JCPanosh
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:37 am

Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:14 pm

Thanks for all these interesting ideas about replacing globes with LEDs. I see some people have replaced Hi beams with LED (22W and 30W) , gshepard reports 140F temperature. I am wondering why these units get so hot, and how that compares to the halogens they replace? Is there a problem with the head being moved from the globe (central inside headlamp enclosure) to the base (seems to be outside headlamp enclosure into the dust cap)?

Apart from the fact it is LED, I don't see any advantage to changing the blinkers given you have to place a resistor into the circuit, does that mean it is using the same amount of power? Sort of defeats the point of reducing power by using LEDs, and blinkers do not get the advantage of bright white light you get with LEDs, so wondering if there is something I am missing with that part of the conversion.

I started by changing my Parking lights, seems easy enough, but now I am wondering if I need to change the Hi beam due to some comments that the heat of that lamp might damage the LED. I don't use Hi beam very often, so I don't think it is a problem. But I hate that the colour of the Hi beam is so yellow compared to the Lo beam. For me it is almost (not quite) useless having the Hi beam on, it makes so little difference to the visibility.

I'm interested to change the fog lamps and think turning them into DRL sounds like a good idea. I never use the Fog lamps as they add no value to normal driving, and they are not true Fog lamps anyway. On my 2012 Leaf is I leave the Fog lamp switch on, and the main switch in Auto, then Lo beam and Fog lamps come on. Not really the effect I was looking for, but probably Ok.

There is so many LEDs to choose from, and so much information about what works and how to install them, this is a very useful discussion topic. Really appreciated.

gshepherd
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Delivery Date: 03 Jun 2016
Location: Seattle / Phoenix

Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:12 pm

JCPanosh wrote:I am wondering why these units get so hot, and how that compares to the halogens they replace? Is there a problem with the head being moved from the globe (central inside headlamp enclosure) to the base (seems to be outside headlamp enclosure into the dust cap)?

The LEDs do generate significantly less heat than incandescent (hundreds of degrees at the diode vs. thousands at a halogen filament). However, what heat they do generate must be removed from the LED itself, or it will cook the diode to an untimely demise. Thus, the LEDs are usually mounted on aluminum (great heat conductor), leading to a heatsink (large surface area), and potentially a fan to help dissipate the heat off the heat sink. One of the reasons LEDs generate heat is impurities in the crystals themselves... they are pumping out so much light these days, that any impurity causes internal reflections and some of the light is bounced around and turned into heat. There's a lot of research going on to growing purer crystalline structures for LEDs. That is what I read.

The air volume behind the headlight reflector and inside the dust cap is fairly cavernous, so I'm not too worried about heat buildup there. A halogen bulb will project a lot of its heat forward via the reflector and through the clear plastic of the headlight. I believe that over time, this heat and intense IR/UV light contributes to clouding of the clear headlight. Perhaps LEDs will be less likely to do this.

JCPanosh wrote:Apart from the fact it is LED, I don't see any advantage to changing the blinkers given you have to place a resistor into the circuit, does that mean it is using the same amount of power? Sort of defeats the point of reducing power by using LEDs, and blinkers do not get the advantage of bright white light you get with LEDs, so wondering if there is something I am missing with that part of the conversion.

You are correct - the blinker circuit is expecting to see a certain amount of power being used by the turn signal bulbs. If less power is used than expected, it blinks at double-rate to warn the driver that a bulb is out. What's funny is a side-effect behavior of the old electromechanical blinker devices has been replicated in virtual, right down to the sound "clack clack" being pumped through a speaker.

The only practical benefits to replacing the turn signal bulbs with LEDs is style and perhaps the instant on/off will attract other drivers' attention more readily. The flip side is it can be visually distracting waiting behind another car with LED turn signals flicking on/off instantly vs. the smooth fade of old-fashioned heaters, I mean, incandescent bulbs. In theory, an amber (or red) LED produces just that color of light, so is again that much more efficient than an incandescent producing white light and then throwing away 30-60% of it through an amber or red filter.

