Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

If your are looking to upgrade your vehicles 3157 or 7443 parking light, turn signal, or brake light bulbs with V-LEDS you NEED to identify what TYPE of SOCKET your car has. There are 2 socket types, Standard and CK. There is only one way to know for sure which socket your car has, TEST IT. We put together a short video that will guide you through the steps involved with testing your sockets.

What is the difference between the Standard and CK style sockets? The position of the ground contacts in the socket is the only difference. They LOOK identical. What will happen if I use the wrong type of LED, i.e. A standard LED in a CK socket?  The LEDs will not work properly or worse, they will blow your fuses that protect that specific lighting circuit. How do I know which socket type I have? Watch the video below and follow the instructions.

There is no rhyme or reason as to what car will use a CK socket configuration. Again the only way to know is by following our testing procedure shown in the above video.

Please note: Single element sockets i.e. 3156 and 7440 can be CK style as well. Please test and identify your sockets BEFORE you purchase your new V-LEDS. There is a 15% restocking fee for returned products.

UPDATED PRODUCT:

The 9005 DRL_Module has been redesigned to handle higher current loads. We have identified and upgraded critical components in this modules power supply. These upgrades allow the DRL_Module to be connected directly to our high power LEDs like the 9005_28_W and the 9005_15_HP without the use of a relay harness.

Key features of the 9005 DRL Module:

-Increases the low voltage of most vehicles existing DRL circuits.

-Reverse Polarity Protection; unit will not be damaged if connected backwards.

-Stable with high wattage LED bulbs, up to 15 Watts power draw.

-No modifications required to your vehicle, simple plug and play installation.

If you are unfamiliar with what the DRL_Module is used for you can find a good explanation here: What is a V-LEDS DRL_Module?

When we get asked this question “How long do your LED products last?, I bought a pair of LEDs and they burnt out after 6 months.” we will ask a series of questions to help a customer understand how or why their LEDs burnt out. The number one cause of LED failure is heat. LEDs have a heat threshold that they need to stay below to maintain a long lifespan. There are many different types of LEDs, all of which have different heat thresholds. What causes LEDs to overheat and fail? A few things cause LEDs to overheat. We have found that if you install an LED bulb inside your headlight housing and it is placed relatively close to the headlamp bulb it will fail much faster than if the LED was installed in its own separate housing. The heat generated by the headlamp will heat up the circuit board and the LED to temperatures much higher than the LED was meant to operate at, this will cause the LED to fail. Other problems we have found is the LEDs can overheat themselves if they are installed in a small housing. Example; being installed into a  license plate light, most cars use a 194 style bulb to light up the license plate. If you install a High Power 194 LED for this application you will most likely have a product failure. If you install a standard LED it should last a long time. The small light housing does not allow for quick heat dissipation. The High Power LEDs generate a lot of heat, so they need some space to dissipate the heat so they do not fail.

Another source of LED failure is from overdriving the LEDs. Like most things in life, less is more or more is less. Example, turning up the level of boost on a turbocharged engine. This will gain more power from the engine, at the same time you will get less reliability out of the engine. Turning up the boost drastically increases stress on internal components of the engine. Over time the engine will fatigue and fail. The same principle applies to LEDs. A small increase in the amount of power delivered to the LEDs will increase the amount of light they produce. This is like turning up the boost on the turbocharged engine; you get higher levels of performance, but sacrifice on the lifespan of the LED. We see a lot of LED failures when cars have voltage spikes that increase the amount of voltage that powers the LEDs. This is why we do not simply “turn up the power” on our LEDs to make brighter products. When V-LEDS creates a brighter LED bulb we design it around a brighter LED. We then use power supplies capable of driving these LEDs to their full potential. That being said, we are still pushing these LEDs to their maximum power levels so they are extremely bright. This is necessary for brake lights or turn signal lights for safety. This also creates more heat that needs to be removed from the diodes. Upon inspection of our High Power Series of LEDs you will see that we have engineered proper heat management into our products. So instead of just turning up the power, we turn on the innovation. Every aspect of the LED bulb is considered to ensure the longest lifespan possible. However if you install a High Power LED next to a high source of heat like a headlamp or if installed into a small light housing there is a higher chance of premature failure. Other factors play into the lifespan of the LED as well. We have seen everything from moisture to abuse that will burn the LEDs out prematurely. The power supply that controls the power to the LEDs is susceptible to failure as well. The LEDs may be just fine, its just the power supply has failed.

