30-LED Front-Facing in-grille Light Strips - Seeking that Audi Look

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by fruzzetti, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. fruzzetti

    fruzzetti Customization-Obsessed

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    So I know it's been about half a decade since I've posted here. What can I say? A marriage, two jobs, several patents and two kids later I have only a little time -- specifically the time I get when I wake at 2:40AM to change a diaper and get a bottle then find myself unable to sleep and after finishing the dishes in the dishwasher decide to go out to the garage and make something so as not to wake my family..

    What I decided to make this time was just cute, low-functionality stuff.

    I probably won't be back full-time or anything; having a life and little ones to take care of seriously deducts from my time and I'm not willing to steal it back for selfish pursuits. But I'm glad to share any information you'd want about this.

    I got the light strips from www.jameco.com which is my usual electronic component vendor. I used maybe eight feet of wire, three butt connectors, a wiretap, and a surprisingly wide assortment of tools to pull this off, including silicone caulk for good measure.

    You should know the MkII Prius has NOWHERE good and easily accessible under the hood to pull +12V switched. I had to use a welding rod to thread the wire down through a tiny spot where I "saw the light" which was near the front of the underhood fuse box. They really electrically sealed the car up tight. I brought the wire down to the left fog lamp and grabbed +12V from there, and as a bonus for my thoughtful work I even got a switch (foglamp) to use to turn them on and off!

    I didn't want to bother any of the engine electrical, for good reason. But it was really surprisingly hard to find a nice place for the wire that wouldn't get too hot and was safe; it was also hard to cross over the upper front member (right under the shroud sitting above the radiator, but held out of the way so no direct contact). Both strips borrow in parallel from the left foglamp with no difference in apparent brightness.

    If you want to ape this look, let me know and I'll help you get started. I really am wondering if I'm starting to approach the maximum electrical draw you can safely get out of this power-plant on wheels, but it's been running reliably for years with all these extra goodies so maybe not. The LED strips generate good light comparable in color and apparent brightness to the HID headlamps so they fit under there really well. 15" long each.

    ~ dan ~

    I started just about exactly 03:00 and ended at 05:12, right before my girls were due to wake!
     

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  2. drunkin master

    drunkin master Contributing Member

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    Here is my LED's...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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  4. Cloud

    Cloud New Member

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    Play nice now. Not everyone can take on a second mortgage to finance their prius upgrades.
     
  5. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    The OPs led strip looks like those thin French mustaches. Oui?

    Props to both of you.
     
  6. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    How waterproof are the LED strips, what kind of housing did you use to mount them?
    They look bright at night. How about a close-up and powered on in the dayight. Looks like an interesting mod, more pics please!!
     
  7. fruzzetti

    fruzzetti Customization-Obsessed

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    LOL Cloud -- I rarely laugh at anything I read online. When you have a house and two small children you don't want to waste much money on your cars anymore. Besides, with that old 604RWHP / 583RWTQ Mustang in the garage as my toy, the Prius is just my geeky driver :p

    Yeah I want to know from Drunkin Master whether that's the stock look of the MkIII or if he took out the photodetectors and replaced them with LEDs, thus sacrificing some features of the vehicle.

    And I see from macmaster05 the forum is now letting 'tweens join up. Kudos! In the case of my 2006, yes, fully owned. Unlikely people are crazy enough to buy the new ones outright because they depreciate so hard so fast.

    ~ dan ~

    PS - what are you paying monthly for that MkIII? And if you read some of my way earlier posts, you probably will find you have a *lot lot lot* of catching up to do with respect to added functionality :p Of course, I did all that earlier stuff when I was childless. This is the *first* thing I've done since at least six months before my first little girl was born peacefully in my dining room. Oh wait -- I did have a new set of wheels and tires put on, but since I didn't do any of that myself I don't really count it even though I like the look. I'll post a new avatar if I decide to visit the forum regularly (and if kids like macmaster05 show a little respect or mods do their jobs).
     
  8. fruzzetti

    fruzzetti Customization-Obsessed

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    Dang; I wish I got this from you when it was still daylight. In daylight it's less impressive but still much more visible.

