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Unread 02-18-2013, 05:40 PM   #61
smcutter
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LED Interior Lighting

Having grown incredibly frustrated with the terrible interior lighting in my Jeep, I decided I wanted to implement a solution that would provide very even lighting in the front and back of the Jeep, wired to the battery and controlled by a single switch. I wanted to avoid the solutions that provided a single halogen or LED lamp and the awful shadows that you get when the light comes from a single point of origin.

Last summer, I removed substantially all of the roll bar cover and styrofoam and sold it on Craigslist. All it was doing was getting dusty anyway, so I figured removing the padding would enable me to utilize the roll bar for more creative purposes. Not having the padding is the only reason I was able to use the adhesive backing on the LED strip, so if you aren't willing to scrap the padding you may not be able to implement this as cleanly.

First, the materials used:
HitLights LED Flexible Lighting Strip Cool White or Bright White, 5 Meter or 16 Ft, 3528 Type, 300 SMD, 24 Watt
HitLights LED PCB Strip to Strip Connector, 2 Conductor, Any Angle Turn, For SMD3528 LED Strip Lights (4 Pcs Pack) (You will have to cut this in half and strip the wire so it will connect to the switch and ground)
Daystar KU80014 20 Amp Red Light Rocker Switch Kit

In addition, I used 18-gauge red and black wire along with the necessary terminals and connectors to get power to the Strip to Strip Connectors. I put an ATM mini fuse holder and 10 Amp fuse between the battery and the lights, just to keep things safe. I ran the positive cable across to the driver's side and through the firewall, then up to the Rugged Ridge A-Pillar Switch Pod. From there, it's as easy as grounding the negative side of the LED Strip and running the positive side through the Daystar rocker switch. Carefully route the LED Strip around the roll bar using the adhesive backing where possible, and you're golden. The end of the LED Strip that does NOT connect to the switch should just be left completely unattached to anything.

NOTES
  • As mentioned above, you will need to cut the Strip Connector in half. Each end of the Strip Connector is designed to connect to a specific end of the LED Strip. If you get no light and are certain that you are getting current, either try plugging it in to the other end of the LED Strip, or try it with the other half of the Strip Connector. If I had realized this sooner, I would've saved myself 45 minutes of frustration.
  • You don't technically *need* the Strip Connectors, actually. But you will need them if you want to be able to trim either side of the LED Strip as needed. The LED Strip came with a black and red wire coming off of one end, so if you don't trim that side you can forego the Strip Connectors.

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More of a Tinkering Thread than a Build Thread (smcutter)

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Unread 02-18-2013, 06:19 PM   #62
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I have to be honest; the first thing that came to mind was the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Now that I said that (sorry) what you did is pretty unique.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 06:28 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1222 View Post
I have to be honest; the first thing that came to mind was the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
I have every intention of driving it across the New Mexico desert with the top down and door off this summer. Between the HID headlights and the LED interior lights, I'm certain to be mistaken for a UFO.
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More of a Tinkering Thread than a Build Thread (smcutter)

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Unread 02-18-2013, 06:41 PM   #64
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^^^That would be so cool if calls started to come into the local news about a low flying UFO in your area.

Iím just having fun with you but in all seriousness I think your light mod is really cool and definitely solves the crappy interior lighting of the JKs.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 09:32 PM   #65
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I'm liking the modest nature of your build/tinker thread. It also seems to have a photography theme as well. I'm not complaining.

It's easy to get discouraged reading some of these build threads. I'm not really gonna have 20 grand and a shop full of tools when I get a Jeep.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 10:30 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by bamfurlough View Post
I'm liking the modest nature of your build/tinker thread. It also seems to have a photography theme as well. I'm not complaining.
Thanks! Aside from the winch and bumper, I probably only have about $800 into my Jeep. I don't think any of those projects have cost more than $200 (the HID headlights were $199 even), so I'm pretty pleased with how well I've been able to get my tinkering fix without having to sell my photography equipment to do it.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 06:27 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamfurlough View Post
I'm liking the modest nature of your build/tinker thread. It also seems to have a photography theme as well. I'm not complaining.

It's easy to get discouraged reading some of these build threads. I'm not really gonna have 20 grand and a shop full of tools when I get a Jeep.
Yep! Subscribing for more pictures! Def dont sell your equipment, you should come to AL and take some pics for me!
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Unread 02-26-2013, 09:04 AM   #68
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Very unique mounting idea but how are those things when you're driving? I feel like you turn them on and instantly blind yourself and other drivers.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 07:06 PM   #69
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Quote:
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Very unique mounting idea but how are those things when you're driving? I feel like you turn them on and instantly blind yourself and other drivers.
They're a little brighter than I'd like, but they aren't blinding if I'm ready for it. I think I'm going to order a waterproof strip that has a gel-like coating over the LEDs, then use black spray paint to both dim the lights and make it blend in better with the roll cage when they aren't lit. I have a 12" strip left over that I'm going to spray to test how bright the strip is after painting it.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smcutter View Post
They're a little brighter than I'd like, but they aren't blinding if I'm ready for it. I think I'm going to order a waterproof strip that has a gel-like coating over the LEDs, then use black spray paint to both dim the lights and make it blend in better with the roll cage when they aren't lit. I have a 12" strip left over that I'm going to spray to test how bright the strip is after painting it.
This sounds like a good idea and I'd recommend VHT Nightshade which you can pick up at Autozone. I did my marker lights over a year ago and it has held up awesome and the light shines through without completely covering it like spray paint would.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanimal

This sounds like a good idea and I'd recommend VHT Nightshade which you can pick up at Autozone. I did my marker lights over a year ago and it has held up awesome and the light shines through without completely covering it like spray paint would.
I'll definitely give the VHT Nightshade a try. I placed an order for weatherproof *warm white* LED strip after receiving feedback from two girls that they found the cool color temperature to be unflattering and harsh. They weren't wrong, either. I should have the LED strip replaced at some point this week and I'll be sure to post up comparison photos. I'll set my camera on manual exposure and manual WB so I can get a true comparison.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 12:51 AM   #72
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That is some killer interior lighting. I'm really planning on doing something along those lines, but my roommate is bailing, and I've got to find a new place. So my Jeep funds for the short term expired.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 01:37 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smcutter View Post
They're a little brighter than I'd like, but they aren't blinding if I'm ready for it. I think I'm going to order a waterproof strip that has a gel-like coating over the LEDs, then use black spray paint to both dim the lights and make it blend in better with the roll cage when they aren't lit. I have a 12" strip left over that I'm going to spray to test how bright the strip is after painting it.
Try this before painting over em...

Dimmer

The wife and I just remodeled a china cabinet and added LEDS - this works GREAT.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 04:05 PM   #74
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Just keeps looking better and better. Just noticed the Pearl Pass pictures. Did you happen to stop in Ashcroft? Probably one of my favorite ghost towns out that way.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 04:06 PM   #75
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Try this before painting over em...

Dimmer

The wife and I just remodeled a china cabinet and added LEDS - this works GREAT.
Where would he put it? Just a curious question as it looks a little large...
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