadratec

BLACKTOOTHGRIN 07-13-2009 08:48 PM

That's a very creative and awesome idea man.
I've never seen that done before.
You might need to go with Red LED's and clear lenses to get it to look right though.
Also, the LED's you have on the left and right of the "T" and "J" might be throwing it off too.

Keep at it though.
I'm sure it'll look great when you get it right. :)

TheTJRod 07-14-2009 04:59 PM

Just to show I didn't disappear, here are a few pics on the other LED mods it have done.


I switched out my overhead lights to LED's. One has four 5mm blue LED's.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1636.jpg

I ran out of blue LED's when making this first one(Main reason I burnt out a lot of them). I ordered 100 blue LED's, sadly not recognizing that I ordered the smaller 3mm. No biggy as they were only one dollar from a Hong Kong supplier. Shipping was surprisingly fast. I decided that I would need more lights in the second one. Probably an hour later of slacking and burning my retinas I soldered up a 36 LED square on a square perf board.

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1634.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1634.jpg

These were super easy to wire up. The old dome lights happen to have loops on the outer edges. I broke the glass in the middle and cleaned it all out then twisted my power and ground through the loops then popped the metal ends back in place. Also note that you have to cover the back side of the perf board with electrical tape so you don't short it out on the metal in the light casing. If anyone wants to see more picks of how I did it, replay with a request.

When it gets dark I will take some picks of the brightness of the dome lights and how the brake lights look.

I am thinking of rearranging the lights so they always show a "T" and "J", and just putting a resistor on the wire used for the running lights. What do you guys think?

TheTJRod 07-14-2009 05:00 PM

Also I changed my dash and HVAC lights to blue(My radio is blue, and well.. I like blue)

TheTJRod 07-14-2009 07:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zybeon (Post 401328)
I switched out my overhead lights to LED's. One has four 5mm blue LED's.

I guess I can't count, there are 8 LED's on the right side dome light. They are wired in sets of 4 to spread the voltage across them to a acceptable level.

Need a diagram to do this yourself or need help wiring your own? I would gladly help.

BLACKTOOTHGRIN 07-14-2009 08:19 PM

Yeah uh.... I think you shocked yourself a few times while wiring them together, to be counting four LED's.
Either that, or you were just having too much fun doing it. :blunt: :D:D:D

Looks good though man. :)
It looks like your cab would be super bright too!

I'd like to do something like that.
Maybe in the rear, where the hard top light is.
The one that's in there now is really sh*tty.

Mark A. 07-15-2009 03:17 PM

Patent
 
I think you should put a patent on this idea ASAP. No doubt as neat as this is, you could make some cash by having these mass produced.:)

If you make some $$, please get in contact with me for giving you this idea.;)

TheTJRod 07-16-2009 11:32 AM

Ok.. well I took some pics of it and it is what I feared. The taillight cover diffuses most of the light.

The running lights
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1655.jpg

The brake applied on the "T" light
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1656.jpg

The "J" lit up
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1657.jpg

The "J" lit up with running lights.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1658.jpg

The "J" brake light without the running lights
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1660.jpg

The "T" brake light without the running lights
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1662.jpg

The "T" brake with running lights
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1664.jpg

And now two pics of my interior lights.(Blurry I know but my camera sucks at night)
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1667.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1669.jpg

Saint101 07-16-2009 12:21 PM

Looks good.

TheTJRod 07-23-2009 03:14 PM

I am waiting for a bunch of red led's to show up. I am going to get bigger boards and just make it a "T" and "J" I will either make them just run at half brightness when using the running lights, or make it so the straight lines in the letters are on while using running lights and then the brake lights make it look like the letters.

Tell me what you guys think.

dylan 07-23-2009 03:59 PM

I think either of those would look rad. If you can get the brightness/half-brightness just right, I'm partial to that particular idea.

TheTJRod 07-27-2009 09:26 PM

I ordered the LED's from Hong Kong for a few buck, and still waiting for the to get in. Ordered some voltage regulators, and other needed components to give a steady and safe current to the LED's. Also I decided to get them to show the letters all the time and to just be at half brightness for the running lights and using a transistor as a switch to run them at full brightness.

tersian 07-27-2009 09:43 PM

Cool
 
Very cool man.

I know that jeep owners enjoy a sense of uniqueness but if you made affordable kits for the TJ mod I would definitely want one. What material is the bread board made out of. Is it ok for exterior usage?

Wish I thought of this first. :doh:

btw I'm in NJ so if your in Colorado maybe it could still be considered unique.:D

tersian 07-27-2009 09:44 PM

woops I mean northern virginia

TheTJRod 08-02-2009 07:21 PM

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I went on a weekend trail run with my wife and my friend and his girlfriend and 4 kids. We went to George Washington National Forest. Saw a dozen Land Rovers there. Would put up a picture but my wife has the camera right now, so later I will post one on my time line when I update it.

Anyway, I have finished the "T" and wanted to post a pic. I am working on the "J" now and will post a pic of them installed when it gets dark tonight(If the wife lets me).

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...0731092140.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...731092140a.jpg

The two LED's pointing down are white, to illuminate the license plate.

TheTJRod 08-03-2009 11:02 AM

Well I didn't get to finish last night, my wife got home and spent the evening with her.

Almost finished the "J".

All the pics are bad right now I know, but they are with my phone.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...803090727a.jpg

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...0803090727.jpg

Just because I had so much fun this weekend I put up this with a little flex action! This is also at an incline of about 30 degrees.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...RJIMG_8818.jpg

dylan 08-03-2009 01:28 PM

Sick:D

Ripcord 08-03-2009 09:33 PM

Did you find any clear light covers?

TheTJRod 08-04-2009 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ripcord (Post 414607)
Did you find any clear light covers?

