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Old 05-25-2017, 09:48 AM   #1
snowdrift06
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Default Don't buy cheap LEDs for your headlights...

I bought a set of "hilinker" 194's from Amazon a few months back. They appeared to be okay. The other day I noticed my driver side headlight had a burned discoloration. Now I've had to order a new headlight and I'm hoping the wiring hasn't melted.

Lesson learned

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Old 05-25-2017, 12:19 PM   #2
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Do Not Install Led Plug And Play Bulbs Into A Halogen Or Hid Headlamp.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car_freak85 View Post
Do Not Install Led Plug And Play Bulbs Into A Halogen Or Hid Headlamp.


Use more capitalized letters
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:42 PM   #4
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May or may not have installed LEDs all around from SubieLED...Saw them on a thread somewhere

Is this likely to happen?
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schuylerreed View Post
May or may not have installed LEDs all around from SubieLED...Saw them on a thread somewhere

Is this likely to happen?
I don't know who makes Subie LED's stuff, but I'm sure they would stand behind it. LED's should run at a cooler temperature than a standard incandescent. I think the issue here was a cheap piece of hardware that shorted out.

I have a new headlight assembly and I'll be replacing the bulbs with ones I ordered from Diode Dynamics.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:07 PM   #6
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Old 05-26-2017, 12:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowdrift06 View Post
LED's should run at a cooler temperature than a standard incandescent.
Yes and no.

Incandescent light requires the filament to heat up in order to generate heat. An LED emitter generates heat at the back end (chip / board side).

For low power applications (like turn signal), an incandescent bulb will have a more noticeable heat, because like the light pattern, it is radiated (almost) evenly everywhere. But for LEDs, touching any front portion of the "bulb" won't give you a sense of the heat. Even worse, as the heat is concentrated in a smaller surface area (that is approximately the same size as the emitter's area), it could generate a high enough temperature to brown the board substrate or whatever it is mounted to.

That is why for OE low & high beams, the LED assembly comes with a rather massive heatsink. There's a good reason why they're there.

The pictures of the browned 194 LED bulbs show a rather irresponsible design. All those LED emitters stacked like that, with nowhere else for the heat to go but the base of the bulb socket.
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Old 05-26-2017, 11:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by satrya View Post
The pictures of the browned 194 LED bulbs show a rather irresponsible design. All those LED emitters stacked like that, with nowhere else for the heat to go but the base of the bulb socket.
OP, you didn't do a lick of research before jumping on the interwebs to order these garbage bulbs. You could have very easily burnt your car to the ground, or worse, damaged someone else's car while yours acted like a BBQ.

Do the world a favor and do some reading before ordering anything to replace these (Spoiler alert: YOU SHOULD NOT INSTALL LED PLUG AND PLAY BULBS INTO A HALOGEN OR HID HOUSING).
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car_freak85 View Post
OP, you didn't do a lick of research before jumping on the interwebs to order these garbage bulbs. You could have very easily burnt your car to the ground, or worse, damaged someone else's car while yours acted like a BBQ.



Do the world a favor and do some reading before ordering anything to replace these (Spoiler alert: YOU SHOULD NOT INSTALL LED PLUG AND PLAY BULBS INTO A HALOGEN OR HID HOUSING).


The purpose of my post is to inform others and not make the same mistake I did. Thanks guy
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:23 PM   #10
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I suppose with LED replacement bulbs for home that is truly acceptable without doing anything to the electrical bulb sockets, it is not a stretch for the (incorrect) general belief that aftermarket LED replacement bulbs are also completely ok for at least the low wattage bulbs (like parking lights, clearance, and possibly turn signal lights).

What also doesn't help is the (incorrect) impression that LED has no heat issue, as the radiated light is not generated via heat and placing the hand on the path of the light doesn't offer any clues of heat. Of course, that the heat is concentrated on the back of the emitter, on the resin and/or board side, simply hides the real issue. Afaik, home LED bulbs' slightly different (and larger) package allows proper heat management and dissipation not possible with small 194-type automotive bulbs. This is especially because most of the 194 bulb sockets are mostly plastic, making further heat conduction less likely.
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:53 PM   #11
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I learned a similar lesson where a cheap incandescent bulb near-shorted in the DRL socket, burned the wire and connector, and barely noticeably burned the housing (thank God). Fuse did not blow.

Nowadays I think it's either Osram Sylvania, Philips, and Vleds, or bust.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:49 PM   #12
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Also notice those are canbus leds, they have built in resistors that suck current to imitate the original bulb load, you don't need that on your corner lamps. That just draws more wattage / creates more heat. It's likely there was poor contact at the socket to the bulb terminals but the bulbs could have had poor heat dissipation as well, like mentioned above. If you buy any led product, always be sure the current drawn isn't more than what the original bulb did. Otherwise, watt's the point of buying them? (lol)
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 2slofouru View Post
Also notice those are canbus leds, they have built in resistors that suck current to imitate the original bulb load, you don't need that on your corner lamps. That just draws more wattage / creates more heat.
I don't believe that's the case. LEDs need a voltage regulator so that it gets a voltage close to the range of its "forward voltage". Anything less produces no light, and any small amount more than that draws very large current (and could prematurely end its life). A cheap workaround is to run a "voltage divider", by adding a resistor in series. I believe that's how most inexpensive LED PnP works, at least for low wattage types like parking lights.

