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-   1958 To 1960 Squarebirds - General Technical Discussion (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   LED Tail light question (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=22119)

Framer_guru 10-30-2017 09:44 PM

LED Tail light question
Hey all. Been a long time since I've been on here. Had a thought the other night. :D:D Does anyone make LED tail lights for a 60 T-Bird? :confused::confused: I was on Mac's Auto Parts the other night and saw that they have some for 55-57, but nothing for our Birds. I found a YouTube video from a guy who built his own LED tail lights for an older BMW. Looked fairly easy to build, but if there was someone who already makes them, then so much the better. Any help would be great. Thanks all!

bygrace 10-31-2017 04:45 PM

I have always wondered how the typical round truck/trailer LED taillight would fit behind the round T-bird lenses. Some of these contain 15 to 18 LEDs and are really bright, especially on the brakes. I'd have to see one in hand to have a better idea. Never tried it. Probably require some retrofitting. I do know that many of the available 1157 led replacement LEDs are not adequate.

simplyconnected 10-31-2017 07:54 PM

There's no 'magic LED' that can take the place of an 1157 bulb because LEDs draw hardly any current. The flasher unit won't work without proper current draw.

To work around this, we install a large resistor in parallel with the LED, just for the flasher unit.

You guys with stop light relays can use LED lamps in those sockets without a resistor.

I did a video for one of our members who wanted LEDs in his Squarebird. I set up the electrical system in our Galaxie using diodes and resistors, to run LEDs. CLICK HERE.

Let me know if you have questions. - Dave

cuul59 11-01-2017 12:07 AM

LED's and Flashers
Hi and greetings from Dallas.
I put LEDs in my taillights and front turn signals. I used a replacement LED flasher unit I bought from, I believe, superbrightleds.com. Google "LED flasher" and you'll find some options. LED's are definitely the way to go. BTW, put them in my dash lights as well...what a difference, I can actually see my dials at night!

'59 Convertible

cuul59 11-01-2017 12:16 AM

LED Flasher Link...
Forgot to attach this;

simplyconnected 11-01-2017 01:09 AM

I like the electronic flasher units but these solid state units work differently than mechanical OEM flasher units.

The price is good but they are silent. They depend on; the customer will use ALL LEDs, front and back, not a mix of incandescent and LED lamps. Not a big concession but I would do this...

Let this flasher unit power two relays. Why two? One for RH brake/turn signal and the other for LH brake/turn signal.

Understand that the brake circuit AND flasher unit power both feed the steering column. Flashers interrupt brake lights. So after the turn signal switch, one wire from each side can power the relay coils. Power for the lamps comes from the battery, through the relay contacts and on to the lamps. How many lamps? As many as you like and any kind of lamp you like including trailer lamps or a mix of LED and incandescent. None of the lamp current (load) goes through the steering column so the rate of flash is never altered by the lamp current.

The relays could be mounted under the dash, to emit the clicking sound, then front and rear wires for each side feed the lamps. Let me know if you have questions. - Dave

bygrace 11-01-2017 04:45 PM

Right. The electronic flashers are basically a relay, with a clock chip. I put one in just to have a consistent blink speed. Instead of slower at idle with headlights on. Then you can skip the relays, resistors, etc

sidewalkman 11-01-2017 05:03 PM

I think the original question was does anyone make a replacement tail light assembly with LED similar to the ones available for the Baby Bird. I'm pretty sure the answer is no. As said above there are bulbs available that will work but the just replace the bulbs in the stock locations. I've read about people adding strip LED around the inside diameter of the tail lights to have a bigger brighter impact. My thought would be to add a circle of LED around the inside of all 3 tail lights for running lights, and then the outer 2 would have the single bulb for signal and brake lights and the inside would remain reverse light.

bygrace 11-01-2017 08:39 PM

I'm running a red LED in the backup lens right now. It only functions as a tail light. So the three are lit equally since the red LED lights the white center red. There's a clear 921 bulb piggy-backed on the LED which lights white in reverse. Kinda fun, lit all across.

Deanj 11-02-2017 12:15 PM


Originally Posted by bygrace (Post 112118)
I'm running a red LED in the backup lens right now. It only functions as a tail light. So the three are lit equally since the red LED lights the white center red. There's a clear 921 bulb piggy-backed on the LED which lights white in reverse. Kinda fun, lit all across.

What number bulb is that? How does the clear bulb only function in reverse? Not that I want this, but to understand it.

The only LED I use is for the dome light. That works great since draw is minimal and it's either on or off.

I like the idea of LED instrument panel lights. I would think these aren't dimmable, but who's dimming their instrument panel lights on these cars anyway? Unlike today's cars that use electroluminescent lighting, the Squarebird needs all the help it can get. Other downside: LEDs degrade over time, albeit a long time.


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