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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.

V-LEDS Platinum Edition High Power 20

Here at V-LEDS we pride ourselves on developing the latest in cutting edge LED technology for your car. The latest addition to our extensive assortment of LEDs is the Platinum Series High Power 20. This bulb features years of development and testing brought together to form the perfect combination of light output and aesthetic appeal. This V-LEDS product is overbuilt to deal with the most demanding of applications. From Daytime Running Lights to Brake lights, this LED can do it without problems. Thick aluminum circuit boards and a large machined heat-sink located at the top of the LED quickly dissipate the heat generated by the .5 watt diodes. Clear lenses with vent slots add to the finished look of the bulb. Each .5 watt diode, 20 total, make for an intense blast of light aimed directly into your cars reflective lenses for the brightest output available on the market today.

The Evolution Of The High Power 20 Bulb

The Design of the High Power 20 LED bulbs started years ago. There was missing product in the 7440/7443 category. Everything we tried was just not bright enough. We needed to do something completely different to achieve acceptable levels of light output. After designing different prototypes a decision was made to use different diodes. The .5 watt diode was realized as the best candidate for the job. These diodes pack a serious punch. Each .5 watt diode has the same light output of 10 of our standard diodes. They also create 10 times more heat than the standard diodes. Heat is an LEDs worst enemy and we needed to develop a means to dissipate the large amounts of  heat generated by these new diodes. This led to another technological innovation by V-LEDS, the aluminum circuit board. This allowed the full power use of the .5 watt diode in brake light applications. This technology is applied to all High Power .5 watt LEDs offered by V-LEDS. The first edition of the High Power 20 used 14 .5 watt diodes on the sides and 6 of our standard 1210 diodes on the top. This design was hugely popular, so popular in fact that we continued development all the way up to the current Platinum Series. As we continued to advance this product we knew it needed to be brighter and even more capable of dissipating the heat of the .5 watt diodes. The 3rd Generation of this LED was equipped with massive aluminum circuit boards to handle the increased power output of the LEDs. The 6 standard 1210 diodes on the top were replaced with 4 .5 watt diodes to get as much light output as possible. This bulb packed a serious punch, but the finished look of the bulb left something to be desired. Which is where the Platinum Series steps in. A few tweaks in diode placement and heat management combined with its vented lens and voilà. Stay tuned in to V-LEDS to see where we take this already amazing product. Can we make it any better than it is now? That was the same question we asked ourselves a few years ago and the answer is YES, YES we can! Check out the progression of photos; 2nd, 3rd and Platinum Series from left to right. (The 1st Gen not pictured, It was a 48 LED version utilizing our standard 1210 diodes)

Have you heard of voltage spikes in your cars electrical system? Have you had a set of LEDs burn out after only having them installed for a couple of months? Chances are they were the helpless victims of voltage spikes. These voltage spikes are found in every car or truck. There a few causes of voltage spiking, but they all originate from the alternator. The alternator is the electrical power plant of your car. It charges the battery and provides the power to keep all the electronics in your car operating. We know that your car uses a 12 volt battery, 12 volts DC (direct current). Did you know that your cars alternator actually makes AC (alternating current) power? There is a component called the rectifier that converts the AC voltage into DC voltage. This part is either built into the alternator or mounted separately. The demand of your cars electrical system increases or decrease the load on the alternator. You may have experienced changes in the electrical load of your car, a common example is while you are waiting at a traffic light at night. You may have noticed your  headlights dim for a moment when your cars radiator fan kicked on. That is a change of load on the alternator, the alternator responded by generating more current to keep up with the higher demand created by the radiator fan and the lights returned to their original brightness. This continual up and down cycling of power being generated causes dips and spikes in voltage that over time will degrade the LEDs in your lights.

LED failure caused by voltage spiking is slowly starting to become a problem of the past. V-LEDS incorporates the latest technology on all of our new High Power LED products. We have been incorporating regulated power supplies onto the circuit boards of all of our High Power LEDs. These LEDs are not susceptible to damage caused by voltage spiking. What is the difference and how does it work? Lets take take a look at the difference between standard LEDs and High Power V-LEDS.

