LED Tail Lights at Harbor Freight - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #1
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I swung past Harbor Freight to pick up some cheap chisels to help me scrape the rotted plywood floor out of our Surfside today. While I was there I noticed they had a pair of waterproof (e.g. submersible for boat trailer use) LED tail lights with a license plate holder and illumination on sale for $40. I bought one set and dry tested them on a bench. They light up nicely and have good visibility right-to-left and should be really easy to see, day or night. $40 is a really good price for a set.


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I am not worried about the amount of power my tail lights draw from my tow vehicle. That's not why you install LED tail lights on a trailer. You install them because they are a good safety feature. Not only do LEDs last a lifetime (so you don't have to worry much about burned out bulbs), they create red light in a very narrow spectrum (range of colors) that makes it more visible to the eye than the red of incandescent tail lights bulbs. The narrow red spectra light is also better at cutting through fog and weather, too.
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:42 PM   #2
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I will never buy from Harbor Freight again.

A friend of mine bought a shovel there and it broke.....the shovel head not the handle?

Every time I am in there I just feel dirty after.

Just me?
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:30 PM   #3
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Have your friend take the shovel back. I have never had a problem returning anything to Harbor Freight.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:43 PM   #4
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My Harbor Freight purchases have been a mixed bag. I have an HF air compressor that just keeps chugging, but the framing nailer I bought from them has the bad habit of firing nails in pairs about one in every ten nails or so. The jaws on the Vice-Grip-like locking pliers I bought from them have lost their teeth, but the socket-set sockets I bought from them have held up great.

So I've arrived at a happy medium when it comes to buying their stuff. I'll buy occasional-use power tools from them, like my biscuit joiner and new multi-tool, but my hand drills, power saws and other frequently used tools are name-brand. I stock my trailer tool chests with their pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons and such because I don't expect them to get used often, but get quality tools for the pegboard and tool chest in my shop.

As for LED products, generally LEDs burn out within the first ten hours of use or they last for 50,000 hours or more. So if my new tail lights last through my burn-in period, I figure they're good.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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I'll be buying new LED taillights for my Boler soon; would you recommend bench testing new led's for ten hours and how would I set that up? Just hook them up to 12v ? (I'm not that good at electrics).

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Old 02-02-2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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I've had good and bad from HF. Bad was a can crusher with plastic parts that broke after a dozen cans. Problem was, I didn't install it until about a year after I bought it so couldn't return it.
I bought a couple of dog brushes- mine is fine but my friend's broke. Lights are probably okay but I haven't ever bought any there. LED lights would be nice.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:40 PM   #7
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Well . . . I'm bench testing them now, but I bench test every LED I plan to create a custom application for. It's just much easier to find out that there's a bad LED before you go install it semi-permanently on your trailer or in a housing or whatever than it is to discover a bad LED after it's installed, and the test is really easy to set up. Assuming these pass, I'll buy a set for our other trailer and test them, too.


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For testing I set them on one end of the kitchen counter and hooked up the "running" lights to my jump-start battery (which is plugged in for charging). Every hour or so I come back and connect the "brake" lights for 15-30 minutes. They've been lit like this for three hours now with no problems, but I figure on running them for ten hours., so I'll unhook them at bed time, then hook them back up tomorrow after I get home to finish out the test.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:49 AM   #8
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Great info. Thanks Peter.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:33 PM   #9
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I would never buy anything from Harbor Freight that needed to be used for "precision" work. However, I've had good luck with simple devices like clamps, hammers, and pry bars. Basic tools like this are okay especially if you don't need them for more than occasional use. I read a magazine review of their pin nailer and most of the time was spent by the reviewer trying to clear jambs. I tried their cheap trim router and the adjustment knob broke off almost immediately. I guess most of their tools are okay if you're just building simple yard furniture or doing basic framing, but don't count on holding a setting or maintaining accuracy for very long.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:07 PM   #10
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I bought an electric scissor jack from them (the heavier of the two sizes they sell) put it under the vehicle and cranked it up..... the top of the jack where it meets your frame is made of plastic (it looks like metal) and shattered on the first try....I took it back but there is alot of their stuff i use.You just have to be careful it's not something your going to use everyday that's heavy duty.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:12 PM   #11
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I've burned the HF LED tail lights in for ten hours now, and they've held up for the burn-in. So I'll install these and get a second set for our other (project) trailer, too.

One thing I should add, however, is this set of tail lights does not have any backup lights. If that's important to you you should look elsewhere.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:24 PM   #12
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I am glad the test was successful. Do they have DOT stamp of approval?
George.
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:21 PM   #13
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I am glad the test was successful. Do they have DOT stamp of approval?
The lenses have a DOT stamp.
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:24 AM   #14
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Hi Clive
There is a pair of 7" LED Light on Ebay to fit right on your American Boler
That's what we did on ours ,No extra holes needed !...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2-7-ROUND-L...=item3efa8f270c

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