    This is the part I ordered: UY19209-627: LEDTECH ELECTRONICS: Opto & Illumination

    It's usually used in limousines for side lighting. OK the strips themselves were already really rugged -- sealed in PCB blank top and bottom, with only a little SMB showing on top. I laminated them in high-temp hot-melt glue and put a thin layer of 600 degree silicone across the sides, which was the only weakness - the layers are exposed there. They are surprisingly back under the hood, which is impossible to do in the new models because the hood seam is closed entirely. I will try and remember to take some daylight pics hopefully tomorrow, but I gotta be honest -- my workday is really, really packed and I don't like to do anything but parent when I'm home with my kids.

    Again, if you want to ape a similar look, which really is stunning in person, it's a simple mod but for placing the +12V wire. Tools and supplies, complete list IIRC:

    tools:
    philips head screwdriver
    10mm socket with extension
    wire stripper
    crimp tool
    lights
    welding rod and electrical tape
    hemostat
    digital multimeter

    consumables:
    at least 10 feet of wire in two colors, 16ga is fine
    1 medium sized yellow eye connector
    5 red butt connectors, not three as I originally mentioned
    1 wiretap
    1 cable tie
    2 twist ties or removable cable ties

    Since I've told you a great location to grab +12V you won't need the digital multimeter. On the fog lamps, the solid wire (not striped) is positive.

    There is a great location under the radiator shroud on the passenger side where a ground bolt is connected and under the bolt is a nut built-into the cross-member so no fussing about the thing falling out the back -- just take it out, add your yellow eye with negative hooked up on top, and put it back in. I think it's also 10mm.

    The shroud is easy to pull off if you know how to use the quick-clips: put a fingertip on the circular bezel to stabilize it, then give the philips screwdriver an eighth-turn counterclockwise. They rise up just about 1mm, then you grab them and pull. Shroud lifts up and slides forward off the hood latch assembly and then you're in.

    Do all work with the car cold.

    I'm happy to get some pics of the placement of the wires together, but I wish I had done the photos with the car still apart.

    A cool trick: put a trouble light or other worklight under the driver's side. Look down, with your head where the hood support meets the hood, toward the front headlight assembly. You'll see a tiny triangle of light down there. Tape the welding rod to your red wire, then slink it right down to that hole. It only took me two tries with 3' of rod.

    This process will get you to the foglights, which are a little tricky to access from underneath -- a forum search here for 2004 fog lamps will direct you to an external site where a guy did some foglight upgrade and took good pics of the panel you need to move. Putting it back on is not impossible, but it's easy to miss the hole in the flap with the sunken bolt.

    It's nice because even if you want to do something else with the foglight switch you still have access to it by the welding rod process from anywhere on top of the engine compartment. It's behind the ignition switch, a manual switch AND a fuse, so it's a great place to tap.

    Anyway, yes definitely more pics will come!

    ~ dan ~
     
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  9. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Dan, do you have kids? I didn't catch that part. ;)

    "Show a little respect?" My goodness, take it easy pops. I LIKE YOUR MOD.
     
  10. fruzzetti

    fruzzetti Customization-Obsessed

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    LOL <3 ok ok, you're a good kid. Just watch the zingers -- if it's not obvious there's affectionate sarcasm, you're best to rephrase :p I got banned from Jalopnik like three times for the same sort of talk.

    ~ dan ~

    I -just- caught the french moustache joke. At this location on the car I totally don't see the grille as a mouth -- old cars have a lot of that "wide-open mouth" look though.
     
  11. fruzzetti

    fruzzetti Customization-Obsessed

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    Drunkin Master: How long do you expect the front-facing LED plasticky light-up logo to survive? I have been really wary of these mods because even the expensive ones I've seen are obviously not going to tolerate one quarter-sized rock from a tractor-trailer.
     
  12. fruzzetti

    fruzzetti Customization-Obsessed

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    [​IMG]
    At daybreak
     
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  13. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    OMG it does look like a moustache!

    This may be quite a noob question but where exactly do you plug these things in? I've seen loads of DRL sets on ebay but none of them show any electrical power connectors.
     
  14. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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  15. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    someone needs to rig up an old Knight Rider "KITT" set of LEDs. You know, red ones that go back and forth.

    With Claire (the GPS voice) there's no need to rig up a voice modulator to have it give sarcastic remarks :). I'm always getting in trouble from Claire for not obeying her directions....
     
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