The crew welcomes Diode Dynamics CEO Paul McCain to discuss aftermarket lighting, while Lightning explores EGR USA during a shop tour. Plus, there’s a humorous anecdote involving someone owing their wife a golf cart. Proudly sponsored by Nissan, in partnership with Banks Power and Hellwig Products, this is The Truck Show Podcast.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1s):

Holman. Let’s say that a couple nights ago was your 25th wedding Anniversary and you took your wife out for dinner. And it turns out that halfway through the dinner she reveals that she expected you to take her car shopping and, and you didn’t know that there was that expectation. Wait, and then you, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Sean P. Holman (19s):

Go. Hold on. I’m sorry. You just bought her car last year, if I remember correctly. It was Lemon La and then you b got a better car, which I’ve been in, which is a, a incredibly nice half, half

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (33s):

The price equipped price, but Nice. But yes, car. So she’s had this one for like 11 months, right. And she, it’s her favorite car that she’s owned. She said that to me. I. Think we’ve talked about it. It’s an Atlas, right? Yeah, the Atlas

Sean P. Holman (46s):

Both like an Atlas

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (46s):

Loves the car and yet ready for a new one.

Sean P. Holman (52s):

What new one did she expect you would be getting her

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56s):

Range Rover?

Sean P. Holman (58s):

I’m, I’m sorry, what? Yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 1s):

I said a range. Range. Range Rover. What?

Sean P. Holman (1m 5s):

Why would that even be in the conversation?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 8s):

I don’t

Sean P. Holman (1m 8s):

Used right, like a 10 or 12-year-old woman with about 50,000 miles.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 12s):

Yeah, no, no,

Sean P. Holman (1m 14s):

In. Okay. How would you afford that?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 17s):

It’s called like a Valor or

Sean P. Holman (1m 18s):

Lar Val Lar. Yeah. Okay.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 21s):

That one. Can’t wrap your head around it. Can you?

Sean P. Holman (1m 26s):

I’m being very careful because I also know your wife. I’m trying not to anger her with

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 31s):

My comments.

Sean P. Holman (1m 32s):

So she,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 32s):

She has been on a plan, typically gets new vehicles every 36 months and then that started getting reduced to like every 24 months. And now I think if she could do a nine month lease, she would, if there was such a thing, which

Sean P. Holman (1m 47s):

Is funny, it the opposite of my wife who when I met had a, an Audi A five, got rid of that because she wanted the S3 or a three that came out, got the a three sight unseen, hated it, went back to the A five went, that was just like my old car. Then went to a Lexus. Before that she’d had a couple BMWs and a couple of Mercedes and a couple Volkswagens, but she would get one like once a year every 18 months. ’cause the guy at the dealership would call her go, ah, just we’ll roll it into the next one. So when we got married, I’m like, Hey, so how

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 25s):

Upside down are you? So about

Sean P. Holman (2m 26s):

That, and her lease was coming due and I’m like, we are going to get you, we had the baby on the way and I’m like, we are going to get you a nice SUV that I can get a really good deal on. And so we got her a Cherokee and I was able to get a deep enough deal from my good friends that we erased everything she was upside down on on the other cars. And she actually kept that through her lease. And then we got a Grand Cherokee and then that lease was coming due. And so we got the four by E that’s out here. So that’s like two leases in a row. She finished them out and this one, she’s like, this is the best car I ever had. I I think I might wanna keep this one. I’m like, what? What? So we’re we’re going opposite directions my

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 8s):

Friend. She has done that. She has done that. But we have, we’ve, we’ve purchased a few back in the day, we’ve, she’s been through Suburbans Tahoes. She had a Malibu for a minute, which she hated. She had, we did the Lemon La Mercedes, the MG Yeah, she had for a month. And then she got a BM BMW three series. What a tin can. that was, she had that for like two months. Got rid of it. Well it used to be. and I even put wheels on that thing and It was like, nah, goodbye. And then she ended up with this with a, with the Atlas and was, and it was great. But I think that just over it.

Sean P. Holman (3m 39s):

How don don’t knows, it’s, I was just in it like a month ago and it still smells like a

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 43s):

New car. I. It still is a brand new car.

Sean P. Holman (3m 45s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 46s):

By the way, it’s one of my favorites that she’s owned. Your

Sean P. Holman (3m 48s):

Velar only got six out 10 from Car Driver.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 51s):

See, I knew that you would have feelings about Range Rover because I know that they’re like piles

Sean P. Holman (3m 55s):

61,500 base price. That’s just, that’s just the nothing model. They’re better than they used to be. They’re not what they,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 5s):

They’re still English, aren’t they?

Sean P. Holman (4m 6s):

Yeah, that’s the problem. They’re Indian actually. They’re owned by Tatas, so Oh

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 10s):

Geez, okay. Them

Sean P. Holman (4m 11s):

And, and Range Rover and Volvo. But I, that seems like a step backwards unless you just wanna virtue signal your wealth to other people also pretending to

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 24s):

Be rich I mean. Well, listen, we do a podcast You know what I mean. Like I’m clearly not a millionaire, so,

Sean P. Holman (4m 29s):

Well you don’t even, you don’t have to be a millionaire to buy a Vilar, but at the same time, you actually have to have probably, I would imagine in my case, I’d have to have two regular sized incomes, which that’s been a while. Like if my wife’s like, ah, I’m gonna get a Velar tomorrow. I’d be like, do you, what do you like better Car House Carhouse, right? I mean like, that’s, that’s kind of how that works.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 49s):

So I, we’ve dialed it back a little bit and I think

Sean P. Holman (4m 52s):

Well, well you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re bearing the, the, the, the, the story here.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 57s):

Yeah. What I I am Where

Sean P. Holman (4m 58s):

Am I bearing? How’d you get out of it? Where are you at now? What Ha did you did your No. Did Anniversary end with a like champagne to the face and a a, a wine glass across the room? It was

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 8s):

Stabbing. It was Okay. We settled on a golf cart.

Sean P. Holman (5m 11s):

Okay, that’s seems

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 14s):

She wants a golf cart, so we’re gonna find to go her a golf

Sean P. Holman (5m 16s):

Cart. Okay, so could you walk me through how this happened? Because I I fully don’t understand the, the order of operations here. She’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 23s):

Wanted to go. So when she grew up, she spent summers in Lake Havasu. Okay. Arizona. Yeah. And she worked at a couple resorts there and she had golf carts of course, as you do in Arizona. In

Sean P. Holman (5m 34s):

Arizona, right.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 35s):

And she, you live in Beach Love Beach and now in Long Beach. And now a lot of people have licensed golf carts that don’t live on, they’re like around the beach area. They cruise them around,

Sean P. Holman (5m 43s):

But you can only use them on roads 25 miles an hour or less.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 46s):

I mean sure. That’s sure Right?

Sean P. Holman (5m 49s):

I I. Guess that’s, that’s the rules. I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 51s):

I Guess it’s super impractical to have one to only go on a few streets around our house.

Sean P. Holman (5m 55s):

Is that the idea? Instead of an evening walk, you go on the evening cart,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 59s):

She works at a school that is literally a thousand yards away. and I think, she thinks it’d be fun to take a golf cart to work in the morning.

Sean P. Holman (6m 7s):

I mean, all right.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 7s):

I don’t, don don’t know. So I’ve I think I’ve dialed her back. But how, from the Range Rover to a golf cart,

Sean P. Holman (6m 13s):

How, what did you say to her? What was the conversation like? I, like

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 16s):

We are not I said we’re not really in a financial position at this moment to do another year long lease on an $80,000 or more Range Rover.

Sean P. Holman (6m 26s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 28s):

Can will you be happy?

