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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all
Does anyone have a link to LED tail lights that will not throw a code off when they’re installed in the Gallardo?

Apparently they need to be CANbus Error free LED’s?

Would be great to hear from someone who has installed a bunch on their car, and hear if there was any problems with fitment.

I’ve replaced 2 bulbs in the last year and want to have something a tiny bit brighter and longer lasting

cheers!
 

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I think this has been an ongoing question. Looking for the same answer as you. Seems that the ones everyone has tried has thrown at best an intermittent code. I'd like to replace all of the bulbs to LED. Brakes, reverse, license plate, interior, and frunk bulbs to LED....
 

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Im trying to do the same thing. ie; replace most of the common lights with LEDs on a 2005. Ill be following this hoping someone chimes in.

Do they make LED bulbs with a resistor or something on them to trick the car into thinking its a normal filament bulb? Is that what a CANBus Error feww LED is?
 

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2013 Gallardo - Final Edition
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Here is my experience (2013 LP 560-4 coupe):

I didn't really care about the bulbs that didn't look yellow (outdated look). For example, the license plate lights look so ugly but the tail lights, blinkers, side markers or even the red puddle/door lights look good to me.

That being said, I just wanted to replace the frunk, glove box, vanity mirrors, map light and the license plate lights.

Everything worked perfectly, except the license plate light. The glove box, frunk and vanity don't throw a code because I believe the computer/car doesn't care about those. As a matter of fact.. just for testing purposes I temporarily replaced the bulbs inside the red lens in the door and that one didn't throw an error either but I just decided it to leave it OEM because they looked literaly the same and the less I have to "worry" about making sure a bulb is not flickering, etc, the better!

Now, for the license plate! - This was an impossible task for me. I believe the LP's or at least mine, are way more sensitive than earlier models. I tried at least 6 or 7 different brands that claimed to have built-in resistors "canbus/error free" and none of them worked. I also tried led bulbs with the highest wattage and the lowest as well. NOTHING WORKED!

I was determined that I wanted to change the look of my license plate lights no matter what so I started running a bunch of tests and what I found out is that the car/computer wants to read at least 5.1watts being "used". The 5.1 watts could be distributed between the two bulbs (meaning just about 2.6watt each) but the problem I found is the highest wattage I could find was roughly 2.25 per bulb, which is not enough to "trick" the computer. I know the whole point of having LED's is to use less power and improve the looks but I didn't care about that, I just wanted to get rid of that yellow look AND I knew somehow I would still be under the 8-9watts the OEM bulbs consume after I found the solution to this issue.

NOTE: to make sure you get an accurate wattage reading you have to use a voltmeter. I found out that whatever the ebay/amazon bulb sellers claim is not always the truth

So, there are 3 ways of solving this:

#1) Use aftermarket license plate housing/lenses that come with built in LED lights that have like 60 little led bulbs. I am sure those are at least 3 watts each but I didn't even bother trying that because I knew they were going to be SO BRIGHT that my car was going to look like it was hovering like an UFO

#2) Use an external resistor. Those get EXTREMELY HOT and the only solution would be to place them remotely somewhere behind the bumper on a metal surface and I didn't want to remove the bumper to wire a resistor and also I found too much misinformation on which resistor to use (50WATT, 25WATT, 1ohm, 2ohm, etc etc etc)

#3) My solution: Even though it is not the most elegant one, it works!. I bought an used OEM license plate clear lens on ebay for about $8 bucks. This would allow me to add a "3rd" bulb and reach the 5.1watts that I needed to trick the computer. I spray painted the lens black so it wouldn't illuminate anything around it and wired it behind the bumper and secured it in place with some velcro. You cannot see it, the install is "clean", no wires are exposed and everything is 100% reversible. The 2 LED bulbs I used for the license plate lights are about 2.25watt each, so that is 4.5watt and the "3rd" one I used behind the bumper is just about 1watt. Total 5.5watts, no codes, no errors and still using less wattage than the OEM bulbs! I didn't need to remove the rear bumper to do any of this and I have been using it for weeks now and it works like a charm! - If I unplug the 3rd bulb I get an error, so that makes me think that if a bulb goes out I will know BUT I am not 100% sure about this because I tested a bad led bulb I had laying around and even though it was extremely dim it was still sucking 1.5watt but.. oh well, i don't care! My license plate lights look awesome now and I can also control the intensity of the lights by twisting the festoon bulb towards the front or back of the car until I am 100% satisfied with the looks.

SIDE NOTE: Pre LP owners can probably get this to work with just 2 LED bulbs without having to add a 3rd bulb or an external resistor. A forum member who owned a pre-LP Gallardo told me he had some LED bulbs laying around that he used and he was not getting a code. He was nice enough to let me have them but after installing them I still got an error and that is when I decided my solution was the "3rd" bulb.

Cheers!
 

