Know of a LED compatable replacement flasher/relay for 2006 Sonata?

Discussion in 'Hyundai Sonata' started by Kiran Otter, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. Kiran Otter

    Kiran Otter Guest

    I got some LED replacement lamps for the turn signals, but of course now
    they flash fast due to the change in load.

    I was curious if anyone knew of a replacement, plug-n-play flasher/relay to
    replace the stock one.

    I found this site with a few, but I haven't been able to determine which is
    right for the Sonata.


    Kiran Otter, Sep 3, 2006
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  2. Kiran Otter

    Kiran Otter Guest

    Oops, forgot the URL to the site:
    Kiran Otter, Sep 3, 2006
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  3. Kiran Otter

    Bob Guest

    Something to be acutely aware of when replacing standard lamps with LEDs is
    that if someone hits you - even a rear end collision - it will likely be
    chargeable against you if the person points out that your rear lights
    weren't working correctly, and it gets looked into. Every LED replacement
    lamp I have looked at says "for off road use only". There's a good reason
    for this, and it's because the reflector assembly is designed for the light
    pattern emitted by the specified lamp. The brake, etc. lamps on vehicles
    that come from the factory with LEDs are designed for DOT specified
    photometry using LEDs. Nowhere on that page that you provided did it say
    that the LED replacement lamps were DOT approved. Also, changing the flasher
    from the factory one that is indicating a failed lamp because of the lack of
    load is a bad idea, as you will be eliminating another safety function that
    is supposed to warn you that something is wrong with your turn signals.
    Bob, Sep 4, 2006
  4. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Agreed that the replacement tail lamps need to meet DOT specs Bob, but the
    flasher point is way off base. The flasher is not a circuit safety device.
    It's simply a load sensative device that will open and close. It is common
    to have to replace flashers when putting towing harnesses on, etc.
    Notwhithstanding the DOT issues, there is no problem with changing a flasher
    to match a different light package.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 4, 2006
  5. Kiran Otter

    JohnR66 Guest

    Checkout They state that the LEDs are not as bright
    and will not work with the flasher. They sell a flasher unit that will work
    with them. They recommend the Luxeon LED as it can be as bright as the
    incandescent bulb.
    JohnR66, Sep 4, 2006
  6. Kiran Otter

    Bob Guest

    Changing the flasher to accommodate the additional load imposed by trailer
    lamps is reasonable, and legal. Changing the flasher to a non compliant unit
    to accommodate a non-standard set of lights that do not meet the photometry
    requirements is a bad idea.

    I understand the purpose of the flasher, and I did not say it is a "circuit
    safety device". I said it performs "safety function that is supposed to
    warn you that something is wrong with your turn signals", and that it is.

    The flasher is doing what it is designed, and required to do - indicating a
    problem with the turn signals. In this case, the problem is that the wrong
    lamps are in the sockets. Depending on what LED replacement lamps he has
    installed, there may be serious visibility issues. That "group of LEDs"
    thing that Auto Zone sells shows up as nothing more than a 1.5 inch blob of
    light. There is no light directed to the reflector. Some of the others that
    are on the web page he mentioned seem like they might be better, but I
    haven't seen them.
    Bob, Sep 5, 2006
  7. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest

    I had specifically stated that I agreed with the obligation to meet DOT
    illumination specs. That done, changing a flasher to accomodate a different
    load has nothing to do with compliance. It's a perfectly acceptable
    No it does not Bob. It simply flashes. It's cooincidental that you tell by
    the flasher that a bulb is burned out. It's no safety function.
    Again - I had specifically agreed that aftermarket light packages should
    meet DOT specs. The flasher to the best of my knowledge is not "required"
    to provide this warning. I think you're making too much of the simple
    flasher. It is fully possible for an aftermarket light package to meet DOT
    illumination specs and still draw a different current than the OEM lights.
    In such a case replacing the flasher would both be appropriate and
    completely safe and within the design intent for the purpose of a flasher.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 6, 2006
  8. Kiran Otter

    Bob Guest

    It is required that a motor vehicle be able to indicate that one or more
    turn signal lamps is failing to operate. This is a function of the flasher.
    It is indicated by changing the rate of the flash. The only exemption on the
    vehicle at hand is if it is equipped to tow trailers. Changing the flasher
    to solely to accomodate a different lamp current can only be done if the
    system can still indicate the failure of one or more lamps.
    Bob, Sep 6, 2006
  9. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Can you specify the source of this requirement Bob? I know that flashers
    are not part of the state inspection process, so I'm curious where you
    arrive at this conclusion that it is required that the vehicle be able to
    indicate a bulb failure, and that said indication is the flasher.

