Introduction: Car Interior From Tungsten to LED

About: I am a University of Edinburgh electronics engineering student.
Have you ever wished that your overhead interior light was brighter helping you find your dropped stuff. This instructable will show you how to easily improve the conventional interior light using some new age tchnology.

Why would I do it?
  • It's more energy efficient - uses less energy and generates less heat
  • It's much brighter than the standart bulbs
  • It's more stylish and makes your car look better
Is it expensive?
  • No - you have to invest in one metre of LED strip that costs less than 10EUR
Is it complicated?
  • No - you need some basic soldering skills and nothing more
  • The lifetime of an LED element around 50,000 to 100,000 hours, so you won't have to worry about changing the LEDs in five years or so

Step 1: What LED to Use?

There are ready made lights that fit to the bulb holders but I wanted to use some LEDs that come in strips.

Resistors are mounted on the strips. Every three LEDs can be separated from the strip and connected to a 12V supply.

Step 2: Light Housings

There were four light housings in the car that I am showing here. You will probably have to use only your hands to take off the housings or maybe a screw driver to loosen some screws.

Step 3: Prepare the Housing

Try and fit as many LEDs as possible. I managed to fit 2 pieces each with 3 LED elements on it, making it to 6 LEDs for the smallest light housing.

The metal bulb holders are bent to allow me to fit the new LEDs.

Step 4: Shape Out a Plate for the Back of the LEDs

The strips have some glue on the back that allows them to be easily put on some flat surface. 

Shape out a metal plate that fits in the light housing. It is also needed to take out the little heat that the LEDs generate.
Aluminium is easy to cut with these metal cutting scissors.

Step 5: Soldering!

There are two wires that you need. A wire for the positive path and a wire for the negative path. If you cut a strip into smaller strips, you will have to reconnect the terminals the right way. Positive to positive and negative to negative.

Put 12V to the ends and test it!

Step 6: Glue

Use some liquid glue (or hot glue) to glue the wires. You can skip this, but I am sure that there will be vibrations on the whole thing and some glue is not bad.

Glue the metal plate to the housing.

Step 7: Solder the Power Supply

Finally solder the positive and negative wires to the original bulb holder metal parts. 

There may be such a case that you will have to measure the +ve and -ve terminals on the car connector, but for me there was no difference as from the car's roof the connectors could be put to each side of the light housing.

Step 8: Finish the Rest of the Light Housings

The rest of the lights are made in the same way. One you get it, it's pretty easy.

The two housings that look the same already had a metal plate in the construction, so I decided to glue the LED strips onto them without cutting separate metal plates.

Step 9: Perform a Test!

Here is the final result going over some tests. Just plugged the 12V power supply.

Step 10: Put the LED Lights in the Car and Enjoy

LED Contest with Elemental LED

Runner Up in the
LED Contest with Elemental LED

Fix & Improve It Contest

Finalist in the
Fix & Improve It Contest

Hurricane Lasers Contest

Participated in the
Hurricane Lasers Contest