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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently replaced a lighted LED license plate frame with third brake light. The original LED setup had stopped working (16 years old). An exact replacement could not be found, so the nearest affordable unit that appeared to be of reasonable quality, was manufactured in China.

A day after installing and riding, all was well. Two days later my running lights and turn signals stopped working. I discovered the fuse had blown. I replaced it. The very next day the fuse blew again.

Suspicious of the new LED frame, I disconnected the brake light portion, thinking the wires might have been crimped behind the frame during installation. My trike has two other brake lights, so the third wasn't critical. I left the plate illuminated.

The next day two more fuses blew on the same circuit. I replaced the fuses then disconnected the license plate light. Well... the fuse blew yet again... three times as I attempted to ride home. I ran out of replacements but made it home without being killed or pulled over.

I discovered the root cause was actually a crack in the insulation of one of the turn signals. The cracked wire had been vibrating from the rides and making contact with the chrome highway bar, shorting the running lights and turn signals circuit. It took maybe 5 minutes to identify, once I knew the LED frame was not the culprit.

I corrected the problem and reconnected the license plate/third brake light. All has been well ever since.

My point to all this?

Always remember the basics. Don't over-think the problem, and don't be too hasty to blame the new gadgets, though it does not help when a problem waits until you have installed a new toy, to rear its ugly head and complicate matters. A simple inspection would have spared me some headache.
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