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 LED lights. Are they really worth it?
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2010 :  3:59:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Are LED lights really worth the cost. From what I see from daily service they really dont outlast incandesent bulbs, unless you like running with half of the dots not burning. When I price a LED light and the price of a incandesent bulb the answer is pretty clear that they arent any better price wise and if not all the dots are on they arent any brighter and personally I think it looks bad riding around with lights not fully operational. Here in Va. they will pass inspection as long as less than half are out. Most people arent going to replace them until they have to. I just thought they were supposed to be no maintence and provide long life. I may be old school or am I just missing something?

Kodie
Top Member

United States
1994 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2010 :  4:49:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have LED's on our 6 newest buses, and from what I've seen, people still go through them at the same rate. It may be down a car or two a month, if that. I personally like the looks, but as far as being worth the cost for warning lights, I say no. For brake lights though, yes.
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

451 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2010 :  5:24:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I guess it depends on the brand of LEDs, but most of the premium brands seem to last pretty long, possibly the life of the bus. Outside of a longer life, they light up faster and brighter, and use a lot less electrical draw.

If you go for brands with a five year warranty like SoundOff and Weldon, most of the failures would happen within that period. So with those brands, I would say in the long run you'd be better off compared to a Grote LED or TruckLite.
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JustinB
Advanced Member

United States
490 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2010 :  05:44:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The usual failure of an LED light is the circuit board. The diodes are usually fine. The circuit board will fail fom delamination or from getting too hot. Pull abart a failed LED housing & you will either find a circuit delaminated from the board or a black spot from too much heat. Weldon had the heat issue with their marker lights for a while. When the switched from the (2) hotter Gen-3 diodes to (4) cooler run Gen-2 diodes the problem went away.

I may not know the answer but I can usually find who does.
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Brad Barker
Administrator

USA
838 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2010 :  07:23:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Brad Barker's Homepage  Click to see Brad Barker's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
I prefer the LED's for safety sake. I have followed many buses with dirt inside the lense of an incandescent bulbed light which made the tail lights barely visible. LED configuration with fewer lights verses more are more dependable.
The other plus is much less failure if you are in a rust belt area. In my district we are strapped for time. Freeing up time in the shop is important and allows us to get more preventive maintenance performed.
I believe that LED's will totally replace incandescent bulbs eventually.

Brad A. Barker
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2010 :  4:08:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the input guys. I'm still not completely convinced yet on the feasibility on purchasing to retrofit. I agree on the brightness for safety but it still seems like a waste if the diodes start to fail. Can you replace the diodes or do you have to replace the entire assembly?

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

451 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2010 :  4:13:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know Weldon has replaceable diodes for the warning lights, but I think the standard lamps are sealed.
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wagonmaster
Top Member

USA
2298 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2010 :  03:53:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No worries about the LED diode, etc. Most of these lamps are warrantied for five (5) years or longer! If it fails take it back to where you bought it and they'll replace it! Brad is correct on them totally replacing incandescent bulbs in the future, and about them saving time in the shop! The sealed lights were better than the twist in bulbs but the LED is by far the most reliable and longest lasting. Buy them without a second thought!

Joe
Land of the Free, because of the Brave!
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lonebustech
Senior Member

United States
79 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2010 :  05:40:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I personally prefer LED they last longer (I have some in buses now 5 years old).They are brighter and have cut down on bulb replacement

As far as cost after market has made the cheep enough that as the bulbs from the incandescent burn out I am replacing them with LED just makes life easyer.

22 Buses,18 support vehicles,Grounds equip, buffers and vacuums for 9 campuses. 1 Tech. and 2 bays ain't life grand
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Thomasfan89
Top Member

USA
1142 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2010 :  10:37:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just from a driver's standpoint, they are better than incandescent lights. Our fleet's buses from 03-09 (spare the 08s we bought used of course) have LEDs, and we have had minimal problems with them. The biggest problems we have had were Doran 4 inch combo plate/tail/brake lamps. However we have replaced almost all of those Sound-Offs version with successful results. Our 03, 06, and 09s have TruckLites, and again, the failure rate has been slim to none. Our 04s have DiaLite (not sure on the spelling there) and those too have been reliable. Now the 08s we purchased used this school year all have incandescent lights, and we have already had to replace numerous brake lights and at least one warning light that I know of. Overall, I would say, yes, LEDs are definitely worth the cost for maintenance and safety benefits if properly spec'd. There's my 2.5 cents!

