Which way should the chips face on your LED headlights?

This is a question that we are starting to see more and more and we are sure that this has made its way into your mind at one point.  We have had our fair share of poor light patterns from off branded LED’s and have seen surprising results with even premium headlights from reputable brands that shine even worse.  Before we get into this, you must understand that the vehicle manufacturer of your car, truck, or SUV have scientifically measured the lamp housing to determine what is the best light source to include and how it will project the light pattern without jeopardizing safety and improve driving visibility and noticeability.  These are all things that are in mind when your lamp housings are being designed.

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Bottom line, your lamp housings are designed for what they came with.  Cars that come with HID’s probably come with projector housings, and vehicles with reflective housings will have a halogen, incandescent, or something new we have not seen.  This means that your aftermarket LED lighting system may not project the same type of pattern or amount of light.  Factory halogen bulbs shine light in a true 360 orientation to evenly distribute light throughout the lamp housing and really take advantage of the reflective properties of the fixture.  So, if the lamp housings are designed for halogens, and projectors for HID’s, how do you obtain a safe and usable light pattern when going to aftermarket LED?

With our LED headlight products, we have designed our LED lamps to provide the best light disbursement inside the lamp housing by shining light in two different directions; side to side or 3 o’clock & 9 o’clock.  Most vehicles housings will provide optimal results when using a side to side orientation or having the LED chips face left to right.  Some of our other designs cater more to the intensity of the light beam and may feature an extra side where diodes are mounted. We address the proper orientation through the following chart.  We show the proper orientation for dual beam and single beam LED headlights and provide a side view to show how the bulb should be positioned inside the housing.  The orientation is the same for most aftermarket LED headlights that are single or dual beam setups.

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Here are few things to consider when going to LED:

  • 2-sided LED headlights for single beams should have the LED chips facing left to right.
  • 2-sided LED Headlights for dual beam applications will have a shield which should always be sitting below the low beams chips. The orientation must be side to side for optimal results.
  • Headlights that use a unique triangular design or have 3 sides, to cater more to light intensity, will feature a 3rd side for high beams which should always be facing in a downward position or a 6 o’clock orientation.

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Now the real question is, how do you get around changing the orientation when the headlights are positioned incorrectly once installed and no way to adjust.  With options like our 8th Generation headlights, you can now obtain optimal results through an adjustable collar feature.  We have also integrated this feature on dual beam LED headlights such as our G series, or 7S headlights.  We have an option to cater not just to one car, but every car in the world so if your pattern is bit off, stop by our site or give us call.  We will help you obtain the best results possible so that you may go about your day with your loved ones.  Your safety is priority and our priority is your safety so LED us light your way down the road…..”

 

-JDM ASTAR Team

Using LED with a CAN Bus System

You have heard once before, and you will hear it again.  “What is a CAN bus system?”  A CAN bus is a “Controller Area Network” vehicle bus which interconnects components inside a vehicle.  A CAN bus is like an on board diagnostics system that runs upon turning the ignition and while the vehicle’s operating.  The system also monitors your vehicles applications such as lighting.  A CAN Bus system is equipped with the vehicle to alert a driver of a problem with the normal functionality of an application or their vehicle.  A lot of 3rd parties indicate that it only monitors your lighting applications, which they do, but they also monitor everything else that may be considered a safety hazard should the part, component, or application fail or begin to malfunction in a manner that is considered abnormal.  A CAN bus system can be frustrating or cause malfunctions but they are an essential system to have on your vehicle.  We created this article to help you understand how to make your lamps function properly without a worry of a dreadful lamp out indicator or flicker.

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The main reason why a CAN bus system cannot detect an LED bulb is due to the power draw (current) of the lamp application or resistance change.  By upgrading your lighting application, whether interior or exterior, you are decreasing the power draw substantially.  It may vary between vehicles, but a CAN bus system (or any similar system) is designed to function a certain amount of power (current), voltage, resistance or amperage of the different applications on the vehicle including lights and by installing an LED bulb, it may recognize the bulb as a fault or opened circuit.(burnt out bulb)  These type of systems are not designed to work with the current of an LED replacement.  They will not be able to distinguish the difference between an actual ‘burnt out’ halogen bulb, and a new upgraded LED so an error code or lamp out indicator may be triggered.  Some cases it will cut power to the application which will result in a sudden flicker then shutting off.  So how do you solve or avoid this malfunction?