Sean P. Holman (6m 29s):

Can I give you a golf cart

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 30s):

Where we have your other second Love was a golf cart and she’s like, okay, let’s,

Sean P. Holman (6m 35s):

Let’s do that. Your, your Anniversary.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 38s):

We didn’t buy the golf cart yet. You,

Sean P. Holman (6m 39s):

You wanted a tomahawk steak on like a molten salt block and she brought you a McDonald’s hamburger that was shoved under the seat and forgotten about for two days. That’s the equivalent. But

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 52s):

I love McDonald’s, so like I’m okay with that. Oh, all right. You know what I mean? Sounds, and she’s, she was like, it’s, but she, polar opposites mean for me. Remember? It’s like I love slammed cars and lifted. Yeah. and I don’t really like anything in between. Okay. And she’s the same way. She’s like, I want to go like exotic and expensive or I wanna go golf cart.

Sean P. Holman (7m 9s):

Golf cart. So is it gonna have like a custom paint job on it or is it going to, I it’s gotta have the lifted golf cart, a slam golf cart. It

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 18s):

Lifted. It’s gonna have to be lifted. You know, Wheel Electric golf Cart. I’m actually leaning on getting like a Yamaha that is gas powered, but I think ultimately will end up with an electric one, an easy go or one of the big brands and we’ll probably be in like six to seven grand somewhere there. Hey, by the way, if you’re trying to unload a golf cart and it’s in good condition somewhere around the country, I’ll make a road trip and I’ll come get it from you. Or if you’re no one who’s somebody who’s selling one, I’m in the market to buy a golf cart. I am. It’s gotta be good shape. I don’t

Sean P. Holman (7m 48s):

Have to redo, say, think that phrase this, this time, this year.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 52s):

I didn’t expect to be saying that. No. Huh? So lightning’s in the market for a golf cart. And so here’s the crazy part. Yeah. I have been looking for golf carts for some time. I knew that this day might come and I didn’t know that there was so much fraud on Facebook marketplace. Oh yes. In the golf cart section full of fraud. No, in the golf cart section.

Sean P. Holman (8m 12s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 12s):

Full fully. If you have a legit golf cart and you’re looking unload your man lightning hooker brother

Sean P. Holman (8m 17s):

Up. Do you want 10 inch wheels alloys?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 20s):

Yes. Yes.

Sean P. Holman (8m 21s):

Okay, well the, I I’m up to $13,840 for a top rear facing seats and alloy wheels.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 28s):

Again, that’s new. That’s,

Sean P. Holman (8m 29s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 30s):

Brand new. I’m just telling you So, I’m looking to get into one for around six, seven, somewhere in there. Hmm. I know somebody out here listening has got a a cart or a a a cousin. Yeah. You know what

Sean P. Holman (8m 38s):

A cart know. They just did. They just said, honey, you’ll never believe this. Yeah. Standby by lightning at truck Show Podcast dot com. Alright, well if you have a more practical spouse then you might wanna look for something at your local Nissan dealer because it’s gonna be be a lot more affordable, value packed, rugged and reliable. And that’s the Nissan frontier. Or it comes with,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 1s):

You can put stuff in the back,

Sean P. Holman (9m 2s):

Even a golf cart.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 3s):

You can put a golf cart in the back of

Sean P. Holman (9m 4s):

Your time in the bed. Yeah. If you’re looking for a half-time truck or mid-size truck, you wanna head on down to your local Nissan dealer. We can check ’em out in person. Look at all the great features like the spray in Bedliner and Zero Gravity seats, the Fender audio system, great, quiet, efficient trucks. The Titans of course come with industry’s best five year, 100,000 mile warranty. You can get the scoop and all the features at Nissan USA dot com where you can build and price and find that perfect Nissan truck of your dreams.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 30s):

Let’s find the Nissan truck. Does everything the golf cart can’t. Hmm. Interesting. Holman, are you familiar with WFO concepts out of Auburn, California? They do a bunch of, like I have, okay, so they’re the Jeep guys. They do everything but like they’re known for I guess the straight axle, big horsepower, Jeeps, things like that. I didn’t know much about Trevor and his crew up at WFO, but got on on the phone with him and we’re talking about some bank stuff or some eco diesels. and I brought up the pedal monster, the bank’s pedal Monster and I said, Hey, are you familiar with throttle boosters and throttle controllers? He says, nah, nah, I just, we tried a pedal commander and it threw all these codes and we are not, I’m not, I said, oh, well hold on, we’ve solved all that.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 10s):

I’m gonna send you one and you’re going to flip out. We’ve solved all the issues that all the other throttle controllers in the market have. There’s no check engine lights, you don’t get all squirrely when you back up. You’ve got active safety, reverse safety, it plugs in OBD, it knows your vin, your make, your model, your transmission, your speed, your gear, everything. It is the best throttle controller on the market. He sent me an email and he is like, dude, you weren’t joking. So I. Think we’re gonna get Trevor on the show at some point here soon as a Jeep Authority. He’s got a 3 92 by the way that he just roast the tires. He must go through a ton of money in tires on this 3 92. So I’m gonna get a review here coming up on the show soon. But if you are looking for the ultimate throttle controller to get rid of pedal lag, the Banks pedal monster is for you.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 55s):

Go to Banks, type in your year, make and model. And there’s 150 applications, cars and trucks. So I

Sean P. Holman (11m 1s):

Can definitely speak to using the Pedal Monster on my 3 92 on this recent trip that we’ll talk about in a few episodes. In the Mojave, I used the low speed trim control. Oh

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 11s):

Wow. Okay,

Sean P. Holman (11m 11s):

Good. And, and so basically four low and four high, I was able to use my eye dash, go to the pedal monster screen, adjust the sensitivity and the low speed trim control’s great because it leaves its stock up to about 10 miles an hour and then adjust from there. But it was really easy to adjust on the fly and worked out great. So I really appreciated having that in the, in the Jeep.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 30s):

You’ll find your pedal monster at Banks

Sean P. Holman (11m 33s):

So lightning, let’s say you have a truck.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 37s):

I do. I own one, but

Sean P. Holman (11m 39s):

This one has rear leaf springs and it’s tends to sag while you’re hauling your trailer or your camper. What are you gonna do to fight those saggy bottoms?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 49s):

Hellwig helper springs?

Sean P. Holman (11m 52s):

What if you are not interested in having any more white knuckle rides and your tow vehicle drives like a teeter totter and you’ve got all sorts of body roll and you’re just fighting it around corners and you’ve got that big old tall camper in the back or a roof rack with a bunch of gas and a spare tire on top and you’re fighting it through corners. What are you gonna do?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 13s):

Helwig sway bars.

Sean P. Holman (12m 14s):

Helwig products have been manufacturing high quality, innovative load control and sway control solutions for domestic and foreign trucks, RVs, muscle cars, classic cars and fleet vehicles right here in the USA since 1946. No matter what your application is, Hellwig products has a way to make it handle better or tow easier. And unlike many of its competitors, Helwig products are proudly made in the USA to an exacting standard of quality and are sold with a limited Lifetime warranty. Helwig Products is a fourth generation family owned company. You can find out,

2 (12m 45s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer what? The truck, because truck rides with the truck show. We have the lifted, we have the lowered end. Everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Whoa.

3 (13m 17s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 24s):

Alright, let’s call Mr. Paul McCain. CEO of Diode Dynamics. Y’all good with that?

Sean P. Holman (13m 34s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 35s):

It’s just

Sean P. Holman (13m 36s):

So unnecessary. Just say we’re calling Paul from Dio. Dynamics. Alright.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 40s):

I am. Geez. Louis. Oh,

Sean P. Holman (13m 42s):

What do you think of that? Should we record podcast?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 47s):

Hello? Hey, Paul Lightning, Holman Truck. Show Podcast. How you doing? Good, thank you. How are you? Fantastic. Thank you for staying up for us. We, we genuinely appreciate it. We have a, we have a quick intro to play before we can talk to you. So don’t you dare move, hang tight. What, what does it to be entrepreneur?

