Jump to content

DIY Repair JBJ Trinity T5HO Light Fixture LED's


Recommended Posts

I bought a used JBJ Trinity T5HO Light Fixture from someone on the forum, intending to repair it. Two of the four moonlight LED's had burned out, but the fixture was otherwise in great condition and we got a great deal on it.

I had trouble finding out where to buy the exact LED's that it came with. I called the manufacturer, intending to order the exact same LED's from them but they said we would have to send the entire fixture in if we wanted it repaired (to do that, we'd probably need a current warranty, receipt, etc, etc.) I told them we could solder it ourselves, and they said getting a hold of the LED's was impossible unless they had someone send their fixture in for repair/replacement (I guess they intended to strip some used LED's and send those to us?). We waited for a few weeks for them to contact us about when the parts were "in stock", and were never contacted again.

So here is a guide on how to repair yours by yourself!

Things you'll need:

1. The Fixture

This can be any JBJ Trinity Light Fixture, regardless of length, as long as it uses "1 Watt Nite-Vu LED moonlights". Indeed, even if your fixture uses a different type of LED than this, as long as yours uses 1 watt LEDs, it can't hurt to try. Even if the LED you bought is not the right wattage, the worst that could happen is you burn out the new $2-3 LED that you bought. So give it a try!

I did a simple google search and took this screenshot of the fixture, which includes its full name, found for sale new at MarineDepot.com. I'm showing 48 inch because that is how long my fixture is. I left the website link visible for reference:


A screen shot of the Detailed product description, where you can find the wattage of the LED's on the fixture:


A picture of my fixture just before we began work on it:


Here it is plugged in, you can see the two bulbs that work and the two bulbs that don't. Also there is a closeup of a working Nite-Vu moonlight LED that came with the fixture, and a close-up of one that no longer worked, which we de-soldered from the fixture. You can see the corrosion around the broken LED:


2. A soldering iron, which you can get for $9.99 give or take depending on the quality of the iron and the extras that come in the kit. Check Radio Shack, Home Depot, Lowe's, or other similar hardware/electronics stores. You'll also need some solder wire, and a wet sponge to clean the soldering iron tip, or bronze wool if you really want to go professional with it. Here's a great How To Solder video for beginners:

Warning: Soldering irons can get very hot, between 250-400 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the wattage. Do not touch the metal tip, don't leave it where it can drop or roll, don't leave it plugged in when you are done, and don't let the tip touch anything you don't want to damage! Be very aware when using one. Keep your kids, pets, and other distractions far away or well-contained. However, don't be afraid of your iron--this is an everyday tool that CAN be used safely.

You'll also need some solder sucker or solder braid/wick to suck away the solder when you de-solder the broken LED. Here is a video demonstrating a few techniques for desoldering:

3. A philips head screw driver

4. Electronics Cleaner (not pictured)

5. The new LED bulb

We tried 3 different kinds of LED bulbs from Radio Shack, and a fourth that we'd ordered online, before we found which LED works well with this fixture. The total cost of all 4 LED's was around $8-10. Here are some pictures of LED's that we tried:

These burned out during testing:


This one worked:


Here is a website where you can order the LED we found that worked. They come in several colors on this website, and as far as we can tell, are identical to the ones in the light fixture. The one in our photographs is green (my room mate just happened to have the EXACT LED we needed lying around. I asked where he got it from and he gave me the website. We have now ordered two blue ones, one to solder on now, and one for later incase another goes out).

Its called a 1 Watt Blue High Power LED, or Star LED, and you can order from




DISCLAIMER: I'm putting this guide out here because I couldn't find any information on how to do Do It Yourself, and since I had some success, I wanted to be helpful and share it with everyone. However, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for any damage you do to your light fixture, LEDs, person, etc. I recommend shipping your fixture in for repairs (especially if its still under warranty) or calling a repairman or electrician for help if you feel uncomfortable with any of these steps.

Step 1:

Unplug the fixture. Unscrew the clear plastic caps protecting the LED's from water damage. Be gentle screwing and unscrewing the caps because applying too much pressure could crack the plastic cap.

Step 2:

Use electronics cleaner to clean the LED board, LED, solder, and all around the area really well. You can clean the cap too. Do this a few times, as needed. Wait for it to completely dry, then turn on the fixture. I recommend cleaning all of your LED's, especially if you see water stains or salt creep or corrosion. If your LED's still don't work after being cleaned, then proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Pull the little LED board away from the fixture. You should see two wires pull up with it. De-solder these wires from the LED board to free it. Its not a big deal if you make a mistake here-- the LED is broken and you can't make it worse. If you damage the wires, you can always cut the wire shorter and strip the wire jacket back to expose some wire again.

