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timmahh 10-20-2009 09:44 PM

My Ambient Lighting Solution..
So this is the first one i'm putting in, would like one for the back seats somewhere but there isn't a light directly above them so i'll hold off on that until I think of something creative.

Anywho, so one of the things I liked about my TL was the ambient lighting in the front area that helped light up the shifter / cup holder area at night. I thought not having them wouldn't be a big deal in the Leggy, but to me the cockpit is very dark at night to the point where it could use some lighting.

I ordered some oznium amber LEDs and LED holders (3mm) knowing I atleast wanted one LED in the front to provide lighting. Two I think would be overkill, but one seems to be enough - for me anyways.

My initial idea was to drill holes in the map light areas and tap into the auto dimming mirror power [which I later found in another thread on here.. great minds!], but initial testing came up with a pretty fatal flaw which was a good amount of light showing in my rear view mirror.. no good.. can't deal with that. When I make interior changes to my cars I want it to look as OEM, and clean as possible.. So my next thought was to install the LED in my new auto dimming mirror, which is what I ended up doing. I had orignally planned on taking the mirror apart and doing a full internal install, however after a few attempts and a scratch on the top of my mirror housing I said fudge it.. not going to break a $200 mirror for this. So I drilled a small hole in the bottom, and one out the back to route the wires. No opening or possible breaking the mirror required!

The LED itself is small, but I didn't care for the fact that it stuck out past the housing, and was a bit too bright.. So I got some fine grit sand paper and rubbed the LED across it to accomplish two things - 1) to diffuse the light and 2) to get the height to be flush with the LED mounting piece.

Overall I am extremely happy, it turns on/off with the key, isn't really visible in the light, and provides a low key solution with good output.

Sorry for my giant novel post, here are the pics..

BillyJoe 10-20-2009 10:04 PM

wow...very clean look on those night pics...just the perfect amount of lighting from what i can see. Great work!

timmahh 10-20-2009 11:31 PM


The more I look at the pics the more I wish I did an internal wire tap but like I said I didn't see a way to get the mirror apart.. there are no screws so I assume it's glued and didn't want to break a week old item!

sleeper8406 10-21-2009 12:09 AM

pics are gone

kramm 10-21-2009 01:03 AM

nice idea, but with the nav, i have to turn the dimming down because its broad daylight in there haha.

tomfohr15 10-21-2009 02:32 AM

Great idea. I did like the ambient lighting of my parents' BMW I drove around this summer while visiting and was thinking about doing something similar.

timmahh 10-21-2009 07:36 AM


Originally Posted by sleeper8406 (Post 2670709)
pics are gone

shouldn't be.. I saw red X's and refreshed.. unless Godaddy went down!

Aodhan 10-21-2009 11:18 AM

Looks awesome. What power source did you tap into? I might have to try the same!

timmahh 10-21-2009 11:52 AM

The auto dimming mirror / homelink harness. I really wanted to tap into it directly at the mirror or internally to minimize the extra wire [which I can still do at a later date I guess] but didn't want to hack up the harness or break the mirror trying to get it apart. :)

TSi+WRX 10-21-2009 12:39 PM

Wow, that's pretty cool! :)

Alex-->TheGreek 10-21-2009 08:11 PM

Looks very clean! Very nice!

Aodhan 10-21-2009 08:47 PM

do you have any close up photos of the splice into the wire harness?

timmahh 10-21-2009 08:53 PM


Originally Posted by Aodhan (Post 2671947)
do you have any close up photos of the splice into the wire harness?

I do not, there are only 3 wires in the homelink/auto dimming mirror connector up by the map lights - I used yellow one [outer pin] and the one next to it, I believe yellow is power and the wire in the middle is ground. I used the easy-cheesey crimp-on wire taps.

lossol 10-22-2009 09:29 PM

neat idea, looks great in those night shots

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