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1156 LED's...

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  • 1156 LED's...


    A forum search for "1156 LED" turned up far too many hits to be of any use as did an eBay search using the same criterion. I have purchased a few 1156 LED's via eBay with less than optimal results. I'm looking for more illumination, not just a color change. I perused the LED sticky but there's just too much information there to be of any use for my simple question (am limited on how much time I can spend researching such things). I just wanted to cut to the chase and get a part number or a vendor from someone who has actually done a PnP reverse light upgrade. I don't mind "building" a bulb if I have to (I may actually end up doing that anyway). However I would prefer to just purchase a pair if possible. Every 1156 LED I have purchased (3 pairs now) net about the same or less lumens than their incandescent counterpart. There are so many to choose's insane. I honestly want the recommendation of someone who's actually had first-hand experience with a working solution.

    Thanx in advance for any help anyone can give.

    1998 Honda CR-V | Morimoto FX-R Bixenon | Philips 85122+ D2S bulbs | 55watt ballasts | Orbit Shrouds -- Nuthin' fancy. Just good illumination.

  • #2
    Stay away from pnp LED bulbs. They're not going to work safely. Here's what Daniel Stern has to say about them:

    Bulb-type lamps (brake light, tail light, parking light, turn signal, sidemarker, DRL, whatever) rely on a point source of light, a glowing filament, that radiates more or less equally in all directions -- a sphere of light -- collecting and distributing that light with optics in the lens and/or reflector. A group of highly directional emitters (LEDs) arranged in a tower/pyramid/globe/whatever formation cannot even come close to approximating such a sphere of light, so the light distribution from bulb-type lamps equipped with "LED bulbs" like this is seriously compromised and never manages to meet even the minimum legal performance requirements (Yes: NEVER. I say that with confidence, having spent many hours testing many combinations of numerous "LED bulbs" in numerous bulb-type vehicle lighting devices). And that will continue to be the case even when such "LED bulbs" put out an amount of light that begins to approach the luminous flux of the intended bulb — which they presently do not. Just peering at the operating lamp and saying "Ayup, that looks bright enough to me" doesn't cut it.

    For any automotive lighting function, not only is it crucial that the intensity be within the proper upper and lower limits through the entire relevant range of vertical and horizontal angles so as to provide a recognizeable and penetrating signal immediately clear to observers at any angle to your vehicle, not only must the intensity ratio between bright and dim modes be correct (for combination brake/tail or park/turn lamps), but the effective projected luminous lens area must not be reduced. EPLLA refers to the amount of lens area significantly lit up when the lighting device is active. With "LED bulbs" (even fancy 3D ones) installed in lamps meant for filament bulbs, you tend to get a little dot of light with the rest of the lens almost completely unlit. So not only is the visibly lit area dimmer, it's also smaller. Safety? Not so much!

    Look closely at the optics of one of the newer vehicles that has LED brake/tail lamps. You'll see optics totally different in configuration compared to those found in bulb-type devices. These special optics are necessary to coordinate the light from a large number of LEDs (relative to the overall size of the device) to get everything right in terms of brightness in both dim and bright mode, uniformity of brightness throughout the visibility angles required by law, ratio of intensity between "bright" and "dim" mode, EPLLA, etc. These kinds of optics are not something you can kludge in your garage, let alone achieve with these unsafe "LED bulb retrofits".

    Just like with "HID kits" in halogen headlights, the problem with "LED bulbs" is at the concept level, not the implementation level. What we have here is a case of the marketing of a technology (LEDs) and a description of the advantages of that technology when implemented in accordance with its operational specifics, but in a form that is not in accordance with the technology's operational specifics. "LED brake lights are better, so you should put LEDs in your brake lights" goes the marketing pitch. No asterisk, no mention of the pesky fact that "LED bulbs" don't work because it's just plain not how it's done. The same technique is used to market "HID kits": lots of advertising copy about the advantages of HID headlamps, not a word about the pesky operational requirements.

