280Z LED Conversion Part 2

Continuing from part 1, this is the start of installation and results of the LED conversion. I ordered a small bunch of LEDs to get a feel for what brightness I’m looking at since the website I ordered from has somewhat confusing ‘relative intensity’, ‘brightness’, and ‘lumens’ listed for each bulb. Not to mention the prices seemed to fluctuate independantly of any of those values so it wasn’t as simple as ‘find the most expensive ones’.

For the first part of the conversion I ordered just 6 bulbs. The Type 97 and Type 89 replacements for the front and rear side markers and the two license plate lamps, respectively. They all use a BA15S base (1156), but the bulb is much smaller. I went with 15 LED license plate bulbs since the bulbs don’t face outward. In retrospect the 15 LED bulbs would have been nice for the side markers as well, but the 9 LED ones I got are at least as bright as the incandescents, probably a tad brighter.

9 LED vs stock Type 97:

 

Incandescent (left) and 15 LED bulb (right)

 

Before:

After:

If I had to do it over again I’d get the 15 LED bulbs for all the clearance lights instead of the 9 LED as they are a bit brighter and have better coverage. But they are slightly brighter, in my unscientific opinion, than the stock filaments.

Satisfied, I ordered some more bulbs:

The contents being:

  • 2 67-R15 Red (rear tail lights)
  • 2 1157-A45-T 1157 Amber (front combination lamps)
  • 2 1157-R45-T 1157 Red (rear combination brake/tail lights)
  • 2 1156-R45-T 1156 Red (rear turn signals)
  • 2 CF13JL-02 (3 Pin Zero-Load “Japanese” Flasher)

The brake and tail lights are slightly brighter, but come on much faster. The 67-R15s could be replaced with something slightly brighter but it’s not a big deal. I took a few photos before and after but it’s really hard to tell. However, here is one side-by-side comparison shot:

The left side is the stock tail light bulbs and the right is the new LEDs (67 and 1157).

Once you replace the turn signals the stock flashers will give up due to lack of current. This is fixed by replacing the stock flashers with these “zero-load” flashers. The stock ones depend on enough current to heat up an element and warp it, at which point it triggers by bending and hitting the contacts. This is why if bulbs are out the flash rate is different, or it stops flashing all together. Anyway, these “digital” flashers just happen to fit perfectly with the stock harness. All that’s needed is an extra ground.

The stock turn signal flasher is attached to the steering column, near the pedal mounts:

The hazard flashers is above the ECU and ignition relay:

Wiring both of them up is easy as the B and L terminals match up fine with the stock female plugs.

The wires (on a 1977 CA 280Z) match up as follows:

  • Turn signal flasher
    • W -> ‘L’ (Load, not blue like in the FSM)
    • G/Y -> ‘B’
    • E is the new earth/ground you’ll have to run.
  • Hazard flasher
    • G -> ‘L’
    • R/W -> ‘B’
    • E is the new earth/ground you’ll have to run.

Unfortunately there weren’t mounting tabs on them, but a couple zip ties and it’s good.

And that’s it. I measured the actual amperage before and after (just for the parking and tails), and it went from 1.5 A to 0.5A (33%), with 0.5 A of the dropped attributed to the tail lights alone. Not as a big as I thought but anything to reduce the load on the stock combination switch is good.

280Z LED Conversion Part 1

My 280Z isn’t what you could call “modern” in the electrical department. Originally, it came with an externally regulated alternator, fusible links, incandescent bulbs, and very few relays. The design inhereted a few things from Lucas eletronics, which is not a good thing. Regardless, it was fairly normal for the time. I’m glad there are no vacuum operated things, like some makes. The most electrically obtuse part of the design is the lack of relays. So, all the current for the headlights, parking lights, turn signals, and brakes goes through the individual switches for each. So, not only is there a significant voltage drop by the time the bulbs actually see any current, the switches are very prone to corrosion and failure. Sourcing a replacement column switch is getting harder and harder.

Solutions to this problem? Add in new relays for the lights to significantly reduce the load on the switches, and/or add LED lights to reduce the current draw of the lighting system altogether.

I’m opting to do the latter for now. The power savings are calculated as:

1977 280Z

  • 2 50W/40W headlights
  • 4 Type 97 (1156) 8W bulb side markers (2 amber, 2 red)
  • 2 Type 89 7.5W license plate bulbs
  • 2 Type 1157 23W/8W Stop/Tail lights
  • 2 Type 1157 23W/8W Front Park/Turn signal lights
  • 2 Type 67 8W Rear tail lights
  • 2 Type 1156 23W Rear turn signal lights
  • 2 Type 1156 23W Reverse lights

Incandescent bulbs:

  • 1156 – 23W * 4 = 92W
  • 1157 – 31W * 4 = 124W
  • 67 – 8W * 2 = 16W
  • 89 – 7.5W * 2 = 15W
  • 97 – 8W * 4 = 32W

279W total (not including headlamps). Granted, that’s with the brake lights depressed, in reverse, with the lights and hazards on. A more typical wattage would be 95W.

