[Oeva-list] LED Tail Lights

patrick0101 at gmail.com patrick0101 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 1 00:55:04 PDT 2007

Short version:
If you want to put LED turn signal lights in your EV (or any vehicle that
came with incandescent bulbs), and you should because they are safer, you
can now get them and the load resistor to make them work correctly from

Long version:
Way back in March of this year, I installed LED tail lights (turn signals &
brake light are the same bulb) in my Chevy S10EV after reading about how
much safer they were on Darell's EVNut.com site (details below).  Since then
my turn signals have been on warp speed (they blink really fast).  This is
because the LEDs draw less current and the flasher unit incorrectly detects
a burned out bulb.  My local autoparts store and the LEDs manufacturer were
of no help to resolve the fast blink issue.  They said that I could get a
new flasher that was designed for LEDs, but they didn't have one that worked
for the S10.  They said that I could get different LEDs that had "legacy
impedance", but that the one company that made those had recently been
acquired and that line of LEDs was discontinued.  Or, the only option I had
left, install a resister in parallel to the LED so the current was the same
as my existing flasher expected, but they didn't know what resistance I
should use.  I put figuring out the right solution on my todo list and never
got to it.  Then, while shopping for dimmable low power house bulbs, I found
these automobile load resistors from LEDTronics.  They are 6 Ohm 50W and
come in a frame mountable heatsink.  I installed them today and my blink
rate is now nice and normal.  I would have preferred to go with the new
flasher unit solution since it seems silly to draw extra power just to fake
out the old unit.  But I had no luck finding a new LED smart flasher unit.
And the "extra" current is only drawing to the OEM parts amount and
only when the turn signal is on, so it is not a significant amount.

Why are LEDs safer?
LEDs light up about a fifth to a third of a second quicker than standard
incandescent light bulbs. That may not sound like much, but at 65 miles per
hour, a vehicle covers 19 feet in a fifth of a second. This could be the
difference between a severe crash and a fender bender or the guy behind you
stopping just in time and you avoiding that dreaded call to your insurance
agent.  You can actually see the difference in the time that it takes for
LEDs vs old bulbs to come on in this video from Darell

Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement.  It is not, I just think this is
important and I am just sharing a solution to a problem that has been
bugging me for months.

One note about installing them.  The instructions that came with the load
resistor were very generic and of no real help.  Here is how I installed it
on my 1998 S10EV, the resistor is installed from the black (ground) wire to
the the yellow (left signal) wire on the driver's side and the black
to green on the passenger side.  The brown wire is there too for brakes and
is not connected to the resistor.

The LED 'bulbs' that they sell here are also better than the ones that I
have because they have LEDs aimed in multiple directions.  This makes them
appear bigger/brighter when dropped in to housings made for omni-directional


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