    Even if you can provide (and I presume you can if you are laying claim as
    you do above) proof that this is required, you are still saying precisely
    what I said in both my first and my second posts. It is not rocket science
    to change a flasher to match the current load and behave as expected.
    Again - that's exactly what you are doing when you put a trailer package
    on. It's nothing more than simple electronics. A given load will produce a
    given current flow, which will warm the bi-metalic in the flasher at a given
    rate. Change the load, and you simply have to change the value of the
    bi-metalic in the flasher. Once you achieve a flashing rate that
    approximates the OEM rate, you're as close as anyone is ever going to care.
    Hell - most states don't even care that much. I've never seen a state
    inspection that specified the flasher rate. You could probably get by with
    a very high or very low rate, if you had a mis-match.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 6, 2006
  10. Kiran Otter

    Bob Guest

    Certainly. United Stated Code of Federal Regulations
    Which requires, in part:

    "S5.5.6 Each vehicle equipped with a turn signal operating unit shall also
    have an illuminated pilot indicator. Failure of one or more turn signal
    lamps to operate shall be indicated in accordance with SAE Standard J588e,
    Turn Signal Lamps, September 1970, except when a variable-load turn signal
    flasher is used on a truck, bus, or multipurpose passenger vehicle 80 or
    more inches in overall width, on a truck that is capable of accommodating a
    slide-in camper, or on any vehicle equipped to tow trailers."

    My issue with messing with the turn signals is that neither you (ok, maybe
    you do - I don't know your field of expertise) nor I is qualified to
    determine if the resulting light output from the turn signals is proper if
    the lamps are replaced with LED's. I know the ones that they sell at Auto
    Zone are a joke when they are installed. Changing the flasher for a
    legitimate purpose is no problem. Changing the flasher to match a weird lamp
    that draws 25 ma, that looks cool, but now serves no function is wrong. You
    now have a bad turn signal system, and you eliminated the detection of it.
    If the replacement lamp is tested to comply with the DOT requirements, then
    you know it makes enough light. If it hasn't been, then it doesn't make
    enough light in the right directions. The manufacturer of the DOT approved
    lamp would also have to provide a solution to the flasher issue. No
    aftermarket LED replacement lamp I have ever seen claims to comply with the
    DOT requirements - and that does not require actual testing by the
    government, it just means the manufacturer is certifying that it makes
    enough light to meet the requirements.
    Bob, Sep 6, 2006
  11. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Thanks for that link Bob. I didn't even realize the Feds had delved into
    that level of minutia in this stuff. That said, J588E indicates the
    requirement for a pilot light (dash indicators) for the directionals.
    Related to our discussion, but distinctly not a requirement for the flasher
    to be the warning device of a failed bulb. Of course, we both realize that
    a properly configured light system will result in a pilot failure indication
    because of flasher load, but that's also consistent with what I've been
    saying all along. Actually, I think we are both closer to saying the same
    thing, than we are saying different things.

    Nope - I'm just like you. I have to trust the manufacturer's stated output
    rating. At some point, that's what you have to go with.
    Agreed. If that did not come through in what I had previously stated, then
    that was a mis-communication. Of course, it must be your fault...
    Seriously though, I have been in consistent agreement that a comprimise from
    DOT regulations for output is not acceptable in the name of looking cool.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 6, 2006
  12. Nope. The failure indication is not in the pilot light but in the flash
    rate of the flasher. Fixed load flashers, like the ones you are talking
    about, indicate a bulb failure by either doubling the flasher's flash
    rate or by going to a steady-burn/not flashing. It's a current-based
    monitoring system built into the flasher as Bob suspected. So because
    you've switched over to an illegal, non-DOT approved bulb that draws
    less current than the intended design bulb, your flasher indicates a
    bulb failure. And to go through all the trouble of switching flashers
    to ones for a variable load such as the ones used by heavy duty trucks
    (which do not have the bulb failure indicator) just so you can install a
    more expensive LED bulb that performs worse than the less expensive
    incandescent bulb your lamp was designed for is idiocy at its worst
    (which I realize has been said in many different forms in this thread,
    but I thought I'd repeat it just the same).

