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[Z06] DIY: properly change the color of the interior accent LED

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[Z06] DIY: properly change the color of the interior accent LED

 
Old 09-02-2009, 08:30 PM
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DSteck
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Default DIY: properly change the color of the interior accent LED

Since some people don't read the non-Z06 section, I figured I'd share this here.

I haven't seen anybody really say anything about this... so I took some pictures while I did this. There is an accent LED that helps to light the center console at night, providing just enough light to make the shift **** and surrounding area reflect. The factory LED is orange... aka ugly.



So, time to take it apart. With a T15 torx bit, remove the sun visor clip. Pull the clip down and get the wiring connector out from the roof assembly.



Using a small flat blade screw driver, pry up the part of the connector that holds the barb, and separate the connector. Twist the LED holder out of the sun visor clip. You'll notice a small bulb near the connector in the black wire... this is the resistor that's in the line for the factory LED. For those wondering, the OEM circuit provides anywhere from 7.3V to 7.6V to this connector. This comes into play when selecting the right resistor for your LED.



Ok, so here's where you pick a color. Radioshack has some LEDs, but you have to make sure to get the high intensity ones. I happened to get part number 276-316 which is a blue LED. You can find 5mm LEDs various places online (www.superbrightleds.com is a good one). What you want to pay attention to is the rated voltage for the LED as well as the rated operating current draw. For the Radioshack one, it was 3.7V and 20mA. In the following spread sheet, enter 7.6 as the supply voltage, 3.7V as the LED voltage, and 0.02 as the LED amperage. Looking at diagram 2, you see the resistor you need in series is 195 ohms. R1 can be ignored. Radioshack doesn't have a 195 ohm resistor, so go to the next highest... which is 220. Even the tiny 1/8 watt ones will work.

http://pages.slu.edu/student/steckdw/LED%20circuit.xls

Ok, now you know what resistor you need. Take apart the LED harness. First, pop the grey clip out by pushing a small screw driver into the barbs to release it.



Next stick a pin release tool... or a nail (my dog wanted to be in the picture ) into the pin for the black wire, and remove the back wire pin from the connector.



Cut away the shielding over the resistor, and snip the thing out. Solder your new resistor to the black wire, and solder the other end to the pin. Try not to glob a ton of solder on the pin so that it can slide back into the connector. Wrap the resistor with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape, stick the pin back into place, and stick the grey clip back in. Replace the LED by cutting down the anode/cathode of the new one so it's the same length as the OEM one. The anode goes to the red wire connector. Go back to your car, twist the LED harness into place, and connect it back to the connector from the roof. Replace the T15 torx screw, and you're done! If you think the light is too bright, take it back apart and use a higher valued resistor.




Last edited by DSteck; 09-13-2009 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:45 PM
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very nice guide!
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:48 PM
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Great! Thank you. If I could I certainly would just change the bulb color. Why did you change the resistor.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:00 PM
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That is awesome! What color do you think would be best/easiest on the eyes?
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:45 PM
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Great idea and write up! I am going to try the blue to match my LMB exterior. One question...how much brighter is the blue LED with the resistor you used vs. the stock LED? Are you happy with the brightness you ended up with?
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:54 PM
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St. Jude Donor '09-'10-'11-'12
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OK, I admit that I am not the brightest bulb in the Forum (pun intended). But please walk me through this, DSteck.

I went to http://www.superbrightleds.com/leds.htm#fivemm to find 5mm LEDs.

Once there, I figured I wanted a wide-angle LED to illuminate the most area possible. So I picked bulb RL5-B12120



After selecting the bulb, I get this screen



Upon examining the spreadsheet you reference



What values would I plug into the spreadsheet? Also, once I do determine the correct resistor, if I walk into my local Radio Shack (hard to believe, but they are more electronics illiterate than I am), what do I ask them for?

I'd love to do this mod, but I'm afraid I'm confused

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:58 PM
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i miss that little light :-(. i had it in my first c6 but not in the Z (08)
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by QbnSuperman View Post
i miss that little light :-(. i had it in my first c6 but not in the Z (08)
When did they discontinue it? I've got an 08 Z, but I just went downstairs and I can see the orange LED.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CudjoeScott View Post
When did they discontinue it? I've got an 08 Z, but I just went downstairs and I can see the orange LED.
whoah! i'm jealous! my 08 Z doesnt have it. I believe it was removed mid 08 (so I'm guessing yours is an early 08)
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by QbnSuperman View Post
whoah! i'm jealous! my 08 Z doesnt have it. I believe it was removed mid 08 (so I'm guessing yours is an early 08)
Not sure if that is accurate. Mine is an early 08 2LZ (build 01/08) and it does not have it. My 06 was a pilot car # 185...and it had the little light as a 1LZ car...

