LEDs Advice for the 159 - Page 16 - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Jay, I finally finished reading through this very interesting thread, and credit to you, for keeping this thread alive, and consolidating valuable information.

I've just started a thread for my 159 Lighting Upgrade Project, where I'm intending to upgrade to HIDs & LEDs throughout.

But, I see that FULL LED conversion is yet to be achieved the vanilla way i.e. without soldering resistors, flasher relays, etc. Am i correct there or have I missed something.

In my old Mondeo, I managed to resolve the fast indicator flashing, by adding resistors. But, this time around I want to achieve the goal, with like for like swaps.

I guess the area of issues, are Indicators & Stop/Tail Lights, right?

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Hi DG, kudos for you for having a go at full led conversion, its no easy task in our cars!!

The Canbus system in the Alfa is particularly sensitive and the quality of the can-bus bulbs on the market at the minute is negligible. The internal light upgrade is by far one of the most successful conversions and well documented in the first post of this thread. Other areas such as the front side lights have had some success, but the quality of the bulbs means that you probably will have to replace them at some stage. The stop/tails have two main issues, either no can-bus support or they are can-bus but really dim or even worse, for the 1159 bulbs they don't really have a difference between stop & tail operation so you actually make it dangerous.

The indicators require the load a bulb generates to balance the circuit on the flasher unit so you either have to replace the flasher unit with one that is LED safe or re-create the load with resistors, so even canbus bulbs wont help you here.

Then there are the hard to replace bulbs like the side repeaters, High Level Brake Light and vanity mirror, none of which have like for like replacements so your gonna have to make your own as I have.

Long one short. A full 100% conversion may be just out of reach (the vanity mirror is just not worth the effort). but section by section it is viable if you go with additional resistors.

So far mine has:

Full interior (excluding vanity mirror)
Stop / Tail including high level brake light (see my cylon upgrade thread)
numberplate bulbs
Front Side lights (24 LED ones with additional resistors soldered in)
55w 6K HIDs see this thread

And next on my list is the indicators, although I first need to pop one of the side repeaters out and see just how they work! no idea what bulb is inside, what space is there and if its a like for like or if I have to make a replacement. I also have no idea if the canbus sensors are on there or if it effects the overall load on the relay.

Incidentally, best option for quality of LEDs is use CREE bulbs but they are much more expensive and need a different resistance as they pull loads more power than normal LEDs. Also, bulb design is massively important. You have to think about the LED layout on the replacement bulbs to make sure you get the best / most optimal light distribution for the purpose your using it for. An example is the CREE bulbs available. They all have a focussed high power beam so using them in say the front indicator position on our cars could actually cause a dazzle effect to oncoming drivers and also not throw enough light into the reflector housing. There are some CREE bulbs that also have an extra 2w of SMD LEDs around the base that would solve the latter problem but the brightness may be too much. only testing will tell and they are about 20-30 quid each!!!

Also, I have some ideas to make a custom H7 LED bulb that will be more powerful than a HID kit to use as my main beam, but that's a future project, after my cylon brake light, custom DRLs and whatever else creeps in ahead of it!!

Anyway, that's the synopsis of the thread so don't forget to update us with any discoveries you find along the way as a lot of people are using this as a decision basis for parting with their hard earned cash so madmen like us are needed to help avoid bad purchases


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Hey Jay,
Thanks for summarising all that beautifully, and I understand most of it

Atleast, I'll start with the basics i.e HID (ordered 55W 5000K Units) and Side Lights (maybe the 8LED ones from the first post), then, I have a spare set of Phillips BlueVision H1 55W, and I'll plug them into the Fog Lamps.
Next step of action would be based on how this setup looks, as I do not like too much blue, and would like an OEM look.

I will then go for the interior lights.

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And next on my list is the indicators, although I first need to pop one of the side repeaters out and see just how they work! no idea what bulb is inside, what space is there and if its a like for like or if I have to make a replacement. I also have no idea if the canbus sensors are on there or if it effects the overall load on the relay.
I had converted my indicators in my earlier Mondeo, to 92SMD LEDs, but had to use resistors, to keep the blinking normal. I still have those LEDS, for indicators, stop/tail (red ones), and reverse (white), so, i'll plug them in and see how that goes. I will definately needs resistors to avoid errors I guess.

