how to find working LED bulbs? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-02-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
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how to find working LED bulbs?

I feel silly even posting this, but I'm to the point where I think I may be missing something....

Last year I purchased two 1141 (BA15s)LED bulbs from LED Trailer Lights. LEDTrailerLights.com - RV LED interior ceiling light 1141 1156 1003 warm white They work great.

After seeing many comments about buying LEDs from Ebay - I went that route to save a few bucks. I've now rec'd my FIFTH order from different sellers - all orders with 2 bulbs each - and not a single one works.

Here's several links, in case I'm missing something in what I'm buying:
BA15S 1156 1141 1073 LED bulb 18 5050 SMD Warm White | eBay

2X Warm White BA15s 1156 1210 68 SMD LED Car Turn Tail Signal Light lamp Bulb US | eBay

1x BA15S 1156 1141 LED Car Internal light bulb 18-5050 SMD 12V,Warm White #18WW | eBay

I've checked each one in my working light 'sockets' and no go. Also, checked each one with a multi-meter and Ohms tested as an open circuit - . Then I put my LED Bulbs from Trailer LED in - and they work!

Seems like dead 10 bulbs from 5 different sellers is an unlikely scenario - but I have no other explanation.

OH, and yes, I think my more expensive TrailerLEDs are from China, just like the ebay cheapies

Thoughts, help, or specific Ebay auctions that have produced working LEDs? Thx!
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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That is disconcerting. I've not done an LED upgrade yet, but I intend to. I've used this site with absolutely no problems for other campers in the past, as well as for my Saab and several other vehicles (dash lights especially):

LED Lights, Bulbs & Accessories - SUPER BRIGHT LEDS
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:12 AM   #3
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Luke I dont know if this is your situation or not but I seem to recall that occasionally people have had to reverse the wiring on their lights to get some of the LED replacements to work. I am not an electrician so cant explain why it is. It may be worth trying on one of the lights.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:35 AM   #4
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Luke I dont know if this is your situation or not but I seem to recall that occasionally people have had to reverse the wiring on their lights to get some of the LED replacements to work. I am not an electrician so cant explain why it is. It may be worth trying on one of the lights.
Been in electronics a long time and this is a good point. LED's will only work in one direction. Here's a quick primer on how they work. Since it is unlikely that all the LED's you've purchased are bad, but they don't seem to work now anyway, I'd certainly agree that reversing them in the socket (if they aren't keyed) is worth a try. Good luck, let us know if it works?!
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:32 AM   #5
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Been in electronics a long time and this is a good point. LED's will only work in one direction. Here's a quick primer on how they work. Since it is unlikely that all the LED's you've purchased are bad, but they don't seem to work now anyway, I'd certainly agree that reversing them in the socket (if they aren't keyed) is worth a try. Good luck, let us know if it works?!
But if my current LED bulbs still work in the sockets, wouldn't it mean they're wired appropriately? I'll take a look regardless.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by LukeP View Post
But if my current LED bulbs still work in the sockets, wouldn't it mean they're wired appropriately? I'll take a look regardless.
hummmm........ rather than tossing them it would be worth trying. On the other hand I had a couple of replacement bulbs that would not work until I bent the socket a little bit as the contact isn't/wasn't quite right.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Since your original LEDs work, I would doubt that it is the wiring. I'm sure you've checked this, but is the base the same style with the pins in the same places? I've used similar bulbs for my UHaul VT with good luck over the past 2 years. I put the LEDs in the taillights and the side markers and they worked right away, so no wiring changes were required.

Could it be possible that the bulbs have a different current draw? I saw someone's posting a while ago that stated that some fused systems need updating to handle LED lights. Maybe the original bulbs have a different power draw?
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:24 AM   #8
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I have converted 3 trailers to LEDS from Ebay and have had no problem.
I use the 36 led panel lights as they are less expensive than the bulb type and seem to give off more light.
I think most LEDs are probably imported from China anyway.
John
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:32 PM   #9
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Light emitting diodes are like all diodes, one way valves to current. What you have is a "bulb" that is made of one or more LED's and other circuitry. The simplest bulb is an LED and a resistor to limit the current. These are the least expensive and require the correct polarity to turn on. Because of the additional circuitry, using an ohmmeter to check an LED bulb doesn't work. Those cheap EBay bulbs could be factory seconds; not as bright or poorly assembled. If the LED was mounted backwards, switching the polarity should turn it on. Also Carols suggestion of incorrect fit is a good one. Perhap try powering one outside the socket. The more expensive LED bulbs have circuitry to eliminate polarity concerns as well as more efficiently drive the LED. I am also a big fan of Superbrightleds.com. Good luck, Raz
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:58 PM   #10
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I actually only had a problem with the fit of the replacement LED's (they have a square multi light head) on the original inside lights to the trailer... the lights fixtures that appear to have been added later in the trailers life when the overhead bins where added did not have any fit/working issues. Still have a little bit of a flicker issue or they stop working on the original fixtures from time to time & I have to take the light cover off and wiggle them around a little.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
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I have converted 3 trailers to LEDS from Ebay and have had no problem.
I use the 36 led panel lights as they are less expensive than the bulb type and seem to give off more light.
I think most LEDs are probably imported from China anyway.
John

Can you post your link for the panel lights you have purchased, this sounds worth looking into, I want to convert my whole trailer to 12V.

Thanks. .
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:00 PM   #12
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I just replaced all the bulbs in our Casita with LEDs from ebay. Even used yellow for the outside light and all worked perfectly. Something odd is going on..
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by LukeP View Post
But if my current LED bulbs still work in the sockets, wouldn't it mean they're wired appropriately? I'll take a look regardless.
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
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Light emitting diodes are like all diodes, one way valves to current. What you have is a "bulb" that is made of one or more LED's and other circuitry. The simplest bulb is an LED and a resistor to limit the current. These are the least expensive and require the correct polarity to turn on. Because of the additional circuitry, using an ohmmeter to check an LED bulb doesn't work. Those cheap EBay bulbs could be factory seconds; not as bright or poorly assembled. If the LED was mounted backwards, switching the polarity should turn it on. Also Carols suggestion of incorrect fit is a good one. Perhap try powering one outside the socket. The more expensive LED bulbs have circuitry to eliminate polarity concerns as well as more efficiently drive the LED. I am also a big fan of Superbrightleds.com. Good luck, Raz
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!
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