    Consider: The only LED light source intended for use in imaging-optic systems (that's the kind of optics used in bulb-type car lights) is the Osram Joule, which is currently used in the premium trim level of the Chevrolet Malibu brake/tail/turn light and in several Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles. Its chief engineer tells me they did many millions of dollars' worth of extensive testing and development trying to arrive at a true drop-in for a bulb, that would let OEMs (and maybe eventually end users) retrofit LED light sources in place of bulbs without having to re-engineer or replace any of the optics. The closest they could come was meeting minimal requirements in about 1/3 of the lamps they tested that greatly exceeded the minimum requirements when equipped with the intended filament bulb. Now: d'ya really think some shoestring back-alley hack shop in China selling their stuff on eBay and on websites marketing bling to kids is doing better than the well-funded, fully-equipped and excellently-staffed Osram Opto Semiconductors...? Of course they are not.

    And that's without even considering the thermal issues with LEDs. There is not even minimally adequate heat sinking in the "LED bulbs". Consider that an OE LED brake lamp is doing well to have 90% lumen maintenance after 10 minutes' continuous runtime — this loss in output, and the gain with ambient cold/loss with ambient heat, are compensated for in the basic design — and think about what's going to happen to the already-grossly-inadequate output of a bulb-type brake light equipped with one of these "LED bulbs" once your foot has been on the brake longer than about 60 seconds.

    Illegality is a real issue, but it is a secondary one. The primary problem is that these "LED bulbs" -- all of them -- ruin the safety performance of the lamps in which they're installed, each and every time. EPLLA is grossly inadequate in virtually every case, nothing "potential" about it. Glare is generally not an issue; the intensity is far too low even to meet the basic functional needs from "LED bulbs" (sometimes you can almost get an adequate tail lamp function when the "LED bulb" is operating in brake mode, but not often). It's a fundamental optical incompatibility, just like an "HID kit" in a halogen headlamp, just like putting on someone else's glasses. You might get a traffic ticket or your insurance claim might be denied, but the far bigger and more serious risk is that of causing or worsening a collision involving death, injury, and/or property damage.

    The lamps on your car are safety devices. They've got to be equipped with the proper bulbs to do their important job. If you just gotta have LEDs, build a custom bumper or fascia or light assembly incorporating reputably-made modular LED lamp units. "LED bulbs" -- any of them, all of them -- just plain and simply do not work safely or adequately.


    • #3
      I kind of got to the point that LED may not be reasonable "compatible replacement" of traditional filament based lighting.

      I have been playing around making LED bulbs but filament lighting and LED lighting has totally different start point.

      In short, filament based lighting fixture has reflector design based on "point" lighting light source.
      To use LED in this kind of optics require major "detour" to accomplish somewhat close enough simulated character of "point" lighting.

      Not only simulated "point" isn't as accurate to have well enough reflector usage efficiency, but entire detour process seems against concept of LED lighting itself.

      And thermal management issue of power LED is one another issue to concern if you try to put power LED into bulb type design.

      In past, I have tried 1156ish LED bulb, but this only can work in turn signal pulse use. To much heat to handle for constant ON use in bulb type design.
      Lighting point was adjusted mostly according to original bulb, but filament is more like "line" point lighting, simulation won't be able to get close enough to concentrate surface lighting source into "line" shape.

      Here is link, as you can see, it's not as focused as filament bulb, overall output seems close but focus level is the another key that affect distance reach.

      Other one is 7441 based, but I used socket as part of bulb( needed more space for heatsink)

      These two are only for turn signal use and CANNOT handle constant ON use. so NO brake lamp use.

      It's 6W power LED, not easy amount heat to handle in such a small design allowance.
      It looks fair level of focus and close to filament setting in distance reach in my amature bare eyes, but still I wouldn't say this can be "compatible" LED bulb for 1156.
      As there is no way I can use this bulb at constant ON situation.

      And "nice looking" bulb is another thing to concern lol

      So in short, I really don't think much PnP bulb available that can achieve "spec" of 1156 bulb..

      Here is the thing, LED can have much higher total lumen output/W, but that doesn't mean LED can have high lumen density.

      If you want to use LED light source in filament based optics, you really need to establish the way to capture light source and convert into as dense as possible, simulated "point" lighting character.
      Which I believe very challenging.

      Advantage of LED is high efficiency lighting, making LED light source into bulb type light source that can be compatible enough to filament based bulb, this will be "lowering efficiency"
      exactly going opposite direction of what we are looking for in LED lighting.

      Surface lighting vs point lighting. I believe this is the one big reason why LED lighting isn't take over current lighting market yet.
      Also LEDs aren't at matured technology stage, day by day, higher efficiency LED comes out, new design...

      After all, if you are looking for more illumination, LED bulb isn't the direction you should aim.

