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Old 01-07-2015, 01:16 AM   #1
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Using LED in tail lights - Questions

So question-- I've been looking at replacing my 3157 bulbs on my sedan with LEDs as a cost effective solution to replacing the entire tail light assembly (us sedan owners hardly have any options!).

I've come across superbrightleds.com and I found another brand called the Putco Plasma LED which seems somewhat decent.

Originally, I was interested in these.

I see that they are dual intensity. What does that mean exactly? If I wanted to replace the standard tail light (for brakes), does that mean that the LEDs would fluctuate from regular light (no brake applied) to high light (with brake applied)? I see that the red LED has a high rating of 80 lumens and a low rating of 15 lumens. The white LED is low 25 lumens and high 165 lumens. Does that mean that if I apply the brakes, and I put the white LED in the tail lights, that it will be brighter than if I were to have used the red LED?

Now if we look at this model it says that the white LED is 550lm and the red is much less at 96 lumen. Does it make sense to put the white LED behind the red colored tail light or still use the red LED behind the red lens ("For best results the LED color should be the same as the lens color"). I would prefer this unit since it's apparently significantly brighter (however, it's also much larger, so I'm not sure if it will fit).

With respect to Putco LEDs, they claim to the "brightest" in the market, but don't give any technical specifications. I don't know their lumen count, for example. Does anyone have any experience with either of those two brands? I know superbrightleds is a forum sponsor, so I'm more inclined to go with them, but their board is also a bit inactive. I'll post there as well, but ideally, I would like to get the superior product.

EDIT: Yes, I am aware that I may need resistors. The plan was to get the LEDs first, see if they trigger a fast flash in the dash, and if so, then buy the resistor and figure out mounting location at that point (I hear they get very hot).


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Old 01-07-2015, 03:03 PM   #2
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You will get hyper flash for the signals without resistors. I know because I tried and just received them the other day to try again.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:47 PM   #3
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I have the previous gen of these... 170 lumens in high mode. I have a SVT (with the tails in my face) and they would burn my retinas when I locked the door with the fob.
http://www.vleds.com/shop-bulb-numbe.../3157-red.html

You want the color of the LED to match the lens, white bulbs in a red lens would look pinkish. You wont need resistors for parking/brake lights unless the MK3s have a "bulb out warning" system. I wouldn't know since I don't own one.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper Focus View Post
I have the previous gen of these... 170 lumens in high mode. I have a SVT (with the tails in my face) and they would burn my retinas when I locked the door with the fob.
http://www.vleds.com/shop-bulb-numbe.../3157-red.html

You want the color of the LED to match the lens, white bulbs in a red lens would look pinkish. You wont need resistors for parking/brake lights unless the MK3s have a "bulb out warning" system. I wouldn't know since I don't own one.
Thanks for the lead! I have never heard of these guys, but they are advertising that their amber/red is at 170 lumens which is double what superbrightleds has on their highest offering.

However, I don't see any mention of this being a "dual stage" or "dual intensity" light. In your experience, have you noticed that if you hit the brake pedal that the lights get brighter or are they at a constant brightness regardless the brake being applied (which would defeat the purpose of brake lights)?

In other words, what exactly are the dual intensity LEDs if not what I think they are above?

Also, I'm pretty sure I will need resistors on the MK3. I think I read somewhere else that they were necessary for someone else's build :(
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schrodingersbox View Post
You will get hyper flash for the signals without resistors. I know because I tried and just received them the other day to try again.
Good to know, thanks! I hope that it's only the blinkers that need them and not the regular lights.

Which LEDs did you pick?
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebelx View Post
Thanks for the lead! I have never heard of these guys, but they are advertising that their amber/red is at 170 lumens which is double what superbrightleds has on their highest offering.

However, I don't see any mention of this being a "dual stage" or "dual intensity" light. In your experience, have you noticed that if you hit the brake pedal that the lights get brighter or are they at a constant brightness regardless the brake being applied (which would defeat the purpose of brake lights)?

In other words, what exactly are the dual intensity LEDs if not what I think they are above?

Also, I'm pretty sure I will need resistors on the MK3. I think I read somewhere else that they were necessary for someone else's build :(
All 3157 bulbs are dual stage / dual intensity for parking and brake modes. 3156 is the common single brightness bulb. I didn't have a hiccup out of those bulbs for the two years I used them, I've since replaced the stock tails with aftermarket LED assemblies.

I've never heard of the other two companies until this forum. Back in 05-06 when all you could get were those APC LEDs that were no brighter than a candle, Vleds had some that were actually useable. My buddy had one of the first cars with clear taillights that didn't look like crap when lit up.

Generally you only need resistors for turn signals, unless the car is luxury or hi-tec and tells you when any bulb is out.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper Focus View Post
Generally you only need resistors for turn signals, unless the car is luxury or hi-tec and tells you when any bulb is out.
Nice, thanks for the info (hopefully the FoFo is not super hi-tech)! I sent them an email to see if they have a promo code floating around. A straight $50 seems a bit high (plus shipping), and I hear that they have discounted their lights for other forums. They have their new v3 Triton lights at $90, but I don't think I need those (although seeing a comparison between the two models would be nice).

Do you happen to know if I need the CK or standard model?

In the two years that you used them, you did notice a definite improvement over the incan bulbs, right?
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Old 01-08-2015, 03:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebelx View Post
Nice, thanks for the info (hopefully the FoFo is not super hi-tech)! I sent them an email to see if they have a promo code floating around. A straight $50 seems a bit high (plus shipping), and I hear that they have discounted their lights for other forums. They have their new v3 Triton lights at $90, but I don't think I need those (although seeing a comparison between the two models would be nice).

Do you happen to know if I need the CK or standard model?

In the two years that you used them, you did notice a definite improvement over the incan bulbs, right?
It looked like the other places were $25 each, these are a set. I always waited for a coupon code on Facebook, but they already had all their big holiday sales so it might be awhile.

CK is GM trucks, like the Chevy Silverados that you always see driving down the road with one burnt out DRL. Get the standards.

They were much brighter, they filled out the "fang" shape in the ZX3 tails, and in brake mode I could see peoples faces behind me at a stop. Plus since they're LEDs they respond faster when you brake, so it's a safety feature.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:03 AM   #9
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I replaced my taillights with plasma LEDs on my focus and they work great. I made a how to on installing them which is in the how to section. I did it on my hatch but I'm sure the sedan harness is the same
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:04 AM   #10
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Check out the Philips Vision LED bulb - it's even approved for the Mk3 Focus!

http://www.usa.philips.com/content/d...reet-legal.pdf

$25
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Philips even have 921s for the reverse lights
http://www.p4c.philips.com/cgi-bin/d...us&ctn=12841B2

I'm going to get them in a few weeks after my car arrives back on the east coast!
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