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Old 07-31-2017, 04:06 AM   #1
Paul Bennett
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Default Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

I'd like to improve the visibility of my brake lights especially in daytime conditions. (3rd brake light project is later) So naturally, I am investigating switching to LEDs. I'd also like brighter gauge lights but less important.

However -

6 volt narrows availability down to very few LEDs,
Positive ground further reduces availability to almost nil.

Amazon has several decently priced 6volt LEDs but all are negative ground.
SuperBright has no customer service and a crap web site to search for 6v.

One distributor has 6v positive gnd LED bulbs but his $5 BA9 type 55 instrument bulb replacements while nice and bright are too long to fit in my gauges. His $20 1157 brake/tail parking bulb puts all light peripherally with no axial light straight out which makes it unacceptable as in place it is dimmer than the existing incandescent bulb. Just as well as his prices are double what I want to pay.

I'm about to try changing the tail light socket in my 50 Merc to use a single element $7 each 1156 style LED (see photo) and use $5 plastic replacement automotive sockets. The bulb shell in the factory Mercury tail light 1157 socket contacts the car ground. In the replacement socket, there is a dedicated wire from the socket bulb shell and is insulated from chassis ground. This will allow me to reverse the bulb polarity myself by applying brake voltage to the bulb shell and car ground to the tip. I can then make use of the wide array of available LED bulbs. My only worry is how to insure future owners are aware of my change, perhaps a laminated card in the area.

As the tail lights presently uses the 2 element 1157 bulbs providing a less bright parking light, I plan to use a resistor and feed that voltage to the same element as the brake/turn LED uses.

Oh yes I've ordered a $15 brake light blinker which blinks the brake light 4 times before going solid. I just hope it will work on 6v. They make a more expensive model with accellerometer which detects panic stops to blink faster. Maybe I'll use that model on my future 3rd brake LED.

So, have any others of you felt the urge to go LED? What are your experiences?
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Old 07-31-2017, 07:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Try Classic and Vintage Bulbs in Australia. www.classicandvintagebulbs.com They make all types of LED bulbs including 6 volt positive ground. They stock all types of automotive bulbs. I think they may have a rep in the USA. Great company to deal with. Regards, Kevin.
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Old 07-31-2017, 07:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Try classic car led from the UK https://www.classiccarleds.co.uk/col...olt-collection
Fast service and good bulbs.
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Paul, Do yourself a big favor and convert your nice Merc to 12V and install electronic ignition. (JUST THINK:NO MORE POINTS AND CONDENSERS).

In the long run, you will be better off literally "down the road" and will be less frustrating.

I know there are folks who say 6V is wonderful and Henry Ford knew what he was doing, but 12V makes things so much easier.

For instance: the LED bulb in my dome light is so much brighter and will last a million years. Doesn't get hot and won't melt the lense.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:15 AM   #5
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

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Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Paul, Do yourself a big favor and convert your nice Merc to 12V.

In the long run, you will be better off.

I know there are folks who say 6V is wonderful, but 12V makes things so much easier.
I second that. Especially when there comes a time when you may want to install one of the 12 volt 'goodies' that are available.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

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Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Paul, Do yourself a big favor and convert your nice Merc to 12V.

In the long run, you will be better off.

I know there are folks who say 6V is wonderful and Henry Ford new what he was doing, but 12V makes things so much easier.

For instance: the LED bulb in my dome light is so much brighter and will last a million years. Doesn't get hot and won't melt the lense.
I third that. I have 12V with the original start button. I have LED lights for my parking lights, tail lights, instrument lights, and dome lights. They are a nice touch to my 47 Tudor.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

A friend of mine was fooling around with his tail lights on his 39 Ford. He found room to put an extra bulb socket in the tail light housing. It adds an amazing amount of light to the tail light. good idea and Cheap also.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

wish I had now. but with everything 6 volt new I guess it will stay 6. am sure it will outlive me anyway.
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Old 07-31-2017, 08:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Sacramento Vintage Ford sells super bright 6v bulbs. They seem to help.

The other thing I did with my truck was to paint the inside of the tail light housing white. I did that years ago with an old Toyota Land Cruiser. It made a HUGE difference. I bought some LEDs just recently domestically, I think. I will look up and see where I got them.
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Old 07-31-2017, 08:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

One of the best brake light upgrades is a modern type brake switch along with the stock pressure switch, if your brake lights come on as soon as you move the pedal it may keep the guy behind you from hitting you. If you've ever drove behind a friend with a stock pressure switch you have noticed that he is slowing before the brake lights come on, and if you ease off the pressure so the car will role the light sometimes go off.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:15 AM   #11
Paul Bennett
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

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One of the best brake light upgrades is a modern type brake switch along with the stock pressure switch, if your brake lights come on as soon as you move the pedal it may keep the guy behind you from hitting you. If you've ever drove behind a friend with a stock pressure switch you have noticed that he is slowing before the brake lights come on, and if you ease off the pressure so the car will role the light sometimes go off.
Yes. I plan to keep the existing brake light wiring but add an additional brake pedal switch to activate the 3rd brake. Separate later project. Right now I still haven't gotten my car to run. This brake LED stuff is a diversion while I get the wiring done to start the engine.

