We’ve all seen it: Moisture inside offroad lights. It’s annoying and concerning at the same time. Luckily it’s a simple cause and an easy solution.
According to Larson Electronics (alternate link) (A massive manufacturer of ultra-high quality lights of all shapes and sizes) the leading cause of water finding its way into offroad lights that are supposedly sealed tight is the moisture being wicked up the wire and into the light housing from either manufacturers defect or installation defect.
I had cut the plug off of my lights and wired up the pigtails: A huge no-no and definitely the source of the moisture.
My first step was to insure power was disconnected from the lights. I did this by simply disconnecting the wires from the improper pigtail job I had done.
Second, I removed the front cover from each light pod. Make sure you use the proper tool for this and if you are unsure of how to do it contact the manufacturer of the light and ask for instructions. Be aware: This may void any warranty the lights have but so might improper installation causing moisture to be wicked up into the light….
I then wiped out what moisture I could, blew out the rest with my shop air compressor and let it sit for a few hours wide open to air out. If the day you choose to do this on is a particularly humid day you may have faster drying times by removing the lights and bringing them into an air conditioned room for a few hours as air conditioned air should be drier.
For those worried about the packet catching on fire: If your lights get hot enough to ignite your silica gel packets, you have more serious issues to worry about. LED lights should never get above 150 degrees. LED lights HATE heat – keeping them cool will drastically increase their life.
Carefully close up the light and be very mindful of any rubber seal. You’ll want to make sure that the seal is 100% back in place and not pinched in anyway. Any compromise of the seal will result in moisture infiltrating into the light again.
Preventing Moisture in the Future
Since the moisture infiltrates through a wicking mechanism through unsealed wires, we obviously want to prevent that. The best way I have found is to use plugs that are IP67 rated. This means they will hold out water when submerged to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Luckily, these types of plugs are easy to use and fairly cheap. I use MUYI brand plugs as a standard. Currently a pack of 10 sets of 2 pair MUYI IP67 plugs costs $11 on Amazon. The crimper tool is $24. I’m actually in the process of swapping out all of my after-market wiring in my Jeep to this standard.
IP67 plugs seal the contacts in the plug with waterproof seals. The crimp insures the plug is waterproof around the wire itself. Together this makes your wires waterproof. You’ll need to make sure you use the proper wire gauge for the crimp to make a solid seal around the wire sheath.
- MUYI 10 Kit 2 Pin Way 20-16 AWG Waterproof Connector IP67 AMP Superseal PA66 Nylon Housing 1.5mm Series Terminal Sockets AC/DC Conn Plug Black
- Delphi Packard Weatherpack Crimper Tool Kit