What are LEDs
LED lighting has been available for over 50 years. LEDs are semiconductor diodes which convert roughly 90% of the electricity consumed into light. Standard incandescent bulbs only convert around 15%.
LEDs last a considerable amount of time when compared to an incandescent. The useful life is usually in excess of 30,000 hours and can last up to 100,000. They don't burn out like traditional bulbs, instead the light output gradually fades over time.
LEDs are resistant to vibration and thermal shock. They are also great at being able to switch on and off frequently and do not need to warm up. When switched on, they are immediately on. This is particularly useful in giving early indications of braking. That earlier lighting bulb may make all the difference to someone hitting you from behind or not.
The Lumen (brightness) output of many lower quality SMD will vary a great deal. Taking the 5050 SMD for example, the ones we use output 20 Lumen each. Many lower cost bulbs can be half as bright so although you may be buying a lower cost bulb, question the quality you are getting and the resultant life of the bulb.
If an advert does not state an accurate Lumen output or does not quote one at all for a 6000k white LED (coloured LED use a different scale) then question this. Good quality SMDs, such as those we use, will produce the following Lumen output per SMD:
SMD Type Lumen Output per SMD
This varies a great deal too. Does the LED feel fragile to touch? Does the head of the bulb twist in the base? Do they break when you try to fit them? Well they should not. Our LEDs are solidly constructed and put together properly by skilled workers. They then pass through a full quality control check before being passed over for sale.
It's hard to spot build quality from an online picture. Questions you can ask yourself are:
• Why are they cheaper?
• Are they CE and ROHS approved?
• Does the seller recommend you wash your hands after fitting? (lead, mercury and cadmium are poisonous - what are the bulbs made of?)
• Look at the electrical fitting contact point - is it a pointy contact or nicely rounded. The nicely rounded contacts show time was taken and will give a better contact in your holder which stops poor connections and flicker.
Why not stick with Incandescent Bulbs?
Incandescents are becoming obsolete. They are cheap and mass produced but they don't last long, don't like vibration or temperature extremes and take a lot of energy to light. They get very hot too which wastes most of the power going to them. They are not efficient.
LEDs are Solid State devices (SSL). They don't burn out. Useful life expectancy is in excess of 30,000 hours in use which means, though the cost is more expensive, you will have less maintenance to do and over time you will find they pay for themselves. Because they take a very low amount of energy to light they put less of a strain on older wiring and electrical systems.
Good quality LEDs are generally brighter than incandescent bulbs, all of ours have been developed such that they are. They will improve your visibility to other road users and also enable you to see your gauges and interior which can only better your driving experience.
Do LEDs work with Dimmers?
A very common Classic Car owner question. Briefly, our dash LEDs are dimmable but this will depend on the voltage range and condition of your rheostat. These start lighting dimly at around 9 volts generally and reach full brightness at 11v. If you are not seeing a dimming effect, you may need to add a resistor across the circuit to make up the difference in load between the LEDs and incandescent lamps. This being said, many customers ask this question and then do not use the dimmer at all as the brightness of the LEDs is a comfortable level. The rheostat can just be bridged if required.
General Fitting Tips
6 volt LEDs will only work between 5 and 9 volts. 12 volt LEDs generally work between 9 and 15 volts. Our 24 volt LEDs generally work between 11 and 28 volts.
If you are using them for indicators / turn signals, they do not draw enough load to work with a mechanical flasher relay so you would need one of our electronic flasher units or you will need to add ballast, though the use of our electronic flashers is preferred as ballast resistors get very hot and add back in all the load that you have just saved. They also need good earths / grounds and connections for the same reason and often better than an incandescent will work with.
If you are testing them on a 6 volt vehicle, they need to be installed in matched pairs (for example when fitting brake lights on a car, fit both LEDs before testing) and not mixed with an incandescent on the opposite side. 6 volt systems are weak and if you are mixing LED and incandescent on opposing sides, the incandescent will draw all the current leaving little for the LED to function. We also recommend they are tested with the engine running.
CE and ROHS approval
Electrical goods for sale in the EU need to have CE and ROHS approval. This is the manufacturers statement that the product meets the essential requirements of all European Directives. CE approval implies that the product has passed all the relevant evaluation and assessment procedures defined by the CE directives.
ROHS approval (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) originated in the EU and restricts the use of hazardous metals in electrical components. The substances restricted are Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrminated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. All of these are poisonous, hazardous to the environment, pollute landfill and are very dangerous in relation to occupational exposure. Believe it or not we've seen online adverts for some LEDs stating you should wash your hands after handling due to Lead content!
About us - Classic Car LEDs
Started in 2014 as a direct result of not being able to purchase good quality LED bulbs at a fair and affordable price. After many classic car restorations we ventured into adding LED lighting for safety and comfort reasons and found that the bulb qualities generally available were not to our satisfaction.
Months of research and testing resulted in the LEDs that we now have available. We continue to research and develop the ranges to improve lighting, colours and price for your classic car, bike or vehicle.
We've now also developed a good range of positive earth / ground products too specifically for those owners who require them. We also appreciate that some owners want to add LED lighting but want to keep a classic look. Most of our LEDs are now available in warm white as a result which provide a brighter but softer looking light.
As far as pricing is concerned, we are acutely aware of over inflated prices in the classic markets and try and keep our prices as low as possible so that all can benefit from improved lighting at a reasonable cost.
Pre and After Sales
We are more than happy to give advice and assist in overcoming any issues or questions that you have. If you have any questions, please call us or send us an email. Please include the make model and year of your vehicle when asking model related questions. Please, though, be aware it's very difficult to diagnose wiring issues remotely.