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Deputy Regional Director, Region 6
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Good luck on your installation.
I would like to change mine, but I am afraid to tackle the job because of health issues.
The existing lights are so dim I hate to drive at night
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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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That's a big debate. The socket is a T10 type.
The bulbs that fit are quite numerous, but the 3x most common are 194, 168 and 2825.

194 - lowest candle power, lowest wattage, least heat (better for old sockets and surrounding plastic), 2500hr life. Dash lighting common use.

168 - slightly higher candle power, middling wattage, middling heat, 1500hr life. Marker lighting common use.

2825 - twice the candle power of 194's, considerably higher wattage and heat, 300hr life. Brake lighting common use.

There's also the led option, which are brighter and cooler, recent developments can also allow dimming, depending on the bulb used.

Most ppl will pull apart the dash to change the bulb, but end up painting everything surrounding the bulb bright gloss white or similar, just to enhance light refraction. For dash, 194 is used for turn signals and other info positions, but 168's get used for general illumination.

The nice thing about leds is the color difference. Incandescent stock bulbs only come in 2 colors, soft white and amber. They get hot enough to make cheap color coatings to burn off rather quickly. Leds can come in every color range from bright/daylight to red, purple, blue, green or anything in between. Not everyone likes the off-yellow stock lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's a big debate. The socket is a T10 type.
The bulbs that fit are quite numerous, but the 3x most common are 194, 168 and 2825.

194 - lowest candle power, lowest wattage, least heat (better for old sockets and surrounding plastic), 2500hr life. Dash lighting common use.

168 - slightly higher candle power, middling wattage, middling heat, 1500hr life. Marker lighting common use.

2825 - twice the candle power of 194's, considerably higher wattage and heat, 300hr life. Brake lighting common use.

There's also the led option, which are brighter and cooler, recent developments can also allow dimming, depending on the bulb used.

Most ppl will pull apart the dash to change the bulb, but end up painting everything surrounding the bulb bright gloss white or similar, just to enhance light refraction. For dash, 194 is used for turn signals and other info positions, but 168's get used for general illumination.

The nice thing about leds is the color difference. Incandescent stock bulbs only come in 2 colors, soft white and amber. They get hot enough to make cheap color coatings to burn off rather quickly. Leds can come in every color range from bright/daylight to red, purple, blue, green or anything in between. Not everyone likes the off-yellow stock lighting.
I found 2825 (50 lumens)and 3030. (100 lumens). Would the 3030s get too hot for being in the gauge cluster or is the heat difference negligible? Also do I need a conversion kit to use led lights. When I was looking into using led lights, the catalog said I needed to come install an upgrade in order for my car to be able to run LEDs.
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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With incandescent bulbs, the higher the lumens, the brighter the light, the more wattage is pulled, which creates more heat and lowers lifespan. So usage is a variable. For blinkers, which see very little actual use over long periods, you could use uber bright bulbs, but there's really no reason to. For dash lights, that'll potentially see several hours or more of constant use, bright is nice, but the heat output on that 40+ year old plastic is brutal.

This is why leds are useful, far more light, less heat because the actual power draw is far lower. A standard 12v led only pulls 1.5w for 200-250 lumens, far brighter than a 3.5w 50 lumen 2825.

Leds depend on usage. The 194/T5 bulbs are self contained 12v with necessary resistance, so no adapter needed. Led headlights aren't so lucky usually, so will require a resistor. Anything that goes through the blinker circuit that uses 1156/7 bulbs will need an electronic flasher or resistor load on every bulb, because the resistance so low, the old analog flasher sees it like a dead short and the lights will flash like they are on steroids. V=IR, lower R=higher Amps to =12v.

Dimmable leds in dash/interior lights is no worries. Marker lighting is no worries if they use 194/T5 bulb types. Turn signal lights, replacement bulbs often have resistance built in, but replacement fixtures don't. Same with headlights, only our cars used self contained halogen, not replaceable H5 etc, so swapping the glass headlight for a replaceable H5 fixture will require a resistor load.

I know, it's confusing at times, the only constant requirement is the electrical circuit must not change its parameters. A headlight circuit is 55w x2 at 12v. P=VA. 110w=12v x 9.2A. About 4.6A per light. A=V/R, so 4.6A=12v/2.6ohm. If you cut that 2.6ohm in half, at 12v that'd be 9.2A each headlight, buh bye headlight as you just dumped 110w into something rated at 55w. If the light holds, you'd be running 110w headlights and every cop you passed would be handing out a citation as soon as the purple blur spot allowed him to see again.

So cluster lighting, led no worries, I'd just leave the turn signal, choke, check engine, bright, info bulbs etc as is, they aren't through the headlight dimmer switch, and honestly do not require 4x-5x the lumen output of the incandescent 194's they come stock with.
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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Are those dimmable?

Kept researching. The canbus leds seem to be the only dimmable ones generally whereas the leds with a single cob are generally not. That's kinda important to me for dash lighting, I hate the glare from my wife's dash driving in the dark, when she leaves it on the 'daylight rain' full bright setting.
 

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Thanks man. Im using Amazon and all the lights are measured T. Ok so after searching for led lights I pulled up these lights which are measured at 194, but it's still a little confusing. It says they are 194, 195, 160, 161, and 168.
View attachment 150872
View attachment 150871
View attachment 150869
What year is your elco? 194 are for the gage cluster lights. The other numbers would be for example the glove box light . But you kinda gatta be careful especially if you have old wiring . You don't want something pulling to much juice on old wiring.
 
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