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Old 02-01-2011, 01:58 PM   #1
Tesh
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Default 2011 Impreza Sedan Fast Blinker issue - not your average problem...

So "Fast Blinkers" aka Hyper-blinkers have been talked about to death, i know, i searched (this aint my first rodeo...)

but these are some new issues I've never seen before so I thought I'd share:

the car's specifically a '11 STI Sedan, the lighting mods added are (front to rear):
-LED Front L/R indicators (1157 bulbs)
-China Brand 9006 "xenon" bulbs
-9 smd festoon map lights
-36 smd panel dome light
-194 smd trunk and license plate lighting
-LED Rear Brake/Running L/R lights (7440 i believe)

the issue:
in addition to the standard fast blinkers (i've got some load balancers on the way to try out, otherwise i'll just get the relay)

-when the parking/headlights are off, and cabin/dash dial illumination is anything less than 'fully on', pressing the brake pedal or using the blinkers produces:

  • the radio's display dims intermittently(as if the headlights were on)
  • the radio's illumination of the buttons turns on
  • pressing the brake pedal specifically turns on both front 'parking lights' (ie led indicators turn on to parking light illum)
  • when blinking, the license plate led's blink as well (also when blinking, the radio display illumination blinks (ie the screen goes dim-bright-dim-bright etc))

the radio display doesn't dim/blink if the illumination dial is turned up to full or if the parking lights are on...

the exterior lights dont act up if the parking lights/HL are on either


interesting, no? I'm hoping this is cured with a load balancer/led specific flasher relay... I'd be curious to know if anyone else went through similar and saw it fixed with a resistor/relay swap...
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:39 PM   #2
Cougar4
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It sounds to me you have a crossed connection from the brake light circuit to the parking lights in the rear somehow. Check the wiring in the rear.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:50 PM   #3
Big-E
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This may be due to an LED bulb that is either installed backwards or has a bad electronic component in it.

I had a pair of 7443 "dual brightness" bulbs in my taillamps of which one had a blown resistor or diode inside. So with the parking lights off, but with the car running, when I stepped on the brakes, my boost gauge would automatically dim and then the dash lights would dim.

What this means is the power from the brakes (high) effectively bled back through the parking lamp (low) circuit and caused a feedback into the dash lights.

Some LED bulbs are polarized so that the work only one way. Some are not and when installed "backwards" they cause power to bleed and allow other bulbs and/or circuits to be energized and illuminate or dim.

You will need to remove each LED bulb one at a time and replace it with the OEM incandescent bulb to determine which bulb or bulbs are either bad or not properly installed.

*******

Also as a polite comment: do not waste your time on load-resistors especially when you can purchase a plug-and-play electronic flasher relay.

A load-resistor, when in use, gets very, very hot. If not properly installed, you could cause something next to it to burn.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:59 AM   #4
Big-E
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I have rear fog lights set-up in my car.

When I got home last night, I first shut off the parking lights and then shut off the rear fog lights and noticed the boost gauge going from dim to bright. So I turned on just the rear fog light and the boost gauge went dim.

So, I tested the bulbs by removing one at a time and then turning the circuit on and off and I found that one of the LED bulbs has effectively gone bad. I believe that there is a diode inside the bulb to keep the power from bleeding over.

OP, so again, you should test out each bulb one by one until you have located the problem.
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
Tesh
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Thanks for the tips Big-E

I figured the load resistor idea was pretty dumb (but for $5, wanted to try it out, never have used it before) and i've got an electronic flasher unit on the way....

as for power 'bleed' through, i'll try the bulb removal at a time method - im sure none of my lights are in backwards, but the thing that perplexes me is how they can bleed through when a standard bulb has no diode to begin with (im fairly versed in electronics, but this may be something i've never heard of...) and that an LED is actually a diode (only allowing power to pass through in one direction) but maybe there's a short in the bulb... after all, they are the cheapest ebay bulbs money can buy...

I have a few spare bulbs as well, but again, i found it odd that pressing the brake had anything to do with the parking light illumination.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:31 PM   #6
Big-E
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Respectfully, beyond the fact that the LED's are light-emitting-diodes, my theory is that to make all of the LED's work together and to have a low and high-side, there has to be other electronic components inside the bulb itself.

Something has to allow the LED's to go from low to bright while keeping the two isolated from one-another. So in my head I'm thinking that there has to be other resistors or other non-illuminating diodes to keep the power effectively flowing in the direction you want it to flow.

Last night when I tested the bulbs, only one was bad. Meaning it allowed the high-side to bleed back through the low-side and cause my gauges/dash to go from bright to dim.

So I replaced the driver's side bulb and tested it using the parking lamps only, it worked properly. Then I replaced the passenger's side bulb and tested it using the parking lamps only, and it would not illuminate. But it did cause the driver's side bulb to become twice as bright, or basically turn on the high-side of the bulb. So, I had to rotate the passenger's side bulb 180-degrees and that fixed the problem.

