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Author Topic: LED maker lights, Do I Need a "Load Led Protector"??  (Read 7064 times)
Gary LaBombard
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« on: December 01, 2007, 07:06:58 AM »

I am in the planning stage of installing new marker (LED) lights down the side of my bus at the floor level line on each side.  I want to install 6 new maker lights evenly spaced just for the look I am wanting to create.  Now, not knowing anything about these LED lighting systems I discovered today that you should install (load Led Protectors) in line.  Is this a crock or should i consider this also in advance?   Here are the reasons listed off the web site offering this protection.

Led Protector 

Designed to help protect any led bulb from power and voltage surges

Got a vehicle that eats LEDs??

Helps protects LEDS from premature failure - Designed to works with any 12 volt led bulb

Common causes of Premature LED Failure
Switching on the ignition & starting the engine while the LEDs are switched on.

Changing or disconnecting the battery while the LEDs are switched on.

Charging the battery with an auxiliary battery charger, or revving the engine hard with a weak or dead battery while the LEDs are switched on.

Using jumper cables while the LEDs switched on.

Excessive AC voltage due to damaged diodes in the alternator.

High system or circuit voltage.

Voltage surges caused from switching on and off amplifiers or other peripheral add on devices that use a lot of power.

Faulty or out-of spec. voltage regulators.


I already have the great looking marker lights I want to install but want to put in the wiring needed before I put on my final new smooth siding then I am in deep poop if I needed this protection. I will be putting these marker lights in a series but fed on each side independently.  Is it also necessary to have these protectors installed in the new tail lights I also want to install on my Eagle when ever I get back to the back end of the bus??

Thanks ahead of time, rebuilding a bus from the ground up can be a real bummer at times when you do not know all you should to do it. 

Gary
 
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 07:46:10 AM by Gary LaBombard » Logged

Gary
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2007, 07:13:51 AM »

Gary, I installed LEDs on all my tail and stop lights and have had no problems, I did find that they ARE polarity sensitive.>>>Dan
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2007, 07:52:30 AM »

Gary,
   We have changed all our exterior lights to LED except the headlights.  We added nothing to the system.  All our marker lights came from WayTek wire.  The tail, stop, & turn signal lights were purchased on Ebay. After 4-5 years, the only problem we have had is a few of the LEDs in the tail/stop lights have quit working and one of the brake lights has condensation inside it (sealed unit and all LEDs are still working).  As was mentioned the LEDs are polarity sensitive.  Wiring backwards will not damage them, they just will not turn on.  Jack
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2007, 03:28:31 PM »

Thanks Jack and Utah, Kind of figured I was chasing my tail on this but just want to make sure.
Gary
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2007, 03:31:39 PM »

Gary,

After you get them installed post a pic. I am considering the LED's on side markers at this time. Maybe more later.

Thanks,

Paul
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Sean
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2007, 04:55:41 PM »

I am in the planning stage of installing new marker (LED) lights down the side of my bus at the floor level line on each side.  I want to install 6 new maker lights evenly spaced just for the look I am wanting to create. ...


Gary -- I'm not sure how high your floor is, but mine is over 60" off the ground.  That's fine for marker lights, but remember that you also need front, intermediate, and rear side reflex reflectors, which can be no more than 60" above ground level.  If you intend to get marker lights with integral reflectors, which is a common way of dealing with the reflector requirement, then you need to make sure they are mounted lower than 60".

Also, given that you want to do six lights, which is an even number, bear in mind that the "intermediate" light is supposed to be on the lateral center line of the vehicle, or as close as possible.  So if you really want to "evenly space" the lights, you'll need to make sure that #3 or #4 comes pretty close to center.  You might want to reconsider and do either five or seven lights.  (Extra lights are never a problem, but the required ones still need to be in the right places.)

Lastly, remember that the last side marker, the one closest to the rear of the coach, must be red, while all the others must be amber.

