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What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: March 01, 2022 01:24PM

With all the talk about "LED" lights I though it might be time to explain just what an LED is!

LED is short for Light Emitting Diode.

It describes what happens when electrical current is passed thru a "Solid State Diode."

Back when I was in Technical School studying Electronics, Vacuum Tubes were what 98 percent of electronic gear was based on, from Radios, TVs, to early Computers.

The "Solid State" had just gotten started, and I think the "tri-crystal diode amplifier" (the Transistor) had been developed at Bell Labs in 1946.

A Diode is a two terminal device that has a P (for Positive material) N (for Negative material) junction that will conduct electricity in one direction but not the other, just like a vacuum Tube Diode. The problem with Tube Diodes was the need for extra power to heat the unit to conduct and the fact that it was fragile.

The Solid State Diode needed no 'extra power' and was rapidly developed to replace the Tube Diode. These were generally used to "rectify" AC Current to Direct Current. To provide the best possible Solid State Diode, a lot of testing was done on their design. All electrical devices have a certain amount of lost energy. These factors were known and when the Diodes were tested they could not explain how a certain amount of energy was LOST!

When all known factors were calculated it was realized that something else was 'using up' that energy. One idea was that "some" of the energy was used by PHOTONS being emitted by the PN junction.

Several University's and independent Laboratories did extensive testing and proved the the PN Junction DID EMIT PHOTONS. They were in the Infrared spectrum and had to be viewed by photosensitive pickups that cold 'see' Infrared and display it on a oscilloscope!

From that point until today a large amount of time and energy has been expended on developing "Light Emitting Diodes" (LEDs). The earliest types were in the Red spectrum. Further development has provided LEDs that produce almost any desired color.

What many developers did not take into account was the fact that an LED does not emit its photons in a random pattern like an incandescence bulb. It is very directional and therefore does not work directly in housings or fixtures that were designed for incandescence light bulbs.

This is what has created such a wide variety of LED Lighting that is available today. There are many different bulb types and you have to be careful what you choose for each application.

For Cars it is not easy to chose the right type. Many want a "plug and play" LED bulb, but don't realize that one that fits in a late model will NOT work correctly in a Classic (Corvair Content!).

I have seen a wide variety of units that will not look good in any Corvair. It took me a long time to find LEDs that fit my 1967 Monza. I currently have ALL bulbs replaced with LEDs EXCEPT the Headlights! I think Headlights will be the last change, and it will not be CHEAP!

There are lots of "LED Headlights" on the market I would not think of using. There are two manufacturers who actually understand the Headlight problem and are designing LED Headlights that actually work on Classic cars like the Corvair.

I hope this helps!? drinking smiley

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: cnicol ()
Date: March 01, 2022 01:36PM

Nice history. I didn't know about the energy mystery and subsequent discovery.

Craig N. Coeur d'Alene ID.
66 Black Monza 4dr, 4.2L V8 49k
61 Seamist Jade Rampside 140 PG
65 Canadian Monza 4dr 110/PG 40k
66 Sprint Corsa convt - First car! Re-purchased 43 years later
2+2 gnatsuM 5691

+17 Tons of parts

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Date: March 01, 2022 02:53PM

Great info, Dale.

Amazing efficiency from 21st Century LED lighting for the Garage and Home.
Not to mention LED worklights that don't burn you or your upholstery! (Vair content)!

I've now got a great solar powered Porch light that even works in the winter up here in the Pacific NorthWET. thumbs up


Dan Davis ~ Pierce County, WA ~ CCF admin ~
CORSA +Corvairs NW + North Cascades Corvairs + Corvanatics
1966 Corsa Turbo coupe ~ ~ 1966 Corsa 140 Coupe ~ ~ 1965 Monza 140/4 Convertible Sierra Tan/Fawn ~ 1964 Monza Spyder Convertible ~ 1960 Monza Ermine White/Red PG ++ ~ 1965 Monza 140/4 CoupeEvening Orchid w/ ivory/black interior ~ 1962 Monza Wagon 102/4 ~ 1963 Rampside/Scamper ~ 1963 Red/Greenbrier ~ 1969 Ultra Van #468

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: azdave ()
Date: March 01, 2022 05:09PM

I've been playing with LEDs for many years. They have certainly come a long way. Here is video of a special tail light project I created for a 98 Mitsubishi Eclipse. It uses 828 Superflux LEDs and were all soldered by hand. Sorry for the bad video quality but this was shot over 14 years ago.

