kair.us/ projects/ nopeustesti/ t10_bulb_comparison/

T10 LED bulb comparison for illuminated arcade buttons

My T10 LED bulb collection

Many of the illuminated arcade buttons, especially big ones, use T10 bulb. It is also called W5W bulb or 194 bulb or glass wedge bulb. Nowadays the incandescent bulb is often replaced with a LED version. LED light turns on and off quicker, generates less heat and has longer life. It also much brighter... or is it? When I was making my speed test project, I noticed that the LED lights which are supplied with the big arcade buttons are often very dim. The LED lights can also have rather narrow light beam, which results uneven lightning. Only the middle of the button is lighted and surroundings are dark. This is especially true for the big, 60 mm arcade buttons.

In my quest for the ultimate LED bulb for big illuminated arcade buttons, I have bought several different types of bulbs, altogether hundreds of bulbs . I'll summarize my test results here, so other people building speed test or the like don't have to go through the same.

About testing

All lamps are tested with 12.0 VDC. Current is measured and wattage calculated. Dimensions are measured from widest / longest point of the bulb. Light distribution and brightness are evaluated with 44 mm diameter arcade button. With smaller button, the brightness would be higher and light distribution more even. With larger button the light distribution difference is more pronounced.

You should note that many of the bulbs which are judged to be 'dim' in this test, are actually perfectly good for smaller arcade buttons. And the brighter bulbs are way too bright for those smaller buttons. The brightest ones are actually too bright even for the 60 mm buttons, depending on the ambient light conditions. Therefore I have added a possibility to adjust light brightness in recent speed test firmware versions.

Price is what I have payed per piece, converted to EUR. Most of lights bought from eBay came in batches of 10 pcs, including postage. In these cases, the price is simply that price divided per ten. The price shown here should be thus treated as indicative only.

Incandescent bulb

T10 bulb dimensions

The basic 12 V / 1.2 W incandescent bulb. These were used in illuminated arcade buttons before the LED came. In above picture, I have illustrated the three dimensions I have measured from each bulb. The longer length is measured from the nipple which was used to seal the vacuum inside the incandescent bulb. Some LED bulbs don't have equivalent of this feature.

101 mA / 1.2 W.
Length 24.6 mm / 23.8 mm
Width 9.8 mm
Price 0.04 / pc

+ Cheap
+ Fits all buttons
+ Fairly uniform light distribution
- Too dim in daylight
- Generates heat

Budget 12V 10mm Wedge Base LED

AWUK Budget 12V 10mm Wedge Base LED

The budget LED bulb from Arcadeworld UK. The illuminated buttons from eBay actually come with very similar bulbs.

25 mA / 0.3 W.
Length 24.1 mm / 23.2 mm
Width 9.5 mm
Price 0.21 / pc

+ Fits all buttons
- Too dim in daylight
- Edges are dark

12V 10mm Wedge Base LED

AWUK 12V 10mm Wedge Base LED

The standard LED bulb from Arcadeworld UK. Uses 8 mm through-hole LED. Has good contact and stays firmly in place even though doesn't have the 'pits' on contact area.

25 mA / 0.3 W.
Length 26.5 mm / 24.9 mm
Width 10.1 mm
Price 0.77 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

+ Fits all buttons
+ Polarity marked
+ Available also in +5V version
- Too dim in daylight
- Brighther spot in center, dark edges

Practical Car White 1LED COB SMD T10 W5W Wedge Side Light Bulb Lamp 12V

Practical Car
      White 1LED COB SMD T10 W5W Wedge Side Light Bulb Lamp 12V'COB' or 'SMD' bulb
      revealed

The stupid description is directly from eBay. The item description is full of errors. It states e.g. 'COB', '1W SMD Long-lasting LED', 'Ceramic', which are all wrong. There is one 5 mm through-hole LED with integrated resistor / current limiter, in plastic package. White bulb is very bright. Blue and green bulbs are quite bright. Yellow is very dim. White bulb actually has blue LED and the plastic lens is made of fluorescent material and converts blue to white. The width is slightly too wide to fit all buttons, especially 60 mm buttons.

White and blue 30 mA / 0.36 W. Other colors 20 mA / 0.24 W.
Length 18.0 mm
Width 11.6 mm
Price 0.16 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

+ Cheap
- Red and yellow too dim
- Dark edges
- Doesn't fit all buttons

12V Suzo Happ super bright cluster LED

Suzo Happ super bright cluster
      LED

This bulb is sold by Suzo Happ, but it has brand 'MP' printed on it. It uses three 3 mm through-hole LEDs. Despite its name, it has similar brightness as standard 1.2 W incandescent bulb. At first it seems that the connection is poor and the bulb doesn't stay tightly on the holder. But it needs to be pushed quite hard to seat properly. Then it stays very firmly and has reliable connection.