All of these requirements, BTW, are spelled out here, complete with graphics: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/standards/conspicuity/TBMpstr.html

Quote
... I discovered today that you should install (load Led Protectors) in line.  Is this a crock


It is a 100% crock.  LED vehicle lighting is specifically designed to perform under all normal vehicle circumstances, including starting the engine, etc..  If anything, LED lighting is more robust than incandescent, which is prone to burning out when being switched on.  What you may find, however, when you get around to turn signals, is that the LEDs will not draw enough current to make a conventional flasher flash at the proper rate (or at all).  For that purpose, you may have to buy a special LED-ready flasher.  Or do what I did -- the turn indicator lamps on my dashboard are still incandescent, and those provide enough draw to activate the flasher (really).

Now, if you have a 24-volt coach, you will have something of a challenge.  Most LED vehicle lights, and certainly all the reasonably priced ones, are 12 volt.  Which means you will either need to put a pretty big dropping resistor on each light, which will have a good sized heat sink on it that will need some open air around it, or modify the lights to work in series pairs, or change your lighting system over to 12 volt.  We bought 24-volt items whenever possible, but our side turn signals are 12-volt items with dropping resistors, and our high-level markers are 12-volt items mounted in series pairs.

HTH.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2007, 06:08:09 PM »

...Is this a crock or should I consider this also in advance?

Led Protector 

Designed to help protect any led bulb from power and voltage surges

Got a vehicle that eats LEDs??

Helps protects LEDS from premature failure - Designed to works with any 12 volt led bulb

Common causes of Premature LED Failure
Switching on the ignition & starting the engine while the LEDs are switched on.

Changing or disconnecting the battery while the LEDs are switched on.

Charging the battery with an auxiliary battery charger, or revving the engine hard with a weak or dead battery while the LEDs are switched on.

Using jumper cables while the LEDs switched on.

Excessive AC voltage due to damaged diodes in the alternator.

High system or circuit voltage.

Voltage surges caused from switching on and off amplifiers or other peripheral add on devices that use a lot of power.

Faulty or out-of spec. voltage regulators.


...rebuilding a bus from the ground up can be a real bummer at times when you do not know all you should to do it. 

Gary


I'll comment on each of the given points to try to put your mind at ease...

1) Designed to help protect any led bulb from power and voltage surges
First, any reseller who uses the term "bulb" for LEDs probably doesn't even know what he's selling.  A bulb is a glass envelope - which is something that is not used in an LED package.  A bulb-replacement module (like what a lot of the internet groups or performance shops sell to the "tuners" or rice-rocket kids out here in California), usually doesn't have the correct light distribution to adequately replace an incandescent bulb.  These "modules" are sometimes designed in China, to much lower design margins (like excactly 12Volts - not the expected 14.4Volts, which would put an LED bulb-replacement module under constant strain).  If you buy an LED marker or truck fixture, you should NEVER need to worry about this - the fixtures are designed to be purchased by truckers who don't stand for short lifes when they're paying for them out of pocket - plus the U.S. brand manufacturers are more commonly held liable for warranty failures, so they develop their products to a higher spec (i.e. 9VDC to 15VDC with a 40-Volt transient for a 12Volt fixture).

2) Switching on the ignition & starting the engine while the LEDs are switched on
This is B.S.  Switching on an ignition or starter should not cause an event which would negatively affect a properly designed automotive LED fixture, any more than it would a halogen light bulb (halogens are very sensitive to over-voltage).

3) Changing or disconnecting the battery while the LEDs are switched on
First - who the heck does this?  Most people are smart enough to not have any loads on while they are doing anything with a battery (because this makes big sparks...).  The effect of disconnecting or connecting a battery is as "destructive" to an LED package as turning it on with a switch.

4) Charging the battery with an auxiliary battery charger, or revving the engine hard with a weak or dead battery while the LEDs are switched on
Wow - more B.S.  Charging a battery with an aux charger will at worst behave like a single-stage charger found on any OEM voltage regulator.  Revving the engine with a weak battery or dead battery - should still only give you the selected voltage which the regulator should be controlling the alternator to...  Of course - this all assumes a scenario in which your batteries are the bigger part of your worries.  Again, if you have halogen headlights, you'd kill them twice as fast.

