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  • LED Tail lights w/ write up

    Well I'm doing a co-op this fall and I am in the middle of nowhere and got bored and these are the product of my boredom. Enjoy!


    One of the best sites for information and where to get parts pretty cheap it with this lighting forum. The tail lights are wired up in series of 4 with a 27ohm resistor for each set of LEDs. I used 286 red, 120 amber and 36 white so there are about 120 resistors. The red and amber LEDs are 2.6v 70ma and i got them here the white were 3.2v 20ma and were grouped in series of 3 and can be found here. Here is where the LEDs are located from a back view the original can be located at the top of the first page.

    Besides almost going crazy from soldering 4 posts per LED and then soldering connections in sets of 4 and then wiring them all up it wasn't too bad considering it took over 3000 individual solders. I regulated all the LEDs at 12v with a voltage regulators. Since the same LEDs are used for the running lights and the break lights a PWM (Power Width Modulator) had to be used. I used 2 one for the running lights and one for the break lights, because the break lights are extremely bright. In addition I had to use diodes due to back feeding problems, I just got them from radioshack. Diagram below. I only used a voltage regulator for the reverse lights and turn signals.

    I know it's pretty messed up lol but it works. It was a little difficult to put the LEDs in the housings. I thought that I could just mount the boards in the housing with some small screws but that didn't work out too well so i ended up using epoxy to secure them. My tail lights were put together with butyl rubber initially so I was able to just put them in the oven for 20 mins at 200degs and carefully pry the lens off the housing. When it came time to put them back together I went to NAPA and got some new Butyl rubber which is actually NAPA's windshield rubber sealer or something like that, can't remember exactly. Don't think I'm missing anything but, if I am just ask.

    How I got the silver paint off the back of the center piece. I used oven cleaner and a soft wire brush. You have to let it sit for a couple of hour 2-3 before scrubbing and I had to repeat the process several times. It was particularly hard to get the paint out of the coroners. I just pulled out the dremal tool with a small wire brush tool attached and it got the rest off. You just have to be really careful when using the dremal.

    I bought 300 red(HPWT-ML00-00000) 150 amber(HPWT-MD00-F4000) from future electronics and 50 white just so I would have some extra. These are the boards I got. If the link expires. which is always the problem with ebay links just search "5,CIRCUIT PANEL PCB Solder Prototype Board 180x300mm C6" they are from the seller "hongkongsuperseller" <--LOL They are form china but you save over $200 compared to the ones that are sold in the states but it takes 2 weeks to get them. I bought a soldering station it made soldering a lot easier and you can control the temperature. The spacing was the hardest thing to figure out from brads pics because they were so small This one is a little small but a ton better than brads because mine weren't painted yet so you can see the holes. I will try to get some links to some high res pics when I find them.

    The first 2 boards that are made with the marker and reverse are staggered. Where the board with only the break lights on them aren't. All the LEDs are spaced with 2 holes between them.

    Some more final pics

    This article was originally published in forum thread: LED Tail lights w/ write up started by msimsi10 View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. suprarx7nut's Avatar
      suprarx7nut -

      Any idea on total cost of parts?
    1. CJP28's Avatar
      CJP28 -
      Wow, that looks great!!!
    1. mkiiichip's Avatar
      mkiiichip -
      Well done.
    1. troubleboricua's Avatar
      troubleboricua -
      Looks great! Would liketo get mines done too! That would be a great biz opportunity for you since there's no jdm or aftermarket taillights for the MK3.
    1. Chaingun's Avatar
      Chaingun -
      awesome, pricing led's as i type lol pm'd a question as well
    1. Nemesis_JZA75's Avatar
      Nemesis_JZA75 -
      would you be willing to do another set or sell a few through pay pal?
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