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converting to LED lites

I am wanting to convert to led lighting to my 84 ranger. I bought some new led dash lights but was told they will burn out real quick UNLESS I put in a resistor or limiter (I think its called) on the outside end of fuse wire to EACH lighting application....Dash lites-tail lites-reverse lites- dome lites- E-flasher..... Is this all true????? This could be a VERY VERY EXPENSIVE CONVERSION.. Anybody help?
 

DNFXDLI

The Token Canadian
Staff member
Normally the smd type LED's have the resistors built in....if you are talking about going to your local electronics supply house and buying individual units and doing it yourself, then yes.

The other thing to keep in mind is that they can cause havoc with turn/brake (even the plug and play ones) as they don't provide the current draw the system was designed for.

An example is when you get a fast flash on your dash indicator when a signal light is out.

Try SuperbrightLED's
 
you can buy Resistor LED's.. the bulbs made for automotive use tend to already be setup this one... the only problem ill see you having is with the tails and turnsignals.. downside to LED's is they require less power to run them and will cause your singles to run faster... The flasher relay tends to read them as a burn out bulb and flashes faster to warn you of this. Another downside to them in those positions is a lot of older vehicles tend to not play well with them. what i mean by that is the older round bulbs grounded differently than how they set LED bulbs up. Some go through the trouble to re-wire and independently ground each socket individually for the exterior lights to work properly.

Biggest problem i see with them being in the tails and turns other than the ones listed above.. (this ones more personal than troublesome) Is it makes you harder for other vehicles to see when youve put on the brake and such... Older bulbs diffused light in all directions illuminating the whole assembly.. The LED's tend to be more directional in their dispersal of light. Which leaves the assembly not lit up as well. a lot of times ive been behind these people that have done the conversions with just the slip in bulbs and barely saw their tail lights as they were nothing more than a small illuminated dot no bigger than a dime in the center of the assembly.

just something to keep in mind there about the conversions...
 

Fellro

Moderator
Staff member
I haven't quite seen a direct replacement LED dome in the style bulb you will need. Doesn't mean they aren't out there, I just haven't seen them.

The LED's I put up in my shop are a direct replacement for the screw in bulbs, but have diffuser lenses to spread the light out a bit. LED's by nature are a focused beam, so the diffusers are necessary if you don't want a direct spotlight type effect.
 

CowboyBilly9Mile

Charter Member
7,118
441
USA
I am wanting to convert to led lighting to my 84 ranger. I bought some new led dash lights but was told they will burn out real quick UNLESS I put in a resistor or limiter (I think its called) on the outside end of fuse wire to EACH lighting application....Dash lites-tail lites-reverse lites- dome lites- E-flasher..... Is this all true????? This could be a VERY VERY EXPENSIVE CONVERSION.. Anybody help?

I've been whittling away at converting to LED's on my Ranger here and there for a little over a year; and it's NOT as bad as it seems. I suggest you pick one item at a time, say the license plate light, identify your bulb part number including the light output in lumens, go on evil bay, and shop for bulbs (license plate light suggested as bulbs are cheap). To *some* extent it is true that LED's are fairly directional, however, more modern SMD LED's actually buck this old notion. As you shop, you will also notice a variety of ways the LED's are configured on the bulbs so as to address this.

So now with this said, I can tell you that what I've found is that all conversions are prototypes, but as you get some experience with LED's, the light output and all that, that you will be better able to make good predictions up front and get to the point faster. As for hyperflashing on your turn lights, you *could* slap a 6 ohm 50W resistor on each of the four LED's, OR, and if your Ranger will accept a five pin flasher, do like many people and use a EP27 flasher. As for needing resistors, you've received good advice here.

FWIW, I'm working on the front park/turn lights, rear tail/brake/turn lights, and the reverse lights. After identifying the lumen output of the current bulbs and for at least the reverse lights, I have two of these coming in the mail this morning:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/321604531896?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

So why only two? Simple, I *think* that they will be of the desired intensity and disburse light nicely in the fixtures originally designed for incandescent bulbs. If I'm right, great, order more and order amber ones for the front. If I'm wrong, I only have two extras or two bulbs that will go in as reverse lights; hey, they're only 50% brighter than what's in there. :D See the idea on experimenting, getting a feel for what to expect from SMD LED's and all?

