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LED dash lights become dim / go out over time

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by jammer, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Jun 19, 2019 at 9:25 AM
    #1
    jammer

    jammer [OP] 2003 Toyota PreRunner 3.4L

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    OME Coils/Bilstein 5100's front / 5125's rear 105 Amp Denso Alternator
    I'm a big fan of the led replacement lights, but I was trying to see if there was a solution to the problem I've had with the gauge / hvac cluster led's.
    I've replaced the #194 led's in the gauge cluster twice with the led's bulbs from Superbrightleds. They work great, and appear bright at first, but over time (close to a year) they start to fade, and eventually one will go out.
    Last time I replaced them i used dielectric grease to help minimize vibration and heat.
    Well it's been a little over a year and I have one light on the gauge cluster that dims and goes out, and two of the hvac led's are dim all the time.
    I'm to the point I'm going to replace with the factory glass bulbs with the condom top because I'm tired of taking the dash apart.
    I did purchase the map/dome led lights from CSjumper2003 because he solders on the resistors to eliminate the flickering or the dome / map lights only coming on with the key in the ignition. I haven't had any issues with those and they are close to three years old.

    Is anyone else having this issue or any suggestions?

    https://www.superbrightleds.com/mor...923/?year=2003&make=77&model=1618&scc_id=1416
     
  2. Jun 19, 2019 at 9:41 AM
    #2
    treyus30

    treyus30 Well-Known Member

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    I bought some license plate LEDs from them a few years ago. On one, half the diodes died within 6 months. They wanted me to pay shipping, which cost more than a 10 pack on eBay (yes, the eBay ones are the same for the 5050-based lights and you should always default to Chinese eBay sellers for LEDs. I think the superbrightleds ones have a switching circuit for 24V applications, but who cares).

    My suggestion is to take them out and see if any are actually dead, or they're all dim. From behind a filter, they will look dim if any are out. My recommendation on the dash is to never run them at full brightness. They get super hot and heat kills LEDs. (seriously, we're talking 5k hours vs 50k hours here, which is why the long lasting ones are always underdriven). Then, if they're partially dead, raze hell to their customer service and stop buying from them afterwards.

    FYI: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=amber+194+led+5050&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_sop=15
     
  3. Jun 19, 2019 at 10:24 AM
    #3
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    DD Deck+backup camera, LED DRL, All LED except H4 Hella

    While I like Superbrightleds for honest description and data, these particular LED is way overkill for the application. And it sucks for being not dimmable. This LED (described with "Operating Voltage 10~30 VDC") have buck type current regulator in there. Very efficient but not that much reliable especially in hot places. Get the cheap 194 LED with resistor/diode current regulator. It will be described as "Operating Voltage 12 VDC", for example one from Superbrightleds

    https://www.superbrightleds.com/mor...-led-tower-miniature-wedge-retrofit-car/1127/

    or similar even cheaper on Amazon

    https://www.amazon.com/LncBoc-Brigh...ords=194+led&qid=1560964735&s=gateway&sr=8-38


    or ebay

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/20X-6000K-...ense-Plate-SMD-Light-Bulbs-5-LED/162848484666

    (these are just examples, not that I tried them personally)
     
    jammer [OP] likes this.
  4. Jun 19, 2019 at 11:21 AM
    #4
    jammer

    jammer [OP] 2003 Toyota PreRunner 3.4L

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    Question RysiuM....The link to superbrightleds are the Can Bus type. Will they work in a 2003? I noticed yours Tacoma is a '95, but I'm able to dim the led dash lights.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2019 at 11:51 AM
    #5
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    CanBus is a big buzz word for simple 100 ohm resistor put in parallel with the bulb. It is just to take few times bigger current than LED itself could and it is to fool some European cars "burned bulb detection circuit" which otherwise would trigger computer message that particular bulb is burned. For most of USA and Japanese cars that feature (resistor) is just a waste - turning battery juice to heat. Whenever I get the "CanBus" featured bulb I get my soldering iron and remove the resistor which is quite often clearly visible.

    By the way this "CanBus" buzz word is used incorrectly by all sellers (most of them don't have a clue what they sell anyway). CanBus is a digital data buss between computerized modules used more and more in cars. 95 Tacoma does not use CanBus for anything else then linking ECU to ODBII port. My 2014 Nissan versa Note drives me nuts, where everything is computer controlled and connected with CanBus. AS an example: dash display (all bulbs, meters and gauges) are controlled only by its own Computer not connected in any way to any switches or sensors. That computer is connected via CanBus to other computers which tell the status of the whole car. For example blinkers for headlights there are three computers involved:
    Master Body ECU is connected to light switch then sends the data via CanBus to Combination Meter ECU which will light the appropriate indicator lamps on the dash. The same data is going to Inteligent Power Distribution Module (Power ECU) which will turn on power to headlight relays.

    upload_2019-6-19_11-44-45.jpg

    Quite interesting is turn/hazard light system: Turn switch is connected to Master Body ECU which is controlling the power to bulbs, and also sends the data via CanBus to Combination Meter ECU. Combination meter turns power to turn indicator on the dash and sounds the "click" on the speaker, so you think you have a mechanical flasher (which you don't have).

    upload_2019-6-19_11-51-42.jpg

    My 5th gen 4Runner is not much better. Shitload of computers talking to each other via CanBus.

    Sorry for the lengthy OOT post but I think is is cool to know what you can expect in turd or future gens if you ever decide to dump you pure mechanical 1st gen.
     
    TWJLee and jammer [OP] like this.
  6. Jun 19, 2019 at 12:44 PM
    #6
    DrZ

    DrZ Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised to see people say the LEDs get hot. They should draw less current and generate less heat. Even with the extra curcuit to draw more power to fool computers it shouldn't be as hot as an incandescent, otherwise, what's the point of using LEDs? I only like them for the general illumination behind the cluster where the brighter light is significantly better than incandescents.
     
  7. Jun 19, 2019 at 4:42 PM
    #7
    Good deal

    Good deal Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, when I bought my '03 I had only one dash bulb that was working. When that finally went out I pulled the dash cluster and replaced all 4 bulbs with Sylvania 194ll. I even reused the condoms on the ones that had condoms on them. Since then no problem.

    IMG_0162.jpg
    image.jpg
    image.jpg
     
  8. Jun 19, 2019 at 5:32 PM
    #8
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    Incandescent bulbs loves "hot". The hotter they get, the more light they output. LED hates heat. Depending on the chip type the absolute maximum temperature they can operate are between 80C - 135C. The hotter LED chip is the less light it outputs and electronic drivers built into bulb hate heat as well. But they both get hot, so removing heat from LED bulb is the number one priority.
     
  9. Jun 19, 2019 at 8:27 PM
    #9
    treyus30

    treyus30 Well-Known Member

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    As far as I could tell on mine, they did the regulating with a zener diode. There's definitely not enough room in the base for a full buck-boost regulating circuit IIRC.

    The diodes themselves get hot, which is why all LED "chips" over about 1W have some kind of heatsink or spreader. It's the tradeoff.
    A "CANBUS" resistor won't really affect this.


    While technically correct, it wont be noticeable. Technically the same goes for incandescent. Heat increases resistance.
     

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