2 (14m 9s):

And don’t let anyone tell you don, debt don’t back. Don’t worry. There

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 15s):

Will always be another

2 (14m 16s):

Crappy This

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (14m 18s):

Is what to be an

2 (14m 19s):


Sean P. Holman (14m 21s):

Gee, it’s probably been about four years since we’ve had somebody from biodynamics on, and if you guys remember made in the USA great American company, LED lighting for all sorts of applications. And one of the things you guys are, are well known for is providing an LED bulb replacement that’s engineered to use the factory reflectors and in housing to give you better, more true light output. I mean, that’s amazing for people who don’t need to or don’t want to go through the whole expense of changing their entire housing. That’s sort of like the, the gateway drug and what you guys have done in the last several years is nothing short of phenomenal, whether it comes to direct replacement oe OE direct replacement lights that we’ll be talking about.

Sean P. Holman (15m 5s):

I mean, just the technology that you’re packing into all these products is, is pretty phenomenal. I think

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 9s):

The last time Paul, we spoke with a representative of biodynamics, we got into some of the, the electronics, the Cree LEDs versus other LEDs and, and how biodynamics chooses some of the components that are better than others, but they sorted all the, all the components out and now they’re, they’re focused on doing stuff that other companies can’t, which is I think why we, why we wanted to get you on the show because the lamps that you’re offering and things like that. So Paul, can you bring us up to speed on where DIO has been over the last five years?

4 (15m 40s):

Yeah, I’d be happy to and thanks for having me. You, you guys are very kind so far, so I’ll try to, I’ll try to live up to that. But yeah, it’s, it’s been interesting over the last couple years we’ve been very busy. I, you know, I I, I’ve loved running this business because I’m a huge car guy. I love the technology and the technology is moving so fast these days when it comes to lighting. You know, like you mentioned a couple years ago, it was all about which chips you’re using and this and that. And like you said, it’s, it’s already, you know, we’ve went past all that really. We’re working with chips now that are like so optimized. You know, we work with all automotive grade stuff and that’s kind of just like your, your status quo now you can get cheap lights that even have these good LEDs, whether they’re copy or real is another question.

4 (16m 28s):

But they all have pretty good light sources these days. You know, used to see Cree this, Cree that. It’s just, you know, now all these LEDs are good. So what’s the next step from there? We’ve been focusing on really making all these lights smart and seeing how all the vehicles are integrated. I know you guys are well aware of that. You know, I I know you talked to my friend at Z Automotive about all the work they do with the vehicle systems on electronics and that’s the type of stuff we’re dealing with now where there’s just no getting around from it. It’s all has to be digital, it all has to be smart. And so the engineer going into it now is just a whole nother level.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (17m 3s):

Yeah, there was a time when like the separation between companies, like if you knew can buss or not and you guys are like, that’s, that was yesterday year, right? You guys all have mastered can buss. And so how do you integrate your products into working with all the OE features and like I I, I wanted to touch, one of the products that I know you’re really proud of that you turned me onto was your elite LED headlights for the 18 to 23 Jeep jl, which are like next,

Sean P. Holman (17m 31s):

People don’t realize this, but going all the way up to the jk, it was a seven inch light and it was pretty much a replacement that was a standalone unit. Whereas when the JLS came out, the designers wanted to re kind of juggle the proportions of the vehicle and the JL came out with nine inch lights. Well they weren’t a standard nine inch light that you could get, it was basically just as advanced as of your Mercedes headlight is ju just was shaped round with the LED and the halos and all that kinda stuff. It wasn’t something that you could take out four bolts, unplug and put something else in. And to complicate matters, the, the Wrangler and the gladiator come with halogen lights as well.

Sean P. Holman (18m 12s):

So now you have the computer system has to know whether you’re running halogen, whether you’re running LED. And then in the middle of that, if you have a vehicle that has halogen lights but rear blind spot detection, you get rear LED lights. So now they don’t even match on both ends of the vehicle. There’s so much complexity. So the Yeah, exactly. The complexity is crazy. And now they’re slowly starting to become some companies out there that are doing replacement units, but nothing as advanced as what I’m seeing from your elite LED headlights for the, for the 18 to 23 JL and jt. It’s, it’s phenomenal the amount of technology that you’ve packed into a direct replacement piece.

4 (18m 50s):

Yeah, I appreciate that. We’ve, you know, spent a lot of time to look at what’s out there on the market. We, we stay really attuned to OEM work because Yeah, like you mentioned, you know, the difference of just the JK to the J from the factory was massive, right? You had the JK halogen lights, you had one model year for the JK with a LED headlight made by Myo Tech. Great company, but only one year. They were like hustling to get this new model out. Then the new JL comes out, it uses an s light projector module, it’s designed by automotive lighting. Magnetic marelli is the, is the company, it’s out of Germany, you know, it’s a, it’s this European company. It’s a really, really high end unit all of a sudden. Yeah. It’s basically like a Mercedes headlight on these Jeeps and it performs pretty well.

4 (19m 31s):

So where do you go from there? I mean, realistically, you know, I, it’s, it’s been a little bit disappointing to see on the aftermarket and, and it’s what I’m working on. But the aftermarket is slipping further and further behind in a lot of ways to the OEM technology and parts. You know, it used to be that you’d look to the aftermarket for what the trends are, what the new features, what the new technology. But as we’re getting more digital and the engineering requirements just get, so high lighting is a big area where, you know, in America we don’t even see it, but in Europe the lighting technology is nuts. It’s like having video projectors strapped to the front of your car. They can shine symbols on the road, they can sh they can just highlight a person on the side of the road flashlights at them or you know, make them, it’s literally like having video projectors.

4 (20m 14s):

That’s what the headlights are over there. And So, what we have today with the technology in the US is it’s quickly picking up, but it’s still so far behind and all we’re trying to do is really elevate that standard. But in some ways it’s even harder. ’cause like you said, we have to work with that underlying architecture on the vehicle. And so yeah, I’m really proud of the work my engineers have done on that. It’s, it’s been a great journey. Lots of patents depending on different technology and features we have on these just to allow you to program ’em. A lot of the change of DRL color allow you to do a show mode, whatever you want, you know, just packing in a lot more features and making these lights smart and really just getting ’em up to the real modern standards that we know can exist with the digital world.

4 (20m 56s):

You know,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 57s):

You guys need to see the YouTube video that they have on the page when you go to dio Dynamics dot com and you click on the headlights that we’re talking about. Like I think it’s the, forgive me if I’m wrong here, but I you flashed the, the, the high beams a couple of times and it changes the functionality of the lights. Is that correct?

4 (21m 13s):

Yeah, that’s basically right. You have a, a menu, you have a couple different modes, but you get a little card with the order you keep in your glove box and really once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad, but patent, depending on that, it’s, but it is convenient and you can change the DRO mode. You can change if you want your turn signal to flash a certain way or you want it to flip, flash a little animation when you unlock the Jeep. Honestly, we maybe went over the top because it, it was, it was, it’s one of those things that became harder to make it simple ’cause it was just way too much going on and, but that’s the fun in it.

Sean P. Holman (21m 44s):

Well, looking down the features list, obviously a buy LED projector, so you’ve got maximum output and intensity from that. You can do a selectable color, daytime running light. So the Jeeps come with white. But if you notice a lot of the performance brands out there, Fords Raptor

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 59s):

Going back to Amber line

Sean P. Holman (21m 60s):

Up and the TRX or I guess you, did you change your I did, yeah. Yeah. Amber seems to be like, oh we’re now different when Amber used to be old school and so now on these headlights for Jeepers, you’ll be able to choose whether you want white or, or the amber. There’s, as you were saying, the welcome sequence integrated amber turn signal and we, you know, I think most people agree that Jeeps aren’t always the best when it comes to seeing their turn signals and, and what they’re doing. ’cause they’re very, very simple in that regard. So having that additional turn signal from the headlights and the halo is pretty cool. Optional show mode off-road lighting that lights everything up, that gives you a nice, crisp, bright, wide pattern to supplement any auxiliary lights that you might have or to even replace ’em for somebody that doesn’t want a bunch of auxiliary lights or eight light bars hanging off the front of their Jeep, it’s nice to have some headlights that have some throw to them and can operate in that off-road mode.

