Preventive Lights for Door Edge




This project consists in a simple lights system on the edge of the vehicle's doors that helps preventing accidents with cyclists or even other vehicles.
Many cars have a reflective or a not very noticeable courtesy light on the inner side of the door, but they're not always very effective for this purpose.
With this instructable we're trying to promote the use of these lights.
We’ll explain step by step the process to install the preventive lights for the door edge.
We used a Nissan Tsuru 2004, you have to adapt the system to your vehicle, but there's not a big difference between them.

You can check the full manual in the attached PDF.

This is a school project made by:
Carlos Peña Michel
Eduardo Altamirano Castro
Daniel Alfonso Caballero Cruz

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Step 1: Get the Materials

• 12 Volts RGB LED Set 
• Cable /Wire (6m)
• Welder wire & Solder Paste
• Soldering iron.
• Scissors / Tweezers

Step 2: Cut the LED Set

The LED set comes in one piece, so then it’s necessary to cut it in a way you found the desired size. In this case we used 3 LEDs.
For these step you can use regular scissors.
*You have to pay attention on your LED set, they have specific spots were you can cut. If you cut out of these spots you'll descompose the LED set.

Step 3: Cables

In this occasion we used different wire colors to distinguish the positive alimentation and the color we will activate .We need to peel the wire tips.

Step 4: Wiring the LED Set

Weld each wire to their respective line using the soldering iron & welder wire 60/40. Also remember to respect the established colors, to avoid confusions.

Step 5: Extending the Wire

Later we'll have to weld extra wire to every tip or terminal, for this we'll only need welder wire, the soldering iron and the solder paste
In this occasion we want to create the yellow color (preventive color). Connect the negative side (ground) from the red and green wires. Join the 2 grounds to one single wire.
For the positive side we only need to weld extra wire.
The length of the extensions depends on your vehicle.

Step 6: Find and Remove the Lights Switch

You have to find the switch that activates the inside lights on each door. It’s frequently located in the door frame. Il will provide the ground for activating the LED set when you open the door.
It’s typically fixed to the frame by a screw. To remove it, you just have to unscrew it.

Step 7: Connect the Ground Line

Once you’ve removed the switch, you have to connect the ground line of the RGB LED set to it. This can be easily done by introducing the  cable (previously stripped) from the back of the switch, so that it makes contact with the original cable of the switch. This way you can avoid cutting the cable.
Once inside, secure the cable to the switch using electrical tape and re-introduce the switch in its place.

Step 8: Connect the Positive Line

The next step is connectng the positive line of the RGB LED set. First, you join all the positive lines of the LED sets in one. You can connect this line to any 12V positive current source of the vehicle.
On this ocassion we’ve connected it to a fuse, but you can connect it directly to the battery or find another practical spot.

Step 9: Paste the LED Set

For pasting the LED set on the edge of the door, most of the LED sets have an adhesive, but if they don’t have, you can use any industrial glue.

Step 10: Hide the Wires

Once you’ve pasted the LED set you have to adapt the cables to the vehicle so they don’t hinder the driving.
You can use electrical tape for fixing the cable or any other method if you want.
On the door, the cables can be easily hidden inside the gasket.
You have to leave extra cable on the joint of the door and the vehicle so the cable doesn’t break when you open the door.

Step 11: C'est Fini

On these images, we can appreciate the preventive door edge lights working, we can observe how they excel in the dark, warning the presence of a hazard.

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    23 Discussions

    Maplin electronics and CPC sell these LEDs in the UK.

    Or 4 flashing LEDs wired in series will work.

    I would also coat the LED strips with clear varnish so they can be easily cleaned.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very great idea, specially for cyclist. It's a shame that most of modern cars doesn't have those lights included


    7 years ago on Introduction

    It amazes me how stupid auto makers are getting. My grandmother had a 1992 or so Ford Explorer with lights on the door, similar to this but on the door panel inside. I've rarely seen newer vehicles with them.

    4 replies

    Auto makers aren't really stupid, they're just being cheap and cutting costs by sacrificing safety and quality to save that extra dollar while charging you out the butt ,and making ridiculous profit, for a low quality vehicle while trying to convince you that you're getting a good deal. Remember, it took a law just for auto makers to start putting airbags and seat belts in their cars.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    i Dad has a Lancia Fulvia 2GT (1965) and all the doors have this pretending light

    Also my Audi 80 fox 1975 has it

    and my new renault scenic has it,,,,(as a reflective)

    Very good idea, it is one that the auto industry should adopt for themselves. Very simple cheep and a great safty feature. I like the idea of the puddle lights also. I just wanted to say that i am finding it very easy to find LED lights these days.
    It seems that they are being used in everything! I have been buying stuff from yard sales, second hand stores or ive even found stuff ive found in my dumpster that have had LED bulbs or even whole circuits that are easily incorporated into projects like this. I just bought two lights from the dollar store that have a single light-five lights-and a red snd blue light that flashes. Looks like the perfect fit for my car door and puddle light project. Good luck to everyone with thier projects and again- great instructable!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wonder if making them blinky would improve their viz? Great idea. I'm making this happen (at least on the driver's side here in the USA).

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm (: ..that was the original idea, but we decided to simplify it.
    If you want you can add a flasher to the positive lines circuit, it's the same device used in the turn signals of the vehicle.
    Thanks for your input, and for making this happen.

    riff raff

    7 years ago on Introduction

    If you wired another set of LEDs under the door, you'd also have a puddle light.

    But why use RGB LEDs instead of single-color LEDs for this project?

    1 reply
    carlos-riff raff

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The puddle light is a good idea.
    Single-color LEDs would work the same way as RGB LEDs. You can pick the ones you prefer, the connection is made with the same principle.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    We got them in a random electronics store... but if you want to make sure, you can look for them in a store specializing in LEDs. I'm glad you think it's a great project (:


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable.

    What's hilarious is that Russians automobile engineers had the same thought over 20 years ago and installed similar lights on Lada cars.

    Mine are red and turn on when I open the driver or the front passenger door of my '91 Lada Signet wagon.

    Unfortunately they are not on the rear passenger doors so this instructable could still be handy if I wanted to make that mod.

    Well done overall !!

    My car already had warning and puddle lights on it, but because it was built in the 90s it used dim, inefficient incandescent bulbs, so I upgraded to cleaner, brighter LEDs a few months ago. I think this is a great idea for cars, and am very surprised more don't already have them

    1 reply