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Which Array Should I go with?

  • three vertical for appearance of a brighter single led

    Votes: 7 46.7%
  • evenly spread, together

    Votes: 6 40.0%
  • evenly spread, rows separated

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • top and bottom row one color

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • top and bottom row one color w/ Vertical LEDs

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    15
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Over the next few weeks, I will be building a DIY LED array to put in DRLs inside the housing for our headlights, in the spot below the headlights where DRLs exist in the Korean Market. (The spot in the picture of the Cadenza on this forum) :)

My main concern is white brightness - I want to make sure that you can see the lights, brightly, in the daytime, as DRLs. I had previously purchased the exLED Premium Power LEDs interior kit (Link: Premium Power LED Lights.)

I was amazed at their brightness. I started looking at the LEDs themselves that exLED uses, and it turns out it is a unit that they manufacture. It has some great characteristics, primarily it's low current draw (50 mA), brightness (72 lumens), low temps (doesn't get hot to touch at all) and price ($.90 each). (Link: exLED Premium Power LED 1 Color)

To test this led in the daytime, I took out a unit of my interior kit, wired it to the battery, and tested it in direct sunlight. It was still very bright, and was clearly visible - exactly the brightness I wanted.

They also have amber versions of this LED, and I will have these DRLs function as switchbacks. So when the turn signal is activated, the white turns off, amber blinks, and then white comes back on after the turn signal is complete.

I ordered up a lot of parts, and am in the final process in designing my array. I find myself second guessing the array design, and would appreciate any feedback.

Some notes about my LED array:
1. The width of each LED is 3.3mm (tiny!), and 15mm long (still pretty small)
2. I estimate the DRL opening to be about 270mm long, and maybe 18-20 mm wide (narrowing at the ends)
3. Because the width is so narrow, there is a lot of room to arrange these LEDs
4. Vertical installation of the LEDs for all is not really practical due to electrical connection issues (I will get more into that as the build progresses)
5. I'll be soldering these from the back, and use a solid copper wire to both make connections horizontally, but also give structure to the array so I can bend it into shape in the headlight housing
6. I still don't know how I will "finish" the array on the outside - meaning either no cover, a translucent white cover (similar to the eyebrow positioning lights), or a clear plastic reflector style cover that I will fab up.

The picture below shows some design options. Yellow squares represent 5K white LEDs, and silver is the amber LEDs.

Any design preferences, or other ideas?

Poll up top!
 

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Awesome! Can't wait to see the finished project. I am trying to get DRL in the headlights as well. Would you happen to have some pictures of the housing of the headlights? I'm trying to work with a guy that does custom work on headlights, he needs pictures of the housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Brandon -no pictures of the housing, but could snap some at some point. Do a google search for "Cadenza Headlight Housing," and you'll get some pics that way.

I mocked up an array at 4x4 staggered pattern (option 2, but with four rows) and tested them out, and I don't like the staggered look. I decided I am going to make 4 rows, with the top two rows all white, and the bottom two rows all amber. I like the idea of having one solid line for the whites and ambers. Staggered made it look like a "lazy W" that I don't care for.

Mocking it up also gave me some practice soldering. This is really my first time soldering (besides just wires), and I have definitely become more proficient. Not a hard skill really, just have to get your hands wet to get some experience. Getting better at every "session."
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The picture below is what I am going to build (excuse the crudeness, I did this in powerpoint so I could visualize better). The ends may change, depending on how many leds I can fit into the contour of the opening. I can estimate, but won't know for sure until I crack the headlight housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update -

I built a small sample of the array, and tested it out. I was concerned about the heat it was putting out, much, much more than I was used to. I could touch the array for a second before it got too hot. Compared to a single LED, I could touch that all day long.

Jin at exLEDusa told me that being so close, the power LEDs need more space for proper cooling. I guess when I add so many close together, heat goes up. Disappointing, as I'll have to use less white LEDs to keep the heat down. I think I can get away with more amber, since they will be blinking and not powered constantly. The ambers are not as bright as the white, so I think adding more amber will make it more visible.