To make the driver's side bulb high-side illuminate has to be the fact that the power and ground positions of the bulb are effectively reversed. Because of the reversed position, the electronic innards of the LED bulb itself must be acting as either a shunt or amplifier.

I'm not an electronics expert by any means. This is the best way I can describe what is happening and why I think it is happening.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:40 PM   #7
Tesh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E View Post
my theory is that to make all of the LED's work together and to have a low and high-side, there has to be other electronic components inside the bulb itself.
you made it click man - i completely forgot about the IC that changes the output voltage to the LED's...

seems like the way to counter this will be the electronic flasher unit and nothing else...

did you just test the resistance/continuity across the high and low sides compared to common ground? (that sounds like the way to go)

Thanks btw ... i really cant believe i forgot about the IC - most cheap electronics dont have a robust circuitry to counteract that effect (i may need to just add diodes to the common/gnd in each line and that would work too, but then again, the flasher unit should keep them separate i believe (not sure))
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:10 AM   #8
Big-E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesh View Post
you made it click man - i completely forgot about the IC that changes the output voltage to the LED's...

seems like the way to counter this will be the electronic flasher unit and nothing else...

did you just test the resistance/continuity across the high and low sides compared to common ground? (that sounds like the way to go)

Thanks btw ... i really cant believe i forgot about the IC - most cheap electronics dont have a robust circuitry to counteract that effect (i may need to just add diodes to the common/gnd in each line and that would work too, but then again, the flasher unit should keep them separate i believe (not sure))
I have not tested the resistance/continuity - I didn't think of doing this.
Why? Because I was going to return them under warranty and let the vendor figure it out. Lazy? Not really. Just didn't think of it.

I was thinking about adding diodes inline to the power wires. This way if there is a bleed-back, it can't travel up, for example, the parking light (low-side) power wire and back to the dash. I see the failure inside the LED as one leg (the low-side) now acting as the ground. So in this case, putting a diode on the common ground I don't think would do much. Again, I'm not an electronic engineer; just a self-taught shady-tree mechanic.

What kind (size - rating and physical size) of diodes would I want and how are they installed? Do you simply cut the wire and solder the diode in place and then of course cover it with, for example, shrink-wrap tubing or electrical tape?
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:30 PM   #9
Cougar4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E View Post
What kind (size - rating and physical size) of diodes would I want and how are they installed? Do you simply cut the wire and solder the diode in place and then of course cover it with, for example, shrink-wrap tubing or electrical tape?
You could add a diode Big-E but when you do that there is a slight loss of voltage to the end device due to the barrier voltage of the diode. Silicone diodes have a barrier of about .7 volts so you lose that amount voltage in the circuit. Diodes have a wattage and amperage rating. A 25 light watt bulb will draw slightly more than 2 amps of current for a 12 volt system so if a diode is added in series you would want one that could handle at least 3 amps of current to be on the safe side. Adding a diode to the power wire will prevent a backfeed situation but I wouldn't do this mod on my car.

I have read some of your posts in the past Big-E and you have a pretty darn good understanding on electrical issues. Well done.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:36 AM   #10
Milagro303
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Morning All-
I just got pulled over for my LED's...
I've replaced almost all of my 2011 WRX Sedan's lights with LEDS (front/rear turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights), as well as the 18 series flasher (18-04 I believe) to slow the turn signal blink rate and it works successsfully... All the bulbs work but the problem is that when my running/headlights are on, and I apply the brake- the left brakelight goes out- completely dark.

Anyone have a suggestion for a solution?
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:40 PM   #11
Big-E
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Cougar4,

Thank you for the kind words and no, I didn't and won't be installing diodes. Instead I will keep an eye on things and if an LED goes out, it's either getting replaced under warranty (if one still exists) or a new one will go in.

I 'fool around', but there are also limits.

*******

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milagro303 View Post
Morning All-
I just got pulled over for my LED's...
I've replaced almost all of my 2011 WRX Sedan's lights with LEDS (front/rear turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights), as well as the 18 series flasher (18-04 I believe) to slow the turn signal blink rate and it works successsfully... All the bulbs work but the problem is that when my running/headlights are on, and I apply the brake- the left brakelight goes out- completely dark.

Anyone have a suggestion for a solution?
When you got pulled over, was it for the brake-light going out?

A simple solution to this is to remove both LED brake-light bulbs and replace them with the incandesent bulbs and see if the problem still exists.

If the problem goes away, then remove one of the incandescent bulbs and replace it with an LED bulb. Test it to see if it works. Also don't forget to test the bulb with the parking lights on as well and turn-signals, if they are integrated into the parking/brake lights.

If the LED does not light, pull it out and rotate it 180-degrees and reinstall it. Test for function. If it works, then move onto the other side. If it does not work, put that LED aside and test the other. Go through the same procedures as described above.

You want to effectively eliminate what is bad and what is not bad.

I'm by no means an expert, but I have spent a lot of money and time experimenting with LED bulbs to find out what works and what does not work as well as discovering some of the inherent and hidden pitfalls of them as well.
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