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Author Topic: How many LED lights should I use in the rear?  (Read 3351 times)
belfert
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« on: May 18, 2009, 08:56:36 PM »

If I switched to LED lights how many brake lights would I need at the rear if the lights are rectangular about 4"x5"?  Do I really need two brake lights on each side?  I'm wondering if I could get by with one red brake/tail light on each side along with an amber turn signal?

I currently have two brake light bulbs on each side with one acting also as a tail light and a seperate amber turn signal.  I also have a third brake light in the center.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 09:03:25 PM »

Brian when it comes to items like this spend the extra $ and be seen and safe! I'd rather to have 2 brake lights over one on a bus any day! Legally you are only required 1, but for safety and piece of mind I'd do 2! JMHOFWIW! YMMV!  Grin  BK  ;
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Blacksheep
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 09:32:41 PM »

Brian, get yourself some lights like these and mount them in a piece of sheet metal that fits around your corner after you remove your existing lights.
Your new lights don't have to be on the side of the corner like they are now. Just mount them on the rear! The more you have the better and safer it will be for everyone!
The amount of lights you see here on my bus is the same amount that came stock. Only thing I did was make the polished SS panels that they are mounted in and then the whole assy. on each side is mounted to the bus!

Ace
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 05:34:27 AM »

Read through the state statutes (online). Somewhere in there they define how many square inches of lighting are required. I'm sure one of the described lights meets their criteria, but for safety, I'd do something more like what Ace has done.  Like BK, if figure the more easily you can be seen, the better off you will be in an emergency.



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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 06:19:04 AM »

I am planning to install any LED lights on the flat engine door like Ace's installation.  I'm pretty well convinced I need to have at least 2 brake lights on each side.  I am not going to go quite as overboard as Prevost does on the H3.

I have some pretty good reversing lights in the rear bumper that I am not planning to replace.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 07:01:08 AM »

Ace,

That is one nice looking bus. I have forgotten to mention that I have really like your articles in the BCM's. You guys did a good job on your conversion. I have always like Prevosts best, but we ended up with a MCI Grin.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 07:04:20 AM »

Brian,
   We went with 3 brake lights on each side. 2 are brake light only and the 3rd is a combination brake/tail light. Actuallay, all 3 are combination brake/tail, but on the brake only, we combined the leads so that both the brake LEDs and the tail LEDs come on when the brakes are applied.  Jack
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 07:06:06 AM »

Oh yes, we had the old MCI banana lights on ours. It had two lights, on each side, at eye level, and another one on each side, up towards the top. When we redid the outside of the bus, we installed new LED lights to replace the banana lights, and we also replaced the turn signals with the new LED lights from IBP. We have loved the new lights. At night they are almost too bright. When we step on the brakes the whole back of the bus lights up. Only the blind drivers will miss us at night Grin Grin Grin.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 09:00:40 AM »

I noticed some folks are using red turn signals at the rear.  It seems most buses have amber as OEM.  I am assuming it would be best to stick with amber?

I'm planning to order some LED lights by Bargman today.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 09:17:07 AM »

Keep in mind that if and when you order Bargman lights it is pronounced BargEman as in Barge and not Barg. I was corrected many times when talking directly to the mfgr!

Ace
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Sean
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 09:48:03 AM »

Here's the standard, which will tell you exactly what lights are needed:
http://204.68.195.250/cars/rules/standards/conspicuity/TBMpstr.html
(pardon the strange numeric-IP URL;  it's what you get to from the NHTSA site:
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/standards/)

You are only required to have 2 stop, 2 tail, and 2 turn indicators.  Stop, tail, and even turn can be integrated into one lamp, so you can actually get away with only two lamp assemblies in the rear (not counting ID and clearance, five total, which are required to be separate).  Note you also need two reflex reflectors, which may or may not be integrated into whatever lamp you buy.

We have four of each -- two stop/tail lamps at normal height (above the bumper) and two more at the top of the coach, and two amber turn at normal height and two more at the top.  We also installed an SAE oval as a center-mounted stop lamp at the top of the engine door -- not required on coaches, but a good idea, IMO.

