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Old 09-17-2019, 07:26 AM   #1
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1981 31' Excella II
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All that is LED is not golden

In 2013 I bought enough LED marker lights to replace all of them on my 81 Excella II from globalpartspro on ebay. These looked to be very well made lights and the entire circuit board is potted in epoxy to protect the components from moisture. Last year they were all working fine and this year most of them are failing. They probably have 100 hrs of run time on them. So I probably have over $200 in these things not to mention my labor to install them. Needless to say, I am not happy with the so called superior performance of LEDís. I could have just cleaned up my 30+ yr old ones and had better longevity than this. So what do I do about it? At this point it is probably cheaper to cut my losses and go back to the old incandescent bulb type marker lights and those will probably outlast me.

I see a lot of failed and failing LED tail lights on the road. So if your intent when you buy these things is that they will last forever and are more reliable than incandescent I am calling that TOTAL BS. The LED elements might last 10,000 hrs or more but the support electronics are going to be a problem. Many of these lights donít have potted in boards so they are subject to corrosion and will just plain short out when the lens fills with water.

I took one of the failed units and messed with it on the bench. If you twist the housing the lights will start working again and different segments will light up. Each segment is an array of LEDís that are wired in series to provide the correct voltage to each LED with a 12V source. There are some diodes and resistors on the board as well. What I suspect is going on is that the epoxy and the circuit board have different thermal expansion coefficients and that is putting strain on the solder joints causing them to fail. I am still investigating which solder joints have failed. I have some new units of the same age and they donít have this problem. Unfortunately, this style of light requires you to remove the lens to access the mounting screws. This allows water to enter around the lens and short out non-potted components. Potting, can cause other problems as I am finding out. NASA uses an RTV based potting compound DC93500 that is flexible most likely to avoid this very problem I am dealing with.



Moral of the story here is don't buy LED anything and expect it to last forever. In some cases, they don't last as long as the technology that replaced it at 10 times the cost. If you like messing the new technology knowing it may fail early then knock yourself out.


http://www.dept.aoe.vt.edu/~hokiesat...g%2093-500.pdf



Perry

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Old 09-17-2019, 08:15 AM   #2
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I put the LED lights from Dan on my trailer and they have worked very well for 4 years. Did not do the marker lights though. I did do the tail lights and backup lights.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:40 AM   #3
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I installed LED tail lights and had one of them fail in less than two years. LED4RV replaced it at no charge.

The worse problem I've had is leaks at the tail lights as there is not a rubber gasket with them but rather a hard plastic spacer instead. Had to caulk all exterior joints. Also had to caulk the screws from the INSIDE, as in removing furniture, wall skins, etc.

Based on my experience, I wouldn't touch the marker lights.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:54 AM   #4
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I have 1156s LED bulbs in one of my trailer's running lights and have had them in that trailer for at least 10 years now. No problems.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:24 AM   #5
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How to prevent LED light from leaking

Here is a blog post to help

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...lacement-3015/
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:25 AM   #6
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Dan is a good guy to deal with. I have an LED scare light kit from him and it has been working well without issues.



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Old 09-17-2019, 09:31 AM   #7
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That is the problem. If it is not totally sealed from water, it will find its way in. I think the tail light kit DAN is selling is a sealed unit that fits inside your tail light. It is just about impossible to get those OEM lenses to seal well. Best you can do is make a drain hole so water can get out. Some of my marker lights, even though the lens fits really tight, were half full of water. No indication the water got into the electronics though since they were potted in. It is a roulette game it seems.



Perry



Quote:
Originally Posted by blickcd View Post
I installed LED tail lights and had one of them fail in less than two years. LED4RV replaced it at no charge.

The worse problem I've had is leaks at the tail lights as there is not a rubber gasket with them but rather a hard plastic spacer instead. Had to caulk all exterior joints. Also had to caulk the screws from the INSIDE, as in removing furniture, wall skins, etc.