    And just so that you know, I am an expert in automotive lighting systems
    including turn signals and the flashers they use. I've tested them for
    more than 10 years now and I have not seen one LED replacement bulb for
    an incandescent that performs even close to one-tenth the performance of
    the original bulb. Designers do have plans for replaceable LED modules,
    but they will not be interchangeable with incandescents so that they
    should be used only with the lamps they were designed to be used with.
    Douglas G. Cummins, Sep 6, 2006
  13. Kiran Otter

    Bob Guest

    After working in the Nuclear world for a while, I got to learn more than I
    ever wanted about the CFR. Not just 10 (Nuke), but that a violation of any
    of them in a licensed facility is serious even if it has nothing to do with
    radiation. Unlicensed radios, vehicles, fish, etc.
    NEVER!!!! ; )
    We were actually saying the same thing. I was trying to the point across
    that the flasher does help ensure that the lighting system is working
    properly. What does happen in a lot of cases is that someone says "these
    lights are cool" be them LED turn signals, or purple headlights. According
    to the regs, there are light limits - both minimum, and maximum - and the
    reflectors and lenses are designed for a hot filament of a certain length,
    orientation, and position. LEDs are different, and the resultant photometry
    will be different than the original design. It's up to someone to determine
    whether the result will achieve compliance, and short of "This device will
    be DOT compliant when used in place of an 1157, etc lamp" the end user has
    no idea what the long term results will be. Every one I've ever seen says
    "off road use only" (LED's and "funny" headlight capsules) - that would be
    the manufacturer's out, or says nothing about compliance.
    Bob, Sep 6, 2006
  14. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Ok - I will concede this point. There is not enough disagreement on most of
    the discussion for me to hang on to this point. I'll admit (again...) that
    I didn't realize the Feds had gotten so deeply invested in these
    definitions. I simply assumed that basic principles of current flow
    governed flasher rates in their entirety and were not influenced by
    How the flasher works is well understood by both Bob and myself - never was
    a point of discussion.
    That's fine - another voice just adds to the chorus.
    That's an interesting piece of information. So... is it in terms of light
    output that they fall short? That would be my expectation.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 7, 2006
  15. I think what Doug is saying is that LED lamps should only be used in
    fixtures (taillight assemblies) designed to used them. Likewise,
    incandescent bulbs should only be used in fixtures designed for them.

    There is nothing wrong with LED taillights. Many high priced vehicles
    have them and they work quite well. But only because the entire lighting
    system has been designed around them.
    Paul Hovnanian P.E., Sep 7, 2006
  16. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Correct - but I was asking specifically about his research experiences.
    Agreed, but not directly to the point of my follow up question. Though...
    it does raise a good question... What is the difference between OEM LED
    systems and aftermarket systems? One would think that since the OEM
    systems meet DOT specs that it would not be so improbable for aftermarket
    stuff to do so equally. I'm wondering if some of the more current stuff
    might indeed meet DOT specs.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 7, 2006
  17. Well, first and foremost the fact that a lamp designed around an
    incandescent filament will have severely degraded performance if you use
    anything besides the bulb it was designed around. If you've had physics
    you might be familiar with the study of optics, namely focal points.
    Move a source out of the focal point of the system (reflector and/or
    lens optics) and the beam goes completely out of focus. What do you
    think gives better performance - in focus or out of focus? These LED
    replacements can't place all its LEDs in the focal point of the system -
    namely where the filament of the incandescent bulb is. Now, if a lamp
    were designed around LEDs originally, then instead of a single focal
    point it will have been designed with multiple focal points (one for
    each LED) to spread the light from the LEDs into the beam pattern
    required for the lamp's function.

