Monday, October 15, 2012

Brighter light; louder noise

You know the incandescent bulb is a dinosaur, right?  New technology give us better, brighter light, with less heat and less power consumption.  For automotive applications, the name of the game is LED.  Fancy cars come with LED lighting now, but the less-expensive ones still make do with the older (but cheaper) bulbs.

LED license plate bulbs
Good thing work at a shop here to bring that BRZ into the modern age.  We removed every standard bulb we could, and replaced it with an LED equivalent.  That ended up being the puddle lights (in the doors), the backup lights, the license plate lamps, the fog lamps, and the dome light.  Oh, and the trunk light!

LED puddle lamps
Installation was pretty easy -- For the interior bulbs the lenses just pop off, and the new LED bulbs install in place of the old ones.  The exterior bulbs (fog, backup) are a little more involved.  The backup lights are easy to reach from under the rear of the car.  The fog lamp bulbs are accessed by removing some of the push fasteners under the lower splash shields in the front bumper.  The fog lamp bulb LEDs weren't exactly right -- they are an H16 bulb, and there are apparently different variants.  We had to carve off some of the tabs on our LED bulbs to get them to fit.  One we finished customizing the bulbs, they clicked right into place.  H16's push directly into their socket, by the way -- they don't push-and-turn like most automotive bulbs do.
LED backup lamp on right; stock on left
In each case the light is at least as bright as stock, and MUCH whiter -- closer to sunlight than the yellow stock bulbs.  We like 'em because they are practical and also eye-catching, and they don't cost too much.  It's a fun modification, and you can do a little at a time, or do the whole car at once.

Some new cars don't get along with LED bulbs, because the resistance is different (lower) than incandescent bulbs.  Those cars have automated bulb-checking routines that test the bulbs even when they are not in use.  The BRZ belongs to a simpler time, though, and doesn't have any of that new-fangled bulb testing logic.  In any case, no warning lights lit up in the dash after I installed all those LED bulbs.

And for the second of the five senses in today's update, we built a prototype dual-outlet muffler delete.  This one has fully-polished double-walled tips, so it looks very presentable (as compared to our strictly-business single-outlet muffler delete).  It isn't what I'd call quiet, but I think it sounds great.  It's still much lighter than stock (I don't know the exact weight yet, but I'd guess it's around 18 pounds lighter than stock.)

We'll be manufacturing this one over the next few weeks.  When they're in stock I'll post a link.