Car Interior LED Lighting Multicolor




About: Very fond of inventing stuff. Creation is what i believe. Relieve my creations and imagination with programming and practical stuff. And Instructable is what i always look for each and every single instructa...

Finally a super project you will like when daylight goes by 6 and dark side captures. If you like or this helped you get into your shoes or inspired to do something similar or more creative than please don't feel shy to VOTE ! I will be contesting for LED contest which closes on 7th Jan 2013 so please vote each VOTE counts !!!!!

Everyone must have felt this trying searching in dark under seats and those map lights which are soo dim that one needs have to a torch to search so WHY NOT USE INTERIOR LEDS and make your car STAND OUT.

NOTE : Since i don't want to cut down my main wires and RISK the wiring, all i did was just hook on top no cutting of MAINS.

Now enough of my blah blah ................ LETS get STARTED

Step 1: Requirements

- LED strips (i will prefer to use RGB strips which gives me more color choice and not get stuck with one color)
- RGB LED Strip Controller (+ Remote this is free accessory with controller) i required less than a meter
- 4 strand wire (since RGB strips have connections for RED | GREEN | BLUE | +ve)
- Connectors (twist and turn to break)
- Soldering Gun
- Silicon Gun stick (i dont use gun but just heat it on lighter and damp on required surface)

And more of Patience and Brains ;p
Cause once you hit this you will really beg to sun go down and ride your pimped vehicle ;p

Step 2: The Plan

The first step towards doing THE PLAN.

As seen from diagram we have 4 LED STRIPS two in front (under dashboard) and other two for back seat passengers those will be at bottom of front seats(one below passenger and other drivers seat).

Once the plan is clear we plan for wiring keeping in mind the connectors.

Why connectors?
Connectors play an important part for connection also for maintenance.
Suppose if few LED's goes down one doesn't want to rip the entire wiring so remove just the faulty LED's, repair those and fix it back.

In next image we see 4 connectors two each at front and back i.e. for each strip
all (4-strand) wire running between them

The LED Controller is connected in between with 12v source.

Now since i don't want to cut the wiring and connect with extra fuse(in fuse box) i will source it with cigarette lighter or charging point which will be very easy also when the car key goes out so does the lighting.

Step 3: Measurements [VERY IMPORTANT]

Now once everything is planned we need measurements to be taken to fit the things to places without stretching.

First measurement regarding LED strips go below the dash and measure the length for front two strips.
Second take measurements for LED strips at back.

Once these are done we take measurements for wiring keeping in mind that few extra length wire are left so as to avoid the fit fitting.

We measure for wires for
1> controller to left front connector
2> from left front connector to right front connector
3> from left front connector to left rear connector
4> right front connector to right rear connector

NOTE : For rear connections keep in mind to give extra inches of wire since one does not want to rip their LED under seats when seats are moved back and forth.

Step 4: Preparation for Connections

Once measurements are done time to cut the LED strips.

We need 4 strips for our project. Every LED strip have cutting lines after every 3 LEDs. Keep in mind to cut short than to cut larger than required, if larger than it might dangle and one would not love that site.

Once the soldering is done we better check the soldering by lighting one color at a time. So, in next few images we see that check for main 3 primary colors RED | GREEN | BLUE, when those are lit perfectly lets safeguard those joints. One way i did was to apply silicone glue which avoids in between contacts also provides rigidity.

This is how we create a strip ready to be hooked to car.Similar, to these we create 3 more totalling to 4 strips.


Step 5: Connections Inside Car

As we see we first glue the front under dashboard LED strips.Then connecting the connector to it. The diagrams are more explanatory and easy to understand than my words. Have tagged as many tags to express the circuitary.

Now once these are done lets hide our wires. What i did is just tugged the wires inside the panels and poked it our just near the seats where the next set of LED STRIPS will be installed we can see that in image 4.

Now with the under seat LEDs here rather than using glue or sticky tapes i just placed it in between those springs and a string to tie at other end.