But, most of this work will happen over the weekend & next week, and I'm off work
So, I'll keep updated..
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Jay, another quick question?
Is there a way to test these LED bulbs outside the car, in a simple manner. I'm not great at electronics like you, but, was just wondering if there's a way to test the LED bulbs in anyway, quickly, to check that they're working..
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any 12v supply will do it, you just need a 12v power supply from some electrical appliance somewhere. I have a switchable desk supply from maplins for 30 but any old plug in power adapter you find that puts out 12v will do.

and also a multi-meter to check the amps they draw. good for figuring out how far they are off the original bulbs!!
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Slyfox,
Yes had the same issue on mine. Dry joints develop over time, had to resolder them. Error gone, now back again 1 month later so may use a wired resistor instead of the surface mount ones like yourself to see if they cope with the heat better. That or high melting point solder...
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Slyfox,
Yes had the same issue on mine. Dry joints develop over time, had to resolder them. Error gone, now back again 1 month later so may use a wired resistor instead of the surface mount ones like yourself to see if they cope with the heat better. That or high melting point solder...
Adding an additional good quality resistor seems to be the most robust option as the quality of the surface mount ones on the LEDs is negligible at best. This has solved my issue with the 24's.
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Adding an additional good quality resistor seems to be the most robust option as the quality of the surface mount ones on the LEDs is negligible at best. This has solved my issue with the 24's.
Again, maybe a dumb question to ask.. But, how do you know what ohms resistor should be used, for an LED, that throws CANBUS errors?
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There are no dumb questions in this thread

While I am sure there is a scientific or mathematical way of doing it I just use a multi-meter to measure the current drain of a normal bulb then measure the drain of the LED bulb and add resistance to compensate. The CanBus systems don't always need the full amount of the original bulb so its a bit trial and error sometimes, so it helps if you have a working canbus bulb to use as a measure to for instance, I used the 8 LED side bulb to determine the resistance I needed to add to the 24 LED sides. both were canbus, but our cars didn't like the 24's as they were a different resistance.
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There are no dumb questions in this thread

While I am sure there is a scientific or mathematical way of doing it I just use a multi-meter to measure the current drain of a normal bulb then measure the drain of the LED bulb and add resistance to compensate. The CanBus systems don't always need the full amount of the original bulb so its a bit trial and error sometimes, so it helps if you have a working canbus bulb to use as a measure to for instance, I used the 8 LED side bulb to determine the resistance I needed to add to the 24 LED sides. both were canbus, but our cars didn't like the 24's as they were a different resistance.
Well, I've ordered a multimeter .. So I can start brushing my basic physics ..
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So is it still 330 ohm on the 24 smd
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I genuinely can't remember but was sure I posted it in this thread somewhere
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Well, I've ordered a multimeter .. So I can start brushing my basic physics ..
I've now got the multimeter, and I'm wondering if I can test an LED Light using the multimeter.
CAn I set the multimeter at the DIODE setting, and test the LED Bulb?
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JJ,

So, one new multimeter later (it seems my old one had died since last it was used).

Two sets of reading, one for the dual filament bulbs one for the dual LEDs.

Filament Tail light: 0.39 amps
Filament Brake light: 1.69 amps

LED Tail: 0.06 amps
LED Brake: 0.54 amps

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Ok, 8ohms gives 1.5amps of load so this is way to high for your lights.

you would need a 10-15ohm one for your stop lights and around 30-40ohm for the tails.

Its easy enough to figure out with an ohms law calculator like this one

Just populate any 2 variables to get the other 2, so 12v as the power + the difference in amps between your led and filament bulb tells you what ohms you need to simulate the rest of the load (bear in mind that 12v is often more in your car when its running and that can impact the calculation). Just remember that high voltage + low ohms = lots of heat to dissipate so you need bigger wattage. in general 25-50w is what you should be looking at for a replacement car bulb so stick with the aluminium wire wound type to be safe.

