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Cheap LED Bulbs - Be careful

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Area51Runner, Dec 18, 2019.

  1. Dec 18, 2019 at 8:39 AM
    #1
    Area51Runner

    Area51Runner [OP] Well-Known Member

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    First thing first - not saying every cheap bulb sold on Amazon, FleaBay or wherever is like this. Also not saying you shouldn't run LED bulbs - choice is yours. Just want to put this out there so others are aware...

    So last night I'm on my way back from a neighbor's house. Coming down the street, dash lights started blinking on and off. Ok, that's a bit weird I thought. Turned off via the healdlight stalk and back on, same thing. Pulled into my garage and dash lights go completely out.

    Proceeded to check fuses. All fuses in cab side are fine. Checked the engine bay fuse box and the tail light 10A is blown. Replaced and dash lights are working as are side markers but no tail lights or brake lights. Pulled the tail light lens cover and immediately could smell an ever so slight electrical (ozone?) odor. Pulled the bulb and the bulb itself wreaked of it.

    Decided to break open the housing to that bulb since I saw a very slight discoloration kind of looked burned. This is what I found - keep in mind these bulbs were ordered from Amazon and installed in 2016. 3 years old but still... don't really think they should've burned up like this internally. Out of the 17 years I've owned this Tacoma, not once have had any electrical issue like this.

    Alla Lighting 1157
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B7L19LE/

    ALLA_1157.jpg

    ALLA_1157a.jpg

    ALLA_1157b.jpg

    Left bulb is the passenger side (nothing sizzled)
    ALLA_1157c.jpg

    ALLA_1157d.jpg

    What is really odd and I'm still turning gears on this one - This little board at the base of the bulb, nearly positive it was still energized even after being out of the vehicle. When I snapped open the housing, I started examining the bulb internal side and noticed a very small amount of smoke coming from the bulb base. Thought its nothing (yeah right), probably residual in that small housing. Twisting the base a bit it continued to smoke - something was smoldering inside. I snipped the wires and the smoke stopped. For good measure, a little water and it was done.

    Personal choice here - going to stay away from these cheap LED bulbs. While the lighting change is nice, not worth the car-b-q risk IMO. Perhaps Sylvania LEDs, I don't know. WIll probably just go back to old fashioned incandescent bulbs.

    If you do have Alla Lighting LEDs in your rig, might want to check them out. I was also running their 1156 Amber and their reverse lights - those are in the garbage can now. Hell, all my bulbs were that brand with the exception of the headlights. Oh well.

    Be safe out there :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
  2. Dec 18, 2019 at 1:33 PM
    #2
    JasonLee

    JasonLee Hello? I'm a truck.

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    Most likely there is a capacitor on the board to smooth out the voltage and yes, this acts like a little battery.

    Capacitors will dump ALL the energy at once and explode/smoke if you cross the contacts and short circuit them.
     
    Area51Runner [OP] likes this.
  3. Dec 18, 2019 at 1:35 PM
    #3
    Outbound1

    Outbound1 Noah Bartron

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    I had a similar experience on my previous vehicle (Jeep Wrangler) and the idea of cheap LED's make me worry about my vehicle catching on fire. Thanks for spreading the awareness
     
    Area51Runner [OP] likes this.
  4. Dec 18, 2019 at 1:39 PM
    #4
    Area51Runner

    Area51Runner [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    '02 040 TRD DC 3.4 Runner
    OME 881/Nitros|Dakars w/AAL|SPC UCAs|255/85s on 3rd Gen T4R 5 Stars|ARB Bull Bar Bumper|Cheap eBay Snorkel|Leer 100R with a modded Yakima Loadwarrior basket|Diff Breather Extension|Bussmann RTMR w/AUX Panel in Cap
    Yeah, was definitely a little nerve wracking to see that. I think in the end nearly all LEDs are cheaply made/mass produced that we see on Amazon and eBay just something we risk if we want to run them.
     
  5. Dec 18, 2019 at 1:54 PM
    #5
    Outbound1

    Outbound1 Noah Bartron

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    And i'm sure all the cheap ones they're all coming from the same factory or two and have different labels attached
     
    Area51Runner [OP] likes this.

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