Car T10 LED Bulbs Review

Car T10 LED Bulbs


This is just a quick review of a couple of LED bulbs I got for my car some time ago. I want to share this so people don’t make the same mistake as I did buying these crappy LED bulbs. They were pretty cheap but even so it pointless buying them if they don’t work and just become e-waste. Also, it’s a pain to keep changing them when they die or start to flicker especially if they are in hard to reach places that require removing car parts to get to.

Most of these get advertised as CAN bus error free lightbulbs. LEDs use less power the the incandescent bulbs they are usually replacing. Your car might detect that and think that something’s wrong and throw an error as a result.

To prevent this many of these LEDs use an extra resistor whose only purpose waste extra power by turning it into heat. If not properly managed this this extra heat will cause the LEDs to fail prematurely or melt the plastic housing(this happened a few times to me). 

So it can be a good idea to get LEDs that don’t have this resistor and if your car throws an error you instead recode the responsible ECU(like I did in this post).

Just for reference, this is what the original incandescent bulb looks like.
Here are the crappy ones. They get sold on eBay, Aliexpress or any similar online stores. You will probably find these same bulbs in your local hardware or auto parts store(they will just buy in bulk the same stuff you can buy directly from china online). These cheap chinese bulbs don’t have any model numbers or manufacturer names. You might find these exact ones in the pictures below or some similar-looking ones.
These things have a plastic housing that tends to melt and fall apart. The two resistor leads are not inserted through the hole in the PCB but are instead soldered to the surface(faster to assemble this way). These solder joints tend to fail causing the LEDs to flicker or not even turn on.
Here the PCBs have a poor component placement and still have flux residue left from the soldering process aren’t. The resistor is undersized(power rating). As you can see the pads seem to be made for a larger wattage resistor.

I would recommend you avoid the LEDs with a plastic housing and instead buy some variant of this kind of “bulb” where the entire “bulb” including the connector is on a PCB. 

This is a better approach as there is no plastic housing that could melt. The PCB itself is also quite thick and adds a bit more thermal mass. Most importantly the contacts can transfer some heat away through the metal connector pins.

This particular LED “bulb” has the CE and RoHS certification labels which is mostly likely bull$hit.

The only problem I found with the LEDs in the images above is that the connector pins(see image below) sometimes end up right on that little gap between the pads. So in a few cases, I had to scrape away the solder mask in that little gap and add a bit of solder to make sure the connector pins can always have a good electrical contact.

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