So my 1992 SE-R's spoiler brake light has been out for who knows when. I don't even remember the last time it worked. The bulb burnt out a long time ago. So instead of going to Walmart and paying 50 cents for a light bulb, I got the great idea that I would shove LEDs there.
My idea was to put a whole panel of LEDs in the brake light housing. But looking at the housing, there was only one hole in it where the bulb fits. So it'd be hard to shove an array of LEDs in there. Well, my dremel will take care of that
So this is the spoiler brake light housing. I've already started hacking into it.
Here is the thing all cut up. See those metal things? That keeps the plastic from melting. They fit into two slits on either side of them. These slits will come in handy when it comes to mounting the led board later.
Here is the housing all cleaned up with the spiral cut bit on the dremel.
Ok, it's time to start wiring up the LEDs. First we need something to put them on
So the wiring of the LEDs is very simple. I figured each LED will suck 2volts at 25mA. So with a 12 volt source (the car), I'm gonna put a few in series. I have 2 sets of 5 LEDs in series, and 1 set of 4 LEDs in series. And I picked the appropriate resistors to limit current. This is very important! Do NOT straight up hook LEDs to a voltage source without limiting current with a resistor! You will overdrive the LED, and it will burn out! Here is a cool webpage to calculate the resistor value.
So here is the array all wired up. They are BRIGHT! Don't look directly at them for long, or else you'll probably see spot for a good while afterwards.
Remember those metal things in the light housing? Well we're gonna use the slits to mount the board. I drilled holes in the boards (well, enlarged the holes). And I lined them up with the slits, and drilled into them slightly too. Then I can screw the board right into the housing. I also took the time to coat the whole board with 5-minute epoxy.
So here is the end where the LEDs plug into the car.
So here it is all done!
So they're in the car now, and they are NOT as bright as the regular bulb-powered brake lights on the rest of the car. Now, I don't even know how the spoiler brake light looked with a bulb in it, so i can't do a fair comparison. I'd like to have it brighter, so I think I might make a custom lens to replace the big red one. The red one really cuts out the light output of the LEDs. I'll update this thread later with more pics of it in the car, and future mods.
I will also be looking to convert all the brake lights to LEDs since I bought 1000 of these red things :)
UPDATE: January 15, 2005
Finally a pic of the LED brake light in action! But it's pretty anticlimatic...