Posts Tagged ‘fog lights’

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.

Introducing the V-LEDS Scion iQ. This little car is amazing in many ways. From being fuel efficient and fun to drive, to being completely different from the majority of the cars on the road. The Scion iQ is a hit. After looking this little car over we thought it would make a great addition to the family of V-LEDS cars. We noticed, like all Scions, it is a great vehicle ready for upgrades. We will continually update all the mods we do right here on the blog.

V-LEDS 2011 Scion iQ with DRL_3W_W_6K Installed as DRL.

Lets start with the addition of one of our latest products, the DRL_3W_W_6K. These LEDs are sealed units that house a 3 chip, 3 watt diode. Ideal for use as a DRL (daytime running light) or accent lighting. These things are bright! We installed a total of 10 of these, 5 on each side, on the trim panel next to the fog lamps. We wired them to ignition power so they turn on whenever the car is on. In addition, we also wired in a relay harness. The harness is wired into the fog lamp circuit, it turns the DRL LEDs off whenever the fog lights are in use.  These LEDs are impressive! They are bright, even in direct midday sunlight. They are so bright that they cast light onto the ground as well as you can see in the photo.

Installation of these lights is pretty straight forward. If you have some basic tools and wiring knowledge you can create a completely new look for your car or truck in an afternoon. Is this a look you want for your car? Here is where you can find the product on VLEDS website: DRL_3W_W_6K  After you click the link you will land on the product page. You will need to know how many of these you need. They are sold individually, as 1 EACH. On our Scion iQ we used a total of 10 each.

First lets take a look at what you need:

An electric drill with various sized drill bits

Tools for wiring; crimpers, solder iron, test light etc.

Wiring accessories; wire, zip ties, crimp terminals, loom etc.

For our Scion iQ we chose the lower fog lamp area to install these LEDs. We removed the plastic trim panels and found that they were perfect for mounting these LEDs to. The fog lamps are optional on the iQ. This location will work regardless if it has fog lamps or not.

Here are some pictures of the installation process:

Drill a 3/16 hole to mount the DRL LED

After locating and marking where you want to install the LEDs use a 3/16 drill bit to make a hole. (A little side note: after you have drilled your ALL the holes snap this cover back on the car and drill holes in the plastic of the bumper too. This allows for the wires to pass through the bumper for easy wiring.)

Routing wires through drilled hole.

Next, route the wires from through the hole and insert the threaded mount into the hole. Use the supplied nut to secure the LED to the mounting surface.

Routing wiring through bumper

After you have located, drilled, and installed all of the LEDs you will need to route all of the wiring through the plastic of the bumper. Here is where the tip from up above comes in handy.

All wiring is routed and ready to be connected to the car.

After the wiring was routed through the bumper we covered it in some loom. We also have 9006 style connector ends in our shop, so we went ahead and crimped some of these on the wiring. The ends made for a direct plug into the relay harness we installed. (Installation note: the Red wire is 12 V positive+ and the White wire is Ground-)

DRL lights on.

After finalizing all the connections we were ready to test the lights. They are pretty bright, this made it troublesome to get a quality picture.

We offer these lights in 3 colors. 6K White, Amber, and Red. You can find them here on VLEDS.com:

DRL_3W_W_6K  To be used as a DRL, Fog, or auxiliary light. The possibilities are endless.

DRL_3W_A  To be used as a blinker or Amber DRL.

DRL_3W_R  To be used as an auxiliary brake light.

Thanks for reading. If you have questions regarding this product please send an email to our customer service department at sales@v-leds.com. We are quick to respond via email and can answer any questions you may have about our products.

Here are some more photos of our Scion iQ.

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

Not too many ask this question but I seem to remind a lot of people that they should re-aim their headlights after they install an HID kit. Aiming your lights may seem like a difficult task, but is relatively simple once you understand how to do it. There are a few different resources that I have found useful online and they all follow the same procedure. We will cover this procedure shortly, but first I want to help you understand why this should be taken into consideration.

The first reason that I suggest re-aiming your lights is for safety. Properly adjusted headlights keep you from blinding oncoming traffic. The halogen bulbs you just replaced are about 1/3 as bright as the HID kit you just installed. Your lights may have been out of alignment before, but they were dimmer and it may have not been that noticeable. (if you had to remove your headlight housings during installation you will definitely need to adjust the height and direction of your headlights) But now that you have HIDs installed you are going to notice a difference, and so is everyone else on the road. Whether they were aimed down too low or up too high, properly aligning your headlights will maximize your investment and keep you safe.

