Posts Tagged ‘LED Blinkers’

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.

V-LEDS strip lights are a great way to add lights to the interior or exterior of your car or truck. The possibilities are endless for location and functionality of these style of LEDs. We have added another LED strip light to our already popular lineup. These LEDs are not the standard V-LEDS strip lights though. The first major difference you will notice about these strips is the LEDs are aimed to the side, not straight up like our standard strip lights. Second, these strip lights feature dual color, White and Amber LEDs wired separately on the same circuit board. These dual color strip lights function the same as our popular switchback LEDs. A simple 3 wire installation makes them easy to install in any car or truck.

V-LEDS Dual Color Switchback LED Strip Light.

Want to see more pictures of these lights installed on the V-LEDS Project Scion iQ? Click here and see the photo gallery.

We are on the second lighting mod on our Scion iQ. On the rear bumper there are 2 circular reflectors. They looked a little out of place but are required by DOT for visibility. We looked at them and thought “these would be great if they were active”. So we decided to see if they could be dissected and turned into brake lights.

Here we see the reflectors with as they appear from the factory.

We started by accessing the back of the reflector. This was pretty easy, with the removal of few plastic snaps we were able to remove the small rear inner fender liner. This allowed easy access to the fastener that holds the reflector to the bumper. After removing the nut from the backside of the reflector it comes right out.

Behind the bumper you can see how the reflector mounts. You can also see the wiring for the LEDs.

The red reflector portion of this unit is plastic welded to the mount (backer). There is enough space inside to hold one V-LEDS STRIP_RL_12_R. To separate the red reflector from the backer we heated a razor knife and pressed it into the seam where the front and back are fused together. Then it was just a matter of wedging a small flat blade screw driver into the melted section and prying them apart. It is not a clean split, but is the most non-invasive way to get it apart so that they can be glued back together later.

After you separate the front and back its time to get them ready for the STRIP_RL_12_R to be installed. I oriented the LED disc so the pattern of LEDs was aligned so the vertically/horizontally. From there I drilled a hole for the wire to be routed through. I drilled a hole in the bumper so the wire could be routed through as well.

LED Installed Inside Rear Reflector.

Here are the reflectors after completion.

After affixing the LED we used super glue to reattach the reflector to the backer. It was a tight squeeze but it fit inside. After the glue cured we reinstalled them and routed the wiring through a factory rubber grommet located on the back of the car. We ran the wiring up to the factory brake lights and spliced it into the brake circuit.

Reflectors are now active brake lights.

Here is a list of all the components used on this upgrade:

2 of these: STRIP_RL_12_R

2 of these: DIY2_WIRE_48

1 of these: DIY2_Y_ADAPT

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.

V-LEDS Platinum Edition High Power 20

Here at V-LEDS we pride ourselves on developing the latest in cutting edge LED technology for your car. The latest addition to our extensive assortment of LEDs is the Platinum Series High Power 20. This bulb features years of development and testing brought together to form the perfect combination of light output and aesthetic appeal. This V-LEDS product is overbuilt to deal with the most demanding of applications. From Daytime Running Lights to Brake lights, this LED can do it without problems. Thick aluminum circuit boards and a large machined heat-sink located at the top of the LED quickly dissipate the heat generated by the .5 watt diodes. Clear lenses with vent slots add to the finished look of the bulb. Each .5 watt diode, 20 total, make for an intense blast of light aimed directly into your cars reflective lenses for the brightest output available on the market today.

The Evolution Of The High Power 20 Bulb

The Design of the High Power 20 LED bulbs started years ago. There was missing product in the 7440/7443 category. Everything we tried was just not bright enough. We needed to do something completely different to achieve acceptable levels of light output. After designing different prototypes a decision was made to use different diodes. The .5 watt diode was realized as the best candidate for the job. These diodes pack a serious punch. Each .5 watt diode has the same light output of 10 of our standard diodes. They also create 10 times more heat than the standard diodes. Heat is an LEDs worst enemy and we needed to develop a means to dissipate the large amounts of  heat generated by these new diodes. This led to another technological innovation by V-LEDS, the aluminum circuit board. This allowed the full power use of the .5 watt diode in brake light applications. This technology is applied to all High Power .5 watt LEDs offered by V-LEDS. The first edition of the High Power 20 used 14 .5 watt diodes on the sides and 6 of our standard 1210 diodes on the top. This design was hugely popular, so popular in fact that we continued development all the way up to the current Platinum Series. As we continued to advance this product we knew it needed to be brighter and even more capable of dissipating the heat of the .5 watt diodes. The 3rd Generation of this LED was equipped with massive aluminum circuit boards to handle the increased power output of the LEDs. The 6 standard 1210 diodes on the top were replaced with 4 .5 watt diodes to get as much light output as possible. This bulb packed a serious punch, but the finished look of the bulb left something to be desired. Which is where the Platinum Series steps in. A few tweaks in diode placement and heat management combined with its vented lens and voilà. Stay tuned in to V-LEDS to see where we take this already amazing product. Can we make it any better than it is now? That was the same question we asked ourselves a few years ago and the answer is YES, YES we can! Check out the progression of photos; 2nd, 3rd and Platinum Series from left to right. (The 1st Gen not pictured, It was a 48 LED version utilizing our standard 1210 diodes)

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

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

Before we get started  I need to preface this article with a disclaimer. This is not a modification that should be attempted by everyone. This is only a guideline for those who fully understand how what they are trying to accomplish. V-LEDS cannot be held responsible for any damage that occurs to your vehicle while performing this modification. With that out of way lets get started.

