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Old 09-19-2013, 08:51 PM   #1
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Short life expectancy of LEDs

I have a 2013 25' Flying Cloud that had its first birthday June 29 and I've already had to replace the two LED elements in the fixture over the dining table. At a little over 14 months of user! And, from the looks of the "yellowishness" in the fixture over the kitchen sink, those LED elements won't last much longer either. @$25 an element (2 elements per fixture) these LEDs are pretty pricy.

First you begin to notice that the light is a little dim. Then you notice it is yellowish. And soon after that the individual circuit strips of LEDs will begin to go out. These in the fixture over the dining table had one element with 3 of the 6x3 (6 strips of 3 LEDs) strips out, the other element had lost 4 of the 6x3 strips.


I had the same problem with the tail light lamps on my 2006 Bambi and ultimately had to replace all 4 lamps. That was somewhere around $120, as I recall.


There are lots of LEDs in use nowadays by many automotive manufactures and I can't recall hearing about life expectancy problems with them. So is Airstream buying the best? Or just the minimum it takes to get the environmentally friendly sticker of "Certified Green" pasted on the side of the coach?



It may be music to the environmentalists but at $25 ($50 for a 2 element fixture), for just over a year's use, I'm not charmed!!
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:58 PM   #2
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I replaced all my 12v bulbs with LEDS three years ago (around 30+) and have spent around 170 days/nights in the trailer since. To date, I have only had a single LED diode on a multi-LED pad fail. Lumen output does not appear to have lessened for any interior or exterior LED fixture yet, but I don't have a measurement meter.

I took some verbal lumps for not buying domestically and buying direct from a Hong Kong outfit using eBay, but total price was my determining factor. The entire lot including shipping was just over $124. The "you can expect inferior, short-life LEDs buying from China" story has proven false in my case. It did take almost 18 days for delivery and shipping/duties charges were ~$50 of the total bill.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:00 AM   #3
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I just bought 12 LEDs for $45 on eBay. Work perfectly and look identical to their more expensive counterparts. We'll see about longevity.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
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It really depends on how they are regulated. If a LED was designed for 12V and you run it at 14V because that is what the univolt keeps it at then the LED's won't last. If they have internal regulation that keeps them at 12V then they will last longer. I also think there are some manufactures that produce substandard LED's.

I just replaced all my marker lights with LED's and the Scare light. I hope I have not spent all that time and money for nothing. I am less sold on internal LED lighting and have kept my florescent fixtures for now. At some point there maybe some regulation on quality and at some point people will start buying brands that have a better reputation. The LED market is still young and there is a big spectrum of quality out there. I would do my research on whether or not LED array's have internal voltage regulation or if they just use the 12-14V trailer power at a regulation mechanism. Also there is no reason you can't put resistors in series with these things to prolong their lifetime. Lifetime is based on a certain voltage limit (actually current through the device) and if you exceed that, the life is a lot shorter. Many manufactures will push this to get more light output at the expense of lifetime. Also temperature regulation is another factor that determines lifetime. If these arrays are not temperature regulated properly, there lifetimes will also go down. It is hard to cool something stuck to the hot ceiling of a trailer. Big heat sinks are a good thing. So the big ugly LED light fixture with the big heat sinks is going last a lot better than the FUNG DUNG SWAY light fixture that is barely there.

Perry
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:06 AM   #5
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My experience is very similar. No issues with longevity on the many LEDs I have purchased and I too purchased directly from a dealer in Honk Kong that provides the LEDs at about 1/5 of the price as the domestic retailers.

Keep in mind that those LEDs that are being sold by domestic retailers very likely have also been made in china.

I run my own small business and I know that we all need to make money and a living, but the markups that the domestic LED retailers enjoy are beyond the pale in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMore View Post
I replaced all my 12v bulbs with LEDS three years ago (around 30+) and have spent around 170 days/nights in the trailer since. To date, I have only had a single LED diode on a multi-LED pad fail. Lumen output does not appear to have lessened for any interior or exterior LED fixture yet, but I don't have a measurement meter.

I took some verbal lumps for not buying domestically and buying direct from a Hong Kong outfit using eBay, but total price was my determining factor. The entire lot including shipping was just over $124. The "you can expect inferior, short-life LEDs buying from China" story has proven false in my case. It did take almost 18 days for delivery and shipping/duties charges were ~$50 of the total bill.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerrun'r View Post
I have a 2013 25' Flying Cloud that had its first birthday June 29 and I've already had to replace the two LED elements in the fixture over the dining table. At a little over 14 months of user! And, from the looks of the "yellowishness" in the fixture over the kitchen sink, those LED elements won't last much longer either. @$25 an element (2 elements per fixture) these LEDs are pretty pricy.

First you begin to notice that the light is a little dim. Then you notice it is yellowish. And soon after that the individual circuit strips of LEDs will begin to go out. These in the fixture over the dining table had one element with 3 of the 6x3 (6 strips of 3 LEDs) strips out, the other element had lost 4 of the 6x3 strips.


I had the same problem with the tail light lamps on my 2006 Bambi and ultimately had to replace all 4 lamps. That was somewhere around $120, as I recall.


There are lots of LEDs in use nowadays by many automotive manufactures and I can't recall hearing about life expectancy problems with them. So is Airstream buying the best? Or just the minimum it takes to get the environmentally friendly sticker of "Certified Green" pasted on the side of the coach?



It may be music to the environmentalists but at $25 ($50 for a 2 element fixture), for just over a year's use, I'm not charmed!!
Why didn't you have them replaced under warranty if the trailer is less than 2 years old?
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:51 AM   #7
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Why didn't you have them replaced under warranty if the trailer is less than 2 years old?
Good question.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU View Post
Why didn't you have them replaced under warranty if the trailer is less than 2 years old?
Maybe he's stuck in Anywhere and the Dealers in Somewhere, not always easy to get Somewhere.

Bob
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:20 AM   #9
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Call Airstream Customer Service and see what they can do.

doug
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #10
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Good question.
Didn't think of it.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:15 AM   #11
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Judging from the identical appearance of these light fixtures, I believe I had this same company's fixtures in my 2006 Bambi but in the incandescent version. They were troublesome also. Lenses were always popping out and the lenses in the fixture over the dining table were literally burned up by the heat of the bulbs. The plastic lenses crystallized and crumbs began falling on my table is how i first discovered the problem. So I'd say strike two for the supplier Airstream uses. Time to go shopping for quality and not just price, Airstream! *like Airstream owners do?*
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerrun'r View Post
I have a 2013 25' Flying Cloud that had its first birthday June 29 and I've already had to replace the two LED elements in the fixture over the dining table
In general these LED products are under-engineered and tend to run too hot leading to early failures. Why do they run hot? Well, sometimes, as noted upthread, a lack of voltage regulation. Other times, the manufacturer trades off lifespan for output and cost. Other times, the fixture where they are installed doesn't move the heat away quickly enough.

I just put a brand new fluorescent fixture in my C-11, to add some much-needed light over the closet. I looked at LED products but was not convinced that the quality of the light and the longevity of the fixture would be there.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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Maybe he's stuck in Anywhere and the Dealers in Somewhere, not always easy to get Somewhere.

Bob
Other people on here with various warranty issues that were not near a dealer have called Airstream and they sent them the parts.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:14 PM   #14
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Have you altered the 12v power system?
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