You can test this if you buy LED chips by connecting it in series with a variable resistor and a power source. Place voltmeter leads between the resistors, and see the voltage change as you sweep the variable resistor's dial from max resistance to min. At some point, the LED starts to light up. Keep turning a little bit more, and the LED gets brighter. It's been a while since I've done this test (for an aux turn signal), so I'm not sure what happens if you crank the dial further. There might not be any obvious signs that the LED has burnt out.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satrya View Post
I don't believe that's the case. LEDs need a voltage regulator so that it gets a voltage close to the range of its "forward voltage". Anything less produces no light, and any small amount more than that draws very large current (and could prematurely end its life). A cheap workaround is to run a "voltage divider", by adding a resistor in series. I believe that's how most inexpensive LED PnP works, at least for low wattage types like parking lights.

You can test this if you buy LED chips by connecting it in series with a variable resistor and a power source. Place voltmeter leads between the resistors, and see the voltage change as you sweep the variable resistor's dial from max resistance to min. At some point, the LED starts to light up. Keep turning a little bit more, and the LED gets brighter. It's been a while since I've done this test (for an aux turn signal), so I'm not sure what happens if you crank the dial further. There might not be any obvious signs that the LED has burnt out.
These cheap led lights use a resistor paralleled across the positive and negative lead of the tab...don't believe it, get your multimeter and measure across the leads. You will read the resistor they are using to induce a load into the car's monitor circuit. The led regulator and load resistor are not one in the same. The load resistor is just burning/wasting power and dissipating it through heat. You could cut that load resistor off the board and the led will still work the same.
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:00 PM   #15
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Ok. So they have a load resistor (in parallel) and a voltage divider resistor (in series)?
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:22 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by satrya View Post
Ok. So they have a load resistor (in parallel) and a voltage divider resistor (in series)?
Many of them use the load resistor paralleled at the beginning of the circuit and a voltage regulator ic circuit after. Surely there are still cheapo ones that just series the leds but I haven't seen one in a while. In one of his pics you can actually see the switching regulator ic and a choke, they are getting more advanced all of the time. It's amazing how small a circuit can be and still regulate voltage precisely. There are still manufacturer/assembly defects I'm sure, as quality control for parts like this isn't always the greatest.
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:03 AM   #17
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So, from pics OP posted in post #6, one side is the array of parallel load resistors, and the other side is the voltage regulator then?

The last time I tested PnP low power LEDs, I don't recall seeing that many electrical components on them.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satrya View Post
The last time I tested PnP low power LEDs, I don't recall seeing that many electrical components on them.
Because it's a cheap design with no heatsinks on them. Decent LED lights have a metal case / body to dissipate the heat generated by the bottom side of the LED's.

This is a decent LED-based turn signal bulb: http://ASIN.cc/1BNE8Rf



Notice the heatsinks built into the frame. Good heat dissipation capabilities. I know because I'm testing this variety out with a pyrometer, and I'll write up on it soon. And I'm an engineer, to boot.

The "circuit board based" LED bulbs shown by the OP are not a good design. No way to dissipate heat, so the LED's enter thermal runaway and burn up the board. And the socket, too, as we've seen.

For turn signals,backup lights, and some accent lighting, LED's are okay provided they throw light around properly and they dissipate heat properly. Crummy designs don't let them work right, however.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:04 PM   #19
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ok, so this all begs the obvious question:

Who are the reputable vendors I go to for me 7440/7443/168/1156a bulbs for interior and exterior LED's?

~Rob
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXwrxWagon View Post
ok, so this all begs the obvious question:

Who are the reputable vendors I go to for me 7440/7443/168/1156a bulbs for interior and exterior LED's?

~Rob
Super Bright LED's

https://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/...acement-bulbs/

I've been using them for 11-years
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:39 PM   #21
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Pretty legit brand. yeah you need good heat dissipation for and LED to last, or not burn up like that
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Old 07-21-2017, 02:04 AM   #22
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Does anyone have any experience with SubieLED or Diode Dynamics LEDs?
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ActionJack-san View Post
Because it's a cheap design with no heatsinks on them. Decent LED lights have a metal case / body to dissipate the heat generated by the bottom side of the LED's.

This is a decent LED-based turn signal bulb: http://ASIN.cc/1BNE8Rf



Notice the heatsinks built into the frame. Good heat dissipation capabilities. I know because I'm testing this variety out with a pyrometer, and I'll write up on it soon. And I'm an engineer, to boot.

The "circuit board based" LED bulbs shown by the OP are not a good design. No way to dissipate heat, so the LED's enter thermal runaway and burn up the board. And the socket, too, as we've seen.

For turn signals,backup lights, and some accent lighting, LED's are okay provided they throw light around properly and they dissipate heat properly. Crummy designs don't let them work right, however.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

NO
NO NO
NO
NO

NO.

JDM ASTAR is total ****. All 4 of my LED turn signal bulbs from them have partially failed and flicker when illuminated making my car look like an unmaintained piece of ****.

DO
NOT
BUY
JDM
****STAR
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ab0815 View Post
Does anyone have any experience with SubieLED or Diode Dynamics LEDs?
Diode Dynamics is good.
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:57 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drpoop View Post
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

NO
NO NO
NO
NO

NO.

JDM ASTAR is total ****. All 4 of my LED turn signal bulbs from them have partially failed and flicker when illuminated making my car look like an unmaintained piece of ****.

DO
NOT
BUY
JDM
****STAR
That I'll buy for a dollar.

My point is to look for a metal case / base / foundation and that bulb picture gives a good illustration. As for their quality, or lack thereof, I'll defer to your judgement.

FYI, even some of the Diode Dynamics bulbs looks sketchy:

http://ASIN.cc/bMeYM0

http://ASIN.cc/y0oxTA

Notice no heatsinks on either bulb. These will eventually flicker before they die. Not a good build.
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