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Old 08-16-2018, 07:18 PM   #1
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M4 Products LED ratings

A few years back I wanted to upgrade my coach to LED lighting. I tried a few of the cheap package deals and was very disappointed in life and color choices. This topic came up on the irv2 forum and many folks rallied around M4 products. So I took their advise and bought enough LED of the elite series to do all of the ceiling lights in this present coach.


I am very disappointed in the results. Most of the first batch of bulbs failed within a few months. I was told by M4 customer support that my coach had a DC voltage problem and that it was causing their LEDs to fail. They did replace several of them. Then, over time, the new ones started randomly flashing on and off.



Around the same time I was converting over to LEDs my thermostat started to act up. It would freeze up so I had no control over the zones and display the dreaded "00".


The RV gremlins were having a field day with me. I was convinced I had a bad DC line. I spent days looking for problems. Noise must be getting introduced from somewhere. I looked at it with an automotive oscilloscope and did see some "ringing" noise. I posted the picture and a fellow, more astute than I, RVer said that this was common. I called Magnum and presented the problem to them. They admitted that their inverters have a bit of noise but didn't see that mine was any worse than the norm. Then I called RVP about the thermostat. The guy I talked with was well aware of what I was seeing. He suggested a filter at the thermostat. I already had installed one. Next he said to shut off DC loads. When the problem disappeared I had found the source of the trouble.


I started by shutting all switchable DC loads off or disconnecting from the power ports. One at a time I started turning circuits on and would wait a while. With one set of ceiling lights on I got the "00". Lights off, "00" gone. Pulled all the lamps accept one. Lights on... no problem. Another bulb in and so forth. I had several bulbs that were causing noise in the DC. I was outside warranty so I simply bought more M4 LEDs thinking I might have just run into a bad batch.



Long story short. Almost every bulb I have bought from M4 has caused problems with the thermostat or failed. I have a few left but I am replacing them with other brands.


I don't like to make reports like this one, especially when the folks I have dealt with at the place of purchase have been sincere in trying to assist me. But the facts remain. The elite product line is not of a stable or of good quality from my personal experience.


What are your thoughts?
Rick
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:16 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your problem. We have had the M4 LEDs for 3 years or so (entire coach) with no issues whatsoever.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:22 AM   #3
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Your best bet is to replace the fixture with a LED fixture. ITC manufacture the current version in new coaches and I believe they are a cost effective alternative to bulbs. I originally installed LED bulbs in the original fixtures. I had two issues with them - the voltage supplied to the bulbs is well above 12 volts and at times close to 14 volts when the charger is working. Solved that one by using bulbs with a built in regulation circuit that could take 10-16 volts. These also failed as the original fixture had a reflective surface that focused the heat on the regulation circuit mounted on the rear of the bulb.I ended up replacing all of my fixtures with the original ITC LED fixture used on 2013? coaches that were about $14. None of these have failed and run at a moderate temperature. Personally, I think the fixture units are superior to a bulb solution and the newest fixture is less than what I paid.
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:03 AM   #4
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Rick
Your best bet is to replace the fixture with a LED fixture. ITC manufacture the current version in new coaches and I believe they are a cost effective alternative to bulbs. I originally installed LED bulbs in the original fixtures. I had two issues with them - the voltage supplied to the bulbs is well above 12 volts and at times close to 14 volts when the charger is working. Solved that one by using bulbs with a built in regulation circuit that could take 10-16 volts. These also failed as the original fixture had a reflective surface that focused the heat on the regulation circuit mounted on the rear of the bulb.I ended up replacing all of my fixtures with the original ITC LED fixture used on 2013? coaches that were about $14. None of these have failed and run at a moderate temperature. Personally, I think the fixture units are superior to a bulb solution and the newest fixture is less than what I paid.

Thanks Bob. Good suggestion. The ITC lamp is what Winnebago went to in the newer rigs. Initially they had many failures but ITC did step up and make them good. My LED upgrade was before that. Now, over time, I will try the fixture route. Color match may be a problem. I'll see.



I hope your input will help others making the upgrade. I am so disappointed with the M4 Products elite line. I think it is too bad for them because the company, over all, is a good one with a support team who sincerely care. I just can't recommend their LEDs. Unless there has been some redesigning done since I bought mine, and had them replaced with the new design, I can't recommend them. Sad because the daylight color is very comfortable and the lights are bright.


Rick
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:12 PM   #5
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All light bulbs do not radiate the same "color". The light from bulbs is characterised by its "color temperature" measured in degrees Kelvin (xxxxK) and that parameter is indicated on the packaging of most bulbs. The common bulbs are 2700K and 3000K with the 2700 one being slightly orange and the 3000 one being a brighter white. 4000K bulbs are "blueish" and often described as cool white. You should figure out what the color temp was of the bulbs you liked - since color temp is an international standard, you should have no problems finding similar bulbs or fixtures. The ITC fixtures I have are 3000K and are not harsh. You can go the ITC website and download their RV and Marine catalog. You will see lots of fixtures there that you will recognize.
Good luck and have fun,
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:24 PM   #6
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Rick
All light bulbs do not radiate the same "color". The light from bulbs is characterised by its "color temperature" measured in degrees Kelvin (xxxxK) and that parameter is indicated on the packaging of most bulbs. The common bulbs are 2700K and 3000K with the 2700 one being slightly orange and the 3000 one being a brighter white. 4000K bulbs are "blueish" and often described as cool white. You should figure out what the color temp was of the bulbs you liked - since color temp is an international standard, you should have no problems finding similar bulbs or fixtures. The ITC fixtures I have are 3000K and are not harsh. You can go the ITC website and download their RV and Marine catalog. You will see lots of fixtures there that you will recognize.
Good luck and have fun,

Yup. Been teaching this to folks for many years now. 4100 to 4500k is what we like. 5000k+ gets too blue and under 4000K gets too yellow.



The Yellowstone Lodge went with the classic look for lighting. They chose 2700 or 2800K LEDs. It sucks your eyes right out of your head when you walk in from outside. Not much better in a half hour later. Classic means can't see the dirt.
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