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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was bored the other day, so I decided to add some lights to my dash--the dark place with all the switches. The whole project was under $6.00 and took about 2 hours to complete.
Here is a list of needed materials:
LEDs-I went with yellow ones (they are actually orange). Cost: $2.79 for two.

Resistor-LEDs are rated at 2.1V, they would burn if connected straight to 12V. Cost: $0.99 for a pack of five.

LED holders-not necessary, but makes for a clean install. Cost: $1.49.

Other supplies: shrink tubbing, solder wire, soldering iron, wire, drill, 1/4" drill bit, fine sand paper.


First problem was to make the light from the LED evenly spread. I did that by "sanding" LEDs with fine sand paper. On the left is untouched LED, on the right is the one after sanding:


Why would I do that? Well, look here. Original LED:


"improved" LED:


and side-by-side:


First, the resistor needs to be attached to the + side (the longer one)

Since LEDs will be connected in series, only one resistor is needed.

Next, I drilled two 1/4" holes in the underside of center console:


One more hole was needed to pass the wire through:


Few pics of LEDs in place:


(penny is a size-reference tool :) )

I wanted LEDs to operate same as dash lights (on with headlights, off without). One way of doing it is to connect new LEDs to existing LEDs (i.e. backlighting of rear defrost switch). Most likely, I would go that route, if I had to do it again, but I didn't think about it until later. Instead, I chose to connect new LEDs here:


another angle:


From there it was a piece of cake:


To hold wires from shifting, I used some silicone:


So, here is "before":


and after:




LEDs are not visible from normal seating position. They provide a nice, soft glow and the color is almost an exact match. FJ definitely needs more interior lights...
 

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good thinking. The poor interior lighting is one of my few pet peeves about the FJ. I just don't understand why all the buttons aren't backlit. Anyhow, this looks like a really good solution that keeps everything looking clean and from the factory.
 

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looks great! , very nice install.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all kind remarks.
 

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Sunshine - excellent job and well thought out. Poor lighting is also one of my pet peeves. Virtual rep points to you!

For those of us who like to tinker but aren't electricians (and my last electrical engineering class was 20+ years ago), how do you figure out the proper resistance for LED's, and then again the difference to select for series vs. parallel. Is it as simple as V=IR? I seem to remember something about the sum of inverses in parallel....
 

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Thanks for the post. You inspired me this weekend to install the LEDs that I had ordered from oznium a while back for this purpose. They sell pre-wired LEDs for under $2 each and holders are about $.50.

I ordered and installed orange lights, thinking that they'd match the other dash lighting. I think you did the right thing by going with yellow as my lights are are very orange compared to the yellow hue of the oem dash lights.

I wired mine into the fuse panel into a slot that is switched with the parking lights.

For anyone interested in the pre-wired lights, I went with two 3mm lights and they give off more than enough light.

Super Bright Pre-wired LEDs
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
jhaydeno:
I took some info from here and here. The resistor I used is an overkill, but I wasn't very concerned with getting max output form LEDs. If anything, I was afraid they would be too bright.
Clues:
Thanks for the link! I was considering pre-wired LEDs (Ebay), but hated the idea of waiting. I thought about wiring them to fuse panel, but decided to hook them to climate control for one reason only: I wanted to be able to remove center panel WITH LEDs, as 1 unit. Otherwise, center panel would be on a sort of leash......
 

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Nice write up! Good idea, and looks great! Reminds me some standard cars out there with stock lights shining down on the shifter.
 

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Sunshine, I too was worried about the 'short leash'. So I spliced in shielded spade connectors. I was too apprehensive digging into the climate control panels....
 

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Sunshine - thanks for the links! Clues - thanks for the good idea with the connector. By the weekend I'll have LED's mounted everywhere!
I actually wanted to make some custom LED tail lights on the old POS CJ-7 I've got in the garage. This will give me a great headstart.
 

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Kajun Kim
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Very nice. Me, I just stuck a puck light under there. Turn it on when I need it, off when I don't. Electricity scares me.
 

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Thanks for the motivation sunshine!!! got my stuff and ready to go!!one question.. I two want to hook up to on with headlights off without headlights..but am a little confused on the connection ??

Thanks in advance
 

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Very nice. That area is so poorly lit. I like your originality and quick thinking. Smart to sand the LED. :)
 
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