This modification is relatively simple. I have done this before in the past, but never really thought much about it because we offer electronic flashers and load resistors that fix hyper-flashing issues. But what about the cars that we don’t have an electronic flasher for? Or for that customer who does not want to splice load resistors into his wiring harness. You can also look at this from an efficiency viewpoint. LEDs are very energy efficient and load resistors burn power to create an electrical load to trick the flasher unit, this defeats using the LEDs for this purpose.

Lets cover why you would even do this in the first place. We do not offer electronic flasher units for every car or truck out there.  If you happen to own a newer Honda/Acura you know that already. It is pretty spendy for the GM vehicles that use the LM487 flasher and Lexus vehicles lose the confirmation light flash of the security system when you replace the flasher unit with and LED compatible version. What if you could just modify the flasher unit that came in your car? How would you go about doing it? Before you modify anything you should probably understand how it works. Lets start with understanding how the flasher unit knows when your bulbs burn out.

As with any electronics, flasher units function within a set of rules. These rules are pretty simple when it comes to a  flasher units hyper-flashing circuitry. The rule here is wattage and the flasher unit is looking for a specific value of wattage. The flasher unit monitors the wattage of both blinker circuits (any car that uses these style of flasher units will  have 2 blinker circuits, a left and right) and compares the value of these circuits to a resistor that is located on the circuit board of the flasher unit. The resistor is a metal “HOOP”. This hoop is designed to be within a specific wattage range, anywhere from 42-54 watts depending on the wattage of your cars original blinker bulbs.  See the diagrams below to see what the hoop looks like. Depending on your vehicle, it  may look different from these examples.

Toyota/Lexus Flasher Unit

Typical Ford Flasher

So now that you understand how this part of the blinker circuit functions we can start to understand what needs to be modified in order for it to work with V-LEDS. We already know that LEDs have an much lower wattage draw than the filament bulbs. Another factor to consider is that an LED actually stops voltage. LED is the acronym for Light Emitting Diode, and diodes do not carry any electrical resistance (OHMS) across the positive and negative contacts. This changes the value of the blinker circuit and the flasher unit recognizes this as a burnt out bulbs and starts to hyper-flash.

This simple modification will allow you to change the value of the flasher units resistor hoop to match the value of your V-LEDS. After you have removed your flasher unit from your car and removed its cover take a look to see if yours has the resistor hoop. If you find that yours has the hoop you can go ahead and start, the process is pretty easy. All that needs to be done is to remove some material thickness from the hoop. This will change the value of the hoop, and by doing so changes the value to match that of your V-LEDS. You can use  a dremel tool with a sanding drum or something similar to do this, either way you do it be sure to take your time. Be sure you do not overheat the hoop, you can melt the solder joint on the circuit board. Grind small amounts of material off of the hoop. I ground down the face of it first and then ground down the top of it. Reinstall the flasher unit and test the blinkers periodically to ensure that you get it just right. While tested I found at one point the blinkers were flashing normally for about 5 seconds then would go back to hyper-flashing for a few seconds and  would continue to go back and forth. I ground off just a little more and it worked flawlessly. If you get this just right the flasher unit will function the same as it does with the filament bulbs. This means that if one of your V-LEDs stops working for some reason the blinker circuit will hyper-flash to let you know. That is what I consider a bonus!

The process is really quick and painless.  After I removed the flasher unit it only took about 15-20 minutes to grind it down while testing it. After about the 5th time I got it perfect. It is a pretty straight forward job once you understand what needs to be done. The picture on the right shows how the hoop should look when it is complete. All that’s left to do is to place the cover back on the flasher unit and install it in the car.

Go ahead and test it out for yourself and see how it works. Let me know if it works for you too.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question, or you can contact me directly via email: tech@v-leds.com

James, the tech@v-leds.com

I have been fielding this question more and more lately. I experienced this problem first hand before I worked here at V-LEDS. I diagnosed the cause of the problem and then I was able to come up with a solution to fix it. Lets find out the cause first.

