The Things We Wish We Knew🤦‍♂️…

Car lighting can come off as a bit of challenge for some especially when you have little to no knowledge on the vehicles electrical system.  Even for those experienced individuals, there are still some things that you will never learn until you get hands-on and do the work yourself.

We have created a list of the top 10 things we wish knew before we got into modding our own vehicles lighting.  These tips can help the experienced professional and just about any person new to the modifying there vehicles or just about any person wanting better lighting for their cars.  These 10 tips have proven to help you save money, a lot of time, hassle, and minimize the labor involved.

#1 Play it safe and wear protection!

Safety is always a priority!  When installing any parts to your car, you should always be play it safe. Safety should never be overlooked! When working with car lighting, use industrial grade nitrile gloves and any other safety tools such as safety glasses.  Nitrile gloves are heat resistant which means you can handle things that are as hot as an LED headlights heat sink or fan.  When replacing your factory bulbs or upgrading your existing LED headlights to JDM Astar LEDs then you should always wear gloves to help protect your hands, and the LED lamps.  It’s rare for the oils on our hands to cause a diode to over but this is not a reason to not

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Safety should always be a priority when performing any type of work on your vehicle.

Using industrial automotive gloves that offer a nitrile linear are perfect for handling extremely hot parts such as resistors and/or a high intensity discharge bulb (HID for short).

Next time you catch yourself playing Hot Potato with you factory bulbs, make sure you have your automotive gloves handy!

#2 Magnet pickup tools are lifesavers!

If you are working on an older car and have damaged or brittle sockets, you may have run into this pickle already.  We see this very often on classic cars or sockets that have excessive wear.  Sockets that do not secure a bulb correctly has known to allow the factory bulb or an LED to just slip off the socket and end up in the housing.

This can be extremely tedious and quite annoying to fish out especially if the bulb is lodged deep inside the lamp housing.

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“This can help save loads of time and minimize the frustration involved from trying to just bounce that bulb around until you can finally grab it and remove it from the housing.”

Try using a magnet pickup tool.  Most good quality aftermarket LED bulbs have metal bodies for heat dissipation.  By simply removing the lamp assembly, you can easily remove the LED bulb out by using the extender on the magnet pick up tool.  Some magnet pickup tools offer a bendable rod for even better reach should the LED be stuck in a corner of the housing where you cannot easily reach it.  This can help save loads of time and minimize the frustration involved from trying to just bounce that bulb around until you can finally grab it and remove it from the housing.

#3 No room to mount resistors?  No problem!

Hyper flash is a very common feature in most automotive vehicles today.  If you plan to upgrade to LED turn signals, you will almost always experience a hyper flash problem with your signals.  As you may know, the purpose of a resistor is to burn more power.  The resistor must then get rid of that power and so it just burns it which translates most of the energy consumption to thermal energy or heat.  Because of this factor, resistors must always be mounted to a metal surface for heat dissipation to help keep temperatures down and secure the resistor to prevent direct contact to non-metal surfaces.  This, however, can pose a problem if your car has nothing but plastic in the area, not enough wire length to reach a metal surface, or no secure metal surface to mount the resistor to.

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“As long as you have 1 resistor unit to compensate for the load of each turn signal LED bulb, on that same side, then it will still remedy the hyper flash problem for that entire side.”

Did you know that you can actually mount all the resistors to either the front or rear turn signal sockets?  Your car controls driver and passenger side turn signals separately.  To the car, it does not matter where you have the resistors wired up just as long as each side has the necessary load simulation that is equivalent to the turn signal bulb you replaced and is usually one per LED turn signal bulb.  The advantage of this is that you can install all 4 of your resistors to the front or rear.

As long as you have 1 resistor unit to compensate for the load of each turn signal LED bulb, on that same side, then it will still remedy the hyper flash problem for that entire side.  This means that if your car only uses 2 turn signal bulbs per side (driver or passenger sides) then you can wire up your 2 resistors to the front or rear while still keeping the factory turn signal flasher relay happy.

#4 Check your factory bulbs and car before you attempt the labor!

Most aftermarket automotive bulb type products are not vehicle specific but rather SIZE specific.  This means that it may be difficult to locate 1 LED or HID headlight that is specifically designed for your model vehicle.  However, if you can identify the headlight bulb size your vehicle is currently using, you will most certainly find hundreds of options to choose from.

Before you decide to pick up your own set of aftermarket LED headlights, you should ALWAYS check your factory bulb sizes before attempting to access the bulb especially when it is labor intensive.  This can save you time, and the frustration experienced when you find out that you wasted over 2 hours, to access the headlight bulb, only to learn that you do not have the appropriate sized LED headlight bulb.  Knowing what factory bulbs are in there now and how much labor is required will prevent those sudden surprises, not to mention the time lost and hassle of having to ship your parts back, and ensures the installation is seamless.

