Lotus Elan

Thimble lights to LED daytime running lights

PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:07 pm

Maybe someone can en"lighten" me on how the sidelights are wired(switched).

My original Federal S4 came with the sidelights holes blanked off. The indicator lamps (turn signals) were wired to work as parking lights as well as turn signals (dual filament). The indicator, in park function, is controlled by a toggle switch (on/off) next to the headlamp vacuum switch. The way these were wired is that the indicators (park function) can be switched on and off when the headlights are off but are powered on, regardless of toggle position, when the headlamps are up/on. The directional function goes independently through the stalk as normal.

I am considering putting the sidelights into the blank holes on my S4 body but wondering how I should wire/switch these.

1. Just gang them with the existing indicators (park/running wire(red)). So the sidelights and the indicators will be both on together (when headlights up or when switched on separately)
2. From looking at a wiring diagram (though there are many versions) it appears that for non-Federal cars (at least compared to my 69 S4), that the indicator lights are only used for turn signals and the sidelights are used independently as parking or running lights. So the "indicators" only light when activated by the turn signal? Is that correct? I could rewire to that operation but its probably not legal here in California.

So, I am left either just having the added sidelights act the same as the indicators (except for the flashing turn signal aspect) or if I separate the sidelights and indicators need to come up with a different way of switching the sidelights. I noticed that in tedtaylor's first picture of his LED conversion that the sidelights are on but the indicators are not. As this is a US (but later car, I believe) how are the lights switched? Later picture shows both sidelights and indicators on but without headlights. So, a bit confusing. Tedtaylor: do you have separate switching for the sidelights and indicators (perhaps a 3 position toggle) or ?

Thanks
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:44 pm

Did a bit of research on US (and California regs). California regs simply say follow whatever the Feds say.

As Daylight Running Lights (DRL) there are Fed rules that are discussed here:

https://jalopnik.com/heres-why-modern-c ... 1792394567

The "twist" for the Elan is the proximity of the sidelights to the turn signals(indicators). In order to comply with the regs when the two lights are less than 100mm apart:

Either:

1. Make the DRL much dimmer relative to the indicator (which is where we started out, if you had sidelights to begin with)
or
2. Turn the DRL off (on that side) while signaling. Kind of a weird solution but many cars have this.

The intent is not to confuse or obscure the turn signal function.

However, I would judge the likelihood of being pulled over for this as highly unlikely. But, maybe a liability if an accident occurred. We live (USA) in a highly litigious environment. Also, insurance companies always looking for a way not to pay.

Probably not that hard to comply with #2 through use of a relay(s) triggered by the turn signals.

Anyway, I have purchased new sidelights (as well as the LED replacements) and intend to install them probably with the #2 implementation (another little challenge, maybe overkill). I figure I need all the help I can get to be seen during the day. Besides the horn and quick reflexes, some DRL's could be helpful. Driving the Elan after 15 years I was quickly reminded on how other drivers just do not see you.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:36 am

couple notes:
1) I've run these thimble LED lights now for several hours at a time. I have felt the clear lens and chrome ring and felt no noticeable heat, so there's no fear of melting plastic.
2) I don't know the wattage or current draw (I'm not technically adept with that sort of stuff)
3) the wiring/mounting/switching of the thimble lights for "federal" cars is an individual choice. My previous original owner had them wired separately on its own accessory switch mounted under the dash lip (along side the accessory switch for the cooling fan operation). I run them all by themselves as daytime running lights. They work independently of any parking lights or headlights.

To each his own. FYI only.
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PostPost by: crypto » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:28 am

Here in Switzerland, driving with daylights is a must (as it is in some other European countries).
The only exception is if the car was registered before 1.1.1970. My Elan is not and I have to drive with the main lights on (low beam). The tiny sidelights do not fulfill the today's ECE regulation regarding size, position and brightness (even not with LEDs). These LED lights are a great idea but leaves you in a grey zone with the law :wink: With today's efficiency of LEDs there is about a factor 8 in power consumption compared to a regular bulb. An additional gain is achieved by the directional nature of LEDs compared to the nearly omnidirectional light emission of bulbs. In other words a 1 Watt LED is about equal to an 8 Watt bulb.
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PostPost by: chrisbeck » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:29 am

I can recommend replacement LED lamps (bulbs) from Classic Car LED's, http://www.classiccarleds.co.uk. Top quality, overnight free delivery, excellent service. My sidelight lenses were melted from the heat of the incandescent lamps. I replaced all the rears, indicators and cockpit lamps with LED's, red for the stop/tails, amber for the indicators and warm white for the cockpit.
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:25 pm

Chris, would you please share the item number of each bulb you ended up using and the OEM?
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PostPost by: chrisbeck » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:05 pm

Sorry, I've just seen this request on the forum. Do you want the LED list? The OEM numbers are in the Lotus workshop manual.
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:23 am

If you could copy the page on the manual and write the LED number next to them, I will put the info on a spread sheet and list them on the board. Also, maybe some LED supplier info you used would be useful and can be update for the people in various parts of the world.
I think all board readers would be grateful.

Thanks
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