Sean P. Holman (22m 54s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 54s):

Blew right past my favorite feature, which is the welcome mode. I I know, like that’s like a, a super new car thing. 2223. A lot of the Nerman cars have it where they,

Sean P. Holman (23m 3s):

Well one of my favorites is the Grand Wagoner. Oh, what does that do? Oh, it’s phenomenal. The Grand Wagoner, the welcome mode and the animation on the lights is, is freaking awesome. So it

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 11s):

Goes side to side up and down the whole thing.

Sean P. Holman (23m 12s):

Yeah, it’s, and being a Jeep family, if you’re, you know, one car is the Wagoner and you’re like, oh, it’s cool, you go to your Wrangler and it just like flashes the lights when you unlock it and you’re like, boo right now, now you can take the, the Diode headlights and have a little animation and maybe look at your spouse and go, yeah, what’s up I I got this on mine now. Right? What’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 29s):

Up? Exactly. Who got to choose the animation there, Paul?

4 (23m 33s):

Oh that was me.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 35s):

He’s like, he,

4 (23m 36s):

I mean I I have the Jeep and I’ve been, I’ve been driving around with these for a couple years on my Jeep, on my, on my 18th Sahara now So You better believe I picked that. And there’s a reason why we did these, these first, you know, I love ’em. I use ’em every day.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 48s):

So, I, I. Wanted to touch really quick before we move on to other offerings. Why is Europe ahead of us? Is it because BMW Mercedes, Audi, the Volkswagen group, they’re all there with amazing engineers. Is it the, the dr the conditions they drive in? Or why is it, why are they so far ahead and why are we playing catch up? I guess this is my first question.

4 (24m 13s):

Yeah. So I think you’ll hear a lot of different answers from different people on that. And if you go to a lighting conference, which does exist, you’ll hear a lot of Nerman spoken in the room. Even if you’re in Detroit, So, You, you’re onto something there. But it’s a lot more about the regulatory environment. Lights are a safety feature first, and that’s regulated by nitsa, national Highway, transportation Safety Administration, And, they are not gonna change things unless they see something as a safety issue versus overseas. It just seems that regulatory mindset in Europe is a little bit more forward looking with technology to improve the user experience, to improve things in terms of regulation.

Sean P. Holman (24m 50s):

If the reason that the OE over there have laser for lights and we don’t have them here, is because from a safety regulatory standpoint, it’s not approved through Nitsa or the DOT yet. And so to your point, the lighting over there is, is is way more forward thinking than what we have available here in the states.

4 (25m 8s):

Yeah and I mean manufacturers are rarer to go. I know there’s a lot of people flashing their new F1 fifties that enable the features. A lot of Teslas are built in with them, like manufacturers are putting ’em in and just ready to flip the switch as soon as they can determine how to make those compliant. But you know, I understand MIT’s got a job to do, keep us safe, So I understand not wanting to change things up if they can’t be sure it’s safe. You know, you don’t, you wouldn’t wanna use a break and then all of a sudden strobe everywhere on the road, you know?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 33s):

And my follow up question is how do you find the Allstar engineers to build your next Halo product? The next amazing Dio Dynamics product

Sean P. Holman (25m 43s):

He just did. It’s the JL the lights we’re talking about right

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 45s):

Now. No, what I’m saying is the next one that he hasn’t come out with. Like how do you find, are you find, are you like trying to find the next like 26-year-old super grad that just came out of, you know, Harvard or somewhere or you know, Harvard’s Lighting School, I, guess Harvard. That’s a stupid wow school to come from. Like where would they come from? Like electronics, M I, I t know MIT. Yes. Thank you. You’re welcome. I, clearly I didn’t go there. I’m just wondering how you find that talent to build the next, you know, killer app.

4 (26m 17s):

Yeah, sure. It’s not easy, especially ’cause a lot of the engineering in the US now is really software based, but if there’s anyone listening, please apply because we just look for people who are passionate to learn and, and understand it. You’ve got a lot of jobs available, which is great. And that’s what allows us to build these. We do, you know, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, we do the firmware development, we do optical engineering. So we do all this in-house with our team. We’ve got, we’ve got an outsized engineering team. Almost a quarter of our company is engineers. That gets us a long way. But it, it is hard to find people. So if you got interest, the thing is you gotta move to St. Charles, which is close to St. Louis, Missouri. That’s the big one. But if you’re willing to do that, you’ll have a lot of fun here. And we look for people who wanna have fun and good

Sean P. Holman (26m 59s):


4 (27m 0s):

It’s, you got that going.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 3s):

I saw the tour, you Hosted a really good tour and it’s on your YouTube channel where you walk through the whole campus and I was very impressed. I I think we’re just so accustomed today of seeing a small sales team. Two or three engineers, they come up with the idea, they outsource it to China, It gets made, the engineers put it through their test rig, they approve it And, they put it in boxes, And They send it out to retail stores everywhere. That’s not you. That’s not what you guys are doing.

Sean P. Holman (27m 31s):

No. What they have is they’ve got assembled here in the USA when a lot of products are made overseas, to your point. And you guys have actually had a, like you’re trying to change or drag the industry back in your direction to doing that manufacturing and that assembling here. But obviously you’re using materials that come from all over because the LED chips and, and chip sets are, are global. So I’m sure you’re sourcing that kind of stuff, but you really are focusing on Midwest manufacturing, which is something that used to be robust in this country. and I think is something that we should be going back to.

4 (28m 9s):

Yeah, I appreciate that and I mean, that’s a lot of the reason we do this. We’re very intentional about the fact that we’re not interested in acquisition, we’re not interested in private equity. We’re very much interested in doing this our own way and having control over what we do and intentionally continue to make things here in the US That’s a big part of our ethos as a company. And we know it’s not profitable or the most profitable to do it that way. But you know, it’s more about building value and it’s great to have, you know, almost 50 people here building these lights, which you’re just not gonna see anywhere else. So it’s not, it, it’s not really marketing because I’ve, you know, it, it generally means our stuff might be a little bit more expensive.

4 (28m 49s):

And that’s why even for the off-road lights, a lot of the big names are no longer assembling most of their products here in the us which is, which is disappointing, but if you’re private equity, you’re chasing the dollar and we’re more interested in building a very long-term business

Sean P. Holman (29m 2s):

To that point. If you go to on Dynas to the elite LED headlights for the JL Wrangler page, one of the paragraphs that kind of stands out is you’re backed by industry leading eight year limited warranty. And you basically have ex extensively tested your long term operation from negative 40 degrees to 185 degrees fair. That’s nothing. and I’m sure people are thinking, well it doesn’t get as hot as 185, but the ride up there against the engine compartment, and if you have a 3 92 like I do, I’m sure the headlights are every bit of 185 degrees on some days. But you are testing them for vibration, moisture, intrusion, corrosion testing, all all with SAE standards, just like all the factory components.

Sean P. Holman (29m 46s):

And then you’ve got integrated moisture vents, the lamps can breathe And, they don’t get the fog inside. And then you also have built-in circuit protection for voltage spike, reverse polarity. So you’ve really designed a lot of technology and user friendly, even the technology that, that may only assist in plugging the lights in for the first time and it never has to work again. But you put it in there to make sure that the customer has a great experience from minute one with the product. Well

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 11s):

He’s had to look and go like, right, what if Holman and Lightning were to install these And, they they’re dumb assses, so they’re no,

Sean P. Holman (30m 17s):

He would say there’s two Jeeps. One would turn out great and one would be backwards.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (30m 20s):

They’re gonna, yeah, they’re gonna plug it in backwards. What happens? We don’t wanna short out, so we need reverse polarity just in case.