23 mA / 0.28 W.
Length 20.9 mm / 20.0 mm
Width 10.4 mm
Price 2.3 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

+ Fits all buttons
+ Polarity marked
+ Available also in +24V version
- Dim in daylight
- Dark edges

T10 194 168 W5W COB 8SMD LED CANBUS Silica License Light Bulb Hot

T10 194 168 W5W
      COB 8SMD LED CANBUS Silica License Light Bulb

Another eBay bulb with stupid description. This one however does use COB led. The one sold as yellow is really warm white. It works OK though with yellow button, with only slightly pale tone. The contact area is just flat PCB surface, which makes unreliable contact with holder. It can be remedied by adding blobs of solder at end of the contact area. It also helps to keep the bulb firmly in place.

34mA / 0.4 W.
Length 22.4 mm
Width 10.7 mm
Price 0.143 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue

+ Fits all buttons
+ Polarity marked
- Dim edges
- Fit to holder poor without adding solder

Bevinsee T10 3652 3000K LED Light W5W Globe Auto Inside Bulb 3W 9V

Bevinsee 10 of Yellow T10 3652 3000K LED Light W5W Globe Auto
      Inside Bulb 3W 9V

These eBay bulbs are also sold under different brands but I have only tested the ones sold as 'Bevinsee'. Item description claims 3 pcs 1 W leds, but measured consumption is only 0.5 W. The bulb gives even illumination, also to edges. Center is of course brighter though. Width is slightly on the high side, and can be problem with eBay 60 mm buttons.

40mA / 0.48 W.
Length 27.5 mm / 26.1 mm
Width 11.3 mm
Price 0.34 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink

+ All colors very bright
+ Uniform light distribution
- Tight fit on some buttons because of the width

3D Ceramic T10 LED W5W 3030 SMD Car Width Lights Interior Reading Bulb Hot

3D
      Ceramic T10 LED W5W 3030 SMD Car Width Lights Interior Reading
      Bulb Hot

These are the most expensive T10 bulbs I have bought from eBay. But they are well worth the price! There is practically nothing to complain about these, except that they could be too bright in low ambient light conditions. These bulbs seem to have switch mode power supply integrated. They work with constant brightness from +11 V up to +24V at least. Another cool thing is that they seem to have a rectifier inside, and thus work regardless of way they are plugged in. Doesn't have 'pit' on contact area but stays still firmly on holder.

This bulb gives even illumination, also to edges. Center is of course brighter though. Contact is reliable and bulbs sit firmly in holder. Winner of the test and perfect fit for my speed test project. White bulbs are somewhat cheaper than other colors.

70mA / 0.84 W.
Length 26.2 mm / 25.9 mm
Width 10.2 mm
Price 0.81 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink

+ Fits all buttons
+ All colors very bright
+ Uniform light distribution
+ Wide supply range +11 V ... +24 V with constant brightness
+ Works with either polarity
- Gets hot in long use

T10 5050 W5W 5 SMD 194 168 LED Car Side Wedge Tail Light Lamp Bulb

T10 5050 W5W 5
      SMD 194 168 LED Car Side Wedge Tail Light Lamp Bulb

Another eBay bulb. This bulb provides quite even illumination, also to edges. Green and blue have OK brightness, red is okayish, but yellow is dimmer than 1.2 W incandescent bulb. The apparent downside is the wide diameter - the bulb either doesn't fit all or if it fits, the button can jam when pressed on certain side. The widest part is the plastic skirt - if you cut that off it fits better.

90mA / 1.1 W.
Length 28.5 mm
Width 12.0 mm
Price 0.09 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

+ Uniform illumination
- Doesn't fit properly
- Some colors are too dim in daylight
- High power consumption / heat generation

Car T10 W5W Tail Bulb Clearance Lamp 7 In-Line LED 585 655 656 A108

Car T10 W5W Tail Bulb Clearance Lamp 7 In-Line LED 585 655
      656 A108

Another eBay bulb. I had high hopes for this because it is similar to Suzo Happ bulb except more LEDs. Well, it is of similar brightness and light distribution, but the width is again problem with most buttons. Contact reliability and fit to holder is similar as other cheap LED bulbs - bad.


42mA / 0.5 W.
Length 22.5 mm
Width 12.2 mm (but there can be protruding features up to 12.5 mm)
Price 0.2 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

- Doesn't fit properly
- Dim in daylight
- Dim edges

Car 8 LED 1206 SMD T10 W5W Wedge Side Light Interior Bulb Lamp A037

Car 8 LED
      1206 SMD T10 W5W Wedge Side Light Interior Bulb Lamp A037

Very similar to above except 8 x SMD instead of 7 x through-hole. About as dim, same light distribution, too wide, bad contact.

