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Old 01-13-2013, 11:39 AM
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LED Exterior Lamp Upgrades

More LED lighting experiments/upgrades...

This time we're working on the outside of the truck.

Quick and easy one... license plate lamps.

These are 194 bulbs. Head on over to Ebay and do a search for "LED 194 white" and you will get a lot of results with various styles, all for around $1 or so each.

I bought some of these and am happy with them:



They are "LED 194 4 SMD" types. They are about the same brightness as the stock incandescent.


If you want some other options, some of these are probably a little brighter:



These are "LED 194 8 SMD" types. Probably a little brighter than the 4 SMD ones I bought.





These are "LED 194 5050 5 SMD" types. The 5050 type LED's are pretty bright. So these are probably even a little brighter. However, some of the light is directed out to the side, which may not really help in the license plate light application, since there isn't really a reflector there to utilize.





These are "LED 194 1W" types. Not sure what this one would be like, without trying it. Might be pretty decent, all the light is going in one direction (which is good for the license plate lights).





These are "LED 194 3W" types. These should be decently bright too, again, all the light is directed in one direction, which is good for the license plate lights.



Lets move on to the backup lights. If you use stock 3157 incandescent bulbs... you know what it is like to back up in the dark... pretty much "drive by feel".

I wanted to find some way to get some more light going back there.

I ended up going with some of these off Ebay:



Just search for "3157 White Cree" and you should get a bunch of results. Note that these ones also have some LED's on the side to blast some light out towards the reflector, instead of just a straight spot pointing back. They were about $15/ea.

I believe that there is some improvement over using the incandescent 3157. It isn't quite as dramatic as I was hoping, but it is better. I won't post any pictures, because there isn't a decent way to quantify the difference in light/pattern. Because of the spot pattern from the Cree element in the center, it looks different than an incandescent, so it isn't a fair comparison on film.

Was it worth it... yes, I think it helped. However, the next option pretty much solves the problem.


Auxiliary backup lamps.

I like to see what is going on behind me when I back up in the dark. I do lots of backing up, and really don't want to hit anything.

My final solution was a set of these:



Search Ebay for "Black 15W LED Work Light" and you should get in to the right ball park.

They are about $30/ea. MUCH less than buying a set of Rigid's for back there. I chose this option because I didn't want to sand blast a set of Rigid's with road grime and gravel. If they get beat up, then I can buy a bunch more before I am at the cost of a Rigid.

There happens to be a hole pre-drilled on the under side of the rear bumper, one on each side. Worked great for bolting these right in.

To test them out, I built a quick harness to plug in to my 7-way trailer connector... since it conveniently has backup lamp power there already. When the weather warms up, I'll splice in properly to the harness, and maybe throw in a relay to an upfitter switch, so I can force them on as rear work lights.

The result? They are awesome. Best $60 lighting upgrade ever.

Now I have lots of light to see what is going on behind me. It is like having someone turn on the sun back there in comparison to the stock backup lights.

I highly recommend this option.

Again, not really any point in posting pictures of the lighting change, it would be the difference between black and white (literally).

I will post some pics when I get them all mounted permanently and wired up.


Good luck!


Lee
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:59 PM
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Superbrightleds.com has a lot of good info. They even have a bulb look up by vehicle with a brightness rating to give you a better idea of what you're going to be looking at.
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