LED issues with honda Insight...

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by Blake, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Ok, so my LED's came in the mail today. Was excited to get one side installed to test their brightness compared to normal light bulbs. Got one side installed and turned on my parking lights.

    Hmmm, no lights. Took all the LED's out and put the regular bulbs in. No lights still. Weird.

    Checked fuses. Yep, burned out fuse. Replaced it and it instantly blew as soon as I turn them on. Very strange. Replaced it with a 20 amp fuse.. blew that one too.

    The turns signals work (albet they are flashing rapidly which was expected, have to get a new flasher unit that works with the low current draw of LEDs)

    Pressing the brake pedal and the brake lights light up. Put the car in reverse and the LED's light up.

    Going to have to wait till tomorrow to go to the store to buy some fuses and a new flasher. I'll buy plenty of fuses and reinstall the normal bulbs to see if that fixes it. If so, then I'll start swapping the bulbs in one at a time to see which one is the issue.
  2. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    Sounds like you caught something in a lamp socket that shorted
    it. I'd pull all the lamps and recheck step by step. Make
    sure no parts of the harnesses leading up to them are mangled
    and touching the car body, either..
  3. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Alrighty, went to the garage to put all the original bulbs back in and thats when I found another 10 amp fuse....

    Swapped them all in one at a time skipping the brake lamp (since I suspect thats the one thats causing the issues)

    Tada! they all work. I'm impressed with how bright some of them are. The license plate LED is actually brighter than the original bulb. The front marker lamp (the tiny round light in the headlamp assembly) is very nice looking.

    Now the LED store did say to not put LED's in an assembly with a headlamp because the heat will cause the LED's to fail and void the warranty. Ehhh, I'll do it anyway and see how long they last :D

    The Turn signal light is a tiny bit less bright, but much clearer.

    The backup light is a different color white... Not sure how it will fare at night when backing up. I suspect that it will be easier to see with the whiter light, but it is dimmer... Not a ton though.

    The interior lights look great. One odd thing though... and this could be caused by the high idle since the car was cold. It looks light there is a slight pulsation, sort of like its varying the amount of light output ever so slightly. I have eyes like a hawk though and most people would probably not notice it.

    I'm going to go back to advanced auto tomorrow to get a stash of fuses to try and figure out what's causing the brake light LED's to pop fuses. I'm betting its either they have to be installed a certain way (in fact, every single one I put in I had to switch around.. You would have thought that installing 8 LED's I would have gotten at least one right! heh).

    I need to get a new flasher unit as well. This is going to sound sad, but anyone have an idea of where the flasher is on the insight? I know it has to be on the interior fuse block, but I've never had to replace a flasher so I'm not sure what it looks like. It has to be a black square right? there's a couple down there.. One looks like a cube almost and then there's three rectangles. Is the cube looking one it?
  4. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Where did you get the LED's?
  5. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member


    This is a list of the bulbs I got for my Insight.

    WLED-WHP Pure White High Power * 5 (2 - Front marker lights, 2 - Front Parking Light & 1 - License plate light) $4.95 each * 5 = $24.75
    7440-xHP3 Amber * 4 (Front and rear turn signals) $12.95 each * 4 = $51.80
    7443-xHP3 Red * 2 (Brake lights) $12.95 each * 2 = $25.90
    921-x12 Wedge White (Backup lights) $5.95 each * 2 = $11.90
    WLED 5-LED Wide Angle Cool White * 3 (Interior light and Map lights) $3.94 each * 3 = $11.82
    LED Flasher CF13JL-02 = $12.95
    $10.00 for shipping

    $149.12 total. Definitely not cheap but I'll never have to replace a bulb again (hopefully) ;)

    I won't recoup the cost back, and if I did it would most likely be many years before that happend. I did it because I felt like it :D Thats good enough of a reason for me. You could probably just skip the turn signals since they are hardly ever on and cut the cost almost in half. I got the most powerful bulbs for each exterior slot and ones that had the widest degree of output for the inside. Looking back on it, if you wanted a more natural looking light for the map lights, you should go with the WLED 5-LED Wide Angle WARM instead of Cool white. If I had to do it again, I'd get those instead.

    The only one I didn't get a replacement for was the rear hatch light as its a festoon bulb and I didn't see one that would fit.