My experience was stumbled upon after the car I worked on left the shop. The customer called back a short time later and stated that he noticed something weird when he was parking in his garage. When he stepped on the brakes he noticed that the white LEDs that were installed up front were lighting up at the same time. I did not know how to explain this, this was my first time using any products from V-LEDS. I then contacted V-LEDs and asked if anyone had seen or heard of this happening before. At the time they had not. (this was about 3 years ago) So I asked the customer to bring his car back to the shop and leave it with me so I could try to fix the problem. I figured that the source of this problem was the brake lights, because it happened when the brakes were pressed. This particular car, a 2007 Shelby GT 500 uses 3 pair of lights for the tail-lights/brake lights. I used the best of best from V-LEDS, and had installed 3 pair of the 3157_92_R LEDs. Up front I had installed the 3157_60_SMT_WA1_6K. What I noticed was this:  when the parking lights are in the off position the white LEDs on the switchbacks would come on at about half power when the brake lights were on. I removed the taillights and grabbed my DMM (digital multi meter) electrical tester and got to work. The condensed edition of what I found is this: With the Parking Lights off and the Brakes lights on about 5 volts would show up on the parking light circuit. I reinstalled the original filament bulbs and the problem went away. So I concluded that the LEDs were causing the issues. I didn’t think much more at the time other than that it needed to get fixed so the customer could have his car back. I had plenty of electrical components in my shop and went straight for the diodes. I figured i could use a 2 amp diode to keep the +voltage from back feeding into the cars parking light circuit. I installed 6 diodes, 1 for each brake/parking light and it fixed the problem.

This all happened a few years back. Now that it is my full time job to help customers of V-LEDS find solutions for problems that can occur from replacing filament bulbs with LEDs I have seen other variations of this same problem. These include, when the brake lights are on: the dash lights dim, the navigation or radio display dims, and the fog lights come on. Some of you just want to know how to fix it, but others are interested in WHY it is happening in the first place. So I would like to take the time to explain why. Here goes…

There is an electrical component on a circuit board inside the LED bulbs. This component is responsible for the output brightness of the LEDs on the bulb. This means that the LEDs are being run at half power when the parking lights are on, and full power when the brake lights are on. This is how our LEDs differ from a filament bulb. In filament bulb there are 2 separate filaments, a low filament and a high filament. They are not connected internally and they both operate at full 12 volts. Each of the 2 filaments are of different wattage. This is how a dual intensity filament bulb works.

In the pictures below there is a diagram showing how to install the diode inline on the parking light circuit and an illustration that explains how a filament bulb works compared to an LED bulb.It also shows how the voltage back-feed happens.

This diagram shows how to install the diode inline to fix the problem

This illustration shows how a filament bulb works VS an LED replacement bulb.

If you have any more questions about this or if you are experiencing similar problems feel free to contact me via email here:  tech@v-leds.com, and I can give you a hand.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this article, I hope it helped you out.

James, the tech@v-leds.com

I’m sure you already know that LEDs are polarity sensitive. If you didn’t know this basically means that they will not light up if the power and ground are connected backwards. So if you plug in you new V-LEDS and they do not light up, try flipping them around and plugging them back in and they should work. I want to go over some other polarity issues where flipping the connection over will not work.

Here is the classic example. Your car, truck, or motorcycle uses an 1156 style bulb and you have replaced your blinker or brake light and it won’t light up. The filament bulb that was installed before worked just fine, why is the LED not working? Simple answer is polarity. The problem here is that you can’t just flip this bulb around to make it work. The metal base is the main contact and there is a center pin in the bottom of the socket that is the other contact. The problem here is associated with the wiring on your car. The wires going to the socket are backwards. The industry standard is the metal base is the ground connection and the center pin is the power connection. Some car makers do it differently and use the metal base as the power connection and center pin as the ground connection. Why? Not too sure but it is easily fixable if you have some tools. You will simply need to cut the 2 wires routed to the plug and reconnect them backwards. Solder and heat-shrink the connections if you have the a soldering iron, otherwise a simple, crimpable, butt connector will do the trick. I have found on some cars this is not possible, usually European cars with one piece buss bar socket setups like the picture shown. You cannot modify the wiring for these sockets as all the bulbs share a common ground wire or common power supply. If you find that your car has this type of tail light assembly I highly recommend testing it with a test light to see if it is wired backwards before you purchase any LEDs.

Another polarity issue that can be a problem is on some blinker circuits. Known vehicles are the newer Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler and some GM trucks and SUVs. These vehicles have a 194 sidemarker bulb that also acts like a blinker. When the parking lights are in the OFF position this bulb is off. Once you turn on your turn signals this bulb flashes on alternately of the front blinker. When the parking lights are in the ON position this bulb is on. Once you turn on your turn signals this bulb flashes off alternately of the front blinker. This is a series circuit that is fed power from 2 sides. It requires that voltage and ground be able to flow both directions through the filament of the 194 bulb. Once you replace this bulb with an LED the power cannot flow through and will cause the blinker to stop working. We have some 194 LEDs with special circuitry that will work for this application, but they are Flank style LEDs and usually do not work for this light housing application (light is shining the wrong direction).

So if you find that you are experiencing one of these problems grab a test light and test your sockets. Or put the filament bulb back in and see if everything is working.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions. You can leave them here or email them to me directly here: tech@v-leds.com

James the tech@v-leds.com