I think even if it is an 08 model with a build date of 12/07 or earlier, then it still has it...not 100% sure.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CudjoeScott View Post
When did they discontinue it? I've got an 08 Z, but I just went downstairs and I can see the orange LED.
what is the build date of your car (I bet you it is 12/07)...mine is an 01/08, and does not have it. I think you can have a 11/07 or 12/07 build date and still have a model 08'
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:02 PM
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I changed the resistor because I did not know how bright the LED that I bought would be, and didn't know the resistance of the OEM resistor, nor the stats of the LED. That said... using a 220 ohm resistor, the LED is way too bright in my opinion. It projects a circle of deep blue light right onto the shifter area, about a foot in diameter. I'm going to rewire it with a 330, and if it's still too bright, I'll use two 330s in series (typo before when I said parallel). I threw away the stock resistor, and then didn't feel like digging through the trash to measure it's resistance.

As far as viewing angle, the LED is recessed into the visor clip, so it's limited to ~45 viewing angle, maybe less. Don't use the 120. I will respond more tomorrow to walk you through, as my fiance is telling me to get off the computer.

Last edited by DSteck; 09-03-2009 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DSteck View Post
I changed the resistor because I did not know how bright the LED that I bought would be, and didn't know the resistance of the OEM resistor, nor the stats of the LED. That said... using a 220 ohm resistor, the LED is way too bright in my opinion. It projects a circle of deep blue light right onto the shifter area, about a foot in diameter. I'm going to rewire it with a 330, and if it's still too bright, I'll use two 330s in parallel. I threw away the stock resistor, and then didn't feel like digging through the trash to measure it's resistance.

As far as viewing angle, the LED is recessed into the visor clip, so it's limited to ~45 viewing angle, maybe less. Don't use the 120. I will respond more tomorrow to walk you through, as my fiance is telling me to get off the computer.
Maybe I'll wait for you to try the 330(s) and let me know before I purchase one or try to wire it with the stock. Please let us know your results or PM me. I already scoped out the parts at our local Radio Shack
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by TAILWAG View Post
what is the build date of your car (I bet you it is 12/07)...mine is an 01/08, and does not have it. I think you can have a 11/07 or 12/07 build date and still have a model 08'
I don't have a clue as to the build date. I bought it new this last May, but it was on the Dealer's lot for a long, long time. I guess I never felt like paying the $30 to get an official build sheet.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DSteck View Post
... I will respond more tomorrow to walk you through, as my fiance is telling me to get off the computer.
I understand. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:28 AM
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Ok, plug this stuff in:

Current Voltage (typical) = 7.6V
LED Voltage = Forward Voltage number in the TYP column
LED Amperage = Continuous Forward Current Rating divided by 1000

For the one you picked, LED voltage would be 3.3V and LED Amperage would be 0.030.

Also, the Radioshack LED has a luminous intensity of 2600 mcd... which, with the resistor my spread sheet tells you, is way too bright. If you get a 5000 mcd LED, plan on running a 1000 ohm, maybe higher resistor, or it will be stupid bright.

Last edited by DSteck; 09-03-2009 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:51 AM
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If I were to change to a blue/1200mcd or white/1500mcd bulb based on the chart with the OEM resistor, would the light be slightly brighter?
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:06 PM
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v cool thanks
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:10 PM
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i believe red/orange was chosen because at night time it wont mess up your night vision and cause your pupils to contract hence making it harder to see the stuff outside.

I have an 08 and DO have this accent light, i rather like it.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SG333 View Post
If I were to change to a blue/1200mcd or white/1500mcd bulb based on the chart with the OEM resistor, would the light be slightly brighter?
I honestly can't tell you how another LED would compare to the stock one. You have to just find what's right for you.

Originally Posted by toxin440 View Post
i believe red/orange was chosen because at night time it wont mess up your night vision and cause your pupils to contract hence making it harder to see the stuff outside.

I have an 08 and DO have this accent light, i rather like it.
The blue is pretty soft on my eyes, even though it's still too bright in my opinion. You can dampen the light by upping the resistance so that it fits your needs.
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