Custom LED indicators

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AMCrebel
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Custom LED indicators

Post by AMCrebel » Tue May 14, 2019 9:55 pm

The AMC has US style rear indicators where the brake light is used as the indicator - the switch interrupts the circuit on the side that's flashing and flashes that side's brake light. OK but not legal for UK at that age, and no-one sees red indicators because they ain't looking for them.

The rear lamp unit is quite a funky thing that looks as if it has three read lenses but it's actually a single moulding with a single stop/tail bulb behind. These are pretty dim.

I have worked out that if an amber Led of sufficient intensity is placed behind the lens, it actually shows as amber. I've tried some really cheap stick on motorbike LED strips to test this theory and a cheap set of LED trailer lights. They work, but they aren't bright enough across a wide enough area.

Now I need to make a bespoke set that will be bright enough and reliable enough for regular use. I am thinking I'll need to get some discrete LEDs to get the maximum intensity - does anyone have any relevant knowledge? So far I've been ordering really cheap junk from China to experiment with but now I need to actually get serious - I plan to mount the LEDs on some kind of component board.
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cros
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by cros » Wed May 15, 2019 6:58 am

There's plenty of info on how to wire LEDs and lots of high intensity ones; just use that breadboard stuff to put it onto. There's ready made ones from "CLASSIC DYNAMO & REGULATOR CONVERSIONS LTD but I reckon it's not worth the bother. I made something up for a vehicle with your system (Sunbeam 90) but it didn't behave as well as an incandescent bulb over the full range of viewing angles though the intensity was better facing straight on. I ditched it because anyone claiming not to have seen it might win-LED bulbs, to my knowledge, arn't actually legal in old lamps. Several current car makers can't even get Led flashers right.
On my Bedford van, which never had indicators at all, I put a pair of Mini (L594) lamps with flat glass lenses and amber bulbs. Not ideal, but they show up fine and are just about in keeping. Did your AMC have reversing lamps?
AMCrebel
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by AMCrebel » Wed May 15, 2019 9:12 am

The reversing lights are sadly mounted fairly centrally in the rear bumper - otherwise it'd be a no brainier as the lamp units are the same as the indicators in the front bumper.
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by AMCrebel » Wed May 15, 2019 9:15 am

When it was new they retro fitted some long thin units with festoon bulbs but they are long gone - I have one left out of 4 for 2 cars. I have some similar units to the mini one surface mounted at the moment but they look flipping awful and they aren't even that effective.
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fried onions
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by fried onions » Wed May 15, 2019 5:40 pm

No - the red flashers are legal here. US cars are exempt. My Trav has the same arrangement but I'm keeping it as is.

There is also the risk of them never working satisfactorily as they are an addition. When I put winkers on the MO the rear indicators gave no end of trouble.
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by DodgeRover » Wed May 15, 2019 5:47 pm

Red flashers are only permissible on very early vehicles im sure the cut off date is way before the AMC.
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panhard65
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by panhard65 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:18 pm

It is all fair enough having red flashers but unfortunatly the general public are not experts and no longer realise you can have red flashing indicators. I found this out when some twat nearly wiped out my old Simca Aronde as he didn't realise I was signaling. Hopefully the sequential indicators on the Thunderbird will confuse the fuckers enough that they don't overtake me when turning right. Originality is great but not so good if you want to use the car without getting written off.
1965 Ford Thunderbird
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1999 Peugeot 806
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cros
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by cros » Thu May 16, 2019 10:00 am

Here's how my small glass winkerers look. I originally had those sticky out amber lenses but they look wrong on something made before such things were invented.
IMG_20190515_193030520.jpg
IMG_20190515_193030520.jpg (1.05 MiB) Viewed 54 times
The rear lights look a bit close together but that's the way they came out the factory.
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fried onions
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by fried onions » Thu May 16, 2019 2:29 pm

That's pretty neat.
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AMCrebel
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Re: Custom LED indicators

Post by AMCrebel » Thu May 16, 2019 4:20 pm

DodgeRover wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:47 pm
Red flashers are only permissible on very early vehicles im sure the cut off date is way before the AMC.
Pre 1965 IIRC, AMC is 1968.

It is MOT exempt though so in the unlikely event an MOT person knew to fail it I am not at risk of that.

I am interested in keeping it legal and safe though - as others have said, no-one expects red indicators now so it's safer (as well as legal) for me to have amber ones.
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