-Sean
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2009, 05:29:41 PM »

Whatever the original equipment specification was, must be maintained.

There are lots of LED bulb units available, I'd try testing a few for brightness (the only important quality of a light bulb). If you're replacing all the turn signals with LEDs you may suddenly discover the flasher doesn't work properly, or at all, because the bulb load
is now too small. You can get flashers specifically designed for flashing LEDs, or a load resistor that simulates the load of a string of incandescent lights (but this negates the benefits of having LEDs in the first place which is lower current draw).

If a trooper or DOT decides to pull you over (and they can, even if its' a private coach) and decide that the lighting you have does not
meet the original equipment specifications (and some of these troopers are quite crafty) you'll be cited, private vehicle or not. Its' the same as if you drive your car with a lamp burned out.

Now you can, as someone suggested, remove the wraparound lamps and build your own custom arrangement, but they must, in the case of the Dina, or any other bus built after 1994, offer a 135-degree field of view (or more specifically be seen from the side as well as the rear)

The wraparound lenses aren't so bad, they fit in well with the overall shape of the coach, and you can add to the lighting if you wish...you just cannot eliminate or reduce the 135-degree field of view.

I fully expect that eventually someone will come out with an LED panel that fits into these wraparound lamps like the ones used on
Ford vans, MCI E and G coaches, Dinas, and numerous makes of motorhomes - even MCI itself might eventually develop such a lamp module.
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2009, 06:08:22 PM »

Thanks for the good news.  Sad

I'm hoping I can cancel my orders for the LED lights since nothing I ordered was in stock.  I'll have to order new light sockets from MCI I guess.  I also went and ordered a bunch of Weather Pack connectors and crimpers that are now going to go to waste.

Obama will become a staunch republican and cut taxes and spending before MCI will develop LED lighting for the Dina.  There are more MC9s still on the road than Dina Viaggios and the MC9s are much older.

Damn, damn, and triple damn.  I was figuring on the LED lighting fixing my lighting issues for years to come.  The Dina light sockets are crap.  New ones will fix the corrosion problems, but they use flat spade connectors that constantly come loose.  There is no wire lead to put a better connector on.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 06:18:15 PM »

How does Prevost meet the 135 degree lighting requirement on the H3?  Even the H3 from recent years still has flat lights on the back like Ace has on his H3.

I'm so disgusted with the problems with my tail lights that I would replace the existing fixtures with new incandescent models that fit if they used a different connector on the light sockets.  I'm 99% sure that never in my life would I find a complete light assembly that fit the existing hole although I have to believe that Dina didn't have a custom light assembly made.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Sean
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 08:06:25 PM »

Whatever the original equipment specification was, must be maintained.

Please cite the code section for this.  I can't find such a requirement listed anywhere.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2009, 09:00:22 PM »

The lights and lenses only need to be D.O.T. rated which has a certification for use.

You legally can put any light on any vehicle as long as it meets federal D.O.T. standards
for use on a motor vehicle... Has nothing to do with "original equipment limitations" other
than cannot be "LESS" than acceptable by your insurance company.

Whoever this "tovin" character is he needs to wise up...Please  Cool Cool
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2009, 05:00:40 AM »

Whatever the original equipment specification was, must be maintained.

Please cite the code section for this.  I can't find such a requirement listed anywhere.

-Sean
http://http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com



Again Sean, I agree. I don't know of a place that says that (other than right here Grin). We sure didn't maintain the original specs Shocked Shocked Shocked.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2009, 06:03:36 AM »

I skimmed through about 1/2 of FMVSS 108 last night and didn't see anything about degrees of visibility for rear lights except something about 45 degrees.  There are a lot of references to SAE standards and maybe the 135 degree requirement is there.  Reading federal vehicle regulations is almost as bad as reading the tax code!

That being said, I do note that my bus (in stock form) has the rear lights set up in such a way as to be visible from both the side and rear.  The LED lights I was planning to use would probably not be visible much to the side.  There are so many lights required on a bus that only the blind could miss a bus at night.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2009, 09:42:49 AM »

I skimmed through about 1/2 of FMVSS 108 last night and didn't see anything about degrees of visibility for rear lights except something about 45 degrees.  There are a lot of references to SAE standards and maybe the 135 degree requirement is there.  Reading federal vehicle regulations is almost as bad as reading the tax code!


