Archive for the ‘How to:’ Category

Reversing your car down a long driveway at night can be difficult if your reverse lights dont illuminate the way for you. It seems that very little attention is paid to the design of reverse lights. It seems that on most cars the only purpose is to alert other drivers you are about to back out of a parking spot. Rarely do we find a car that the reverse lights do a decent job of actually illuminating the ground or objects a few feet behind the car so they are visible from the drivers seat.

Is there a way to get more light behind the car for reversing? The answer is yes. There have been a number of ways to add more light to the rear of your car or truck. The problem is that it has always required a lot of extra work and wiring. We have seen all sorts of light wired up under the rear bumpers of many trucks and cars. Tractor lights, fog lights, and other inventions that mount to a receiver hitch. They all get the job done but require mounting a pair of lights to the bottom of the bumper or to the frame. And if your vehicle lacks trailer wiring you have to run wiring from the battery to power these type of lights as they draw too much power to be spliced directly into the wiring for the factory reverse lights. Thats when V-LEDS came up with the brilliant idea of the LPF (License Plate Frame). It is easy to install, just two wires and two screws! Simply install it over your license plate with the same screws that hold your license plate on. Route the wires to your cars reverse light wiring and connect with the supplied splice taps and your done. It does not draw very much power at all, only 18 watts. It generates over 1000 lumens of LED light! Watch our video to see it in action.

The 3rd addition of V-LEDS to the 2011 Scion iQ is Footwell lighting. This car is small, very small. So it is equipped with a proportionately small dome light. It does not provide much light at all. We offer many different LEDs that replace the yellow filament bulbs in your car, but sometimes you need some extra light to see. What if your car does not have enough factory lights? This is where V-LEDS can make a huge difference on any car. We offer a wide range of strip lights that are suitable for just about any application you can think of.

For the V-LEDS Scion iQ we wanted to be able to see the interior when the door was open or when we unlock it with the keyless entry system. So we chose to use some of our new puck strip lights. These are available in multiple colors, we chose to use the 6K white  version. We used one per side, adhered to the bottom side of the dash with the double sided tape that comes on them. We wired these directly to the dome light circuit.

Puck Light mounted to drivers side under dash.

After routing the wiring and making the connections to the factory dome light wires it was time to test. The results are amazing!

So much light!

Onto the trunk area now. There is no light in the rear from the factory. So while we were wiring up the puck lights up front we used a Y adapter and ran some extensions to the rear of the car. There is a great location on the panel in the trunk area to mount a strip light. We used a 12″ piece of our STRIP_3C_W_6K to illuminate the cargo area.

Behold the power of V-LEDS!

Thats it for this installment of the V-LEDS project Scion iQ. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to bring the light.

Here is a list of the products we used for this upgrade:

Puck Lights: STRIP_RL_12_W_6K

Strip Light: STRIP_3C_W_6K (select length)

Y Adapters: DIY2_Y_ADAPT

Wire Extensions: DIY2_WIRE_48 (there are shorter lengths of wire available here)

Thanks for reading. If you have questions regarding this product please send an email to our customer service department at sales@v-leds.com. We are quick to respond via email and can answer any questions you may have about our products.

Here are some more photos of our Scion iQ.

We are on the second lighting mod on our Scion iQ. On the rear bumper there are 2 circular reflectors. They looked a little out of place but are required by DOT for visibility. We looked at them and thought “these would be great if they were active”. So we decided to see if they could be dissected and turned into brake lights.

Here we see the reflectors with as they appear from the factory.

We started by accessing the back of the reflector. This was pretty easy, with the removal of few plastic snaps we were able to remove the small rear inner fender liner. This allowed easy access to the fastener that holds the reflector to the bumper. After removing the nut from the backside of the reflector it comes right out.

Behind the bumper you can see how the reflector mounts. You can also see the wiring for the LEDs.

The red reflector portion of this unit is plastic welded to the mount (backer). There is enough space inside to hold one V-LEDS STRIP_RL_12_R. To separate the red reflector from the backer we heated a razor knife and pressed it into the seam where the front and back are fused together. Then it was just a matter of wedging a small flat blade screw driver into the melted section and prying them apart. It is not a clean split, but is the most non-invasive way to get it apart so that they can be glued back together later.

