Easy LED Trunk Light Upgrade




Introduction: Easy LED Trunk Light Upgrade

My new electric car (a BMW i3 REX) is chock full of cool technology, but it has one of the most anemic trunk lights I've seen in a while. I decided to upgrade it by adding a strip of warm white LEDs to the underside of the package shelf that covers the cargo area.

What you'll need:

Waterproof LED strip ( I used a warm white strip); The waterproof versions are top coated with a clear silicone that will help protect the LEDs if something in the trunk bumps them.


Molding tape - used to secure the LEDs to the underside of the shelf (I would not rely on the strip's own adhesive)


Quick tap wire splices - makes it easy to connect to power and eliminates the need to solder connector to the car


Polarized connector - I already had one (salvaged from a 12V light), but they're available online:



Soldering iron, heatshrink tubing, misc small hand tools

About an hour of time

Step 1: Power Up!

The current truck light pops out easily and can be removed from the power connector (first pic). I spliced into the light's wires using self-tapping splices https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Splice-Connector-22-1...

Step 2: A Little Light, Please

After trimming the waterproof LED strip to length, I soldered on a length of 2 conductor wire and covered the connection with heatshrink tubing. Next, I used 3M body molding (https://www.amazon.com/3M-03614-Scotch-Mount-Moldi...) tape to stick the LED strip to the underside of the package shelf, and more tape to secure the wire along the side of the shelf. I did this during the fall - we'll see if it holds up once summer temps start hitting the 90s.

Step 3: Connecting to the Trunk Light Circuit

After reinstalling the package shelf, I used a 12 VDC polarized connector so that the shelf can be removed for more cargo space. After recconnecting the wires to the "old" light, I reinserted it.

Step 4: Finished!

Here are the after & before pics. The new light makes a huge difference when accessing the trunk when I leave for work (always in the dark). Total time was < 1 hour.



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    6 Discussions


    8 months ago

    Neat, this could even be solar powered!

    3 replies

    everything could be solar powered.

    Perhaps, but I think I'll let them work out the kinks in the solar-powered trans-Pacific airliners before I book a ticket. :-)

    In a way, it is. A portion of my electricity comes from renewable sources, including solar, so some of that is going into the battery when I charge it

    Thanks! Nice instructable. You can use this project in several ways around your car/truck.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment. I'm planning to do the same thing for the front trunk ("frunk"), which doesn't have a light. Probably my next 'ible!