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The solution is very simple, for most vehicles.  JDM Astar offers “error-free” LED replacements in various sizes from 921 (T15), 1156 bayonet size, and all the way to bulb sizes for headlamps.  They come equipped with built-in decoders.  A decoder (or anti-flicker harness) is a module that is designed to counter or fix CAN bus related problems and they feature a built-in capacitor to keep the LED’s charged (prevents flickering).  The decoder will also increase amperage which will allow the system to detect the lamp (prevents lamp out indicator).  There is also added resistance to allow the vehicle’s circuit normal functionality and ensure the LED’s are receiving proper current.

You can also take the simple route and add resistors which will allow the bulb to simulate a much larger current draw which for most cars will fix a problem triggered by the system.

Another great option is to use an “Error Free” LED which for the most part is designed for vehicles equipped with CAN bus.  With Error Free LED’s, they will feature resistors within the bulbs circuit to allow a larger current draw, however, this type of setup has its limitations on how much can be drawn.  There are certain makers and/or model vehicles that are programmed to detect a much larger current than what a CAN bus-ready LED bulb has to offer.  They may still trigger an error code so then the proper load must be applied to the vehicles circuit by wiring in a resistor.  You can do this by installing resistors to the ground and lead wires.  Resistors will draw out the difference in power to simulate the power draw of your halogen bulb.

If your vehicle is built with a CAN bus system, then don’t worry.  We have an arsenal of solutions waiting for you to resolve any minor issue with your vehicle’s CAN bus system and LED replacements.  If you run into a problem, we are here to help.  We can help you find the perfect LED replacement so that you will have an error-free experience.

-JDM Astar Team

How to Upgrade Backup Lights On Volkswagen Golf

How to: Install/Replace backup lights on Volkswagen Golf MK7 (2015+) USDM

This step-by-step tutorial will guide you through the process of either replacing the backup light bulb or upgrade to an aftermarket LED bulb.

In this tutorial we are going to swap out our factory 921 halogen bulbs to our GX3020 CANBUS model.

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Recommended tools: Trim Remover / Pry Tool / Panel Remover Tool

Parts Used: GX3020 CANBUS LED (921 LED replacement bulb)

  1. Open the trunk hatch and there will be two covers.

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1a. Locate trim indentation, and using your pry tool, pull away the panel to expose lamp housing.

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2. Locate the backup light bulb socket. To remove socket, twist 1/4 turn counter-clockwise to unlock and carefully pull out the entire socket and bulb.

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2a. Use gloves to prevent direct contact to the glass surface of the bulb.  If the bulb hot, use a towel or heat resistant gloves to remove from the receptacle.

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Here is a side by side view to compare the stock bulb and the LED replacement.

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3. Install LED bulb onto the receptacle or socket and insert the entire unit back to the lamp housing.

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Always check the aftermarket parts dimensions and make sure the housing allows you to fit the replacement.  As you can see here, we were right on point in fitting the aftermarket LED replacement.

Test the bulb replacements before finalizing installation to ensure installation was done correctly. If there are no errors you can reverse the steps to put everything back together and begin troubleshooting.

Here is a photo showing a comparison to the incandescent bulb (left) versus the GX3020 (Right)

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What we found about this installation:

During the installation we have learned that the backup light circuit only has to be complete (like a fuse) for the error code to be prevented. We installed a CANBUS error free bulb and a NON CANBUS bulb and both were compatible with no error messages being triggered.

We replaced the bulb holder (socket), without any bulbs installed, and only then did we encounter a bulb out error.

Volkswagen Golf equipped with an Entertainment System.