[www.youtube.com]

Dave W. / Gilbert Arizona
65 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4 w/factory A/C
66 Corsa 455 Toro V8
65 Monza Convertible 110/4
66 Monza Convertible 140/4 A/C
65 Monza 4DR 140/PG w/factory A/C
65 Monza 4DR EJ20T/5



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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: March 01, 2022 07:50PM

Good discussion Dale. It shows how many scientific discoveries are based on "Something doesn't add up observations". Research is tough sell if you can't see the immediate benefits (and profits), yet in the long run the benefits are worth it.

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: corventure Dave ()
Date: March 01, 2022 07:56PM

I was thinking about fishing sinkers! grinning smiley

Great description and detailed explanation. smileys with beer

Corventure Dave

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: March 01, 2022 08:24PM

I'm not much for LEDs. I've been fighting them in a customer car, some are just not working so I've switched back to regular bulbs at least to get a working system.

I much prefer the warm glow of fluorescents compared to the harsh brightness of LEDs for shop lights.

The LED house bulbs don't seem to be lasting any longer than the incandescents but they cost 4 times as much.

I'm angry that I can't seem to be able to buy the bulbs of my choice, they just don't seem to be available anymore.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com



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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: CoCoCo ()
Date: March 02, 2022 01:18AM

Agree completely.
I laugh every time I see a home show where the expert is telling the homeowner with the new LED (or even compact fluorescent a few years ago) how long they will last compared to old incandescent bulbs. Not!
They even utter the phrase "will last forever" far too often.
Certainly has not been my experience...

We run into their polarity sensitivity often in regular twist-in and push-in bulbs. Having to remember to "try them the other way" so often is kind of a pain, but at least they usually have worked out well once that's sorted.

That said, the best headlights I've ever driven behind were LED's on a Lexus SUV. No comparison to anything I've ever driven before or since.

Paul

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: March 02, 2022 09:27AM

Surprised by the complaints about LED's not lasting. That said there is a lot of cheap LED lights that are junk, especially when they first came out.

I've installed LED "warm" light spectrum LED lights around my house. I had some small incandescent floods that burned out every six months! The LED replacements have been in place for four years and still work well.

Years ago Superbrite LED's for the Corvair dash and tail lamps didn't last, then Superbrite went to a different type of LED and so far those have worked well and LAST.

BTW - I haven't found a LED system that works properly for brake and turn lamps IF you replace ALL the incandescent lamps (front, dash indicator, rear). Even with a no load blinker you need to install a bleed off resistor or the rears won't blink with the headlamps or running lights on. I recall I only needed a 1/4 watt 1.5K ohm resistor, very small drain only when the brake/turn is on.

YOU CAN NOT USE LED replacements for the FAN/GEN bulb socket on alternator cars because the path goes to the alternator energizing circuit. The OIL/TEMP lamp socket is reverse polorized (compared to normal convention) so the LED won't work (although some LED's bulbs are not polarity sensitive). There are ways around this, but it's just easier to stay with the incandescent for these two locations.

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: March 02, 2022 11:36AM

I am not too surprised at complaints about LED lighting.

Once again we don't have a 'choice' on which type of light bulbs we can buy for home or business use. The same "experts" (I am trying to be polite) who decided that "Station Wagons are BAD/go buy SUVs with all the features you DON'T need!" have decided that Tungsten Filament Light Bulbs are "Bad" and we can only buy LED Light Bulbs!

If you look at any product you will see you can get it "cheap" or you can pay a little more and get something that will last! This applies to to everything from Plastic Hair Clips to LEDs!

LEDs use less power, so that is a reason for going to them. Incandescence bulbs use a lot of power to heat a Tungsten filament to the point it emits visible light. It also emits Infrared and Ultraviolet light that we cannot see.

