Third and Strobing Brakelight Notes 

Jun 2021  R. Kwas  [Comments added!] 

Third Brakelight
Brake Light Strobe


Amazon Tail-light Fixture Restoration


Once you have assured the rear Light fixtures of your Amazon are working their electrical and optical best, but think being a bit more visible when Braking could be nice, you might want to look here next!

Third Brakelight:

Given the relatively small rear Tail-lights of vintage Volvos, you might consider adding an additional Brakelight for the purpose of increasing your car's visual signature under braking.  Many commercial version are available, but they are typically square, so don't really look period-appropriate to the writer.  Then I ran across a motorcycle rear, red, chrome stalk fixture with a shapely round lens, and I thought I had found a good candidate for the job! 

The vertical length was such that it needed a 4 inch riser tube to clear the shelf area, but mounted in the center of the rear shelf, it would be located in a good position to shine out the back glass, a bit over the bottom edge of the glass, giving the typical triangle of Brakelights, when seen from behind.  I mounted it as shown and powered it up (still with an incandescent bulb installed) to try it...there was a fair amount of light shining out the sides of the lens, which splashed around the back distractingly, so that needed to be blocked, leaving only the direct rearward lensing intact.  After blocking off the light cast to the sides with black tape, the slight amount of light still visible allows a check on the Brakelights (not such a bad thing!) ...otherwise, the result was very effective, and more period correct, I think!    

Amazon with a motorcycle rearlight, as a raised third Brakelight! 





Additional Related Info:

Being seen, especially under braking, is important!  I just hope this German Amazon driver didn't contribute to this accident by showing less than bright Brake Lights, or Brake Lights at all


LED Brake Lights Again...a number of vintage Volvo owners have shown interest in LED Lighting, so it was time to revisit the may not be as simple as "Plug and Play!  Several important factors must be considered!  See: 
Considering LED Replacement Lamps

Normally, I wouldn't like such gimmicks, and I promise no one is going to see any blue neon lights in my wheelwells any time soon, but as long as practical tests performed after you install your LED Taillights, show that they actually improve your visual signature, I'm OK with it, if it can help prevent the above! 


Brake Light Strobe:  

...and if we have installed LED Taillight elements in part to improve our visual signature to those looking and paying attention, here is an interesting option to add for those maybe not looking and paying attention, which will help to capture their attention:  An ON Strobe!  Some readers may have noticed these on various vehicles...I have on ambulances and other first responder vehicles (which don't really need them, since they have other strobes and a blaring siren to help themselves get noticed!).  These circuit modules take advantage of the instant ON response of LEDs to rapidly pulse these a few times, before switching them ON continuously (I don't think they would work with incandescents, which are too slow to respond!).  Although some municipalities may not allow them, and they can be borderline obnoxious if you're stuck behind someone with them in a traffic jam, but this is another level of drawing attention to oneself, and which (maybe) compensates just a little for the diminutive Taillight size! 


Action of the Brake Light ON strobe, drawing more attention to itself. 
Other manufacturers also offer these, Superbright just had a nice Time vs ON graph to show.  


My response to suggestion a thread about LEDs Brake Lights improving visibility: 

" can LEDS help if the main issue is distracted or inattentive driving? means that our Brakelights are not being seen (they are small enough!), so I don't care what kind of lamps are installed, installing LED Brakelights wont help you.

We can improve visual signature by adding more Bakelights [See
Third Brakelight as above!] as some have done or even adding ON Strobes circuit (like some ambulances have, which strobe Brakelights once or twice when they are just coming ON, to draw more attention), but keeping that notoriously unreliable and LATE acting (because it needs to see brake system pressure, which closes the contact a lot later than when Pedal comes away from its rest position!) is contributing to "asking to be hit" if you ask me.

Friendly advice to drivers of (ALL) vintage cars: LOOSE the hydraulic Brake Light Switches guys! Cheers" 


External material sources are attributed.  Otherwise, this article is Copyright © 2021.  Ronald Kwas.   The terms Volvo, Bosch and Superbrightleds are used for reference only.  I have no affiliation with any of these companies other than to keep their products working for me, help other enthusiasts do the same, and also present my highly opinionated results of the use of their products here.  The information presented comes from my own experience and carefully considered opinion, and can be used (or not!), or ridiculed and laughed at, or worshipped, at the readers discretion.  As with any recipe, your results may vary, and you are, and will always be, in charge of your own knuckles, and future! 

You are welcome to use the information here in good health, and for your own non-commercial purposes, but if you reprint or otherwise republish this article, you must give credit to the author or link back to the SwEm site as the source.  If you don’t, you’re just a lazy, scum sucking plagiarist, and the Boston Globe wants you!  As always, if you can supply corrections, or additional objective information or experience, I will always consider it, and consider working it into the next revision of this article...along with likely the unique metaphor and probably (likely) wise-a** comment. 


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