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Volkswagen Golf’s without Entertainment System

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Our Experience at Our First Car Show Autocon 2017

JDM ASTAR was founded in Southern California and when we first started we were selling from home and marketing our brand.  Since then, JDM ASTAR has become the next runner up in the LED auto lighting industry.  With the support of car enthusiasts, loyal customers, and fans worldwide, we were able to expand and grow our company and now we have been finally able to attend our first official auto event.  We decided that our first official event will be Automotive Connection Show 2017 in downtown at the city of Angels.

JDM ASTAR went out to Autocon 2017 on March 26th at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  The drive was very close and the venue was as expected.  A bit small for us but we were still excited just being a part of this event as it was our first ever event that we attend as a company.  Here is a before photo of our booth.

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Here’s another shot of what a lot of event goers kept requesting us to do.  We just had to turn them to show everybody but could not keep them on for too long or Autocon officials would have given us the boot.

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We met a few vendors and even managed to see TJ Hunt!  TJ Hunt is a major influencer in the auto industry and is a runner up as one of the top Youtubers in the auto industry so heads up EricTheCarGuy, or Scotty Kilmer because there is a new kid in town.  He uploads vlog videos and tons of project videos where he works on modding “Selena” as well as other performance vehicles like his Subaru BRZ and Nissan GTR as well as other projects that he works on that involve his crew.

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When we learned about TJ Hunt and his crew attending the event we were more excited than what we were able to handle.  It was like seeing a celebrity.  Unfortunately, we were not able to meet and greet TJ Hunt but knowing that we were able to be a part of an event where he was a special guest is a privilege.  Here is photo of his 350z modeling at Autocon 2017.  The wrap on the vehicle is done perfectly by Premium Auto Styling.  Might just give them call to see what kind of mayhem they can do with our Jeep Wrangler.  The job they did on the 350z is flawless!

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We could not have attended this event if it was not for you guys.  Through the support that you guys provide, we were able to finally attend this event so we are very grateful and we look forward to meeting more new faces and maybe meet new vendors that will join our brand in innovating LED car lighting.

Again guys, it is because of your support that JDM ASTAR has grown to what it is today and we will continue doing our part in providing better and safer lighting for the world.

We thank you for your support.  We value each and every one of you that have allowed us to come this far so thank you very much for everything you guys have done for us and for continuing to be supporters of our brand.

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With your loyalty, JDM ASTAR will continue to light your way down the road so come join us and be a part of the revolution to help us change the world in how people use car lighting.

LED Switchbacks, the revolution of turn signals has begun!

Driving safety is the number one concern when operating a motor vehicle.  Whether your vehicle is a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, or RV, you always have to consider safety.  One factor that may also affect your driving safety is how your vehicle signals when you are about to perform a turn.  With how innovative automotive LED technology has become, we now have the ability to improve how your turn signal functions so that other drivers can have a distinct view when you are approaching and/or about to signal, to alert them, that you are about to turn.

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JDM ASTAR offers LED switchback turn signal bulbs for almost any automotive vehicle.  An LED switchback bulb is a dual-filament LED lamp that supports two different colors of light for each filament.  The colors that the switchback bulbs support are amber, and xenon white.  A traditional incandescent or halogen turn signal bulb, usually, supports two filaments which are; low intensity(parking lights and/or daytime running lights) and high intensity(turn signals and sometimes parking lights).  Some may also only support a single high intensity filament.  High intensity means the brightness of the lamp has a higher light output.  Low intensity will lower the light output.  Your switchback bulb works very similarly but instead of “dimming” the second filament to give you a low intensity light, it will actually support a white colored light that measures at a color temperature from 5,800K-6,500K.  The high intensity filament will appear in a bright amber color.  The white color activate as soon as your vehicle begins to utilize the second low intensity filament.  How your vehicle utilizes both the high and low intensity filament, with the factory bulb, will give you an idea of how our switchback LED bulbs will function with car.  For most vehicles, you will have a white color for your parking lights or daytime running lights, and will switch to an amber color once a turn signal is engaged.  After the turn is finished and the signal turns off, the amber light “switches back” to a xenon white color.  The switchback bulbs will not flash “white-amber-white-amber” like you see with a lot of ‘knock-off’ LED bulbs that everybody tries to avoid.  They will flash like your original halogen bulbs and only in amber color.