The only ones I have found are LED taillights that not only come with LED's but are way to expensive.

I am having a few problems with them. I did all the calculations then soldered them up, the "T" worked great but then when seeing how it fit accidentally grounded it on the metal divider in the tail light and it stopped working fully. I burnt out one LED, so I hope that is the only problem. The "J" doesn't work at all, I need more hands so that I can plug it in and take a multimeter to it. I already checked all the connections, and the LED's and they are all good. Only thing I can think of that could be wrong is that I got a bad regulator. I hope that is the problem.

Oh and for the circuit guys here, I used 3 groups of 5 red LED's in parallel with 1.8-2v drop with a 680ohm resistor for about 5mA. Then for the full brightness I use a NPN transistor as a switch. Connect the ground of the LED's before the resistor to the collector, the brake/turn wire to the base, through a 500ohm resistor, then have a 150ohm resistor connected to the emitter and ground. Wiring a 680ohm and 150 ohm resistor in parallel making it close to 102ohm overall to give the LED's about 20mA current.

TheTJRod 08-27-2009 04:09 PM

So sorry it has been a while. I kinda put it on the back burner. The regulator thing was just not working out to well. I had to add some diodes for polarity checks and that made the input voltage drop to much for it to work right. Work piled up and got some new bumpers, and went to the Big Dogs Summer Slam near Winchester, VA. All that slowed me down some more. Well to lighten the mood here is a pic.

http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...9/DSCN1794.jpg

I striped out the regulators and decided on an easier approach. Here is a circuit of the working design. I got it all working, you are required to use that many diodes or your Jeep does weird things when turning on the turn signals without the running lights on.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...tschematic.jpg

I also did the flasher mod so I don't have to worry about the fast blinker. That page has some info about what it does and how to do it yourself for your year TJ. Don't use or get LED light that have a load resistor. All it does is negate the power saving and you have to find a spot for a chuck of metal that gets hot.

TheTJRod 08-28-2009 01:18 AM

Darn you blacktooth, red leds were no where near as bright. I need to redo them with the white leds. And they have a higher voltage drop so I will have to redesign it. Oh well. Here are some pics, if I can get it bright enough it will look good.

Here is the difference of the regular and the LED's for the running lights
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1815.jpg

Here is with the brake lights on
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1816.jpg

Of course the light doesn't look like that for real, but the pictures are to just show the light output difference.

Here is the "T" on running lights
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1818.jpg

And for brake lights.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...DSCN1820-1.jpg

And a close up so that you can see that the "T" is really visible.
http://i574.photobucket.com/albums/s...l/DSCN1821.jpg

I can increase the brightness more but at the risk of severely shortening the life if the leds. Also if one goes out it knocks out a whole string of them(three sets of 5 in each)

TheTJRod 08-28-2009 01:19 AM

PS: I hate my camera.... it sucks.

BLACKTOOTHGRIN 08-28-2009 04:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zybeon (Post 430889)
Darn you blacktooth, red leds were no where near as bright. I need to redo them with the white leds. And they have a higher voltage drop so I will have to redesign it. Oh well. Here are some pics, if I can get it bright enough it will look good.

No, Red LEDs aren't going to be as bright as white ones.
I never said they would be. :cool:

I said to get the T and the J to look right,
(well defined)
you might have to use Red LED's and Clear lenses.
It looks to me like you're still using the stocker lenses.
Yeah Red LEDs inside Red stocker lenses would be very dim,
and not very well defined at all. :)

If ya get tired of messing with it all,
maybe try some LiteDots.
They've worked well so far,
and I've had them almost a year now.

http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/e...sLightOn-1.jpg

Incursorio 08-28-2009 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BLACKTOOTHGRIN (Post 430902)
No, Red LEDs aren't going to be as bright as white ones.
I never said they would be. :cool:

I said to get the T and the J to look right,
(well defined)
you might have to use Red LED's and Clear lenses.
It looks to me like you're still using the stocker lenses.
Yeah Red LEDs inside Red stocker lenses would be very dim,
and not very well defined at all. :)

If ya get tired of messing with it all,
maybe try some LiteDots.
They've worked well so far,
and I've had them almost a year now.

http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/e...sLightOn-1.jpg




Where to get these?
What to you get inside? Stop / turn / reverse light?

BLACKTOOTHGRIN 08-28-2009 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Incursorio (Post 430909)
Where to get these?
What to you get inside? Stop / turn / reverse light?

When stopping, they get brighter.
When turning, they blink brighter, plus there are 3 LED's on the outer edges.
When in reverse, the Red LED's go out, and the White LED's come on.

http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/e...AP/LiteDOT.jpg

Here ya go man.

https://secure48.mysecureorder.net/o...elibbkpfc9d3g0


If you Google "ORO LITEDOTS" and shop around,
you might be able to find them cheaper, I'm not sure.
I bought mine directly from OffRoadOnly.com just in case I had any issues,
I could deal with them directly instead of going through a 3rd party.

As it turned out,
that was a good idea because they shipped me two left lights the first time.
They're good guys over there though.
All it took was one phone call,
and they overnighted me the right light the very next day. :)

TheTJRod 08-28-2009 01:11 PM

Those things are expensive!

I think I am going to temporarily wire in 1k potentiometers so I can just adjust them to the right brightness then install the permanent resistors and install it all to see how long it works. If it doesn't work I will try with white leds as they seemed much brighter. If that doesn't look as intended I will just make some plain old array of leds and call it a day... or a week.

Cons_Table 08-28-2009 02:11 PM

3 Attachment(s)
i liked the ORO litedots but i didnt like the price tag lol. these cost me 30 dollars from walmart and work great.
Attachment 10879

Attachment 10880

Attachment 10881


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