El Camino Central Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Deputy Director Region 6
Joined
·
8,780 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some ideas for lighting the engine bay with LED's or something to look good & can see the engine area at night ?? Not like the stock ones the mount to the bottom of the hood !!
Has anybody done theirs or any ideas ?? & what parts to use ??
Thanks !! :beer:
 

·
VINTAGE MOTORHEAD
Joined
·
4,102 Posts
I am getting ready to mount a few surface mounted round chrome base lights. They are about 3-4 inches in diameter and stand only 2 inches with a nice clear lens. One on each inner fender about as high as the valve covers should provide good coverage. Great to have if you have a nighttime problem or just want to display the motorbay.
I had considered fluorescents, but they are too fragile.
 

·
Past Texas Director
Joined
·
6,185 Posts
If you have a PEP Boys near you, they have quite an assortment of LED lights that you can bend and put almost anywhere you desire. Even some Wal-Mart stores carry a few of the bendable kinds. I've been thinking of adding some under my hood--just haven't had the time lately to do it.

Also you might want to check with Fixitman1--he just showed me some cool LED dome lights that I think would look great in the engine compartment somewhere.
 

·
Deputy Director Region 6 - Supporting Member
Joined
·
6,209 Posts
A few members around here have some that can just be placed when wanted (magnetic). They work pretty good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
My concern about LEDs in the engine bay is HEAT. LEDs emit very little heat but are extremely heat sensitive. My experience with LEDs has been kitchen lighting, I designed and built my entire kitchen including DIY custom fabricated LED down lights and ambient bounce light. Take a look at these:

Kitchen in progress





Notice the HUGE heat sink plus compound


Total Effect



I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that the longevity of the LEDs will be diminished considerably by the heat of the engine bay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
The other issue with LEDs is range of focus of the beam/lense. Though incredibly bright, LEDs have an extremely tight light cone. They light up what is directly in front of them, but leave pools of inky blackness. An incandescent bulb throws light EVEYRWHERE, an LED only shoots light at what's in front of it, everywhere else is still in the dark. You'd need optics (like the kind that is my previous post, to scatter the beam more. The LEDs shown above are a wide angle, but only shine in a 120° arc. For close up applications (like under hood), this is still pretty tight. I'm using them 5 ' above my counter top, which gives them plenty of room to create a nice pool of light on the counter.
 

·
Deputy Director Region 6 - Supporting Member
Joined
·
6,209 Posts
The magnetic ones can just be placed for hood up display and removed. The stuff that can, and will be done, with LED lighting is amazing! The research is ongoing for making it affordable for everyday home use. One day we will no longer buy boxes of those incandescent bulbs. I got to work with a company setting up for developement and manufacturing of the LED stuff while I was still working as a Fire Inspector. They had chosen to set up in the area where I worked because they are the ones that developed the lights that buildings along the beaches can still use during Sea Turtle nesting season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,112 Posts
Steve, your hitting on one of the many projects I,ve never got around to.Some led's are very high quality, such as the 4" 10 lite bullet design made by grote( Used as big truck taillights) where other brands you see withburnt out bulbs. I think many of the parts store bulbs are fairly low quality.
Here's a place that is worth checking out:: http://www.superbrightleds.com/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
742 Posts
Steve, your hitting on one of the many projects I,ve never got around to.Some led's are very high quality, such as the 4" 10 lite bullet design made by grote( Used as big truck taillights) where other brands you see withburnt out bulbs. I think many of the parts store bulbs are fairly low quality.
Here's a place that is worth checking out:: http://www.superbrightleds.com/
X2 on superbrightleds.com...
They also offer good tech support

Arnie in Iowa
 

·
ZERO MPG
Joined
·
15,367 Posts
If you get the ones from Pep Boys make sure you get the white strip ones there the brightest . Maybe bright enough in white but you will probably need a few they only light a small area straight down .
These are flexible with tape backing.