That's all great in theory. I'm not going to bother.

JCPanosh wrote:I started by changing my Parking lights, seems easy enough, but now I am wondering if I need to change the Hi beam due to some comments that the heat of that lamp might damage the LED. I don't use Hi beam very often, so I don't think it is a problem. But I hate that the colour of the Hi beam is so yellow compared to the Lo beam. For me it is almost (not quite) useless having the Hi beam on, it makes so little difference to the visibility.

My LEAF had halogen high and low beams with a combined reflector. The OEM LED headlights use a separate reflectors for the LED low beams and halogen high beams. Many here have reported that the reflector for the high beams on the LED-equipped LEAFs has a compromised design, and that upgrading it to LED doesn't really solve much other than changing the color of the light to more match the low-beam LEDs. I found it interesting that the BMW i3 with LED headlights use the "fog lights" to provide halogen high beams. In both cases I prefer the results of the solution I ended up with on my LEAF, but that required started with a full halogen setup and then converting.

JCPanosh wrote:I'm interested to change the fog lamps and think turning them into DRL sounds like a good idea. I never use the Fog lamps as they add no value to normal driving, and they are not true Fog lamps anyway. On my 2012 Leaf is I leave the Fog lamp switch on, and the main switch in Auto, then Lo beam and Fog lamps come on. Not really the effect I was looking for, but probably Ok.
There is so many LEDs to choose from, and so much information about what works and how to install them, this is a very useful discussion topic. Really appreciated.

I bought, but have yet to install the Philips LED DRLs as noted elsewhere on this forum. A potentially better solution is the Sylvania LEDrive combination fog lights / DLRs. As my LEAF didn't come with fog lights, there is no pre-existing wiring or even mounting brackets, so the Philips DRLs seemed like a simpler approach. However, if I already had OEM foglight, I would consider upgrading to the Sylvania setup. It even has the benefit of adding a bit of direction lighting when a turn signal is engaged left or right.... not quite the same as steerable headlights, but perhaps helpful nonetheless.

I have upgraded my license plate lights to LED (Philips), and my reverse lights (also Philips). Additionally I have replaced my dome light (again, Philips), and the cargo area light (off brand from the auto supply). The interior lighting is much brighter/whiter and gets rid of the incandescent filament buzzing when the dome light dimmed down.
2016 LEAF SV

RRLeafEV
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:18 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2017
Leaf Number: 304580
Location: PNW

Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:42 pm

gshepherd wrote:
JCPanosh wrote:I am wondering why these units get so hot, and how that compares to the halogens they replace? Is there a problem with the head being moved from the globe (central inside headlamp enclosure) to the base (seems to be outside headlamp enclosure into the dust cap)?

The LEDs do generate significantly less heat than incandescent (hundreds of degrees at the diode vs. thousands at a halogen filament). However, what heat they do generate must be removed from the LED itself, or it will cook the diode to an untimely demise. Thus, the LEDs are usually mounted on aluminum (great heat conductor), leading to a heatsink (large surface area), and potentially a fan to help dissipate the heat off the heat sink. One of the reasons LEDs generate heat is impurities in the crystals themselves... they are pumping out so much light these days, that any impurity causes internal reflections and some of the light is bounced around and turned into heat. There's a lot of research going on to growing purer crystalline structures for LEDs. That is what I read.

The air volume behind the headlight reflector and inside the dust cap is fairly cavernous, so I'm not too worried about heat buildup there. A halogen bulb will project a lot of its heat forward via the reflector and through the clear plastic of the headlight. I believe that over time, this heat and intense IR/UV light contributes to clouding of the clear headlight. Perhaps LEDs will be less likely to do this.

JCPanosh wrote:Apart from the fact it is LED, I don't see any advantage to changing the blinkers given you have to place a resistor into the circuit, does that mean it is using the same amount of power? Sort of defeats the point of reducing power by using LEDs, and blinkers do not get the advantage of bright white light you get with LEDs, so wondering if there is something I am missing with that part of the conversion.

