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Old 11-09-2014, 10:44 PM   #1
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Default led's are overheating

Hi, I switched all the interior lights to led's, and they work great on just battery power, but when I plug into shore power, or even start the van, they really heat up and start smoking, two of them melted and fell apart, I have a 97 roadtrek 190, why would this happen, it something with my converter/inverter?, I ended up switching back to regulsr bulbs, as I am worried about a fire issue, any ideas, please let me know, thanks,,,,,, Josef
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: led's are overheating

We have had several problems (see posts in Tweaks mods and projects) We bought our LEDs from an RV company who developed them specifically for RVs. You can read what happened and what we tried. After they worked successfully all summer (battery or plugged in) suddenly, in October, they started melting while plugged in at a campsite.
Since then we have had everything checked out (battery, wiring, LEDs ) and they can't find anything wrong. We have been told that it was probably an electrical problem at the campsite but I think that may not be the problem. I wish I knew more about this.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: led's are overheating

I had this same problem with the first LED I tried. You could actually smell it and it turned brownish, indicating it as really overheating. It was a LED designed for 12V but it didn't have a regulator in it. On battery, you're OK, but when the converter is turned on, the voltage goes up and probably has spikes that go way over 12V. I then tried a LED with a regulator. They're easy to identify as they are designed for a wide range of voltages ... let's say 10v to 24v ... can't remember exactly.
These new LEDs worked just great and run nice and cool.

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Old 11-10-2014, 04:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: led's are overheating

Mr Jones. Can you please give us a link to those lights? Thanks
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Old 11-10-2014, 01:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: led's are overheating

The DC power in an RV is NOT regulated to 12VDC. The loads see the same (varying) voltage as the coach battery. When you are plugged in, your converter will deliver well in excess of 13VAC to charge the battery (depending on its current SOC). And, if it is set up for a lead-acid battery and is a "smart" charger, it will occasionally go even higher due to the battery "equalization" cycle. Note that this could happen while driving as well, if your rig is set up to charge the house batteries from the engine alternator.

Either you need to use LEDs that are spec'd to deal with this (evidently yours weren't), or you need to regulate the circuit (either at each fixture or centrally).
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Old 11-10-2014, 09:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: led's are overheating

Hi Avanti, thank you for your reply, how would I regulate it at the circut?, any help would be trully appreciated, thank you,,,,,
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Old 11-10-2014, 11:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: led's are overheating

Well, I am no expert, but here are a couple of devices which might be appropriate:

http://www.prudentrver.com/ledmisc.html

https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...#/tab/Overview

One more thought: I have been assuming that you have been using LEDs with built-in current-limiting resistors, right? Using raw LEDs in any context will damage the LED.
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Old 11-11-2014, 12:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: led's are overheating

I bought mine over a year ago. I don't recall the supplier ... just remember I ordered them from China for about $5 or $6 a piece. They were warm white, which I prefer.

Here is an example of the type of light I mean: with a voltage regulator. Notice that they say that it will operate from 11v to 28v, and even if the voltage is AC.

http://www.amazon.com/GRV-BA15S-11-28V- ... 6BAJGWFZTZ

Again, these are not the lights I ordered, and this is not the supplier. I can check back in my files to find out if you want.

William
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Old 11-11-2014, 12:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJones
Here is an example of the type of light I mean: with a voltage regulator. Notice that they say that it will operate from 11v to 28v, and even if the voltage is AC.
I don't think that those bulbs have voltage regulators, and they don't really need them. LEDs are CURRENT-sensitive, not voltage-sensitive. As long as they are properly current-limited, they will work over a relatively wide voltage range. The important thing is to make sure that the devices you use have integral current limitations (typically just a resistor), and are not just raw LEDs. Anything you buy pre-packaged with bulb bases will almost certainly meet this requirement.
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Old 11-11-2014, 12:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti
I don't think that those bulbs have voltage regulators, and they don't really need them. LEDs are CURRENT-sensitive, not voltage-sensitive. As long as they are properly current-limited, they will work over a relatively wide voltage range. The important thing is to make sure that the devices you use have integral current limitations (typically just a resistor), and are not just raw LEDs. Anything you buy pre-packaged with bulb bases will almost certainly meet this requirement.
I actually took two of them apart and I can tell you that they don't just have a simple resistor. The actual term for the device inside the lamp is a LED driver, and the ones I found had part number PT4115E. You can find the exact specs online. I don't think the terminology is important, as the lamp dealers don't seem to say exactly what they contain, but my point is that getting a lamp that can operate with a wide voltage input is very important. The difference between having a the driver that prevents overheating and one that doesn't is like night and day in my case.

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Old 11-11-2014, 01:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJones
my point is that getting a lamp that can operate with a wide voltage input is very important. The difference between having a the driver that prevents overheating and one that doesn't is like night and day in my case.
Agree.
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: led's are overheating

There must be some quality issues with LED as well. Ikea sells no brand name LED bulbs at about half the price of a Target store or Home Depot. So I bought some. Two of three failed within a week. So now I know why they were cheaper.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:41 PM   #13
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Default Re: led's are overheating

True, the quality of a product can vary from one supplier to the next, but a higher price does not guarantee a better product. I can't count the number of times that I've paid less for a better product simply because the supplier of the more expensive one was adding an unreasonable profit margin.

In my case, the problem wasn't even an inferior product, but one not really well adapted to my needs. I had a converter setup that delivered a wide voltage range to the 12v circuit and even a very good LED bulb designed for 12v only just didn't survive too long. A model just a few cents more with a LED driver in it worked just fine. With a price tag of only $5 or $6 each, no minimum purchase and no postage fees, I could experiment! Order one, try it out, and order more if they work.

William
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: led's are overheating

If there is a brand name behind a product there are higher odds there is a bit more quality assurance behind the product as well. That's not a 100% given but a company cannot stay in business without due diligence. Yes, you could order a no-name brand from a mail order jobber company and it may work, but you have no guarantee what you bought today will be the same when you re-order. Ikea sells LEDs with no brand name. In fact they are not even labeled Ikea or any house brand name. That should have been a clue. I experimented as you say. They failed. Now I know. I bought a bulb from Ikea as a test last year and it is still working fine and so far one of the three I bought this last month is still working. The bulbs are in my house light sockets not my RV, BTW.

I don't think twice the cost of branded products would be just an unreasonable profit margin. Companies like Target and Home Depot are not in the inflated margin game especially in generic products like light bulbs. There is no differentiation to be able to do so such as an Apple vs Samsung phone. I know some of Target's buyer process first hand. I suspect they had looked at the sourcing Ikea used, tested it and rejected it. I don't know that for sure but I do know they leave no stones unturned and are not about to let anyone undersell them by half without good reason.

I will do further testing with any branded LED as well with caution. When you have burned sockets from overheating you have to wonder if there isn't something more we don't know. Can you simply substitute an LED for an incandescent bulb? Historically, I've had no problems with CFLs in that regard and that is what I mostly have right now.
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: led's are overheating

The good thing about LED bulbs is that they tend to be a one time purchase, as the regulated bulbs should last decades. So, it pays to get the best bulb for the task, even if it means more. For example, the Feit LED bulbs I have work well in a dimmer -- they just change their pulse pattern to handle the drop in voltage, and still stay well clear of headache-inducing patterns even at their lowest setting. However, they were not cheap.

I'd like to find a seller that has definite voltage regulated bulbs, even though they cost significantly more. Yes, it will be extra, but this way, regardless if my batteries are at 15 volts or low 12 volts, the light output (and heat output) remains the same. Heat output most importantly, as this is what kills LEDs.
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