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1996 Toyota Corolla
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm tired of ordering NEO LED bulbs and being disappointed. Since they screw in facing downwards, and LEDs are so directional, switches end up either dimly lit, or with the case of my latest attempt, half lit.



The only other options, at least that I can figure out, is to buy these bulbs from Toyota (for $13 a bulb, no thanks, not when I need 3) or replace the actual bulb inside. I tried replacing the bulb, but all Radioshack had in the way of 12V component bulbs were tiny microbulbs. Much smaller than the originals, and no colored covers to give a nice color effect.



I've been thinking of alternatives, and I've found 5mm LEDs that have built in resistors for 12V operation. Since you can't really fit a resistor into that tiny base, it's necessary for it to be built in. But here's what I found:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-mm-12-Vol...145191?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item1c3ef235e7

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-mm-12-Vol...270295?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item2c80407a57

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-mm-12-Vol...918075?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item2c804a5cbb

There's also this company I don't know:

http://www.lc-led.com/View/itemNumber/336

http://www.lc-led.com/View/itemNumber/147

http://www.lc-led.com/View/itemNumber/148

What do you think guys? Could wrapping a 5mm 12V LED into those bases work?
 

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The 5mm LEDs will probably have the same direction issue, and besides, I think they might be too big to even go through the circuit board.

What style of LED do you have on those NEO bulbs? If they're surface mount on a small board, I'd take the assembly apart, extend the pigtail wires, then put it back together with the board sitting in the direction you want the light to shine instead of sitting flat on the base.
 

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1996 Toyota Corolla
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The 5mm LEDs will probably have the same direction issue, and besides, I think they might be too big to even go through the circuit board.

What style of LED do you have on those NEO bulbs? If they're surface mount on a small board, I'd take the assembly apart, extend the pigtail wires, then put it back together with the board sitting in the direction you want the light to shine instead of sitting flat on the base.
You think they'll have directional issues as well? They are diffused.

There is no circuit board, it's just a plastic base. I'm going to fit a 5V 5mm LED into the base today and see if it fits. Obviously won't work under 12V power, but I want to test the fitment.

Mounting the SMD sideways is a difficult proposition. The hole that the NEO LED fits through is too small to mount it to the side of the base, but mounting it on the tip but sideways could work if there is enough vertical space. I could give it a shot.

Also those bases that came with the eBay LEDs are crap, they barely fit into the switch. I had to pry it out with a screwdriver.
 

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Token Aussie
1998 AE102 sedan, 2006 ZZE122 wagon, 2018 ZRE182 hatch
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I tried some Neo bulbs for the demister/hazard switches, didn't even light up (bulbs seemed to be functional but just didn't seem to fit into the socket properly) and were a bitch to screw in. Next time I pull my centre console apart I'll get some proper incandescents, the originals lasted 15 years so no problem with longevity in that regard.

LEDs are not the magic solution that some people make them out to be, and in some situations are significantly worse than incandescents (replacement auto lighting is a great example of that, due to the lack of diffusers - even LEDs with built-in diffusers will never have the coverage of a good tungsten filament bulb)
 

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1996 Toyota Corolla
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I tried some Neo bulbs for the demister/hazard switches, didn't even light up (bulbs seemed to be functional but just didn't seem to fit into the socket properly) and were a bitch to screw in. Next time I pull my centre console apart I'll get some proper incandescents, the originals lasted 15 years so no problem with longevity in that regard.

LEDs are not the magic solution that some people make them out to be, and in some situations are significantly worse than incandescents (replacement auto lighting is a great example of that, due to the lack of diffusers - even LEDs with built-in diffusers will never have the coverage of a good tungsten filament bulb)
That's what I'm trying to solve. Incandescent bulbs have a terrible color unless you have the right condom, and bulb replacements of that size (so the original condom fits) is so hard to find. I wish I could... I'd dump LEDs entirely for switches. I was just thinking that 5mm diffused LEDs would work well, I have some lying around that aren't 12V and they light up the surroundings well.
 

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1996 Toyota Corolla
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I put a 5mm LED into one of the bases. It isn't a 12V LED, I just wanted to see if it fits. Spoiler: It didn't. A 3mm LED would be better for this purpose.



I tore out those surface mounted LEDs from the cheap crappy bases that didn't even fit into the switch. I took out the bulb from the OEM base and stuck this white LED into it at an angle. Dirty DIY, but it works.





Also bought some weird green NEO 4 LEDs with a diffuser top.



They all actually work!



Now let me say this. The green LED was unable to light up the text very bright at all. Really dim, dimmer than the TINY microbulbs I had in there previously. Here's the green LED next to the microbulb:



So I don't know how well those style of LEDs will light text or symbols, but it's very bright for an indicator.
 

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I tore out those surface mounted LEDs from the cheap crappy bases that didn't even fit into the switch. I took out the bulb from the OEM base and stuck this white LED into it at an angle. Dirty DIY, but it works.