You are correct - the blinker circuit is expecting to see a certain amount of power being used by the turn signal bulbs. If less power is used than expected, it blinks at double-rate to warn the driver that a bulb is out. What's funny is a side-effect behavior of the old electromechanical blinker devices has been replicated in virtual, right down to the sound "clack clack" being pumped through a speaker.

The only practical benefits to replacing the turn signal bulbs with LEDs is style and perhaps the instant on/off will attract other drivers' attention more readily. The flip side is it can be visually distracting waiting behind another car with LED turn signals flicking on/off instantly vs. the smooth fade of old-fashioned heaters, I mean, incandescent bulbs. In theory, an amber (or red) LED produces just that color of light, so is again that much more efficient than an incandescent producing white light and then throwing away 30-60% of it through an amber or red filter.

That's all great in theory. I'm not going to bother.

JCPanosh wrote:I started by changing my Parking lights, seems easy enough, but now I am wondering if I need to change the Hi beam due to some comments that the heat of that lamp might damage the LED. I don't use Hi beam very often, so I don't think it is a problem. But I hate that the colour of the Hi beam is so yellow compared to the Lo beam. For me it is almost (not quite) useless having the Hi beam on, it makes so little difference to the visibility.

My LEAF had halogen high and low beams with a combined reflector. The OEM LED headlights use a separate reflectors for the LED low beams and halogen high beams. Many here have reported that the reflector for the high beams on the LED-equipped LEAFs has a compromised design, and that upgrading it to LED doesn't really solve much other than changing the color of the light to more match the low-beam LEDs. I found it interesting that the BMW i3 with LED headlights use the "fog lights" to provide halogen high beams. In both cases I prefer the results of the solution I ended up with on my LEAF, but that required started with a full halogen setup and then converting.

JCPanosh wrote:I'm interested to change the fog lamps and think turning them into DRL sounds like a good idea. I never use the Fog lamps as they add no value to normal driving, and they are not true Fog lamps anyway. On my 2012 Leaf is I leave the Fog lamp switch on, and the main switch in Auto, then Lo beam and Fog lamps come on. Not really the effect I was looking for, but probably Ok.
There is so many LEDs to choose from, and so much information about what works and how to install them, this is a very useful discussion topic. Really appreciated.

I bought, but have yet to install the Philips LED DRLs as noted elsewhere on this forum. A potentially better solution is the Sylvania LEDrive combination fog lights / DLRs. As my LEAF didn't come with fog lights, there is no pre-existing wiring or even mounting brackets, so the Philips DRLs seemed like a simpler approach. However, if I already had OEM foglight, I would consider upgrading to the Sylvania setup. It even has the benefit of adding a bit of direction lighting when a turn signal is engaged left or right.... not quite the same as steerable headlights, but perhaps helpful nonetheless.

I have upgraded my license plate lights to LED (Philips), and my reverse lights (also Philips). Additionally I have replaced my dome light (again, Philips), and the cargo area light (off brand from the auto supply). The interior lighting is much brighter/whiter and gets rid of the incandescent filament buzzing when the dome light dimmed down.


That was veey well done, gshepherd.

Can you please prove part numbers and/or links for both the Sylvania & Philips products you used?

I'm interested in upgrading U.S. LEAFs with DRLs (both LED & non-LED versions and fog/non-fog versions).

What's your advice, plaese?
2017 Nissan Leaf SV in Gun Metallic
2014 SL (sold)

gshepherd
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Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:38 am

RRLeafEV wrote:Can you please prove part numbers and/or links for both the Sylvania & Philips products you used?

I'm interested in upgrading U.S. LEAFs with DRLs (both LED & non-LED versions and fog/non-fog versions).

What's your advice, plaese?

