Adding a centre numberplate light and/or fitting LEDs

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warpc0il
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Adding a centre numberplate light and/or fitting LEDs

Post by warpc0il »

I'd got fed-up with that redundant hole between the rear numberplate lights.

My original plan of fitting a rocket launcher never got off the ground :roll: so I thought I'd get hold of the single centre light, as fitted in the US, and at least do something useful with the hole.

Anyway, I bought a used light with loom from a US breaker, drilled a hole in the rear panel (inside the boot under the jack hander holder), for the loom to come through, which already had the grommet, scotchlocked into the existing wiring, clipped the lamp in place and job done.
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All of 20 minutes effort and it looks so much better.
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Now for the hindsight bit...

I'd checked the parts list :study: and confirmed that the US part number is totally different to ours, but it turns out that it's just the one light vs two lights that's different, the lights themselves are identical. :-s

So, rather than messing about with a US breaker, I could have sourced a pair of lights from a UK car and just used the one. #-o Keeping the other as a spare or fitting to another car.

If you're stripping the loom up, to separate the single light unit, then there's no need to go into the boot and drill an additional hole to run the loom through, just tee into the existing loom as it passes between the original lights, just above the centre space.

O well, hindsight is 20:20 and hopefully any of you that read this can benefit from mine and do the job in 5 minutes with just a sharp knife and a couple of scotchlocks. #-o

Checking the effect in the dark I found that the plate is lit much more evenly but a little too brightly, having just increased the illumination by 50%.

My car being yellow I did think of toning-down the impact by covering the lights with yellow fog-light film (thanks to TurboStu) but they're a complex shape and it would be messy trying to do them individually.

You could just put a single strip across all three, which would be much neater, but there's an air-gap behind each lamp, which is open to the elements. Over time the muck and dust would gather on the reverse of the film and just look nasty. :(

Anyway, I chose to replace the 5W bulbs with LEDs, nice neat single LEDs with a bulb-shaped moulding would be fine, as I didn't want them bright. On ebay I found these in yellow which are perfect. By choosing [urlw=http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/350513481094]a listing without free p&p[/urlw] it made the two packs (2 x 2 =4) cheaper than listing with free p&p (trust me, it does).
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I think yellow leds would work well with any colour car as the background of the 'plate is always yellow. :nod:

To get the lens off the lamp you need to slide a flat blunt blade (e.g. butter knife) in vertically just at the back (nearest to you) of the clear section. There are two barbs to release by tipping the handle towards you. In cold weather put the sidelights on for a while so the bulbs warm the plastics, and they shouldn't shatter.

Take the clear section and give it a soak in hot soapy water. If mine's anything to go by it will be dirty inside :shock: , as there's nothing to prevent dirt entering from behind. At least they're well ventilated and don't steam up. :roll:

The bulbs just pull out, straight down, with the power off. Mine didn't want to shift and I had to get a really grippy work glove out to get enough pull without crushing the glass. Having had the lights on must have helped a bit as well but don't go grabbing them with bare fingers while they're still hot!

The LED's are a direct replacement but they are "polarity sensitive" i.e. while they will fit either way (turned through 180) they will only work one way round.

So switch the sidelights back on as you offer-up the LEDs to the lamp-holder, and see which way round it needs to be. You can leave the lights on for now, as LEDs don't get hot and it's easier to see what you're doing.

Given how hard it was to get the bulbs out, I shouldn't have been so surprised at the force needed to get the LEDs in. However, I can still see the dent in my thumb-pad and I did break one of the LED's as it suddenly jumped sideways and snapped in half #-o Good job I'd ordered a spare. :wink:

Once all of the LEDs are firmly in place and shining away, give the clear covers a scrub under the hot tap, to get them clean and warm the material. A quick dry with a paper towel and pop them back in - the edge nearest the back of the car first and they should lock with a satisfying "click".

My result now looks like this in daylight.
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and should be perfect in the dark [-o<

(picture to follow)
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acegeezer (Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:50 am)
Dave
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warpc0il
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Re: Adding a centre numberplate light and/or fitting LEDs

Post by warpc0il »

Checked in the dark and it's just the effect I was looking for...
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...looks better in real life than the photos.

Oh, and my numberplate is fitted in a frame, which is part of the reversing sensor mount, so that throws a bit of a shadow.
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Re: Adding a centre numberplate light and/or fitting LEDs

Post by Rotary Revs »

brilliant diy as ever buddy!!! and well done on finding out that the US lights are the same as ours :mrgreen:


Last bumped by warpc0il on Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:26 pm.
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