Sunday, April 11, 2010

Let LEDs light your wings.


This is such a simple mod, that I've generally ignored documenting it. HOWEVER, to demonstrate the point of how simple and quick (and advantageous) this can be, I am doing this write up on it.

LEDs are taking over the world.  A melodramatic statment? Yes, but the technology has come a long way from the blinking red LED of ancient VCRs (..uhm, for you youngsters, that's how we use to record televised programs 
in our day...on large casettes with a small reel of magnetic tape....ok, stop laughing now). Anyway, LEDs are still a little pricey, but every year they come down in price and newer better ones come along. Today they are pretty affordable, especially for this application. 

Door Lights
Kudos to the DMC designers of the past, that thought it would be practical (and no doubt cool) to add fore, aft, and side lights to the gull wing doors.  Back then they had no other practical choice but to use the lighting of the time, the little (wedge based) incandescent bulbs.  Those lights while they do draw low power, if the doors are left open long enough, will eventually drain your battery; additionally, they are not very bright during the day time.

LED your door lights
Replacing your incandescent door lightbulbs with LEDs, fits perfectly with the theme of this blog. There are three distinct advantages to making this mod:
1) Replacement LEDs for your door lights, draw considerably less power than incandescent.  Other owners have commented of leaving their doors open (thus door lights on) for a week, with no noticable battery drain.
2) These LEDs are brighter than their incandescent versions.  I have seen at car shows our cars with brightly lit door lights - in bright daylight. They were all running LED lights.
3) Properly made and used, LED lights can last a very long time. It will most likely be years before you'd have to replace one of these new LED lights.

Where do I get them?

DMCH has a convenient one stop shop for a kit of 2 red and 4 yellow multi-led bulbs, for $14.95 (+ shipping/handling) 


They are plug and play, take the old ones out, put these in.  I have seen these used the most, and all observations noted above have been the DMCH kits.
If you want to experiment with brighter (needed?) or different colors, you can buy your own at On this link: Link to LED Wedge Bulbs ,the first group of LEDs shown, are the "WLED Minature Wedge Base Bulbs"...these are they ones typically used.
On the second group of bulbs shown at that link, titled "WLED Minature Wedge Base bulbs with High Power SMD LEDs"m are some variants that are said to be even brighter than the LED bulbs of the first group.

Installation, with pictures:
So let's see what it takes to put them in. As this article started, the installation is really very quick. Again, it's so simple that I've only read it described, but since digital pictures are cheap, here is the installation, documented with pictures:

1. Starting point. No need to unplug the battery for this as long as you don't mess with the wiring, and it also greatly assists the installation at a later step.

2. You want to pull the boot that holds the bulb and the lens, out of the door. You can try with your fingers, but I find that a screwdriver as a twisting wedge (being careful not to poke through the boot) is a good start.  

3. Once you get an edge of the boot out, you can then pull out the rest with you fingers, out until it clears the door. You'll need to pull more than you may think you need to, and for goodness sakes don't pull on the wire behind it.

4. You now need to remove the lens from the boot, do this by pushing back on the front lip of the boot. Only one hand shown because the other was holding the camera. You may be able to take just the lens out without pulling to boot out, but I find this way easier and less likely to damage the lens or boot.

5. Lens comes out. If you'll notice I already had an LED bulb in there. My previous onwer had replaced these, and years back the bulb in there, which only has one LED on it was affordable enough, but not at all bright enough. Pull the bulb straight out.

6. Now plug your new bulb in. Note the socket position, and aligh the connector end of the LED bulb with it.  

7. If the LED bulb does not immediately light up, pull out the LED bulb and spin it 180 degree and reinsert. LED bulbs unlike incandescnet bulbs are polarity sensitive, in that they will only work in one orientation. (This is where leaving the battery connected helps out do allow you do this only once.)

8. Reverse the process by replacing the lens on the boot, and pushing the boot back into its cutout on the door.

9. You are done. ...once you do the other five. : )

You now have very bright, low power, very cool looking door lights on your car. If you're still running incandescent bulbs, seriously consider this simple and relatively inexpensive upgrade to your car.

If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help, I'm owner of DeLorean DMC-12 2230


led par 38 said...

Its quiet good idea and its simple but it helps a lot , thanks for sharing this.