LED Bulbs

Sidemarkers:

  • 97 (9 LED 67-x9 Amber) – 0.5W * 2 = 1W
  • 97 (9 LED 67-x9 Red) – 0.5W * 2 = 1W
  • 89 (15 LED 67-x15 Red) – 0.5W * 2 = 1W
  • 1156 (45 LED 1156-x45-T Red) 0.14W * 4 = 0.56W
  • 1156 (45 LED 1156-x45-T Amber) 0.16W * 2 = 0.32W
  • 1156 (45 LED 1156-x45-T White) 0.16W * 2 = 0.32W
  • 1157 (45 LED 1157-x45-T Red) 0.165W * 2 = 0.33W
  • 1157 (45 LED 1157-x45-T Amber) 0.195W * 2 = 0.39W

4.92 Watts, and that’s at full load. That’s two orders of magnitude less. Again, that’s with everything on at once. A realistic value is 4.16W. Not a big difference than all of them on, mostly due to the clearance and license plate LEDs taking most of the power in the first place. So, all the parking and operating lamps on the car illuminated for about half the power of a single incandescent clearance lamp. That’s a huge improvement:

4.92 W / 279W = 1.76% of the power with everything on, 4% with just the parking lights.

The catch? LEDs are expensive. Most of the cost is with the 1156 and 1157 replacements, at $20-30 per bulb. Also, digital flasher units are required rather than the heated element type in use (this also has a significant power drop, not calculated here). The total comes out to around $250. Ouch. Cheaper LEDs can be had, but they will not be as bright, and won’t last as long as quality units.

3.3L 280Z Runs

So, am I the first? The first to put a VG33 in an S30? I have doubts but I’ve never heard of it before. After a bit of late night work and an unplanned oil event and a small unplanned fuel dump after removing and replacing the engine to fix the oil leak, it’s back in, running, and more importantly: not leaking.

Here’s a late night in-progress shot:

 

All the work was worth it, I had to get it running for a scheduled photoshoot:

 

280Z SpeedHut gauge conversion

I acquired some Speedhut gauges a while back for a deal, and I just got a free 240Z wheel, so I decided to do all three. In this part I just remove and fit the Speedhut gauges in the old speedo and tachometer housings. In the next part I wire them up. A few people did this on HybridZ various different ways. I was too cheap to go out and get any other supplies, so I made it work with what I had.

The gauges I got are:

Speedometer: 4″ Revolution GPS Speedo with integrated fuel gauge, turn signal LEDs, and high-beam LED
Tachometer: 4″ Revolution 8,000RPM with programmable shift LEDs.

Both have red dials, and red illumination. The fuel gauge is there since I’ll be replacing the one in the 3 small dash gauges eventually, but don’t want to lose having a gas gauge.

<a href=”http://razzi.me/p/634975″><img alt=”Uploaded on Razzi.me” height=”235″ src=”http://just.razzi.me/photos/634975/692e6df.jpg” width=”235″></a> <a href=”http://razzi.me/p/634976″><img alt=”Uploaded on Razzi.me” height=”235″ src=”http://just.razzi.me/photos/634976/5951aee.jpg” width=”235″></a>

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Arch Linux on Lenovo ThinkPad T410

I picked up a really cheap ThinkPad T410 from Craigslist. First-gen mobile Core i5, 4GB, 320GB drive and most importantly: 1440×900. A 40% increase in horizontal space (and 17% vertical). Finally I can tune without trying to get TunerStudio to fit.

Installing Arch was quick, as usual. The laptop has a fingerprint reader, which works really well in Linux. Now I can log in with a finger swipe–although you have to press enter after swiping.

The only thing I might change is swapping out the spinner disk for a SSD, since they are pretty cheap. I don’t like the idea of a disk in a moving vehicle.

Released my first Android app

After searching for a simple GPS Speedometer app that provided a speed readout in more than just 2 units (a free one, of course), I thought it would be the perfect project for my first Android app. It took only a few hours to make it, the Eclipse ADT makes this pretty easy.

Google Play link

I’m glad I’ve gotten more familiar with the publishing process. It’ll help when I release a game I’ve been tinkering with for a few years.

Second 280Z autocross

Second autocross. This course was a bit more technical, and my car was definitely not setup for it. I was out of the power band most of the time, which was somewhat aggravating. At least I plumbed my wastegate back in, so it’s quiet at full throttle.

Here’s my best run:

First autocross in the 280Z

Well I hammered out a few problems with the car and decided to try it out at an autocross. There was slight rain during the first half of the event, but it cleared up completely in the afternoon. To put it blunt: The car is very hard to control. Old suspension, too peaky of a powerband, and a short wheelbase spell trouble. It was fun though.

Best spin out:

My best runs after the jump. Continue reading

The 280Z’s first time at a 1/4 mile drag strip

If there’s one thing nice about our new place, it’s that there’s a full quarter mile drag strip nearby.

I had my car shipped here, and this is pretty much the first thing I did. The track is really nice, although it’s more expensive (surprise, surprise), and very crowded. The problem seems to be that they have street car night at the same time they have the non-street car night. So guess who gets priority…

Despite only getting 2 runs in over the course of 4 hours (and they were both 15 minutes before closing), I did get a little tuning in. I also discovered spark blowout at high RPM.