Autolumination LED & NeoWedge Review | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Autolumination LED & NeoWedge Review

LEDs are, in general, superior technology. They pull nominal electrical current, they never burn out or fade, they turn on/off instantly, and they don't produce heat. One of their downfalls is that they don't shine/glow a large area like incandescent bulbs, instead they direct an intense beam in a single direction.

I have clear taillight lenses. I've always struggled finding a red-colored brake light bulb that would look as normal as the OEM clear incandescent behind the red plastic lens.

Many years ago, I tried, literally, every red-colored incandescent 1157/3157 ever sold. All of these bulbs had a very limited life, the paint or whatever they used on the inside of the glass would quickly fade and/or collect to the bottom of the bulb. BTW, I found Toucan Industries made the best by far - with random no-namer gems found in the depth of some gardening stores in second place. But they still were far from ideal.

I quickly gave up on LEDs. Old-school LEDs were disappointingly dim, plus they didn't utilize the reflective backdrop of the taillight lenses, so they were just little dim pin dots. People commented to me they can barely see them on the road at night and couldn't tell easily when I was braking.

My best solution to date were the red condoms I used to find in AutoZone. They appeared far from a quality solution, but slip them over a standard clear 3157 and they worked just like having an OEM setup! However, they did fade slightly, and then crack (see pic below), which would leak out clear light in certain spots of the lens, but it had a better life expectancy than colored-glass-bulbs, especially for the price.

However, they completely stopped selling these condoms. So I've been forced to revisit sites like autolumination.com. I've always despised these sites - I hate their spam looking sites (as I saw someone else online call "chaotic") and they can't just offer you 1 or 2 different types - they have more sub-models than Garmin, each one adding several more exclamation points and flashing stars until you get a seizure and never buy anything because you can't decide.

Anyway ... I went with autolumination.com simply because they are the only ones who sell Tall NeoWedge Type B bulbs which are found in the 2nd Gen headlight and 4x4 switches.

I splurged on their newest, latest & greatest 12 Watt Eagle Eye SMT (Surface Mount Technology) Tower 3157 for $30 each for my tail/brake lights. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. They fill the entire taillight lens, are not too bright, and don't have an abnormally intense beam in the center. They look exactly like a stock setup would look, maybe with a tad more brightness, which is good. Plus, I can write this review now and not have to worry about fading issues. I did not take pictures because you just can't capture taillights in pictures well. Trust me, I've tried a lot of things, if you are looking for good LED brake lights, these are the ones.

I also tried one of their $2.99 Type A NeoWedge LED (for the rear-defroster & fog light switches) and $3.99 Type B Tall NeoWedge (for the headlight & 4x4 switches). I went with their non-SMT/cheapest, lowest modeled, "dimmest" ones ... the ones they use the least amount of flashing stars and "1 billion % brighter" ads on. YOU CAN OVERDO LEDS - they can get incredibly intense, which does not do dash lights justice. I wanted these to fit in and look exactly like stock and not blind me - so I wanted to get the mildest ones.

The Type A is perfect in the rear-defroster & fog light switches - it has a perfect green color and is the perfect brightness. It really shows how faded and dim and yellowish the OEM incadescents look on the other switches, so I will work on replacing those too, the rear-wiper switch will require a custom set-up. The fog light switch is the one with the LED, but from the picture, it looks like the LED is blue-green and the OEM lights are perfect and bright, but that's the camera.

I first put the Type B Tall in the 4x4 switch. The LED requires some minor modification specifically for the 4x4 switch - I can show later when my next batch of LEDs come in. However, Autolumination's Tall bulb is ever so slightly longer than the OEM bulb in the 4x4 switch, which means the tip of the LED pokes out above the light-blocking-shield on the back of the switch, so light seeps through the dash panel on the side and because the bulb is close to the 4x4 label, the HIGH is brighter than the AUTO and LOW.

So I'm going to try a Type B Short, so I moved the Type B Tall (reverse my mod) and put in the Headlight switch (where the OEM's bulb is actually taller than the Autolumination's). The LED is a little too bright and focused, so it has the same problem, makes the center of the Headlight switch label a little brighter than the edges. I put four layers of Magic Scotch Tape over the LED (don't have to worry about heat anymore), which helps dim a tad and disperse the light a little better.
 

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BonesDT

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NeoWedges
 

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AlexSport'00

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Do these LEDs plug directly into the spots for the old bulbs? I had a bulb burn out on my dash and I need to replace it but haven't gotten around to it. I wanna change all of mine to red rather than green (my headunit has red lights so I want it to match) so I wanted to get red LEDs if they'd fit easily without any/much modification.
 
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mr1mrwun

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Those look good.
I've been looking into LEDs myself for interior and exterior use.

Do the interior bulbs you installed work with your dimmer switch along with the rest of your lights on the dash?
 
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BonesDT

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Do these LEDs plug directly into the spots for the old bulbs?

The Type A's are direct replacements for the rear-defroster switch and the fog light switch. The Type B is a direct replacement for the Headlight switch. (You just have to make sure you have the polarization right, so check the light before putting everything back together). The Type B can be slightly modified with a knife to fit the 4x4 Switch - I will take pictures of the mod when I get the next round in (I only bought 1 of each for experimenting). The rear-windshield wiper switch will require a custom setup.

I wanna change all of mine to red rather than green (my headunit has red lights so I want it to match) so I wanted to get red LEDs if they'd fit easily without any/much modification.

There is a reason I decided to stick to the stock green. The button/switches mentioned above will be easy to change the color of - just buy a different colored LED. However, the instrument panel gauges are clear bulbs with a translucent green paint on the black screen - so your going to have to replace the gauge face screen to change the color (I know the white-face is a popular mod). I think the HVAC controls work the same way. So if you want everything to be uniformly red, then it will be more of an undertaking.

Those look good.
I've been looking into LEDs myself for interior and exterior use.

Do the interior bulbs you installed work with your dimmer switch along with the rest of your lights on the dash?

I wouldn't think they would have, but they surprisingly do work with the dimmer switch. After I fill the other switches with LEDs, I'll play with the dimmer again and see how affected they are (more LEDs might change this).
 
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AlexSport'00

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then it will be more of an undertaking.

Hmmm, so I guess this is gonna be a spring break or a completely free three day weekend job rather than a quick 1 day thing... Sometimes things end up different (and I little bit more broken) than expected when I'm rushed... haha
Hmm, well thanks for the tips! :)
 
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AlexSport'00

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^ Why do you say that?
And the link in your signature has the weirdest combination of items. LED automotive lights, and make-up and dresses. wtf
 
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