loading Loading... Please wait...

OPT7 Blog

What is a CANbus CPU and Do I Need a CANbus Certified HID Kit?

Posted by Steven O. on

     Quick preface, it is a common misconception that Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Chrysler vehicles have a CANbus CPU but this is not true. Most 05+ and some older model Chrysler family vehicles are equipped with a TIPM CPU or Totally Integrated Power Management CPU. In most cases, a CANbus certified lighting solutions will not function properly on a TIPM CPU equipped vehicle. 

     According to Wikipedia, the CANbus CPU or Controller Area Network (CAN bus) is a robust vehicle bus standard designed to allow micro-controllers and devices to communicate with each other in applications without a host computer. Of particular relevance is the checks it runs on the headlights and sometimes fog lights.

So what does this mean to those looking to convert their headlights to HID or LED?

     It means your vehicle's CPU type matters and should be determined prior to purchasing any after-market 12v electronic including headlight and fog lights.

     If you have a CANbus CPU equipped vehicle then it would be wise to have a relay and ECM capacitor set on hand or ensure you add the "Relay Bundle" to your purchase; especially, if the HID conversion kit you plan to install is not CANbus certified. If the HID kit is CANbus certified then you can complete a full installation without either accessory; however, a relay is always a good idea because it improves efficiency, product life and to a small degree brightness.

Why do I need a relay and/or capacitors if I plan to install a non-CANbus certified lighting solution in my CANbus equipped vehicle?

     In the simplest terms, the CPU scans the headlight circuit and as long as the electrical signal/feedback is within acceptable parameters (designed for halogen) it will register the headlights as working properly.

     The problems arise when introducing a non-CANbus certified HID or LED kit, due to the improved efficiency and lowered electrical draw of these lighting solutions the CANbus CPU often registers a fault and activates the BOW (Bulb Out Warning) and in some cases shuts off the headlights completely.

     In order to pass the headlight check and prevent these fail-safe measures from throwing the BOW light or shutting off the headlights we need to manipulate the electrical signal/signal, enter the capacitor.

     The CANbus tuned capacitor; specifically, manipulate the electrical signal/feedback essentially tricking the CPU into registering that the halogen bulb is still installed and working properly.

     CANbus certified lighting solutions come equipped with an internal or external CANbus decoder/capacitor that if finely tuned to ensure that the electrical signal of the HID or LED kit returned back to the CPU is within the established parameters resulting in a successful HID conversion.

 So how do I determine if my vehicle has a CANbus CPU?

   As a general rule of thumb most 00+ European makes like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Mini, etc...are CANbus CPU equipped. However, CANbus as technology is being adopted by most modern vehicle manufacturers and being equipped in many new vehicles like late model Silverado, Sierra, Elantras etc...

View Comments


THE VAULT: Will My HID or LED Headlights Blind Other Drivers?

Question:Are my HID or LED headlights going to blind other drivers?Answer:If your car has projector housings, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Projector housings work well with aftermarket lighting because the housings come with rungs that cut off glare and focus illumination forward in straight, clean beams. As reflector housings are designed for 55w halogens and their [...]

Read More »


THE VAULT: How do I find the right bulbs for my car?

Question:How do I find the right bulbs for my car?Answer:No one wants to be the guy who orders a kit that doesn’t fit. Luckily, we have all the info you need to prevent that from happening.Kits are sold by bulb size; whether you’re trying to replace your headlights, fog lights, or tail lights, you’ll need to know what bulb sizes you’re [...]

Read More »


Garage Tours: @Bigsexy_f2

Who’s driving what and where? Welcome to Garage Tours, where we shine the spotlight on you and other automotive enthusiasts around the country. Up this week… JAKE GENTRY, IG: @bigsexy_f2Introduce yourself and your ride:“I’m Jake Gentry, and I’m 21 years old from Calhoun, GA. I work in HVAC, but my passion is building trucks. This is my 2012 F250 [...]

Read More »


​The Ultimate Breakdown: Candela, Lux, and Lumens

Anyone who has spent some time shopping for aftermarket lighting knows the struggle of differentiating between legit sellers who have tested and can confirm the features they advertise, and sketchy copycats who drag-and-drop nice-sounding lines from other brands into their own listings with zero understanding of the terminology. When it comes to brightness, the go-to measurement to boast in these [...]

Read More »


Just Released - New Mustang Arrow Designs

If you liked the original Arrow LED Sequential Turn Signals, you will love Diffused and Smoked designs. See details below and click here to get the design that fits your 6th Gen.ARROW DIFFUSEDIf you like an American-style concentrated glow over the dotted, crystal LED look more popular in Euro cars, go with Diffused – in this new design, the [...]

Read More »


Tailgate Takeover – Get to Know the Redline Series

If you’re looking to revamp your truck with a tailgate LED bar that has all the functions you need and doesn’t look cheesy, the name “Redline” should be at the top of your wish list. As the experts behind Redline, we thought we’d give you the breakdown on each kit in the top-selling trio, so you can make sure [...]

Read More »


5 things to consider before you buy a $50 LED Headlight kit

SMART SHOPPING PSA: 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE DROPPING $50 ON LED HeadlightsSo you’ve been looking for a headlight upgrade kit, and now you’ve found one for a great price – it’s not from any brand you recognize, but hey, it’s less than $50! At a glance, it seems not too different from any of the other LED kits you’re scrolling [...]

Read More »


The Ultimate Breakdown: LED, HID, Halogen, and Laser Headlights

If you’ve ever tried to Google search “HID vs. LED headlights,” attempted to find out whether those new Audi laser headlights are finally legal in the US, or simply wanted to brush up on your knowledge of automotive lighting in general, this article’s for you. Read on for the ultimate breakdown of the current four players in the game – [...]

Read More »


Fluxbeam LED Headlight H11 Bulb Installation

Got a FluxBeam LED Headlight Kit on the way? Did you purchase H11 bulbs? You’re in the right place – this blog post and video is going to show you what you should expect to receive in your package, how those parts connect, and the easy installation that will get you back behind the wheel in no time.If you’ve been [...]

Read More »



Opt7 Twitter Opt7 Instagram Opt7 Pinterest Opt7 Facebook