After you separate the front and back its time to get them ready for the STRIP_RL_12_R to be installed. I oriented the LED disc so the pattern of LEDs was aligned so the vertically/horizontally. From there I drilled a hole for the wire to be routed through. I drilled a hole in the bumper so the wire could be routed through as well.

LED Installed Inside Rear Reflector.

Here are the reflectors after completion.

After affixing the LED we used super glue to reattach the reflector to the backer. It was a tight squeeze but it fit inside. After the glue cured we reinstalled them and routed the wiring through a factory rubber grommet located on the back of the car. We ran the wiring up to the factory brake lights and spliced it into the brake circuit.

Reflectors are now active brake lights.

Here is a list of all the components used on this upgrade:

2 of these: STRIP_RL_12_R

2 of these: DIY2_WIRE_48

1 of these: DIY2_Y_ADAPT

Thanks for reading. If you have questions regarding this product please send an email to our customer service department at sales@v-leds.com. We are quick to respond via email and can answer any questions you may have about our products.

Here are some more photos of our Scion iQ.

Introducing the V-LEDS Scion iQ. This little car is amazing in many ways. From being fuel efficient and fun to drive, to being completely different from the majority of the cars on the road. The Scion iQ is a hit. After looking this little car over we thought it would make a great addition to the family of V-LEDS cars. We noticed, like all Scions, it is a great vehicle ready for upgrades. We will continually update all the mods we do right here on the blog.

V-LEDS 2011 Scion iQ with DRL_3W_W_6K Installed as DRL.

Lets start with the addition of one of our latest products, the DRL_3W_W_6K. These LEDs are sealed units that house a 3 chip, 3 watt diode. Ideal for use as a DRL (daytime running light) or accent lighting. These things are bright! We installed a total of 10 of these, 5 on each side, on the trim panel next to the fog lamps. We wired them to ignition power so they turn on whenever the car is on. In addition, we also wired in a relay harness. The harness is wired into the fog lamp circuit, it turns the DRL LEDs off whenever the fog lights are in use.  These LEDs are impressive! They are bright, even in direct midday sunlight. They are so bright that they cast light onto the ground as well as you can see in the photo.

Installation of these lights is pretty straight forward. If you have some basic tools and wiring knowledge you can create a completely new look for your car or truck in an afternoon. Is this a look you want for your car? Here is where you can find the product on VLEDS website: DRL_3W_W_6K  After you click the link you will land on the product page. You will need to know how many of these you need. They are sold individually, as 1 EACH. On our Scion iQ we used a total of 10 each.

First lets take a look at what you need:

An electric drill with various sized drill bits

Tools for wiring; crimpers, solder iron, test light etc.

Wiring accessories; wire, zip ties, crimp terminals, loom etc.

For our Scion iQ we chose the lower fog lamp area to install these LEDs. We removed the plastic trim panels and found that they were perfect for mounting these LEDs to. The fog lamps are optional on the iQ. This location will work regardless if it has fog lamps or not.

Here are some pictures of the installation process:

Drill a 3/16 hole to mount the DRL LED

After locating and marking where you want to install the LEDs use a 3/16 drill bit to make a hole. (A little side note: after you have drilled your ALL the holes snap this cover back on the car and drill holes in the plastic of the bumper too. This allows for the wires to pass through the bumper for easy wiring.)

Routing wires through drilled hole.

Next, route the wires from through the hole and insert the threaded mount into the hole. Use the supplied nut to secure the LED to the mounting surface.

Routing wiring through bumper

After you have located, drilled, and installed all of the LEDs you will need to route all of the wiring through the plastic of the bumper. Here is where the tip from up above comes in handy.

All wiring is routed and ready to be connected to the car.

After the wiring was routed through the bumper we covered it in some loom. We also have 9006 style connector ends in our shop, so we went ahead and crimped some of these on the wiring. The ends made for a direct plug into the relay harness we installed. (Installation note: the Red wire is 12 V positive+ and the White wire is Ground-)

DRL lights on.

After finalizing all the connections we were ready to test the lights. They are pretty bright, this made it troublesome to get a quality picture.

We offer these lights in 3 colors. 6K White, Amber, and Red. You can find them here on VLEDS.com:

DRL_3W_W_6K  To be used as a DRL, Fog, or auxiliary light. The possibilities are endless.

DRL_3W_A  To be used as a blinker or Amber DRL.

DRL_3W_R  To be used as an auxiliary brake light.