For a more in depth, technical understanding of the causes of LED failures you can read this bullet list on Wikipedia.

Have you heard of voltage spikes in your cars electrical system? Have you had a set of LEDs burn out after only having them installed for a couple of months? Chances are they were the helpless victims of voltage spikes. These voltage spikes are found in every car or truck. There a few causes of voltage spiking, but they all originate from the alternator. The alternator is the electrical power plant of your car. It charges the battery and provides the power to keep all the electronics in your car operating. We know that your car uses a 12 volt battery, 12 volts DC (direct current). Did you know that your cars alternator actually makes AC (alternating current) power? There is a component called the rectifier that converts the AC voltage into DC voltage. This part is either built into the alternator or mounted separately. The demand of your cars electrical system increases or decrease the load on the alternator. You may have experienced changes in the electrical load of your car, a common example is while you are waiting at a traffic light at night. You may have noticed your  headlights dim for a moment when your cars radiator fan kicked on. That is a change of load on the alternator, the alternator responded by generating more current to keep up with the higher demand created by the radiator fan and the lights returned to their original brightness. This continual up and down cycling of power being generated causes dips and spikes in voltage that over time will degrade the LEDs in your lights.

LED failure caused by voltage spiking is slowly starting to become a problem of the past. V-LEDS incorporates the latest technology on all of our new High Power LED products. We have been incorporating regulated power supplies onto the circuit boards of all of our High Power LEDs. These LEDs are not susceptible to damage caused by voltage spiking. What is the difference and how does it work? Lets take take a look at the difference between standard LEDs and High Power V-LEDS.

In the photo below I have taken apart some highly popular V-LEDs. The 194_HP_W_6K and the 194_5_SMT_W_6K. You can see the difference right away in the circuitry. Lets start with the 194_5_SMT_W_6K. This is easily our most popular LED. Its popularity comes from three places. 1) Price, at $7.99 for a pair you can’t go wrong. 2) Output, Brighter than a filament bulb without blinding you. Great color too 3) Application, with 4 LEDs around the sides and 1 on top it works in pretty much every application. The only downfall to this LED is the circuitry that regulates the power to the individual LEDs. In the photo you can see that  I circled a resistor. This is the component that steps the voltage down to the operating voltage of each LED. If you measure the voltage after it passes through the resistor it reads like this: 12 volts = 9.6 volts, 14.2 volts = 10.2 volts, 19 volts = 13 volts. The LEDs are ran in a series circuit that divides this voltage equally. This means that when operated at 12 volts the voltage is dropped to 9.6 volts by the resistor and is then divided amongst the 5 LEDs. This equals 1.92 volts per LED. This product is designed to be operated around 12 volts give or take a couple of volts. But what if your car has a spike up to 19 volts or greater? By using the same math at 19 volts we end up with each LED seeing 2.6 volts. It doesn’t seem like that much more voltage but the LEDs will get brighter and overheat, thus causing premature failure.

Now look at the 194_HP_W_6K. This is what sets our High Power LEDs apart from our entry level LEDs and from all other LED products on the market today. There is no math needed to show what will happen with different input voltage on this LED. The regulated power supply provides a consistent 3.6 volts to the LED. All of our High Power LEDs are stable from 9-24 volts. It will not affect the brightness of the LEDs at all. We have different variations of High Power LEDs. From our Platinum Series bulbs to our DRL/FOG bulbs to the brightest dome light we sell, all of them use our .5 WATT diode and a regulated power supply that controls the voltage that each LED receives. On our flank LEDs  and DRL/FOG LEDs we have also incorporated Bridge Rectifiers. These components allow for dual polarity use. These LEDs will light up regardless of which way they are plugged in.