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The owners manual and factory bulb are the most reliable sources to find the bulb size needed.

Any of the following vehicle makes may experience additional or intensive labor that may require removal of additional parts to access your factory headlights such as front bumper, housing assembly, grille, a large quantity of plastic fasteners or wheel wells:

European vehicles– Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Fiat, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, Volkswagen.

Domestic vehicles– Some Chrysler models, some Dodge trucks (2000+) and sedans, some Buick models, newer model Fords, GMC, Jeep, Land Rover, Lincoln, and Ram trucks (2000+).

Asian vehicles– Some newer Acura sedans, some Kia sedans, Mazda sedans, Subaru SUV’s, Scion,

If your vehicle maker is listed here, check your owner’s manual to understand the steps required to gain access to the bulb you are planning on replacing.  There are good sources on the internet that will provide useful information as well.

If you own a very popular model vehicle, you will almost always find a source on sites like Youtube that provide the ‘How-To’ steps in replacing a bulb for your car.  Sources like Carcarekiosk.com are also very good for tutorial videos on accessing various light bulbs in your vehicle.  Research your car with these sources and make your new LED upgrades a breeze to install.

#5 Stay on top of your states periodic vehicle inspection laws!

The use of automotive aftermarket LED headlights is legal in most states and no state defines an aftermarket LED headlight replacement bulb illegal for road use.  States, however, do have periodic vehicle inspections such as emissions inspection, and automotive safety inspection.  For states that have safety inspections, make preparations before attempting to get your vehicle inspected while your LED bulbs are installed.  You should always check inspection requirements before attempting to install any aftermarket LED type bulb to your vehicle as to ensure you are complying with your states vehicle safety inspection laws.

Always check your states inspections laws instead of just reinstalling your stock bulbs and putting back your LEDs once you pass state inspection as we have heard and seen in many cases. Below, we referenced a chart that shows states that require yearly inspections.  If you reside in a state that require safety inspections, check your local laws and regulations from sources such as the Department of Transportation or the DMV websites.

Inspection Map

States that have yearly safety inspections will usually require DOT complaint lamps.  (Image credit Wikipedia.org)

DARK BLUE- Periodic safety inspection

LIGHT BLUE- Safety inspection upon sale or transfer

LIGHT GREEN- Safety inspection required to register

YELLOW- Emissions testing required in some areas

BROWN- Emissions testing required in all areas

GREY- No inspection required

#6 Replace your headlight bulbs ONLY with LEDs that use a fan or heat sink.

If you are planning to replace a headlight low beam or high beam bulb, you will require a HEADLIGHT type LED replacement bulb. There are many options online that go as low as $15 a pair and fit your low beams since they use the same size and physically appear like the factory bulb.  Those particular bulbs, however, lack a fan or heat sink and are usually a sign that the LED replacement bulb will not support a headlight type application such as a low or high beam.  Installing this type of bulb into a headlight assembly is not recommended as it is not safe to utilize as a headlight replacement and will almost always have poor results.  There is reasoning behind this though.

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“…a headlight type LED replacement bulb WILL ALWAYS use a high velocity fan, a passive thermal heat sink, or a combination of both.”

LEDs need a lot more power to support a headlight application.  Not nearly as much as factory halogen bulb but much more compared to a 2W-5W LED such as what is featured on the image above.  Higher power consumption translates to even more thermal engery that is generated by the diodes.  Since LEDs have a heat threshold, a headlight type LED replacement bulb WILL ALWAYS use a high velocity fan, a passive thermal heat sink, or a combination of both.  These parts usually protrude about 1in-2in after installing the LED headlight and are obvious visible parts.

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Thermal heat sinks do have any heat from friction caused by a fan, do not cease when worn out or exposed to driving conditions, and come equipped with premium type diodes such as (Phillips) Luxeon ZES chips.

The purpose of these components are to provide a faster method of cooling for the diodes and results in a balance between light intensity,  and efficiency to ensure a long life expectancy.  This is what helps prevent a burn out of ANY light emitting diode (LED).  A faster cooling mechanism allows the LEDs internal driver to maintain efficiency at its highest and therefore provide an even longer operating and lifespan.  If the bulb does not have this type of cooling mechanism then it is more than likely designed for other applications and lamp housings except a headlight type.