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We offer LED switchback bulbs in a several different sizes from an old style dual filament size like 1157 as well as the latest sizes like 7443(T20), and 3157(T25).  They are also available in different chip sets from our AX2835, EX, and PX to our 3030 chip set so that you will have multiple options in light output.  Certain LED switchback bulbs like our PX, and 3030 series, will even support a non-polarity feature so that they will function with sockets that are equipped with a standard or CK/SRCK configuration!

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With most vehicles, if you utilize our switchback bulb, you will have the ability to use a white light for your parking lights, and an amber color for your turn signals.  Having this feature together with your turn signals will ensure that other drivers, in front of you, will have a much easier time noticing you, coming up from behind.  The fact that the parking lights are white and switch to amber will also make you that much more noticeable and thus improve driving safety. So next time you need to replace a turn signal bulb, do not just switch the bulb for a bright LED bulb, “switchback” to a revolution of LED turn signals.

 

-JDM ASTAR Team

 

 

LED Lighting, you have been doing it wrong!

How are my headlights supposed to be oriented inside the housing?  What type of bulb should we use for a fog light on my car?  What is better, a fan or a heat sink?  These are all questions for which we have not seen a single source provide answers for and that is what we are doing for you today.  We want to provide you with some tips when upgrading your vehicles factory lamps to high performance LED lighting.

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One of the most common questions we hear every day is how your LED headlights should be positioned.  Well, this can be different for some cars, and even if the model and maker is the same, it does not necessarily mean that the body is all the same.  First, you should understand how your LED bulbs will insert into your housing to determine what the final result will be, once installed.  JDM ASTAR offers adjustable LED replacement lamps that will allow you to correct the orientation.  The position of the diodes (LED chips) should always be in a side to side orientation, meaning, you should have one set facing at 3 o’clock, and the other set facing at 9 o’clock.  This will allow a nice and even 360 light distribution throughout the housing creating an even beam of light as well as evenly fill up the housing.  We cannot stress enough how poor your headlights will appear if you have the incorrect orientation, not to mention the glare may cause to other drivers. The last thing you want to do is create a hazard when operating your car.  Be very careful as there are many brands and vendors that will advise that the bulbs are designed to be this way, but, we have tested several types of housings, and style of lamps and have learned that the proper orientation for LED lighting is to face the diodes side to side unless you integrate a 3rd side that will provide an additional side of lighting to cover a high beam application.

For dual headlight setups, that provide low and high beams off one bulb, will use the same orientation side to side orientation but there will also be some type of shield or cover which should always be sitting below the diodes after you orient the bulb side to side.  If the shield sits above the diodes then flip it around now!  The shield or cover helps prevent light from shining down to ensure it does not reflect at a higher angle so the cover should always be sitting below the diodes.  For those unique LED designs that have a 3rd side with diodes mounted, there will be an off set chip that sits closer to the fan or heat sink.  It sits closer or deeper in the lamp housing to provide a higher light beam angle.  The 3rd side will usually cover the high beam application which should always face downward. To summarize, LED designs with chips on two sides of the bulb should face left and right.  LED designs with 3 sides should have the high beam side facing downward and the other two will face diagonally upward to where one chip sits at around 2 o’clock and the other 10 o’clock.

JDM ASTAR offers an option that allows an adjustment to the orientation in case your vehicle is one of those unique models that simply has the chuck lined up a certain way to where any type of LED replacement headlight will have bad orientation.

 

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Another question we have been hearing a lot lately is what type of lamp is appropriate for your application.  Well, of course, you should always consider heat as the number one factor as this is the most common reason why an LED fails prematurely.  But what type of lamp should you be going for?  A good tip is to simply check the wattage of the LED replacement.  Here is a table to keep it simple and to show you what type of lamp you should be looking for when replacing a factory halogen bulb on your car.  The table will give you a range of what you should be looking for to ensure that you buy the right LED bulb type for the appropriate application.  We cannot tell you how many times we have seen a 9005 fog light type LED bulb being used in place of a low beam or high beam application.  So next time you are in the market to replace a bulb that has gone out, just check the wattage.

