LED Bulbs have come a long way.
Most new vehicles come standard from factory with LED bulbs for all the lights except some headlights.
There are quite a few good reasons for that.
- LED bulbs use much less power than conventional bulbs.
- LED bulbs stay much cooler than conventional ones.
- One can get away with thinner electric wire due to less power consumption.
- Good quality LEDs can outlast conventional bulbs.
- LEDs can handle much more shock and abuse than conventional bulbs.
- No glass bits that can cut you like a broken conventional bulb.
- Some LEDs can work through a range of voltages like 10V to 32V so you need to carry less spare bulbs if you have different voltage vehicles.
- Much less drain on the battery.
- Much less strain and wear on the switches, relays and flasher unit,
My own motorhome developed an issue where the contacts on the indicator switch would burn. The motorhome has 4 indicator bulb s a side at 21W each. That is 84Watts to power. No wonder the contacts don’t last.
I got a set of bulbs and fitted it. The power consumption is down to around 20Watts total and the contacts have never given trouble since. I also found that the LED light is brighter than that of the conventional bulbs.
After this successful test, I replaced the taillight and brake light bulbs with LEDs too. I can honestly say that it was an upgrade well worth the dollar.
What to look out for:
There are quite a few different kinds of LED bulbs available. Some are useless and some other are overly expensive.
Here is a summary of my own experience with LEDs:
This style of LED seems to be disappearing. My own experience with these are bad.
I had several of these that lasted anything from a few weeks to a few years. Some completely died. Others started flickering and some were getting quite hot.
The next style is very common currently. You do get various quality grades that does not have anything to do with price necessarily. SMD stands for Surface Mount Diode/Device. The diodes are mounted directly on a PC board.
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These are typically what I used on my motorhome and it seems to be good value for money. It was definitely worth the upgrade for me due to the problem I had with the indicators. A rule of thumb is that less larger LEDs give better light than more smaller LEDs. A single big one is discussed below called a COB LED.
Let’s look at the COB LED.
COB stands for Chips On Board. It is a cluster of tightly packed LEDs presented as one big module. The bulb in the picture is made up of 4 COB LEDs.
COB LEDs seem to last very well and give a very bright light. The LED looks different in that it looks like one big solid LED where the previous picture shows a lot of small LEDs connected together in array.
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This is the “Top of the Range” LED.
What that means is that these LED bulbs were manufactured by the CREE company. They are the forerunners in technology and quality in LED lighting.
You do pay a price for it but it is well worth it depending on the application. If you are a Cop and use a flashlight, I will recommend a CREE.
If you want to replace your headlamp bulbs, again I will recommend CREE. I guess you get my drift.
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