Alright, so, this is what we start with. Test vehicle is a 1995 240sx base model (which, for the trunk, means nothing, as the SE model is no different in the trunk). I enjoy nearly every aspect of my car, I love it, but there was always something left to be had when I’d open the trunk or door at night or in low-light areas. What can we do about that? Well I have the answer… LED dome light lighting upgrade kits! Matt approached myself and some of the other guys at NOPI Nationals in Atlanta this year with a new product, and it just so happens that this is something I’ve been looking for for a long time, but never found something that really piqued my interest, until now. He showed me these lighting upgrades and I had to try it for myself, so I want to share it with you now, cuz this rocks! Let’s see what it has to offer!
Time: 15-20 minutes (max)
– LED interior light
Here’s what we began with, a blue-tinted incandescent 194 5 watt wedge bulb
Showing the lighting effects of the incandescent bulb:
Again, if you look close you’ll see the white FULL RACE sticker on top of the battery box:
One more of the incandescent bulb:
OK, here’s the important pics, pay attention, these are taken outside of the trunk, pointing at the trunk, WITH an extended exposure to gather what light it can. (If you want to know how long the exposure is, it’s a 7.2mp Sony P200 point and shoot on night setting, so there’s no way to tell, as it’s automatic.)
SPECIAL NOTE: These pics are all taken in my garage, with the door shut for total darkness. I have two incandescent bulbs on the garage door motor, and I have two dual-bulb florescent lights hung from the ceiling in front of the cars. Both lights are towards the back of the garage, and when the trunk is opened on the car, casts a shadow over the trunk area, shielding it from the light. You may find this trivial and hilarious, but if I’m going to the trouble to show you how dramatic a simple lighting upgrade can be, I want there to be no questions.
This picture was taken of the trunk, with only the 194 5watt wedge bulb lighting it, with NO garage lights on:
This picture is again taken with just the 194 bulb, with the dual incandescent garage lights on:
And this was once again taken with the 194 bulb, with both the incandescent AND florescent garage lights on:
Now that you’ve seen and agree how much the stock lighting SUCKS, let’s try something different.
Here’s the removed 194 wedge bulb:
And here’s a comparison of the wedge bulb to what we are replacing it with; a universal 12 LED setup utilizing 12 white, even spread, flat-top high end Luxor LEDs, all mounted on a high quality circuit board. This setup uses ONLY half of a watt of power, and due to the flat top, even spread lighting effects, creates NO hot spots of light and emits NO HEAT! Cool huh!
Let’s keep going…
Here’s the receptacle that we have to use. The reason a ‘universal’ kit was used is due to the lighting receptacle and it’s placement in the trunk, it doesn’t leave a lot of options…
Now you need to look around the area and figure out the best way to mount the light to distribute the light evenly throughout the trunk, just get an idea, DON’T MOUNT IT YET!
It’s now time to plug the light into the 194 bulb receptacle adapter (there are 2 other forms of adapters in this kit.)
After you plug in the light into the adapter, we need to test to see which side of the adapter has the right polarity, so touch the bulb to the receptacle, if nothing happens, the adapter is 180 degrees backwards, meaning the polarity is wrong:
If that’s the case, NO WORRIES, just flip it and try it again! BINGO!
Alright, now pull it back out, and figure exactly how you want to mount it. You only have a small amount of wire and though you could extend the wires and mount it anywhere, I didn’t want to.
There are 3 different thicknesses of double-sided, adhesive strips provided with the kit, I used the medium thickness. Peel back ONE side of the strips and place them on the back of the light board:
Peel back the last cover of the double-sided adhesive and be careful not to stick it to anything and contaminate it. Now plug in the light, making sure it’s lit up with the right polarity. You can now stick the light in it’s final resting place. BE CAREFUL NOT TO PRESS ON THE LEDS THEMSELVES: only use soft but firm pressure around the edges of the circuit board!
As you can see, it’s BRIGHT. Here’s a picture taken with the camera USING the flash:
One more without flash:
Now it’s time to see the fruits of your efforts! Remember those important pics from above? Here’s the same shot, taken outside the trunk, with NO garage lights on, and the same settings on the camera:
Taken in the trunk to see the light and it’s effects. Due to the even-spread light effect, there’s less shadows:
Here’s the last picture, taken like the other important ones, with ALL garage lights on. The ambient lighting really has no effect on the trunk anymore, as everything is lit from the LEDs!
The effect this upgrade has is even greater in person, the pictures don’t do it justice, and there are a number of members on this board that will agree.