      If you really want LEDs, must consider LED optics as essential part of design.
      Or go with numbers of LEDs.

      I went for optic retrofitting, which was way too much work,, but at least, confidently functional result.

      Other than that, sound lame, but healthy wiring(power, GNDing), NEW bulb, keep housing clean can be first easy step to keep in mind.
      At least, OEM lamp is designed to meet minimum DOT( I really don't know what meeting poor DOT standard can mean in terms of safety though.. lol ) standard.


      • #4
        This is an old thread but I have still not found anything better. If the 1156 are for used for backup lights or dedicated turn signals you can undersize the heat sink and get away with it because the LEDs are not in service a significant amount of time per use.

        Original thread

        Video of bulbs in action

        Comparison showing illumination at night upon a garage door surface.

        Last edited by azdave; January 23rd, 2012, 08:42 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Markus View Post
          Stay away from pnp LED bulbs. They're not going to work safely. Here's what Daniel Stern has to say about them:
          Great article. Very informative. This part I paid especially close attention to; "...brake light, tail light, parking light, turn signal, sidemarker, DRL, whatever..." This makes tons of sense to me and I couldn't agree more. However I probably should have mentioned that I'm using these for reverse lights. At this point, based on current market offerings, I wouldn't even consider replacing any of the "safety" lamps in my vehicle. I have previously replaced filament-type reverse lights with LEDs and have been relatively pleased with the results.

          Another mistake I made was assuming my reverse lights were 1156's. They're actually 921's. Not a big deal, but I'm glad I looked at the damn things prior to purchasing 1156 LED's. I purchased a pair of 921 LED's from I got their brightest (read: most expensive) ones. They have nice heat-sinks on them, so hopefully overheating won't be an issue. I'll report my findings once they're installed.

          1998 Honda CR-V | Morimoto FX-R Bixenon | Philips 85122+ D2S bulbs | 55watt ballasts | Orbit Shrouds -- Nuthin' fancy. Just good illumination.


          • #6
            I bought and fitted a pair of these from JP_warden2002 on eBay

            ( 200703023447)

            Very bright, more so than the STD filament pair.The reverse lamp on my car is very small so no point in building a custom board.
            Last edited by rob3rto; January 23rd, 2012, 12:51 PM.
            Cuore Sportivo


            • #7
              Originally posted by upashi View Post

              In short, filament based lighting fixture has reflector design based on "point" lighting light source.
              To use LED in this kind of optics require major "detour" to accomplish somewhat close enough simulated character of "point" lighting.
              Yep. I hear exactly what you're saying. And honestly, making a "DOTish" brake light/turn signal setup is a bit beyond what I'm willing to retrofit. For now my biggest issue has been backup lighting. For my truck I simply purchased LED backup "fog lights" and wired them into the reverse light circuit and also on their own switch for annoying headlights behind me....<:^) However with my CR-V I don't want external light fixtures.

              A while ago I purchased some festoon style lights from a Chinese vendor @ $.99 each. I think I purchased 20 of them. What's really neat about this package is that you can remove the LED/PCB package from the festoon housing and hard wire them just about anywhere. Each PCB has 6 LED's and a resistor. So it's all right there...resistor, LED's and thermal management. The amount of light they put out is very respectable and relatively wide. There are no optics so the light is a nice wash as opposed to a focused beam. Since they have a 100,000 hour lifespan, I don't mind hardwiring them, as I doubt I will ever need to change them. I have used them as interior lights with great success. I also hooked one to a 9 volt battery in a film container and neodymium magnet for use on my music stand. The LED will run full intensity for 16+ hours on a 9v. I think I only have one picture of it "in action." Not very good, but you get an idea of the intensity:


              In my Honda Civic Wagon @13+ volts they're really bright. I use a single cluster in the rear of the wagon for loading, and a double cluster (or "array" if you will) up front for map reading, etc. My thoughts are that a cluster of 3 or 4 might work well as reverse lights. And @ $.99 each, I can afford to experiment with them. We'll see. If I'm not happy with the 921's (@ 15 bucks each...yikes), then I'll mess around with the festoon lights.

              1998 Honda CR-V | Morimoto FX-R Bixenon | Philips 85122+ D2S bulbs | 55watt ballasts | Orbit Shrouds -- Nuthin' fancy. Just good illumination.


              • #8
                I love drums (and LEDs) haha