Point to note is i have left enough extra wire to smooth the movements when seats are pulled back and forth.

When everything is done load it up and LETS RIG THE CHARGER !

Step 6: Charger Modding

There are various ways so source it
> from unused fuse from fuse box using jumpers
> from door panels, so lights will glow when doors are opened and will turn off when they are closed similar to dome lights
> from headlights [either from main fuse box or cutting wires for headlights]

But i will use charger ! WHY ?
Reason for rigging the charger is i dont use lighter for any purpose other than charging so why not rig that is heavily used and thus can facilitates simultaneous use.

Most cell phone chargers gives 4v of output (which is way lower to lit the strips) with stabilized voltage, thus it brings 12v from port to 4v.

When charger is opened we can see a fuse(blows when excess current flows) and a chip (does the stabilization and decrease of voltage). So, we need 12v so connect it at the start just before the chip and we are good with 12v. ;[

This is how we will source our LED STRIPS.

Once entire connections are DONE lets check out sick work.

Step 7: Final Result & [I LOVE IT] ;p

From the remote controller one can
> turn on/off the LED's
> change the color
> adjust the intensity
> use fading effects

Now lets wait to roll down the sun and roll our pimped out ride.

Testing in Morning

Testing at Night

Step 8: Questions and Troubleshooting !

LEDs are not working they dont glow?
Check connections if none are working please check the source and most important put the keys in car to make the lighter socket working.

LEDs are glowing but few strips glow in different color?
Its because of wrong connections while wiring make sure that red goes to red and so forth.

In few strips some color don't glow?
To check working fro perfection make the LED glow to white if all strips gives white color all wiring is perfect. If not than check for RED | GREEN | BLUE separately and the color for which one don't glow is the faulty connection or soldering might be the issue.

I don't know but while wiring something got short and my radio or lighter or mirrors are not working?
If things are not connected properly or something shorts or draws more amps their is fail safe mechanism to safeguard the cars wiring by blowing the fuse. One needs to find the blown fuse and replace it. If things are done as said in ible it will not blow the fuse but just a piece of information if something goes wrong.

While starting car the voltages are way beyond 12v will it not burn my LED or wiring?
I have been using from last 1month and have tested it with multimeter spikes goes till 15v and LED strips have resistors to safeguard LED's so it will work fine if still one wants to safeguard those use resistors or voltage regulators. Also the controller have brightness adjustments so lower it down to few clicks by doing this controller sends less voltage to LEDs (lower the volts less the brightness). So even if we are getting spikes till 15v we dim and thus strips get just 10v.

It will be good if we hook it up with TIP31 and sync with Music?
I personally tried and succeeded but trust me its very very dangerous while driving and those blinks are very disturbing. Still someone thinks i need to ible it I WILL.

NOTE: Vote if you like, good ibles take lot of man hours and patience and lots and lots of documentation.

Instructables Design Competition

Participated in the
Instructables Design Competition

Make It Glow

Participated in the
Make It Glow

2 People Made This Project!


  • DIY Summer Camp Contest

    DIY Summer Camp Contest
  • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
  • Sew Tough Challenge

    Sew Tough Challenge

81 Discussions

Thanks a lot for this! I gave my brother his graduation project in the form LEDs in his car. He loved it! Took me two days to complete it, but only because it was first time doing this sort of thing. Here's some pics. Again, thanks a lot for this. Because of this, I didn't have to give my brother some boring gift like a watch or something...

1 reply

Question 7 months ago on Step 6

Hi, nice write up but could you please send me more details on the charger mod. Which of the wires are you using and a little more detail about where you are connecting them. Just a little confused on some of it. Thanks so much! Great job!


Question 1 year ago

Hi,I have a quick question,I bought the LED interior light & i want it to Glow automatic after sunset i mean at night when my headlight turn on,What should i do?Where should i connect them?

