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Über Genius
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9,354 Posts
Arrgghh! Dammit!

Today I decided to finalize the placement, attachment, and wiring of the under-the-car lighting. I spent 3 hours figuring out the best place to put the main junction box, so that it's antenna could get the signals from the remote, routing/securing the wiring, and attaching the LED strips. I get to the tightening the last wire tie on the last LED strip and I'm just minutes away from powering it up for a test, when I notice that the wiring coming out of that LED strip was cocked at an angle. Oh schitt, I hope that doesn't mean something bad. Powered it all up and 3 of the strips light up and that 4th one did not. Touch the wire at that strip and it completely came loose. I see little tiny sparks as the 4 microscopic wires start shorting out to each other. Oh schitt! I scurry out from under the car to disconnect the power. Upon examination, all 4 wires have broke off where they were soldered to the LED strip! Son of the beach! It's darn near impossible to re-solder hair-thin wires onto terminals that are 1/64" apart from each other. I don't have a precision soldering iron and it's been 10 years since I had the eyesight to do the job, but I'll take a crack at it. I'm not optimistic. If I can't do it I'll have to cut dozens of wire ties and throw the whole set away, then repeat the entire install process with my second LED kit. The whole kit is one piece, break any part of it and it's all junk.

I am so pissed off right now. :censored:

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You know you're blind. I know you're blind. You know you're old, I know you're old.... Get some glasses already.

You know you can afford it, I know you can afford it. Buy a decent soldering iron.

That's often a problem with those LED strips. Probably a good idea to glop a bunch of RTV on that exposed wire bus before doing anything with them.
Hot glue is preferred for electrical stabilization. RTV is too flexible.
 
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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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15,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I know my skill set and micro-soldering wires the thickness of human hairs isn't among them. I conjured up a new configuration for the engine compartment that used two 3' LED strips and just one 2' LED strip, which enabled me to chop off the other 2 footer and splice it's wires onto the wires that went to the broken 2 footer under the car. I powered up and everything worked, so now it's on to the engine compartment lighting. I'm waiting for my local hardware store to get some more aluminum strips in, which should be tomorrow. We're gonna get brutal cold tonight into tomorrow, so I'll probably do the engine compartment next weekend. Then I'll take the car to a local parking lot at night and make a video of my car driving around with ALL it's lighting in action.

The V lights up front:

IMG_1055.jpg IMG_1059.jpg

:veryhappy
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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15,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Almost done......

After digesting clearance issues, maximum light dispersal, ease of attachment, and the loss of one LED strip, I came up with this easy to attach/remove concept with all the lighting attached to the hood.:

IMG_1061.jpg

I bent the strips to conform to the curves of the hood and it's all entirely attached and held together with wire ties. Snip, snip, and it all comes off.:

IMG_1063.jpg IMG_1065.jpg

I need the controller's antenna to stick out somewhere so that the remote can directly see it, so I attached it in front of the radiator and hopefully the remote can actuate it by the remote infrared beam hitting the antenna through the hood window or the big oval grills at the front of the hood. I won't know until it's all installed. No big deal if I have to raise the hood real quick to turn it on.:

IMG_1066.jpg

The controller for the under-the-car lighting is a bit more hidden because I don't plan on removing that light system and it's antenna can get the remote's signal through the angled grills I installed at the sides of the hood.:

IMG_1067.jpg

I discovered that the LED strips can be cut to length ridiculously easy by just cutting them at a certain spot every 2" along the strip, so I can trim down the lone 36" strip to 24" or so. The two original 24" ones will get mounted vertically on the hood with the 3rd strip mounted horizontally on the strip below the hood window.

:veryhappy
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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15,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #46 ·
After work today I put a few hours into finalizing the assembly of the underhood lighting array. I replaced the wire ties that held the offset mounting brackets to the vertical strips with countersunk nuts and bolts and then attached the peel and stick LED's to the strips, then I bundled up and wire tied the excess wiring. 6 wire ties will be needed to attach the array to my hood supports and one or two to hold the wire bundle near the controller's electrical connector. Tomorrow I'll attach the array and run some somewhat permanent power from the dome light circuit to the LED controllers.

Underhood lighting set up complete.jpg
 
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