Posts Tagged ‘switchbacks’

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.

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

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

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