5) Using jumper cables while the LEDs switched on
Again - unless you hook up a 12-volt pack to a 24-volt pack, the voltage should never get high enough to do any damage to properly designed fixtures (see point 1).

6) Excessive AC voltage due to damaged diodes in the alternator
The most common failure of diodes is an "open" (no connection). This should only reduce the output current of the alternator - never increase or decrease the average voltage (again the voltage regulator should account for this and maintain the regulated voltage at the set-point).

7) High system or circuit voltage
This is a failure of the voltage regulator or a bad set-point on the regulator.  In this case LEDs will be the least of your worries - if you have a stereo running off 12volts, kiss it goodbye.  If you have nice expensive batteries, expect the water to boil off very quickly (so kiss them goodbye).  If you have halogen headlights - kiss them goodbye.  Halogen bulbs or batteries will become damage before LEDs with properly designed automotive LED fixtures.

8 ) Voltage surges caused from switching on and off amplifiers or other peripheral add on devices that use a lot of power
Unless you're a stereo drag-racer, you probably don't have enough draw to cause a load-dump surge that'll kill the LEDs (think 5,000Watts or more...).  Even high-power inverters, have "soft" switching.

9) Faulty or out-of spec. voltage regulators
Again, if you have this problem - the LEDs will be the cheapest part you will end up replacing (think batteries first...)


I would offer an alternative option, which should cover more devices in your vehicle - if you don't already have one, get a voltage meter on your chassis electrical system.  If your voltage regulator is set too high you'll be able to see it (and save your batteries).  This will probably cost as much or less than all of the "surge protection" devices that this other seller would suggest for your installation.

If you're really worried about surges, you can put an over-voltage supression device in the parking light circuit (right at the switch).  This would be a 15volt 1Watt Zener Diode (reverse-biased) like this one from Digikey at a whopping 15 cents each (in quantities of "1").  This part right at the switch (connected between the line to the lights and ground) should be over-kill even...

Hope this helps, Cheers!

-Tim

P.S. One other point I almost forgot to make is that some fixtures (like the ones I bought for STT and FPT) are "auto-ranging" fixtures, where you can supply any voltage from roughly 7VDC up to 32VDC).  In this case, I can't recomend a surge protection device external to the fixture as the fixture already has enough protection designed into the housing that anything you do externally would be way over-kill.  -T

P.P.S. - I just remembered a phrase form the National Semiconductor Power Design Seminar I attended last month (only because at the end they quizzed us and I got a neat little 1-watt LED reference design "toy" for getting this answer right)  Question: "What is the number 1 killer of LEDs?"  Answer: "Heat!".  It's not the over-voltage that kills the LEDs so much as the heat that it can't dissapte fast enough when you operate the LEDs outside their design envelope. -T
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 11:54:35 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2007, 06:26:59 PM »

Paul,
I sent you an email with the photo similar to the lights I bought for the side markers on my bus in case I cannot paste a copy of the photo here.

Sean,
Thanks so much for the information and I will check the dimensions as you recommended tomorrow.  I plan to put the refelectors on the sides of bus where they were originally, bottom of center baggage door.

The spacing of the lights in my mind that is, is that I plan to put a marker light centered over the front wheel wheel, over the center of each bay door, over the center of the bogie wheel and over the center of the drive wheel.  I will tape them in place to see what I really want to do but remember also what you have told me about the back marker light.  That was one reason I did not intend at this time to put any that far back but not sure how the OLE Eagle will look spaced as I have visioned above.  It comes out to pretty close to 5 ft. from center to center with the above locations I mentioned.

Now to try to paste that photo of marker lights I plan to use.  The marker lights I have purchased have 16 bright led's in them and are clearly marked for polarity connections.

 Thanks for all the input again.

Gary
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2007, 06:33:47 PM »

WOW TIM!!

