1. In order to combat the SPAM challenges we have been facing, I have chosen for the registration of new forum members to be manually approved. If you are registering as a new member, please fill out your profile as much as your comfortable doing. By doing this it shows us that you are not a spammer and will ensure that you’re registered to the form quickly. Should you be denied by mistake, please reapply with a fully completed profile
  2. I have received a lot of messages asking about the future of the forums once my car sells. Well today it sold and will soon be on its way to its new home. With that said, for the forums, there is more information under 'Announcements" titled "Future of the Forums' you could also copy and paste this link: http://www.trabantforums.com/threads/future-of-the-forums-donations.1762/
  1. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    Wondering if anyone can tell me about replacing my 6v tail light soffit bulbs. I can find bulbs on ebay and some venders' sites.

    I'd like to know if it's possible to replace the old 6v soffit bulb with an LED bulb, which I assume will be brighter.

    Both bulbs are 6v, 38-39mm.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Attached Files:

  2. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I haven't had much luck finding LED bulbs specifically for my 6 volt Trabant. I have seen some LEDs that have a wide voltage range (example : 10 to 24 volts). Unlike incandescent bulbs, that burn brighter/dimmer depending upon voltage. LEDs either work or they don't.

    Luckily my Citroen 2CV is 12 volt. I bought a 10 pack of LED bulbs, mainly for the speedometer. The original bulb was so dim I couldn't see the shift reference marks. The bulbs also fit the park light in the headlights and the indicator lights in the instrument cluster. Big improvement.


    [​IMG]
  3. aardvark64

    aardvark64 Puttering Along

    Sellers on Amazon (UK) list the bulbs you're after: try a search with "6v car bulb LED" and see what comes up.
  4. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

  5. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    I found some 6v 38-39mm LED bulbs at my local auto parts store. I'll give those a try and report on the results.
  6. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    Tried a wide variety of 6v bulbs, some LED, some not. None of them worked. So it appears I'm stuck with the original 6v soffit bulbs.

    It's hardly the end of the world, but I was hoping to make the tail lights brighter. I discussed it with my mechanic and he didn't think there's anything that can be done.

    If anybody has any suggestions I'm all ears.
  7. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    My tail lights work just fine. I'd bet it's caused by resistance in the system.

    First thing I'd do is replace the connectors. I've replaced about 90% of the ones on mine and it really fixed allot of issues. Look for burnt wiring and corroded connectors, particularity at the fuse box. The fuse box is a main source for resistance. If the fuse box is hot enough to burn a blister on your finger when you touch a fuse, it needs to be addressed. I did away with the original fuse box and went with a modern ATO type with new connectors and it did wonders.

    Another thing you could try is to cover the reflector in the tail lights with that aluminum tape (not duct tape). That might help make them brighter.

    Monday I attempted to install some LED H4 bulbs. I tested the amps and found they would pull a total of about 1 amp. So I used one of those 6 to 12 volt converters which is good for 4 amps and hooked it between the headlight switch and the dimmer relay.

    Well guess what, I had the same issue I had with my Citroen. The high beams work but not the low beams. When I bench tested these bulbs to see how many amps they pulled, they would work just fine, but when the connectors are hooked to the bulbs, the low beams go out. I am totally baffled because technically there is nothing connected to the other end of the high beam wire on low beam mode.

    The only thing I can think to do is install a diode between the high beam connector and the bulb. That should mimic not having it connected.

    I shot a video demonstrating this. By the way at around 9 seconds into the video, there is a shot of my tail lights. How do they compare to yours?



    Here is a review I did of some Chinese LED I got from Ebay. Some of these work great. Other's don't fit at all (too big) and of course the H4s only work on high beams when hooked to the car's harness.

  8. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    TYVM turbofiat. That is really helpful.

    My mechanic got my headlights working satisfactorily, so I'm set there.

    My tail lights are still a problem though. They're nowhere near as bright as yours (in the video). Are those LEDs or just the standard 6v soffit bulbs?