1 answer

Answer 1 year ago

Get to the fuse compartment usually which sits inside bonnet near the sides. Look beneath the cover of the fuse box and find the fuse for your headlight. Buy a jumper or connector for that fuse and attach the led strip in series with the fuse. So, what it will do is the LED will work only if the headlight is turned on and vice versa. Caution: Always drive the LED via the fuse and not directly connect to battery terminals so if there is something wrong and some bad things happen the fuse will blow which are dirt cheap and easy to replace.

So to sum up i have drawn power from lighter inside cabin you have to draw power from the fuse box inside bonnet with jumper on the fuse.


Question 1 year ago on Step 8

I have wired mine up almost as shown. My cigar lighter plug in with red light inbuilt switch, works fine but is bulky. So I’ve removed this power source for a small USB out cigar lighter plug in, connected to a USB 2.0 / 5.5mm/2.1mm barrel jack DC 5V charger adapter cable into the controller and it doesn’t work!! I’ve swapped back to the cigar lighter plug in with the red on/off switch built into it and then plugged it’s lead into the controller and this works leds fine. The small USB plug in I want to use has a power light which comes on when pushed into the cigar socket but for some reason when attached to the 5.5/2.1 lead which is connected into the controller nothing works even though the light on the USB power socket in the cigar outlet is lit. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

3 answers

Answer 1 year ago

I think you need a multi-meter and test the output voltage. From what you have said i think the voltage is less than what the LED strip requires in second scenario (LED strip needs 12v DC). Thats the only thing i think the reason why your LED's are not working.


Answer 1 year ago

Thank you. I Have tested the power outlet from the cigar lighter socket which reads 12.8. I have noted on the USB 2.0 socket plug that I fix into the cigar lighter outlet has a label that reads 1.5amp!! I take it that this is the max the LEDs can pull from this USB socket. Would I be correct in thinking that 1.5amp is insufficient to power my 50/50 RBG 9 led per strip x 4 strips ? If so would you think if I purchase a duel USB charger to cigar socket with 4.8 amps, 2.4amps to each outlet which can be used simutainiously that this might do the trick? Thanks in anticipation of your reply.


Answer 1 year ago

I am so sorry but i cannot comment on Ampere am not very thorough with it since my knowledge regarding electronics is very limited. So its all trial and error my friend :)


2 years ago

I want to set this up where it would change the color to red I think that would be a simple code with an acceleramator and a raspberry pi zero hidden under the dash, but I would love some feedback

1 reply

Reply 2 years ago

gwalsh2, you could use a Arduino Uno or a Nano to control your LEDs just to save some time on programming instead of a RPI Zero.


2 years ago


3 years ago

Are the connectors wire splicers? Or please provide a link where I can get them because I am not sure what they are.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

i bought this from local shop you could use any just to modularize. You could directly join,solder or use electric tape. Connector :

its costly on ebay but was dirt cheap at local hardware store.


6 years ago on Introduction

I did this in my Suzuki Alto... I experimented with SMD3528 strip leds.... pasted
them below the dashboard.. covered them with cellophane tape so that they don't fall if they loose their adhesive........ hooked them to the cigarette lighter point with a push toggle button to turn them on when required...... also checked the Voltage

With Engine OFF =13.9 v
With Engine ON = 14.9v
Till now they are working fine ... did the same modding for License plate connected with parking lights switch.

Its fun and I loved it...

5 replies

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Can you tell how to connect led with cig lighter

Please tell me the detailed procedure from begining to end so that a non professional can do it without any risk


Reply 3 years ago

were you ever able to find out how the RGB controller to the cig-lighter?


Reply 3 years ago

2ways to use cig lighter for led controller. 1 behind dashboard - this will need to pop out cig lighter female socket from the dashboard and use the wires to power controller.

2 from front of cig lighter using a make shift male port with 2wires which will power the controller

Or lastly the process i have shown above which is much reliable simple and easy. Why mess with internal when u can buy the charger for a measly 50cents or rs.20


Reply 3 years ago

could you please send me a picture of your connection, please?