: Opera lamp restoration / electroluminescent tape



Warren_R
04-26-09, 06:03 PM
Hello all,

There was some discussion a while back; concerning use of EL material to restore nonfunctional opera lamps. Has anyone (DopeStar, et.al.) managed to repair them by doing that? I have a pair of limo lights that run on 12v, but I'd prefer the original look if at all possible. Curious minds are wondering :hmm:

DopeStar 156
04-26-09, 06:49 PM
I have a concept design going in my head to restore the opera lights to perfect working order using the original parts and some unnoticable modification. Check back for my results.......

Warren_R
04-27-09, 01:49 AM
Thanks for the info, sounds very promising :)
... looking forward to that!

DopeStar 156
04-27-09, 07:25 PM
Once I get my car back I'll start working on this plan o' mine with photo instructions.....

Warren_R
04-28-09, 05:42 AM
I didn't know she was out of circulation, here's crossing fingers all goes well & soon :cool2:

DopeStar 156
04-28-09, 09:35 AM
Yeah, unfortunately in a hurry last Wednesday I backed into my Fleetwood with my Taurus and put a huge dent in the rear fender. Hopefully she'll be back by this Wednesday......

Warren_R
05-01-09, 04:34 AM
That sounds familiar, for some reason. It might have something to do with backing my Fleetwood into the corner of a large truck. About $400 worth of repair work to fix a major dent. Ouch.

Warren_R
05-01-09, 04:40 AM
From what I see of recent posts, that newfangled idea of yours could become extremely popular on this website :D
... er um you're not going to sell the info for a major fee, are you? :suspense:

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
05-01-09, 01:09 PM
If any manufacturer started remaking the lights they would make a lot of money. Lincoln, Mercury, Buick, and Oldsmobile all used similar things and they are all hard to find.

Warren_R
05-02-09, 05:11 AM
That's a great idea for a niche in aftermarket parts, really :)
... there must be a lot of people who'd love to have working opera lamps! :2thumbs::banana:
I don't think the technology is at all complex, more a matter of getting the parts for them manufactured for a low enough price. Can't imagine DIY kits costing that much if enough were made at once. Estimating the startup & operating expenses could be an interesting project :bouncy:

DopeStar 156
05-04-09, 09:07 PM
What ho?! Is that a lit OEM opera light?! But they're unheard of in this day and age!! Looks like my little plan worked.....

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/DopeStar156/1989%20Fleetwood%20Brougham/Opera%20Lights/operalight.jpg
(C) DopeStar Industries 2009

This is my first prototype and as you can see it works, minus a couple screw ups like some glue got into the light and has now formed a black spot inside but isn't noticable when the light is lit. I sent a good three opera lights to their graves while trying to do this but as you can plainly see their deaths weren't in vain......

I'll make photo documentation and instructions of the passenger side lamp when I get more lights. Now that I know what I'm doing and all trial and error have been eliminated I'd say the entire thing takes like 15 minutes and costs somewhere in the $30 range per lamp. I'll be making a new thread containing the instructions.....

"Gather 'round my children and witness the light, of the Amazing DopeStar Brothers!"
-Slightly modified quote from the intro track on Insane Clown Posse's Amazing Jeckyl Brothers album. Hahaha......

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
05-05-09, 01:38 AM
They look good but are too bright IMO. The factory lamps had a very soft glow to them and were evenly lit. Whatever, its better than nothing. I have posted these pics a thousand times but here is what a brand new OEM light looks like. Unfortunately my inverter took a dump and they once again are not working. If anyone finds an inverter at a local junk yard I will pay you for it. I need the little green one that goes in the trunk.

I like the pile of personal effects in the background. :2thumbs:


http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn17/Saber2580/My%20Cars/1988%20Fleetwood/100_5278.jpg

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn17/Saber2580/My%20Cars/1988%20Fleetwood/100_5280.jpg

Warren_R
05-05-09, 06:01 AM
For a historic event, there's nothing like witnessing the emergence of a fledgling industry! Henry Leland must be smiling somewhere above :angel:

MaineWater
05-05-09, 08:28 AM
I actually found something that might work and look original. I ordered 2 white electroluminescent strips from this company http://www.glowhut.com/12-x-125-inch-el-paneltapebacklight-with-lead-wire-and-conn12125.htmlthat someone on the forums had mentioned a while back in the FWD section to me. It can be cut and wired in on my 1990 Coupe Deville, thank God my 84 has bulbs, but it should work on the Broughams as well. I was wondering what should I use on the strip to protect it from being burned out again from the UV rays? I will post some pictures when I have them done.

jayoldschool
05-05-09, 08:34 AM
I was wondering what should I use on the strip to protect it from being burned out again from the UV rays?

A garage :D

MaineWater
05-05-09, 08:48 AM
A garage :D

LOL, That would do it. If I only had one.

DopeStar 156
05-05-09, 09:43 AM
They look good but are too bright IMO. The factory lamps had a very soft glow to them and were evenly lit. Whatever, its better than nothing. I have posted these pics a thousand times but here is what a brand new OEM light looks like. Unfortunately my inverter took a dump and they once again are not working. If anyone finds an inverter at a local junk yard I will pay you for it. I need the little green one that goes in the trunk.

I like the pile of personal effects in the background. :2thumbs:

Haha I think in the picture you can see my jewelry I wasn't wearing at the time, my HDTV, PlayStation 3, keys to my Taurus, my Fleetwood's new registration and I think my cellphone's in that pic too. My desk is constantly cluttered among other things in my room......

I agree that they're not OE looking but I used LEDs mostly for longivity and durability. The kind I used are these sticky strips of LEDs made by Pilot that on the box were shown illuminating a gauge cluster. In order for these to work on the car I'd have to bypass that inverterer in the trunk so the opera lights were getting 12V rather than 110V.