4 (30m 26s):

Well, I mean we, we’d have to cover all that type of thing. But these days we’re a lot more interested in making sure these hold up at, you know, king of the hammers, different events that these really torqued all over the world, you know, at this point. And you know, in a, in a more scientific sense, we really try to look at the OE standards and those are just what the OE standards have to meet. You know, I’ve, I’ve been overseas, I’ve seen all the factories and you know, you, you walk into those test labs and you see a machine that’s supposed to be the water test machine and it doesn’t even have water hooked up. There’s no water in the room. And you’re wondering now how are you using this thing? Yeah, right. You know, so it, it’s a little bit more, you know, they can take the pictures and tell you they’re doing this, but unfortunately, you know, they’re gonna deliver the product and if people accept it, that’s what it is.

4 (31m 11s):

You know, we, we do all this testing in house because we really value that quality and we’re not perfect. You know, we, we’ve made a lot of mistakes getting where we are today. It’s, it’s not an easy thing to, especially with these highly complex headlights, so many different parts have to come together properly. So we’ve made mistakes, we’re learning a lot, but our end goal is to match the quality of those OE headlights. And these days, even with these expensive imported headlights, a lot of people are getting kind of disaffected with aftermarket products. Again, slipping behind OEM, there’s a lot of people who just press that OEM quality and we really wanna show that there’s still good aftermarket products out there.

Sean P. Holman (31m 45s):

So staying in the vein, actually this, this kind of hits two things. It’s, it’s both, it’s both Jeep and it’s also growth. Before we move on, just so anybody who’s asking, they are DOT compliant, these new headlights, which is great. Yeah. But, but staying in the vein of Jeeps, you’re talking about learning and, and and manufacturing here you happen to have a partnership with one of my really good friends, Brit Manzel over at American Adventure Lab and you guys are working with him for on the lights for his new highline kit. And he did a, a video kinda walking through the technology that’s in the new ones. And, and he had gone with a 3D printed board and he had a lot of failure rates and he really wanted this product, like all his products to be as, as American as possible.

Sean P. Holman (32m 29s):

And he has been working on this project for what seems like a couple years now and to finally see the collaboration with you guys and what you did with that lighting and the way the LEDs are, are on the, on the board, the way the, the, the reflectors work. All of that is really exciting. I know it’s not quite out yet, but I asked him if it was okay if we brought it up and he said, no, absolutely. Well can you hold explain

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 56s):

What the highline kit is? ’cause that’s, if you don’t own a Jeep, you might not

Sean P. Holman (32m 58s):

Know. So on a, on a wrangler they got big chunky LED lights or, or halogen turn signals at the base of the fender in gray plastic facing forward, facing forward and So. what American Venture Lab did was they pioneered removing the inner fender liner essentially of the fender so the painted or the actual fender piece stays there. And then putting a real thin LED strip that could either do white, amber sequential, bunch of cool stuff on it to replace that big chunky thing. Well what it allows you to do is it makes the Jeep look a little sleeker and it allows you to put a bigger tire in the side of the stock fender flare without having to take the fender flares off and go to like a metal one or something like that. And so he had designed this 3D printed housing that used this printed circuit board with the LED chips on it, but had a lot of issues and has literally been struggling to make, to find the highest quality piece that he can because these things are super popular in the Jeep world.

Sean P. Holman (33m 56s):

and I was excited when we were talking about it and you know, he said that Diode was his partner on and I thought that was great and the technology is really cool.

4 (34m 3s):

Yeah, we’ve had a lot of, a lot of fun developing that with them and, and they’ve been a really great partner just showing a lot of support. You know, honestly we’re a little bit behind schedule from where we started just because we ended up going through a lot more prototype rounds and development than, than we were expecting on it. But a lot of good lessons learned with that. And the end result, it looks like a factory part, you know, which is, which is the whole goal. We don’t want it to look like a DIY project or you know, seeing the individual LEDs or even just like that solid white appearance that you’ll see on a lot of these aftermarket lights. You know, we built these to OE standards. It’s using OEM plastics even, there’s a whole list of plastics that are approved for use for OEM headlights. That’s why your headlights don’t get yellow anymore.

4 (34m 44s):

We’re responding to steps just like it would be an OEM product and I think the results is really great, but they’ve been a great partner and it’s been exciting to get that together for ’em. And you know, actually just had a meeting today looking at that progress and seeing these parts come in so we can get production started. It’s great.

Sean P. Holman (34m 60s):

I I, it’s awesome too. And I’ve only seen photos that Brit sent me and, and his video, but it literally looks like the same quality I I. I’m excited for the person that buys that product and then opens up the box and when they unbox it And they pull it out for the first time. It has the same quality appearance as say your headlights, you know, the same effort, the same materials, that same feel of quality comes out. It doesn’t, to your point, doesn’t feel like a do it yourself or, or some hobbyist put it together in his in his shop or something like that. This is done to that OE standard And, they look phenomenal on, on the Jeep from the prototypes that I’ve seen. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 37s):

Kudos to that.

4 (35m 38s):

Thank you. Yeah, we’re excited to get that started for them. And yeah, I mean even the little details with the looking like factory, it’s like, is there a serial number on this part? If you don’t have a serial number on your light, nobody cares if it failed You know what I mean? Yeah. It’s like we care if something goes wrong with your light, the first thing we’re gonna ask you is to tell us that serial number. ’cause that’ll tell us exactly which circuit board’s in there that’ll tell us the exact minute it was built. We can track that down. We can see exactly what happened. You know, it’s just all these little details that add up to make sure that every customer is gonna get what they expect and it, it will last, it will last. That full warranty that you’re expecting or or longer.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (36m 12s):

Paul, we talk about electronics a lot talking about, we started talking about like your Cree lights and, and and the circuit boards and all that stuff. But something that gets glossed over that I think might be harder, only you can speak to this are the plastics. How do you come up with a lens? Because you guys offer full, full lights that have, that are replacement lights basically, but better. But how do you create the clear plastic that doesn’t have a glow or a halo or fogging in it or I I don’t even know how you, how does that happen? How do you engineer it? How do You know what plastics to use, et cetera, et cetera.

4 (36m 47s):

That’s a great question and that’s one reason that, you know, we, we’ve become very well known in the off-road space and we’ve, I mean we’ve put a lot of time that’s, it’s really a majority of our business still is the off-road space right now. And that’s the off road’s interesting because it’s really like how hard can you run these lights? How much power can you just get out of this small package And as a result, you know, it’s all metal. Well the tolerances aren’t really that important. You’re stealing ’em up with, you know, o-rings, seals, gaskets, just mechanical type ceiling structures, screws, fasteners. They have to be that way ’cause they’re really, you know, heavy duty. You have to be able to really look at our, you know, YouTube or whatever I think our guys were chucking these off the building the other day.

4 (37m 29s):

I did not approve that. But you know, they have to be that way ’cause that’s, that’s what it’s for. With these factory lights though. You need crazy curvatures dimensions, geometries to achieve all these shapes. So, You have to go plastics. And when you go plastics it’s so much harder to engineer that. Not necessarily the the hazing, the fogginess, but the shrinkage in the parts. When we go to weld them together, are they even gonna be able to be welded because one, you know, a curve might have curved too much and then all of a sudden the pressure’s not right where we’re trying to weld it. Ultrasonic welding, vibration welding, we’ve got robotic adhesive, you know, dispensing for that.

4 (38m 9s):

We have to get plasma treating on the plastic just so it’ll bond to that adhesive. It gets just way more complex than you might assume. I really prefer to just, just bolt pieces of metal together when we can. And it’s durable. It works but it’s too heavy and you can’t do really, you know, exciting shapes and everything with with metal. So the plastic stuff has been a challenge but there’s reason you have to do it. And I’m pretty proud of where we’ve been able to get with our supply chain to really rely on a couple really good just plastics, mold, mold shots to get these products made and and to do the treatment you have to do UV coatings on these to, it’s called a UV hard coat to get, you know, scratch resistance but also UV resistance.