Based on my experience, I wouldn't touch the marker lights.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:57 AM   #8
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Well said,
LED’s have been evolving and gotten better and cheaper since hitting the market. As all tech goes, they were released way to early. Engineer it to 75% and sell it cover your R&D costs and start on the next project...
the main advantage is the lower amp draw. But let’s be real. How much amperage does an incandescent bulb really use anyway? Read by candle lite.�� It worked for Lincoln��
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:01 AM   #9
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This is the type of light I am dealing with. You will find them on older trailers. Also getting them to fit can be a problem because where AS put the wire it can get in the way of the light seating against the skin. I had to grind a pocket on the back of my LED light to give the wire some room. They should have made spacers about 1/2" thick to go between the skin and the light. This would allow room for connecting the wires. As it is, I had to make the connections on the front side of the light.


https://www.grote.com/products/46793...r-lamp-yellow/


Perry
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:29 AM   #10
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I have bought and installed many LED LIGHTS. IF YOU BUY QUALITY LIGHTS, NO PROBLEM. IF YOU BUY CHEAP JUNK THATS WHAT YOU GET.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:33 AM   #11
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So how do you make a distinction. These were made better than most I have encountered. Most don't even bother potting in the board to protect from moisture. So how about suggesting a more acceptable replacement. I am not sure one exists. These were not that cheap.



Perry
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #12
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Gainesville , Georgia
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I put LED bulbs in the original fixtures and have not had a problem in a year and a half. Running lights, tail lights and all interior lights. Bulbs from Amazon...
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
In 2013 I bought enough LED marker lights to replace all of them on my 81 Excella II from globalpartspro on ebay. These looked to be very well made lights and the entire circuit board is potted in epoxy to protect the components from moisture. Last year they were all working fine and this year most of them are failing. They probably have 100 hrs of run time on them. So I probably have over $200 in these things not to mention my labor to install them. Needless to say, I am not happy with the so called superior performance of LEDís. I could have just cleaned up my 30+ yr old ones and had better longevity than this. So what do I do about it? At this point it is probably cheaper to cut my losses and go back to the old incandescent bulb type marker lights and those will probably outlast me.

I see a lot of failed and failing LED tail lights on the road. So if your intent when you buy these things is that they will last forever and are more reliable than incandescent I am calling that TOTAL BS. The LED elements might last 10,000 hrs or more but the support electronics are going to be a problem. Many of these lights donít have potted in boards so they are subject to corrosion and will just plain short out when the lens fills with water.

I took one of the failed units and messed with it on the bench. If you twist the housing the lights will start working again and different segments will light up. Each segment is an array of LEDís that are wired in series to provide the correct voltage to each LED with a 12V source. There are some diodes and resistors on the board as well. What I suspect is going on is that the epoxy and the circuit board have different thermal expansion coefficients and that is putting strain on the solder joints causing them to fail. I am still investigating which solder joints have failed. I have some new units of the same age and they donít have this problem. Unfortunately, this style of light requires you to remove the lens to access the mounting screws. This allows water to enter around the lens and short out non-potted components. Potting, can cause other problems as I am finding out. NASA uses an RTV based potting compound DC93500 that is flexible most likely to avoid this very problem I am dealing with.



Moral of the story here is don't buy LED anything and expect it to last forever. In some cases, they don't last as long as the technology that replaced it at 10 times the cost. If you like messing the new technology knowing it may fail early then knock yourself out.


http://www.dept.aoe.vt.edu/~hokiesat...g%2093-500.pdf



Perry
I had very bad luck with cheap "made in China' LED's
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m rafferty View Post
I had very bad luck with cheap "made in China' LED's
About 12 years ago before LED"s were readily available we found a Chinese source of automotive sytle LEDs that would plug into the old twist and lock sockets in our vintage rig. I changed out just the interior lights. They are not quite as bright as the old automotive bulbs but they burn a LOT cooler and not one has failed in 12 years.
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:09 PM   #15
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My 2013 FC came with all LED fixtures (except the range hood). I have had to replace one marker and one tail light so far. Two more markers have lost some LEDs. And the interior fixtures sometimes flicker.

Grrrrr!
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:17 PM   #16
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I would not go back to incandescent. I have had more trouble with moisture and corroding the light sockets or the sockets themselves being more finicky. Maybe try Grote or Truck-lite. You can get a discount by using a coupon code from vintage airstream podcast at m4products.com but I don't know the quality. I have one of their elite lights in our hood range that puts out a tremendous amount of light over the stove surface.

