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Project Tomcat, High Stop Light Foibles

In preparation for the upcoming WOF inspection, I needed to make sure everything works, including all the lights. The high stop light is a constant source of annoyance for me as it just doesn’t consistently work properly.

With the brake light switch now working correctly, I had to make sure the high stop light kept working. I kinda bodged it back together and got it working a couple of months ago but by the time I had it all back together, the damn thing had already lost one of the five bulbs.

It turns out, since then, it had lost four out of the five bulbs now, which wouldn’t pass a WOF.

I removed the lens and pulled the bulb unit out

And this is what I was playing with

My plan was to replace the whole assembly with LEDs and never look at it again.

First, I purchased an LED strip unit designed for motorcycles

I connected it to the high stop wiring to check it works, which is certainly did

The problem was that it was too small

I even went to the extent of 3D Printing an enclosure to mount the LED strip into the casing on the boot lid, but I didn’t like that it would have only lit up a small strip in the middle of the lense.

The next idea was to salvage the LED strip from a larger aftermarket high stop light

I cut the end off it, and fit it into the original housing

But with the lens on, it’s too direct. It’s just a strip of red.

The problem with the original unit is that the bulb holders are shite and the circuit board they interface with is corroded and ugly. I tried to clean the corrosion up with the fibreglass brush last time, but this time I just hit it with sandpaper. I’ve done the RH two, the rest are original.

There is also pitting on the circuit where the tiny little contact point of the bulb holder touches it, which means it’ll never be good.

In the end I just cleaned the circuit tracks and the bulb holders up as much as I could, swapped in some LEDs and refitted that to the car

The light coverage is far better, but I don’t know how long it will keep working like this. I wouldn’t be surprised if it just stops working completely the day before the WOF.

I think my plan now is to find some generic T10 bulb holders that have wires instead of contacts, and 3D print a new board to go on the back of the standard reflective housing, which will hold the bulb holders with LEDs in them and I will wire it into the standard plugs. This will remove both the dodgy bulb holders and the worn out and corroded circuit board I currently have.

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