To sum it up there is a difference, the V-LEDS difference. We bring “The Latest in Automotive LED Technology” to our customers. With each and every new product we develop it is our goal to raise the bar and bring you the best LED lighting products you can find. Hopefully this will help you understand why some of the LEDs we sell cost more than others. Simply put they are engineered to be better, brighter and last longer than anything else you can find on the market.

If you have questions on our products and how they work you can email me directly here:  tech@v-leds.com

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment, James the tech@v-leds.com

The Idea

There is something to be said about the V-LEDS experience in your car. It is amazing how replacing a bulb with V-LEDS  change the look of your car. Whether you replaced the dome lights or parking lights, using V-LEDS drastically improves the aesthetic appeal of any car. This simple fact spurred on conversations about another product idea. This idea was based on a product we already sell, the switchback. We have been playing around with some prototypes of this new design over the last couple of months and it is turning out to be a really cool idea.

The Concept

The concept is simple. Two different colors of LEDs built onto the same bulb. What if you had the ability to flip a switch and change your high beams or fog lights from white to blue, green, red or amber? That is what the SHO line is, an LED lighting system for showing off. It’s illegal to drive around with blue and green lights on your car. But what about when your car is parked or on display at a car show? With the flip of a switch you can instantly change the look of your car with these new lights.

The Finished Look

Here is what your car can look like with the SHO line by V-LEDS. These will be available soon and we will keep you updated on our plans of releasing them and different applications that they can be used for.

On the Left the SHO lights are white and they change to red by flipping a switch.

Let me know what you think of this concept. What colors would you want to see on an LED like this? You can leave a comment or send me and email to tech@v-leds.com.

Thanks for reading, James

Have you ever gone to start your car in the morning and find that your battery is dead? You end up searching around for jumper cables and calling your neighbor over for a jump start. After you get your car started you notice the dome lights were left on because one of the kids left the door open or you forgot to turn off the map lights the night before. Nothing can be more irritating, especially if you’re already running late for work. The filament bulbs used for lighting the interior of your car use quite a bit of power, more than you would think for such a small bulb. These bulbs can drain your battery down in a matter of hours if left on. All of this could have been avoided if you had just installed some efficient V-LEDS in your dome lights.

V-LEDS bulbs use far less power (80-90% less) than a conventional filament bulb to produce the same amount of light, if not more. You can leave your dome lights on for hours on end without draining the battery after you replaced them with V-LEDS. There are other benefits you will enjoy from using V-LEDS. The solid state design of V-LEDS makes them naturally shock resistant. The vibration of driving down a rough road will cause the filament of a regular bulb to break and burn out over time, something you don’t have to worry about with V-LEDS. The expected lifespan of a V-LEDS dome light is typically 10,000 hours or more!

Chances are you are already using LED technology in your day to day life. From illuminating the buttons on your remote control to  digital road signs and even on your personal electronics like your cell phone and i-pod. LED technology is used across a wide range of products. From illumination in cars to televisions, the possibilities are endless. LEDs are even starting to show up as standard equipment on new automobiles. From tail lights and brake lights to illuminating the interior, LEDs are the lighting of choice as they use less power and never need to be replaced.The good news is that you dont have to buy a new car to enjoy all the benefits of LED technology.

V-LEDS specializes in LED replacements for every type of filament bulb found in automobiles. And its as easy as 1 2 3 to find a V-LEDS replacement for your car. Not only can you get the efficiency of V-LEDS but you can customize the look of your interior with different color V-LEDS. V-LEDS bulbs have incredible benefits over standard bulbs. They are much brighter, operate at cooler temperatures, are extremely energy efficient and have a much longer life span. So go ahead and do yourself a favor, replace your interior bulbs with V-LEDS and avoid that potential morning frustration of jump starting your car.