-Greg
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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2010 :  3:27:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How expensive are diodes?

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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JustinB
Advanced Member

United States
490 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2010 :  06:19:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hardybusman

How expensive are diodes?

Only the Weldon 8-Ways have replaceable diodes. Over the last 4 years all but a couple of dozen buses ordered with the Weldon 8-Ways have been halogen. We haven't had any failures to warranty or even know what Weldon/Thomas charge for the part.
Excepting the lovely 1st 2 year production C2s, all of the FMVSS lighting has sealed lens housings. Sound-Off & Weldon are both good companies to work with & do a very good job of taking care of any warrantable failures.

I may not know the answer but I can usually find who does.
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eicsbus
Senior Member

Canada
126 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  06:12:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
contact soundoff, they have special pricing for schoolbus ..this is a good deal,,,something like 55% off

I.C. NO FUTURE


formally ,,,,wright11
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

248 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  8:38:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The lights of higher quality are prone to a longer life.You will notice that they will have the circuit board and light bases potted in epoxy to resist vibration. If you purchase the sealed units you should have no problems with dust and moisture intrusion if the mounting screws are not overtightened. WARNING; LED LIGHTS DO NOT PRODUCE ENOUGH HEAT TO MELT THE SNOW OFF THE LIGHT AND CAN BECOME COVERED AND RENDERED NEAR USELESS
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NWCROWN
Advanced Member

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2010 :  9:09:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't comment on school bus applications, but it seems that early automotive OE LED lights had lots of issues. I remember many early 90s Thunderbirds which had sections burned out, GM vehicles with third brake lights that did not work properly. I also remember some of the early LED traffic light conversions, some which I still see with sections of LED not working. It seems as time goes on though that they have become extremely reliable. LED's are now starting to appear in some household applications as well as street lights, replacing incandescent and mercury vapor lighting.
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Buslighting
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2010 :  11:04:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Buslighting's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, LED lights offer benefits over incandescent, and I agree with that LED can fail do to heat within the circuit board or a poor quality LED. Weldon does offer the only serviceable warning light in the industry and I believe later this spring that they are offering a Stop/Tail, Turn and Backup lamps which are serviceable as well. I saw this light at NAPT show in Louisville.
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LeslieAxley
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2012 :  6:55:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit LeslieAxley's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In my experience with LED lights, most light monitors won't work with them. The problem is that LED lights draw such little current compared to convetional incandescent lights that the monitor can't accurately sense them.









______________________________
http://www.ledstrips8.com/led-fluorescent-tube-replacement-c-9.html
http://www.ledstrips8.com/led-downlightsceiling-lights-c-7.html
http://www.ledstrips8.com/

Edited by - LeslieAxley on 09/11/2012 7:08:35 PM
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BJ Henderson
Advanced Member

USA
227 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2012 :  03:52:18 AM  Show Profile  Send BJ Henderson an AOL message  Reply with Quote
In my opinion, anything that draws less current through those wires in the body is a plus for safety. Since electrical fires could be avoided, it is a no brainer for me. If only I could convince upper managment to replace all of our units, they would all be speced with LEDs.

CMTT,CMAT,CMBT
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Wolf0r
Top Member

USA
2179 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2012 :  06:42:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
LEDs make your bus more visible. Yes I love them and agree with Brad that they will soon replace incandescent bulbs. Doran does have a LED ready monitor.

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2322 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2012 :  11:59:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK, explain to me why it is safer to have LED. Is it because you can run a lower amp fuse? Because if you don't run a lower amp fuse the same fire hazard is there.

Bryan
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Wolf0r
Top Member

USA
2179 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2012 :  12:13:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would say safer in a visibility way. I don't know if the LEDs in one lamp combined generate the same amount of heat vs the plain old 1157. If not then that would be a factor. Sealing is one of my issue LED or not if the lens gets full of water, the lamp fails.

quote:
Originally posted by bwest

OK, explain to me why it is safer to have LED. Is it because you can run a lower amp fuse? Because if you don't run a lower amp fuse the same fire hazard is there.