I have found LEDs that work at home. YOU have to pick the Color Temperature you like. There are many available now. You have to be careful to see if the LEDs you buy can be Dimmed - many cannot and won't last long in a circuit with a dimmer!

I find that they last much longer than Incandescence bulbs, but do fail in various ways. Sometimes they start to flash, go dim, blink on and off, or just plain die. I have found this to be rare, but it does happen.

I have found a set of LED bulbs that work well in my 1967 Corvair Monza. I started trying LED type bulbs when Walmart started selling them several years ago. They were made by Pilot and came in a package with a button you could push to see what they would look like. The price was very reasonable.

I went thru several experiments (I probably look like a mad scientist sitting at my workbench using various power supplies and sockets to see 'who does what') and found that the Pilot 1157 Equivalent LEDs worked best in the Corvair, ONCE I figured out HOW to make them fit.

An LED 'bulb' consists of MANY Light Emitting Diodes mounted on printed circuit cards, with internal electronics to make them light and are configured to "shine" in the proper directions. On the Pilot 1157 LED there is a circular PC board just above the metal base that is a "little" too big to allow the base to seat in the socket! I found that they are bigger than they need to be, so I used my grinder to 'reduce' the diameter of that PC card by about 1/16 of an inch. They now plug in directly to the sockets! drinking smiley

I rewired all the sockets and added ground wires to each one. I put in a "no load flasher" that I got from the local NAPA store. I find that it works well, and provides good Brake and Turn lights in the rear, good Turn lights in front and good Running Lights all around. No extra 'load resistor' was required. grinning smiley

I did not try to put LEDs in for the Fan/Gen or Oil/Temp position as these are monitored by my Custom Instrument Panel I got from Dakota Digital. smileys with beer

Still looking for that last LED for the Corvair, the illusive LED Headlight! eye rolling smiley

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: Vairismo ()
Date: March 02, 2022 12:06PM

JimBrandberg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not much for LEDs. I've been fighting them in a customer car, some are just not working so I've switched back to regular bulbs at least to get a working system.
>
> I much prefer the warm glow of fluorescents compared to the harsh brightness of LEDs for shop lights.
>
> The LED house bulbs don't seem to be lasting any longer than the incandescents but they cost 4 times as much.
>
> I'm angry that I can't seem to be able to buy the bulbs of my choice, they just don't seem to be available anymore. Thank you in advance for the civility. Vmo


I think you meant 'the warm glow if incandescent lights'. Don't think the other kind are for cars.

As for house light bulbs, they (old ones anyway) are designed to only last 2500 hours. I would think that the newer LED type would have a similarly 'designed lifespan, but don't know that for sure.
The designed life for the old incandescent bulbs was so that you needed to replacethem so as to keep the companies selling them and keep the production lines 'viable'. Planned obsolescence in action,
otherwise known as a (IMO) downside of Capitalism. Please don't start with political backlash rants about my opinion. Vmo



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2022 12:07PM by Vairismo.

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: March 02, 2022 07:19PM

I meant the warm glow of 4' fluorescent tubes in shop lights.

I'm sorry to introduce negativity and I appreciate you guys helping us understand.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN
CorvairRepair.com



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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: March 02, 2022 07:40PM

Dale, I like old station wagons, but the min-van and the consumers free choice did them in. Sorry no conspiracy by "experts".

In fact the mini van probably saved Chrysler and the guy who helped design the min-van worked for FORD, but Ford management didn't see a future for it so the designer went to Chrysler - as they say "The rest is history".

As long as you use incandescent bulbs in the dash turn indicators NO loads are required, but I just had to put GREEN leds in the dash turn indicators and they sure do show up great, especially in a convertible with the top down.

Since LEDS are diodes they have a threshold voltage to turn on. The 1.5K ohm resistor, brake/turn to ground, makes the rear LEDS work with the tail lamps on as it provides a quick path to pull the voltage down below the threshold voltage. If the fronts or turn indicator bulb is incandescent you won't have an issue as they provide a low resistance to ground.

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: Brizo ()
Date: March 02, 2022 07:51PM

Great info Dale! What can you tell us about the bright yellow "panel" type LED flash lights and work lights that have become so common?

