Car Interior Accent Lights

This isn't a very complicated project so I'll post directions if you're interested in doing it yourself!

I purchased my 2008 Honda Accord and noticed that there was an option for "Interior Illumination". Not surprisingly, it's basically just a bunch of LED's in the feet area of each passenger that give a bit of flair to the interior of the car. Simple enough. What was surprising was the cost. $112 for about eight bucks worth of LED's? Count me out.

Anyway, since I had a big bag of red s-flux LED's left over from an old order, I decided to make my own. 

What you need:
-20x LED's: You can use s-flux, SMD's, regular 5mm LED's...anything works. Color-wise, red tends to spread light better (and look more voluminous...harhar) than something that's higher frequency like blue or violet. I also chose red because my car's colors are pretty much all black and red.
-Soldering iron, wire, sandpaper

I didn't actually take pictures during the making of this project since this is a retrospective post but I think the pictures below should help with visualizing what needs to be done.

1. Sand down the tops of the LED's with fine grit sandpaper. I used a 100 grit paper I had laying around, but anything to cloud up the plastic so the light diffuses more evenly instead of creating spotlights and hotspots will do.

2. Solder 5 LED's in series on a PC board cut to size. My s-flux's have an operating voltage of 2.7v so having about 5 of them in series allowed me to directly drive them from the car's 12v power supply without the need for any resistors. Do this for each module (I had 4; one for each seat of the car minus the middle back seat).

3. Disassemble the car charger and remove all unnecessary components. You really only need this for the plug head which is why I used an old car charger sitting in the garage junk bin.

4. Connect all 4 modules in parallel to the car charger using the wire you have measured out. Make sure your polarity is right using a multi-meter since the reverse voltage for the LED's is only 5v. I also threw in a dimmer switch to adjust the brightness or turn it off completely.

5. Wire your car. I wired these from my center console outlet and had the wires creep out over the sides (secured with gorilla tape) and under paneling to each of the foot-wells. Then I used velcro to attach them to various structures in the car.

Annnnd voila! Cheap (in my case, free) interior lighting that's actually more functional than the OEM feature (it needs to be switched on instead of having it auto turn on whenever you start the car).

I may revisit this to make it turn on whenever I unlock the car using my keyfob. 


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