    I still need to see if the brake lights will work but I won't know until tomorrow so I can have some spare fuses incase I pop one again.

    Also, If you replace your turn signals, you'll need a new flasher. I'm not sure what kind I need yet, but I'll let you know tomorrow when I figure it all out. I'll post some pictures of a comparison on the brightness as well.

    EDIT: Opps, I actually missed two bulbs, there are two parking lamps that I didn't get. Added them to the list along with the needed flasher for an almost complete list. Still missing festoon bulb in the back
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  6. Daox

    Daox Well-Known Member

    I don't suppose you have any before and after pictures? I like pictures. :)
  7. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Not yet. I just solved the fuse issue and I have to run out to get fuses before I put the brake lights in. I've only got one side installed atm just for that very reason. I like pictures too :D

    I'll have pictures up by noon at the latest tomorrow
  8. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    Heh, this is fairly easily explained. Chances are, at idle, the DC-DC converter is not going to be continuously on, but probably engaged whenever the battery drops below some point. Hopefully there is some hystersis built in so that it doesn't cycle on / off too frequently.

    Then you have the LED bulb construction. An LED has a fixed voltage drop across each diode, call it 5 volts - probably less, but it may be this high for a large white diode. However, once forward biased, an LED has very low resistance. Generally, a resistor is used to control the current through the diode. The intensity of the light emitted is related to the current flowing through the diode - each diode generally has a "nominal" current rating. The bulb designer may have selected a resistance to run at this nominal current, or slightly less for better life with decreased output.

    Call the nominal current 200 mA.

    Quick maths:

    V = IR => R = V / I

    Nominal resistance = (12v - 5v) / 200 mA = 35 ohms

    Now say the DC/DC comes on and the voltage jumps to 14v.

    I = V / R = (14v - 5v) / 35 ohms = 257 mA

    % diff = (257-200)/200 = 22% current increase.

    That would result in a clear fluctuation in brightness.

    Probably any electrical accessory that causes a large draw of current would cause a similar voltage swing when rapidly turned on / off. It's just much more pronounced with LEDs because they can turn on and off rapidly - they have no incandescent "inertia" like normal bulbs do.
  9. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the math! I love stuff like that. The light output fluctuation I'm seeing is extremely tiny, barely noticeable.

    The current draw for this particular LED is 26mA at 12 volts with an operating range of 9-14.8 volts, so I'm sure its just varying light output like you said with the rapidly changing voltage because of the high idle. I'll see if it changes tomorrow after I have the car up to operating temp and I haven't drained down the 12 volt battery from trying to figure out what's going on with fuses :D
  10. highwater

    highwater Well-Known Member

    Hi Blake,
    You will have fun getting the factory flasher unit out of the under dash fuse block. The one on my Insight was white (and a bit on the contrary side). It is at the upper top of the fuse block. I got the recommended led flasher from superbrightleds.com and had to modify it before it would fit. It is slighty bigger than the spot it needs to fit in. I removed the cover from the led replacement unit, and cut the edges of the circuit board down, using the factory flasher as a guide. Once it was small enough to fit into the fuse block, I wrapped the exposed components with electrical tape, and plugged it in.

    Your list of bulbs looks to match what I installed from the same supplier, with the exception of my red interior map lights. I also got the led festoon bulbs for the rear cargo area, although I never seem to use that light.

    It seems to me that the Insight loves the led marker/HID headlight combination. I have seen a very noticable reduction in power consumption. One leg of my commute is headlights on.

    I have had no problem with the leds being installed in the headlight housings. I'm sure that is a standard disclaimer, on the part of the supplier. In some headlight housings there could be a problem, if the bulbs are closer to the headlamps. On the Insight there is quite a bit of thermal distance between the markers, and the headlamps.

    Sounds like your having lots of fun.
    If you need some pics of that flasher set-up, drop me a PM.

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  11. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Did you go with a HID kit? or just replace your headlamp bulbs with "HID" bulbs. Just curious as there were a couple people asking about such a kit.
  12. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    "HID" bulbs draw just as much current as standard halogens would, as they are just tinted to modify the color output. A true HID retrofit complete with ballasts will use much less power than typical halogen bulbs.

