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Discussion Starter #1
I decided to try to limit the amount of energy wasted using the dc/dc converter. So here is what I have done so far:

1) 3 watt PV panel (ebay vw solar panel) suction cupped to the inside rear window at the top. I used an RCA M/F 6' cable and cut it in two 2' from the M end. I removed the dome light assembly and hard wired the 4' F section to it (center positive) with a reverse blocking diode. I then used a piece of steel pallet strapping as a fish and shoved it above the headliner from the hatch to the dome light opening. The F connector was then taped to the end if the fish and pulled back to the hatch area. Then I put the light assembly back in. The 2' M cable was soldered to the PV panel wire and insulated with electrical tape and covered with some heat shrink. The connectors are mated above the headliner.

2) I ordered LED bulbs from http://www.superbrightleds.com

Used WLED-W6 to replace the dome bulbs, license plate light, and the two forward pointing parking lights.
Used 7443-R15 to replace the brake light bulbs.
Used 3022-W4 to replace the hatch light bulb.

LIGHTING ENERGY SAVINGS:
The dome lights and hatch light are hardly ever on so not much energy will be saved. I like the cool white hint of blue much better than the stock yellowish color though.

When the parking lights or headlights are on there is a good amount of power saved and since they are on for long periods of time there should be pretty good energy savings.

PARKING LIGHTS ON (brake pedal not pressed):
STOCK = 35W (tailights 10W, license plate 5W, parking lights 10W, side markers 10W)
LED = 12W (tailights 1W, license plate 0.3W, parking lights 0.6W, side markers 10W)
SAVINGS = 23W

PARKING LIGHTS ON (brake pedal pressed):
STOCK = 70W (tailights 42W, center brake 3.1W, license plate 5W, parking lights 10W, side markers 10W)
LED = 16W (tailights 2.2W, center brake 3.1W, license plate 0.3W, parking lights 0.6W, side markers 10W)
SAVINGS = 54W
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The dome light fixture is connected to the battery through a fuse. You may have noticed that you can turn on the dome lights even when you do not have the key in the car. This provided an easy location to hook the PV panel up to the 12V battery. The PV panel charges the 12V battery (when it is in sunlight).
 

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I'm glad that you made that clear as most of those lights are used
at night and I did not get where the solar panel comes into play.

JoeCVT - Just your average CVT owner
 

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How do the led's look? I tired some drop in led bulbs a while back and they would have deffinitely caused me to be rear ended. Though, the clusters I had just had a few led's pointing forward so there was no light in the housing really. Some of the newer ones I've seen have led's pointing in every possible direction which would give you adequate light projection in the housing.

Also, if the led clusters I had were in fact properly wired then the Insight criss crosses the polarity on their brake/running light's causing one fuse or the other to blow when the brake or running lights were turned on depending on which way I had the blub in.

Please post some pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The bulb type 194 (dome and others) were replaced with the WLED-W6 type LED. These are about the same size as the 194 and have a cluster of six white 9000mcd leds pointing straight out. They are almost as bright as the 5 watt stock 914 bulbs. They were $3.64 each.

The hatch bulb is 3022-W4 type LED. It has a cluster of four white 5800mcd leds and is almost as bright as the 3.4 watt stock incandescent bulb. It was $2.64.

The bulb type 7443 (tail lights) were replaced with the 7443-R15 type LED. These are about the same size as the 7443 and have a cluster of nine red leds pointing straight out and six red leds pointing radially. They seem to be just as bright as the stock 7443 bulbs. The tail light housing is not filled out much. You can clearly see the led cluster. When I was installing them, I put in one and left the incandecent in the other. They look very different, but are the same brightness. I like the LED look much better as it matches the center brake light. Inside the LED bulb assembly there is visible two bridge rectifiers (one for each circuit) so polarity does not matter. They were $6.99 each.

I spent a lot of money doing this, but hey, I like spending some gas savings on cool upgrades for my car. Here is the break down:
6 X $3.64 = $21.84
1 X $2.64 = $2.64
2 X $6.99 = $13.98
Shipping = $5.00
TOTAL = $43.46
 

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power saveings

if you are trying to save power.... You may also want to do the power stering removal mod ... discussed a bit ago... granted power stering uses power when you ster and generally not so much when you don't ... but I would imagine it would save you more than the 54Watts you are saving with the light mod... although together you might start to save a significant ( over 100 Watts ) amount of power.

:?:

just a thought
 

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I had the steering mod in for a while but then took it out. Using it could alter the anti locking brake function and when I measured the current used it was so low as to be relatively insignificant.