Below is my new design - went from 46 white and 24 amber LEDs to 16 white and 42 amber LEDs. The white's are extremely bright, so I know the 16 will still work well. This set-up should provide maximum space to help keep it cool.

I'll be building a sample of this array in the coming days to test it out before I build the full version.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you so much for this write up. Please keep us I formed as I too want to do this mod. :)


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Will do - just be patient. Not as much time as I'd like to do this project. I'm torn about how much is too much white LEDs in relation to heat output. I think I've decided that less is better to keep the heat down to prolong the life of the LED array.

I'll be doing another look at some small mock-ups in the day to make sure I'm satisfied with the brightness. Last think I want to do is go through all this and not be satisfied with the end product (especially since I'm going to open the headlights).

The other issue is whether I will add a clear reflector to the front of the LED array or not. Can't decide if I will like the look of the unlit LEDs in the housing or not. If I decide to make a clear reflector, should be relatively easy to make a template (once housing is open) and cut it out. I have some clear plastic lens covering (the kind from long florescent tube housings) that should work well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I was able to do a small mock up in the day, and I wasn't quite satisfied in direct sunlight. The single LED was bright, but the small size and distance from the other white LEDs made it not so noticeable. I got much better results when the white LEDs were next to each other (much more noticeable in direct sunlight). The issue with them together is heat.

My next idea is to use a previous design, with lots of white LEDs next to each other. To keep the heat down, I'll place a 1/8" aluminum strip behind the array, and connect it to the array with artic silver epoxy. This should act as a good heat sink (hopefully) to keep the heat down while getting the look I want. Hopefully I'll be able to shape the aluminum into the space.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm still debating - main concern is heat build-up inside the headlight once installed. I'm afraid it will get too hot and melt something or the array will die quickly due to the heat.

On hold for now until I can make up my mind to pull the trigger - even though I have all the parts to do it.
 

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Thats exactly what I was worried about, One of the auto shops said they had seen the led Drl installed in one of the cars and it ending up melting some of the inside of the headlight unit. Then my dealership said it happened in a couple of the souls that one did it in. Im hoping to just wait out for a canadian headlight unit and swap it out.
 

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I dont believe that we have the correct wiring for the Canadian version to just pop in and work. Would require some rewiring to make this work. Would love to know if anyone does order a canadian version.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Some news, I got a steal of a deal on a used headlight assembly. This will let me disassemble and test on it without taking the car out of commission (and practice cracking open the headlights). Will take a while to finish though, as I'm in the process of moving to Florida. May not get to it for a couple of months or longer.
 

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I dont believe that we have the correct wiring for the Canadian version to just pop in and work. Would require some rewiring to make this work. Would love to know if anyone does order a canadian version.
I have 1 Canadian version headlight that I will crack open when my schedule lightens up. The led strip below the headlight won't come on with the standard wiring. I'm not too sure if the Cadenza's here in the US have a DRL circuit
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have 1 Canadian version headlight that I will crack open when my schedule lightens up. The led strip below the headlight won't come on with the standard wiring. I'm not too sure if the Cadenza's here in the US have a DRL circuit
Would love to hear your report and how you cracked it open. I'm nervous to bake it open, as the motors for the AFLS are inside the housing. Was going to try a heat gun and work it slowly.

I looked into the DRL circuit per the wiring diagram, and the the wire at the harness for DRL is missing. For mine, I was going to wire it up separately anyway, but for your Canadian version, you'd need to ID the wires inside the housing.
 

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Would love to hear your report and how you cracked it open. I'm nervous to bake it open, as the motors for the AFLS are inside the housing. Was going to try a heat gun and work it slowly.

I looked into the DRL circuit per the wiring diagram, and the the wire at the harness for DRL is missing. For mine, I was going to wire it up separately anyway, but for your Canadian version, you'd need to ID the wires inside the housing.

When my dude did my headlight retrofit he gave me some pointers on opening the headlight. He used the heat gun method. Took him a while but they opened right up. He did say the glue was butyl so it wasn't too hard to do.
If you weren't moving to FL we could have linked up and started the project!!
 
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