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Old 01-21-2014, 07:49 PM
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Added Interior LED for Console

So Iím disappointed at the complete lack of visibility of the area in front of the shifters at night. Short of a flashlight or turning on the dome light (map lights do nothing for that area), it is a complete black hole.

I purchased a few LED lights in orange and green from Radio Shack (I have black/saddle interior and was unsure which color I wanted to use). I didnít purchase BRIGHT LEDís (100mcd luminous intensity). I tested each one night with a 9 volt battery and found that the green was VERY close to the existing interior dash lights and not as harsh as the orange on brightness. I also found that the orange blended very well with the saddle and cast a brighter light.
For reference, the LEDís cost $2.49 each and the LED part numbers are:

Green Ė 276-0271
Orange Ė 276-0272




I chose to mount the lights in the same panel that houses the ventilation control knobs and accessory buttons. I decided to put two green LEDís in the area above the knobs, between the knobs so the knobs wouldnít cast a shadow over the area I wanted to illuminate. I went with green there so the color wouldnít compete with the green backlighting of the knobs and accessory buttons. I put a single orange LED in the area below the buttons, centered in the panel.









A couple of things to be careful about when choosing the location for your lights. The LEDís require about a half inch of space above them when installed (see Pic 3). Since there is some interference, you need to make sure that you locate them to clear that. For instance, I placed the upper green lights ĹĒ back from the front of the panel. This is as close as you can go toward the front of the panel without hitting the bracket in the dash when you replace the panel. Any closer and the light wonít fit. Also, for the lights installed above, you canít screw them in or wire them until the panel is remounted in the dash (because of this bracket that the lights must be behind). For that reason I used wire nuts to make the electrical connection since I make a 3 wire connection (more on the wiring later) which allows me to disconnect without cutting wires if I have to remove the panel in the future. This isnít an issue with the lower LED. However, the lower LED light has to allow enough room for the button cluster to fit (see pic 5).

With the location chosen, I measured, marked and drilled my holes from the backside of the panel. Itís listed on the back of the LED package, but they fit a 9/32Ē mounting hole. When drilling the hole for the lower LED, I removed the button cluster by removing the 4 screws that hold it in place. After drilling that hole, I reinstalled the button cluster and installed the LED. I then soldered extensions on the LED wires so they could reach the upper LED light wires. I insulated the soldered joints with heat shrink.

For power/ground, I wanted to tap into something that operates off the dashlights, so the LEDís will only be on when the headlights/dashlights are on. With the help of another forum member (thanks Tiger3), I identified a hot wire in the area. For Sahara owners, the orange/gray wire supplying the power mirror knob is hot, and the black/white wire second wire over from the orange/gray, is a ground. I cut a black and red wire about 6Ē each and used a 3M Scotchlok tap to splice into the hot/ground wires at the harness. I then ran the wires up to the area behind and above the panel.

I reinstalled the panel and then installed the upper LEDís (remember, installing upper LEDís will prevent you from being able to install the panel.
Once installed, I used wire nuts to tie the three (one from each LED) red wires to the supply and the three black wires to the ground. The reason for using a wire nut is to allow me to easily disconnect the wires later without cutting. If I need to remove this panel later, I will have to remove the upper LEDís to allow it to clear the bracket to be removed.

Reinstall the dash and youíre done.

View from Driver Seat:



Lower view of LED lights:



I had wire, solder, Scotchlokís, tools, etc., so the total cost to me was less than $8 to purchase the LEDís. If you had to purchase connectors, wire and everything, you could do it for around $20.
What I might change:
  • I originally only planned to install the upper LEDís. Unfortunately, because of the position of the panel and because I didnít buy the expensive, light bending LEDís, the area in front of the shifter still wasnít illuminated. So I added the lower LED. I could have gotten away with just the lower with the same illumination result.
  • I installed the lower LED as back (toward the rear of the Jeep) as I could since the area there was more horizontal and I didnít want the direct LED bulb visible while sitting in the front seats. I could have moved it further back and made the light more useful and still not see the naked LED.
  • I could also have installed 2 or 3 LEDsí in the lower area. I may go back and install another pair outside the centered LED. If I do this, Iíll move those further forward.


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Old 01-21-2014, 08:08 PM   #2
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Really like this! Good job!!!

I wonder if they could be connected in a way to dim with the dash lights...

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Old 01-21-2014, 08:33 PM
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Really like this! Good job!!!

