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

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

LED Fog Light Bulb Installation

How To Install LED Bulbs In Fog Lights (2016 Subaru WRX as an example)

Here are some steps to install your LED bulbs in your fog lights for your 2016 Subaru WRX
1. Remove the plastic clip that is on the side of the bumper
2. After removing the clip with a Philips head screw driver carefully pull the bumper outwards towards you
3. Locate and remove the existing bulb.
4. Grab your New bulb( in this case we are using our LED headlight bulbs.
5. Install your New bulbs also be sure to plug in the bulb!
6. Turn on your fog light to make sure it works then put everything back, then repeat the steps for the other side!

8th Gen LED Headlight installation

Below are the steps to follow when installing our 8th gen LED headlight bulbs.

1. Figure out which bulb you would need, to find out you can check your owner’s manual or pull your original bulb out and it should tell you the bulb type, also Google is at your disposal or you can simply email us a picture of your bulb and we can let you know which bulb size you would need.
2. Once you have figured out which bulb size you would need, your next step is to purchase the bulb! Once you receive your order please check for any damages before starting your installation. If you bulb is damage please contact us immediately.
3. Next step is to locate the bulb you are changing out, for example: low beam, high beam, fog lights. In this case we are using the 2013 Honda Accord DRL/High Beam.

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4. Remove any object (if possible) that can make your install easier for you, example: 2013 Honda Accord passenger side headlight you are able to remove the coolant reservoir to gain access to the High beam/ DRL bulb.

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5. Remove the bulb and un-plug it from the socket.

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6. Grab your brand new 8th gen LED headlight bulb and install it in the socket.

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7. Test the bulb to make sure the bulb turns on.
8. Take a look into your headlight housing or turn on the light to see how the light output is. (be sure to have the vehicle facing the wall or a white board to see the light output or cutoff)
9. If adjusting is needed, take the allen key which is included in your 8th gen headlight, locate the allen key screw on the bulb and loosen the screw so the bulb can rotate freely. Please note: the LEDs should be facing Left and Right in the housing.
10. Reinstall the LED bulb and repeat the steps for the other side.

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Here is an installation video