    I'm planning to replace the original fusebox with an ATO box with 10 amp bladed fuses. Presumably that will help.

    Per mbeamish's suggestion I emailed Paul Goff (http://www.norbsa02.freeuk.com/) asking if he had anything that would work in my tail lights. He simply emailed me this link: http://www.norbsa02.freeuk.com/goffyleds.htm

    Apparently he mistook me for somebody who knows what he's doing. Unfortunately I don't, so I'm at a loss as to which bulbs on that page may work in my Trabi.

    Comments? Suggestions? Snide remarks?
  9. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    No as a matter of fact I think the incandescent bulbs in the tail lights are the ones that came with the car. I don't think I've never replaced them.

    When it comes to fixing electrical issues here is how I do it.

    Get a Dremel tool with one of those brass brush attachments. Get one that's small enough to fit inside the bulb socket. Clean off any corrosion from the round portion and the tip where the bulb makes contact. Don't use sandpaper because it can remove the plating. You just want to remove any corrosion.

    Get some of that di-electric grease, like what is used on spark plug wires and smear a thin layer on the bulb and the socket. This will prevent any further corrosion.

    On the socket connectors, remove one connector at a time and clean up the male end with the Dremel tool/brass attachment. Cut the female connector off the wire as close as possible and strip the insulation back about 1/4" to expose the wire. Just enough to where it will slide into a new connector without any wires being bare. As you know there are typically three colored connectors, red, blue, and yellow.

    If the wire looks shiny, crimp a new connector onto it. If it looks black or green, spread the wires apart and dip it in a cup of vinegar for about a minute until it looks shiny. Then dip it into some water, wrap a towel around it and pull to dry it off then twist the wires together and crimp a new connector on it.

    Apply di-electric grease to the male connector and female connector if you want.

    I believe the tail and brake lights share a common ground. Inside the trunk there is a plated piece of metal that contains the clear lenses for the licence plate. You'll see a ring connector and a brown wire. Remove the bolt and clean the threads up with a brass wire brush or your Dremel tool. Replace this ring connector. Of course make sure any connector you replace that the wire going into it looks shiny. Apply di-electric grease to the threads of the bolt and the ring connector.

    See if that make any improvement.

    Next "chain of command", if the brake light switch uses screws instead of connectors, replace the switch with one from AutoZone. Just ask for a brake light switch for a 68 VW Type 1. They are about $8.00. Install spade connectors on these wires.

    Look at the headlight switch. most likely you will find burned insulation/corroded connectors here as well. Particularly the thick red wire that feeds everything and the thick white wire for the headlights that goes to the dimmer switch.

    Whenever you see a corroded connector or burnt insulation, replace it.

    Eventually you will get rid of all the electrical gremlins will years to come. I just recently found yet another bad connection on my headlight switch when I was testing my LED H4 bulbs. This was the white wire that goes to the dimmer switch.

    Go to my Photobucket link at the bottom and click on 6 volt alternator. You'll see photos of my adapter I made for my fusebox. I can make you one if you don't have the tools. I'll just have to get another fusebox off Ebay like I used to get the spacing correct.
    Lasse likes this.
  10. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    You are THE MAN. I'd say I've got my to-do list for Spring.

    I owe you a six of König Pils for that. :)
  11. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    I see you've got an ATO fusebox with 10 amp bladed fuses. I guess that makes you my guinea pig, since now I know that'll work.

    Did you rewire the whole electrical system? If so--bear in mind I know squat about cars--how did you know what type of wire (gauge etc.) to use? If that's too complicated to explain don't worry about it.
  12. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Thanks for the offer. I'm more of a caffeine junky so I prefer Red Bulls over alcohol.:eek:

    No need to replace any of the wiring. Just the connectors but remove any sections of the wires where the insulation has melted due to excessive resistance caused by the corrosion. If you have to, you can remove the damaged section and install an extension wire of the same size with a barrel connector. In case the where maybe 3 or 4 inches has to be removed and will no longer reach the switch or component. I've had to do that.

