Philips LED Headlights and DRL - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Philips LED Headlights and DRL

OK, so here's the backstory...

My $69 Sylvania SilverStar zXe headlights burned out in a little less than a year, so I decided to bite the bullet and get the mega-expensive Philips LED headlights. These: H4 Philips X-treme Ultinon LED Bulb | 12953BWX2

I got the $23 DRL upgrade option as well. This is an extra box that goes before the LED driver. So it's:

Original Headlight Cable -> DRL Box -> Philips LED Driver Box -> LED Lamp

I did some comparisions during and after installation and my findings were:

With DRL Box: LEDs work, DRL is exact same brightness as low beam.
Without DRL Box: LEDs work, DRL is exact same brightness as low beam.

So I write the following to the folks at XenonDepot:

Quote:
MattM previously said:
Hello!

Can you explain the intended function of the DRL upgrade box you offer with the H4 12953BWX2 PHILIPS X-TREME LED bulbs?

I purchased a set of these with the DRL upgrade for my 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser a couple weeks back. After installing, here’s what I found:

Without the DRL box - Lights function correctly, DRL is exactly the same brightness as low beam.

With the DRL box - Lights function correctly, DRL is exactly the same brightness as low beam.

So, It appears to do nothing at all and was just $23 that didn’t need to be spent.

Thank you,

- Matt
Their response was:

Quote:
MattM previously said:
Hi Matt,

The DRL option will come with a Canbus fix that will allow the LED bulbs to function at fill power when a vehicle has daytime running lights. Normally DRL functions at half power which LED bulbs can’t do and this can cause them to flicker or not turn on at all. The canbus fix is meant to fix these issues.

In some cases the flickering may be so quick that it may not be noticeable to the human eye. If your vehicle does have DRL I would recommend installing the canbus fix in order not to damage the LED bulbs.

Thanks,
Danny
CANBUS is the "Controller Area Network Bus" that allows the various CPUs on a car to talk to each other. But this DRL box is just connected to the headlight wires, which according to the FJ wiring diagram, only go through simple relays to +12V and ground. There is no connection to the CANBUS.

So I responded:

Quote:
MattM previously said:
Thanks for the reply.

Not sure how the CANBUS gets involved. On this vehicle, according to the wiring diagrams, there is a resistor between the bulb and ground which causes the lights to be always on in DRL brightness. Turning on the headlights switches a relay that causes the resistor to be bypassed, making the lights come on full brightness.

Not clear how any box, which is downstream of that resistor, could restore full voltage.
To which they said:

Quote:
MattM previously said:
A canbus reserves power which then sends full power to the LED to ensure it does not flicker in DRL mode.
My inclination here is to tell them they have no idea what they are talking about. Then maybe to open up one of these boxes and see what's inside.

The LED headlights are fantastic, but I feel I spent an extra $23 for snake oil.

Thoughts???

- Matt

Last edited by MattM; 06-10-2016 at 10:17 AM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 10:54 AM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

I'm more interested in seeing how the hold up verse sharing my thoughts on their tech support

I've gone through 5 sets of lifetime LED's spanning 3 generations . . . the last set has lasted 3 months which is the second longest duration I've experienced.

Let us know if you have any problems with the bulbs, not the tech support

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 11:28 AM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

@MattM ,

The DRL option appears to be designed for vehicles whose wiring harness has a controller on the CAN-bus network that monitors/controls headlights. Some european cars can detect lower than expected headlight voltage draw and trigger a CAN-bus error because it thinks the headlight is out. I don't know if Toyota has the same setup but the DRL add-on essentially masks lower than expected voltage draw from being detected by an upstream controller (it is likely that it would not have any impact if the upstream controller is not on the CAN-bus network).

The inline devices don't actually have any knowledge or connectivity to the CAN-bus, they can only mask lower than expected voltage draw that may cause errors in some vehicles that have more advanced error detection designed into the wiring harness. Unless the vendor received detailed info from Phillips on vehicle-specific applicability, they have no way of knowing whether you really need the add-on and it is easier for them to put the onus on you to figure that out.


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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

OK, that makes some sense. Even though the device is not connected directly to the bus, it can essentially lie and report a different current draw, which would be detected by an ECU.

However, when I look at the wiring diagrams for the FJ, I can trace a direct route from the bulb, through relays, to +12V, and from the bulb, through relays and resistors, to ground. There are lines from an ECU involved in the headlights, but they only go to the coil sides of the relays.

Conclusion - Not needed for the FJ.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 01:57 PM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

Ahhhhh! Show us some pics already!

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 02:16 PM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

I have been running these LED's for almost 6 months and no issues. Disconnected my DRL so didn't bother with their add on to deal with it. The Philips FJ H4 LED are great performers. Pretty close to being where they need to for no glare or scattered light patterns.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 03:07 PM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

Quote:
MattM previously said: View Post
OK, that makes some sense. Even though the device is not connected directly to the bus, it can essentially lie and report a different current draw, which would be detected by an ECU.

However, when I look at the wiring diagrams for the FJ, I can trace a direct route from the bulb, through relays, to +12V, and from the bulb, through relays and resistors, to ground. There are lines from an ECU involved in the headlights, but they only go to the coil sides of the relays.

Conclusion - Not needed for the FJ.
yes i agree not needed , have you asked for a refund on that part?

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 10:11 PM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

Like Algonaman, I've also been running these LED's for almost 5 months now with no issues. 3 of the last months I've been running them in DRL mode during they day (without any DRL box).

OP, bad news is I don't think the DRL box is necessary to "protect" the LED's from our FJ's. The good news is you're only out $23.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 11:40 PM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

Quote:
XenonDepot previously said:
In some cases the flickering may be so quick that it may not be noticeable to the human eye.
One thing you might try is take a few seconds of video with your phone with the box and without the box and see if you can tell a difference in the flickering. If you have the slo-mo camera even better.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-11-2016, 07:47 AM
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Re: Philips LED Headlights and DRL

Another thing to take into consideration is that the DRL module on the FJ sends approx. 12.8V to the positive terminal, but it's a pulsed voltage. I recently tried to connect my LED Halo rings to this but they were underpowered (made it look like they were about 5-6V). I ended up disconnecting my DRL module and tapping the LED Halo rings to the parking lights. This way they get full power and can be ran separate from the headlight.
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