4 (38m 55s):

Again, to avoid yellowing you have to do metalization. Make sure not just it’s shiny but that it’s actually reflecting the light and it’s the smoothness you expect to get the beam patterns. Plastics is a very finicky field.

Sean P. Holman (39m 9s):

I would imagine that things, even if you have the right, you know, chemical composition to pour the plastic or shape the plastic however you form it, there are gonna be environmental factors in the laboratory or the manufacturing facility such as temperature, humidity, how it’s cured, all that kind of stuff. That probably comes into play with how well that end result product matches what the schematics says it should have been.

4 (39m 36s):

Absolutely. I mean you, it’s pretty clear you walk into the factory, do they have a huge, you know, dryer on the pellets keeping those pellets dry? ’cause if there’s humidity you’re gonna have issues even when they’re stored. You know, when we go to like ultrasonic weld our parts together, if they haven’t been stored with the right humidity then they might basically become brittle and not weld properly. Yeah, you’re totally on the nail. A lot of controls have to flow through the entire supply chain and then a lot of inspection by our team, every component before it even goes to the assembly line. We’ve gotta take a really fine close look, which becomes very hard. You know, we’ve got 3D scanners just to inspect the plastic components because at some point if you got looking at a curve, you can’t really tell if that’s exactly right.

4 (40m 22s):

You’re not just measuring something and seeing if it’s 10 inches. You know, just so the fine details, especially with optical components, it It gets tough. But that’s good for us because, you know, we can really carve out our niche here and do well in this space where, you know, nobody else on the aftermarket is really trying to do this in the United States at our, at this scale. And, and that’s why it’s, it’s it’s costly but it’s, it’s, I think it’s a lot of fun. And then seeing that the, you know, the chop kit for the al the Highline kick, you know, I just love seeing that type of result.

Sean P. Holman (40m 53s):

I I would think that one of the challenges is how do you get that message out. Obviously coming on a a podcast is, is one way, this is the way right that we’re doing it right right

4 (41m 3s):

Now, right now.

Sean P. Holman (41m 4s):

But when you walk around sema, which I’m sure we’ll all be at here in a few weeks, the amount of lighting that has flooded the automotive aftermarket is, is mind bending and so much of it is crap. Well that’s what I was gonna say. There’s, there’s probably only three, maybe four not talking about the off-road light guys. ’cause I feel like those guys are a step ahead. But talking about like the, the factory replacement lights, right? The headlights, the accessory lights, all the Honda Civic lights, the the yeah, the stuff that isn’t going racing somewhere where vibration and environmental factors are in play. But you go out there and you see all these companies and the lights are terrible And I’ve had a couple things where somebody said, Hey, try these lights And, they send you a box And, they, you pick ’em up.

Sean P. Holman (41m 51s):

And They have no girth to them. There’s no weight to it. The, the heat sink isn’t even, maybe there is no heat sink or the heat sink is plastic fins that have been poor, you know, that have been shaped right. Oh, I’ve seen that. All plastic heat sink, So I. Guess what I’m trying to ask is, you know, obviously there’s a marketing challenge to say why you’re more expensive and why you’re better, but do you even see your competitors in the space? I mean, I know you said that you know, at this scale nobody else in the aftermarket is doing it. Is, is there anyone that you respect, and you don’t have to name names, but are there any competitors that you respect that are even coming close? Or is it all junk?

4 (42m 26s):

I mean for, in terms of US companies, there’s a couple good ones out there, but it’s mostly industrial OEM companies that kind of dabble in the aftermarket space. So, you know, your JW speaker, everyone knows that in the Jeep world. Yep. Fantastic company up in Wisconsin. They, you know, they’ve been around a long time And, they do fantastic work. But a lot of these companies just stick to the OM space. ’cause unfortunately, you know, that’s who’s willing to pay the prices for this, for that level of quality. Right? And when you’re walking around sema, I mean the easiest way to, you know, if you’re looking for lights at sema, I would encourage you first just to go look at your light on your car and see, hey there’s, there’s a serial number, there’s witness marks showing a quality inspection. It says left on the left headlight in English.

4 (43m 9s):

You know, these, these really small details make a difference. And if you pick up a light at sema, look at the backside of that light and see, hey, did anyone care about this at all? And and you’ll see even inside the light on these new, you know, vehicle headlights. I know you guys talked about, you know, the price of OEM headlights these days and I think that’s somewhat intentional because these OEM, you know, when we talk plastics, they’re putting little micro etchings, little micro logos and little features, metalization techniques, giving it really interesting looks in the light that are very technically hard to even produce. I mean

Sean P. Holman (43m 47s):

They’re using

4 (43m 48s):

And I think that’s very intentional.

Sean P. Holman (43m 49s):

They’re part of the design now. Like that the headlights are literally part of the design element. and I’m not talking about the shape of the headlight or the housing, but when you look inside the housing and you see a little Ram RAM Ram logo or a Round De or Mercedes and BMW are both famous for that or, or the way there are, you know, you look at a lot of the, the really new stuff in the past maybe two, three years that have like a composite headlights set set up. You look at the Hondas and Acura that their headlight is like five or six individual things that, that are all projected together. I mean all of these things. And then of course the, the You know what they call the signature LED lighting on a lot of these trucks that have their own personality so that you can identify a vehicle going down the road just by how it’s lit up at night.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 34s):

What do they call the Ford, the clamp, what was it called? The C clamp. The C clamp. C clamp. And then the new GMC Denali Ultimate has their new lights, which they have little GCs in a, they’re so much intricate detail. It’s so intricate. How often do you see these OE lights and, and and you’re like, oh that’s a lot to top.

4 (44m 55s):

Yeah, that’s the fun part. and I, you know, I end up buying a lot of ’em, which is, you know, fun too. ’cause you know, we just are looking at these things all the time and seeing what’s coming out is just crazy. And yeah, that’s the thing, they’re intentionally making these things expensive. It adds value when you look at them of course. But then it’s near impossible to copy that overseas. They just don’t have that level of sophistication or quality and literally just the molds to make all that are 10 times more expensive than just decking something, you know, flat with metal and shooting a flat part or something. So I think it’s very much intentional. Unfortunately for the consumer that means expensive headlights. But personally I love seeing how nice these headlights are and that’s, and it’s great to see the opportunity, you know, if you look at our Jeep headlight and now our new F-150 headlight, you know, we intentionally use these really thick wall light pipes in there.

4 (45m 46s):

Not because necessarily like that’s the only way to do that. But I knew that if we did that these would not be copied overseas because those are really expensive parts. Like we intentionally just like these, mainly the oes, like we make it expensive ’cause it looks expensive looking, it looks really nice. But then at the end of the day, no one’s gonna copy that ’cause it’s just, it’s, it’s expensive to make, it’s hard to achieve that

Sean P. Holman (46m 11s):

By the way light pipe is opening up for Damn you. I knew it. I knew I looked right at you I to go in there.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (46m 17s):

Well wait So You don’t just go to and look up light pipes You. know what I mean? Like where do you even, you gotta, that’s not something you gotta be in the industry. You gotta be in the industry in with the lingo. Can I ask ’em about their D-R-L-L-E-D boards? So I was just looking at one a 2016 to 18 Chevy Silverado, D-R-L-L-E-D boards. And this allows you to change the colors instead of just amber and white. You can go purple, red, blue, whatever you want. How did that come about and has that been a success for you?

4 (46m 45s):

Yeah, so that’s, that was exciting. ’cause that was really, you know, we, I started the business, you know, when I was in high school, started putting LEDs together, speaker wire lit up your cup holders before that was a thing. And then I kind of went off to college, I started importing bulbs. I came back from college, decided to keep doing it. It was going well, but all this stuff was failing and decided to start engineering stuff. Well it, you know, right out of school and everything, didn’t have a whole lot of money. So the easiest thing to do is just sell the circuit boards. You know, the expensive parts is doing all the molds and tools to actually build the plastic parts for lights. But the circuit boards, you don’t, you know, that’s not thousands and tens of thousands of dollars to invest. So really, you know, just from my experience taking apart these headlights.