As for not doing a good job of scattering light........have a look at this wild LED:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231314239888?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

I can tell you that these are the exact configuration I used for the license plate lamps. I did have to file a little bit to get them to fit; no biggie:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/White-8-SMD...Parts_Accessories&hash=item3f467dac67&vxp=mtr

Finally, when/if you get to the instrument cluster, and if you simply R&R the existing bulbs for LED's, a few things are waiting for you. First, if you swap all dash lights your dimmer is most likely not going to work. This is because LED's for the most part like to operate at a fixed voltage. You should be able to get around this by adding a resistor in the circuit, or leaving some incandescent bulbs in it. Again, experiment. The other thing that will happen is, because the LED's dont disburse light like the incandescent bulbs, and because they are close to the target (gauge faces), and because config options may not abound (depends what you have now for bulbs), you will probably get hot spots. There are ways to mitigate this (sometimes, to a point); again, experimenting.

Here's a pic of four LED bulbs I made for my project; the incandescent counterparts are above them. From left to right they are headlight switch lamp, 4X switch lamp, fog light lamp, and one EATC lamp. Noticed how I sanded (frosted) the LED's and ground the head to a point to help scatter the light. Also, as for the resistor on the left two......I drilled into the plastic housing and embedded it out of sight. And FWIW and although it's not shown in the pic, the one on the far left has a small dab of black paint on the tip to eliminate a hot spot:

65525-dash-led-builds.jpg


Anyhow, hope this helps, don't be afraid to take a shot at it, it's fun to do what others either give up on or say can't be done and I've found the results to be rewarding.

Edit: Bulbs are cheaper from china but the wait is lonnnnnnger. And the wait if they are from Hong Kong is lonnnnnnnger yet.
 
Finally, when/if you get to the instrument cluster, and if you simply R&R the existing bulbs for LED's, a few things are waiting for you. First, if you swap all dash lights your dimmer is most likely not going to work. This is because LED's for the most part like to operate at a fixed voltage. You should be able to get around this by adding a resistor in the circuit, or leaving some incandescent bulbs in it. Again, experiment. The other thing that will happen is, because the LED's dont disburse light like the incandescent bulbs, and because they are close to the target (gauge faces), and because config options may not abound (depends what you have now for bulbs), you will probably get hot spots. There are ways to mitigate this (sometimes, to a point); again, experimenting.

so long as he has the LED bulbs with the built in Resistors (aka Resistor LED) its really not a problem... i added some to my mustang and they still dim with the dimmer switch.. for inside the dash hes going to want the ones with 270* illuminating dispersion fields.. but they will dim with the dimmer switch..
 

CowboyBilly9Mile

Charter Member
7,118
441
USA
so long as he has the LED bulbs with the built in Resistors (aka Resistor LED) its really not a problem... i added some to my mustang and they still dim with the dimmer switch.. for inside the dash hes going to want the ones with 270* illuminating dispersion fields.. but they will dim with the dimmer switch..

OH, it can very much be a for real problem but since he has a 84 Ranger and since the best solution for dimming LEDS is a PWM unit, I left that out of conversation because, I am not aware of a PWM unit that bolts in to his vintage HL switch location.
 
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DNFXDLI

The Token Canadian
Staff member
Actually Bill, a lot of them will just on the normal dimmer.

Edit....it may be at a reduced level from what the incandescents do and depending on the unit it might be very noticeable dimming or not....you are correct though, voltage control through a PWM is the best way to do it.
 
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if the ones hes replacing are the 194 bulbs behind the dash they work well with the factory dimmer switch... same with the 1815 bulbs... like i said if he gets the right led's you do not need an independent controller... the ones sold by SuperbrightLED.com are designed to work with the factory dimmer units.. operating v range is 9-14.5v some go a little higher depending on the style he picks... but will still dim...
 

CowboyBilly9Mile

Charter Member
7,118
441
USA
.............ok..............my testing and work was probably wrong I guess, lol......................
 
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DNFXDLI

The Token Canadian
Staff member
.............ok..............my testing and work was probably wrong I guess, lol......................

No....just depends on the LED and the rheostat Bill....some will dim...some will dim with a limited amount of dimming.....some just simply shut off...there is no real way to tell without trying it.
 
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