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Old 08-14-2012, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Another DIY interior lighting thread...

As a former NB owner, I was pretty disappointed with the interior lighting on my NA when I got it last fall. I wanted something that would work better without costing a lot. The Moss kit is nice, but you still couldn't read a map, etc. I figured I'd try something new, so that's what I did. Hope someone out there enjoys this...


What I needed to do this:

-LED strip lights (http://www.amazon.com/16-4FT-White-W...d_rhf_gw_p_t_4) - only need 4 inches, couldn't find what I wanted any shorter than 5m
-2 lenses (I bought 2 used interior lights from a miata dash for $10, but you could use any lenses you can find)
-Wire (I used speaker wire)
-solder/soldering iron
-electrical tape and packing tape


To start, I took out the factory dash light. I used the terminals on the back of this light to provide power for my new lights - that way they'll work from the on switch and turn on when the door opens. While I had it out, I replaced the bulb with an LED bulb to match the new lights and reduce current draw so the extra load of the added lights wouldn't draw more than the original light.


I drilled a few holes in the sides of the factory light and used zip ties to hold my new wire in place. I soldered the wire onto the terminals (I used ring terminals but it really wasn't necessary) and bam, we now have our power supply.






Once this is done, the light can be put back in the dash, and the new wires run behind the glove box, under the pass. side A-pillar trim, and up to the header. I used about 7' of wire and cut off what was leftover when I was done.

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Old 08-14-2012, 10:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Part 2 - the lights

I started with lenses from NA interior lights. I had to trim the edging off of it so it would fit snugly and neatly into the holes I made in the header panel.


After this was the tough part - cutting the holes in the header. I cut rough shapes with a razor knife, then used a dremel to shape the holes to perfection. Go slow and check the fit often - it's easy to over-cut it. Mine definitely aren't perfect, but they look OK. Once the lens is press-fit into the hole, I used JB Weld on the back side of the header to secure it in place.





Now it's time for the LED strips. I cut the strip into 2 2" sections and soldered leads onto each. I tied them together and then soldered them to my leads coming from the switch. I used the lens locations in the header to figure out where to put them, then used packing tape to hold them in place. They don't have to be pretty, just straight - the lens will hide the tape, etc.





The all that's left is to reassemble and enjoy your new lights!





The picture doesn't do it justice - the light output is several times better. It doesn't glare in your eyes and you could easily read a map. Total cost was in the ballpark of $25.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Good idea. Nice write up.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Quality how-to article. Well done.

But....most maps are back-lit these days, you know
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mk2tmr2 View Post
Quality how-to article. Well done.

But....most maps are back-lit these days, you know
Agreed - I occasionally find myself with handwritten directions to get somewhere, or looking at the owners manual, or something like that. I think that a "map light" is going the way of the cigarette lighter, and I think the biggest reason for having a high-mounted light is just generally better lighting. Like I said, the Moss ones have a great fit & finish and vastly superior lighting over stock, but I don't think they'd light up the rest of the cabin very well.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

hes right times have changed but good write up
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

that's looks sweet..its going on my to do list looks almost factory
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by racingrotor View Post
that's looks sweet..its going on my to do list looks almost factory
Thanks - it was pretty easy if you have a dremel and take your time. I will say that I need to go back and order a different LED bulb for my dash light - I think I ordered a warm white bulb for that, and the color doesn't match my overhead lights.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Rated 5-stars for a nicely done write-up. ::thumbs-up::
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

I hate sitting on stuff and need to do this ........but I am lazy
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Fitted a interior light as the cabin ones are next to useless!!!!
Decided that it was getting time to fit the light as the nights are drawing in..

Got this light from ebay, only a couple of quid, but it seems to do the job ok.

Just wired into the cabin light and ran the wire up the windscreen pillar and along the inside of the hood rubber.

Will have to see how it performs over the next month or two!!




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Old 10-22-2012, 12:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

You should have done what I did and stuck it where the windshield trim curves around and meets the window at a 90 degree. You can't see the light itself but the whole cabin is illuminated.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

You should have done what I did and stuck it where the windshield trim curves around and meets the window at a 90 degree. You can't see the light itself but the whole cabin is illuminated.

Have you got a picture of it??

It might look better if it is hidden..
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Not too bad, snowman - and a lot easier than what I did. I wanted something I could turn on at night while I was driving (ex. so my passenger could check a map, etc.) and not blind myself, so I was kinda picky about placement since LED's are ridiculously bright...
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

What I did was a few things. I got a long strip of LED lights, a LONG strip and routed it under the steering wheel, along the center console and then under the dash for a full LED footwell lighting setup. I grounded it to the door jamb switches so they came on whenever the doors opened.

I also got an aftermarket rear view mirror which was great because it had two lights in it and I made those two bulbs 360 bulbs. And also grounded that to the door jamb switch. The mirror lights also have their own switches so I can put them on any time I'd like. And they really light up the room.

Keep up the good work, guys.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Yes they are bright, but as yet i haven't had them on while driving, so can't say how they affect vision while driving.
Did look at getting another interior mirror like the MGTF that has lights on it, but decided on going for a easier way and the LED strip seemed to be my kind of easy....
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:51 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

great job super clean
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman View Post
Yes they are bright, but as yet i haven't had them on while driving, so can't say how they affect vision while driving.
Did look at getting another interior mirror like the MGTF that has lights on it, but decided on going for a easier way and the LED strip seemed to be my kind of easy....
Just an update on my leds.

They work fine, but with all the hot weather we have had, makes a change, the sticky pad behind the light strip keeps giving up.

Tried putting new strip on but i get the same result.

So it looks like i will be doing what the original poster did, as it looks a lot neater.

Unless phantomx can put a pic up of his led fitted...
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by phantomx View Post
You should have done what I did and stuck it where the windshield trim curves around and meets the window at a 90 degree. You can't see the light itself but the whole cabin is illuminated.
I know this is late, but do you have a pic of this?
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Nice DIY I might try this!
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:58 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

Here's my version:


with glove box light:


I hid most of the lights so that you dont see the actual LEDs, just the light.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:27 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

^^Looks Good^^
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:31 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Another DIY interior lighting thread...

RetroModern, would love to see the locations and lights you used for that.
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