The last thing you want to do is buy one a wrong LED bulb and get stuck with results that are way too dim!  Way dimmer than your original bulb too!  This can be discouraging to some since you now have to go through the labor a second time to remove the bulbs.  And since the results you initially found were not the greatest, it can be discouraging to you from wanting to try that same brand again or not use LEDs on your car all together.

Save yourself the time and trouble and ALWAYS check if the type of LED replacement is appropriate to replace the existing factory bulb.  If you are ever not sure, or just need some assurance, give the guys at JDM a call and we will gladly guide you to find you the bulb you need to determine the best LED lighting solution for you and your car.

#7 Aftermarket headlight housings can create a nightmare!

Not entirely true as there are several aftermarket brands that have brought the industry some of the best headlamp assemblies that we have seen and even vehicle manufacturers are unable to replicate yet alone offer something that is just as innovative.

What we mean by this is that your aftermarket housings can change your factory bulbs to something different.  We came across this on our first cars we attempted to modify and most aftermarket headlight housings are known for using an H1 halogen bulb.  This is because an H1 halogen bulb is more cost effective since this particular bulb lacks any seals/orings, needs a dust cover to seal against moisture, and exposes electrical connections.  Some aftermarket brands do not use a headlamp assembly with a dedicated bulb( such as an H11 or 9006) or retain the factory bulb as it tends to cost the manufacturer or supplier even more to make and feature into the housing assembly.  This means that the consumer must also fork out a larger cost for the added convenience of retaining your original factory bulbs.

In the car lighting industry, we have seen many cases where a consumer or installer has taken every correct step to ensure the appropriate LED replacement bulb was ordered only to find that the size changed due to the aftermarket housing assembly.  Upon learning about this, it can also pose other problems such as limiting you to what LED replacement options you can use on your aftermarket housings, since H1 sizes are not very common, and the physical limitations your LED headlight now has because of the type of housing and bulb that is being used.  An H1 halogen bulb tends to require a dust cap or cover that seals the housing posing yet another fit problem since most LED headlights use a fan or heat sink.  The cover must now be modified or replaced.  There is also very limited clearance in the area which means you cannot use anything that is physically too large.

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“…your aftermarket housings can change your factory bulbs to something different.”

If you are thinking about putting both aftermarket housing assemblies and aftermarket LED headlights to your car, make sure you know what bulbs are being used with your new housing assemblies!  If you plan on building up your project car then you should always consider using a higher end housing assembly to help you retain your factory bulbs but if you opt to take a short cut and save some cash, make sure you know what you are putting into your car to avoid these types of problems.

Always check the housing the vehicle is using and you will save yourself money, time, labor, and the world’s most painful headache!

#8 Do not overpay for labor if your vehicle only takes a few minutes and no tools to replace your bulb!

We see this on a daily basis!  It is mainly from those that lack experience or do not have knowledge about their cars and almost always have to outsource a 3rd party to make an install for them.

If you are not sure, lack experience, or do not have the confidence to install to your car then you should always seek a professional for both safety and assurance that the installation is done correctly.

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Sources like Youtube & Car Care Kiosk both offer tutorial videos on replacing specific lamps on your vehicle.

For those that are okay with getting their hands a little dirty, or have some experience, check to see if your car is easy to work on first.  We’ve seen many cases where a shop charges a client an excessive amount of money and the labor involved only takes about 10mins.  A better example is a tire patch!  Many tire shops give free tire patches for the most minor holes.  Other places can charge as low as $10 which covers the labor involved.  There are some places, however, that will charge you $20 or more. For a tire patch?!  Same concept when replacing a light on your car.

Always familiarize yourself with the steps involved in replacing a bulb on your vehicle.  A good source is your owner’s manual! You can save yourself money, hassle of scheduling a shop visit and taking time off of work, and the satisfying and rewarding feeling of knowing you did the work yourself, and did not cost you a dime!

# 9 Have your resistors or decoders ready before you attempt to install.

This a very common thing that we come across often.  There are several vehicle makers that use a unique circuit or system on various lighting applications such as vehicle headlamp lighting.  These systems are infamous for creating various problems for an aftermarket LED replacement headlight or smaller sized LED replacement bulbs.

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Two of the more common issues are turn signals that hyper flash or flickering and/or auto shut off from a vehicles low beam headlamp circuit.  Research your vehicles make and model to see if there are any common issues that may arise when replacing any of your factory bulbs to an aftermarket replacement bulb.  When you plan ahead, it can help save time of going through the labor of installing your LEDs only to learn that a problem came up and now you have to go out of your way to buy resistors, and install them.

