how to find working LED bulbs? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-04-2012, 06:09 PM   #15
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The only problems I've had is one socket in which the bottom spring contact had to be pried up and some of my 36s had diodes falling off. Bad solder? Strangely after a few had come loose the remainder stayed attached and continued to emit light. The baddies are in the head and in the outside porch light.

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Old 07-04-2012, 06:13 PM   #16
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Since you are buying ready-made LED lights with the base already attached, it is entirely possible that the manufacturer has wired them differently than your previous ones. Since the “D” in LED stands for “diode”, it only conducts electricity in one direction, unlike a normal incandescent light. That means that the polarity of the current must be correct for the LED to work. Also, as noted in a post above, it is possible that the bases of your lights are not making good contact in the sockets.

In my Trillium, I have replaced all the lights with LEDs, both inside and out. I made my own lights buying 25 or 26-LED lights on eBay (picture below) and mounting them into BA15 bases myself, with 2 lights to a socket. They are as bright as a standard 1156 light bulb (but 1/10 of the current for a double pair), and are warm white (which I prefer). I also replaced the inside fixtures at the same time, so I was able to make sure the wiring was correct and the same for each fixture. You could also just solder the lights into the existing socket if you wanted to, since they last for thousands of hours, instead of mounting them in a base at all.

On the outside of the trailer, I had no issues with the taillights, which were wired correctly. However the running lights had different wiring, so I had to change it on two of the running lights. This was easily done by cutting the wire in any place where I could reach it that ran to that light and reversing the wires. I found that it would be too much effort to try to change the wiring at the actual socket, which had been installed in 1980. I made running lights from just soldering 4 small red (rear) or white (orange lens) LEDs together and mounting them in a smaller base that I scrounged by breaking some old glass light bulbs and cleaning them out.

I have bought about 35 different LED light bulbs in the past year from several eBay sources for myself and friends that I am doing the same conversion for. Every one of them has worked perfectly once the polarity of the current was correct. If your lights really don’t work, I would contact the seller, who will probably replace them. They are obsessed with having good feedback ratings and, in my experience, will likely do anything to avoid negative feedback.

Good luck.
Rick G
Rick, do you make your own by soldering a 1141/1156 base onto the pictured LEDs? Or do you manually connect the wiring from the socket to the LED itself? Thx!
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:41 AM   #17
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Raz, Question regarding using an Ohm meter... my working LED bulbs actually show resistance on an Ohm meter - while the non-working ones don't.

I did try moving the contact around in the socket, but nothing. I will try and switch the polarity around to check when we're back home after this wkend. And to the question of verifying that I'm using the right base - at this point that's a valid question! But I believe we're good on that.

And to those who've used ebay - if you remember your sellers - would love to see who/what. Thanks for all the thoughts!
The problem with using an ohmmeter is you don't know what you are measuring. A typical white LED requires about 3 volts to operate. To run on 12 volts at a certain intensity individual LED's are put in series and parallel and additional circuitry, most likely resistors, are added. Without knowing the configuration, a measurement value is meaningless. That said the fact you get some sort of reading on the good ones and nothing on the bad might be useful. Try taking your reading with the leads switched. A reading with the leads switched could indicate a polarity issue.

I think the idea of contacting the seller is a good one. I bet if you tell him what you have told us you get a fresh batch. For him it's much cheaper to send you new LED's than get bad feedback. Keep us posted, Raz
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:06 PM   #18
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The problem with using an ohmmeter is you don't know what you are measuring. A typical white LED requires about 3 volts to operate. To run on 12 volts at a certain intensity individual LED's are put in series and parallel and additional circuitry, most likely resistors, are added. Without knowing the configuration, a measurement value is meaningless. That said the fact you get some sort of reading on the good ones and nothing on the bad might be useful. Try taking your reading with the leads switched. A reading with the leads switched could indicate a polarity issue.

I think the idea of contacting the seller is a good one. I bet if you tell him what you have told us you get a fresh batch. For him it's much cheaper to send you new LED's than get bad feedback. Keep us posted, Raz
Agree Raz, I have no idea of what level of resistance I'm measuring, only wanted to have a comparable between working v. Non working.

All the sellers have said "whoops, they should work. We will refund your money instead of doing an exchange, if you'll leave positive feedback for our service." One said he didn't want to do an exchange in case the next batch didn't work either. So as of now I'm not out any money, and I'm back at square one! Will try switching polarity next week when I'm back and see where that goes. Thx!
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:12 PM   #19
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We had ordered LED's to replace interior lights on our Burro. The first order did not work because we needed a single contact base and we got a double contact base that was not compatible.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:12 PM   #20
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Some LED manufacturers include a bridge rectifier in the input to the device. This makes polarity irrelevant. I'd still check the polarity of your sockets - it is possible that the working ones have the bridge rectifier & the others don't.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:14 PM   #21
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Rick, do you make your own by soldering a 1141/1156 base onto the pictured LEDs? Or do you manually connect the wiring from the socket to the LED itself? Thx!
I make my own bulbs by soldering the lights into socket bases, always making sure the +ve voltage goes to the center pin and the negative goes to ground. I have pictures of them at home but not here at "work". This is mainly so I can change the light bulbs around if I want to. However, electricity does not care how it is connected, and wiring the LEDs directly to the light fixture would work just as well.

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Old 07-15-2012, 08:29 PM   #22
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Thanks again for all of the thoughts! Here's my update, as I had time to work on these bulbs this wkend...

I powered the known-working LEDs via the battery directly, found out that they must indeed have the circuitry / bridge rectifier to make polarity a moot point. They powered with positive/negative either direction.

The non-working LEDs indeed worked with the polarity reversed ONLY!

I switched the wiring on all of the sockets - so they're "wrong" but switched - now the "ebay"-cheapo LEDs work AND the more expensive "LEDTrailerLight"-LEDs work alike!

Thanks again for all of the help - if I only knew the LEDs were different - it could have saved a fair amount of headache!
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