If someone can get those EL strips to work, go for it and let's see how well it does. I still find it hard to believe that in this day and age with the growing popularity and collectors value of the 80's Cadillacs that NO ONE HAS MADE AFTERMARKET OPERA LAMPS!!!! :rant2:

jayoldschool
05-05-09, 12:08 PM
Dope, how about adding a piece of translucent plastic over the LEDs to act as a diffuser?

DopeStar 156
05-05-09, 04:09 PM
Dope, how about adding a piece of translucent plastic over the LEDs to act as a diffuser?

Ah ha! A question I asked myself during the "developmental stage" of this whole thing. An 80's EL opera lamp is 4 main pieces which are the housing, EL strip, plastic diffuser strip, and the lens. In my design I used the entire opera light except the EL strip which I threw out so what you see includes the factory diffuser strip. While conceptualizing I held it over the LEDs and found out that it effectively blurrs the LEDs to look like one strip when it's like an inch away which would require thickening the construction of the OE lamp. My design has the housing, LED strip, diffuser strip right on top of the LEDs, and the lens glued back on. I tried other diffusers including wax paper, aluminum foil with holes poked in it to reveal the LEDs, (mocking the construction of a headlight) and wrapping the LEDs in scotch tape but none made a noticable difference in diffusion. What you see in my picture is as diffused as it gets without serious modification of the OE lamp or using an LED strip where they're closer together.....

sven914
05-05-09, 04:56 PM
What about, instead of using white LED's, using a strip of yellow?

Yellow doesn't give off that much of a harsh glow and might closer match the OE look.

http://www.lck-led.com/images/ledproducts/flexibleledstrip/lckls1230y.jpg

Compared to

http://imgs.inkfrog.com/pix/ledworld2007/24cm_white_led_strip.JPG

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
05-05-09, 05:00 PM
I was just thinking. You should try building one where you have two leds, one at the top and one at the bottom, that are facing towards each other. The diffuser may act as a sort of fiber optic and evenly distribute a nice, even light.

The next step would be to get some RGB leds in there so you could change the color of the lights on the fly. I would love to have some blue opera lights for both my cars.

Sven, the yellow looks rather nasty, IMO. The original lights had the look of a florescent light, more white than yellow.

DopeStar 156
05-05-09, 05:22 PM
Haha, I always thought it would be cool to put alternating red LEDs in the opera light that only come on to blink with the turn signals....


I was just thinking. You should try building one where you have two leds, one at the top and one at the bottom, that are facing towards each other. The diffuser may act as a sort of fiber optic and evenly distribute a nice, even light.

That, or maybe put two in the middle back to back that shoot light up and down their respective halves. The old bulb operated ones were just one central lightbulb with a reflective piece over the bulb that worked like a headlight. The light was reflected back to a second reflective surface which bounced the light outward to a lens that had diffusing structures on the inside. The result was a light that was evenly lit for the most part but was really thick in construction. This is one of the opera lamps on my '76 DeVille that work that way......

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/DopeStar156/1976%20Coupe%20de%20Ville/operalight.jpg

The whole idea of the 80's EL lamps was to get away from that "candle light" look of the older ones to a more florescent, even lit look.......

N0DIH
05-06-09, 09:27 AM
Honestly 2 LEDS on the ends would look like 2 LED's on the ends, it would never LOOK right. Not Cadillac quality. Chevy or Ford quality maybe....

MaineWater
05-07-09, 09:28 PM
Here are a couple of pics of the new EL strip I cut and wired in.

Warren_R
05-08-09, 03:02 AM
How did you get access to the inside? Looks very good, there's a nice even glow. Did you slice the lens off & wire EL strip to the original connection? Curious minds are exactly that =)

jayoldschool
05-08-09, 09:51 AM
Here are a couple of pics of the new EL strip I cut and wired in.

Please, a complete write up for us!

RocketFast321
05-08-09, 02:01 PM
Here are a couple of pics of the new EL strip I cut and wired in.

I like the el wire. Updates it a little. Did you get that off ebay?

A Ghost
05-05-11, 07:03 PM
Im trying to find opera lights for mine. I went to the dealer and they told me the only ones they could find cost $330 and there was only quote "1 place in the world" you could get them. I think he was talking about original working ones from 1989 though. I'd like to get some for a lot cheaper, and I like the "newer" blue light type ones.

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a389/AGhost_/opera3.jpg

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a389/AGhost_/opera2.jpg

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a389/AGhost_/opera1.jpg

N0DIH
05-06-11, 09:11 AM
Let me dig around, go to a supplier directly, forget ebay... EL material comes in sheets, like 8.5 x 11" sheets, it has electrical pins all around, you cut with scissors how you want.

Feed it with 100v to 120v AC, less if you want dimmer. And you are done. So an inverter is easy for it too.

http://electroluminescence-inc.com/ELsheets.htm is one place, still not a supplier, but probably better to go with than eBay....


I like the el wire. Updates it a little. Did you get that off ebay?

Caddylover86
05-06-11, 10:55 AM
Just wondering if I it was possible to use a power inverter from another car like a 89 caprice,or olds. I mean it's all gm so it might crossover.

N0DIH
05-06-11, 11:46 AM
I am an electronics technican, if anyone has a bad inverter, feel free to send it to me, if I can fix you have it back, and then I can see what specs it is and find out what I can do to make replacement inverters...

Jeppi94
08-07-13, 04:08 AM
Too bad that website don't ship international, i livein Sweden and i've got a 89 Brougham with non functioning opera lights, this would have been perfect -.-