    One other thing to mention. When you get to the headlight switch, you will notice some unused pins. Since Trabants don't use gang connectors, it can be easy to get these wires mixed up if your not careful. Best thing to do is get some of those female spade connectors and just slide them onto the unused pins. Then just do one wire at a time so you'll know where it goes.

    My guess is the headlight switch is used on other cars like Barkas, Wartburg and maybe others that actually use these pins for something.

    And for whatever reason there are some wires going to the switch which have no power on them when the switch is turned on. I have no idea why the switch has unused pins and why some of these wires have no power present.

    Seems like there are 6 wires, but when the switch is off, the only wire with power is the thick red supply wire. When the park lights are on, only two wires have power present and when the headlights are turned on, those two smaller wires, the thick white wire (going to the headlight dimmer switch) and the supply wire only have power present. I'm going to have to take a look at the wiring diagram and see what's up.

    Another thing I've noticed is some the colored wires on my car do not jive with the wiring diagram. The ones in particular are the ones going to the flasher module. Of course the colors could have degraded over the years and changed color with time?

    The reason I used 10 amp fuses is I don't think ATO fuses come in 8 amps. 10 amps is safe. Reason being is most of the wiring is 10 and 12 AWG. I believe a 10 AWG wire is good for about 15 amps anyway. 12 AWG is good for about 12 amps.

    BTW, I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to buying cheap Chinese stuff. Maybe one of these days I'll learn my lesson. I ordered a set of these H4 bulbs yesterday:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/CREE-H4-90...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

    Some of the reviews on these H4 LEDs are not that great but there seems to be more positives than negatives so I figured for $11, I'd take a chance on them.

    Most of what I've read about LED headlights is the beam pattern is not that great. I have a set of $20 HID lights for the low beams on my Chevy van and the beam pattern is a bit funky but I like the white light better than the original halogen bulbs. This van has such small headlights to begin with.

    I have those "Transylvania" Silverstars in the high beams and they work great. I just wouldn't use Silverstars for the low beams. I installed a set of these in my Subaru when they first came out and they would last about three months. But the I still have the Silverstar bulbs in the high beams on my Subaru.

    I don't know if you seen this video but here are those LED H3s I installed in my ATV. Along with the Night Rider light. I've only tested these in my garage but they seem to work better than the original halogens that came with the lights.

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  13. VADOC

    VADOC Premium Member Forum Donor

    James, thanks for the videos. It appears that you've spent considerable time and effort on the 6 volts system, but it might be worthwhile to consider eliminating the 6 volt system and starting all over with 12. the question is whether the existing harness is adequate.
    I'm starting on refurbishing my 59 Sprite and it is totally down to the shell ( which has been blasted, metal repair and painted) and they originally had a 12 volt positive ground generator with an unecessarily complicated voltage regulator, also only about a 30 amp. So my plan is to use a single wire GM alternator ( don't worry purists, it can easily go back to original) but there are some concerns. For one, the tach is driven off a gear on the back of the generator. Secondly a replacement harness has all the wiring connectors for the regulator, which would be extraneous .
    So I will probably go with a different harness, but what kind? I have been looking at the painless wiring and other sites for hot rod harnesses, A number of problems there, They assume that you're steering column has an adjustable wheel with coulumn lock and usually from a GM vehicle. Also, that you will have cruise control, power windows and A/c, and they are relatively expensive.
    For the Sprite it's electrical needs will be simple, such as ignition, electric fuel pump, head and tail lights, brake light. There won't be a dome switch cause it ain't got no top. Radio is optional cause who needs a radio when the top is down and the engine sounds so good? So i have bought some spools of wire of various colors, sizes, and tracers and when the weather is warmer will look and see what they are and possibly make my own harness. I have already bought an ATO fuse panel. My goal will make it compact and inconspicous so when you raise the hood the only wires you will see are for alternator and ignition. Of course I recognize my mortality so the next poor owner may be totally baffled.
    I saw that you have a new white Citroen wheel, The tires on my 3CV are old and cracked, maybe even original, So I might replace wheels with pretty ones and new tires. I found a set on eBay but were $1000, which probably isn't bad but I can't afford now.
    Anyway , who needs 4 lugnuts when three will do.
  14. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    James, thanks for the videos. It appears that you've spent considerable time and effort on the 6 volts system, but it might be worthwhile to consider eliminating the 6 volt
    system and starting all over with 12. the question is whether the existing harness is adequate.