In the photo below I have taken apart some highly popular V-LEDs. The 194_HP_W_6K and the 194_5_SMT_W_6K. You can see the difference right away in the circuitry. Lets start with the 194_5_SMT_W_6K. This is easily our most popular LED. Its popularity comes from three places. 1) Price, at $7.99 for a pair you can’t go wrong. 2) Output, Brighter than a filament bulb without blinding you. Great color too 3) Application, with 4 LEDs around the sides and 1 on top it works in pretty much every application. The only downfall to this LED is the circuitry that regulates the power to the individual LEDs. In the photo you can see that  I circled a resistor. This is the component that steps the voltage down to the operating voltage of each LED. If you measure the voltage after it passes through the resistor it reads like this: 12 volts = 9.6 volts, 14.2 volts = 10.2 volts, 19 volts = 13 volts. The LEDs are ran in a series circuit that divides this voltage equally. This means that when operated at 12 volts the voltage is dropped to 9.6 volts by the resistor and is then divided amongst the 5 LEDs. This equals 1.92 volts per LED. This product is designed to be operated around 12 volts give or take a couple of volts. But what if your car has a spike up to 19 volts or greater? By using the same math at 19 volts we end up with each LED seeing 2.6 volts. It doesn’t seem like that much more voltage but the LEDs will get brighter and overheat, thus causing premature failure.

Now look at the 194_HP_W_6K. This is what sets our High Power LEDs apart from our entry level LEDs and from all other LED products on the market today. There is no math needed to show what will happen with different input voltage on this LED. The regulated power supply provides a consistent 3.6 volts to the LED. All of our High Power LEDs are stable from 9-24 volts. It will not affect the brightness of the LEDs at all. We have different variations of High Power LEDs. From our Platinum Series bulbs to our DRL/FOG bulbs to the brightest dome light we sell, all of them use our .5 WATT diode and a regulated power supply that controls the voltage that each LED receives. On our flank LEDs  and DRL/FOG LEDs we have also incorporated Bridge Rectifiers. These components allow for dual polarity use. These LEDs will light up regardless of which way they are plugged in.

To sum it up there is a difference, the V-LEDS difference. We bring “The Latest in Automotive LED Technology” to our customers. With each and every new product we develop it is our goal to raise the bar and bring you the best LED lighting products you can find. Hopefully this will help you understand why some of the LEDs we sell cost more than others. Simply put they are engineered to be better, brighter and last longer than anything else you can find on the market.

If you have questions on our products and how they work you can email me directly here:  tech@v-leds.com

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment, James the tech@v-leds.com

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

Have you ever gone to start your car in the morning and find that your battery is dead? You end up searching around for jumper cables and calling your neighbor over for a jump start. After you get your car started you notice the dome lights were left on because one of the kids left the door open or you forgot to turn off the map lights the night before. Nothing can be more irritating, especially if you’re already running late for work. The filament bulbs used for lighting the interior of your car use quite a bit of power, more than you would think for such a small bulb. These bulbs can drain your battery down in a matter of hours if left on. All of this could have been avoided if you had just installed some efficient V-LEDS in your dome lights.

V-LEDS bulbs use far less power (80-90% less) than a conventional filament bulb to produce the same amount of light, if not more. You can leave your dome lights on for hours on end without draining the battery after you replaced them with V-LEDS. There are other benefits you will enjoy from using V-LEDS. The solid state design of V-LEDS makes them naturally shock resistant. The vibration of driving down a rough road will cause the filament of a regular bulb to break and burn out over time, something you don’t have to worry about with V-LEDS. The expected lifespan of a V-LEDS dome light is typically 10,000 hours or more!

Chances are you are already using LED technology in your day to day life. From illuminating the buttons on your remote control to  digital road signs and even on your personal electronics like your cell phone and i-pod. LED technology is used across a wide range of products. From illumination in cars to televisions, the possibilities are endless. LEDs are even starting to show up as standard equipment on new automobiles. From tail lights and brake lights to illuminating the interior, LEDs are the lighting of choice as they use less power and never need to be replaced.The good news is that you dont have to buy a new car to enjoy all the benefits of LED technology.

V-LEDS specializes in LED replacements for every type of filament bulb found in automobiles. And its as easy as 1 2 3 to find a V-LEDS replacement for your car. Not only can you get the efficiency of V-LEDS but you can customize the look of your interior with different color V-LEDS. V-LEDS bulbs have incredible benefits over standard bulbs. They are much brighter, operate at cooler temperatures, are extremely energy efficient and have a much longer life span. So go ahead and do yourself a favor, replace your interior bulbs with V-LEDS and avoid that potential morning frustration of jump starting your car.

Examples of V-LEDS dome light bulbs

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