Thanks for that reassuring information about the BS I thought I was reading but was not positive.  That reply had to taken you some some time to write, Now go have a beer and relax.

I thought I wrote long explanations.
Thanks Again

Gary
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Gary
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2007, 06:38:24 PM »

I'll finish my coffee and go have a Dr. Pepper...

It probably took longer than it would have since I'm watching the Bourne Supremacy on TV right now...

Happy Holidays!

-Tim
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 11:46:31 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2007, 06:45:47 PM »

I assume that when you say "I will be putting these marker lights in a series but fed on each side independently." you mean you are wiring sets of two 12v light in series so you can use them on your 24v system.

The only problem with this is if one burns out you won't know which one. A 12v source, however, will solve that.

If the light bases are metal be sure to insulate them from the bus body so that one cannot be accidentally grounded, otherwise one will go up in smoke.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2007, 08:49:49 PM »

Gus,

All light bodies are plastic, units are sealed.  I have 12 volt system, what I meant by independently run was 6 on one side all fed from the same lines on the (+ & -) feed lines from my back control panel from my running light connection and the same for the other side from this same connection in my control panel.  The lights all have independent ground wires which I like so I do not have to depend upon the frame for ground.  I run all separate ground wires to a terminal strip just for grounding for all my lights.  When I pulled all my wiring out of my bus, I found 43 bare spots on wires grounding out in different areas of my bus, man I don't know how many times that bus must of been charged full of voltage.  Some of these wires may have been ground wires, I am not sure but there was way too much chance of fires and malfunctions.  Well they were over 30 years old and I swear she spent months laying next to the Titanic before I got her!!
Thanks for comment.
Gary
 
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2007, 03:24:25 PM »

Quote from: Gary LaBombard
Well they were over 30 years old and I swear she spent months laying next to the Titanic before I got her!!
Thanks for comment.
Gary

Well Gary it sounds as though you'll have her shining pretty and bright, whilst she floats in yer driveway at night! LOL!
Sorry about the poetry humor, but I couldn't resist with the Titanic remark! That and the fack that our drive, yard, road, and everything except the pond (which is coming back close to normal level) are flooded with standing water every where! Grin
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2007, 09:54:51 PM »


The spacing of the lights in my mind that is, is that I plan to put a marker light centered over the front wheel wheel, over the center of each bay door, over the center of the bogie wheel and over the center of the drive wheel.  I will tape them in place to see what I really want to do but remember also what you have told me about the back marker light.  That was one reason I did not intend at this time to put any that far back but not sure how the OLE Eagle will look spaced as I have visioned above.  It comes out to pretty close to 5 ft. from center to center with the above locations I mentioned.



Gary -

Here's a spacing idea that you might want to consider:

Sacramento, CA's transit operation orders their new coaches with five turn signal lights on the sides:  One on each side of the front wheel well arch, one in the center of the coach, and one on either side of the rear wheel well arch.  In addition to the front and rear signals, this gives a total of seven lights per side - needless to say, you can tell when the turn signals are on!!

These are, of course, two-axle vehicles, so the addition of the Eagle's bogie axle would tend to "monkey wrench" this a little.

IIRC, the Eagle had double-stacked lights on the sides OEM from the factory: one stack on the front side of the front axle wheelwell arch, one in the middle of the coach, and one between the bogie and rear axle.  Seems to me that the top lights of the stack acted as both turn signal/markers, while the bottoms were markers only.  I also think the ones between the bogie/drive were red, but not sure, it's been awhile.  Maybe another Eagle owner with OEM lights can confirm/correct this info.

Whatever you decide, just be sure that you comply with the DOT regs Sean pointed out earlier.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2007, 05:35:37 AM »

My single rear axle Eagle came with the stacked amber lights just in front of the front axle and just behind the drive axle. One light in the stack is a marker light the other is a turn signal. In the middle is just a amber reflector, but no lights.
Tom Hamrick
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Tom Hamrick
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