Why I love LED lighting.

LED interior lamp in Toyota Camry

LED interior lamp in action in  the Camry

I am a big believer in the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ strategy.

Years ago when LED lighting made the jump from strict usage as colorful indicator lamps to ambient or focused white light, I was doubtful.

  • by their very nature, LED is diffuse and hard to focus
  • LED wavelengths emitted were tight, and often blue-ish and cold.  (Incandescent / halogen emit a broad spectrum of wavelengths, which are pleasing to the eye and appear ‘warm’.)
  • they also weren’t as bright as a decent halogen


Fortunately, all of the above problems were technical in nature and have for the most part been solved:

  • using new lenses and even ones built into the LED itself (plus the development of tiny, extreme brightness units that better simulate an incandescent bulb) it is now possible to make good focus-able light beams.
  • using new phosphor compounds, LED light is warmer and broader in spectrum.  There is a slight loss in efficiency, but are still vastly outperform any other type of lamp.
  • extreme brightness units have been developed that easily compete with incandescent bulbs, even halogens.  They require attached heatsinks.
Dorcy LED flashlights

My favorite LED flashlight, Dorcy 190 lumin water resistant. Can you guess which one is my wife’s?

Dorcy LED flashlights

These are available on Amazon.com for about $15 or so. Highly recommended.

Dorcy 190 lumin water resistant flashlights on Amazon.com.  They come in blue, yellow, pink, purple, and green.


In addition to the above advancements, LEDs also have these advantages:

  • LED lighting is *FAR* more efficient than incandescent lighting; using something like 75% less energy.
  • Durability: not only is an LED itself less fragile than a bulb, but generally last much longer under use (up to 25x longer).
  • Due to the higher efficiency, there is much less heat generated and therefore most LED lamps barely get warm to the touch.



Wikipedia LED Comparison


A few years ago… when I began to see the advantages of LED technology outweighing the negatives…I bought the Dorcy flashlights above.  They are truly a gamechanger; I have YET to have one fail…the batteries are never dead, because they only sip power.  I’ve also never have never had a lamp burn out.  The days of picking up a flashlight and hoping it works are gone for me.

So, in early 2012 I decided to branch out and install LED lamp panels as interior lamps in our vehicles; a Camry, and of course the Tacoma.


I used these all-purpose lamp modules:

48 SMD LED lamp

LED interior lamp with adapters.

As usual, I bought them from Amazon.com as returns are easy and I don’t have to face the unwashed masses at Walmart.


I connected one to my bench power supply to check out the current draw.  Only 1/3 amp at 12 volts.  Plus, it never got so warm I couldn’t keep my hand on it.


LED lamp module connected to 12 v power supply

Lamp brightness at 12 volts

Power supply to LED lamp

Left display is current: .33 amps at 12.0 volts


After I installed the lamp modules, Leslie immediately noticed and like the difference.  They are somewhat brighter than the stock bulb, but it took me a couple days to get used the the color difference.  Now when I get in a vehicle that doesn’t have an LED interior light, I always notice and I realize what an improvement they truly are.


Camry installation:

LED interior lamp module in Camry LED interior lamp module in Camry


LED interior lamp module in Camry

Module exposed. I just use the 3m adhesive back to stick the module.

LED interior lamp module in Camry

Positive (red) wire on the right (passenger side).










Toyota Tacoma installation:

LED interior lamp module in TacomaLED interior lamp module in Tacoma

LED interior lamp module in Tacoma

Both vehicles have the positive (red wire) on the right (passenger side).  If you install the module and it doesn’t light up, quickly reverse the leads to prevent damage.  There are protective diodes installed to prevent reverse current flow (the LEDs do this too, but it isn’t good to ‘test’ their ability).




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