Nissan Fog Lamp: RGB LED “Bulb”

After cleaning the fog lamp lens enough to be encouraging, I made an LED “bulb” from four WS2812 RGB pixels:

Nissan Fog Lamp - LED bulb standup
Nissan Fog Lamp – LED bulb standup

The small threaded hole has an M3 setscrew to let the brass post slide up & down to adjust the LED position inside the fog lamp’s reflector.

Despite my poor experience with the PCB-based WS2812 LEDs, the strip-mounted ones have been ticking along in the hard drive platter lamp basically forever, at least after I tamped down the heat problem.

The brass hex rod has plenty of thermal conductivity, particularly clamped into an aluminum disk connected more-or-less well to the fog lamp’s base.

Nissan Fog Lamp - RGB LED lamp
Nissan Fog Lamp – RGB LED lamp

The two short wires linking the two LED strips (the purple wire is data into the first LED) hold them in place around the hex, despite their desire to straighten out, pull free of their adhesive, and fall off.

The general idea was to put the LEDs at about the same level as the halogen bulb filament, thereby spreading enough light to fill the reflector housing:

Nissan Fog Lamp - LED vs halogen
Nissan Fog Lamp – LED vs halogen

I drilled a hole through the hex as a cable “conduit”, turned the end into a nice rod, then machined a stub of aluminum to fit:

Nissan Fog Lamp - parting off LED base
Nissan Fog Lamp – parting off LED base

A pair of slots milled along the sides of the aluminum disk fit the housing’s locating features:

Nissan Fog Lamp - LED bulb trial fit
Nissan Fog Lamp – LED bulb trial fit

Nissan used an elaborate spring latch to clamp the halogen bulb’s sheet-metal base in place, but its 50 mil wire didn’t have nearly enough give for my chunky aluminum disk. My version of a spring latch came from a length of 24 mil music wire, which definitely beats the epoxy I was planning to use.

Heat transfer seems to be a non-issue, as the LEDs get barely warm to the touch. Until they drop dead, I’ll assume it’s all good in there.

Two screws hold the lens in place, but the collision seems to have stripped their grip on the plastic and they didn’t un-screw:

Nissan Fog Lamp - lens retaining screw
Nissan Fog Lamp – lens retaining screw

Jamming a utility knife blade under the screw head and prying upward while turning the screwdriver persuaded them out of their sockets, after which the lens popped out of its form-fitted silicone gasket with surprisingly little effort:

Nissan Fog Lamp - reflector stains
Nissan Fog Lamp – reflector stains

The lamp spent a week or so beside the road, out in the weather, and shipped a few drops of rainwater through the rectangular hole under the spring latch anchor. Some delicate cotton-swab action removed most of the grime without too much damage, but the reflective film on those corrugations won’t ever be the same again.

Now it’s just a simple matter of software …

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