44mA / 0.53 W.
Length 17.9 mm
Width 12.0 mm
Price 0.15 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

- Doesn't fit properly
- Dim in daylight
- Dim edges

Car T10 158 194 168 W5W Car Light Bulb LED Lamp WHITE BLUE RED AMBER GREEN

Car T10
      158 194 168 W5W Car Light Bulb LED Lamp WHITE BLUE RED AMBER
      GREEN

Cheapest LED bulb available. Uses 8 mm through-hole LED as the AWUK standard LED bulb, but is much worse. White and green are bright, blue and red are OK, but yellow is very, very dim. Despite the narrow width, fit can be problematic as the bulb is difficult to set straight in socket. Therefore button plunger can interfere with sharp edge of the plastic skirt around LED.

25mA / 0.3 W.
Length 22.8 mm
Width 10.7 mm
Price 0.05 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

- Needs attention to set to correct orientation not to distract button movement
- Some colors (way) too dim

Car T10 W5W Side Light Lamp Marker Lamp Lens 2 5630 SMD LED Z20423

Car T10 W5W Side
      Light Lamp Marker Lamp Lens 2 5630 SMD LED Z20423

This cheap bulb is bright, but the clear lens doesn't diffuse light enough. Therefore edges of button are dim compared to bright center. However it is too wide, and thus doesn't fit most buttons. Fit to socket is similar as other cheap LED bulbs - loose.

47mA / 0.56 W.
Length 24.4 mm
Width 12.1 mm
Price 0.21 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink

+ Bright
- Dim edges
- Doesn't fit properly

T10 W5W Wedge 5630 LED 2 SMD Lens Car lighting Instrument Lamp Light

T10
      W5W Wedge 5630 LED 2 SMD Lens Car lighting Instrument Lamp Light

Very similar as above. I thought this would fit better since it doesn't have that aluminum ring. Wrong - this is even wider. If you manage to fit this to the button, it lights up bright, but leaves edges dimmer than center. Fit to bulb holder is actually notably better than cheap LED bulb usually. Contact area has the 'pits' which help to keep it in place.

This cheap bulb is bright, but the clear lens doesn't diffuse light enough. Therefore edges of button are dim compared to bright center. However it is too wide, and thus doesn't fit most buttons. Fit to socket is similar as other cheap LED bulbs - loose.

46mA / 0.55 W.
Length 25.1 mm
Width 12.3 mm
Price 0.18 / pc
Colors available: White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow

+ Bright
- Dim edges
- Doesn't fit properly

Side-by-side comparison

Picture below shows side-by-side comparison of the first eight bulbs reviewed above. I have done the comparison with yellow LED lights, which usually seem to be the dimmest ones. The incandescent bulb however, leftmost on the picture, works good with yellow button because its tone is yellowish. Incandescent bulb is worst with blue button, which is probably the reason why the original Coinline Speed Test games never had a blue button.

T10 W5W 194 LED bulb comparison

In picture below are same lamps in same order as above, in side view. This illustrates quite nicely why bulbs with a diffusor yield more even illumination. Without it, the bulb shoots light only to front, and the diffusion plate of the button doesn't distribute it evenly enough. You will get a brighter spot on the center.

T10 W5W 194 LED bulb comparison side
      view

Why colored LED bulbs? The buttons already have colored lens and diffusion plate!

I tried to illustrate this in image below, but camera fails to capture the difference. For each color button, left one has color LED and right one has white LED. In practice, yellow is the worst, it turns to lime. In this picture the red button looks paler with red LED than white, but in real life it is the opposite. However, I have to say that with this particular LED type the white is actually quite OK. The led used here is the winner LED, the rightmost on picture above. So if you are on budget and need bright LED, getting this LED in white is not bad option. It is sold for ca. 3 for a batch of 10 in eBay.

T10 LED bulb color vs. white
      comparison

It's not just about the bulbs

So far I've only compared different LED bulb types. But the button also has an effect on the brightness and uniformity of the illumination. The quality of diffusion disc inside the button plunger varies between different buttons. On image below are buttons from four different manufacturers, each fitted with 1.2 W incandescent bulb. The buttons are from left to right:
Illuminated arcade button comparison Highly
      Suzo Happ Starpoint 44mm

Again, the picture doesn't tell the complete truth, but gives an impression. The Starpoint button gives the best uniformity and brightness, all the way to the edges. The low profile button from eBay gets close, but has a thin dimmer ring at perimeter. AWUK button and Highly button have bigger dim ring at edge. Highly button is the dimmest in total. The diffusion plate is thinner or more transparent in AWUK button, since you can actually see the filament.

Conclusions

The LED bulbs have big differences. Quality is often proportional to price. When choosing a lamp for big illuminated arcade button, focus on following features:
T10 W5W Led Lamp preferred features

And let's not forget the winner of this test. You can find it from eBay, click here. It should look like in picture below

3D ceramic T10 W5W LED light

Hopefully I have shed some light on the subject. Now go and build the speed test so you can use this information.


kair.us/ projects/ nopeustesti/ t10_bulb_comparison/

page created 19.10.2019
last updated 22.10.2019 webmaster@kair.us