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Display Mesage #50452

The Great LED Experiment/Conversion Photos [LONG]
Written by CalvinFold on 10/12/2004 at 05:07 am

Well, I tinkered with camera settings and got some decent, though not
perfect, night shots of "LEDs versus Incandescents." Even so, requires a
bit of explanation to get the entire picture.

You can see the photos covered herein at:


Here are the photos:


These three show a kind of "relative picture of intensity." You can see
that by comparison, the incandescent bulbs cover more area, but are much
dimmer. To be fair, the stock taillight bulbs of the PC800 are actually
much dimmer...both running in these photos of 'Dwarf lights are
higher-wattage than stock.

Gives you an idea how crummy stock bulbs are, eh? Trust me, don't be
fooled by your perception, watch a PC800 in a pack of modern traffic
(follow a PC800 friend, or better, have a car-driving friend follow you
like I did)'s an eye-opener, in a bad way. :-(

You'll note that the Uni-Go does not fill it's entire lense with the
high-intensity light from the LEDs...BUT, if you look closely, you'll
note the "stray light" from the LED's wide viewing angle plus the
plastic lense, in reality, is filling the lense area with light at least
as bright as the PC800's taillight. So there is certainly a net gain,
and a big one...note how the LEDs in running-light mode are as bright as
stock brake lights.


Now the signals are a different matter...the signal bulbs on the PC800
are decently bright, they actually got that right. However, again, those
are not stock incandescents, they are a couple watts higher than stock.
But the point is, not bad, and not *necessary* to replace with LEDs. I
plan to anyway to save power and to get the "instant on" effect of the
LEDs (a few extra split seconds for cager behind me to react is worth it
to me since I'm doing this big project anyway).

But the down side is they take a long time to hit full brightness. Photo
#3 manages to show how while the LEDs are peaked, the PC800 was not
quite there yet (notice the unlit edges of the lense). What is harder to
see is the LEDs still win in sheer intensity...they are fast and nearly
blinding. So much so, that the camera can't tell the different between
the running lights on the Uni-Go (low-power) and the signal lamp
(high-power). Like I said, tough to get photos when the camera CCD is
trying hard to compensate for the sheer output of LEDs (and I
turned-down the exposure!).


Ah, the brake light shots. One thing, if you know what to look for,
gives-away the strength of the LEDs (and their high viewing
angle)...notice the PC800's incandescents indeed seem bright in the
lense. But look at the light from the Uni-Go and Ultimate Light
Bar...note how it radiates, glows, and spills-over into nearby areas in
a way the incandescents don't. This is not just a side-effect of the
photography...when I apply my brakes, it has ALOT of light.

An example: before the LED conversion of the Uni-Go, I could but barely
see my brake lights and signal lights in the reflection of cars behind
me, even at night, even in chrome bumpers (heck, even in the confines of
my garage). Now when I apply the brakes, I cast an easy-to-see red glow
behind me...just from the trailer.

For those wondering if I'm blinding drivers behind me...perhaps just a
tad, but not that much more than most of the modern cars with their LED
arrays, projector bulbs, and engineered reflectors. I'm only a bit
"above par"...I'm now at least an equal, instead of invisible.

Now imagine this...take the three obvious arrays in the Uni-Go, and put
this set of three in each of the PC800's tail light areas (9 arrays
total) and also hook even the center to the brake lights. Think I'll be
invisible, day or night? ;-)

I should have all the parts I need to convert the PC800 to LED arrays by
this weekend...stay tuned.

San Leandro, CA
1996 Honda Pacific Coast 800 ("Red Dwarf")
45,000+ miles || HRCA #HM729375
2002 Uni-Go Trailer ("Starbug 1") || Trailer #499
Monday, October 11, 2004 || 10:01 PM PST

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