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Old 10-14-2014, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default Brighter backup lights?

Had a pretty ugly adventure trying to back into our site in Mammoth cave campground last night,after we spent some time parked by the severe weather shelter during a weather warning. Hard cold rain, very dark, very windy. Wet mirrors, to windy to open window to help see, etc. The Chevy backup lights are not all that bright anyway, and they barely light at all to the side where you need to see to back up using the mirrors to find the site pad (and trees).

I have been looking at LED bulbs (3157) for the backup lights, and maybe adding some surface mount ones to light to the sides. Anybody had experience on what actually helps the most?

I also don't understand why Chevy uses the 3157, which is a dual filament, for the backup lights. I would think it would be a 3156 (or something like it) single element.
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Might I suggest a secondary flood/spot lamp instead? It could be used in conjunction with a wireless/bluetooth backup camera.

The reason I suggest a camera is that when backing up you can see beside your van, but not behind it. I have seen many with dented back doors from people accidentally backing up into a tree branch. And when it's cold and raining no one wants to go outside and spot so the camera and spot/flood light solve the issue.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruceper
Might I suggest a secondary flood/spot lamp instead? It could be used in conjunction with a wireless/bluetooth backup camera.

The reason I suggest a camera is that when backing up you can see beside your van, but not behind it. I have seen many with dented back doors from people accidentally backing up into a tree branch. And when it's cold and raining no one wants to go outside and spot so the camera and spot/flood light solve the issue.
I am considering extra lighting lamps, as I mentioned, because it is not possible to see the sides in the mirrors under the conditions we saw. They would mount on the corners of the van by the existing lights. They would wire into the existing lights, so no Bluetooth would be needed. We do have a camera (not a great one), but rarely need it as I can look how much room there is before turning in and can also see out the rear door windows. The most valuable view for me is the side of van rear wheel view compared to the road, garage door, site pad, so no light there makes it tough for me.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Have you thought about a backup camera with low light sensitivity? The backup lights on my minivan are pretty much a joke but they're enough for the backup camera to work well.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
Had a pretty ugly adventure trying to back into our site in Mammoth cave campground last night,after we spent some time parked by the severe weather shelter during a weather warning. Hard cold rain, very dark, very windy. Wet mirrors, to windy to open window to help see, etc. The Chevy backup lights are not all that bright anyway, and they barely light at all to the side where you need to see to back up using the mirrors to find the site pad (and trees).

I have been looking at LED bulbs (3157) for the backup lights, and maybe adding some surface mount ones to light to the sides. Anybody had experience on what actually helps the most?

I also don't understand why Chevy uses the 3157, which is a dual filament, for the backup lights. I would think it would be a 3156 (or something like it) single element.
I've experienced the very same problem backing into a campsite at night, even when it wasn't raining. Compounding the problem is that the Chevy Express van backup lights are mounted so high. What I've thought of is some flood type lights mounted at 45 degrees (one on each side), either under the rear bumper, or under the sides of the van. The idea being to shine light both to the sides as well as the rear. But I haven't followed up on this yet ...

Regards, Dick
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dicktill
Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
Had a pretty ugly adventure trying to back into our site in Mammoth cave campground last night,after we spent some time parked by the severe weather shelter during a weather warning. Hard cold rain, very dark, very windy. Wet mirrors, to windy to open window to help see, etc. The Chevy backup lights are not all that bright anyway, and they barely light at all to the side where you need to see to back up using the mirrors to find the site pad (and trees).

I have been looking at LED bulbs (3157) for the backup lights, and maybe adding some surface mount ones to light to the sides. Anybody had experience on what actually helps the most?

I also don't understand why Chevy uses the 3157, which is a dual filament, for the backup lights. I would think it would be a 3156 (or something like it) single element.
I've experienced the very same problem backing into a campsite at night, even when it wasn't raining. Compounding the problem is that the Chevy Express van backup lights are mounted so high. What I've thought of is some flood type lights mounted at 45 degrees (one on each side), either under the rear bumper, or under the sides of the van. The idea being to shine light both to the sides as well as the rear. But I haven't followed up on this yet ...

Regards, Dick
That is pretty much what I was thinking of with the flood lights, also. I seem to need light on the sides as much or more as I do in the rear. If they were bright enough, I was thinking of mounting them right about at the existing lights, aiming down and out at the same 45*. Being higher I would hope to cover a bit more area.

These seem to be the best I have found so far.

https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...Specifications

If I can do LED for the floods, and change the backup bulbs to LED, I hope I can just tap the existing backup wiring.
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Old 10-17-2014, 04:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Why not invest in a bright spot/floodlight that runs off 12v and mount it inside at the rear facing out through your rear windows? I'm sure it would work as well as anything else you might mount outside. It would solve any weather proofing issues. I may see what the local auto parts stores have that might work when I get a chance.
That said, I do like LEDS.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

My concerns with adding external floodlights is that they may turn out to look like those after market fog lamps that get hung beneath the front bumper of cars, trucks, and SUVs, and one is always broken, or the lens is smashed. I'm just not a fan of them, or even the ones truckers add to their cabs facing back along the sides of the trailers although they do get your attention of they switch them on after dark while in motion.
My other concern is that LED floods are likely not cheap, and I would expect them to be stolen before broken.

On a lighter note (hahahaha, couldn't resist ) I picked up some 1156 LED replacement bulbs at O'Reilly Auto Parts today. They come in a 2 pack for $19.99 + tax, and they replace themselves, or 1141 incandescent bulbs according to SuperBrightLEDs website bulb cross matching system. My backup lights are 1141s in my 2002 van.
They're made in China (go figure) by a company called Pilot Automotive. 15 diodes each, and they are VERY BRIGHT in a darkened room. I'll install them tomorrow and test them tomorrow night to see how much more or less they light the area to the rear of the van while backing up.
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Old 10-30-2014, 06:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

Installed, tested in our driveway last night, and am very satisfied with the increase in brightness towards the sides and rear end of the van when backing up. When I finish winterizing, I'll try to get outside the city tonight to lose the effects of the ambient city lighting, and do a test in the real darkness. I expect better results under those conditions.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brighter backup lights?

We finally got a chance to take some pix of the "improved" backup lighting. The van backup lights are very bright led replacements and the side lights are 10 watt LED spots with magnetic bases to temporarily stick to the body of the van (the plug in an accessory plugs inside the van and go out the doors or windows. The pix were taken just before it go totally dark, and are pretty much representative of what it really looked like, although the backup lights only one is not as bright as it actually looked in person. Not a great photographer here.

With just the side lites on







This is with just the new backup lights on-it actually gave better visibility than this shows



With all the lights on



I think the new backup lights will cover a lot of things, as they are much brighter than the originals, and light to the side a bit better it appears. Actual need and use will tell better, but they are very bright and hurt the eyes to look at even in daylight.

For the tough to see conditions like we ran into at Mammoth, the stick on side lights look like they would totally take care of it. Even looking in the mirrors, they lit up close to what headlights would do, and make it so you can see the rear tires in the mirror for making sure you hit the site entrance and not the ditch or post. The lighting from the side lights was good for at least 50' behind the van.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Drv side lite.jpg (41.9 KB, 233 views)
File Type: jpg Psg side lite.jpg (39.3 KB, 232 views)
File Type: jpg Rear side lites on.jpg (44.0 KB, 231 views)
File Type: jpg New backup lites only.jpg (31.5 KB, 231 views)
File Type: jpg All lites on.jpg (47.7 KB, 231 views)
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