3157 Switchback Wiring and Troubleshooting Tips
Very Important Note: Led light bulbs do not have brains. computers or complex logic chips built in. Automobile circuits on the other hand often do have brains, computers and/or complex logic chips built in.
While the led bulbs are very simple, automobile circuits on the other hand are very complex and vary even within the same models. When you plug an led bulb into a circuit, you are not testing the bulb itself, you are testing a system which includes circuitry, battery, + the led bulbs. If the led bulb is not functioning as anticipated, the problem may lie in any part of the system. The bulb only serves as an indicator for what the system is doing.
Led bulbs and glass bulbs may make the circuit/system operate differently, so never use a glass bulb to predict how the circuit will operate with an led bulb installed.
How to determine if the bulb is faulty or the vehicle circuitry is just not functioning with the led bulbs in place.
Installing led bulbs are not always a "plug and play" operation. Although we have devised our patented circuitry with as much logic as possible to allow it to plug and play in many vehicles, it is not possible to design the switchback bulbs to plug and play in 100% of all vehicles.
In order to properly diagnose and fix problems, it is essential to isolate bulb related problems from circuit related problems. It is never a good idea to plug and led bulb into a vehicles circuit to test the led bulb. This is testing both the led bulb and the circuit at the same time. This method of testing will make it impossible to isolate problems with the bulb from problems with the circuit.
It is always recommended that if the bulb is not working in the circuit, test the led bulb using two wires connected direct to battery or any other known 12 volt DC power source. This is the only way an led bulb can be isolated from the circuit related problems and properly tested.
How to fix circuit related problems.
OK you plugged your new led bulbs in and they "don't work". The bulb must be defective, right? WRONG!
First... Did you test the bulbs as described above? If not, you need to test the bulbs only. Use the diagrams shown above to test the bulbs. It is best to use two wires that are connected direct to battery to test the bulbs. If you did not test the bulb as prescribed, you will never figure out if the problem is with the bulb or the circuit or the installation. Never assume the bulb must be bad. 99.8% of the time, the led bulbs are working as they should, but the circuitry is just not set up to operate properly with an led bulb. The odds that you received a non-functional LED bulb is very unlikely....less that 1 in 500.
99% of the time, the circuit related issues can be overcome, but it may take some extra effort and/or some minor wiring changes to get the Switchback bulbs to work in some vehicles.
Here is a list of some common symptoms and fixes for automotive circuitry:
Note: There are two styles of switchback bulbs:
1. AO - Amber - Off
2. AW - Amber - White
AO - Amber - Off
The Amber -Off (AO) Switchback bulb has special circuitry inside that senses when there is voltage on the (amber) turn signal circuit. Whenever there is voltage on the (amber) turn signal circuit, the bulb switches off power to the (white) running light circuit for 2 seconds. The result is that in most vehicles, the switch back bulb will flash amber-off-amber off whenever the turn signal is activated, even when there is power to the (white) running light circuit.
The bulb will switchback to white if the headlights are switched on and the turn signal circuit is switched off for 2 seconds.
The bulb will switchback to off if the headlights are switched off and the turn signal circuit is switched off for 2 seconds.
The result (in most vehicles) is shown in this animation with the headlights on.
AW - Amber - White
The Amber -White (AW) Switchback bulb has special circuitry inside that senses when there is voltage on the (amber) turn signal circuit. Whenever there is voltage on the (amber) turn signal circuit, the bulb switches to amber mode. The result is that in most vehicles, the switch back bulb will flash amber-white-amber-white, whenever the turn signal is activated and the headlights are on.
In some vehicles, the power to the (white) running light circuit is automatically switched off whenever the turn signal is activated. In these cases, the AW switchback will flash amber-off-amber off whenever the turn signal is activated.
In most vehicles, the AW switchback will flash amber-off-amber off whenever the turn signal is activated and the headlights/running lights are off..
The AW switch back bulb as it will operate (in most vehicles) is shown in this animation with the headlights on.
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