Itermittent Blinker “Hyper-Flash” Issues & Switchback Quirks

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Technical, Trouble Shooting
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello everyone, I get emails from you on a daily basis asking why your Hyper-Flash problems came back after installing resistors to fix it. There are a few vehicle and product related issues that can cause this. Lets go over these and see if any of them apply to you, or if this happens to you in the future you know what it could be.

Lets cover the basics here. What is “Hyper-Flash”? There is a part in every car that controls the pace of you blinkers. It is called a “flasher”.  It also has a 2nd function, letting you know your blinker is burnt out. It does this by doubling the pace that it blinks your lights. It is quite annoying, and it should be. You don’t want to be driving around without working blinkers, it could cause an accident! Unfortunately the same thing happens when you replace filament bulbs with LEDs. Why? The “flasher” measures the “load” or “wattage” the filament bulbs are drawing through the circuit. When you replace them with LEDs this draw drops down to almost nothing. (remember that LEDs are very efficient and do not draw much power) So now your flasher thinks the blinkers are burnt out and starts “Hyper-Flashing” You have 2 options to fix it, replacing your flasher with an LED specific version or installing Load Resistors on the blinker circuit. (How to know which one of these products to use will be covered in a future post, right now I want to get to the topic at hand) So you have fixed this in your car and everything is working great! Then all of a sudden, for NO reason whatsoever at some random time your blinkers start “Hyper-Flashing” WHY?

I will always assume it’s the installation of Load Resistors. Not because I don’t think you know how or what your doing when it comes to installing parts on your car, but because that would be the first thing I would check if something I worked on came back to me with a problem. I will always do my best install on every job, but  I am human and will eventually make a mistake, so will you. So check your splice taps for a solid connection. Inspect for a loose ground wire, or for corrosion on the connections. If all that checks out and you still have an intermittent problem you may need to ask yourself this one simple question: “What other products did I install on my car just before this started happening?”

8 times out of 10 the answer to that question is “I installed aftermarket HIDs”!  After noting this trend I started skipping the “check your connections” question and started asking “Did you install HIDs in your car?” Another interesting thing about this is the fact that 85% of people who experience this specific problem owns a GM car or truck! A Chevrolet, GMC, Saturn, Buick, Pontiac, etc. You get the idea right? Then I started to ask myself “Why do so many General Motors products have this common problem?” After working on a friends GMC 2500 HD pickup I figured it out! *GROUND WIRING* I recreated this problem on his truck and found another issue in the process. (i will get to that in a bit) I found that his headlight, high-beam, parking light, blinker, and DRL bulbs all share a single ground wire!  (a notably small ground wire too) Everything works great until you turn on the low beams (which we converted to HIDs) So after trying different things I came to the realization that all the bulbs were on a single ground, the HID ballasts were plugged directly into the trucks headlight socket, and the ballasts were causing resistance in the ground for the blinkers and the Load Resistor I installed on the blinker circuit. So I re-grounded the HID ballast to a bolt on the radiator support and BAM! It fixed it! Hopefully this shines some light on a problem you are experiencing right now and you can fix it, or for someone you know who may have that problem.

