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Supplier Tech: A Bright Idea

Osram’s LED Standardizes LED lighting

by John Peter

Chances are, if you see a car coming at you or driving in front of you, you’re looking at Osram Sylvania lighting technology. 75 percent of the cars in production today have some type of Osram lighting, Halogen, HID/Xenon or LEDs, both exterior and interior.

Automotive lighting drives about 50 percent of Osram’s business globally and of that, they supply 75 percent of NAFTA-produced vehicles and 40 percent of the global light vehicle market.

The top dog in automotive lighting is also a large manufacturer of LED’s for the automotive industry currently shipping 3 million units per day.

It’s these little light emitting diodes, or LEDs that are driving the future of the industry. It’s a life-of-the-vehicle source,” says James L. Johnson, Executive Vice President and General Manager for Global Automotive Lighting. “LED’s will not burn out, so you won’t have the trouble of replacing them. The consumer benefits from that point.”

But the benefits to the OEMs can be much greater. LEDs use 1/8 of the power of an incandescent bulb. On top of that a typical rear stop function an incandescent bulb needs to generate about 400 Lumens of energy to net 75 lumens of energy by the time it gets through the red lens. A red LED only needs to generate 75 lumens because you don’t need the red lens.

From a safety standpoint, a rear incandescent stop lamp takes 250 milliseconds to light up once the brake pedal is depressed. LEDs light up in 20 milliseconds allowing for an extra 24 feet of stopping distance at 50 mph.

Since LEDs are electronically-controlled semiconductors they are a more controllable light source that can be changed by the amount of power applied to it. The Ford Bronco concept shown at this year’s Detroit International Auto Show features a taillamp system that gets brighter the harder you press the brake pedal, signaling to the driver behind you how fast they need to stop.

While safety and economy are definitely important, styling is still the driving factor in choosing LEDs.

“We’re currently seeing a lot of styling trends where people want instant recognition of vehicles,” says Phil Rioux, Director of OEM Sales for Osram Sylvania.

Audi debuted a new A8 6.0 with the first application of LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) that are now mandated in Europe and Canada.

The Hella-manufactured headlamp features a module housing five LEDs arranged in a five-point pattern which gives the vehicle a unique signature.

While LEDs are just finding their way on to the front of the vehicle, many OEMs have adopted LED rear combination lamps on their higher trim levels. The technology is reserved for the higher trim levels mainly due to cost. Johnson says that a typical rear lamp assembly with an incandescent light source is $10 to $12. Replacing the lamp assembly with an LED array would triple the cost. A majority of the cost increase is driven by the design and engineering that’s necessary to produce a unique taillamp for a specific vehicle.

“That’s because you’re using it for styling and adding a high number of LEDs,” Johnson says. “That’s what’s driving your cost.” Osram has developed a technology that is designed to bring down that cost, making LED-taillamps an option on mid-level and lower-level vehicles.

The ‘LED Standardized Light Source’ does just that, standardizing LEDs similar to incandescent technology with an estimated cost savings of 50 to 60 percent over LED array lighting.v The unit, designed to interface with the vehicle’s 12-volt power supply, integrates the LEDs, power module and heat sink into one unit, providing designers with an industry-standard LED bulb that will simplify the design process for rear combination lamp assemblies.

The technology can also be utilized across several platforms, reducing development costs even further and reducing cycle times.

The standardized light source can be modified by changing the number of LEDs and altering the color to meet OEM specifications.

The standardized light source is designed as an indirect lighting system. Unlike other LED lighting systems, it is mounted inward toward a reflector.

Johnson says that simulations have shown that the system can still be packaged in the same space as LED array lamps.

The LED standardized light source will make its production debut on a vehicle that will be introduced in the summer of 2005.

See article for illustration & specs:
http://www.ai-online.com/issues/article_detail.asp?id=384
 

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Ok, here is where I go and say that Cadillac has had LED tail lights in some of the cars for at least 2 yrs. What I am waiting for is the use of fibre optic cable and a single light source for all lights....
 
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johnej said:
Ok, here is where I go and say that Cadillac has had LED tail lights in some of the cars for at least 2 yrs. What I am waiting for is the use of fibre optic cable and a single light source for all lights....
That's a nice idea but I can't see it being adopted in the foreseeable future for several reasons:

1. Very expensive

2. You'd need a very high-powered light source

3. As long as any single light on the vehicle needed to be in use the single central light source would have be active - wasting energy

4. If the central light source failed you'd have NO lights AT ALL on your vehicle

5. How would you control the switching of the light into each fibre so that the output from each light fitting could be individually controlled?

Tim
 

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johnej said:
Ok, here is where I go and say that Cadillac has had LED tail lights in some of the cars for at least 2 yrs. What I am waiting for is the use of fibre optic cable and a single light source for all lights....
LED CHMSL (center high-mounted stop light) have been available in spoilers since 1990. The first built-in application I remember was on mid-90's GM minivans and trucks.

I think the car with the most-techy lighting was the Lincoln Mk8, with HID, neon=powered regular brake lights and LED CHMSL. The DeVille comes a close second with HID, all-LED brakelights and the nightvision sensor. I never understood why they put this stuff on the luxo-barges instead of the sporty models where the buyer demographic might actually appreciate the technology.
 

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Wow, didn't know this topic would stir up so much interest! :eek:

If you anyone wants to be ahead of the curve, maybe you might want to try replacing your tail lamps with these?

1157 bulbs with 12 or 19 Red LEDS
1156 bulbs with 12 Red LEDS
1156 and 1157 bulbs with 12 or 19 White LEDS
1156 bulbs with 12 or 19 Amber LEDS
1157 bulbs with 19 wide viewing angle Amber LEDS

Voltage: 12~14 VDC
Max Power Consumption: 40ma tail / 90ma brake
Size: 1 inch diameter x 1 3/4 inches overall length

There are some pitfalls to doing this:

NOTES CONCERNING TAIL/SIGNAL/BRAKE LED BULBS:
For best results the LED color should be the same as the lens color

LED brake/tail lamps may not work with some thermal flasher units due to their extremely low current draw. These installations will require an electronic flasher unit available at your auto parts store.

LED bulbs may cause some newer vehicles to indicate a bulb is burnt out (because of their low power consumption). Some cars indicate this by increasing the flash rate of the turn signals, some do not flash at all. This can be remedied with load resistors wired across the turn signal bulbs to simulate a filament bulb load. We have these available by our LED turn signal bulbs in our online shopping cart.

LED bulbs are generally not as bright as standard incandescent bulbs, they have many advantages over filament bulbs (longer life, faster on/off times, lower power consumption, more vivid colors) but brightness is not one of them.

Some of our bulbs are available with 12 or 19 LEDS, obviously the 19 LED units are brighter.

Some of our bulbs are available with Narrow or Wide viewing angle. The Wide angle (approx. 100 degree beam) will light up more area but dimmer than the Narrow angle. The Narrow angle (approx. 15 degree) will illuminate a smaller area but brighter than the Wide angle.

Here's the link so you see what these look like and decide for yourselves if this is something you want to try?

http://www.superbrightleds.com/1157.htm
 
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