LED Headlamps, are we there yet?

Generally old cars don’t have great electrics, luckily Vincenso Lancia used Bosch so at least electricity is the end product rather than smoke produced by that well known English brand.  The Bosch generator like most of the Vintage era put out about 80 Watts, so that is my power budget.  Unfortunately the Lambda is handicapped with a dud vac tank so has a Facet fuel pump sucking 18 Watts.

Here is the list of stuff that would be running while travelling at night.

Load Quantity Power Total
Headlamps 2 35W 70W
Fuel Pump 1 18W 18W
LED Tail Lamps 2 2W 4W
Total 92W

So I’m 12 Watts over budget if the Generator was perfect, this is after I had already replaced the headlight bulbs with halogen ones saving 10 Watts and Stuart the previous owner replacing the tail lights with LEDs saving  another 12 Watts.  The obvious answer would be to get the vac tank working…. or LED Headlamps?

Some new cars now come with LED headlamps so they would be perfect for an old car with not much power to spare…. Well yes and no.  Here is a picture of one I prepared earlier.


Picture shows LED mounted in part of the Bosch reflector, would have been a perfect fit if that heat sink was not sticking out the back.

So the problems are

  1. No room for the fan/heat sink.
  2. Nowhere for the heat to go as headlight shells are not ventilated.

LEDs although much more efficient that incandescent bulbs still produce heat and if the heat cannot get away they die early.

I think the real problem here that I do not have a vintage brain, as I’m sure in the day if your battery was going slowly flat it was time to pull over and have a kip and take off again in daylight, problem solved.

Nevertheless, a vac tank may allow me to see the light without the sleep.

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4 Responses to LED Headlamps, are we there yet?

  1. Andrew says:

    Mark, my Lambda ran for thirty years using 55W halogen headlight globes, no problems at all until I fitted the Facet fuel pump and strangely enough the generator failed.
    I might just have to sort out that vacuum leak.

    • Mark says:

      I think the Lambda generator must really put out more than specified as even though I ran a deficit on the Night Trial it stayed above 12.5v all night. I did enjoy the 1st half, hopefully will engage brain fully before another attempt.


  2. Noel Macwhirter says:

    There is a company in the UK that have various 12 volt LED headlamp bulbs:


    Not sure what fitting your Bosch lamps have but if they can take a H4 the ones on the right look good. Also the heat sinks on these seem much smaller than the ones you have. By my calculation if they draw 1.66 amps, at 12 volts that is 20 watts each, so a combined saving of 30 watts.

    Not much use for my 6 volts Aprilia but hopefully in the future something will be made.

    • Mark says:

      Hi Noel,

      Thanks for the link, I will keep an eye them. The Leds that will not fit the Lambda will run on 6v – 36v so may work for you, what sort of base do the lamps have on the Aprillia?


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