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To get the best results out of your LED light replacements to is to replicate the same or similar light distribution of the factory bulb.  Most vehicles on the market have housings that are designed to distribute light from a bulb that emits light in a 360 degree orientation.  This will provide optimal results both in how well the light fills the housing as well as project the light.  There are some factors on the LED bulb that will help provide optimal results, but the ice breaker is where and how the light is emitted.  Factory HID lamps are the only exception due to the design of the housing being different.  Factory HID lamps can get away with using an LED replacement that does not offer 360 lighting, however, if the factory bulb is an incandescent, or halogen, then you definitely should be looking for an option that will provide lighting from more than one side.  Next time you decide to upgrade the factory bulb to LED, call JDM ASTAR where you will not only get the appropriate LED replacement, but you will have a team of professionals that will provide friendly advice on how to get the most out of your LED replacements, and do it right the first time, and every time. . . .

 

-JDM ASTAR Team

LED Headlights Power & Grounding Malfunction on Ford F-Series

LED is the next generation of automotive lighting.  When LED first released, most vehicles will accept the installation of an LED replacement since cars were not made with complex wiring, or electrical systems.  Today, now we have vehicles on the market that come equipped with systems known as Controller Area Network Bus (CANBUS) or a redesigned housing and wiring, all for the convenience of the owner of the vehicle, and of course, safety.  Some of these new changes are beneficial to the owner of the vehicle, but are now creating headaches when using LED lighting.

With Fords F-series trucks, we have learned that the front headlamp applications have been redesigned (2001+ F150/250/350/450) and we have heard issues to where your LED headlights do not power on at all, or your fog lights trigger your LED high beams (H13).  Look no further as JDM ASTAR is at it again with the solution on making your LED’s’ function properly.

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First, if you are experiencing a power issue with your low/high beam LED replacements (H13), you want to first inspect the connection to ensure the pins are making a good contact to the socket.  To resolve this issue, you want to compare both the male and female end of the connection.  On the female connector, there are total of 3 slots for the pins to insert to.  There are also 3 other slots that we have seen with some factory H13 connectors.  We have learned that a power failure, or malfunction may occur if the pins are inserted into the incorrect slots.  You want to make sure the pins are properly aligned to ensure the low and high intensity part of the bulbs will light on.  If one of the pins is slightly off, it may cause your LED headlights to show symptoms of a malfunction.

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After you have resolved the power malfunction, if you come across a problem with the grounding of your Ford trucks fog lights, and headlights then consider the next step.

With newer Ford trucks, the fog lights, and high beams have a similar feature as to how low beams shut off when high beams are engaged.  Like any other dual filament headlight bulb, if you have low beams on, and engage your high beams, it automatically cuts power to your low beams and turns them off.  Ford has used a similar setup with their fog light application and high beams.  If you engage high beams, it automatically turns off the fog lights.  With LED headlights, this can pose a grounding problem to where your LED headlights pick up a back feed on the circuit.  This problem does not occur with the factory bulb since it is a standard filament (halogen/incandescent) bulb which has no grounded circuit board.

JDM ASTAR LED headlights use a grounded circuit board to ensure high efficiency and maximum performance.  Fords F-series trucks have fog lights  configured to where the ground comes from the headlights.  It feeds a 12V+ (DC) to the fog lights ground when high beams are engaged resulting in a 0V (DC) to your fog lights.  This will trigger the fog lights to shut off when high beams are activated.

Since Ford has this wiring setup, it will cause a back feed on the ground circuit of your fog lights, and make your high beams turn on. To fix this issue, you must isolate the ground circuit on your fog lights.  In other words, a modification must be done to allow your fog lights to stay on when high beams are engaged.  This will prevent the back feed that is created when you install LED headlights (H13).  To isolate you’re the ground on the fog light application, you should consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual, or visit your local dealer.  You may also have a trained professional, mechanic, or electrician help you modify the circuit so that the grounding is not shared to your high beams to allow your LED headlights to function properly on both low and high beam applications.

-JDM ASTAR Team