Sure. Here is what I did on my car:

Hoshi Automotive H13 LED replacements for the SV-trim halogen headlights (integrated hi/lo beams, not compatible with the OEM LED headlights). Not DOT approved, but nice clean beam pattern with sharp horizontal cutoff. No glare to oncoming traffic. I keep the original halogens in the Hoshi box in back, just in case the LED units were to unexpectedly fail (who knows, these are retrofit, not OEM).

License Plate: Philips "194LED" (two bulbs)

Interior Dome Light: Philips "FestoonLED" 30mm

Reverse Lights: Philips "921LED"

Cargo Area Light: Pilot Automotive ILC-3175AW COB LED 30mm Festoon

Be careful replacing the reverse lights... removing the rear light clusters risks scratching the body paint at the top if you aren't careful. The service manual recommends applying protective tape to the painted body around the upper part of the cluster housings just to be on the safe side. It's also a great opportunity to clean under the cluster housings - a surprising amount of dirt gets worked under them.

DRLs (not yet installed) Philips 12820WLEDX1 (DOT-approved, and a supplier to Mercedes for their DRLs). I will be using Bussman ATM Add-a-Fuse to power the lights from Fuse 21 in the IPC box and also tap the Position Lights fuse in the same box for the disable line to the Philips controller. In addition, I have found the relay-driver output that would normally control the OEM DTRL relays. That line is pulled to ground when the car is on and not in Park. If that is still functioning, I will see if I can have it drive an appropriate relay. Ultimately, I'd like to bypass the Philips controller with my own LED driver circuit and let the LEAF control the DRLs as originally intended.
2016 LEAF SV

RockyNv
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:35 am
Delivery Date: 17 Sep 2016

Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:45 am

gshepherd wrote:
RRLeafEV wrote:Can you please prove part numbers and/or links for both the Sylvania & Philips products you used?

I'm interested in upgrading U.S. LEAFs with DRLs (both LED & non-LED versions and fog/non-fog versions).

What's your advice, plaese?

Sure. Here is what I did on my car:

Hoshi Automotive H13 LED replacements for the SV-trim halogen headlights (integrated hi/lo beams, not compatible with the OEM LED headlights). Not DOT approved, but nice clean beam pattern with sharp horizontal cutoff. No glare to oncoming traffic. I keep the original halogens in the Hoshi box in back, just in case the LED units were to unexpectedly fail (who knows, these are retrofit, not OEM).

License Plate: Philips "194LED" (two bulbs)

Interior Dome Light: Philips "FestoonLED" 30mm

Reverse Lights: Philips "921LED"

Cargo Area Light: Pilot Automotive ILC-3175AW COB LED 30mm Festoon

Be careful replacing the reverse lights... removing the rear light clusters risks scratching the body paint at the top if you aren't careful. The service manual recommends applying protective tape to the painted body around the upper part of the cluster housings just to be on the safe side. It's also a great opportunity to clean under the cluster housings - a surprising amount of dirt gets worked under them.

DRLs (not yet installed) Philips 12820WLEDX1 (DOT-approved, and a supplier to Mercedes for their DRLs). I will be using Bussman ATM Add-a-Fuse to power the lights from Fuse 21 in the IPC box and also tap the Position Lights fuse in the same box for the disable line to the Philips controller. In addition, I have found the relay-driver output that would normally control the OEM DTRL relays. That line is pulled to ground when the car is on and not in Park. If that is still functioning, I will see if I can have it drive an appropriate relay. Ultimately, I'd like to bypass the Philips controller with my own LED driver circuit and let the LEAF control the DRLs as originally intended.


Is that June 15, 2016 review on Amazon about installing the Hoshi H13 in a Leaf SV yours? Did you have to do much tinkering the get the bulb mounts oriented for a proper beam pattern or was it pretty straight. Do you still have the dust caps installed and how has heat build up been over the summer months? Some reviewers mention that the mount wobble a bit however was there an issue with this on the Leaf?

gshepherd
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Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:49 pm

RockyNv wrote:Is that June 15, 2016 review on Amazon about installing the Hoshi H13 in a Leaf SV yours? Did you have to do much tinkering the get the bulb mounts oriented for a proper beam pattern or was it pretty straight. Do you still have the dust caps installed and how has heat build up been over the summer months? Some reviewers mention that the mount wobble a bit however was there an issue with this on the Leaf?


Argh, lost my draft due to a spontaneous logout.

Anyway, yes, that is my review. Tinkering? Not much. There's really only one way to install the LEDs correctly. If you beam pattern is all messed up, then you might have installed them 90-degrees off. Compare with the halogen filaments and it's pretty clear how they should be.

The Hoshi units come with machined adapter rings that fit quite snugly into the headlights. In fact, I had to use the LED unit itself as a sort of wrench to rotate the adapter into the tabs.

There is enough room to carefully feed the connected harness down into the headlight housing behind the reflector (before you install the LEDs). That allows reinstalling the dust caps.

I've not had a problem with heat build-up. My measurements showed the heatsinks run 10F warmer with the dust caps in place on a cool evening. Had no problem during the summer, but then we're in the Pacific Northwest, so it doesn't get all that hot here.

No problems with the mounts wobbling, at least on the units I received. There is just enough adjustability to level the left-to-right beam pattern. Best to perform headlight aiming procedure after installing the LEDs. Mine needed to be raised up a couple inches, but may have been that way from the factory.

Still love the lights. Bright, white, and for some reason, reflective materials really bounce the light back quite well. Nobody flashes their high beams at me, and I've checked myself... very good horizontal light cutoff so as not to dazzle oncoming traffic. Oh, and you get LED High Beams at the same time... very nice on dark country roads.

I'll see if I can post some pics.
2016 LEAF SV

RockyNv
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:35 am
Delivery Date: 17 Sep 2016

Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:50 am

gshepherd wrote:
RockyNv wrote:Is that June 15, 2016 review on Amazon about installing the Hoshi H13 in a Leaf SV yours? Did you have to do much tinkering the get the bulb mounts oriented for a proper beam pattern or was it pretty straight. Do you still have the dust caps installed and how has heat build up been over the summer months? Some reviewers mention that the mount wobble a bit however was there an issue with this on the Leaf?


Argh, lost my draft due to a spontaneous logout.

Anyway, yes, that is my review. Tinkering? Not much. There's really only one way to install the LEDs correctly. If you beam pattern is all messed up, then you might have installed them 90-degrees off. Compare with the halogen filaments and it's pretty clear how they should be.

The Hoshi units come with machined adapter rings that fit quite snugly into the headlights. In fact, I had to use the LED unit itself as a sort of wrench to rotate the adapter into the tabs.

There is enough room to carefully feed the connected harness down into the headlight housing behind the reflector (before you install the LEDs). That allows reinstalling the dust caps.

I've not had a problem with heat build-up. My measurements showed the heatsinks run 10F warmer with the dust caps in place on a cool evening. Had no problem during the summer, but then we're in the Pacific Northwest, so it doesn't get all that hot here.

No problems with the mounts wobbling, at least on the units I received. There is just enough adjustability to level the left-to-right beam pattern. Best to perform headlight aiming procedure after installing the LEDs. Mine needed to be raised up a couple inches, but may have been that way from the factory.

Still love the lights. Bright, white, and for some reason, reflective materials really bounce the light back quite well. Nobody flashes their high beams at me, and I've checked myself... very good horizontal light cutoff so as not to dazzle oncoming traffic. Oh, and you get LED High Beams at the same time... very nice on dark country roads.

I'll see if I can post some pics.


Any range increase after installing the LED's? I don't recall if those are 20 or 25 watt LED's however how much on low beam does a near to 100 watt drop in consumption per pair have on range? I know it won't be much however every little bit helps.

gshepherd
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Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:32 am

RockyNv wrote:Any range increase after installing the LED's? I don't recall if those are 20 or 25 watt LED's however how much on low beam does a near to 100 watt drop in consumption per pair have on range? I know it won't be much however every little bit helps.

The halogen lights are a drop in the bucket compared to traction motor... we're talking 110W for both low beams vs 15,000 to 20,000W steady-state cruise on the highway. It should pencil out well under 1 mile difference in average range. LEDs provide other benefits, like constant brightness despite the LEAF 12V system variances from 12.5 to 14.5 while driving.
2016 LEAF SV

RockyNv
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:35 am
Delivery Date: 17 Sep 2016

Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:33 pm

gshepherd wrote:
RockyNv wrote:Any range increase after installing the LED's? I don't recall if those are 20 or 25 watt LED's however how much on low beam does a near to 100 watt drop in consumption per pair have on range? I know it won't be much however every little bit helps.

The halogen lights are a drop in the bucket compared to traction motor... we're talking 110W for both low beams vs 15,000 to 20,000W steady-state cruise on the highway. It should pencil out well under 1 mile difference in average range. LEDs provide other benefits, like constant brightness despite the LEAF 12V system variances from 12.5 to 14.5 while driving.


I am more used to doing this on small motorbikes to reduce the load on the electrical system with the side bar benefit of better lighting along with lower lamp housing temperatures. Here in Tampa Bay Florida even when its only 90 degrees out one may see roadway temps well in excess of 100 degrees so plastic lenses and the reflectors inside the lamp housing do take a beating so every little bit helps. When I took the MSF basic riders course while it was technically in the 90's the temperature on the riding course was 118+ degrees.

Does the voltage variance swing less drastically after reducing the load by installing LED's? What is the MAX capacity of the 12 volt charging system that maintains the accessory battery? Is the voltage potentially swinging so wildly because its capacity is a tad low for the load its carrying? Without a spinning alternator I would have expected it to be a bit more consistent.

gshepherd
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Re: Nissan LEAF Light Bulb Mods: LEDs Anyone?

Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:18 pm

RockyNv wrote:I am more used to doing this on small motorbikes to reduce the load on the electrical system with the side bar benefit of better lighting along with lower lamp housing temperatures. Here in Tampa Bay Florida even when its only 90 degrees out one may see roadway temps well in excess of 100 degrees so plastic lenses and the reflectors inside the lamp housing do take a beating so every little bit helps. When I took the MSF basic riders course while it was technically in the 90's the temperature on the riding course was 118+ degrees.

Does the voltage variance swing less drastically after reducing the load by installing LED's? What is the MAX capacity of the 12 volt charging system that maintains the accessory battery? Is the voltage potentially swinging so wildly because its capacity is a tad low for the load its carrying? Without a spinning alternator I would have expected it to be a bit more consistent.


I would certainly consider the high ambient temps of Florida with any LED conversion. Mine have it easy here in the Seattle area. The OEM LED headlights for the LEAF (low beams only) have large aluminum heatsinks under the headlight housing and no fan, so they seem to be counting on ambient airflow. It would be interesting to measure the surface temp of that heatsink.

The 12V system does not swing whether headlights are on or off. Instead the DC/DC converter seems to be following some sort of set profile for charging the 12V battery, which may or may not promote long lead-acid battery life (lots of threads here on MNL about that subject). Turning the wipers on does cause DC/DC to crank up to 14V or more. The only other time I've seen it at 14+V is the first few minutes after starting the car, but otherwise it seems to let the system hang out around 12.9V while I'm driving (unless, of course, I turn the wipers on). It has been awhile since I watched it, but I can see the concern for insufficient charging of the lead-acid battery.

BTW - the DC/DC converter, is really just a fancy switching power supply to step down from the 360V main pack to the 12V system. I have read reports that it is capable of 135A / 1700W... plenty to power the LEAF's 12V system.

I took my MSF rider's course in the chill drizzle of Fall in Seattle. Certainly taught me a lot about riding in damp weather.
2016 LEAF SV

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