    Yeah, eventually that is the plan. I'm really surprised that this Exide battery I got from Tractor Supply is still working after 5 years. I think it has a 2 year warranty.

    Initially I was going to convert the car over to 12 volts when I got the car but Keri talked me out of it. The 6 volt system is OK if you plan on leaving the car original and if your content with those 40/45 R2 incandescent headlight bulbs. The trouble begins when you start adding 50/55 watt H4 bulbs, auxiliary lamps, and circuits like a radio, electronic ignition, etc with a step up converter. That's when the charge indicator light starts glowing at times telling you the 220 watt generator has reached it's limit.

    Actually when you convert a system from 6 to 12 volts, take a considerable load off the wiring and switches because it cuts the current in half. The downside is bulbs, motors coils and horns can't handle the increase in voltage. Others have said the increase in voltage does not seem to hurt relays.

    I tested the amps across the fuses for the 6 volt H4 50/55 watt bulbs and each circuit was pulling about 7 amps. This is not really a problem. The wiring is either 10 to 12 AWG (metric equivalent) anyway. I think 12 AWG is good got about 12 amps anyway. 10 AWG is good for about 15 amps. Per wire...

    I'm starting on refurbishing my 59 Sprite and it is totally down to the shell ( which has been blasted, metal repair and painted) and they originally had a 12 volt positive ground generator with an unnecessarily complicated voltage regulator, also only about a 30 amp. So my plan is to use a single wire GM alternator ( don't worry purists, it can easily go back to original) but there are some concerns. For one, the tach is driven off a gear on the back of the generator. Secondly a replacement harness has all the wiring connectors for the regulator, which would be extraneous .
    So I will probably go with a different harness, but what kind? I have been looking at the painless wiring and other sites for hot rod harnesses, A number of problems there, They assume that you're steering column has an adjustable wheel with coulumn lock and usually from a GM vehicle. Also, that you will have cruise control, power windows and A/c, and they are relatively expensive.


    I wouldn't worry about replacing any of the wiring unless it just looks rotten. Like the insulation is brittle and crumbling.

    The 3 wire AC Delco 10 SI alternator is a great choice and it easy to wire up.

    For the Sprite it's electrical needs will be simple, such as ignition, electric fuel pump, head and tail lights, brake light. There won't be a dome switch cause it ain't got no top. Radio is optional cause who needs a radio when the top is down and the engine sounds so good? So i have bought some spools of wire of various colors, sizes, and tracers and when the weather is warmer will look and see what they are and possibly make my own harness. I have already bought an ATO fuse panel. My goal will make it compact and inconspicous so when you raise the hood the only wires you will see are for alternator and ignition. Of course I recognize my mortality so the next poor owner may be totally baffled.

    I realize most people won't agree with this but "stock" electrical systems are for show. There has been great improvements over electrical systems over the years. ATO fuse boxes are the way to go. Those old ceramic German style fuses are a fire hazard. Those type of fuses only seem to blow when they are short circuited. They don't seem to blow when the circuit is overloaded. That's probably why the insulation melts around the connectors due to excessive current.

    I've tried to keep my Trabant as original "looking" as possible but when it comes to the electrical system, I'm all about improving it.

    I saw that you have a new white Citroen wheel, The tires on my 3CV are old and cracked, maybe even original, So I might replace wheels with pretty ones and new tires. I found a set on eBay but were $1000, which probably isn't bad but I can't afford now.
    Anyway , who needs 4 lugnuts when three will do.