Thanks for reading. If you have questions regarding this product please send an email to our customer service department at sales@v-leds.com. We are quick to respond via email and can answer any questions you may have about our products.

Here are some more photos of our Scion iQ.

The Idea

There is something to be said about the V-LEDS experience in your car. It is amazing how replacing a bulb with V-LEDS  change the look of your car. Whether you replaced the dome lights or parking lights, using V-LEDS drastically improves the aesthetic appeal of any car. This simple fact spurred on conversations about another product idea. This idea was based on a product we already sell, the switchback. We have been playing around with some prototypes of this new design over the last couple of months and it is turning out to be a really cool idea.

The Concept

The concept is simple. Two different colors of LEDs built onto the same bulb. What if you had the ability to flip a switch and change your high beams or fog lights from white to blue, green, red or amber? That is what the SHO line is, an LED lighting system for showing off. It’s illegal to drive around with blue and green lights on your car. But what about when your car is parked or on display at a car show? With the flip of a switch you can instantly change the look of your car with these new lights.

The Finished Look

Here is what your car can look like with the SHO line by V-LEDS. These will be available soon and we will keep you updated on our plans of releasing them and different applications that they can be used for.

On the Left the SHO lights are white and they change to red by flipping a switch.

Let me know what you think of this concept. What colors would you want to see on an LED like this? You can leave a comment or send me and email to tech@v-leds.com.

Thanks for reading, James

My last post was on how to make a quick and easy test light. This is a little trick you can use to test your LEDs. Use this to verify which contact on your LED is the positive and the negative. If you think you have a defective LED you can use this to confirm if it’s the LED that’s not working or if your cars socket is the problem. Items needed to make this tester include a fresh 9 Volt Battery, a couple of lengths of wire and some electrical tape. This is easy to do, lets cover the steps.

Look at the picture below. Start out with your wire, tape and battery. Strip some sheathing off of both ends of the wire. Fold back the wire on one end. Note the positive and negative terminal of the battery and place the wire on top of each terminal. Fold the tape over and use it to hold the wire onto the terminals of the battery. And you’re done!  To use this new tool just touch the bare wires from picture #4 to the contacts of the LED, note which wire is positive and negative. If the LED  lights up you have the polarity correct. If the LED does not light up, reverse the wires and try again. If it still doesn’t light up than either the battery is dead or the LED is not working.

This little battery tester has helped me in may different ways. If you do not have a 9 volt battery, any battery will do. I have done this with power tool batteries too, just don’t use any batteries larger than 12 volts. You can use this for more than just testing LED lights. I first used this setup to test for speakers in cars when the radio harness was cut off. After I located all of the power wires I would use this to test the remaining wires to match up the pairs of speaker wires. And you can see the speaker move in or out too, which tells you what speaker wires are positive and negative.

I have had people ask me if you can get shocked by touching both wires at the same time, the answer is no. It is very rare that you would get shocked by 12 volts DC power; it is possible, but you would have to be trying really hard.

Thanks for reading. If you have another use for this type of tester of if you have another invention that you use on a regular basis please share. You can email me direct at: tech@v-leds.com or leave a comment below.

James, the tech@v-leds.com.

Have you ever needed to troubleshoot a problem with your electrical system and there is not a test light around? Do you have a little MacGyver in you? If so than this quick little invention can be a lifesaver if you’re stuck in the woods or the local auto parts store is closed and you need to get some work done. If you are working on your car you most likely have the necessary items laying in front of you. If you’re like me you usually have random tools and supplies hiding under the seat from the last time you worked on your car. Regardless, the only things you need to build this test light are a couple short lengths of wire, a dome light bulb  and  some electrical tape. (If you are in a bind you can use any bulb from your car and any tape will work)

The steps are easy. 1) Locate all the necessary items. 2) Strip 2 Inches of the sheathing off of the wires. 3) Wrap the bare wires around each end of the bulb. 4) Tape the wires in place and strip about 1/2″ of sheathing from the other end of the wire.

This thing is pretty simple to use. If you need to find +12 volts just hold one of the wires to ground and touch the other wire to the circuit that needs testing. If the light turns on you have power.

If you need to find a ground you can hold one wire to +12 volts and touch the other wire to ground. If the light turns on you have power.

Hopefully you remember this when you need it most. Or you could just buy a test light and keep it in your car just in case.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to share this with your friends, you never know who might be in need of a test light.