I really like your idea of Led lighting though. You won't have to worry about them burning out either. The prices seem very good too.
 

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Anyone else tried this recently?

I would love to replace all my corner lights (parking, f & r) with LED's to save some wattage... are there newer, brighter LED's? I don't want to replace at the expense of brightness....
 

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This may be a silly question, but I'm a newbie... only had my baby 48 hours....

What are the little circles down in the corner of the headlamp assembly for?

Thanx,
-John

P.S. I've found super-bright high power 12v LED's that are as bright a halogen... really... and also they get hot!
I found them / use them as replacements to 12v "Malibu" garden lighting. They have the halogen 12v type assembly with the two pins, so would not work in cars... but dang they are bright! Very directional though. Work great as "spotlights" to up-light entire trees, etc.

When they came in the package, they said "do not look directly at bulb". They are LED for cryin' out loud... so of course I had to try it. From 4-5 feet away, in room light, it was like looking at the sun... and I saw "spots" for an hour!
:shock:
 

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Hi John, I've been looking at the circles you refer to and if they are what I believe you are refering to, they are the parking lights. Most of the "white" LEDs you find on the market use a flourescent paint on top of a blue LED. Depending on the composition and thickness of the coating the light will be blue-white to yellow (or soft) white. As is the case for other flourescent lights the efficiency can be several times that of an incandescent bulb. I have had LED dome lighting in my Insight. I loved the colour! One concern seems to be voltage spikes which burned out my first trial run. (You should try to use some kind of regulation device.) The problem with a passive regulating device such as a resistor in series is that much of the gain in efficiency is lost by the voltage drop. In my second case I used a switching regulator that was quite efficient. Unfortunately on my test board the capacitor I was using to smooth the output ripple from the switching supply self destructed, possibly from heat build up. I'm ready to try it again soon and would like to do some front lighting, but I'm looking for worthy Leds to make it worthwhile. (Here in Canada the headlights are on any time the car is running.) :( So what is your source for these super bright LEDs? Super efficient Leds in the parking light holders could be an acceptable solution. :idea:
 

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To limit the current you can hook a resistor in series. I am not sure about the voltage dropped across new white LED's but the equation goes like this to find the value of the series resistor you need to limit the current thru your LED:

R = System_voltage - LED_Voltage_drop / LED_current_limit

For example a single red LED usually takes 0.7V and has, say, a 100mA current limit. Our cars supply 12V at the bulb fixture.

R = (12-0.7)/100x10^-3

Come to think of it, they should sell LED's that are made with limiting circuitry onboard.......
 

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For small bulbs a resistor will work, especially if you have several LEDs in series. White LEDs drop about 3.2 to 3.3 volts. If you are using them for headlights and put the two of them in series you have about 4.5 volts. The Insight runs about 14 volts into the battery. That gives you 9.5 volts across the resistor. The resistor will use twice the power of the LEDs. If the LED s are 3 watts each the resistor will need to be 15 watts. It will be big, expensive, and very hot! What you need for efficiency is a switching ballast, similar to what you have in a compact flourescent light. Technically it should be a current regulated buck converter. Properly designed it should be over 80 percent efficient, which means for the two three watt Led example it should create 1.2 watts or less heat. Integrated circuit regulators of this type are available and need only a minimum number of external components. A similar idea to this is the addapter for cell phones where a switching regulator is built into the plug, although the one for powerful LEDs will need more current capacity.

Check out:

http://www.futureelectronics.com/produc ... 032707.pdf
 

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I was asking earlier, what is the little WHITE circle for, to the lower inside corner of each headlamp.
I'm not asking about the amber parking lamp to the outside of the headlamp.
This does not light up in my car. Thanks. -John
 

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Exactly, that's the one. I'm not sure how American cars are wired. Try turning your key to the run position but don't start the engine, then turn the lights to the first position. On Canadian cars it has a little 5 watt bulb in there and it is white. The cross hatch patern is actually a segmented lens (like a fresnel lens) that magnifies the small bulb. If you put an ultra powerful LED at the focal point of the lense you would get an effective forward facing beam.
 

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My 2003 CVT (American model) has the small white lights just like Kip describes. They also flash when you use the car's remote to lock and unlock.

So both headlights do not have this small white bulb....Perhaps they are both burned out or perhaps the 2000 model didn't come with them...I'm sure someone else with a 2000 model could verify this.

JoeCVT = Just your average CVT owner
 

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I have a 2000 and one of the small circular lights works on my car. I'm guessing the other one is burnt out... DTL
 

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