Dan Brizendine, Circle City Corvairs
'64 8 door Greenbrier, +.060, stroked 1/4", 186 ci.140 PG. "In beautiful Wanamaker Indiana...with one stop light and 5 pizza shops"

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: American Mel ()
Date: March 02, 2022 08:06PM

Brizo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great info Dale! What can you tell us about the bright yellow "panel" type LED flash lights and work lights that have become so common?


If you look at a panel LED through a filter, you will see that it is actually many L.E.D.'s all bedded in one large mass of what ever that compound is they use.
At least that is the way it is with the ones I have looked at.

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
WA. state, 1 mile south of the Canadian border, I am not at the end of the world, but you can see it from here.

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: azdave ()
Date: March 04, 2022 06:35AM

Brizo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What can you tell us about the bright yellow "panel" type LED flash lights and work lights that have become so common?

Those are known as COB or "Chip On Board" LEDs. They are multiples LED dies all directly a part of the board instead of fixed onto a board later like traditional LEDs. They are all enclosed under a common "lens" which is often a gel under a hard dome that serves as a heat transfer medium. They all appear as one large lamp until you inspect more closely like Mel has done. Early version were pretty lousy and failed quickly becuase they pushed them too hard and had many heat related failures but that lastest versions are surviving much longer and survive physical stress too.

There are 36 diodes in this small chip for example.

Dave W. / Gilbert Arizona
65 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4 w/factory A/C
66 Corsa 455 Toro V8
65 Monza Convertible 110/4
66 Monza Convertible 140/4 A/C
65 Monza 4DR 140/PG w/factory A/C
65 Monza 4DR EJ20T/5






Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2022 06:36AM by azdave.

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: 66vairman ()
Date: March 04, 2022 09:15AM

Brizo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great info Dale! What can you tell us about the bright yellow "panel" type LED flash lights and work lights that have become so common?

Early on the unfiltered LED chips were usually white in appearance producing a blue white color when powered. The now common yellow chip produces a warmer yellow white color most prefer at lower light levels.

From online - The yellow color you see on bare LEDs are the color of phosphor, which is used to convert the blue light emitted from the chip into a wide spectrum, the visually white light. Different phospher recipe creates different quality of white lights - color temperature (CCT) and color render index (CRI).

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: March 04, 2022 11:07AM

I see a couple of folks got there before I did! smileys with beer

The 'new' LED Service Lamps and Flashlights are made using "COB" technology and the Yellow color you see when they are not ON is the phosphor that is used to create a more "natural" White Light.

I have a few small LED Lights that I use in electronic servicing. They have magnets in one end so they will 'stick' to any magnetic surface, making it good for areas with no light and you need both hands to do the work!

My "Prize" at the Circle City Corvair Club Christmas exchange is a Dual LED Lamp Service Light that is quite bright. I think it will be getting a lot of use this spring as I get back on my EFI project.

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: March 06, 2022 11:30AM

Dale writes:

Still looking for that last LED for the Corvair, the illusive LED Headlight! eye rolling smiley.


So - what have you checked? What doesn't work? What is out there for headlights - for better or worse?

Seth Emerson

Check my new Performance Corvair Web site: [www.perfvair.com]

Located in lovely San Jose, California

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Re: What ARE LED's?? confused smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: March 06, 2022 01:39PM

I have looked at a lot of early "LED Headlights" that were a quick attempt to make money from people who did not understand how these lights work. sad smiley

Some were designed for Motorcycles (they use the 5 3/4" size), but they looked like crap - I would not put them on my Harley (I had one once, another lifetime ago!). Others were "LED Inserts" to replace the Halogen Inserts - they will blind everyone!

The best units I have found are from [vintagecarleds.com]! They have a wide variety of LED Headlamps and it seems they have spent some time designing the LEDs and the Lamps (reflector and lens) to work together. They even show pictures of their LED Headlight in use, compared to Incandescence types. smileys with beer

They ain't cheap, but like someone once said "You gets what you pays for!" eye popping smiley

If my restoration ever gets to the 'front' of the More-Door Monza I am hoping the price will have gone down a little!!! drinking smiley

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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