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Even though this is something I will never do to my car, this was a very enjoyable and educational read. A great writeup with excellent analysis of the root cause of the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks @rrgerman for that amazing write up. I wonder if the same thing applies to the rear tail lights, and wonder what the obligatory power usage is on the replacement LED globes.. surely just the wattage of the standard bulb?

Thoughts?
 

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2013 Gallardo - Final Edition
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Thank you @percolated ... I try to research or test things above and beyond sometimes lol

As far as the tail lights I am not 100% sure since I didn't replace those but it would make sense if the same concept applies. If you have a pre-LP, chances are it will not be as "problematic" as the LP, but you never know.

If you want to run some tests and have a voltmeter available and a couple basic tools, you could figure out how much wattage is used and this will give you an idea of what type of LED bulbs to get since there are several types/brands that produce anywhere from 1 up to 2-3 watts, especially for the tail lights, there are some bulbs that are much more powerful than the regular license plate/ dome light bulbs which is what you need in order to avoid the error if your car is as sensitive as mine.

This is how I did it: You need a voltmeter, a 12v power source (I used a cigarette lighter connector that I can plug in the wall and provides 12V, but you can also use a car battery or even a 12v drill battery), a wire/cable, a calculator and of course the OEM and LED bulbs.

NOTE: do this at your own risk, it should be perfectly safe, this is just how I did it, I am not an electrician and or expert at all.

See attached image to give you a better visual on how to wire the "jig"
Product Measuring instrument Font Gadget Tool

You gotta set your voltmeter to where that green circle is and put your positive probe in the "10a" connector, normally it goes on the opposite side where I put a white "X" in the picture.

Once you have that set, you have to find your 12v power source and wire the NEGATIVE side with any thin wire you have laying around, it could be a speaker wire or anything similar to that, at this point it doesn't really matter because it is just a temporary test but make sure you use the correct gauge wires if you are planning on doing anything to your car. Then, the positive probe of your voltmeter will go on the positive side of your power supply. The negative wire will have to make contact with one of the sides of your bulb and the black probe will have to make contact with the other side of the bulb. Do not put the probe and the wire on the same side of the bulb because this will create a spark, since you would be wiring the + and - side of the battery all together. Note: the black probe will be your "positive" even though it is "black", it is supplying the + power that the red probe is getting from your 12v power supply.

The number you will see on the screen once you have your bulb connected needs to be multiplied by 12 and this should give you a very good idea of the wattage of the bulb.

When I ran my tests, this is what I found out when I tested one of the many festoon LED bulbs I bought vs the OEM one (license plate lights):
Electrical wiring Gauge Electricity Audio equipment Technology


The number you see there is the milliamps (sorry if I am wrong about the terms, this is not my field), and what you need to do in order to obtain the bulb wattage is to multiply that number by the power source voltage, which in this case is 12v. I know that the car supplies a little more than 12v, especially when it is running (about 13-14V) but just to be safe I always used 12v because I didn't want to get a "bulb warning light" if the car was not running and the key was in the "on" position... just my OCD being annoying, lol.

So, in the picture above we can see that the OEM bulb is showing .31 mA and that x 12v = 3.72watts (with the car/alternator running is somewhere around 4watts or 8watts since the license plate light uses TWO bulbs) and the LED bulb is .11 x 12 = 1.32watts, and maybe somewhere around 1.4watts when the car is running. I knew right away that even by having 3 led bulbs of that type it would still throw a code. Three of those bulbs would be roughly 4watts and the computer/car needed to read at least 5.1watts. I figured that out by testing so many bulbs that all together and/or combined added the right amount of wattage until the error was no longer showing up in my dash, which is somewhere around 5.1watts for the license plate lights, but a simple way or starting point would be just unplugging 1 bulb and seeing if the code pops up, and if it does, you can replace just that one bulb with an LED one and see if the error goes away, then you will start doing your math and figure out what wattage is needed to avoid the error. For my license plate lights I used 2 bulbs that were showing .19ma and for my 3rd bulb I just used the one in the picture that is showing .11ma. All 3 bulbs I used produce 5.88watts all together, more than enough to avoid error codes.

I believe you have to remove the tail lights to access the bulbs. So, if you don't really want to go thru the "hassle" of figuring out what type of LED bulbs to get and/or adding an additional bulb to being able to reach the needed wattage in order to avoid any errors; what you can do is install a ballast resistor that will provide you with enough wattage to avoid any errors, even if you use a super "Weak" led bulb, the resistor will take care of the rest but you just have to know which resistor to get! Since your tail lights will be out when you replace the bulbs, there has to be a metal surface anywhere inside there that will let you mount the resistor on a safe surface away from any plastics and or wires (this is very important because those resistors get EXTREMELY HOT and can melt stuff around them, that is why in my case I decided to add an extra led bulb and hide it behind my bumper instead of having a super hot resistor in there)

This youtube video will give you a very good idea on how to set up a resistor (in this particular case they added it to the blinker light)

Hope this helps!! Cheers!
 
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