Peter's Nostalgia Site
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Running at night with headlamps on, our cars tend to have the ammeter in the discharge half. This can be alleviated to some extent by replacing filament lamps with LED types.
The combination of 4 panel lamps and 4 side lamps which all use 5 watt BA15s bulbs draws 3.2 amps. I have replaced all the panel bulbs and the front side lamps with forward facing clusters of 9 LEDs.
Each cluster only draws 30 mA so the panel lamps and front side lamps now draw a total of 180 mA. The rear side lamps are mounted to be seen from the side and here I have used a different form that has 5 sides of 2 LEDs and 3 on the top. These draw 110 mA each so the grand total for panel and side lamps is 400 mA giving a saving of 2.8 amps over the filament bulbs.
The LED clusters can be a little too bluish for the front side lights so I placed an orange plastic filter in front of mine. However, the blue cast is ideal for our dash lamps that already use blue filters as standard.
There are various larger clusters that I tried for replacing brake light bulbs but none that I found gave as strong a light as the original 22 watt filament bulbs so I have just retained these.
I also experimented with various BA20 types for replacement of the single filament 40 watt bulbs in the P100 headlamps.
I didn't find any suitable single filament replacement LED types but have got reasonable performance by substituting a Cob type double contact LED type.
I modified these by soldering a small washer onto the two contacts so that both are connected to the single contact holder in the P100. The light output is not as strong as the 40 watt original bulbs but it is adequate.
So from a total lighting draw of 10 amps the LEDs reduce this to a little over 2 amps letting you have the heater and wipers on and still retain positive charging.
I should explain that not all LED types will operate in our positive earth configuration but it is just a simple matter to change to negative earthing which I had already done to accommodate another piece of modern technology.
Fitting flashing indicators to the fronts of our cars unobtrusively is not too difficult. Possibly fitting them in beside the side lights or in Bentley fashion using the fog lamps. However no such nice solution exists at the rear so I rely on what I call extreme road positioning and hand signals to show my intentions. Unfortunately this is not very effective at night and our non-flashing trafficators are also non-obvious so I have fitted flashing LED replacements for the festoon bulbs. These are commercially available and can be used with either earthing polarity. They do rely on being able to move freely up and down within the arm so that the lower spring contact is effective and I found it necessary to gently squash the bullet ends to achieve this.
Further to that I have also fitted small LED clusters in the corners of the rear window. I mounted them on celluloid sheet using existing rear window frame screws. Each has its own flasher unit and they are controlled by the same self cancelling manette switch as the semaphores. Yes, the rear blind still works without problems
Following on from my flashing LED rear lamps I have now added flashing LEDs to the front. I never use the fog lamps so I have copied the 1950s Rolls Royce and Bentley cars by using them as indicator lamps.
My fog lamps used BA20 bulbs but all I could find in amber were BA15S so I needed to add a spacer ring to the LEDs to let me use the existing lamp holder without modification.
I used four flasher units. One for each of the LEDs front and rear.
For more modern wizzardry how about a Reversing Camera?