James the tech@v-leds.com

Things have been pretty busy around the shop lately. New products coming in that need to be tested, vehicle specific kits that needed some tweaking and I did some pretty sweet headlight customization too. I always seem to be writing about how to fix some LED compatibility issue, this time I am going to show off some work I completed recently. V-LEDS sponsored a drift car last year that competed in the Formula Drift circuit. We met a lot of people who are involved with the drift circuit and they quickly caught the V-LEDS lighting bug. One of the teams sent us their headlights and asked us to work our lighting magic on them. Here is what we came up with for this particular set of lights.

Stock 370Z headlights

These lights are from a new Nissan 370Z. They are pretty nice light housings and almost seemed to be begging for V-LEDS touch. We did not get to see any pictures of the car and the race team only had a couple of simple  requests, AMBER LEDs around the projector headlight and to black out all of the chrome. I have been perfecting my headlight baking skills lately while testing our new Bi-Xenon projector upgrade kit and quickly set up my industrial sized easy bake oven.

The V-LEDS industrial sized easy bake oven.

Here it is in all its glory. It doesn’t look like much, but its amazing what a heat gun and a cardboard box can do! After baking the headlights in here for a while I was able to pry the front lens away from the back portion of the housing.

After getting the lights disassembled it was time to get modifying!  Prepping and painting the chrome parts. We had a friend who works at a machine shop cut us out some nice aluminum rings to go around the projector headlight lens. I disassembled some of our 194_HP_A and 194_2_HPFS_W_6K LEDs and soldered wires directly to the circuit boards. I used some epoxy to mount the LEDs to the “landing strip”area of the housing and to the aluminum ring. Here are some pictures that show how the project progressed through some of these steps. I tested the Amber LEDs around in the aluminum ring after it was assembled and it looked pretty dope. At this point I could not wait to get everything done and put back together to see it complete! If you click on the image it will take you to the complete photo gallery on our website.

This project went pretty smooth considering all of the custom fabrication involved. I am very happy with the way they turned out, hopefully the race team likes them too. I can’t wait to see them lit up on the car, but we have to wait until the next race season to see the complete package.

The Final Product

Thanks for checking out my work. Let me know what you think in the comments.

James, the tech@v-leds.com

Are you wondering how to use the HID Harness with your V-HIDS headlight conversion kit? I want to cover a cool feature that comes standard with every “single beam” V-HIDS kit we offer. This feature allows for quick plug-n-play installation of the HID Harness and other accessories your car may need.

H11 HID bulb and Input Adapter Jumper

The feature that I am talking about is what I refer to as the “Input Adapter Jumper”. The picture to the right shows the jumper wires as they come in the kit, attached to the HID bulb. They are routed through a rubber grommet with the HID bulbs wiring. This is so you can route them into your headlight housing and keep a water tight seal if you have sealed-back headlights. This input adapter jumper has as a male 9006 connector on one end and the specific end of the bulb type of the kit on the other end, this one happens to be an H11. This allows for a direct connection from your cars headlight socket to the input connector of the HID harness.

Connection of the Adapter to the HID Harness

Input Connector of the HID Harness

The HID Harness has a single input connector shown here. It is a female 9006 plug. This is where you connect the adapter to the HID Harness. Here is another bonus to this setup. If your car is equipped with a warning light that indicates you have a burnt out headlight and you need to install an inline capacitor or inline resistor you’re in luck. These parts come with male and female 9006 connectors too. So if you need any additional parts to get your V-HIDS kit working they will plug right into this setup without any modification to your cars wiring harness.

9006_INLINE_RES INLINE_CAP_ADAPT 9006_DRL_MODULE

9006_INLINE_RES INLINE_CAP_ADAPT 9006_DRL_MODULE

Here we see the 9006_INLINE_RES,   INLINE_CAP_ADAPT and the 9006_DRL_MODULE. Each one is designed for different applications. I will be covering these applications in the future. In the following pictures you can see how easy it is to install them inline. Using the 9006 style connectors allows adding these parts to this setup to be quick and easy. A complete wiring schematic for the HID_HARNESS is at the bottom of the page too.