 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Engine bay lighting

This is what I did on my 87. The driver side of the hood was already drilled for a stock light. So I got another stock light, took the old one off and painted both of them silver. Drilled holes in the hood brace to hide the wire. Took apart both lights rewired. Rewired the plug and put in dual stock lights. The stock lights already have a mercury switch. Next I am going to install a inline switch, so I can turn them off when the hood is open for a long time. Sometime it the future I am going to change them out for Corvette LED under hood lights. Look on EBay for Corvette lights see what you think. They look nice the way they are now.

Harris
 

·
Director Region 6 (FL) - 2017 Founders' Award Reci
Joined
·
4,609 Posts
Steve , next time you talk to Skinyfisher ask where he got his . He has these cool LED mini lights that are magnetically based that put out a nice amount of light and are mini battery powered . Michaelj , I really like the set up you did at your house !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
Michaelj , I really like the set up you did at your house !
Thanks, man! It was quite the learning curve to get up to speed. I'm using 3watt LEDs, which are plenty bright, giving amazing pools of light on the work surface, but not the entire room (remember LEDs are direction unlike incandescent) which is the reason for the coffered ceiling's ambient lighting. The result is a softly lit feeling but with excellent work illumination. The ambient bounce light also highlights the beauty of the pressed tin coffering, which was part of my kitchen design and gets stunned gasps by visitors. :inlove:

I did run into the issue of heat and premature burn outs. 3watt LEDs do produce some heat, but nothing of the magnitude of a similarly bright incandescent. I was continually having burnouts, and since they are wired in series everything goes out (remember old christmas tree lights?) I have since beefed up their heat sinks (the longer tube), designed a quick-disconnect system using Deans Plugs and switched to quality LEDs and not the cheap Hong Kong crap I was getting off eBay for dirt cheap (yes, I got what I paid for.) Since I did the switch over I have not had a single burn out since. My total kitchen lighting power draw is ONLY 63 watts!!!!

If you're really interested in seeing more you can check out this picture gallery which covers my initial experiments and the final product.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts
This is what I did on my 87. The driver side of the hood was already drilled for a stock light. So I got another stock light, took the old one off and painted both of them silver. Drilled holes in the hood brace to hide the wire. Took apart both lights rewired. Rewired the plug and put in dual stock lights. The stock lights already have a mercury switch. Next I am going to install a inline switch, so I can turn them off when the hood is open for a long time. Sometime it the future I am going to change them out for Corvette LED under hood lights. Look on EBay for Corvette lights see what you think. They look nice the way they are now.

Harris
So the lamp housing is like a level? Once the hood is raised to a certain angle there is a contact made/broken that allows the juice to power the light..
you don't know how many times i've looked for a little button that is activated by the hood. Kinda like the one that the doors operate. Hmmm.. Kinda like Johnny Carson used to say.. " Wow! I did not know that!":dontknow:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
It is amazing the stuff you find on this forum. Yes, there is a little mercury switch in each housing. Of course now it is probably not mercury. If the enviro nazi's figure this out I am sure we will be declared a hazard.

Harris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
So the lamp housing is like a level? Once the hood is raised to a certain angle there is a contact made/broken that allows the juice to power the light.
AYup! Been that way for a long long time. My Chevelle's hood and trunk lights operate like that. If you open the hood slowly, you can see the point where the mercury starts to make contact by a flickering.

Old style home thermostats operate the same way. In fact you can actually see the mercury filled vial. Super cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,714 Posts
AYup! Been that way for a long long time. My Chevelle's hood and trunk lights operate like that. If you open the hood slowly, you can see the point where the mercury starts to make contact by a flickering.

Old style home thermostats operate the same way. In fact you can actually see the mercury filled vial. Super cool.
I have been seen stooping down in front of my elky raising and lowering the hood like a bellows in a blacksmith shop. I had my hoodie on so no one could recognize me..:secret:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,325 Posts
I used a pair of LED strips like HKDUP showed above, and connected them to the original hood light mercury switch. I stuck them to the hood just ahead of the hinge bracket where they spread light around the engine bay pretty well. They've already lasted longer than a light bulb in that hood socket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
589 Posts
I've have used halogen running lights mounted on each side of my hood(s) for decades. When I turn them on at night time shows, people say, "what a great idea." I think, " why wouldn't everyone have switch controlled lights that adequately illuminate under your hood in case of engine problems". :dontknow:
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top