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Author Topic:   LED trailer light problems
simonmeridew posted 08-22-2002 07:36 PM ET (US)   Profile for simonmeridew   Send Email to simonmeridew  
I bought an assortment of LED trailer lights from Champion Trailer (great company to deal with) this Spring, tore out all the old tail lights and marker lights and installed the new LED ones, including tail/stop combo, red marker lights and amber markers. They worked great, never had to worry about them burning out or corroding.

Last week I noticed that one of the red marker lights wasn't working right. It's a rectangular assembly about 2 inches long and has two "bulbs"(I know they're not bulbs but what else would you call them, they look like bulbs) and one was out completely and the other was quite dim. Then both diodes came on for a day, then it went out completely a day later.Then Monday I noticed that one of the tail/stop LED's wasn't working right either: two of the ten "bulbs" weren't working in the taillight mode, not sure about the stoplight mode, I was all alone and couldn't push the brake and look at the same time. This is not a vehicular electrical problem. Even though some of the diodes are out in the taillamp, the others work fine, plenty bright.

My question is, has anyone else had any trouble with LED equipment on their trailers? I've had many trailers over the years and they all had light trouble at one time or other. I was hoping that these LED's would be the last trailer lights I ever had to put up with, and considering how much I paid for them and the claim that they last 200,000 hours or so I don't think they lived up to their claim.

I haven't called Champion Trailers yet but I think 4 months use is kinda slim. The OEM cheapo Peterson lights lasted more than 4 months, it's a nice 1999 galvanized trailer.
any comments??

lhg posted 08-22-2002 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
This is not answering your question, but if you really want to buy your LAST set of trailer lights, get the standard bulb DRY LAUNCH brand, in round configuration. Your bulbs will only die a natural death. These came as original equipment on my 1989 trailer, and after 100,000 miles of use, are still the original units, working perfectly, salt and fresh water, and NEVER disconnecting the lead when going in the water.
kingfish posted 08-22-2002 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I had one of my Piranhas burn out some diodes after about a year, and it happened when I didn't have time before I was leaving with the boat and trailer on a trip to run down the problem through the original vendor. I wound up going to a local truck parts place and buying two matched LED's of the same shape and size as the one that blew, for about 10 bucks apiece (compared to about 70 bucks a pop for the Piranhas). They work fine so far, but I only have about two month's use on them.

I don't know whose lights Champion sells, but I'd say there was a good chance they are Piranhas (made by Peterson, like your old lights). I intend to contact the vendor I got my Piranhas from, as I don't think failure after a year should even be on the radar screen; 4 months even more of the same. I will bet Champion will back yours up; I hope my vendor will back mune up.

Having said all that, unless I find (and I don't expect to) that LED's are generally unreliable, I am just as sold on them as I ever was. They are *so* much brighter, especially in the daytime, and their flash is *so* much crisper and more noticeable, again especially in the daytime, that I consider them to be an invaluable asset to the general safety of me and the boat when I am on the road. I want there to be no doubt in anyone's mind when I am planning to turn or when I am applying the brakes, and I am convinced the LED's do a lot better job of that, day or night, than the conventional lights do.

I'll be curious to know how Champion responds-


where2 posted 08-23-2002 12:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Quick thought: If you can't step on the brake lights, because you're alone. Hit the hazard lights on the vehicle. Hazards flash the brake lights on most typical trailer lighting setups. Hazards are a quick way to check both turn signals at once.

The reason this works is because in a typical 4 wire trailer wiring harness the wires are Ground, Tail lights, Right Turn and Left Turn (not necessarily in that order). There is no separate wire for brakes unless you have an electric brake setup on your trailer. In my trailering 99% of the problems with lights are on the trailer itself, and not on the vehicle prior to the trailer light plug.

triblet posted 08-23-2002 11:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I had a Piranha LED marker light go. It
was the light, assembly, swapping in a spare
(I bought the lites, but have been replacing
incandescents as they die) made it work.

Simon: what did you do for a license plate
light? With incandescent tail lights,
normally there's a clear lens in the bottom
to light the plate.


simonmeridew posted 08-24-2002 07:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
My licence plate light: I took a look at Kingfish's post last Fall, actually 9-20-01, studied it, and decided that I'd take my chances and not put a licence plate light on at all. Actually there is some residual red light which shines onto the licence, but here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont I figured I was pretty safe. They don't check licence light at trailer inspection time. I realize this isn't the answer you were looking for but I figured somewhere along the line I would find a white or whitish light to use.

The stop/tail lights mount flush onto the galvanized bracket by drilling a 1 inch hole where the power/power/ground wires go through, then I bedded the light in GE silicone II caulking directly to the bracket.
Same for the clearance lights.

simonmeridew posted 11-20-2002 08:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
This is a followup to my LED trailer problems.
I contacted Champion Trailer Company by FAX; they were informative in getting me the contact for the manufacturer, as they have you contact the manufacturer for warrantee stuff: Innovative Lighting 1-515-388-1011 and FAX 1-515-388-5549. I faxed them about the problem, they called me back and were happy to replace the defective lights, they arrived yesterday just as they said.
Bottom line. These are two excellent companies which are both helpful when problems develop. The lights are quality products which according to the new packaging have a lifetime warrantee; anyone considering upgrading to LED trailer lights should consider ordering from Champion Trailers 1-800-229-6690 and FAX 1-800-359-8169
Not a commercial for them but when I originally was looking for trailer light upgrades, I spent considerable time doing searches on the web which really was frustrating, because the available information was fragmented.
Gep posted 11-20-2002 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
Does it matter if you get the Dry Launch round or rectangular?
I just ordered some and got the rectangular.
xsailor posted 11-20-2002 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for xsailor  Send Email to xsailor     
How is the ground between the vehicle and the trailer, and the lights and the trailer? I find, except for dipping the lights in water, grounding causes me more problem than anything else.

Dave W

kingfish posted 11-20-2002 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Thanks for following up on your LEDs - I've done afair bit of business with Champion Trailer too, although brake parts (extensive) rather than lights, and I have enjoyed the same high level of service from them that you report.

Glad things worked out for you-


lhg posted 11-20-2002 04:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Mike - I have no experience with the Dry Launch square version, since both of my trailers came with the round versions and still work fine. But if they are by Dry Launch, I would assume they will also last forever, and eliminate the need to disconnect when launching.
simonmeridew posted 11-20-2002 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
I don't rely on the ball and coupler to provide a good ground; I screw a ground wire to the trailer frame and connect this to the white wire on the trailer wiring harness fitting. I also use a dialectric grease inside the flat connectors--keeps the corrosion to a minimum, and keeps water out.
Used to unplug when launching, don't now. LEDs are not hot at all and in any event are hermetically sealed. If I did unplug there's a chance salt water will enter the dangling connectors--Murphy's law. If they're connected, at least they're out of the water.

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