Examples of V-LEDS dome light bulbs

My last post was on how to make a quick and easy test light. This is a little trick you can use to test your LEDs. Use this to verify which contact on your LED is the positive and the negative. If you think you have a defective LED you can use this to confirm if it’s the LED that’s not working or if your cars socket is the problem. Items needed to make this tester include a fresh 9 Volt Battery, a couple of lengths of wire and some electrical tape. This is easy to do, lets cover the steps.

Look at the picture below. Start out with your wire, tape and battery. Strip some sheathing off of both ends of the wire. Fold back the wire on one end. Note the positive and negative terminal of the battery and place the wire on top of each terminal. Fold the tape over and use it to hold the wire onto the terminals of the battery. And you’re done!  To use this new tool just touch the bare wires from picture #4 to the contacts of the LED, note which wire is positive and negative. If the LED  lights up you have the polarity correct. If the LED does not light up, reverse the wires and try again. If it still doesn’t light up than either the battery is dead or the LED is not working.

This little battery tester has helped me in may different ways. If you do not have a 9 volt battery, any battery will do. I have done this with power tool batteries too, just don’t use any batteries larger than 12 volts. You can use this for more than just testing LED lights. I first used this setup to test for speakers in cars when the radio harness was cut off. After I located all of the power wires I would use this to test the remaining wires to match up the pairs of speaker wires. And you can see the speaker move in or out too, which tells you what speaker wires are positive and negative.

I have had people ask me if you can get shocked by touching both wires at the same time, the answer is no. It is very rare that you would get shocked by 12 volts DC power; it is possible, but you would have to be trying really hard.

Thanks for reading. If you have another use for this type of tester of if you have another invention that you use on a regular basis please share. You can email me direct at: tech@v-leds.com or leave a comment below.

James, the tech@v-leds.com.

Have you ever needed to troubleshoot a problem with your electrical system and there is not a test light around? Do you have a little MacGyver in you? If so than this quick little invention can be a lifesaver if you’re stuck in the woods or the local auto parts store is closed and you need to get some work done. If you are working on your car you most likely have the necessary items laying in front of you. If you’re like me you usually have random tools and supplies hiding under the seat from the last time you worked on your car. Regardless, the only things you need to build this test light are a couple short lengths of wire, a dome light bulb  and  some electrical tape. (If you are in a bind you can use any bulb from your car and any tape will work)

The steps are easy. 1) Locate all the necessary items. 2) Strip 2 Inches of the sheathing off of the wires. 3) Wrap the bare wires around each end of the bulb. 4) Tape the wires in place and strip about 1/2″ of sheathing from the other end of the wire.

This thing is pretty simple to use. If you need to find +12 volts just hold one of the wires to ground and touch the other wire to the circuit that needs testing. If the light turns on you have power.

If you need to find a ground you can hold one wire to +12 volts and touch the other wire to ground. If the light turns on you have power.

Hopefully you remember this when you need it most. Or you could just buy a test light and keep it in your car just in case.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to share this with your friends, you never know who might be in need of a test light.

James the tech@v-leds.com

Things have been pretty busy around the shop lately. New products coming in that need to be tested, vehicle specific kits that needed some tweaking and I did some pretty sweet headlight customization too. I always seem to be writing about how to fix some LED compatibility issue, this time I am going to show off some work I completed recently. V-LEDS sponsored a drift car last year that competed in the Formula Drift circuit. We met a lot of people who are involved with the drift circuit and they quickly caught the V-LEDS lighting bug. One of the teams sent us their headlights and asked us to work our lighting magic on them. Here is what we came up with for this particular set of lights.