    That Citroen rim is the spare that was in the trunk. The paint was peeling off so I had it sandblasted. When the tire shop removed the tire the side wall split! I used Rustoelum white paint and it matches the others pretty good but it's not as slick as the originals. Too much over spray. The best paint I have found that turns out slick is that engine enamel. Even if your not going to paint something that get's hot.

    I have no idea what they used on the wheels. Those are slick as a ribbon. My idea was to let the paint cure out for a few months and wetsand and buff it. I also need a new tire. I've been meaning to order a new one from Coker but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    I'm also somewhat in process of replacing the electrically connectors in the engine compartment on my 2CV. This car must have had an electrical fire and someone replaced about a 1 foot section of 20 wires above the heat exchanger. Plus the lighting connectors are in bad shape.

    What lead to this was my high beam on the passenger side kept going out. So I starting unraveling the wiring loop and black tape and discovered someone had made some repairs to the wiring.

    My idea was to get rid of all of these barrel connectors and solder the wires together and use heat shrink tubing.
  15. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I got those new 12 volt LED H4s I ordered to work on my 6 volt Trabant along with the LED H3 auxiliary bulbs. The verdict: They seem to work OK. On high beams the lights do not seem to cast a beam as far as I expected or wanted but they produce a pretty good light. I bypassed my auxiliary lights relay and have them connected directly to the high beam wire. I've read other complaints about these LEDs not casting as far a light on high beams.

    I tested the total amperage on high beams with the auxiliary lights between the headlight and dimmer switch. With the engine not running I'm getting 4.6 amps total. With the halogen bulbs it would be at least 14 amps (total) just on the high beams and maybe another 14 amps with the auxiliary lights. So I've went from around 28 amps down to 4.6 amps.

    The 6 to 12 volt converter I'm using is rated at 12 volt 4 amps output and I wired in a 4 amp inline fuse. It's not blowing the fuse nor is the converter getting hot. However one thing I did not take into account was I was testing the amperage with the engine not running. Based on the 12 to 15 volt step up converter I installed on my Fiat Spider's wiper motor, I'd imagine with the engine running, the current draw with 7.4 volts as opposed to 6.4 volts would be much less.

    And another thing. I was measuring the current of the lights using a 1' piece of wire. But if you figure in 4' of old wiring on the car and the connectors, it's possible the current can increase 1 amp just from that.

    You would think the current draw would be more linear but seems like with some of these converters the current draw is more dramatic the more/less you feed into them. So the closer you can get to the output voltage, the lower the current draw.

    I shot some video clips and hopefully next week I can put them together and upload it to YouTube.

    Here are some screen shots of the lights. This one is on high beams + auxiliary lights:

    high beam.jpg

    This one is on low beams:

    low beam.JPG

    Just from looking at these photos, I can't really tell much of a difference between high and low beams. I might be able to compensate for this by aiming my auxiliary lights higher. I know by law the auxiliary lights are supposed to go off when the high beams are on but it's just the opposite on my car. You need the maximum amount of light when your running high beams. That's why I have my cars setup that way. I don't run my auxiliary lights on low beams anyway.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  16. ummeli

    ummeli Premium Member Forum Donor

    Those lights look pretty good.

    I haven't checked my headlights since sending my Trabi to the shop. The mechanic says he fixed a wiring issue so the headlights work much better now. As soon I get the car back I'll check it out.

    My tail lights are still a problem, but I haven't had a chance to work on them per your advice yet.
  17. 'bant

    'bant Loyal Comrade

    The 6v LEDs I have fitted to my Trabant rear lights (night lights + numberplate lights) only work one way round. So I had to fit them with the lights on as there were no visible markings on the LEDs to be able to predict which way round they had to go into the light units. I got them from a web shop here in Norway. They don't seem any brighter, just whiter and consume less power (5Ax5 vs 1Ax5).

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