Brian,

You have correctly surmised that the angle of visibility requirements are defined in the SAE standards.  The SAE requirements are incorporated directly into the federal code by reference (and the state codes must follow the federal codes through a different set of arcane laws).

Here is what I wrote on the topic on the other board, in an argument about whether it is legal to use drop-in replacement LED "bulbs" in an incandescent fixture (it's not):

Quote
I refer you to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, also known as 49CFR571.108 (and it's Canadian counterpart, CMVSS 108) which says, in part, that required lamps must conform to certain SAE specifications. For Stop lamps, that would be SAE J586c, and for Turn Signals, SAE J588d.

Both of those reference SAE J573d, "Lamp Bulbs and Sealed Units" which requires the filament of the bulb to be within 0.01" of the position specified by the manufacturer when the lamp was designed. Filament positions are specified in section 5.1.1.17

LED "drop-in" replacements do not meet the specified filament positioning, therefore they do not meet SAE J573d, thus making the installed fixture in violation of SAE J586c or J588d, thus violating 49CFR571.108 making it UNLAWFUL.

I don't know how much clearer I can be on this, and you making blanket statements like "Nor is it prohibited" without, apparently, even a cursory attempt to research the law is irresponsible.

We could debate until the cows come home about whether an aftermarket lamp could conceivably be inserted into a fixture and meet the photometric standards (and, if they could, then a manufacturer could, conceivably, certify the resulting combination of specific fixture and specific LED as compliant). But as the law is written today, it simply is not lawful to do so.

Nor is it lawful to, for example, retrofit an HID lamp envelope into a headlight system designed for an incandescent lamp. That does not stop hundreds of companies from selling retrofit kits (most of which have "off road only" weasel language on the package) -- the presence in the marketplace of these items does not make it legal to use them on the highway.

FMVSS 108 and the SAE standards are actually quite particular about what you can put on a highway-legal motor vehicle.


Anyway, the reason I asked for the code cite is that I know full well that it does not exist.  That individual also went on to say that "... brightness [is the] the only important quality of a light bulb ..." which is also incorrect; as you can see from my description, the precise location of the filament is also important and explicitly defined in the law, as is the photometric output of the lamp at various angles.

The law does not contemplate individuals photometrically testing their own lamps.  Instead, it relies on manufacturers doing this testing and then certifying that their fixtures meet the SAE requirements.  Such compliant fixtures have appropriate markings embossed on the lenses to indicate compliance.

As long as you use DOT-approved fixtures (in accordance with their directions -- for example, if it says that it must be mounted within so many degrees of vertical, then that's the way you have to mount it), equip them with the bulbs for which they were designed, and follow the placement requirements that I linked from the NHTSA earlier in this thread, you are covered.  There is no requirement that you use the same fixtures (or number of fixtures) that the OEM coach builder used, or that you do individual testing of your coach to photometric standards.  (Of course, the fixtures can not be recessed or otherwise mounted such that part of the vehicle obstructs its visibility from all intended directions.)

Note, BTW, that some fixtures are approved for "combination" use.  For example, a single "corner" fixture photometrically tested at 45, if so listed, may be used as both the rear clearance lamp and rear side marker lamp.

Most of us, I think, find the minimum defined by the standards to be not entirely sufficient.  For example, there is no requirement for side-mounted turn signals, yet every major coach builder puts them in.  I have them front, center, and rear, mounted just underneath the required side markers/reflectors.

Hope this helps.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2009, 01:45:08 PM »

Two more things:

1. I noted on my trip home from work a little earlier today that basically every car on the road today has wrap around light fixtures so that light from the rear lights radiates to the sides and rear both.

2. The NHTSA lighting requirements document featured at several of the lighting websites seems to indicate for a bus under sections 4ab and 5ab that side lighting is required at the front and rear.  My side marker lights are over the front and rear wheel wells with an additional light centered midway between the other two.  The two over the wheel wells are also turn signals.

