Don't use "Canbus" LEDs in your RV!

RV owners replace their incandescent lights with LEDs so that they’ll get better battery life. LEDs produce the same amount of light while using less power.

“Canbus” LED lamps are built to deliberately waste power like incandescent lamps! Why? Some automobiles that were built to use incandescent lamps have a feature that detects when the lamp is blown out, and indicates it with a trouble light and error code. To do this, the vehicle computer senses the resistance of each lamp, or the current flow through the lamp when it’s lit, and indicates trouble if the current or resistance is not what is expected of an incandescent lamp. So “canbus” LED lamps have a resistor added, in parallel with the LED, to use enough power for the car computer to think there’s an incandescent lamp there instead of an LED.

The house lights in your RV don’t have a computer to detect blown-out lamps. If you put a “canbus” LED lamp in your RV, it will light up just fine, but it will use more power than it should.

In general, “canbus” LED lamps also cost more than lamps without the resistor. Cheap LED lamps are available on eBay for rock-bottom prices and generally work just fine. A “canbus” LED lamp can cost 10 times more!

What’s a “canbus”? Properly referred to as “CAN bus”, the Controller Area Network bus connects microprocessors in the vehicle. You might have met it if you’ve used the ODBII connector under your dashboard to plug in a trouble code reader. The lamps actually aren’t connected to the CAN bus in any way! It’s just that when some cars have LEDs installed and detect them as blown incandescent bulbs, the error code is reported via the CAN bus.