Homemade DIY LED DRL - a long journey

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by 2009Prius, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    I was inspired to this project by this post/thread:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-modifications/72592-led-bulbs-my-2008-a-12.html#post1082806
    where a fellow PCer found this:
    Hella LEDayLine Stylish LED Daytime Running Lights DRL Kit by iJDMTOY
    at a whopping $149.99 price tag, and it's not even a real Hella, just "Hella Style". Real Hella costs a lot more; for example $236.95 at this site:
    Hella Daytime Running Lights | Lowest Price Guarantee
    which interestingly is lower than the $278.95 at amazon.com.

    Not wanting to spend $$$ I thought I would try out the dirt cheap DealExtreme.com "DX" imitation:
    DealExtreme: $9.17 Super White 6-LED Decorative LED Strips for Vehicles (2-Pack)
    and sure enough I wasted the $9.17. It lighted up alright but not very bright at all - the 6 LEDs seemed dimmer than the single LED keyring light:
    DealExtreme: $4.58 White Flashlight Keychain 22000mcd 10-PACK
    Upon further inspection I found that the cheaply made lens causes the light to diverge too much - without the lens the 6 LEDs shine much brighter. The nice compact design did give me some inspiration: it is thin enough to fit in one of the Prius grill gaps without any cutting. Here are some pictures:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I started the process of making my own LED DRL. The goals:

    • thin enough to fit in a grill gap
    • minimal power consumption
    • minimal glare --> narrow angle beam
    • long lifetime
    • low cost --> no special drivers, optics, heat sink etc.
    This quickly narrowed the choice down to 5 mm LEDs as opposed to power LEDs.

    I looked into LED lifetime tests and did some tests myself to confirm once again the saying: "You get what you paid for". The cheap LEDs from DX and eBay do not last long. They may be OK for flashlights that don't get turned on much. For long life daily use I went for the name brand Cree and got some narrow angle 5 mm LEDs.

    I cut up perfboards and soldered the components:
    [​IMG]

    I put 24 LEDs on each lamp:
    [​IMG]

    I learned that heat is the killer of LEDs so I used aluminum for the enclosure and polycarbonate for the front and two ends, and used silicone to seal all gaps:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They fit nicely in the grill with the front face about flush with the plastic chrome piece:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I learned from this post/thread to tap into the washer motor wire:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...ere-should-i-connect-power-4.html#post1101755
    Here are some pictures of the wiring. Washer motor:
    [​IMG]
    Ground and trailer light connector (not connected)
    [​IMG]
    now connected:
    [​IMG]
    connections at front of hood:
    [​IMG]

    In the process of removing the air intake pipe to access the washer motor connector I also discovered yet another sign of descending Toyota quality: the factory worker did not take good care in mounting the pipe and ripped the insulation and folded the ripped piece back down. Here is a picture:[​IMG]

    I took a video of the lights at about 7 car lengths away under bright sunlight to minimize overexposure. I ran the tests in IGN-ON mode and then repeated in READY mode. I turned on the turn signals, parking lights, low beam, and flashed the high beam. The result is within expectation. The parking light is almost invisible. The LED DRL is slightly dimmer than the low beam and the turn signals. The high beam is of course the brightest. This will be the first time I use photobucket.com for video and let's see if it works. Well it does not work. Try direct link here. Still doesn't work! Please click on the title and it should bring you to the photobucket.com website to see the video. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    [ame="http://s911.photobucket.com/albums/ac318/2009Prius/LED%20DRL/?action=view&current=Gen2Prius_DIY_LED_DRL_M4V01392_web.mp4"]LED DRL :: Gen 2 Prius DIY LED DRL test video by 2009Prius - Photobucket[/ame]

    :)
     
  2. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Wow! Great job. I have wanted to upgrade the headlight units on my 2010 (the dimples) but that seems to be too much work. This would seem like a good compromise.
     
  3. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Thanks! Yes I did not want to modify a new car (well "one year new") without being able to easily revert back. In other words I prefer "add" than "mod". :)
     
  4. 2007-Prius-hybrid

    2007-Prius-hybrid New Member

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    wow cool.... nice idea
     
  5. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Just caught on camera the reflection of my Prius (with the LED DRL on) in another Prius. :)

    [​IMG]

    It was a beautiful day with clear sky and the cars were under some partial tree shades.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Just caught this funny reflection on a mobile sign trailer across a multilane highway:
    [​IMG]

    This is the first one with headlights on reflecting off the car in front:
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    This is awesome but how come you can only get reflection shots???
     
  8. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    :confused: Because I was driving ...

    I did post a video above of the front when I first installed and took the video under bright sun light from a pretty long distance. The often seen close shots of the front are misleading and useless to judge the brightness since the camera would be already saturated by even a very weak light. :rolleyes: Reflection shots suffer much less from the saturation problem. Long distance shots under bright ambient light are the best I believe, even though the video or photo may not look as "impressive" as so many of those over saturated close shots. ;)

    Here I copied the link to the video:
    [ame="http://s911.photobucket.com/albums/ac318/2009Prius/LED%20DRL/?action=view&current=Gen2Prius_DIY_LED_DRL_M4V01392_web.mp4"]LED DRL :: Gen 2 Prius DIY LED DRL test video by 2009Prius - Photobucket[/ame]

    Somehow the auto embedding does not work and you need to follow the link to photobucket to watch the video. Have fun! :)
     
    Daves09prius and NoSpam like this.
  9. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Time flies! It's been 3 years and the lights are still working. :)
     
  10. Hayden

    Hayden Junior Member

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    I'm thinking of drilling out the faux drl strip in the headlights and adding my own... do you just tap the washer fluid motor and ground it and you're good to go? I had a led bar for a while and I just put it on the fuse box thing, I realized it would flicker off for half a second and turn on when I was idling.
     
  11. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    It would be better to use a relay. Get power from the fuse box. There are two open terminals at the rear of the engine fuse box that are always hot, then switch the relay from the wiper motor wire, instead of drawing power from the wiper motor directly.
     
  12. Justdidit

    Justdidit LVNPZEV

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    Never had an issue when I tapped into the parking lights.

    [​IMG]

    My Headlight Mods: Mini H1, Blacked Housing and LEDs | PriusChat
     
  13. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    6 years still going strong! :)
     
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