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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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