Sounds like your Stop lights are ok with the 8ohm ones you have (10 or 15ohm would be better but if they work ok, its fine as is) but they are way to powerful for the tails, so you need to get some different ones for those lights. these 33ohm ones should do the trick.

Order up a couple of new resistors and let us know how it works out. I use Rapid Online all the time and they are really fast shippers so you should be up and running quickly.
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Call me mad, but I just bought 4 x Amber CREE Bulbs for the front and rear indicators, 1 x Red Cree for the Fog and 1 x White Cree for the reverse light.

I will take a look at the side repeaters at some stage and see what madness that is going to involve !!

This will at least conclude my LED conversion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dg170775 View Post
I've now got the multimeter, and I'm wondering if I can test an LED Light using the multimeter.
CAn I set the multimeter at the DIODE setting, and test the LED Bulb?
just put 12v across the terminals and see if it lights up. to find out the amps they draw you need to put the multi-meter in series with the LED Power to measure the drain. There are loads of youtube videos on how to do this!!
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Call me mad, but I just bought 4 x Amber CREE Bulbs for the front and rear indicators, 1 x Red Cree for the Fog and 1 x White Cree for the reverse light.

I will take a look at the side repeaters at some stage and see what madness that is going to involve !!

This will at least conclude my LED conversion
Jay, will be closely following you on this one, as the rear cluster has a couple of issues, as I found out in my LEDs experiment yesterday (details in my thread):
1. Both the Tail Light and the stop/Tail Lights are the Dual Filament versions. So, need to keep that in mind while ordering LEDS for them.
2. The LEDs I used offer good light in the dark, but are poor during daytime, and that'll be a concern. I think this'll be the main criteria for accepting any LEDs at the Rear - DayTime Visibility.
3. Lastly, all Indicator bulbs in the 159 are the OffSet Pin Type, and standard straight Pin ones won't fit.

Keep us posted!

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We have had similar issues with the brightness of the LEDs. The bulbs are type 1159 duel filament but the stop/tails (outer ones in the 159) are the only ones that use both filaments, the inner ones that are part of the boot side of the cluster are still type 1159 duels, but only one side is wired up.

I am using a very good set for stop/tails already (documented in this thread) that are good day/night with good visibility difference. The CREE type leds are specifically for the fog/reverse lights due to extra brightness being required and for the indicators as they will be visible so need to look better than a circuit board with a bunch of surface mount SMD leds on.
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Have you updated the first post with the stop/tail lights them?


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No, I have only updated the first post with can-bus related info as the none can-bus stuff can get too involved for most people to do, so is left embedded in this thread around thread number #298 i think.

Here is the video of the build and install.
+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
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No, I have only updated the first post with can-bus related info as the none can-bus stuff can get too involved for most people to do, so is left embedded in this thread around thread number #298 i think.

Here is the video of the build and install.
[YOUTUBE]cj3cNv0AFuI[/YOUTUBE]
Well, it's the same guy on EBAY from whom I purchased my LEDS few years ago (warden_jp2002), and it looks like he's shut his shop on EBAY. All his listings have ended.

Anyway, I have the same bulb you're using in the Video (White One), currently, in my Reverse Light. But, that does not throw any CANBUS error, at least so far.

I'll see if there're others selling the same BULB as I need Reds & Ambers. Offcourse, I guess, we'll need resistors for the AMBER too, as the blink rate will also have to be slowed down. Other option is to switch the relay.

Edit: Correction, the EBAY guy's changed his account, it's now warden_jp2008
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a number of the lighting circuits on the 159's dont actually do a canbus check, an example is the high level brake light circuit that has no can-bus check. sounds like reverse is that way also. same might be said for the fog, but I will have to check.
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a number of the lighting circuits on the 159's dont actually do a canbus check, an example is the high level brake light circuit that has no can-bus check. sounds like reverse is that way also. same might be said for the fog, but I will have to check.
Already tested the Fog, and it does throw an Error.
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