Automotive forums are one of the best sources for details like this or just call the guys at JDM Astar for any guidance.  We keep track of the various systems that are present in many cars today such as Pulse Width Modulation signals, Totally Integrated Power Modules, CAN bus, Pulse Voltage signals, or a voltage change (Ex. Daytime Running Lights).  These types of systems/circuits can be finicky with ANY aftermarket LED bulb and tends to make them behave abnormally.  Our research and testing has allowed us to determine what cars will require such parts so we can help you avoid getting surprised by a problem and ensure your LEDs operate as they are intended to.

#10 Always seek some guidance!

This applies to any person looking to replace a bulb in their vehicles.  Whether you are professional that works on cars daily or are new to working on your own vehicle, never hesitate to seek guidance.  If you are not sure of something, trying to figure things out on your own can create more issues than it does resolve not to mention the amount of time that can be lost.  Seek guidance from JDM ASTAR, contact a local dealer, get hands on and check your car but most important, never hesitate to ask for help!

JDM Astar is available Monday-Friday 9:30AM-5:30PM PST.  If your matter is not urgent, you can also reach out to us via email.  We guarantee responses within 24 hours or by the next business day.  We can also set up a time and date to reach out to you to help guide with upgrading your vehicles lighting or technical guidance to resolve any issues the vehicle has in adapting to an LED replacement headlight.

We are here to help and will remedy most car lighting issue, or get you that slick lighting mod to finally complete your car build!

Whatever the case may be….JDM Astar has YOU and YOUR RIDE covered!

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Get ready to be part of the world’s premier choice in automotive LED lighting!

“Lighting up your world…one car at a time!”

Using aftermarket LED headlights on Toyota’s with DRL/High Beam applications

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Daytime running lights are a lamps that are automatically controlled by your vehicles system and typically run during the day and is shared to the same high beam bulb but at a reduced intensity.  Some cars have dedicated daytime running lights that are separate from the headlamp applications.  If your vehicle’s DRL is separate then your car is one of the lucky few that will never run into a flickering problem on the DRL system when running aftermarket LED headlamps.

For those that have experienced a dreadful flicker on their Toyota, this article may be geared towards your situation.

First, you must understand how a daytime running light system works.  You know what it is, but how does it turn on?

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Most vehicles will be programmed to meet certain conditions in order for the DRL system to actually turn on.  The headlight switch must be set to AUTO, gear must be in DRIVE or not PARK, and there will usually be a sensor on the vehicle’s dashboard which detects light.  Once the conditions are met, your vehicles system will immediately supply a reduced current to dim the factory high beam bulb.  This applies to most Toyota’s with DRL’s and high beams on the same circuit.  To understand if your vehicle runs high beams and DRLs on the same lamps, you may either physical test the lamps or consult the owner’s manual.  You may also reach out to JDM Astar for any guidance.

Once the DRL system engages, BOOM!  You get the fast flicker on your LED headlights!

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So how do you fix this flickering issue as it is not controlled by a CANBUS system that is monitoring the lamps for problems?

Well, the fix is very simple and after extensive research and testing of various model Toyota’s with DRL systems, we have determined that Toyota runs a pulsing system where the voltage supplied is roughly 10V-12V but pulses on and off very fast which causes an LED lamp, that is sensitive to power, to light up and shut off quickly.  This only works with older model lamps like incandescent or halogen as it will never allow the burning filament, of a factory bulb, to light up to full intensity or shut off completely.  The pulsing signal keeps the bulb in a dim state.  We now have a solution for you to allow you to run aftermarket LED headlights!

JDM Astar offers a decoder module that is actually designed for CANBUS but will also bypass voltage changes that pulse on DRL systems shared with high beam headlamps.

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How does the decoder work?

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Our decoder features a built-in capacitor. A capacitor will hold a small amount of charge that will allow the current supplied to the headlight bulb to be steady thus preventing the pulsing voltage from having any effect on the diodes of the LED lamp.  Since LEDs are very sensitive to power, a pulsing voltage will also cause the diodes to flicker at the same rate that it’s pulsing.  A capacitor will also simulate a much larger amperage which will also take care of a lamp out indicator that is either triggered by the vehicles circuit, or in some cases, a CANBUS system.

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If your Toyota happens to have a high beam lamp and DRL running on the same bulb and circuit then make sure you pick up a decoder harness from JDM ASTAR.  They are plug & play and will save you a headache, as well as a traffic stop citation.  If you ever have any questions or need guidance, contact us.  Our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be glad to assist you on resolving flickering issues on your Toyota and remember….

“LED JDM ASTAR light your way on the road!”

-JDM ASTAR Team

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

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.

h13-female-vs-male

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.

h13-male-connector-pin-alignment

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!