After having a dead battery a couple times from rear hatch being left open with courtesy
lights left on I stopped using the courtesy lights. I finally got around to replacing the power
hungry and inefficient incandescent bulbs with some LED's and a CCFL lamp and ballast.
The stock courtesy lamp package consisted of 6 ea. 1 amp lamps and 2 ea. .350 amp
bulbs for a total draw on the battery of 6.7 amps. The new package draws a total of .52
There are courtesy lamps in the doors which had .350 amp bulbs and these were replaced
with a strip of 9 ea. 3mm LED's. 3 parallel circuits of 3 LED's in series with a resistor.
Total current draw of these strips is 60 mA. One of these is pictured below. There are 2
resistors on the back side of the board and not seen in the photo.
The primary overhead light console has a courtesy light which had one of the 1 amp bulbs.
This particular light fixture had room for a 4" CCFL lamp and ballast retrofit. I also
fabricated a simple aluminium reflector which amounted on standoffs and this provided a
mount for the fluorescent tube itself. If more illumination is needed, this van is riddled with
adjustable mini spot lights which can be turned on and off, independent of the courtesy
system. The CCFL is shown below.
In the front and one side door columns, there is a vented grill covering a single 1 amp lamp
used for illuminating the threshold. I made a replacement bayonet style light consisting of
3 ea. 3mm LED's for these lamps. A picture of these and then a shot of one installed
without the grill cover is below. I used a type of frosted acrylic bar stock for the base of
these lamps and milled and turned the plastic to accept the brass sleeve contacts as well as
house the LED's. This acrylic allows any side light to be diffused and escape as well as the
light directly leaving the LED's. In the second picture, you can see the glow from the
acrylic itself. Although quick and crude, these lights are functional and not seen.
There are two additional overhead courtesy lamp fixtures; one above the rear passenger
seats and another just inside the rear hatch. Both of these had 1 amp incandescent bulbs.
Due to size constraints as well as a desire for a fair amount of light, I chose to use
under driven Luxeon Star LED's in these fixtures. By under driving the LED's at 275 mA,
the amount of surface area and mass of the aluminium base of the custom "bulb" is
adequate for thermal management of the heat generated. A "DownBoy" constant current
buck converter was uses and the aluminum piece of hex bar stock was milled to provide a
partial cavity to accept some of the PCB's components. The ground portion of the circuit is
picked up by the aluminum lug on one side of the "bulb". The + is picked up by an isolated
brass sleeve that sits on a Delrin dowel attached to the aluminum body. The Luxeon Star is
thermal epoxy bonded to a large surface that was milled flat on the aluminium body. These
LS "bulbs" draw 80 mA each from the 12 volt system. Below are photos of the "bulbs" and
their placement in the uncovered fixtures. One of the 1 amp stock bayonet bulbs is shown
at the left.
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