    Oh, and another thing - a largeish capacitor like the ones used for car audio (1/2 Farad+) should probably stabilize your 12v voltage enough to eliminate the flickering.

    Randall, did you retrofit the entire housing, or just use bulbs with glare shields?
  13. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Thats what I was getting at Shifty.. infact when I replaced the bulbs on my first subaru they were just HID bulbs and they drew MORE power than my normal set up. I had to replace my headlamp wiring harness as a result. True HID kits are $$$$ from my experience.

    Oh and your right about getting that flasher out. What a PITA. If I wasn't 150lbs theres no way I could have gotten that thing out without major discomfort. I'm going to cut off the tabs that hold that thing in, otherwise trying to get it back out again will pose another contortionist endeavor.

    For future reference. It appears to me that the flasher you will need for putting LED's in your insight is: CF13JL-02 from the superbrightled website.
  14. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Blake, since you are interested in this type of thing and obviously know more about it than I...

    What do you think of the kit available here?

    The price does not look ridiculous... but I really don't know much about this equipment. Maybe you want to be the guinea pig for it? (Hint HINT ;))

    For reference I've got H7XVs in my car right now so it appears this would work for me... and it seems from their website that your 9003x series lights could be replaced with the H4 spec?

    I really can't tell if the equipment might be shoddy or not...
  15. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    hmmm.... I'll read that page but anytime something looks to good to be true, it probably is. This is a quote right from their webpage...

    sortof funny how they say to be on the lookout for cheap products that cost $1000 less... when they are providing that very product ;)
    Caveat Emptor!

    I'll look for a system that I think is decent and see what it would take. I do miss my HID's from my STi
  16. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Also, I should point out that by going with a HID system, if your car has only one headlamp bulb per side, your going to loose your hi-beams. I did some searching and found that some of the kits that had a "hi-beam mode" was simply a magnet that pulled the light housing up.... :rolleyes:

    Losing highbeams is something that should be heavily weighed.
  17. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Good point, but it is very rare for me to hit the brights since I put in the brighter halogen bulbs. Those HIDs are so bright I doubt I would ever need high beams again if I put them in.

    If I did get them put in I'd need to go through with putting in my FAS switch (yes, yes... I'm still procrastinating on that one) because (among other things) rapidly cycling HIDs is probably not a good idea.
  18. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    I think the initial warm up is what's hard on the bulbs. Once they are up to temp I wouldn't imagine it would be all that hard on them (obviously turning them off and on as little as possible would be good)

    When you key off, do your headlamps go off? I can't imagine the wear would be any more on HID's than a regular bulb... its the ballasts that would be the concern and those should be alright if you go with a decent setup.
  19. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Yes, my headlights go off when I key to anything other than the ON position. :ccry: I know they did it to help keep the battery from draining but it is really annoying. Every time I key off, and every time I crank the lights are off until the key is returned... but the parking lights don't do that. That's only one reason I want the FAS switch, but it is a big one. The other is that my ECU is absolutely glacial when it comes to reboots. :p

    Too bad we live so far apart -- I'd get you to help me wire it up! It shouldn't be hard I'd think... There is a single fuse for the fuel injectors and I figure I could splice in some wire with a rocker switch in the cabin. Ideally it would be mounted under the shift boot directly on the shifter rod itself where I can just reach down and flip it with my ring finger (while pulling the selector into neutral). Before I bump or key start I can just flip the switch back and have at it. Anyone looking at the car would never know it was there and the position would be really convenient.

    Why don't I just do it? I've never done any car wiring and I don't want to screw something up.
  20. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    Sean, I'd imagine you could mod your headlights to stay on with key off just by swapping a wire from switched +12v to constant +12v. And the FAS button, as you say, should just break either the wires going from the ECU to the fuel injectors or the hot side of all 4 injectors.

    As far as the HID's, almost all of the plug-n-play bulbs I've seen look terrible compared to a true projector retrofit. Halogen headlight housings are simply not designed the same as a projector lens for an HID lamp. The glare is pretty bad, and it is illegal in just about every state.

    I'd vastly prefer to steal a set of projectors / bulbs / ballasts from a TSX or similar and retrofit them inside the Insight housings, but that's not nearly as easy as a plug-in bulb.

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