Daytime Running Lights Color

Which DRL color do you prefer?

  • White

  • Amber


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1997ThunderbirdLXV6

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Which DRL color do you prefer?

Note: This thread is not intended to discuss the pros & cons of DRLs in general.


Current Situation
  • outboard lights (corners) - amber:
    • bright: turn signals
    • dim: parking lights and sidemarkers
  • inboard lights (next to grille) - white:
    • bright: DRLs
    • dim: parking lights
DRLs are wired through a relay:
  • on with ignition on
  • off with low beams on


What I'm Considering Instead
  • outboard lights (corners) - amber:
    • bright: turn signal
    • dim: parking lights and sidemarkers
  • inboard lights (next to grille) - amber:
    • bright: DRLs and turn signals
    • dim: parking lights
I drafted a relay circuit which would work as follows:
  • Ignition off: hazards work as normal, 4 total in the front
  • Ignition on: 4 bright amber DRLs
  • Turn signals in use: the 2 DRLs on the respective side flash off (alternating with rear turn signal); the 2 DRLs on the respective other side stay lit
  • Low beams in use: turn signals work normally, 2 per side

Some Background Info

I like Sylvania Zevos (and already have an extra pair of amber ones), so I don't want to use any kind of switchback LEDs.

I really like the added inboard turn signal functionality because I think the outboard turn signal isn't as visible when you're at a slight angle toward oncoming traffic.

The main question is: how do we feel about amber DRLs? They're somewhat common, though not nearly as common as white ones. Is too much amber a distraction from actual turn signals?
 
Amber for sure, I love the cats eye effect 80s-90s Fords had with the amber inboard/outboard parking light arrangement, its so distinctive and sinister, I drive around with them on like that all the time. White just looks like you accidently bought the wrong bulbs. I think amber makes more sense as a DRL, it's far more visible. It actually seemed like it was more the norm until Audi came out with the LED accent DRLs about 10 years ago with every automaker copying it, but now that the faddishness has passed you're seeing amber making a comeback since it is scientifically proven to be more visible.

As far as being a distraction, new cars, both amber or white light, seem to cut the the DRL entirely on the side where the turn signals are on, so there's no confusion.

I didn't have good luck with the amber ZEVOs, they're not nearly as bright as the red or white ones. I ended up swapping my amber ZEVO bulbs out for incandescent silverstars, the parking lights were barely visible in daylight
 
amber making a comeback

That's true. I just read an article about the Kia Telluride going back to amber DRLs after one model year of white.

As far as being a distraction, new cars, both amber or white light, seem to cut the the DRL entirely on the side where the turn signals are on, so there's no confusion.

Well, yes, but you still have the DRL on the other side. One could argue that for turn signals to be most effective, they should be the only thing that's amber.

I didn't have good luck with the amber ZEVOs, they're not nearly as bright as the red or white ones. I ended up swapping my amber ZEVO bulbs out for incandescent silverstars, the parking lights were barely visible in daylight

That is true: the amber Zevos aren't perfect in terms of brightness, but I still like them enough overall.

The parking lights don't need to be visible in daylight because I would use the turn signal portion of the LEDs for DRLs.

Hold on. I'll post my proposed circuit.
 
Option C is my vote and also what I run: Hella Yellow.
 
I run them in DRL and fog positions. 4300k (or as close to it as possible) for headlights.
 
@XR7-4.6
What do you think about this?

Sorry, I'm no expert in writing circuits, but I hope it's clear.

Note: my DRLs are currently powered directly from an ignition on circuit which otherwise feeds all sorts of secondary equipment, such as washer fluid level sensor, coolant level sensor, auto-dimming mirror, etc.
The load from LEDs is so low that I felt comfortable simply adding them to this existing circuit.

20231028_182645.jpg
 
When I needed new corners, I purchased Euro style clearies, which were also much cheaper, but I never changed the amber incandescents. And there are OEM ambers in my new OEM headlight assemblies, of course.

I'm probably going to change to LEDs for the clear corners, because of the egg yolk effect during the day from the sun shining through the amber incandescents.

I believe in some jurisdictions amber turn signals in front are required by law. Other jurisdictions don't care, as long as it blinks.

Maybe I should use red LEDs in front to match the rears. Nah, ppl would think I'm braking in reverse or some other weird shit is going on. Imagine the look on their face if they saw red lights coming up fast in their rear view mirror.

There are almost certainly laws prohibiting that anyway.

I never used parking lamps as DRL. Old habits die hard, so my vote for DRL color is none/off.
 
That is true: the amber Zevos aren't perfect in terms of brightness, but I still like them enough overall.

The parking lights don't need to be visible in daylight because I would use the turn signal portion of the LEDs for DRLs.

Hold on. I'll post my proposed circuit.

I love the red ZEVO taillight LEDs, those are bright and visible in bright sunlight with a distinctively brighter brake light (way better than the stock clear incandescents), but that's just it with the amber ones. I use the parking lights as a sort of DRL and even on bright days they're clearly on, and the turn signals have a distinct extra brightness over that. The ZEVOs seem to only be about as bright as incandescent in the blink circuit so wiring it in the fashion you plan is really just taking away the parking lights for a dimmer turn signal.

I'm not saying you should go back to incandescents like I did, just that the amber ZEVOs in particular suck, and there may be better options.

@XR7-4.6
What do you think about this?

Sorry, I'm no expert in writing circuits, but I hope it's clear.

