Gauge lighting

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Jumprun
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Gauge lighting

Post by Jumprun » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:52 pm

Hello all, now that the days are shorter and my vision is not what it used to be, I'd like to increase the brightness of the instrument lights. (330 GTC) I've already cleaned the rheostat and connections and my column switch has been refurbished. I wonder if taking apart and cleaning up the dash toggle switch would help? I suppose I could use higher watt bulbs but I'm loath to increase the draw on my original spec electrical system. Does anyone know of an LED solution?
SoCal Tom

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tyang
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by tyang » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:39 pm

LED replacements are probably your best bet. They draw less current, and I believe are cooler in temperature. The color of the lights can sometimes be disappointing as they tend to be colder in color (bluer). The original lights were incandescent so were a warmer color. I think more and more LEDs are coming in different color temps. If they sell them in color temps, you would want something in the 3200-34500 Kelvin range. The bluish bulbs will be in the 5K range.

Tom
'63 330 America #5053

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tyang
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by tyang » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:41 pm

Also, the dimmer might not work anymore. I'm not sure how much voltage the dimmable LEDs need to work, so you would have to try them out. The resistance wire in the dimmer on our cars cuts a lot of current out of the circuit, and it may be too much for the LED to work.

Tom
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tim
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by tim » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:05 pm

Greetings... I replaced the gauge lights in one of my Morgans with LEDs and it was a big improvement. The light is cooler (whiter) and seems to improve the contrast. Gauges much easier to read.

Tim
1964 330GT 5769 -the big yellow taxi 61&66 Morgan +4's Daimler SP250 and some other dull stuff plus a brand new Mini Cooper S Clubman JCWS

Jumprun
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by Jumprun » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:03 am

Sounds good, any hints for the best quickest source?

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peterp
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by peterp » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:56 am

Assuming the GTC has the same instrument lights as the 330 GT, Kerry's light bulb guide (http://www.330gt.com/Encyclopedia/Bulbs.htm) is very helpful. The stock instrument bulbs are 3-watt "363". He also specifies a 4-watt "A-79" upgrade which is slightly brighter and I think I recall him saying that the additional watt didn't cause heat issues (but you do have to worry about heat if you go higher than that with incandescents).

LED's are much brighter, use 1/8th the energy, and run cool. The important thing with LED replacements is color temperature, light dispersion, and dimmability. When I tried LED's in the overhead door interior dome(ish) lights, the color temp and directionality of the LED version of festoons was pretty offensive (I think 4000k was the warmest color they had back then). The bluish color looked totally out of place and the lights were much more directional than the original incandescent festoon that has 360 degree dispersion. The LED's were much brighter and ran absolutely cool, but I couldn't rip them out fast enough based on color and directionality.

Personally I think the only LED that will look correct is 2700k -- anything that doesn't have a bit of "yellow" in the light looks out of place in a vintage car to my eye (YMMV of course). For the instrument lights, I assume (not having tried it myself yet) you probably need as close as possible to 360 degree dispersion like the original incandescent bulbs. When I search for "363": LED bulbs in google, the first thing that comes up is these -> https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinf ... utes/10906

These are available in 2700k, they have 360 degree light dispersion. At 96 lumens -- they might almost be too bright. Almost unbelievably, superbright LED's doesn't specify whether they are dimmable or not. The first user review shows pics of a guy using them in vintage instruments, so maybe they are dimmable. It's worth a call to superbrightLEDs to see if they dim, or maybe get them somewhere else where they are specifically listed as dimmable. It's probably a good idea to order 1 first to make sure they fit since the search for 363 doesn't necessarily guarantee they will fit in the 330 dashboard.
Peter P
1966 330 2+2 series 2 #8169

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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by Jumprun » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:04 pm

Peter, thank you kindly for the thoughtful comprehensive reply. I think I will just try replacing the instrument and warning lights. I'm not too worried about the color, but if I have a choice I'll take your advice, I just need everything brighter. I'm not too worried about the dimmer, I don't think I've ever used the dimmer on ANY car I've ever driven since the beginning of time.

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peterp
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by peterp » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:16 pm

Jumprun wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:04 pm
Peter, thank you kindly for the thoughtful comprehensive reply. I think I will just try replacing the instrument and warning lights. I'm not too worried about the color, but if I have a choice I'll take your advice, I just need everything brighter. I'm not too worried about the dimmer, I don't think I've ever used the dimmer on ANY car I've ever driven since the beginning of time.
You may not think you care about color temperature until you see "cool white" lighting in a vintage car. Well, at least that was the case for me. The 2700k "warm" lights should be fine and fairly close to the original incandescent color temperature (but the LEDs will be a lot brighter). I read a few more user reviews from that listing and it sounds like those LEDs are dimmable. There are several reviews about instrument light replacements and they all universally agree the LED's are much brighter than the original incandescents. Seems like they will work for your purposes as long as they fit (<- probably can't be 100% certain of fit without trying the LED's (or comparing measurements with your current bulbs)).
Peter P
1966 330 2+2 series 2 #8169

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330GT
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by 330GT » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:53 am

I doubt that you will find a LED bulb that will fit into the gauges. I bought some LED bulbs for the side marker lights that said that they would fit per the bulb number. When they came, the base was correct, but the bulb diameter was too large to fit into the receptacle. Since the gauge bulbs are even smaller, the issue will be the worse.