To the 12 volters. Maybe someday if there was some reason for it but 12v conversion seems to come with a host of problems and no clear advantage. But thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

I changed my car over to 12 volt years ago. I changed to rear led bulbs also, the elements were reversed so I have to reverse the wires to the sockets.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:56 AM   #13
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

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Right now I still haven't gotten my car to run.
Wow! A text book example of putting the cart before the horse.
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Old 08-01-2017, 06:16 AM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

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Wow! A text book example of putting the cart before the horse.
I disagree. The classic example would be fancy wheels and tires on a roller. This is just working ahead a bit.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:44 AM   #15
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Paul, you are doing nothing wrong concurrently working on the brake lights. As you have discovered, it can take a long time to gather info and find suppliers. Brakes and brake lights are almost as important as the engine. Put the modification info in the glove box; I'd find it there if I buy your car.
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:24 AM   #16
19Fordy
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Paul: I have to disagree with you about your 12V thoughts. Once you get your car "on the road" you will see why 12V is the best way to go. One immediate advantage is brighter headlights. You can use Halogen bulbs. Second advantage is instant starting. 3rd advantage is allows installation of electronic ignition. 4th: plentiful replacement parts.

"Maybe someday if there was some reason for it but 12v conversion seems to come with a host of problems and no clear advantage."

Last edited by 19Fordy; 08-02-2017 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: Anyone gone through the agony of LED bulb conversion? (not headlights)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Bennett View Post
I'd like to improve the visibility of my brake lights especially in daytime conditions. (3rd brake light project is later) So naturally, I am investigating switching to LEDs. I'd also like brighter gauge lights but less important.

However -

6 volt narrows availability down to very few LEDs,
Positive ground further reduces availability to almost nil.

Amazon has several decently priced 6volt LEDs but all are negative ground.
SuperBright has no customer service and a crap web site to search for 6v.

One distributor has 6v positive gnd LED bulbs but his $5 BA9 type 55 instrument bulb replacements while nice and bright are too long to fit in my gauges. His $20 1157 brake/tail parking bulb puts all light peripherally with no axial light straight out which makes it unacceptable as in place it is dimmer than the existing incandescent bulb. Just as well as his prices are double what I want to pay.

I'm about to try changing the tail light socket in my 50 Merc to use a single element $7 each 1156 style LED (see photo) and use $5 plastic replacement automotive sockets. The bulb shell in the factory Mercury tail light 1157 socket contacts the car ground. In the replacement socket, there is a dedicated wire from the socket bulb shell and is insulated from chassis ground. This will allow me to reverse the bulb polarity myself by applying brake voltage to the bulb shell and car ground to the tip. I can then make use of the wide array of available LED bulbs. My only worry is how to insure future owners are aware of my change, perhaps a laminated card in the area.

As the tail lights presently uses the 2 element 1157 bulbs providing a less bright parking light, I plan to use a resistor and feed that voltage to the same element as the brake/turn LED uses.

Oh yes I've ordered a $15 brake light blinker which blinks the brake light 4 times before going solid. I just hope it will work on 6v. They make a more expensive model with accellerometer which detects panic stops to blink faster. Maybe I'll use that model on my future 3rd brake LED.

So, have any others of you felt the urge to go LED? What are your experiences?
Try here:

https://www.ledlight.com/

Go into the web site, then click on automotive, then scroll down to 6 volt positive ground - three pages of bulbs.

My car is a 1953 Mercury with the original 6 volt positive ground electrical system.

LED bulbs that work with positive or negative 6 volt electrical systems. Direct plug and play.

LEDLight.com
Reflective Illumination LLC
P.O. Box 82626
Phoenix, AZ 85071
1 (877) 283-5060 - toll Free
1 (602) 997-0366 - Local
1 (602) 861-4088 - Fax
Phones and Live Support
8am-4pm Monday-Friday (PDT)
Sales and Support - sales@ledlight.com

No issues with a mix of original bulbs and LED's. I still use the original flasher ( I am still using original bulbs for the front turn signals and running lights)

Take a look at these prior postings: Positive ground system in my car

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?
p=1796222#post1796222

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showt...56#post179805

Last edited by Merc Cruzer; 09-21-2019 at 08:37 PM.
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