I want to cover the other issue I discovered on this truck, it is specific to our White/Amber “Switchbacks“. The problem I found with the switchbacks is not a problem isolated to GM vehicles or having installed HIDs on your car. It is related to the subject matter at hand “Resistance to Ground” and “Load” on the Blinker circuit, and with this particular product, back feeding or stray voltage. First I will explain the problem, which I receive multiple tech emails about too. After installing the switchbacks they worked great until I turned on the headlights. As soon as the HIDs came on the White LEDs started to fade out, and then struggled to stay on. I turned on the blinkers and the Amber LEDs worked just fine. Then the White LEDs stayed off completely until I turned off the HIDs.  Weird huh?! So after I moved the ground on the HID ballast they worked great for a few minutes with the head lights on. I turned on the blinkers and noticed that on one side the white LEDs were struggling again. What was going on now? I grabbed my test meter and checked the voltage on the parking lights, full power was there. Then I tested the blinker and it was fluctuating at about 1.5-3 volts! Why? That did not seem correct to me. So  I disconnected the 6 OHM 50 WATT Load resistor and reinstalled the stock filament bulb. I then retested the circuit and there was not voltage on the blinker circuit. Long story short: The filament of the bulb is “bleeding” off that voltage in the blinker circuit. Why didn’t the resistor that was installed do the same thing? I installed a 3 OHM 50 WATT Load Resistor this time and, BAM! It fixed it. The circuit needed a larger load to fully bleed off the stray voltage. This problem also pointed to our lineup of Switchback LEDs. It is only on our type 2 version, which turns off the white LEDs when the blinker is being used. The power controller that turns off the white LEDs is sensitive to that voltage, but it is not enough to turn on the Amber LEDs. Not all cars will have this issue, but if you are experiencing some of these this is a good place to start.

So in conclusion, Don’t ground your HIDs to your cars head light socket. Or better yet install a relay harness at the same time and avoid this problem from the get go! (see my post on Why should I use a relay harness with my HID kit?) And if your switchbacks are acting like I described now you know what you can do to get them working correctly, Install a 3 OHM 50 WATT Load Resistor to bleed off any stray voltage.

Thanks for taking the time to read through all of that technical blah blah blah. I hope that this did not get too confusing, but if you need a clearer answer or want to discuss a similar problem that I did not cover feel free to leave a comment or send me an email directly at tech@v-leds.com.

James, the tech at V-LEDS.com

Comments
  1. William says:

    Great article.

    I have been lucky in that using 1990s Ford Vehicles(93 E-150 and a 94 Explorer),the usage of LED bulbs has been resolved by just using a heavy duty flasher or a electronic one.

    The switchbacks work great on the 93 E-150(as does the 5k 9007 HIDs*I am using the relay that was included in the kit*),and saving up to get some for the 94 Explorer.

  2. matt says:

    Quick question I have the switchback type 2 in my 06 Nissan altima and I am going to purchase the resistors for them … should I get the 3 ohm just in case or should the 6 ohm be fine?

  3. I have not heard of this happening on Nissan cars particularly. The 6 OHM should work for this car. But if you are in doubt you could order both to be safe. The set you don’t use can be returned.

  4. […] back from V-LED tech department. Looks like the reason can be found in this section of his blog https://vleds.wordpress.com/2010/10/2…chback-quirks/ For those of you looking to use any sort of the Switchback LED's and any higher powered LED […]

  5. Narco Garcia says:

    The problem I’m having with my switchbacks is that when i activate the turn signal, the lights flash amber, then there’s a quick flash of white, the amber and so on…here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDiMVeq4620. They are flashing white when they are not suppose to (these are type 2 switchbacks). If I install a 3 OHM 50w resistor…will it solve this problem? I’m not getting hyper-flash, its just that my switchback’s are flashing white when they aren’t suppose to. Please Help.

  6. This is a problem associated within the product itself. Contact us directly here: http://www.v-leds.com/page/contact.html. We will need a little more information form you, please fill out the contact form completely and we will get you taken care of!

  7. Digi says:

    I am having this exact same problem. What is the fix for this?

  8. Scott Bryant says:

    I have switch back LED turn signals, which work fine without the parking or headlights on. When I turn on the parking or headlights, the drivers side switch back still works fine, but the passenger switch back starts hyper flashing. The passenger switch back with flash amber twice then will switch back to white and the read turn signal starts hyper flashing (again only with the parking or headlights on.)

    I have a 2006 Mustang GT with CCFL headlights and fog lights wired into the driver and passenger front side lights. I have sequential tail lights.

  9. Scott Bryant says:

    I also have load resistors installing on the both of the switch backs.