4 (47m 29s):

And we were selling halos, if you remember. that was the big Trend. Oh yeah. We, we made those to put into the headlights. But I I took apart, actually the first one was a 2013 Mustang headlight. And I etched the board by hand, decided, okay, I can put different LEDs where these are and illuminate those same optics. Really wish I would’ve gotten a patent, didn’t know anything about patents at the time. ’cause I can say definitely I was the first to make these replacement boards and it’s a great stop gap. And what was, what’s interesting with those is we put out lots of those multicolor ones. We put the, and a lot of ’em were the switchback ones too, where all of a sudden your DRL went from white to turn signal.

4 (48m 9s):

You know, Amber flashed when you were turning. And now that’s all you see on the road from these OEMs.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 14s):

So Paul, you would’ve been a freaking billionaire if you had licensed that patent. Now,

Sean P. Holman (48m 18s):

Wait, wait, wait, wait. He’s, he’s already a billionaire. I’m sure

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 21s):

He’s doing well, but don don’t know if he is, you know, got like Facebook or GM money You. know what I mean? But like, this is, they’re, they’re really neat. And so, should I be scared to pull my light apart? I know guys have been doing this for 10, 15 years, pulling the light apart and then putting, changing the circuit board, which is, looks really kind of plug and play. But it’s the putting it back together and being concerned that I didn’t seal it right now. Now it might get moisture. Talk me through that.

4 (48m 50s):

It’s very easy. You should definitely buy it. So,

Sean P. Holman (48m 54s):


4 (48m 54s):

That’s, and that’s, that’s why I’m not too upset. I’m asking,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48m 58s):

I’m asking because they make one for my T Rx and I’m curious.

Sean P. Holman (49m 1s):

Yeah, yeah. Wait, wait, wait. Who makes what? Oh, let me

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (49m 4s):

Dio all

4 (49m 5s):

That But. no, that’s why I’m not the billionaire. ’cause unfortunately it’s not the easiest thing to do to pull these things apart. I would definitely recommend, especially with how expensive these headlights are, either find a crashed, you know, car, a broken headlight to try it out first if you haven’t done it. Or send us someone who knows what they’re doing. Which I will put a plug in. Our friends at retros shop, I talked I heard you talk to America’s Most Wanted recently. Yeah. And they’ve been, they’ve been doing that for a lot, for a lot of their Jeep builds with our headlights recently through Retro Shop I Love, right?

Sean P. Holman (49m 35s):

Los Love and I. I love Jared and the gang at America’s Most, one in four by four. And again, I. I’ve known those guys for a long time. It was the first time I had a chance to go to their factory in Michigan and, and walk around and, and really immerse myself for, you know, three days with them. and I have all these pictures of the headlights up close where they even have, you know, the Hellcat or Demon logo inside their headlights with like their, you know, it’s laser city light. Yeah. City light style with it glowing red when it’s idling. You know, like, you know, come get me. It just adds that again, it, having that extra layer to let the headlights speak to the design is really, really cool. And I, I I was just blown away the quality and what they get outta there.

Sean P. Holman (50m 18s):

And of course Jay, he’s, excuse me, lightning. He’s a, he’s a retro, well I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (50m 24s):

I, like they were So I I found, this is long before I knew about Dynas and I was, you know, doing car things. And, they had a, a line, I’m sure you know, Morimoto and I and I I kind of liked that brand. don don’t know how much I like it today. Not because of Dynas, but I went with no failures for a long time with some of that product. And then I started having some failures. don don’t know how you look at that company. Whatever, you don’t have to talk about them, but like I I, like what they do. I like what they stood for. Retro Shop. So And, they And they have a lot of online tutorials as well, which I appreciate as, as does biodynamics.

4 (50m 56s):

Yeah. We make that a big part of what we do end of the day. It’s hard to crack open those headlights is just no way around it. But the great thing about those circuit boards, it gave us, you know, a real firm foundation and, you know, we’re we all So, you know, we assemble all of our circuit boards in house today. We’re really, really proficient. We have a whole training program certification that we do with our staff. So, and that’s what really lays the groundwork for quality in any electronics. And you know, if, if you have a failure with a light these days, it’s either gonna be, you know, because it leaked somehow, which, I mean, we’ve got a lot of pressure testing equipment and everything to test for that a hundred percent. Or it’s because something’s wrong with that circuit board. And that’s why you’ll see the failure 2, 3, 4 years down the road if you have the protection on that, it’s just not gonna happen.

4 (51m 41s):

So we take a lot of pride in that circuit board quality and that’s, that’s really what sets the standard for us.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 47s):

So Paul, when you were in your dorm room or just coming out of, out of college and it was just basically you, did you see the company being what it is today,

4 (51m 57s):

Don? Don’t think so. Just mostly blind ambition. I’d call it But.

Sean P. Holman (52m 2s):

No I mean we, we have a lot of blind ambition over here ourselves. So just blind, just mostly just, just blind. Whatever happens is on accident.

4 (52m 10s):

It, it never leads to anything bad. So no, it, it’s been, you know, step by step and I think just, I mean, just like any car guy, you just look at something, you know, you can make it better. Whether that’s, whether that’s your truck or a company or anything else. And, you know, knowing that people can do a lot, we, you know, we trust our people to really keep improving, keep learning, keep building what we’re doing now every day. And you know, that’s the attitude I always, always had. Just look at something, know we can be better. And taking that approach day, day by day, you just keep building. Right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 42s):

So, You. Look at a company that does exhaust systems, for example, and you think, oh man, their days may be numbered. And then you look at you and you’re like, well, everyone’s gonna have to drive at night regardless of what they drive. And it’s gonna be, you know, we’re not gonna go back to like candle power. So it’s gonna be electric, which is what you, your future is bright, pun intended. And and did you

Sean P. Holman (53m 4s):

Really just do that?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 5s):

I I I. No I mean it’s,

Sean P. Holman (53m 6s):

You have been sitting over there for like 20 minutes stewing, waiting to get that out.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 10s):

It literally just came up with it. Oh my.

Sean P. Holman (53m 12s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 12s):

Just happened. It was, should we, can

Sean P. Holman (53m 13s):

We apologize to our guests please? Because Oh yeah. Hold on a second. Oh man. Lightning. I can’t believe you. You used that pun.

5 (53m 18s):

We are deeply sorry. We are sorry. We’re sorry. We are sorry.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 28s):

That’s what the hell is wrong with you? I don’t, I don’t know. I’m sorry. Lightning. Lightning. I’m sorry. Lightning. I’m sorry. Lightning.

6 (53m 35s):

Oh my God. Lightning shut the

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 38s):

F I’ll shut up Lightning after this interview. Shut up. I’ll be quiet. Lightning. Shut up. Sorry.

Sean P. Holman (53m 45s):

You know what’s funny about that is every time you play it, you, it’s hundreds of times now and still nothing.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 50s):

No I I. Don’t listen to those.

Sean P. Holman (53m 53s):

Hey Paul, I’ve got a question for you. You know, you started the company and you were pretty, pretty young and youthful when you did that. When did

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 60s):

You, what was the old and whizzed now, what do you in insinuating

Sean P. Holman (54m 3s):

Well, I’m just, I’m insinuating that he has lots of expertise and, and life experience now.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 9s):

And what’s

Sean P. Holman (54m 9s):

Your question? Can I finish my question? Yeah. When did you determine that you were a lighting enthusiast and that you would become the lighting guy for the aftermarket? At what point did you go, this is my path.