Step 4: Because both wires on the fixture are black and look identical, you need to find out which wire is positive and which is negative before you can solder them onto the positive and negative pads or leads of your new LED. If you are going to solder an LED that is on a board, the board should have plus and minus signs next to the corresponding pads. If you are soldering a naked LED with wire leads sticking off of the LED bulb, the longer lead is the positive (or anode) lead.

You must attach the positive wire to the positive connection on the LED, and the negative wire to the negative connection on the LED, or the LED will not light up. A quick way to tell which wire is positive and which is negative is to turn the fixture on and touch the two wires to the appropriate spots on the LED. If the LED doesn't turn on, then you have it backwards. If the LED turns on and stays a steady bright color for mores than a few seconds, you should proceed to the next step. Also, sometimes, LEDs will work for a short time (a few minutes to a couple hours) before the current overwhelms the bulb and it dies. If you can find a way to keep the LED attached to the wires for a good hour or so, you will have a better idea of whether your LED bulb will work with your particular fixture in the long term. Otherwise, hold the LED there for a few minutes, or as long as you are patient for, and move on to Step 5 if all seems well.

If the LED glows faintly, or glows bright but then dims, or if it flickers and goes out, begins to heat up quickly, then the LED is probably not the right wattage. It will not work with the fixture, and by testing this incompatible LED bulb you have burned it out. This LED bulb is now trash (you have lost only $2-3 so its okay). Do not continue to the next steps. Sorry, try again with a different type of LED!

A picture of us testing an incompatible LED bulb by touching the appropriate pos/neg wires to the appropriate pos/neg leads. First the bulb looks bright. Then it faded and died. For a while, the 2nd bulb in the circuit stayed lit up before it too went out again.:


A picture of us testing a compatible LED by touching the appropriate pos/neg wires to the appropriate pos/neg pads on the LED board.


OPTIONAL: Use a multi-meter to check if the wires on the fixture are getting voltage, and also to check the polarity of the wires (which is positive and which is negative). The fixture must be turned on to do this--don't touch the two wires to each other or it might cause a short-out.

When the multi-meter reads positive, you are correctly touching the red (positive) wire of the multi-meter to the positive wire of the fixture, and the black (negative) wire of your multi-meter is touching the negative wire of the fixture. Now you know which wire is positive and negative. If you get it backwards, the multi-meter will give a negative number, but it won't cause any harm.

Some pictures of testing the wires' voltage and polarity with a multi-meter:


Step 5: Solder the positive wire from the fixture to the positive terminal of the LED. Solder the negative wire from the fixture to the negative terminal of the LED.

If you are using a naked LED bulb with leads sticking out, you can trim the leads, but make sure you keep the longer lead longer than the shorter lead so you know which lead is positive. After you solder the leads to the wires, you should use electrical tape or heat shrink to protect the soldered connection.

If you are using an LED bulb that is seated onto a little board like my fixture originally came with, you should solder the wires to the proper pos/neg pads on the board. The board has a + or - sign written by the corresponding pads.

Step 6: Test and see if your soldering job is good. Tug the wires a little bit and if it doesn't come undone, you've done a good job. Turn on the fixture, and if it doesn't light up, you haven't made a good connection. Unplug the fixture and play with the solder a bit more before you try to light it up again.

Step 7: Put the fixture back together: push the LED and wires back down so they are as flush with the fixture as possible. Put the cap on and screw it gently into place.

In our case, two LED's were burned out in our fixture (or so we thought). However, when we repaired the worst looking LED, the other broken LED came on! We figured that the first two LED's are on their own circuit, and the second two LED's are on a different circuit, so if one goes out the second one doesn't get power. If you have the same problem as we did, you should replace the worst-looking, visibly burned/busted, or most corroded LED bulb first and perhaps you'll be lucky and the second one will come on!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys.

Dustin, maybe you and John can get together to figure out how to make the LED thing.. but then again, you've already got yours!

Hey, I saw an LED fixture that would fit your hex tank perfectly. It was $25 on craigslist... but that was a couple weeks ago. I was really tempted to pick it up but I got my breeder tank instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...