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Old 04-10-2015, 03:23 PM   #1
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Puzzling LED switchback issue

Hello all, I've been creeping around the forums since I picked up my new 2014 SE hatchback in sterling gray about a month ago. The forums have been a wealth of information and I've learned a lot and gotten a lot of neat ideas, so thanks to everyone for that!

On to my issue: I installed these amber/white switchback LED strips a few weeks ago (thanks for the inspiration, newmission!) I wired the white side to key on/ACC power, spliced the amber side into each sides' turn signal wire and grounded everything to the body. Here's the odd part: with the key on, engine OFF, everything works great, steady white, each turn signal flashes amber when signaled. Perfect. However, as soon as I start the engine, the amber side won't activate when the signals are on. I thought maybe the alternator was pushing the voltage too high on the white side and not allowing the amber side to 'take over' when the turn signal was switched on, so I installed a voltage regulator on the white side to keep it at a steady 12v, but the problem still persists.

The LEDs look good on white all the time, but I've become slightly consumed by the mystery of it all at this point. Why does everything work with the engine off, but not with the engine on? The turn signals must operate differently with the engine on, somehow, right?

Anyway, thanks again to you all for your knowledge and willingness to try new things, it's helped make my Focus even more fun!


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Old 04-12-2015, 10:48 AM   #2
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Because the voltage to the lights is controlled by the ecu's on board. It sends a pulsed intermittent signal to the bulbs to control brightness rather than a latched 12V. Its the same reason those that fit hids find they work fine with engine off but not with engine on

You may find that, you'll need the indicators to switch a relays to the yellow leds, that way a low signal can be used to switch the full 12V to the LEDS

Maybe using Focccus and an ELM and setting alternate hids might work (switches of the pulse brightness control to the headlamps, but I don't think anyone knows if this works with the indicators
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:14 PM   #3
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Thank you for the clarity, sir. I was aware of the hyperflash issue with LEDs/HIDs, but it blows my mind that the indicators work differently depending on whether the engine is on/off. Sometimes it seems the engineers outthink themselves and get a little too complicated.

I may have to buy some relays and see if I can finally end the intrigue of this problem!
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