Note: my DRLs are currently powered directly from an ignition on circuit which otherwise feeds all sorts of secondary equipment, such as washer fluid level sensor, coolant level sensor, auto-dimming mirror, etc.
The load from LEDs is so low that I felt comfortable simply adding them to this existing circuit.

View attachment 1734

It seems like you traded incandescent bulbs that pull a load and eventually fail or relays that will do the same lol


The two issues I see is in that diagram is IGN should be energizing the top relays (getting power from the middle relays), but if the top relays are in the energized position the turn signal feeds won't be able to get through

Here, I illustrated the issue showing the path of voltage on the left side of the circuit. The middle one is the correction of the closed relays, but it doesn't work for the third diagram when the turn signals power comes through, it energizes the middle relay and dead ends the top relay

1698539303227.png
 
@XR7-4.6
Not sure if it's clear, but the turn signals would have two different operating modes. I'll try to explain relative to the rear turn signals:
  • With ignition on/low beams off: front turn signals alternate with rear turn signal, because the turn signals feed actually works by flashing the DRL bulbs off, not on.
  • With ignition off or ignition on/low beams (edit) on: front turn signals flash simultaneously with rear turn signals.
I'll look at the diagrams again and try to understand your concern.

Meanwhile, I didn't consider relays failing at all...

And I don't disagree about amber Zevos being dimmer than I'd like. But I'm ok with them.
 
Last edited:
Ok I see, I was looking at it like the turn signal input would cut the "DRL" ignition power entirely and run the lamps off the turn signal input too, that seems to work fine for how you described
 
Ok I see, I was looking at it like the turn signal input would cut the "DRL" ignition power entirely and run the lamps off the turn signal input too, that seems to work fine for how you described

Do you see any simpler way (i.e., less relays) to accomplish the same thing?

On cars with factory combined turn signals and DRLs, the circuit would switch over to the turn signal feed while turn signals are in use.
I cannot do that because I don't have a constant signal during turn signal use other than the cornering light feed, which is only hot with low beams on.

I realize my design is a bit of relay craziness. But I think I'd like the result.
 
Do you see any simpler way (i.e., less relays) to accomplish the same thing?

On cars with factory combined turn signals and DRLs, the circuit would switch over to the turn signal feed while turn signals are in use.
I cannot do that because I don't have a constant signal during turn signal use other than the cornering light feed, which is only hot with low beams on.

I realize my design is a bit of relay craziness. But I think I'd like the result.

I'm no circuit designer! You'd probably end up with 5 MORE relays for the same result lol

The only thing I'd really change would be the source, why use the low beams as the input? That would mean the DRLs would come back on when you switch to parking lamps or high beam. You should be able to tap into the parking light circuit to trigger the first relay for the same DRL effect with the light witch in the off position but in all other positions work normally.

You can get a pair of these in lieu of tieing into the cornering light circuits. This was how Ford did it before the MFS era, the relay takes the pulsing turn signal and the coil holds steady between pulses. I know there's a circuit that can be made that accomplishes the same but this system is self contained

1698784790998.png

1698785004283.png

See? You got me adding relays :rofl:
 
Last edited:
The only thing I'd really change would be the source, why use the low beams as the input? That would mean the DRLs would come back on when you switch to parking lamps or high beam. You should be able to tap into the parking light circuit to trigger the first relay for the same DRL effect with the light witch in the off position but in all other positions work normally.

Actually this is intentional. I like that I can run DRLs with parking lights; it's useful during rain for example. The DRLs satisfy NY's wipers on/lights on law.

But the whole idea is on hold for now. I'm not getting the brightness I like for DRLs out of amber Zevos, and I'm not interested in trying other bulbs right now. So I decided to stick to my current setup (until I change my mind again).

You can get a pair of these in lieu of tieing into the cornering light circuits. This was how Ford did it before the MFS era, the relay takes the pulsing turn signal and the coil holds steady between pulses. I know there's a circuit that can be made that accomplishes the same but this system is self contained

OMG, such a thing exists? I had no idea. How does it maintain voltage in-between flashes? Some kind of capacitor? Do the cornering lamps stay on for a few seconds after turn signal use has ended? That would make a lot of sense. With the multifunction switch, cornering lights extinguish too early actually.
 
Actually this is intentional. I like that I can run DRLs with parking lights; it's useful during rain for example. The DRLs satisfy NY's wipers on/lights on law.

But the whole idea is on hold for now. I'm not getting the brightness I like for DRLs out of amber Zevos, and I'm not interested in trying other bulbs right now. So I decided to stick to my current setup (until I change my mind again).

For me I just pop on the main headlights in the rain(actually autolamp usually does, if the skies are dark enough). I just don't really like the idea of the ambers being at full blast in high beam mode, the whole idea behind them is to reduce foreground light. Obviously they're not nearly as bright as low beams but they're probably not far off from factory fog lights in output, which cut off in high beam mode.

That's where I'm at with amber Zevos, I'd prefer to have LEDs everywhere but I really need to see side by side comparisons between multiple LEDs to make a decision and that can get pricey real quick!

OMG, such a thing exists? I had no idea. How does it maintain voltage in-between flashes? Some kind of capacitor? Do the cornering lamps stay on for a few seconds after turn signal use has ended? That would make a lot of sense. With the multifunction switch, cornering lights extinguish too early actually.

Yep, there's a time delay component where they'll go off a second later, you can actually observe this effect in 70s-80s cars with cornering lights. I'm not sure exactly how the relay works but it doesn't seem to be a capacitor, in the diagram and description there's a heat element before the coil within the relay
 

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