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Old 04-24-2012, 06:52 PM   #1
aphilli85
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Default DIY LED Tail lights

HEy does anyone know how to DIY LED Tail Lights for a 99 OBS?
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:31 PM   #2
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i did one for my past cars and holy hell was it a project.

you have to research about the correct LEDs to use and then figure out the arrangement and wiring (resistors mainly) - but that's really the hardest part.

the wiring is easy and tearing apart your taillights isn't that hard. of course you gotta figure what type of lighting your car uses to make it all work.

Also, if a set of bulbs is used as the parking lights but then is also used as the brake lights, then you need a module to essentially dim that array of LED and then make them come on full brightness when you want to use them as brakes. I have that module laying around but forgot what it's called.

also, depending on the inside of your taillights lens, it might require you to sand it down smooth.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_88 View Post
Also, if a set of bulbs is used as the parking lights but then is also used as the brake lights, then you need a module to essentially dim that array of LED and then make them come on full brightness when you want to use them as brakes. I have that module laying around but forgot what it's called.

also, depending on the inside of your taillights lens, it might require you to sand it down smooth.
It's called a PWM.
And sanding down your taillight lenses will most likely not turn out very good.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:53 PM   #4
draco159
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I would just get good quality LED bulbs, it would be a TON easier IMO.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:34 PM   #5
sars101
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i would think your car would be the same as any other car. maybe you should asking for pictures of your lights with leds cause it might not be as bright as the regular bulbs.

i like leds but not on my car i seen other impreza but mine are better.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew025 View Post
It's called a PWM.
And sanding down your taillight lenses will most likely not turn out very good.
yes a Pulse Width Modulator

the point of sanding down the lens on the inside is to prevent the light from spreading inside of the housing - for aesthetics really. some lens are molded with 'ridges' to spread the light from the single source.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_88 View Post
yes a Pulse Width Modulator

the point of sanding down the lens on the inside is to prevent the light from spreading inside of the housing - for aesthetics really. some lens are molded with 'ridges' to spread the light from the single source.
I know the idea behind it, it just never turns out good. Especially if it's colored plastic.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
apkarian100
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Turned out good for me:







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Old 04-25-2012, 02:35 PM   #9
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Do you have close up pictures of the lens?
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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just tossing this out there, but i plan to diy-led my taillights when i have time someday, until then i'll just put this out there:

harbor freight etc have DOT rated LED trailer lights (in fact, i saw a set, quite bright at kmart for $20 iirc?)

1. buy lights
2. remove housings and just use the internal boards / wiring
3. open stock tails and create mounting points for trailer led internals
4. ???
5. profit!

if you're handy with a soldering iron and have some electrical experience, this is a pretty easy task
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:27 PM   #11
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i found afew cadillac sts's in a junkyard and ripped out the huge long LED center stop lamp. its pretty interesting how it works. basically uses reflectors to siluate a contuniuos band of light. it is actually four long skinny circuit boards, connected by their wiring.

anyway, i put it in my rear glass area- 3m heavy duty double stick taped. i spliced into the spoiler brake light

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommybu...ream/lightbox/



oh, best part! they didnt charge me
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:39 PM   #12
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that looks rad Burkart! thats some serious exhaust tips you got too... I dig
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RallySoob View Post
that looks rad Burkart! thats some serious exhaust tips you got too... I dig
thanks dude. some better pics. hard to capture the LED effect... but hr goes

*updated url
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommybu...7629822638635/



http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommybu...ream/lightbox/

Last edited by burkart; 04-29-2012 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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now i wonder if i should snip the oem tail spoiler stop lamp.....
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:08 PM   #15
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ehhhh i dont think this mod should be done on older cars. LEDs are clean and crisp whereas the older tail lights look well old and outdated. it just doesnt flow for me.
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:27 AM   #16
That One Guy
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I think apkarian's are beautiful. I would pay some damn good money for those. You should do a set and do a writeup. I'd mail you mine...
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:25 PM   #17
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I think apkarian's are beautiful. I would pay some damn good money for those. You should do a set and do a writeup. I'd mail you mine...
link?
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altezza2impreza View Post
ehhhh i dont think this mod should be done on older cars. LEDs are clean and crisp whereas the older tail lights look well old and outdated. it just doesnt flow for me.
hey i agree, partially. i also dont like the look of LEDs when combined with incandescent bulb lamps. the LEDs light up faster and make the other lamps look janky.

However, if all the bulbs are LED, i'm ok with it. switching out your old bulbs for LED bulbs can really make a difference. it wont be individual dot's (a la nissan murano etc) but it will make them all super-fast-reacting and consistent looking
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burkart View Post
link?
Post #8?
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:44 PM   #20
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gotcha. sorry. post #9 =]
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #21
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It's fine, I wish I had a writeup.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:55 PM   #22
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i can help you! what do you want to do to yours? probably the best way is to buy some side-emitting LED flexi-strips in red, dremel open the side of taillamp assembly, superglue or double stick them in place, then splice them into brake wiring. the two biggest tips i have are:
- DONT BAKE your taillights. this method works to get headlights unstuck -but doesnt for tails. they are sealed up tight and will melt before they open the back clamshell piece.
- for me, so far, LEDs from amazon and ebay have been underwhelming. they looks great, but they fail or start flickering within 4 weeks. ive ripped them all out now. but obv the headlight work takes so long that its impractical to be fixing blinky LEDs constantly.


ive been futzing with my lights alot over the last 6-mo....

LEDs ringing internals of factory taillamps (LGT wagon)


DSC_2257 by tommyburkart, on Flickr

on car
DSC_2264 by tommyburkart, on Flickr

Last edited by burkart; 04-29-2012 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:57 PM   #23
SAFJrider
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I did LEDs on my Honda but went back to stock after awhile-they just didn't seem that bright or the LEDs were crapping out too early
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:46 PM   #24
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if interested.. here's more info on the re-purposed cadillac STS light bar - DIY LED taillight behind glass mod.

i snapped some pics of the lightbar parts. it's made up of 4 skinny circuit boards with about 10 LEDs each. these are all linked by their wiring. there are 50 or so lenses that clip on to each LED section of the boards.

in these new pics with the trunk open, you can see my setup. it is exactly 3 circuitboards wide, so i trimmed off the extra board. (*damn didnt realize how enormous the 91-09 STS/SLS bitches were) - 4 boards.

with the lenses attached, the LEDs are amazing when viewed from behind at traffic level. theyre prismactic.

my setup is two layers of boards, one with the reflector lenses, one without. the OEM reliability of the LEDs gives me confidence that they'll last. i dont recall ever seeing a caddy with its lightbar out, in fact.

enjoy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommybu...7629822638635/




http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommybu...7629822638635/

re-purposed cadillac STS light bar - DIY LED taillight glass

Last edited by burkart; 04-29-2012 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:15 PM   #25
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