    That brings me to the next point - incandescent bulbs have
    omnidirectional light output (fancy way of saying it puts out light in
    all directions in mostly equal intensities) and the lamps that use them
    were designed with this in mind. LEDs are directional with peak outputs
    typically along axis dropping to 50% intensity in narrow, medium, and
    wide beam spreads usually no greater than 60°. Combine this with the
    fact that the LEDs are out of focus in the lens/reflector system and you
    get far less light coming out the lamp than had you simply used the
    original incandescent bulb. The only way to have an LED replacement of
    an incandescent bulb is to somehow convert an LED's directional output
    into an omnidirectional output *identical* to that of the intended
    incandescent bulb. I haven't seen anything in development that would
    accomplish this and frankly think that it would be cost-prohibitive.
    Definitely the botch jobs that are produced right now don't even come close.

    And then you have the problem of heat buildup. In order to get the
    proper amount of light, you need several LEDs. All those LEDs generate
    heat and when placed in a form like a miniature incandescent bulb, the
    heat gets trapped. As LEDs heat up, their light output decreases. I've
    seen outputs drop to 10% their starting intensity within a few minutes
    (hence, my earlier statement). The performance is even worse with high
    performance LEDs like the Luxeon which need a decent heat sink in order
    to achieve optimal performance and there just isn't enough room in the
    "bulb" for one.
    OEM LED systems are designed to use LEDs. Aftermarket LED systems
    designed to replace OEM LED systems (in other words, the entire
    automotive lamp), may perform just as well as the OEM - it depends on
    the aftermarket manufacturer. There are good aftermarket manufacturers
    and there are crap aftermarket manufacturers. The lamps also may not
    perform as well as the OEM but still meet minimal DOT specs (many
    quality OEs produce lamps that exceed federal requirements several times

    Aftermarket LED systems designed to replace incandescent automotive
    lamps (again in other words, the entire lamp) may perform just as well
    as the OEM incandescent depending on the aftermarket manufacturer with
    the same caveats as previous. For a while DOT did not allow this, but
    they reversed their decision and now its legal.

    OEM LED systems designed to replace incandescent bulbs do not exist.
    Way too much liability as well as the reasons I stated above. It's
    possible, but expect them to cost if it ever does happen.

    Aftermarket LED systems designed to replace OEM incandescent bulbs is
    what we were discussing above. I haven't seen one that is worth anything.

    OEM LED systems that are replaceable are in the works, but not yet
    through development as far as I know. These would go into lamps
    designed around the LEDs and would not be interchangeable with
    incandescents. You can do a patent search for patent # 6846101 to learn
    Douglas G. Cummins, Sep 7, 2006
  18. Kiran Otter

    Mike Marlow Guest


    ....You can do a patent search for patent # 6846101 to learn more.

    Excellent stuff Doug. Thanks for taking the time for such a write up.
    Mike Marlow, Sep 7, 2006
  19. Kiran Otter

    Bob Guest

    If someone came up with an aftermarket tail light assembly that used LED's -
    for example the aftermarket LED trailer light assemblies that are used for
    boat trailers are DOT approved - I'm sure it would work well. The problem
    with retrofits is that LEDs don't have the same pattern of light as the
    original lamps. Consequently, the light output of the assembly has to be
    wrong because the light source is not where it is designed to be. An 1157
    makes unidirectional light. It radiates 407 lumens in all directions from an
    area of approximately .1 inch x .25 inches. I know of no LED that does that.
    Bob, Sep 7, 2006
  20. Kiran Otter

    Boxman Guest

    OEM LED systems designed to replace incandescent bulbs do not exist.
    Actually it's inconceivable that this could ever be done. The
    filaments used in the signal bulbs are helical coils which emit into a
    volume (not surface emitters) and this does matter in the optical
    design. You can't just replace them with a round cylinder of
    semiconductor material and get the same results So instead you would
    need to find a way to coil the semiconductor material and then somehow
    imitate the varying temperature of the inside and outside of the coil,
    and the change in output from the center to the ends of the coil to get
    the same output distribution. Not gonna happen.
    Boxman, Sep 8, 2006
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