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