Saturday, July 14, 2018

(Another) Back up Lamp LED bulb... will this one be the one?

So as many of you readers know, I've been on a quest to figure out how to improve the back up lamp on my Series 3 BCNR33.  The Series 3 (English term) or more accurately, the 後期 ("kohki") cars in Japanese, came with only 1 back up lamp, the other corresponding one having been made into a rear fog lamp.

Showing how the rear fog looks.
Previously, I replaced the standard OEM incandescent bulb with an LED, but then decided to try something fancy, by replacing that LED with a cheap HID bulb setup, complete with a ballast.  And the result? To be honest, mediocre - the HID bulb required a few seconds to attain maximum brightness, so jockeying the car back and forth to park was not fun as the bulb would cycle on and off, taking a few seconds to reach maximum brightness.

Standard Bulb

HID bulb once warmed up...
So after a bit of research I found this new LED bulb:

The PIAA "超"(Extreme) TERA Evolution, in S25 size. It has a claimed output of 300 lumens. I picked this up back in February 2017 as even back then I was concerned about the longevity of the HID bulb - HID bulbs are known for not lasting very long if they are cycled on and off repeatedly.  Luckily I did, because it looks like PIAA no longer offers this bulb for sale.  Perhaps the 183 lumens version is bright enough, but when you only have one back up bulb, it's good to have almost double that from one bulb, I think?

In any case, just as I suspected, the HID died.

Check this out:

So in went the new PIAA bulb and:

And yes it doesn't appear that bright but at night, I was surprised to find that I could see very well... at least the back up camera appeared to be functioning better than usual once this bulb went in...

I really need to think about re-doing the tint on the rear glass...