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Part 2 is here: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...erstanding-the-concept-and-other-parts-needed
Part 3 is here: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...for-taking-lens-apart-and-prep-for-reassembly

Note: Just developed a change in the circuit design will effect both the parts list and wiring. This change provides a source for running light power to the LEDs that is controlled by the Volt's own photo sensor. This means that the LEDS in the rear lenses will turn on and off in sync with all of the other lights controlled by the sensor. But when in brake light mode they will have a different source of power independent of the Volt photo sensor.

Here are the parts changes:

1. Delete the Velleman light sensitive switch
2. Delete the 2-pack Potentiometer Knobs: Black Ribbed with White Line.
3. Add a 2nd Radio Shack 12v DPDT #275-218 relay



First, please refer to Britt1’s original post on this topic (http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...-and-Step-by-Step&highlight=LED+reflector+mod) as well as AZ-Volts’ follow-up post (http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?12803-Rear-Reflector-LED-MOD-2&highlight=LED+reflector+mod).

As these posts cover most of the basic work for modifying the lenses themselves, I won’t repeat that information here. I’ll just add a few tips based on my experience.

Parts & tools needed

This extensive list may deter the faint of heart from attempting this mod☺

Rear lenses: Order from gmpartseast.com

  • 20989185 Applique
  • 20989184 Applique



LED strips:


There are many choices here and of varying quality. I used LEDLIGHTSWORLD.COM Side View Flexible LED Light Strip (HK-F335X60-X-X-X), Color Red, Waterproof Type Waterproof-Surface Injection (IP65), Black Background. These were mounted along the upper and lower edges of the reflector to provide more uniform, indirect light, as suggested in AZ-Volts’ post. But this is a matter of preference, and Britt1 suggests a different approach. Your choice.

Relay:

Radio Shack 12v DPDT #275-218

LED Dimmer

Superbrightleds.com MLD-5A 12 Volt DC Single Color LED Mini Dimmer with Dynamic Modes

Other:

From Amazon.com:

  • Velleman MK125 LIGHT SENSITIVE SWITCH (this is for controlling the brightness of the LEDS in running light mode) It's mounted on the underside of the lift gate lower trim finish panel and requires drilling of a small hole in the panel so the potentiometer that adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor can be adjusted from inside the cabin)
  • 2-pack Potentiometer Knobs: Black Ribbed with White Line. One of these knobs mounts on the potentiometer rod extending through the hole on the outside of the lower trim finish panel near the small rear window
  • Wire: 1 Reel each of 20 gauge twisted strand wire in red and black

Tools:

  • Soldering pencil and solder
  • Wire stripper
  • Black electrical tape
  • 3M Super Strong Automotive Attachment Tape (this is used for a variety of purposes, including mounting the relay to the underside of the lower trim finish panel and routing and control of the wiring (mostly all of it on the underside of the lower trim finish panel).
  • Male and female insulated crimp spade connectors
  • Crimp tool
  • Continuity probe/tester
 

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I'm finding 20 Guage wire but not twisted, I'm guessing it really doesn't need to be twisted?
To clarify. I believe we are talking solid core VS stranded. As opposed to a wire that physically looks "twisted"
Use stranded core wire not solid core wire...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I meant stranded. The strands are not twisted within the sheathing. But I twist the end strands together tightly before soldering. This is standard stuff. I ordered 20 gauge stranded from Amazon.com. It's made my Atlas for model railroad use.

My stock wire supply is 14 and 16 gauge stranded which is way too much wire for this application:)
 

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Odly enough amazon cancelled my order for that veman switch for being out of stock. Seems odd I wouldn't need this switch, doesn't it perform the precise dimming needed to match light output from the stock existing lights? I'll run back to radio shack for the aditional relay, thanks for the update. Waiting on ups for other parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've made a few more changes as I prepare another set for this thread. Do not use the Superbright MLD-5A 12 Volt DC Single Color LED Mini Dimmer. After a few weeks with these installed I discovered that their performance is totally unreliable -- they switch in and out of dynamic mode for no apparent reason and will thus need constant adjustment -- not a good idea when they've been installed under the rear hatch trim. Instead a 5 watt 120 ohm resistor will do the trick. It dims the LEDs in running mode to just about the right level.
 

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Thanks for the heads up. I was going to use resistors anyway but the good news I finally think I will have time next weekend to do my conversion. Been driving me nuts just looking at my parts sitting in a pile in the garage for the last couple of months!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Believe or not I've done another complete set of lenses, and I'll finish the install this weekend. I'm a glutton for punishment:)

I was not happy with the previous set, as the clear lens cover did not sit flush when I glued it back on. That's because I didn't remove all of the glue residue that was left when I took the lenses apart. I've learned the hard way. This time I've also used different LEDs with more direct lighting, like the set-up Britt1 did. These are very bright in braking mode.
 

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Normally one would reheat them and press back together using the original adhesive material. This can be dodgy but works pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I chose rather to remove the old adhesive rather than risk reheating and fit issues. The fit now is perfect, as good as new, and it was easy to reglue as they just snapped together.
 

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Cool. Ive also never had led strips inside a reheat. Just HID projector retros so there is that to consider.
They probably would be ok, still...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm taking a little more time to complete this thread because Im preparing another set of lenses using what I've learned from my mistakes and experiments. The position of the LEDS in the lens reflector, I've learned, is crucial to replicating as close as possible the appearance of the stock rear brake lamps. As I'm waiting for some parts to arrive, additional posts in this thread will be delayed until I can get the next steps completed. Plus my Volt is at the dealer for a few days for the battery upgrade.
 

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I'm taking a little more time to complete this thread because Im preparing another set of lenses using what I've learned from my mistakes and experiments. The position of the LEDS in the lens reflector, I've learned, is crucial to replicating as close as possible the appearance of the stock rear brake lamps. As I'm waiting for some parts to arrive, additional posts in this thread will be delayed until I can get the next steps completed. Plus my Volt is at the dealer for a few days for the battery upgrade.
No sweat, rather it be done right than fast. Still waiting for my led's to show up from over seas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've now experimented with two different placements of the LED strips, one around the edges of the reflector (as A-Z Volt's post suggested), the other under the center of the clear opening between the black surround of the lens (as Britt1 recommended). Frankly, I'm not happy with the results of either placement, largely because the effects do not match the stock brake lamp lighting very well. By themselves they're ok, and for now I strongly prefer the center placement, and that's what I have installed on my Volt now.

But I'm about to do another experiment, this without LED strips. In this case I'll be using separate 12 volt diffused 5mm or 10mm LEDs, each placed in a hole drilled in the base of the lens and wired together from the back. I'm waiting for the LEDs to arrive and will hopefully get this done over the weekend. I'm hoping that the separate diffused LEDs will come much closer to what I'm seeking.

It's a problem being a perfectionist -- I've made way more work for myself than I think this mod deserves, but so be it.
 
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