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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #1
Upgraded license plate bulbs w/Festoon Dome superwhite LED lights from autolumination back in March. Noticed the RIGHT bulb was not working this past weekend. I removed the RIGHT bulb but noticed two burnt marks within the housing. I also noticed the RIGHT bulb did not fit snuggly within the holder...in fact, the bulb holder seems to be stretched out, probably due to the heat. So, I went ahead and removed the LEFT (working) LED bulb and installed it on the RIGHT side but it did not work, I immediately then placed the LEFT (working) LED bulb back in its place and it worked fine but I did notice slight burnt marks within the left side housing starting to appear as well. My guess is that these 12V LED lights are too hot, causing the burnt marks and the bulb holders to get stretched out a bit.

Meanwhile, I bought two regular 12V 5W bulbs from my local auto store and they both work fine BUT after removing them after about 2 minutes so I could place spacers to hold them more firmly, they both were hot to the touch. So for now, I'm not driving at night for fear of causing electrical damage. Questions are:

1) My guess is that the LED bulbs caused the burnt marks within the housing, but if the regular bulbs I purchased are hot to the touch, what would keep the regular bulbs from causing further burning, possible electical shortage, and possibly fire? I guess I'm confused because if the regular bulbs are hot to the touch, how much hotter did the LED bulbs get to cause the marks?

2) I called autolumination about my situation, and they commented that they believe the bulbs are touching something they aren't supposed to...but I explained to them that its just a housing with a set of prongs....I don't see anything else....any suggestions what they may be referring to?

3) Why didn't the LEFT (working) LED bulb work when I installed it on the right side, but after I installed a regular bulb on the right side it seems to work fine.....I'm happy it works because for a minute I thought maybe something electrical shortened out!

On a side note, I can't tell you which one I did first, but within the same month I did install a HID 8K kit from xenoneyes.com, Hella fog lights from performance products and 8 LED superwhite license plate bulbs from autolumination......could this just be an overload of HID kit and Hella fog lights wattage that is somehow affecting the small LED bulbs? Do I need replace my fuse, if so, which one?

If anyone could help, I would deeply appreciate it. Thank you.
 

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99 ML430 - 13 328i
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well, lets see what i can answer. since the housing has burnt marks on it and it looks stretched i'd get a new pair. Maybe the bulbs there are too powerful, i doubt the hids and fog lights would do anything. look for a fuse that deals with the trunk lid/license plate bulbs or something. if you can, just put the regular bulbs in for now, i believe that they are 6418. good luck
 

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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #4
Reply to Solidjake and Joe

Hey guys: Thanks for your reponse.

Solidjake - I definitely plan on instaling regular license plate bulbs for now....but are the regular bulbs supposed to get very hot to the touch, unless that's normal.

Joe - I looked at the link you provided (EAS lighting) and they are about 20 minutes away, which I can drive to. Autolumination is in another state, so I'll definitely save some time. Member "Bocabenz" actually has these same lights on his car so I'm waiting for his response to see if he has come across the same problem.

For all - Any ideas what could have caused the extreme heat of the LED bulbs that apparently caused burnt marks in both license plate housings? According to autolumination, "they" said it must be touching something because the bulbs create less heat than that regular bulbs. But the only thing the bulb can touch is the metal prongs or plastic bulb holder, i believe. Any comments?
 

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2000 ML430 SOLD, 2007 BMW 328i Coupe, 2014 BMW i3, 2019 Honda Odyssey
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If I remember correctly, when installing festoon LED bulbs you need to put them in a certain direction. If they do not light up, switch the ends (like with batteries) and try again. Since you mentioned burn marks, it is possible that the bulb might already have been damaged... but try anyways.

By the way, incandescent bulbs get hotter than LED's. LED's will get warm but they will not be too hot to touch. This is what leads me think my theory is correct.

I hope this helps.
 

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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #6
replying to Bocabenz

Hello Bocabenz: Thanks for your reply. Both LED bulbs were installed properly back in February of this year. I agree with you that the bulbs have to face a certain way for them to work which I figured out when I initially installed them.

Your theory about the right side license bulb probably being bad to start with is what I was leaning towards....but what I don't understand is if they burn hotter than regular ones why would the LED leave burns marks???? Also, what concerns me is that the left side LED bulb that is working is showing signs of burn marks as well....my guess is that with time, the left side will go out too. What are the chances that both LED bulbs are bad??? It has 8 LED's...should I purchase 6 LED's so it burns less hot if that makes any sense to you?

By the way, when I mention burn marks...they are not on the bulb they are on the housing below and above the prongs. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The most obvious question is should I purchase another pair from EAS (the link that Joe provided me) or should I not????
 

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The most obvious question is should I purchase another pair from EAS (the link that Joe provided me) or should I not????
I have an array of LED's that I use to light my desk. Each disk contains nine LED's and doesn't get hot- let alone hot enough to cause burn marks. Since you've ruled out my theory, I'm at a loss for ideas. Something is generating heat when it ought not- and I don't think it is the LED's.
 

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Those festoons LEDs does not produce any heat compare to regular bulbs. Are you sure those burn marks are from LED bulbs? For 8 LEDs, there shouldn't be any resistors either, they just run 4 LEDs x 2. I have home made 4 superbright 5mm LEDs on each side without problems. Are all other rear lights works?
 

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'05 c230 Kompressor Sport
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Those festoons LEDs does not produce any heat compare to regular bulbs. Are you sure those burn marks are from LED bulbs? For 8 LEDs, there shouldn't be any resistors either, they just run 4 LEDs x 2. I have home made 4 superbright 5mm LEDs on each side without problems. Are all other rear lights works?
Wow! Can you show us how to make it?? That'd be awesome! :bowdown::bowdown:
 

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2006 E55: 1999 ML430; 2002 E430 4matic; 1988 190E 2.3; 1993 XL883
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Well this was an interesting thread. After reading I went out to check the look of my license bulbs. They were both blown out. Hey great time for a LED upgrade !

I then went to Autozone & PepBoys, neither had the LED's. So I bought the OEM # 6418 bulbs. I guess I'll get the LED's from Ebay.

Now the fun part.

All four screws were pretty rusty. The 1st one was tight, but came out. The second one, the head twisted off. :mad:. Anyway, the housing now came out and I noticed the lens and all sides of the inside housing were melted as yours were. The bulb was bigger in diameter than the new 6418 bulb. ( .390" compared to .343") This is a big difference as it brings the heat of the bulb closer to the plastic.

I pinched the contacts closer as they did seem loose. Installed the new bulb and re attached the lens with just 1 screw.

Same exact situation for the other side. :mad:

There is nothing for the bulb to contact or short out. It's all plastic, except for the clips. I can see why mine melted with the wrong bulb, but I don't see how your LED's got that hot.

So my new project will be to order the LED's and figure out a way to remove the broken screws.

I will probably go to the dealer and order new lens with new screws too.
 

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I've heard of a few instances where people put 10w bulbs back there. That would (for sure) cause problems.
 

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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #14
re: 5/19 update

Hello all:

I went ahead and purchased regular bulbs from the auto parts store. I had to use spacers to make up for the gap. Everything seems to be working. Meanwhile, autolumination is going to exchange them for me.

The autolumination LED bulbs are 38mm. The OEM bulbs (if im correct) are 36mm. Is it possible the extra 2mm played a part in my situtation?
 

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I'm not too sure of that. I bought 36mm bulbs and they are a little small. In fact, I had to create little spacers to hold them in the plastic holders. I would think the 38's would be even better.
 
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