I wonder if they could be connected in a way to dim with the dash lights...
I hadn't even thought about the dimmer. I just tested it, and they DO change with the dash light dimmer. Bonus.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:37 PM   #4
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Very nice and neat install, something I may think about when I get some warmer weather.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:57 PM   #5
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What a neat install. I wonder if the hot wire location is the same on a '10 Mountain edition.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:02 PM   #6
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I hadn't even thought about the dimmer. I just tested it, and they DO change with the dash light dimmer. Bonus.
Awesome!!!
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:20 PM   #7
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Very nice job, and an excellent home upgrade. As I am an ass-hat with electrical, I will show this to my friends, buy the beer, and have them do it!!
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:58 AM   #8
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That's exactly what I want to do to my 07 Sahara. Anyone have an idea what wires to tap into? Great job.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:24 AM   #9
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awesome! I wonder if there is a way to get an LED in the center console? talk about a black hole!
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:56 AM   #10
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Great job... hope its watertight in Submarine mode! :-)
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:59 AM
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awesome! I wonder if there is a way to get an LED in the center console? talk about a black hole!
I've read where others simply plug in a 12v to USB charging adapter that has the LED power indicator in to the port and use that light as a center console light. The drain is so small that it doesn't affect the battery, even though that outlet stays hot without the key. The only other downside to that would be stacking things higher than the outlet and blocking the light, but it's cheap and easy.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:22 AM   #12
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Hey Nuke,

Thanks for this...nice write up and a great mod. I think this will be done soon and I am considering three green LEDs in the lower mount position. Perhaps the outer two might actually hit the foot wells a bit? What to you think?
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:15 AM
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I doubt you'd get much help in the foot wells form there. Like I mentioned in my OP, I would have done a couple of things differently, and on that note, I plan to disconnect the orange lower and put two green LED's on each side of it and a little more forward. If I get to it this evening, I'll post pics.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:43 AM
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Update: I originally used the orange LED because I wasn't convinced of which I'd like best between green and orange. I purchased more green LED's and added two more in the bottom, so three in the bottom and two in the top. Also, the addition of two more in lower panel does nothing for the foot wells.

iPhone camera, so it's actually much more lit up, but not bright, than the picture shows. Definitely allows you to see items in the tray and netting area and matches the overall interior lighting. Definitely recommend going with green unless you're just wanting to add color.



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Old 01-23-2014, 10:15 AM   #15
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I really like this mod and plan on copying the idea in future.

Great job.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:02 PM   #16
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Nice work and thanks for the write up. I want to do something similar with green as well. The small LED's are perfect.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:22 AM   #17
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That's exactly what I want to do to my 07 Sahara. Anyone have an idea what wires to tap into? Great job.
I second this
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:51 AM   #18
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LED's purchased at my local Radio Shack (RS) yesterday for a mini-weekend project. I went with green...while red is easier on your eyes at night and it was my first choice, I think it would also be distracting while driving and every other light being the OEM green. Besides, I think the green will be a close match to the rest of the OEM interior lighting.

RS had two sizes there - I bought three (all they had) of the smaller ones and one (again, all they had) of the larger ones. They're rated at the same mcd (brightness) so they should match. I'm not sure of the arrangement yet since their sizes are so different, but I'll come up with something...or hit another RS to balance things out.

I'm not sure of the light spread on the smaller ones either - if they're too "focused" (tight 'beam') I may not use them but thought at $2.49 each it's worth a shot.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:23 PM   #19
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Gotta go green with the CG
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:41 PM   #20
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That is a fantastic idea and a great write up. Thanks for posting!!
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Old 10-14-2015, 04:21 PM   #21
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Subscribed so when I get my JKR this winter I will know what to do.


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Old 10-14-2015, 08:56 PM   #22
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Nice job. Does that small panel pop off or do you have to take the center stack apart? I'm not sure how to take all this apart. The wiring for me would be easy.

Thanks!
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Old 10-14-2015, 08:56 PM   #23
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Nice job. Does that small panel pop off or do you have to take the center stack apart? I'm not sure how to take all this apart. The wiring for me would be easy.

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2015, 09:34 AM   #24
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That's exactly what I want to do to my 07 Sahara. Anyone have an idea what wires to tap into? Great job.
first post. This is definitely something I want to do with my '08 Sahara. Electrical wiring has never been a strong suit of mine, so I'd greatly appreciate a little insight as to which wires I should be looking for
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Old 12-17-2015, 11:14 AM   #25
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What a great idea and nicely done! I think I found my next mod.
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Old 12-17-2015, 12:37 PM   #26
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I second this
I third this, any help would be greatly appreciated!

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