9006_INLINE_RES Installed

If you do have any application questions feel free to ask. You can email me direct at: tech@v-leds.com

INLINE_CAP_ADAPT Installed

Thanks for reading, James the tech@v-leds.com

Here are links to other articles that contain additional information on some of these products:

HID_HARNESS

DRL_MODULES

9006_DRL_MODULE Installed

Installation Diagram For HID_HARNESS

Installation Diagram For HID_HARNESS

Before we get started  I need to preface this article with a disclaimer. This is not a modification that should be attempted by everyone. This is only a guideline for those who fully understand how what they are trying to accomplish. V-LEDS cannot be held responsible for any damage that occurs to your vehicle while performing this modification. With that out of way lets get started.

This modification is relatively simple. I have done this before in the past, but never really thought much about it because we offer electronic flashers and load resistors that fix hyper-flashing issues. But what about the cars that we don’t have an electronic flasher for? Or for that customer who does not want to splice load resistors into his wiring harness. You can also look at this from an efficiency viewpoint. LEDs are very energy efficient and load resistors burn power to create an electrical load to trick the flasher unit, this defeats using the LEDs for this purpose.

Lets cover why you would even do this in the first place. We do not offer electronic flasher units for every car or truck out there.  If you happen to own a newer Honda/Acura you know that already. It is pretty spendy for the GM vehicles that use the LM487 flasher and Lexus vehicles lose the confirmation light flash of the security system when you replace the flasher unit with and LED compatible version. What if you could just modify the flasher unit that came in your car? How would you go about doing it? Before you modify anything you should probably understand how it works. Lets start with understanding how the flasher unit knows when your bulbs burn out.

As with any electronics, flasher units function within a set of rules. These rules are pretty simple when it comes to a  flasher units hyper-flashing circuitry. The rule here is wattage and the flasher unit is looking for a specific value of wattage. The flasher unit monitors the wattage of both blinker circuits (any car that uses these style of flasher units will  have 2 blinker circuits, a left and right) and compares the value of these circuits to a resistor that is located on the circuit board of the flasher unit. The resistor is a metal “HOOP”. This hoop is designed to be within a specific wattage range, anywhere from 42-54 watts depending on the wattage of your cars original blinker bulbs.  See the diagrams below to see what the hoop looks like. Depending on your vehicle, it  may look different from these examples.

Toyota/Lexus Flasher Unit

Typical Ford Flasher

So now that you understand how this part of the blinker circuit functions we can start to understand what needs to be modified in order for it to work with V-LEDS. We already know that LEDs have an much lower wattage draw than the filament bulbs. Another factor to consider is that an LED actually stops voltage. LED is the acronym for Light Emitting Diode, and diodes do not carry any electrical resistance (OHMS) across the positive and negative contacts. This changes the value of the blinker circuit and the flasher unit recognizes this as a burnt out bulbs and starts to hyper-flash.

This simple modification will allow you to change the value of the flasher units resistor hoop to match the value of your V-LEDS. After you have removed your flasher unit from your car and removed its cover take a look to see if yours has the resistor hoop. If you find that yours has the hoop you can go ahead and start, the process is pretty easy. All that needs to be done is to remove some material thickness from the hoop. This will change the value of the hoop, and by doing so changes the value to match that of your V-LEDS. You can use  a dremel tool with a sanding drum or something similar to do this, either way you do it be sure to take your time. Be sure you do not overheat the hoop, you can melt the solder joint on the circuit board. Grind small amounts of material off of the hoop. I ground down the face of it first and then ground down the top of it. Reinstall the flasher unit and test the blinkers periodically to ensure that you get it just right. While tested I found at one point the blinkers were flashing normally for about 5 seconds then would go back to hyper-flashing for a few seconds and  would continue to go back and forth. I ground off just a little more and it worked flawlessly. If you get this just right the flasher unit will function the same as it does with the filament bulbs. This means that if one of your V-LEDs stops working for some reason the blinker circuit will hyper-flash to let you know. That is what I consider a bonus!

The process is really quick and painless.  After I removed the flasher unit it only took about 15-20 minutes to grind it down while testing it. After about the 5th time I got it perfect. It is a pretty straight forward job once you understand what needs to be done. The picture on the right shows how the hoop should look when it is complete. All that’s left to do is to place the cover back on the flasher unit and install it in the car.

Go ahead and test it out for yourself and see how it works. Let me know if it works for you too.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question, or you can contact me directly via email: tech@v-leds.com

James, the tech@v-leds.com