Stock 370Z headlights

These lights are from a new Nissan 370Z. They are pretty nice light housings and almost seemed to be begging for V-LEDS touch. We did not get to see any pictures of the car and the race team only had a couple of simple  requests, AMBER LEDs around the projector headlight and to black out all of the chrome. I have been perfecting my headlight baking skills lately while testing our new Bi-Xenon projector upgrade kit and quickly set up my industrial sized easy bake oven.

The V-LEDS industrial sized easy bake oven.

Here it is in all its glory. It doesn’t look like much, but its amazing what a heat gun and a cardboard box can do! After baking the headlights in here for a while I was able to pry the front lens away from the back portion of the housing.

After getting the lights disassembled it was time to get modifying!  Prepping and painting the chrome parts. We had a friend who works at a machine shop cut us out some nice aluminum rings to go around the projector headlight lens. I disassembled some of our 194_HP_A and 194_2_HPFS_W_6K LEDs and soldered wires directly to the circuit boards. I used some epoxy to mount the LEDs to the “landing strip”area of the housing and to the aluminum ring. Here are some pictures that show how the project progressed through some of these steps. I tested the Amber LEDs around in the aluminum ring after it was assembled and it looked pretty dope. At this point I could not wait to get everything done and put back together to see it complete! If you click on the image it will take you to the complete photo gallery on our website.

This project went pretty smooth considering all of the custom fabrication involved. I am very happy with the way they turned out, hopefully the race team likes them too. I can’t wait to see them lit up on the car, but we have to wait until the next race season to see the complete package.

The Final Product

Thanks for checking out my work. Let me know what you think in the comments.

James, the tech@v-leds.com

Are you wondering how to use the HID Harness with your V-HIDS headlight conversion kit? I want to cover a cool feature that comes standard with every “single beam” V-HIDS kit we offer. This feature allows for quick plug-n-play installation of the HID Harness and other accessories your car may need.

H11 HID bulb and Input Adapter Jumper

The feature that I am talking about is what I refer to as the “Input Adapter Jumper”. The picture to the right shows the jumper wires as they come in the kit, attached to the HID bulb. They are routed through a rubber grommet with the HID bulbs wiring. This is so you can route them into your headlight housing and keep a water tight seal if you have sealed-back headlights. This input adapter jumper has as a male 9006 connector on one end and the specific end of the bulb type of the kit on the other end, this one happens to be an H11. This allows for a direct connection from your cars headlight socket to the input connector of the HID harness.

Connection of the Adapter to the HID Harness

Input Connector of the HID Harness

The HID Harness has a single input connector shown here. It is a female 9006 plug. This is where you connect the adapter to the HID Harness. Here is another bonus to this setup. If your car is equipped with a warning light that indicates you have a burnt out headlight and you need to install an inline capacitor or inline resistor you’re in luck. These parts come with male and female 9006 connectors too. So if you need any additional parts to get your V-HIDS kit working they will plug right into this setup without any modification to your cars wiring harness.

9006_INLINE_RES INLINE_CAP_ADAPT 9006_DRL_MODULE

9006_INLINE_RES INLINE_CAP_ADAPT 9006_DRL_MODULE

Here we see the 9006_INLINE_RES,   INLINE_CAP_ADAPT and the 9006_DRL_MODULE. Each one is designed for different applications. I will be covering these applications in the future. In the following pictures you can see how easy it is to install them inline. Using the 9006 style connectors allows adding these parts to this setup to be quick and easy. A complete wiring schematic for the HID_HARNESS is at the bottom of the page too.

9006_INLINE_RES Installed

If you do have any application questions feel free to ask. You can email me direct at: tech@v-leds.com

INLINE_CAP_ADAPT Installed

Thanks for reading, James the tech@v-leds.com

Here are links to other articles that contain additional information on some of these products:

HID_HARNESS

DRL_MODULES

9006_DRL_MODULE Installed

Installation Diagram For HID_HARNESS

Installation Diagram For HID_HARNESS