Most bulbs that fit into their receptacle by inserting the base can be retrofit with LED bulbs. I have also found festoon LED bulbs that are larger in diameter, but still fit in the passenger compartment and trunk fixtures. Now I no longer worry about melting the covers if I leave a door or trunk open too long.
Regards, Kerry
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peterp
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by peterp » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:19 pm

330GT wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:53 am
I doubt that you will find a LED bulb that will fit into the gauges. I bought some LED bulbs for the side marker lights that said that they would fit per the bulb number. When they came, the base was correct, but the bulb diameter was too large to fit into the receptacle. Since the gauge bulbs are even smaller, the issue will be the worse.

Most bulbs that fit into their receptacle by inserting the base can be retrofit with LED bulbs. I have also found festoon LED bulbs that are larger in diameter, but still fit in the passenger compartment and trunk fixtures. Now I no longer worry about melting the covers if I leave a door or trunk open too long.
Thanks Kerry -- I experienced that fit problem with the festoons I tried a long time ago. I ordered the LED festoons by industry bulb number and, although the LED's fit (loosely), they were shorter than the originals. Can you share which festoons you are using?

I think there's a chance the instrument lights from SuperBrightLED's might fit. Those LED's don't look like they have any glass or plastic cover over the LED panels, so they are fairly compact. From measurements, it seems like the width of the "bulb" area is ok (0.40" for both LED and incandescent). The LED's seem to be slightly longer however (1.16" versus .94"), so if depth is limited, then they might not fit. The 2.8 watt incandescents seem to be rated somewhere between 12 and 26 lumens while the 1.2 watt LED's produce 96 lumens, so the LED's are around 4 to 8 times as bright while using less than half the power of the incandescents.

From: https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinf ... utes/10906
Image

From: http://www.autolumination.com/visual_bu ... _ba9s.html
Image
Peter P
1966 330 2+2 series 2 #8169

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330GT
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by 330GT » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:21 pm

peterp wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:19 pm
330GT wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:53 am
I doubt that you will find a LED bulb that will fit into the gauges. I bought some LED bulbs for the side marker lights that said that they would fit per the bulb number. When they came, the base was correct, but the bulb diameter was too large to fit into the receptacle. Since the gauge bulbs are even smaller, the issue will be the worse.

Most bulbs that fit into their receptacle by inserting the base can be retrofit with LED bulbs. I have also found festoon LED bulbs that are larger in diameter, but still fit in the passenger compartment and trunk fixtures. Now I no longer worry about melting the covers if I leave a door or trunk open too long.
Thanks Kerry -- I experienced that fit problem with the festoons I tried a long time ago. I ordered the LED festoons by industry bulb number and, although the LED's fit (loosely), they were shorter than the originals. Can you share which festoons you are using?

I think there's a chance the instrument lights from SuperBrightLED's might fit. Those LED's don't look like they have any glass or plastic cover over the LED panels, so they are fairly compact. From measurements, it seems like the width of the "bulb" area is ok (0.40" for both LED and incandescent). The LED's seem to be slightly longer however (1.16" versus .94"), so if depth is limited, then they might not fit. The 2.8 watt incandescents seem to be rated somewhere between 12 and 26 lumens while the 1.2 watt LED's produce 96 lumens, so the LED's are around 4 to 8 times as bright while using less than half the power of the incandescents.

From: https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinf ... utes/10906
Image

From: http://www.autolumination.com/visual_bu ... _ba9s.html
Image
Trunk festoon LED bulb:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-2pcs-12V-3 ... 2749.l2649

Interior festoon LED bulb:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/4pcs-White-31m ... 2749.l2649

Yes, the lengths don't exactly match, but the clips in the fixtures can be bent enough to get a tight fit. The other caveat is that these bulbs are polarized, so make sure that you have the + and - ends installed correctly before putting everything back together. I first thought I had a DOA bulb until noticing the polarization issue.

I looked for warmer versions of these bulbs, but couldn't find any. These are bright white, not particularly noticeable in the trunk light, but can be noticed in the passenger compartment.
Regards, Kerry
http://www.330gt.com 330 GT Registry
http://www.parrotbyte.com/kbc/ferrari 250 PF Coupe 1643GT, 330 GT 2+2 8755GT, 308 GTS 23605

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peterp
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by peterp » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:38 am

Thanks Kerry -- this is very helpful.
Peter P
1966 330 2+2 series 2 #8169

Jumprun
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by Jumprun » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:27 pm

I carefully measured an original bulb and the fitting that pushes into the instrument and it looks like it might fit, so I bought just one to see if it will work, I should get it next week so I’ll report in as soon as I’m able.

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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by Jumprun » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:51 am

330GT wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:53 am
I doubt that you will find a LED bulb that will fit into the gauges. I bought some LED bulbs for the side marker lights that said that they would fit per the bulb number. When they came, the base was correct, but the bulb diameter was too large to fit into the receptacle. Since the gauge bulbs are even smaller, the issue will be the worse.
I just bought 1LED bulb to test, and I can confirm that the one on the link above will not fit into gauge.

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peterp
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Re: Gauge lighting

Post by peterp » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:20 am

Jumprun wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:51 am
I just bought 1LED bulb to test, and I can confirm that the one on the link above will not fit into gauge.
Sorry to hear that. Is the problem that bulb is too long? The measurements suggest that the diameter is ok (at least compared with a generic incandescent 363 bulb), but the LED bulb is slightly longer. It would be great if you could post measurements (and maybe pictures) of the both the original incandescent and the LED.
Peter P
1966 330 2+2 series 2 #8169

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