Saturday, July 20, 2013

The DeLorean's Glove Box Lighting

Let's start with a picture of 2019's glove box, contents, and LED lighting (excuse the dash mat, just trying to preserve a good dash).


Like all modern cars DeLoreans have a glove box, which is used to to store almost anything but gloves.  Not  all cars have glove boxes with lighting, but the DeLorean does. Granted this is an area of the car of neither much concern nor usage, however, this area has been known to drain batteries if the connections aren't correct (this light socket gets power even with doors off), or if (the incandescent) light is accidentally left on.  Also following my past LED conversion, it was a candidate location for an LED upgrade -- and it turned out to be a trickier conversion than most other socket/bulbs.

Bulb Type

As I mentioned on the previously written LED conversion blog entry, this is not a common bulb, but it still can be found.  If you are looking for the incandescent replacement, search eBay or Google for a "12V T10 bulb".  The "12V" is important because this bulb type use to be typically used on lower voltage, small flashlights.

If you'd like to replace this bulb with an LED, the similarly search for a "12V T10 LED", and you'll find options. Tip: Don't go with one that has a large bulb-side, or it may not fit.

Blog Recommendation Verification

I was motivated to generate this simple blog entry because I read that other owners had trouble fitting in the glove box LED recommendations that were on my blog.  This made me curious and caused me to a) check my LED solution in the glove box, and b) to test out the bulb that was written as a recommendation.

What I found was:
a) I was using an LED bulb which I sourced at the time, but is no longer available; however, it was working, and the fit was, fine.

b) I purchased the bulb recommended on my blog entry, and tried it out myself. The issues that other owners mentioned, was that this bulb was too long, and it would not fit.  Using that same bulb, it did in fact work out great, but in the process I may have stumbled on the reason others had issues with it.

Glove Box Housing

Ah, the late 70's and early 80's were a different time.  Multiple little parts that today are replaced by one single part, was acceptable back then.  And there in lies a potential issue, the glove box housing is made up of six separate parts, that can actually be assembled in different ways(!).

...and let's start out with that.  Here is a picture of the blog's recommended LED light, with the housing removed from the glove box.

As you can see, there is NO way that lens will attach to the housing. The LED is just too long. ...or is it?
I have purposely incorrectly reassembled the housing incorrectly in the picture above, to demonstrate a point: It will fit fine into the glove box as pictured, and maybe you may have to bend the electrical pins a little, but it certainly works this way.  Except the lens cover will not fit in this configuration.

Here in fact are all the six parts of the housing, with the same bulb...
You can see that the LED bulb's threads are still sticking about the socket, and I did not even have to tighten it very hard, but in this configuration, it still fits and works properly, as seen below.

Re-assembling it back as correctly, and powering it up on the bench...
...shows that the bulb fits, and lights up (very brightly, with this LED).

Glove Box Housing - The Proper Re-Asssembly

Since I had that previous picture, I took the next step and put some re-assembly instructions on it, as follows:

Just remember to reconnect the terminals in the rear, to the two associated connectors.  (Edit: If it doesn't light up upon re-installation, reverse the connectors to the terminals - polarity at the terminals doesn't matter for an incandescent, but it does for LEDs.) When the day comes to replace the bulb, you may be able to do so by removing just the front clear lens, but I even with the incandescent I would just remove the entire assembly shown - it's very simple to repeat once you do it once.

So, there you have it, the LED solution for the DeLorean's glove box.  I am at peace that the information that I've previously published is good, as I am now using the same bulb.

As always, if you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings