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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The OHM-Ride "Anti-Incandescent" project [with updates]

EDIT: Updated in follow up posts and at the bottom of this one

I'm engaged in an anti-incandescent war trying to get all those old, inefficient, bulbs OUT of my Volt. Why? Because it's my "car of the future" and incandescent bulbs are so "last century" <grin>.

I’m aware that several items are already LED based
  • Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • Tail-Lights
  • High Mount Brake Light
  • Mirror mounted turn signals
  • Center control stack and shift indicator backlighting
  • Door controls backlighting

I've already replaced the Halogen headlights with this LED upgrade
(see write up here)

And tonight I did nearly all of the interior bulbs (front map lights, three dome lights, rear trunk/cargo light, and both rear license plate lights) with this easy to install kit. (write up pending after I've had them in for a while)

As far as I know what I still have left to address are
Am I missing anything?
.
==========================UPDATE=====================

Project progressing nicely.

All of my remaining parts arrived tonight excepting the H3 bulb replacements for the fog lights and my new vanity plates.

The reverse light install was simple and annoying following the instructions from this video. Three screws, a bit of prying, some dirt on my face, and it was done. Very nice improvement over the stock bulb.

The front turn signal switchbacks were a bit more work, especially on the passengers side, but again with the help of this other video I was able to get it apart, changed, and then install the resistors to prevent "hyper-flash". The modules I used (listed above) fit tightly in the sockets so I'm not worried about them rattling out and they are BRIGHT in both white and amber modes. When I took it out for an evening test drive the switchbacks also significantly improve the side spill as though I have "cornering lights".

A more detailed write up on doing a switchback install can be found here.

The vanity lights (where I used this set of led festoons) running at 95 lumens each (190 total per vanity mirror) is just waaaaaay too bright.

I don't know what I was thinking, they are absolutely unusable so I'm going to have to re-do them with something less powerful.

The good news is that they will fit in my Jeep as dome lights where the brightness will be appreciated. I'm probably looking at something more like this with an output of around 18 lumens each. Oh well, live and learn.

So far I've been really happy with the results of this project. Enough necessary improvements to justify it to the wife, enough easy swaps to keep me happy, and a couple (the switchbacks) that were an unnecessarily difficult to change but yielded some spectacular results and provided enough challenge to leave me proud when I overcame the obstacles. All in all a fun project.

==========================UPDATE=====================
PROJECT DONE!

My plates came in today so it's officially "OHM-RIDE" and so did the fog light LED replacements (I used these). The fog light LED modules -just barely- fit inside the aftermarket "Baja Burner" fog lights I had mounted. Well to be truthful they didn't fit until I bent the circular plate just a whisker on each side.

Regardless the end result is that the fog lights now have the same "icy white" as everything else. They add a little side spill and I like the way it looks with them on, but the main LED headlights are strong enough that the fog-lights don't really add much to the overall illumination so I wouldn't necessarily recommend the time and effort of installing them to anyone else. To borrow a quote "the juice wasn't worth the squeeze".

 

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I like where you're heading....

I've done the backup light, rear license plate lights and front switchbacks and plan to do the LED headlights soon. I would have done the dome lights, but REALLY like the fade effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I like where you're heading....

I've done the backup light, rear license plate lights and front switchbacks and plan to do the LED headlights soon. I would have done the dome lights, but REALLY like the fade effect.
The kit I installed does the fade up and fade down though on the fade down it does hit a plateau just before dark, holds for a split second and then turns off but it's at the very end of the cycle so the effect is almost identical to the stock "opera lights".
 

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Be careful with the interior bulbs. I had changed all mine to LED, and after a few months they would no longer come on/off with the car door opening. Also the rear lights wouldn't work at all. The bulbs had somehow ruined that electrical component. The dealer had to replace the bulbs with stock bulbs, and it solved the problem. Said something about the LED doesn't provide the correct resistance for all the components to work properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Be careful with the interior bulbs. I had changed all mine to LED, and after a few months they would no longer come on/off with the car door opening. Also the rear lights wouldn't work at all. The bulbs had somehow ruined that electrical component. The dealer had to replace the bulbs with stock bulbs, and it solved the problem. Said something about the LED doesn't provide the correct resistance for all the components to work properly.
Do you know which ones you used?
 

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Be careful with the interior bulbs. I had changed all mine to LED, and after a few months they would no longer come on/off with the car door opening. Also the rear lights wouldn't work at all. The bulbs had somehow ruined that electrical component. The dealer had to replace the bulbs with stock bulbs, and it solved the problem. Said something about the LED doesn't provide the correct resistance for all the components to work properly.

All interior lights are supplied PWM voltage from the Body Control Module (BCM). Unless you used a very cheap LED replacement that shorted out, the BCM wouldn't care what type of lamp it is feeding voltage to. The only exception are the front turn signal incandescent bulbs. The BCM doesn't care for the more efficient LED replacements as it equates the much reduced current load as a burned out bulb causing the hyper-flash indication that normally would mean a burned-out incandescent. This can be corrected thru the use of a power resistor inline w/the LED to increase the load enough to prevent the hyper-flash...
 

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To other than the headlights, are the rest of the lights going to save you an inch or two of battery range? I don't get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To other than the headlights, are the rest of the lights going to save you an inch or two of battery range? I don't get it.
The only replacements that have a "justifiable" purpose are
  • The headlights (brighter and long life and reduced power consumption)
  • The front turn signals (Switchback white/amber AND I'm only going in there to replace those ONCE)
  • Vanity mirrors (the OEM are too dim according to the wife)

The rest are just me playing because you have to understand that I'm a complete flashlight/light addict and love LEDs so mostly I'm doing this because LEDs are cool and I love to tinker and ultimately I can brag on my "future car" :p

No other reason needed :D
 

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Honestly, all LED lights should be standard OEM on a car like the Volt.
I agree 100%.

I did swap all of the incandescent bulbd in my 1995 Buick Regal sedan (the headlamps were swapped with HIDs), and the total cost was below $300, but now it has better visibility at night (the rear lights have five bulbs each per side) and have no burned out bulbs EVER. BTW, I swapped the thermal flasher for an electronic version which doesn't depend on bulb current.

GM should plan to convert all future models with 100% LEDs where needed, and maybe add to the basic price, but any modern driver would gladly pay that extra benefit of no more burned out bulbs.
 

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I would not assume no more burned out bulbs. Every forum I've joined always examples of LED's going poof or not cooperating after time has passed. The only bulb that has failed in our 2012 FIAT 500 (other than the headlights) was one of the LED's on the rear license plate. Under warranty, the entire assembly was replaced. I was surprised that it was an LED light and that the only solution was to completely replace the assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would not assume no more burned out bulbs. Every forum I've joined always examples of LED's going poof or not cooperating after time has passed. The only bulb that has failed in our 2012 FIAT 500 (other than the headlights) was one of the LED's on the rear license plate. Under warranty, the entire assembly was replaced. I was surprised that it was an LED light and that the only solution was to completely replace the assembly.
Fair enough but I've been working with LED modules for a long time now and the thing is that usually even if one or a few emitters fail, you still have active light unlike a filament burnout where you get nothing. I managed a Limo company for a while and the combination of reduced power draw and longer lifespan was a godsend (most Limos have an astounding amount of lighting). Switching several lights to LED for my Jeep made a surprising difference for off-roading where vibration was absolute hell on my marker and tail-lights and so far I've only had one stupidly cheap LED marker unit fail so I have a fair degree of confidence that I'll get a longer lifespan out of the LED modules.

But all of that aside, the ultimate truth is I'm doing it because I want to and I think it's fun to say "no incandescents" in this car <grin>.
 

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The only replacements that have a "justifiable" purpose are
  • The headlights (brighter and long life and reduced power consumption)
  • The front turn signals (Switchback white/amber AND I'm only going in there to replace those ONCE)
  • Vanity mirrors (the OEM are too dim according to the wife)

The rest are just me playing because you have to understand that I'm a complete flashlight/light addict and love LEDs so mostly I'm doing this because LEDs are cool and I love to tinker and ultimately I can brag on my "future car" :p

No other reason needed :D
Flashlight addict huh? I just got a GearZero solar/wind up/usb rechargeable flashlight the other day that can also act as a power brick to recharge your mobile devices. If you don't have one of these you've got to get one...or get their Sherpa or Yeti line of batteries and associated solar panels.
 

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The only replacements that have a "justifiable" purpose are
  • The headlights (brighter and long life and reduced power consumption)
  • The front turn signals (Switchback white/amber AND I'm only going in there to replace those ONCE)
  • Vanity mirrors (the OEM are too dim according to the wife)

The rest are just me playing because you have to understand that I'm a complete flashlight/light addict and love LEDs so mostly I'm doing this because LEDs are cool and I love to tinker and ultimately I can brag on my "future car" :p

No other reason needed :D
I just swapped out my headlights with LEDs because the OEM halogens are awful. I was hoping to gain a smidgen more in terms of battery efficiency, but I really don't think changing any of the incandescent lights with LEDs is going to make a difference at all.

I'm sure if we ran an actual scientific test or if someone who knows a lot about electricity/power could crunch some #s on the power consumption of the halogen headlights vs LEDs and compared the #s to how much power the actual electric motor consumers it would show such a small difference, if any.
 

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I just swapped out my headlights with LEDs because the OEM halogens are awful. I was hoping to gain a smidgen more in terms of battery efficiency, but I really don't think changing any of the incandescent lights with LEDs is going to make a difference at all.

I'm sure if we ran an actual scientific test or if someone who knows a lot about electricity/power could crunch some #s on the power consumption of the halogen headlights vs LEDs and compared the #s to how much power the actual electric motor consumers it would show such a small difference, if any.
Like I said in an earlier post, you are saving a few inches of ev range.
 

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I'm engaged in an anti-incandescent war trying to get all those old, inefficient, bulbs OUT of my Volt.
Are you 'replacing' them, or aiming to 'repair' with LEDs when those break?

You are causing more environmental harm by replacing them than waiting for a need to replace them. It makes zero difference you'd be able to notice to your range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You all are taking this way too seriously. This entire project is a light-hearted, tongue in cheek, because I can. (Except for the headlights which used to suck and the vanity mirrors which -must- be done because when your wife asks for better light you give it to her <grin>).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You are causing more environmental harm by replacing them than waiting for a need to replace them.
I was laughing so hard at this that it took me a while to respond. I went from driving a 19 year old Jeep Cherokee sucking down 37 gallons a week (at minimum) to this car. I think my "environmental impact" has dropped so far simply by owning this car that I'm pretty much good to go.
 

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I was laughing so hard at this that it took me a while to respond. I went from driving a 19 year old Jeep Cherokee sucking down 37 gallons a week (at minimum) to this car. I think my "environmental impact" has dropped so far simply by owning this car that I'm pretty much good to go.
So what is your motivation for swapping them out? Makes sense to replace with LED if you have to replace them, but I'd bet half of them last the life of the car, such is the robustness of auto filament bulbs these days.
 

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You all are taking this way too seriously. This entire project is a light-hearted, tongue in cheek, because I can. (Except for the headlights which used to suck and the vanity mirrors which -must- be done because when your wife asks for better light you give it to her <grin>).
Most of us get it :)
 
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