LED Dashboard

First post of the new year! When it comes to LED's, there's one thing that matters most to me: brightness. On the exterior, all LED's must meet or exceed the brightness level of their incandescent counterparts. On the interior, every single LED must be absolutely as bright as possible. Especially on the dashboard, I want that in-your-face, "holy shit something's terribly wrong" notice that, well, something's terribly wrong. On a DeLorean, it's mostly minor stuff and notifications about how your lights are set, but if my eyes are on the road, it damn well better catch my attention, so the brighter the better.

Unfortunately, due to the inherent design of the alternator, an electrical connection is actually needed in the battery light, and the ultra-high resistance of an LED means that it's too limiting to use, even though they do make non-polarized LED's (which, unless I got lucky five times in a row, are the ones I used in the other red lights). That's one of my long-term projects however: an LED battery light, which isn't as complicated as everyone seems to think.

Anyways, I decided that the way I photographed the Angel Eyes turned out very nicely, and quite accurately showed the difference in both color and brightness between the old and the new. So I decided to do the same thing here. But since I wanted a true side-by-side comparison, I decided to wire up the binnacle in a way that made every single light come on at once. This would also allow me to test every bulb all at once.

First we have the baseline, all incandescent bulbs (except for the overhead illuminating bulbs which I have already replaced):

Dashboard with incandescent bulbs

Next, we have half of the bulbs replaced:

Dashboard with a mix of incandescent and LED bulbs

Specifically the seat belt, turn signal, high beams, oil, and low gas lights. The difference is pure insanity. Now that's the right-in-your-face intensity I was going for! Just to give you an idea of the difference, here's a closeup of the high beam, low beam, and right turn signal bulbs:

Closeup of difference between incandescent and LED's

The low beam is an incandescent, and the other two are LED's. And yes, even in person the difference is that huge. Finally, I replaced ALL the bulbs (again, except for the battery light):

Dashboard with all LED lights (except battery light)

And here's a shot of the bulbs I used (note that the white bulbs look identical to the amber and blue bulbs, as pictured in the Angel Eyes post):

Bulbs used in dashboard; clockwise from top-left: amber, red, blue, green

The red bulbs came in a package of six, whereas everything else came in packages of two. Interestingly enough, the green and blue bulbs are equally bright, suggesting that extra side-firing LED's are mostly irrelevant. It doesn't hurt to have them, and they definitely fit, but having one row rather than two may not make much of a difference. That being said, having one row is definitely better than zero rows. Domes on the end may also help.

Overall I'm extremely satisfied with how this all turned out. I know it'll be insanely bright when I drive her next (especially at night), but it's a hell of a lot better than being barely visible!