Use good connectors and caulk the wire hole and screw holes before installing.
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Old 09-17-2019, 01:19 PM   #17
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LED Lights

After putting LED lights strips in some of my inside fluorescent light I now have static on my radio when the lights are on.
I have replaced the twist in bulbs in the bath with twist in bright white LEDs and we love them.No static on radio from them.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:03 PM   #18
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I bought a used classic 30 and the previous owner replaced all lights with led. The inside lights looked awe full so I put the old fashion bulbs back in. Much warmer lighting I gots a bunch of leds if anyone wants em
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:47 PM   #19
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I bought LED running lights from Vintage Trailer Supply in 2009 and they're all still working fine. They're this style:
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:34 PM   #20
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beware of cheap Chinese knock offs

What to look for when buying an LED bulb
Compatibility
To make sure your replacement LED fits when you get home, check what fitting you need (Bayonet or Edison screw base), size, shape and voltage. Taking your old lamp in to compare against can help.

The LED chip manufacturer

The quality of LED light depends on a LED chip. The best chips are made by the USA and Japan based manufacturers (such as Cree, Nichia, Toyota Gosei), yet in these latter days some of the largest Chinese and Korean companies (Epistar, San'an Opto, Seoul Viosys, ETi, TongFang) also produce good-quality LEDs. The material of the chip as well as its size makes the main difference. Larger chips are brighter and more stable, they live longer, but obviously are more expensive.

Light output (Lumens)
The best way to identify a suitable LED lamp replacement for an existing lamp is to look for the amount of light the lamp produces (measured in lumens or lm). Package information that says that the light output was actually tested for this performance is a good sign of a quality product.

How long it lasts
There are many factors that determine the lifetime of a LED bulb. Look for manufacturers that can back up their lifetime claims, either with testing or certification indicated on the product packaging.

Quality LED light bulbs last 5 to 10 times longer than halogen light bulbs and consume a quarter of the energy to produce the same light output.

• LED bulbs last between 15,000 to 50,000 hrs
• Halogen bulbs last between 1,000 to 4,000 hours
• CFLs last approximately 6,000 hours.

For quality LED products the expected lifetime is somewhere in the range of 15,000 to 30,000 hours, however some products claim up to 50,000.

Product guarantee
Look for a warranty of at least 2 years for a product claiming a 15,000 lifetime or a minimum of 3 years or longer for lamps claiming a lifetime over 15,000 hours.

A good approximation for information on lifetime testing is the guarantee that a manufacturer is willing to provide. Any warranty offered with a product is in addition to other rights you as a consumer have under consumer law.

Bulb efficiency
Not all LED bulbs are equally efficient. Look for an energy efficiency rating in lumens per Watt (lm/W) on the bulb and compare with other products. The higher the number, the more efficient the product.

If this efficiency is not marked on the package you can simply divide the number of lumens (light output in lm) by the number of Watts. LED bulbs for most residential uses should be at least 60 lm/W, while LED luminaires intended to replace linear fluorescent lamps can achieve 85 lm/W or more.

Colour temperature
Colour Temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). LEDs can produce white light in a number of “shades” or “colour temperatures”– from warm-white (similar to regular incandescent and halogen bulbs, 2700 to 3,300 Kelvin) to neutral or cool-white (3,00-5,300 Kelvin) or cool daylight (5,300 to 6,500 Kelvin). The lower the number, the warmer the light appears.

Just like the amount or brightness of light, different rooms can suit different colour temperatures. Warm white light is considered good for relaxing, whereas cool white can be better for concentrating. If you’re replacing a light in a series of downlights or tract lighting, it’s good to know what colour the rest of the lights are, so the colour of the new light bulb visually matches with the colour of the rest.

Some LED bulbs and fittings are colour adjustable. This allows the colour – or colour temperature – to be changed to suit your needs.

Colour rendering
The Colour Rendering Index (CRI) is an indicator of how accurately colours can be distinguished under a light source. The higher the CRI value the better. Better still, if possible, purchase one LED and try it to see if it makes colours of objects appear appropriate before buying more.

Look for bulbs that have a CRI of 80 or above for normal tasks, while a CRI of 90+ is recommended for task lighting where colour is important.
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