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Car lighting - BrianT
I seem to be getting through brake light/headlight bulbs at an alarming rate these days. At one time they lasted forever. Do these things have a fixed hour burn thats got shorter to get us to buy more?
Will 42 volt electrical systems improve bulb life? What about fibre optic technology?
Re: Car lighting - mike harvey
Brian, could just possibly be the voltage regulator on the blink. You are right though, OE bulbs last and last as manufacturers insist they last the warranty period. After market bulbs are not up to that standard, and I do not think you can buy OE bulbs. I cannot see 42 volts helping much, the 230v bulbs in my house dont last long either!
Regards, Mike.
Re: Car lighting - Andy P
That's probably why it's taking so long to introduce LEDs to cars. These things last for ages, so the bulb manufacturers won't be best pleased.

Re: Car lighting - Phil P
I saw a tanker yesterday which had LED arrays for all the rear lights - tail, brake and indicators. It caught my eye because of the clipped way the indicators went on and off - no lag like you get with tungsten filaments.
Re: Car lighting - Andrew Hamilton
In both cases, car volts and mains, stick a meter on it and monitor voltage. Car bulbs are very sensitive to overvoltage. Car battery may read 12.8V with engine off but could rise over 14.5V on driving. Mr Haynes suggests 13.8-14.4V for Lucas alternator in a metro at 3000rpm with all accessories off. The only lights I have replaced in 6 years in my van are two instrument bulbs.
Re: Car lighting - steve paterson
A few years ago I replaced one of the front daylight running lights on a Volvo with a standard 21w bulb. Didn't last a week and neither did the subsequent replacements. Eventually bought a Volvo bulb, the storeman said they were made to a high spec. hence the high price. No more problems.
As for 230v bulbs, you can get 'rough service' bulbs - good for lead lights etc. A 60w bulb gives out less light and more heat than a standard bulb, but can withstand all sorts of dropping and knocking. Last forever in the bathroom.
Re: Car lighting - Tom Shaw
I'd like to see a law passed that all car bulbs can be changed in 30 seconds without tools, and that any which cause your knuckles to be skinned would entitle you to sue the carmaker for untold millions.
Re: Car lighting - Pete
I have just noticed that both the number plate lights/bulbs on my Rover have failed. I wondered it it might be because they are up in the boot lid area and don't get much cooling air flow round them. Presumably lights at the front and at the back corners of the car get the benefit of air round them - it isn't as if number plate lights are powerful, I think the replacements were 5 Watt.
Re: Car lighting - Jonathan
I wouldn't have thought that air would circulate around the bulbs in the lamp clusters. If air can get in and circulate then so can water, which will lead to condensation, damp and failure of the bulb (and MOT if a headlamp). ThHere should be enough air in the lamp to allow some cooling, but not from air flow.

Re: Car lighting - Ian (cape town)
Sure thing Tom!
And while they are at it, whoever wrote that nonsense about 'HANDLE THE BULBS WITH TISSUE PAPER' should be shot!
It's a devil's own job to do it bare-fingered, let alone use a tissue as well ...
Re: Car lighting - Sue
Tom Shaw wrote:
> I'd like to see a law passed that all car bulbs can be
> changed in 30 seconds without tools, and that any which cause
> your knuckles to be skinned would entitle you to sue the
> carmaker for untold millions.

Add to that 'by a woman, one-handed by torchlight'!

I don't like playing the 'helpless woman' (doesn't work on my friends anyway) but have had to resort to this every time a lightbulb has failed on any car because my own attempts at changing them have failed every time!
Re: Car lighting - steve paterson
I recently read of (maybe in the DT), an EEC directive that all bulbs should be changeable without using tools.
Re: Car lighting - Honest John
There was a story about how a former boss of Skoda became very annoyed at the quality of East European bulbs his factory was being supplied with so cancelled the contract with the supplier. I wrote "former" because very soon afterwards he was on his way home when a truck pulled out across the road in front of his car and stopped. Guys then came out of the bushes and shot him to death. Strange how a lot of current VAG cars still seem to have one rear light bulb out.

Re: Car lighting - Richard Hall
A sensible EC directive? I don't believe it.
Re: Car lighting - Brian
Side/parking light bulbs, at 5 watts, don't generate enough heat to cause problems.
Headlamp bulbs have a fairly large body of air around them for the heat to be carried away. If the air within the lamp does heat up then the glass at the front is a fairly large area and conducts the heat away, unless you install over-spec bulbs e.g. 100 watt, when things may overheat a bit, maybe leading to deterioration of the reflector.
Stoneguard covers will slow that process down.
The glass of the headlight of my motorbike gets warm to the touch and if you stop when it's been raining you can sometimes see the rain steaming off. Nothing to worry about, though.
Re: Car lighting LEDS - Stuart B
Actually these systems are already here. have read articles (Vehice Eng & Design & others) about the rear lights using LED arrays.
The same array is used with different intensities, colours and the shape of the lit area to cover all the lighting requiremnts, marker, brake, reverse, indicator and fog.
The bit i did not like was the lack of separation of brake and rear fogs, or maybe I misunderstood the diagrams.

Question for BrianT who started this thread, are the replacement bulbs ones fresh from off the shelf or ones carried round as spares? I have the impression that ones carried in my spare bulb kit have a distinctly shorter life. I can never decide whether its this or the non OEM bulbs that is the factor.
Re: Car lighting LEDS - BrianT
Hi Stuart,
No, these are Bosch so called OE bulbs fresh of the shelf. Interesting to see HJ's comment about VAG cars with one brake light out, mine's an Audi!

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