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Old 01-22-2014, 09:22 AM   #1
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Center cap custom LED brake light

When I bought my new rear bumper, I didn't take into consideration the lack of third brake light. I have been trying to decide how to fab one up, and last night it hit me. To preface this, before I started working on this I had never soldered anything and had never worked with individual LEDs, only premade stuff.

I started by assuming (incorrectly) that if I got 7 LEDs to fit in the 7 small bolt holes on my center cap (Mamba M13 wheel) that added up to 12v wired in series, that I should be fine. I found out after taking my first shot at this that I need to add a resistor (5.6 ohm) to limit the current to make it work safely. I also think the next one will be built with brighter LEDs.

Now that I've ruined one center cap, I have ordered a few more along with a bunch of super bright LEDs that are prewired with a resistor for direct plug and play with a 12v DC application. Next try, I'll wire those new LEDs in parallel.

This same idea could be done with any center cap on a spare wheel, I'm just going to wire it into the original third brake light wiring harness.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:24 AM   #2
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nice. good idea.
i relocated my plate to the wheel so this wont work but still a nice idea

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Old 01-22-2014, 09:32 AM   #3
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I was struggling with the idea of relocating the plate there too, but I really liked this idea when it hit me and I really like doing stuff like this. Plus, it's a good reason to learn some new stuff.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:39 AM   #4
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mine wasnt an option of if i should....


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Old 01-22-2014, 10:47 AM   #5
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Great idea with the center cap! Glad you siliconed the wires - otherwise soldered connections fail pretty quickly with vehicle vibrations and bumps.

For the license plate issue: How about a small 3rd light bar that attaches to the top of the license plate? Could make it of of some aluminum bar stock or something cheap.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:02 PM   #6
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Get you some red/orange lumiled superflux LEDs. Put in a 9v sharp LDO vreg and be ready to be amazed.

Or send it to me and I will do it for you.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingcat View Post
Get you some red/orange lumiled superflux LEDs. Put in a 9v sharp LDO vreg and be ready to be amazed.

Or send it to me and I will do it for you.
I would love to hear more about that... Can you give me a brief explanation of the 9v sharp LDO vreg is/does?

I would totally send it to you, but I am dead set on figuring out how to do it myself, so if you have any links that may be helpful, that would be awesome!
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:06 PM   #8
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Reading some online, I learn that it is a voltage regulator, and something about using a 9v rather than a 12v because the reg eats up 0.5v so a 12v source wouldn't be enough to drive the 12v regulator. Now, would you use LEDs and resistors tailored to a 9v source then? I'm a little confused as to how to wire this all up...
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:04 PM   #9
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Correct on why you want 9v.

You just run the LEDs as if you were to run them at 9v. Then hook the vreg output to the LEDs and input to the signal.

Hidplanet.com and go to the led section. Lots of good info in the stickies. Make sure you run a heatsink on the vreg or at least mount to a metal panel
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingcat View Post
Correct on why you want 9v.

You just run the LEDs as if you were to run them at 9v. Then hook the vreg output to the LEDs and input to the signal.

Hidplanet.com and go to the led section. Lots of good info in the stickies. Make sure you run a heatsink on the vreg or at least mount to a metal panel
I will check that out, but I'm not sure how I would do a heatsink or mount on metal though. I'll have to do some more reading.
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:05 PM   #11
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This is a t220 heatsink it looks like you would have enough room if you glued it right in the center. You can get them at radio shack

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
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Oh sweet, and that won't cause a problem with the hot glue sealant I'm using?
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:15 PM   #13
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Nope just leave a little bit of the fin stick trough
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:46 PM   #14
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Good deal. When the new center caps come in, I'll see what I can do about testing that!
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:59 PM   #15
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I never did test out the vreg on this project, but I finally got the spare caps and the 12v wired red LEDs in, so I put it all together this past weekend, and it looks great! Super bright, and looks like it was made that way from the factory!
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:00 PM   #16
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bump to read tomorrow
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:31 AM   #17
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bump to read tomorrow
If you have any questions, let me know!
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:42 AM   #18
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Nice work on that. When I installed the new rear bumper with swing out tire carrier, I was trying to figure out how to add a 3rd brake light back on. I bought a pre-made LED one similar to what you ended up building. During install I realized I'd either have to get creative with the wiring or have lots of extra wire hanging back there for when the carrier swung open, taking the light with it.

Then I realized (and confirmed) that I don't have to have a 3rd brake light. The law, at least here in CO, is that the manufacture is required to build the vehicle with one, I'm not required to keep it on there
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ETOIMOΣ View Post
Nice work on that. When I installed the new rear bumper with swing out tire carrier, I was trying to figure out how to add a 3rd brake light back on. I bought a pre-made LED one similar to what you ended up building. During install I realized I'd either have to get creative with the wiring or have lots of extra wire hanging back there for when the carrier swung open, taking the light with it.

Then I realized (and confirmed) that I don't have to have a 3rd brake light. The law, at least here in CO, is that the manufacture is required to build the vehicle with one, I'm not required to keep it on there
That's good news! I have different wheels now, and the new ones didn't come with a closed center cap at first (Method Roost, center caps were an afterthought by the manufacturer) so I just put some lug nut sized ones in the empty lug holes and wired them up poorly. Since then, they have failed and I've been without a 3rd brake light for awhile now... Can I ask where you found out that they aren't required? I'd like to see if IN has the same rule.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:24 AM   #20
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I have a State Trooper buddy that I called up. But Google showed that "Indiana Code § 9-19-6-17 : Indiana Code - Section 9-19-6-17: Stop lamps and turn signals; color, visibility, and operation" does not state that a 3rd light is required...

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(a) A motor vehicle may be equipped, and when required under this chapter must be equipped, with a stop lamp or lamps on the rear of the vehicle that:
(1) displays a red or an amber light, or any shade of color between red and amber, visible from a distance of not less than one hundred (100) feet to the rear in normal sunlight;
(2) will be actuated upon application of the service (foot) brake; and
(3) may be incorporated with at least one (1) other rear lamp.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:07 AM   #21
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Cool, good to know! Thanks!

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