Archive for the ‘Trouble Shooting’ Category

Out of high demand I bring you a simple trouble shooting guide. I answer this question daily: “How do I know if I have a bad ballast or bulb?” I don’t know off the top of my head but I know how to test this in a few easy steps. First and foremost, check all of your connections! Be sure everything is connected properly.

There are only a 3 reasons why your HIDs won’t turn on. They are 1, No Power 2, Bad Ballast, and 3, Bad Bulb. Here is how to tell the what the problem is:

Power: If you just connected your HID kit and they don’t turn on check the power connections. Take note that HID ballasts are polarity sensitive, and are labeled with a small + and – symbol on the power input connector. If you are connecting your HID kit directly to your cars light socket (why risk doing that) the connector may be wired backwards. The Halogen bulbs that you just removed before installing the HID bulbs are NOT polarity sensitive. If you are using an HID Relay Harness be sure to check the ground connections and the battery connections. Ground connections should be free of corrosion and paint. *Note that plastic is not a good source of ground* (try to ground it back to the battery if possible) If the connections check out than you may have a bad relay. Check to see if the relay “clicks” when the lights are turned on. If it does not, check the input connections. If they are good than you could need a new relay.

Ballast or Bulb: If for some reason one of your HID lights stops working refer to the power section above. After you check into the power supply and you verify that there is power and ground at the ballast connections you will now need to check one thing. When you turn on the lights do you hear a buzzing sound from the suspected bad ballast? (this buzzing will last for about 2 seconds and be accompanied by flashes of light from the HID bulb) If this happens you need to try plugging the working ballast from the other side of your car into this side of the car. Does the other working ballast do the same thing? If you answered YES than you have a bad bulb. If you do not hear that buzzing sound than you most likely have a bad ballast.

Hope this helps you diagnose any issues that you may be experiencing. Feel free to email me directly if this does not help. My email is tech@v-leds.com.

James, the tech@v-leds.com

Hello again, I have been receiving a higher volume of emails concerning replacing your blinkers with LEDs. Most of them pertaining to the faster flash rate (Hyper-Flash) that occurs when doing so, and if there is a way to get them to flash at the normal pace again.

This is a very common question. The answer is YES, it can be fixed. Here at V-LEDS we only know the fixes for the cars we have directly worked on ourselves. We log the information so we can help when needed. We still get questions from customers who are either confused by what they may have read on a forum or who are still unsure of what is needed. I hope that I can answer some questions surrounding this issue.

Lets cover why they start Hyper-Flashing in the first place. The answer is safety. Vehicle manufacturers use this feature to let you know when one or more of your blinker bulbs has burned out.

How does the car know? There is a part in the car that controls this. It is called a flasher unit. Each cars flasher unit is designed to monitor the electrical load that it is powering. This basically means that the flasher unit knows how many watts your cars bulbs will draw when they’re on. It monitors the cars circuit as Left and Right, or monitors all 4 bulbs independently. When one of the bulbs is burnt out, removed, or replaced with a lower wattage bulb or LED the flasher does its job and starts Hyper-Flashing on the side of the car that this has occurred.

Correcting Hyper-Flash when you upgrade to V-LEDS is relatively easy once you understand what needs to be done. Lets cover the easiest route first. If you are lucky to own a car that has a replaceable flasher unit than check that first. Where is it? Every car is different. Here is what I do, first I turn on the hazard switch. You will now hear a clicking sound from under your dash board. (*If you don’t hear a clicking, but more of an audible blinker “sound” then your car most likely does not have replaceable flasher unit. That sound will be coming from a small speaker located in the instrument cluster that is controlled by a computer) (*in some cars the flasher unit is built into the HAZARD switch itself, feel the switch. Do you feel it clicking?) After verifying your car does not use either of these flashers, reach up under the dash and start feeling around. The clicking will be accompanied by a tapping that can be felt in the sub frame of the dash.  It will be noticeable but may be hard to locate. If this is the case you may need to remove the lower dash covering to access the flasher unit. The flasher will usually look like the picture above, however there are quite a few variations. Once you locate the flasher unplug it. The hazard lights should stop working, if they continue you have the wrong part. Reinstall it and continue the search.

After you find the flasher unit you need to note how many contacts it has. Some have 2, or 3. Others have 5, or 8. You need to know this so you can compare them to the parts we have listed on our website. Like I mentioned before we really don’t know what part will work in every car, only the cars that we have worked on. So compare yours to what we have available and see if we have a match. Note I said this is the easiest route, even though it sounds like quite the project. That process should take a novice DIY’er about 30-40 minutes to get done. It is fairly easy to do on most cars, and is plug-n-play.

Option 2 requires some tools to get it done. This option is for cars where you cannot replace the flasher or we do not offer a replacement for it. Now that we understand how the flasher unit works we can trick it. The trick is to put the original load back on the flasher unit. We have Load Resistors to allow us to do that.

We have 2 choices of resistors, a 6 OHM and a 3 OHM. Which one do you use? The 6 OHM is the equivalent load of 1 bulb. So if you replace 1 set of bulbs, (the front OR rear bulbs) you will need to install 1 pair of resistors. The 3 OHM is the equivalent load of 2 bulbs.  If you replace all 4 of your bulbs than use 1 set of 3 OHM resistors.

Where do I install them? The resistors need to be installed to the wiring of the bulb at the light socket. We supply splice taps for a painless installation. Below is a video on how these connections work, note my awesome hand modeling skills!

Find a suitable location away from any heat sensitive materials on your car like plastic or wiring harnesses and mount the load resistor. If you are using the 3 OHM load resistors you can make the connection at the front OR rear turn signal wires.

Things to note about this option are: Load Resistors are sold in pairs. One for the Left blinker circuit and one for the Right blinker circuit. Some cars monitor all 4 bulbs separately, if this is the case with your car you will need 2 sets of 6 OHM resistors. Some cars use more than 4 bulbs as blinkers. An example is the new Dodge Challenger. It uses a total of 4 bulbs in the rear and 2 up front. This increases the wattage of the blinker circuit and needs a larger amount of load to correct the Hyper-Flashing. In that car we used 1 set of 3 OHM resistors in the rear and 1 set of 6 OHM resistors  in the front as it monitors all 4 blinker circuits independently too.

I hope this was informative and helpful. If you feel that I left something out or have more questions leave a comment. You can also email me directly here: tech@v-leds.com and  I will answer any other questions that you may have.

Thanks for reading,

James, the tech@v-leds.com

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