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Old 11-19-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
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LED bulbs and DEPO lights.

Like a lot of other guys here, I replaced my taillights with the DEPO aftermarket ones.
The LED brake light, and the smoked top, verses the yellow OEM, really makes the car look more updated.
So why not go all the way (I asked myself)? I wanted to replace the running light, blinker and reverse bulbs to LED as well.
Got some cheep LED bulbs from eBay, installed them, and they didn’t work.
Got the expensive ones, with no different results.
OK.
I read in some places, a load resistor is needed.
Got some high quality resistors, still, the lights don’t work (bulbs do not turn on at all).
I even got the “special” relay for the blinkers without any different in results.
This weekend, I decided to go to the bottom of it.
Started cutting some wires, adding resistors, adding relays, changing ground points…..nothing makes the bulb light up.
To make a long story short, this is what I found.
To make the bulb work, I need to provide positive current to the bottom contact of the bulb, and negative to the side contact.




LED bulb, (unlike regular bulb), must be connected with the proper polarity in order for it to work.

Now, this is how the “circuit board” of the taillights looks like:




You can clearly see that the positive line (red) is going to the side contact of the bulb, and the negative (orange) to the bottom one.
There is no way, a standard LED bulb will work in my car. the polarity is reversed.
So I have 2 options.
1. Getting LED bulbs with reverse polarity (dose it exist?).
2. Building an alternative lighting system, that will be separated from the original one. (including Independent relays and fuses)
Any thoughts?

Last edited by Meir; 11-19-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:18 PM   #2
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Yeah to @Meir!

You did not solve it…but explaining it is HALF the battle. This is EXACTLY what I have run into as well. Been pulling my hair out!!! Load resistors will NOT work either! Don't want to do a 'hatchet job' on the lights!

You can use the turn signals (with a EP-35 flasher from Autozone). The side markers and rear cruising lights use standard 2825s (or T10s) but replacing the others has not worked. It has been a nightmare!

@Tony_Fury spent some time with me diagnosing the circuits. They work in his car but he has aftermarket head and tail lights.

Welcome to the party @Meir…I have been banging my head with this for months.

Psst! You wouldn't happen to want to buy any LED lights in white and Amber, would you? Got a bunch of them! The LEDs are VERIFIED to work - just NOT in our cars!
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #3
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Meir:
You cannot just reverse the wiring into the stock light housing.
It would require modifying and cutting the metal traces, then soldering jumpers around to reverse engineer the light wiring.
Can be done, would be time consuming and would still work with bulbs if wanted to later.
Bulbs care less about polarity, whereas LED's do.

My aftermarket tail lights already corrected the polarity issue with their own circuit board that just plugs into the factory harness.

I paid $195.00 for the pair of tail lights. (Tuning Import)
97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 Porsche Boxster 986 Euro Red LED Tail Light Lights Lamp | eBay

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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LOL!
I was trying to call both of you guys this weekend.
Mark, don't worry. I'll figure out how to nail that sucker.
As you mentioned half the job is done. In my mind even mor then that.
Finding the problem is the difficult part, solving it, will require a little bit of innovation.
I'm always up for a challenge.
Tony. Now I understand what you are talking about. Your tail lights are not DEPO.
it's another brand (better build in my opinion)
with the DEPO, you have to use the OEM plate.
So I have two options:
1. Just like Tony side. Cut the conducting lines, solder wires to them, and revers the polarity on each bulb.
2. find a way to mount the bulbs on the taillight assembly using bulb sockets with wires, and plug it the OEM socket. (in revers polarity)
Just like the LED brake lights connects to the OEM plate.
In fact, I already have it in mind. Not only that, I think I will be able to fit 3 bulbs to the running light position. Just need to confirm it will not be too bright.
It will be funny if because this issue it will come out nicer then I expected.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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BTW Tony.
How is the fit on your lights?
The DEPO doesn't seat flash with the rear fender.
Not big deal, but was wondering how is the fitment on yours.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meir View Post
BTW Tony.
How is the fit on your lights?
The DEPO doesn't seat flash with the rear fender.
Not big deal, but was wondering how is the fitment on yours.
I guess I should of said Euro instead of DEPO
They fit flush to the body, I'll take a few pic's for you.
These lights are plug and play. Literally.. They only use the black wire plugin connector from the car. (See pic below)

The round plastic things are the stud bolt covers for shipping..
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:55 PM   #7
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Thanks Tony. I appreciate that.
In the link you posted, they call it red and "smoked", but it looks red and "clear" to me.
Would love to see it on your car.
This is the ones I have.
Depo 97 04 Porsche Boxster s 986 Euro Red Smoked Lens LED Rear Lamps Tail Lights | eBay
They smoke and red looks great on my black car.
(oops, now I remember I primmest mark to post some pics in my garage .)
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Wow nice tail lights....i agree I would love to see pictures of them installed... Might be my next mod...
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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Here is the right side before & after
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Rear both
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Last edited by tony_fury; 11-19-2012 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:10 PM   #10
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Thanks Tony.
They look grate on your car.
However, the top lens Is clear ( again looks great on silver) I prefer the smoke one on my black car.
I'll post some pics soon.
HomeBoy, stay tuned. I will document the conversion to LED, and post it as soon as I'm done. Might take some time tough. Got some visitors this weekend.
Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Last edited by Meir; 11-19-2012 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:02 PM   #11
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Thanks for posting. Definitely way better than the older triple color lights. I am not sure about the red ring all around... My stock 2003 s has the silver top and red bottom.... Hmmm....
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:29 PM   #12
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Yeah... I used your pic to photoshop on my car... I definitely think my stock is better without the red border all around...but it looks really really good on your car...

Stock:


Photoshop:
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:38 PM   #13
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mcomet:
Nice phot0shop job..

@Meir:
Smoke would look better on a dark car..
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:41 AM   #14
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Have an idea how to complete the conversion.
Anyone have a set of the socket for sale?

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:38 AM   #15
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Does anyone know where to get these lights? I cant find them on ebay at all!
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:32 PM   #16
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http://jdmautolights.com/porsche-boxster-tail-lights-emark-streert-legal-p-274.html

Last edited by particlewave; 03-04-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:14 PM   #17
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Did anyone figure out how to make LED bulbs work on our tail lights??
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staust5 View Post
Did anyone figure out how to make LED bulbs work on our tail lights??
replayed to your Pm.
but just so others will know, i saw a post when the bulb itself was taken apart, and the polarity was reversed in the bulb.
maybe ill give it a try this weekend, as i picked another set of depos for the silver car.
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:40 AM   #19
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I tried reversing the polarity of the bulb by taking it apart and switching positive and negative contacts but still did not work.
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:59 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staust5 View Post
I tried reversing the polarity of the bulb by taking it apart and switching positive and negative contacts but still did not work.
did you tested the bulb before installing it on the vehicle?
picture of the bulb will help, as you might have a diode in line.
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