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Old 03-26-2009, 12:39 PM   #1
ktmbmw OP
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LED Replacement Brakelight question (red or white)

This may sound like a silly question, but when switching to use an LED 'bulb' replacement for the brake light there is an option of white or red.
Which is more efficient behind a 100% (no license plate clear section) red lens?
What are your thoughts?
thanks-
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
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I've seen both, and I think red works best.

They get a little pink with the white light.
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:08 PM   #3
Staxrider
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Red

For best results the LED color should be the same as the lens color. As an example: a red lens will filter out all but the red portion of the light so if the light is all red, none or very little light will be blocked by the lens. The light from a White LED contains very little light in the red portion of the visible spectrum so most of the light would be filtered out by a red lens.

http://www.superbrightleds.com/carbulb-notes.htm
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:24 PM   #4
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Match the LED color to the lens color if you can.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:02 PM   #5
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white LEDs are still slightly more expensive than red LEDs... and the lens will filter out all the other colors but red.

red LEDs are cheap, and the red lens will pass virtually all the red light.

if you have red LEDs and ever break the lens, you won't have white light showing to the rear.
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:50 PM   #6
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A white LED isn't really "white light" in the traditional sense. It's not a spectrum of colors the make white light, but a combination of phosphorescent and luminescent portions of the spectrum to be perceived as white light.

How's that for a dang pointy-headed answer?

Here's a photo of a white LED spectrum:



Foo. Why won't that image show? Here's the URL:

http://www.pbase.com/pganzel/image/33858156

Rule of thumb: match the color of the LED to the color of your lens.
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Old 03-26-2009, 06:26 PM   #7
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My buddy bought a used KLR650 a while back and as I followed him home, I noticed his tail light/brake light was VERY dim!
When we got to my house, we removed the red lens and discovered a RED LED bulb cluster in there with the 1157 base.
What we learned is that the Red LED is totally filtered out by the red lens. If you have a CLEAR lens, then you need a RED LED, but with a RED lens, you have to use a WHITE LED, just like the bulb that was in there in the first place.
His tail light and brake light are now super bright using a WHITE LED with the red lens.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:44 PM   #8
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A red lens cannot filter out a red light. A red lens only passes red light and blocks everything else. If the light was dim it was because it was a dim light, not because it was red. Go with the majority here. See http://www.superbrightleds.com/carbulb-notes.htm
Use a red LED for a brake/tail light. It takes a cluster of regular LEDs or a 3 or 5 watt model to get decent brightness. I had some trouble with superbright 5W LEDs but got the troublesome ones with the red heat sink replaced by a pair with a silver heat sink and red identifying dot on the 1157 base. They work fine so far.

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Old 03-26-2009, 10:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf
A red lens cannot filter out a red light. A red lens only passes red light and blocks everything else. If the light was dim it was because it was a dim light, not because it was red. Go with the majority here. See http://www.superbrightleds.com/carbulb-notes.htm
Use a red LED for a brake/tail light. It takes a cluster of regular LEDs or a 3 or 5 watt model to get decent brightness. I had some trouble with superbright 5W LEDs but got the troublesome ones with the red heat sink replaced by a pair with a silver heat sink and red identifying dot on the 1157 base. They work fine so far.

Well, I don't know what to tell you. When we took the red lens off the KLR, we found the RED cluster LED was VERY bright, possibly even brighter than a white 1157. But when we placed the red lens back on, you could barely see that the tail light was on, and the brake light was only a bit brighter.
If what you're saying is correct, why haven't we all been using RED colored bulbs in our car' tail lights for the last 100(?) years?
I don't care what the mentioned website says, I saw it plenty clear with my (and my buddy's) own eyes.
I can only comment on what I actually saw. Not trying to start anything here...honest!
Regards
Bernd

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Old 03-27-2009, 07:20 AM   #10
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I use this 48 RED LED tail/brake light, it's brighter than the 1157 incand. that was in there. As been said many times earlier, use a red led.
Tony
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerndM
If what you're saying is correct, why haven't we all been using RED colored bulbs in our car' tail lights for the last 100(?) years?
Incandescent bulbs would have a red coating as well as the red lens. That's just redundant. Red LEDs produce red light from the start. They do not have a red coating. You have a misunderstanding of the way LEDs and conventional bulbs produce light that is affecting your judgment.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:56 AM   #12
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thanks for all the feedback

Looks like I need to get a red LED replacement.
Thanks for all the feedback and information; much more then I expected.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf
Incandescent bulbs would have a red coating as well as the red lens. That's just redundant. Red LEDs produce red light from the start. They do not have a red coating. You have a misunderstanding of the way LEDs and conventional bulbs produce light that is affecting your judgment.
OK, I see where the problem is! It IS my error. I apparently was ignorant of the DIFFERANCE in the type of light put out by an incandescent bulb as compared to an LED. I am slowly starting to see the light (pun intended). I understand now and bow to your greater wisdom!
I love it when, at my stage of life, I can learn something new, EVEN if it befuddles and confuses me.
Thanks
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:23 PM   #14
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Thanks for following it up. It isn't greater wisdom though, just better information on specific point. Even the smartest people out there have some things they don't know about.
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:32 AM   #15
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Your LED Specturm image

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Harris
A white LED isn't really "white light" in the traditional sense. It's not a spectrum of colors the make white light, but a combination of phosphorescent and luminescent portions of the spectrum to be perceived as white light.

How's that for a dang pointy-headed answer?

Here's a photo of a white LED spectrum:



Foo. Why won't that image show? Here's the URL:

http://www.pbase.com/pganzel/image/33858156

Rule of thumb: match the color of the LED to the color of your lens.
Here's an image for you:


http://dr650.zenseeker.net/SignalLights.htm

Red is 610 < λ < 760

Looks like the majority of the light is less than 610 (especially the blue) and will be filtered out by a red lens if that is what a red lens does.

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