“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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JustinB
Advanced Member

United States
490 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2012 :  12:41:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bwest

OK, explain to me why it is safer to have LED. Is it because you can run a lower amp fuse? Because if you don't run a lower amp fuse the same fire hazard is there.

It mostly has to do with the time it takes to light up the lamp. The difference of a fraction of a second on a brake light is several feet. Several feet that a following or inattentive motorist will not be under your bus.

I may not know the answer but I can usually find who does.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2322 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2012 :  2:18:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JustinB

quote:
Originally posted by bwest

OK, explain to me why it is safer to have LED. Is it because you can run a lower amp fuse? Because if you don't run a lower amp fuse the same fire hazard is there.

It mostly has to do with the time it takes to light up the lamp. The difference of a fraction of a second on a brake light is several feet. Several feet that a following or inattentive motorist will not be under your bus.



Now that is some information I can use!! I can see that on these semi trailers I follow. I wonder if there has been a study on this?

Bryan
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Fastback
Top Member

990 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2012 :  2:56:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nothing scientific but replace one of your 7" brakelights with a LED unit, stand 40' or so behind the bus and have someone step on the brakes, the differance in not having to wait for the filament to warmup in the LED is very noticeable. Another benefit is the LED is a sealed unit so they don't fill with dirt when the lens gasket shrinks.
Even if I replace no other incandescant light on the bus, I like to switch the top large brakelights out to the LEDs.

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback

Edited by - Fastback on 09/13/2012 06:52:30 AM
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2322 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2012 :  11:33:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ordered two yesterday. I have them on my car trailer at home but the reason was from a maintenance standpoint. I was tired of having to replace the bulbs in them all the time. I get paid to do that here. lol

Bryan
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RD9000
Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2012 :  2:40:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have began replacing by trailer lights as well as lights on my box trucks with LED. As for school buses, I currently believe the upgrade cost on a new bus is ridiculous (4-8K last time I heard). This includes the 8-way system. You can replace an awful lot of regular bulbs with that kind of money. I think its fiscally irresponsible. As for replacement/upgrade, it seems the extra cost can be justified.
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3341 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2012 :  03:24:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RD9000

I currently believe the upgrade cost on a new bus is ridiculous (4-8K last time I heard). This includes the 8-way system.



From the bus bids I received this spring...

Blue Bird- All exterior LEDs except warning $802
LED warning $536

IC- (no bid)

Thomas- All exterior LEDs except warning $680
LED warning $582
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2322 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2012 :  06:36:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thomasbus24

quote:
Originally posted by RD9000

I currently believe the upgrade cost on a new bus is ridiculous (4-8K last time I heard). This includes the 8-way system.



From the bus bids I received this spring...

Blue Bird- All exterior LEDs except warning $802
LED warning $536

IC- (no bid)

Thomas- All exterior LEDs except warning $680
LED warning $582



Just curious, what company got your business?

Bryan
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3341 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2012 :  06:58:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We went with Blue Bird. AAFE (old style). The dealer is 45 minutes away as opposed to 3.5 hours, the entire fleet is Bird, they were low bid. Made the choice easy.

I did purchase the LED warning light package, couldn't talk the higher ups into the full LED (but I have a box of em here in my office that are going on the bus when it arrives SHHH!!!! )
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Schoolbus56
Senior Member

United States
128 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2012 :  3:58:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This years bus purchase has every exterior light (except the warnings lights) LED and I think it was well worth it.

wow.
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matts4290
Advanced Member

220 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2012 :  6:46:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit matts4290's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I replaced all of mine with LED when I repainted my retired All American. It was well worth it, switching from old faded lenses with incandescent bulbs to bright, vibrant lenses with bright lights. I purchased most of mine from ebay after months of collecting and finding deals over the winter before I actually painted the bus.

I prefer the sound off units based on price and quality. I also recommend getting the units with the built in reflector (reflex) for safety as well. I'm not too thrilled with the reverse light units as they are expensive and don't seem to spread light as the old incandescents.

The one thing that worries me is when I start loosing diodes. None so far.

We can't all be conventional!
http://www.youtube.com/user/matts4290
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RD9000
Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2012 :  2:19:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's good to see that LED's are becoming more and more reasonable! My only complaint with the ones I've been putting on my trailer is that the running lights are less effective than the regular bulbs due to only having 2 LED's, but the LED brake lights are great!
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