This used exactly what I was trying to suggest - that round disc the three LEDs are on is the circuit board I was referring to.

Glad to see it worked out!
 

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1996 Toyota Corolla
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This used exactly what I was trying to suggest - that round disc the three LEDs are on is the circuit board I was referring to.

Glad to see it worked out!
Indeed, thanks for the idea! That's why I posted it in this thread, because you're here.
 

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Porsche
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What I've also done is use 5mm wooden dowels carved to fit into those bulb-bases. Then glue SMT or 3mm LEDs aimed sideways.

Brightness is a measurement that is quantifiable. Get the coloured ones with +4000mcd and you'll be brighter than factory bulbs. The brightest 5mm white LEDs can be over 20000mcd. Enough to make some pretty bright and efficient flashlights.
 

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1996 Toyota Corolla
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I thought I'd update this thread. I found out that the bulbs used are called "grain of wheat" bulbs. I bought some 4mm 12V bulbs off eBay. I can say that they fit well into the original bases, BUT the original bulbs seem to be 4.7mm or so. They're larger than the 4mm bulbs I bought. I'll comment on how bright they are probably this weekend. Rated at 1.2W.

Also, the bulb cover basically fused itself to the bulb, and ripped when trying to take it off. There are 4/4.7mm blue bulb covers on eBay for $1 a pop, but $1.79 shipping. I might buy one later.

This might be the proper solution: http://www.ebay.com/itm/25-4-7mm-12...Parts_Accessories&hash=item4d15f1d8fc&vxp=mtr
 

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CeltiLad
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9 Posts
I'm tired of ordering NEO LED bulbs and being disappointed. Since they screw in facing downwards, and LEDs are so directional, switches end up either dimly lit, or with the case of my latest attempt, half lit.



The only other options, at least that I can figure out, is to buy these bulbs from Toyota (for $13 a bulb, no thanks, not when I need 3) or replace the actual bulb inside. I tried replacing the bulb, but all Radioshack had in the way of 12V component bulbs were tiny microbulbs. Much smaller than the originals, and no colored covers to give a nice color effect.



I've been thinking of alternatives, and I've found 5mm LEDs that have built in resistors for 12V operation. Since you can't really fit a resistor into that tiny base, it's necessary for it to be built in. But here's what I found:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-mm-12-Vol...145191?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item1c3ef235e7

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-mm-12-Vol...270295?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item2c80407a57

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-mm-12-Vol...918075?pt=Model_RR_Trains&hash=item2c804a5cbb

There's also this company I don't know:

12V LED - 5mm White R500TW4D

12V 5mm LED Lamp - Green R500TG4D

5mm 12V LED - Red R500JPF4D

What do you think guys? Could wrapping a 5mm 12V LED into those bases work?
I used to buy them from superbrightleds.com but found autolumination.com has better brighter and lights up in all directions with their new Neowedge Goldstar Matrix T-3 bulbs using 5630 chips. Most of the neowedge sizes will fit using these in the hvac panel. I couldn't use the T-4's for the lcd display because they are longer than what sbl has but instead I used autolumination Goldstar SMD T-4 that only comes in a T-4 size which is still brighter than what sbl offers. For the cupholder lights if you're interested I replaced that with the 74 PCB base Goldstar Matrix 6 5630 led bulb which I had to file down, the top and sides a bit and added some electrical tape to the board since it points down and isn't as thick as it should be but it's holding fine, this also gives all around light distribution and I no longer have to hunt for the cupholders or what's in them. I also bought the 74 Plastic-Base-Goldstar-Matrix 3led-5630 in case the other one was too large and the 74 74-PCB-Base-Goldstar-Matrix-3led-5050 for same reason and to check for brightness and fit, the first one beat the other two but I'm keeping as spares are bright too, you could send back but the shipping makes it pointless. Also got their Neowedge Japanese OEM 2 SMD Led Bulb T-3 hoping it would fit the Hazard switch - it didn't but kept it and used it for the Reset/Mode button on HVAC and it surprised me how bright it was compared to the sbl or autolumination's standard T-3 were, I forgot to order another Goldstar Matrix 5630 for that button and it fits it's just tight since it's an OEM for some Japanese car, but it's side facing is what fills out the button even straight on it's bright. Also used the 5630's for the DAC, Diff lock buttons and those will need filing top edge only to fit as those holes are small even for the sbl ones, also used 5630's for the 4WD switch and the rear window switch that didn't need filing.
Anyway, use the links since their site needs work, there are pages for the neos that just show color pics but not the detail pages unless you use those links, I bookmarked 'em so not have to hunt each time.
Also bought their 921 50 Watt Color: Super White 0 Watt Color: Super White for the reverse bulbs and much brighter than stock. I'm trying to decide on Tail Brake Stop bulbs and Turn Signals but a lot of choices for those too.
Hope this helps any of you!
 
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