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Old 02-26-2010, 09:50 PM   #1
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Fixing LEDs in SS Spoiler 3rd Brake Light

I noticed that the 2 centermost LEDs in my brake light aren't turning on (the rest are fine). Is there a way to fix/replace them, or will I have to get a new brake light. Also, do I have to remove the spoiler to get the light out completely or is there a wire disconnect behind the light?

I'm asking before I go pulling and mess something up. Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #2
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I need info on this too, if anyone has experience I'd appreciate it. My light is broken and needs to be replaced.

Thanks
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:36 PM   #3
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This is a very common problem with the ss spoiler lights. My 2001 was replaced 3 times when it was under warranty during the first 5 years. 1 time was because some lights were burned out and the other 2 times was because the bolts would pull through the plastic. Dealer told me not to slam the trunk to hard and I told them than I never open it. They had no explanation for me.
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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I managed to get an OEM SLP brake light for $40 on ebay, so i'll try taking mine apart when the weather warms up a bit more. 2 of the screws had pulled through the plastic on mine too, is there a way to avoid that happening?

If the LEDs are the only thing that's burned out, i dont see why they cant simply be de-soldered and replaced. heres a really crappy pic i tried taking:
Click the image to open in full size.

Only thing I can't figure out, is how to open the casing to get at the LED circuitboard...
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:48 AM   #5
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Before you try to take out the LED lights you should find out what voltage they are first. Just because our cars are 12volt systems does not mean the LED's are 12 volt. For example I'm into model railroading ( Trains ) and my power packs suppply around 20volts, but the LED's used on the locomotives are only 1.5volts and they are super brights. Also when I had my light replaced do to the lights being burned out the dealer said they are not servicable. Right now my car needs a 4th light assy. due to the bolts pulling through the plastic lens. I went down to my local hardware store and bought some large plastic washer to keep the bolts from pulling through. You said on e-bay you found one that was kind of cheap. I would say go for it because you will save money based on your time trying to change one. I'm sure it can be done, so if you try good luck.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:35 PM   #6
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How do you test the LEDs to see what voltage they are? There are resistors soldered on the circuit board every 3rd bulb, but I cant tell what color the rings on them are because of the red plastic, don't know if that might indicate anything about the voltage.


I got my new brake light in the mail and swapped them out today, and 2 of the 3 screws had cracked through the plastic too, so I'm pretty much just doing this to have a spare light around just in case.
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:38 PM   #7
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Well, I'm not sure how to tell what voltage they are. When I buy my LED's for my trains they are not labeled so I always leave them in the package until I'm ready to use them. The fact that you can see resistors inside of the light assy. clearly shows that the voltage is being knocked down for the LED lights. You may want to call SLP enginering in Tom Rivers NJ to find out what they are. The SS package was not installed at the factory. The car was shipped to SLP to have it installed and they installed the light as well.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:41 AM   #8
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LED's are current 'operated' devices, not voltage; meaning a small change in voltage can mean a huge change in current, resulting in a dead LED. LED's requre a current limiting series resistor. Those are 5mm LED's, they are typically 20-50mA and operate at a forward voltage of somewhere around 2v - 2.5volts.

What you can do is measure the voltage across an LED whith the brake light on. Lets assume the LED is running at 2.4v and 30mA. Say if you had 4 in series they would be dropping 9.6v and a series current limiting resistor would be dropping the remainder (of 2.4v from a 12v source).
So the current limiting resistor value would be: 2.4v / 30mA = 80ohm resistor
Or just match the existing resistor value and the number of series LED's. Test the LED's in question, they might just be burned out.

Last edited by MikeGyver; 03-18-2010 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
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LED's are current 'operated' devices, not voltage; meaning a small change in voltage can mean a huge change in current, resulting in a dead LED. LED's requre a current limiting series resistor. Those are 5mm LED's, they are typically 20-50mA and operate at a forward voltage of somewhere around 2v - 2.5volts.

What you can do is measure the voltage across an LED whith the brake light on. Lets assume the LED is running at 2.4v and 30mA. Say if you had 4 in series they would be dropping 9.6v and a series current limiting resistor would be dropping the remainder (of 2.4v from a 12v source).
So the current limiting resistor value would be: 2.4v / 30mA = 80ohm resistor
Or just match the existing resistor value and the number of series LED's. Test the LED's in question, they might just be burned out.
My point being when you buy and LED you buy it based on the voltage of the lamp that you are looking for.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:28 AM   #10
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I sent an e-mail to SLP to see if they can give me the voltage of the lamps.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:04 PM   #11
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Just an update about the e-mail I received back from SLP. They said they have no idea what the volts or size of the LED's are. Some other company designed and built it for them. They only installed the light into the spoiler.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:31 AM   #12
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Thanks for the help so far.

Does anybody have any idea on how to actually get the brake light OPEN? In the picture posted above you can see the adhesive above and below the lights, that runs around the perimeter of the bottom of the light assembly. I've tried prying at it, using acetone to soften it, and using a cutting disk on a dremel.
Of course, as you can imagine, dremeling just started melting the plastic, acetone didnt do anything but cloud the lens, and prying just didn't work period.

I'm not too concerned with ruining this light, because it'd be nice to know how to fix it(and my other one), also im just doing the back edge so anything i ruin wont be visible anyway.

I was thinking of tossing it in an oven, similar to the way that you open the 98-02 headlights to paint the insides black. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:38 PM   #13
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Re: Fixing LEDs in SS Spoiler 3rd Brake Light

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Originally Posted by BloodyZ28 View Post
Thanks for the help so far.

Does anybody have any idea on how to actually get the brake light OPEN? In the picture posted above you can see the adhesive above and below the lights, that runs around the perimeter of the bottom of the light assembly. I've tried prying at it, using acetone to soften it, and using a cutting disk on a dremel.
Of course, as you can imagine, dremeling just started melting the plastic, acetone didnt do anything but cloud the lens, and prying just didn't work period.

I'm not too concerned with ruining this light, because it'd be nice to know how to fix it(and my other one), also im just doing the back edge so anything i ruin wont be visible anyway.

I was thinking of tossing it in an oven, similar to the way that you open the 98-02 headlights to paint the insides black. Any thoughts?
Yeah it's an old thread but I have this same problem and I am wondering if the guy above or anyone else tried to seperate the SS third brake light to replace the leds? Maybe the oven would work like the headlights but I don't have a spare if things go badly.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:55 AM   #14
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Re: Fixing LEDs in SS Spoiler 3rd Brake Light

I have no specific knowledge of this light assembly, but I can tell you that the automotive resistor/LED combination circuits from that era were over-designed to make them bright enough to use as a brake light. Meaning that there was little room for failure. Most LED's available today are much brighter and use less current to operate. If you can get them apart, you may want to replace them all and replace the resistor with a higher value one. Also, matching LED intensity would be difficult if you are using LED's from different lots, much less different decades.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:55 AM
 
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