I have decided to keep the LED lights on order as I can always return them if I don't open them.  I have to believe that no cop is ever going to write me up for lighting violations as long as all of the lights work.
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2009, 06:11:04 PM »

And the LED lights will be visible a lot farther away than the original lamps ever could imagine!!!

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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2009, 01:39:20 AM »

1. I noted on my trip home from work a little earlier today that basically every car on the road today has wrap around light fixtures so that light from the rear lights radiates to the sides and rear both.


That's actually a cost-saving measure.

For cars (similar to the bus standard I posted), one is required to have a red tail lamp showing to the rear, AND a red side marker showing to the side.

By using wrap-around lenses, they get away with a single fixture to serve both purposes.  This, BTW, is a key reason why you can't simply plop an LED "1157"-type replacement into an incandescent fixture -- while it might provide enough luminous intensity directly to the rear, in this application, it is almost certain that not enough light will be emitted to the side.

Quote
2. The NHTSA lighting requirements document featured at several of the lighting websites seems to indicate for a bus under sections 4ab and 5ab that side lighting is required at the front and rear.  My side marker lights are over the front and rear wheel wells with an additional light centered midway between the other two.  The two over the wheel wells are also turn signals.


I think if you look again, you will find there is actually also a side marker at the rear-most end of the coach, mounted at the top.  This is the one which actually meets the standard (item 5a in the chart), not the one over the wheel well, which is an optional auxiliary side marker.  Likewise for the front -- there will be one at the top front side corner, which meets item 4a of the standard, and the one over the wheel well is extra and optional.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2009, 06:44:11 AM »

[
Quote
2. The NHTSA lighting requirements document featured at several of the lighting websites seems to indicate for a bus under sections 4ab and 5ab that side lighting is required at the front and rear.  My side marker lights are over the front and rear wheel wells with an additional light centered midway between the other two.  The two over the wheel wells are also turn signals.

I think if you look again, you will find there is actually also a side marker at the rear-most end of the coach, mounted at the top.  This is the one which actually meets the standard (item 5a in the chart), not the one over the wheel well, which is an optional auxiliary side marker.  Likewise for the front -- there will be one at the top front side corner, which meets item 4a of the standard, and the one over the wheel well is extra and optional.

Okay, I looked at the requirements again.  5a and 5b are already met by the marker lights up top and pair of reflex reflectors on the rear of the bus.  4a is met by the roof line marker lights and on my bus 4b is met by having a reflector built into the front turn signal/parking light.  If I went LED for the front turn signal/parking lights I would just need to add a reflector to the side.

It appears that front parking lights are not actually required on a bus since it is more than 2032mm wide (80 inches).  It would be silly not to have front parking lights in my mind.

Thanks for your help Sean.  I am planning to keep moving forward with my LED lighting project.
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2009, 07:58:07 AM »

Belfert,

the Gambler a surplus RV dealer in Quartzsite each winter has complete new lights the latest style in stock. I know he is a full time surplus dealer and only setup in Q town each winter but you can do a search of dealers of Quartzsite and I'm sure you will find a listing

Larry H
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2009, 09:25:45 AM »

And you can go too bright.  Looking at Ace's H3, we see 4 red lenses on each side, plus the one in the middle.  The stock wiring has two on each side for brake lights and two for running lights.  When you get the LED's that ACE bought, they are wired for both running and brake lights.  If you had the dealer instal them, they would keep the same configuration, that is two braker lights and two running lights per side.

When I was first looking into relacing mine, the shop forman at Prevost said he had just replaced all the lights on the back of a customer's H3, and the customer had specifically requested thet all four on each side be BOTH brake and running lights.  He said that when the customer left the Mira Loma facility, that the lights really lite up the back wall which was 150 ft away.  Later, that same customer received a ticket from the highway patrol for having lights that were too bright! 

I had  never heard of that, but I must admit those LED's are very bright especially when all of them are wired together.  So keep that in mind when installing new ones. 
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« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2009, 09:42:40 AM »

I would like to second the comment about being careful not to make them overly bright. One of my personal pet peaves are the folks who have no clue how to properly use rear fog lights.  It is an incredible annoyance for people to follow one of these yahoos who leave them on constantly, even in clear weather.
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