4 (54m 22s):

You know, I I thought I was gonna be an attorney or something in college, but I I just kept getting drawn back to the cars. You know, I didn’t like sitting in class. I liked driving my car fast, you know, and, you know, just looking at my options in life, seeing what I could do with the lights. It’s really the technology. It’s just changing so fast. and I absolutely consider myself a lighting enthusiast today. You know, that’s I, I’ll buy a car if it has really good lights. That’s, that’s what I go for. Right.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 50s):

Well, like, it kind of goes to my, that goes to my question though. I was, if

Sean P. Holman (54m 53s):

You say that this conversation is illuminating I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 56s):

I wasn’t no beat you

Sean P. Holman (54m 57s):

Right here. As we

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 58s):

Said I I wasn’t gonna say that at all. No, I was gonna say, Paul, you light up my life. No, stop. No, no, no. Like, are you, are you out there buying the new Teslas? Are you buying the new Rivian? Are you buying, like going like, Hey, we are going to be on the cutting edge. You mean trying to

Sean P. Holman (55m 14s):

Figure out which companies are bingo are leading the way in terms of lighting on the OE side?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (55m 18s):

Yes, sir.

4 (55m 19s):

Yeah, I mean, we’re, I, I’m personally, you know, I like to see every car that comes in our garage. You know, I’m kind of the, the mechanic that doesn’t take care of their own car in a lot of ways. I think it’s a very common thing. So, you know, I, I’ve got a Wrangler and a Kia Stinger. I think they’re great. You seeing every car that comes in. And then the company does own a lot of cars. They’re definitely not mine. I definitely don’t use them. But that’s a little bit easier way to get your hands on new stuff. And just seeing everything that’s coming out, talking to even these OEM engineers and, you know, hearing the passion from other people. It’s just an exciting space to be in right now with how, how much is changing, how much you can do, how much you can program. There’s, there’s just unlimited options.

4 (56m 1s):

So, you know, I I would just encourage everybody to really take a hard look at what their lighting is and what what it could be. And just keep asking for that.

Sean P. Holman (56m 9s):

You know, that’s kind of an interesting point. You talk about talking to the engineers. Do you also talk to the designers? And the reason I bring that up is when LED lighting first started to appear in the oe it was all kind of individualized and, and you know, lots of individual breaks between LED chips and then it got to diffused where it looked like light pipes and it was unbroken. And I’m starting to see the Trend go back to multichip LEDs inside a housing that are broken up by a graphic or by, you know, size differences or, so they can dance now. Well not even that, but I’m just thinking of like the Hyundai Ionic Fi or Ionic is one of ’em that has like that eight bit kind of vibe to it.

Sean P. Holman (56m 53s):

Mm. And there’s some really interesting things going on in the way the lighting is where it seemed like diffused was the way you showed everybody that you had this engineering acumen because there was no breaks coming from multiple LED sources. But now it’s almost like people want to have those individual sort of, I guess, delineation between the LED chips themselves. And I’m just kind of curious what your thoughts are on that and if you keep in touch with the design side to see where those trends are going inside the oes.

4 (57m 19s):

Yeah, I mean, I’m fortunate to, you know, have relationships with a lot of the engineers in, in this, these circles and everything. And it’s just interesting, I think everyone’s kind of amazed by how this, you know, component of a vehicle all the turn, all of a sudden turn into like the biggest fashion statement on a car. You know, the, the common phrase is that’s, you know, like the, the, the new Chrome is lighting and it, but it, it provides a lot of challenges too, just because going to the design studio, it, it’s, again, it’s just unlimited. So whether it’s the ionic, you know, or even just even just the Tesla, you know, with the signature DL or more so the rivian, you know, just totally wild design. There’s no way they did that other than just wanting to have a signature look, there’s a lot of ways to shine light.

4 (58m 3s):

It’s just so many options and it, it does make it difficult. You know, our Jeep headlight, we have, we have probably eight or nine different prototypes that we went through of different styles and different options and, but you, you can give it that personal touch and that just makes all that more fun.

Sean P. Holman (58m 17s):

So I have a, I have an interesting idea for, for the Wrangler headlights and I. Don’t know if you could tap into the can bus to do this or not, but like on the rivian, one of the things when the Rivian first came out, back when I was at MotorTrend and we got to drive ’em, when you plug it in, that entire white light that goes across the front of the truck turns green and tells you your LED through the LEDs, your charging status, which I thought was really cool with the Jeeps, like four XE on top, it has the little blue lights on top of the dashboard, but how cool would it be if you plugged in your charger and then the, the halo was like the amount of charge and it turned it green Oh, a clock while you’re plugged in or so something like a clock it would go around. Yeah. Interesting. that was kind of cool, right?

Sean P. Holman (58m 57s):

Huh? Your headlights can be a little feedback. Yeah, we’ll do it. I like it. Yeah, we’ll

4 (59m 1s):

Do it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59m 2s):

You you’re not gonna charge ’em a royalty Holman for, for coming up

Sean P. Holman (59m 4s):

With the idea. No, no. You know, just want a free set.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59m 6s):

No, no, no. I I’m not even asking for anything

4 (59m 9s):

Fast. Yeah. You can’t take it back. So.

Sean P. Holman (59m 11s):

No, no, it’s already, it’s already out in the, in the ether. Ether. Yeah. Well, we’ll just guilt him into grabbing some sponsorship of The Truck. Show Podcast. That’s all, that’s all we ask for. Right?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59m 19s):

Working there, Paul, what was the most difficult set of, well, anything, either the entire light from soup to nuts or the most difficult board to design. What was the one thing where you’re like, what

Sean P. Holman (59m 32s):

Was the vehicle that gave you a fits?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (59m 34s):

I’m just like, I’m gonna fire everyone over this. Like, this is awful. I’m never, and then finally you hatched it and you’re like, Ooh, we did it.

4 (59m 41s):

I mean, really it’s common now, but the, the ram used to drive us absolutely batty because it was, you know, you, you, you might know when you take a standard bulb out, you put an LED in, you get the fast blinking, right? Yeah. And that’s a safety feature. It’s supposed to tell you the bulbs out because it’s no longer using the power, which is fine, but usually just add the resistor and you’re fine. But basically whatever stellantis, whatever you wanna call it now, they, they were the first to really start rolling out new systems that really started detecting that current. And man, we must have spent hundreds of hours just trying to figure this out. And at that point, It was like, it could have been literally a five minute conversation with the design engineer over there to tell us the answer.

4 (1h 0m 25s):

And it was just finding a needle in a haystack to Exactly trying to nail it down. So fortunately we, we haven’t had too many of those cases recently, but it, it seems like it is getting harder and harder. And just the time we put into the compatibility with these systems, So, you know, and that’s one thing with, when you’re looking at these lights, you have to, it’s like, it looks great. It might light up cool, but read the details on the compatibility because yeah, it’s like you can build a light that’s, that part’s easy, making it compatible with every trim. That’s a whole different story.

Sean P. Holman (1h 0m 59s):

And, and some of the harnesses that you get are junk. I mean, they just look like the cheesiest plastic. And it looks like, you know, some wire that you got at Harbor Freight And, they, they’re awful. I remember when the JKS first came out and the first set of LED headlights came, I think KC had some, obviously JW speaker had some, and the forms were lit up with my light is they’re, they’re flickering. Well then we come to find out That, one of the issues was the, there’s variable voltage going to the headlights. And because the incandescent bulbs don’t dim enough for that variable voltage, they could essentially save fuel economy like one 10th of a 10th of a 10th of a mile per gallon by varying the voltage of these things.

Sean P. Holman (1h 1m 45s):

’cause the alternator wasn’t providing all that power all the time. But the second that you put in an LED bulb or LED light, because it is so fast responding to the current, you would see it flicker. And basically they were never designed to have LED in it because these halogen bulbs are like, oh, we’ll, we’ll be able to cut down our power demands by, you know, 20, 30% by, you know, sending pulses of power to the lights instead of keeping them constantly lit. And you’re going, what the f