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2016 Forester 2.5i
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I ordered some really nice 50w LED spots from a good manufacturer and when I went to wire them up this past weekend, they strobe. Like bad strobe.

My initial wiring setup has each light wired to a separate relay and a separate 15A fuse. A single switch controls both relays. Lights share a ground connector. I had some cheaper LED "spots" on this wiring before and never had this issue.

I thought, "Hey, I've seen LEDs flicker before when they don't get enough power," so I moved to a larger gauge wire. So now they are wired with 12ga wire. Still strobing.

I then though, "Hey, maybe it's a relay issue," so I wired a single light direct to the battery. I think you know where I'm going from here....Yes, still strobing.

I have contacted the company I bought them from and have initiated a warranty claim (and sent them a video of the issue) but I haven't heard anything back yet. I can't help but think that it would be super weird to receive 2 lights that have the exact same strobing issue. It's gotta be something in my wiring but I can't figure out what.

Anyone ever experience this or have any recommendations?

 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,153 Posts
Is it possible that the lamps you bought have a strobe feature or the wiring harness has a strobe function?

The LED units I bought work fine and the wiring harness has a strobe function in the remote control fob....
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Is it possible that the lamps you bought have a strobe feature or the wiring harness has a strobe function?

The LED units I bought work fine and the wiring harness has a strobe function in the remote control fob....
No strobe feature in the lamps and I'm not using a pre-made wiring harness. Like my post says, light was hooked up directly to the battery (bypassing fuse, relay, and switch) and the strobing was still there.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Another little update as I continue to try and figure this out. I disconnected one light completely and did a temporary hookup to a different vehicle, and the light did not strobe.

I also temporarily hooked my old LED lights up to make sure that my power and ground connections we're good and everything worked fine for them.

I'm starting to think I might have a battery issue or a current fluctuation issue. I'm going to have the battery checked tomorrow and I'm think I'm secretly hoping that's the problems because I'm really getting tired of trying different scenarios with these lights. They were pretty dang expensive and I just want them to work.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Might as well keep updating this in case someone cares or runs into a similar problem in the future.

Replaced the battery last night as the guy with the machine at O'Reilly said my battery was bad. New battery is in and the lights function fine for a few minutes but the strobing has returned. Trying to schedule some time with Subaru service center to take a look at my alternator and possibly replace the alternator assembly and belt tensioner assembly through the 07-112-16R Service Bulletin.

Also waiting to hear back from the spotlight manufacturer if they have any insight as to what could cause this or if they possibly have bad LED drivers in these lights. It's been frustrating and a slow process as they're a small shop with slow response time.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Unfortunately I don't have a fancy enough voltmeter to check that. Only one i have has a little light that comes on if the circuit is hot. Probably should get one that actually can show that.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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18,964 Posts
Harbor Freight is your friend. Multimeters cheap, and sometimes even free.

There is a known concept when something has a clearly defined trigger point, but when triggered stimulates the rest of the system to drop back below that trigger point. When the source of electricity is a bit weak and it gets above the trigger point, the thing that it triggers can load the source back down below the trigger point. Which triggers it again. Oscillation! That's why they invented hysteresis. One trigger point in the up direction, but a somewhat lower one in the down direction.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Got a multimeter and tested a few spots. Everything seems to be at a stable voltage. Measured 14.2 volts at the deutsch plug which connects to a light. Very little fluctuation in the voltage while testing ( +/- 0.02 v). Also checked at the alternator, battery, my wiring pre-fuse and pre-relay as well as post-fuse and post-relay. LED maker contacted me after I emailed them my findings and they think it is the lights and will be replacing them.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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That certainly sounds like a strong power supply, the way it should be.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks. I thought so too.

It seems that there was an entire run of bad LED spots as another customer has had this issue and others they tested in-house did the same thing. Customer support has been great though. They will be sending me replacements with a return label so I can send back the faulty lights.

Also, as I'm sure some have noticed, I have been hesitant to name the company as I am aware they make very high quality products and I don't feel like this is an accurate representation of their lights. Their customer support has been top notch and very much appreciated.
 

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2017 Forester XT Premium
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Another little update as I continue to try and figure this out. I disconnected one light completely and did a temporary hookup to a different vehicle, and the light did not strobe.
I understand the lights were possibly bad from the manufacturer, but that doesn't explain the above statement. Sorry I have no other input to the issue, just reading this and thought I would point this out.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i
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Discussion Starter #14
I understand the lights were possibly bad from the manufacturer, but that doesn't explain the above statement. Sorry I have no other input to the issue, just reading this and thought I would point this out.
I do understand it either. I don't know enough about LED drivers and their sensitivity to different voltages or low/high voltages to give any sort of explanation. I'm just saying what I experienced. I also only had it looked up for maybe 1 minute, max 90 seconds, so I there's always the possibility it could've strobed. But in the experience I had, they started strobing immediate when fed power.
 
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