Lets move on to the how. A Google search of “headlight adjustment” will bring up a ton of information. I have read through a lot of articles and they all point to the same measurements and distances for properly aligning your headlights. I have assembled what I think is a simple guide to do this. Important things to consider before starting this are: Is your gas tank full? Is your trunk (if it’s a car) or bed (if it’s a truck) full of heavy stuff?(groceries, golf clubs, bricks, wood, sand bags, water bottles etc) Are your tires aired up to the correct pressure? It sounds small but remember that if your car or truck is squatting in the front or rear while you align the lights, your lights will be pointing a different direction when you unload this stuff!

The Following guide is for reference only. I am not citing any DOT laws or claiming that this guide abides by any laws that pertain to your local State or Province. I am simply helping you help me, as I find myself continually blinded by headlights that are aimed incorrectly.

This first illustration shows 2 different distances that you can work with. Choose one of these distances for your car to be from a flat vertical surface (a wall). The diagram on the left is the optimal distance for this procedure. If you do not have that much space to work with you can use the diagram on the right.  Keep in mind that your car needs to be square to this surface and on a level area. You can use the side of a building or your garage door as long your car is on a level surface.

Lets start with measuring out the wall. You will need to use some masking tape to mark these measurements out on the wall. You will need to measure the distance from the ground to the center of the headlight assembly. This is your H Line. Use the masking tape to mark these measurements on the wall. Now locate and mark the center of your car on the wall. This is your V Line. Next measure the distance between the center of your car and the headlights. These are your V RH and V LH lines. Every car is different and these measurements must come from your specific car. When you are done with the measuring and taping your wall should end up with a pattern that looks like this illustration. The dark lines represent the masking tape. The V stands for Vertical, the H stands for Horizontal and the RH and LH represent Left Hand Side and Right Hand Side.

Before we get to aiming your lights you will need to locate the adjustment screw. From my personal experience each cars  headlight has a different style of adjuster screw. If you are having a tough time locating your cars adjustment screw consult your vehicle manual. There should be 2 adjustments per headlight. One is for vertical (up and down) adjustments and the other is for horizontal (side to side) adjustments.

Now its time to turn on your lights. Aim your lights one at a time so there is no interference from the other headlight. (you can disconnect the 12 volt power supply to the HID ballast that is not being aimed to turn it off) This illustration is split into the same 2 distances from before. This illustration has measurements listed as guidelines only. Every car is different and these measurement should be used as a reference point only. Not every car has a distinct cut off line like this illustration shows, but you should see something similar. Above the line should be dark, and it should be very bright underneath. Use the adjustment screws to align your lights as close to this as possible. Perform this for both sides of the car and you’re done. Now its time for the test. When it gets dark go for a drive. How are your lights? Are they too low, or too high now? Can you see better? Are people still flashing their lights at you? From here you can make minor tweaks to the adjustments to dial it in perfectly. This illustration shows measurements for high beams as well. Depending on your car you may be able to adjust them separately from the low beams. If your car has separate adjustments than you can adjust your high beams too. All you have to do is add additional V LH and V RH lines for them and adjust them according to the diagram as well.

The main point to focus on while aiming your lights is to keep them pointed no higher then the headlight assemblies. If your car is lowered your lights won’t reach as far. Remember if you aim them up just a little bit it may be fine at 100 ft. but at 1000 ft. they may be pointing at the tops of trees.  If you you have a lifted truck you may need to aim them down a bit to keep from blinding people too. Just keep that in mind and everyone driving towards you will be happy.

On another note, remember what each set of your lights are for. Your low beams are you main source of light. They are designed to illuminate the ground in front of your car and shouldn’t cast light out too far. Your high beam lights allow you to see beyond the reach of your low beams. And fog lights are designed to illuminate the sides of the road and just in front of your car. Think of them as tools to help you see. You wouldn’t use a hammer to drive in a screw would you? Or a screw driver to drive in a nail? So don’t use your fog lights as low beams, or your low beams as high beams, or your high beams as search lights. Use the correct tool for the job!

Thanks for reading. I appreciate any feedback. Feel free to leave a comment or email me directly if you have any concerns or questions regarding this guide. My email is: tech@v-leds.com

James, the tech@v-leds.com