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Old 17th August 2014, 13:36   #1
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Default DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

After completing some minor interior LED mods

LED Mods (Fiat Linea T-Jet : LED Mods / Upgrades)

I decided to work on the tail lights of my TJet.

I'll keep the DIY short and sweet

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-1.jpg

Tail lights removed from the car. As you can probably tell from the blankets , this project was started sometime last winter !

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-2.jpg

Lens removed (dremelled out). Unlike headlights , the tail light lenses in most cars are perma-sealed to the housings. This makes it almost impossible to take them apart without breaking/cracking them. I was lucky to find just the lenses at my neighborhood spare parts shop. I bought two sets , the first of which I promptly ruined trying to smoke/clear coat/clear..

Lesson : Acetone and plastic lenses do not go well together !

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-3.jpg

Here you can see how curved the lights are. This caused a lot of headaches , trying to get the LED's/boards angled properly.

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-4.jpg

Instead of smoking/tinting the lenses , I decided to paint the housings black. This gives a subtle smoked look overall without any compromises to brightness , and also helps hide the inevitable imperfections inside caused by the DIY..

The OEM lights have 5 bulbs in all - park,brake,fog,reverse and turn.

On to the boards :

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0001.jpg

The square board is one which has the voltage regulators for each set of LED's and a bank of resistors to reduce current for the parking lights. The other boards are for the LED's themselves.

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0002.jpg

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0003.jpg

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0004.jpg

Tinned the boards with solder to minimize oxidations and painted them black

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0005.jpg

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0009.jpg

Added SMD resistors

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0010.jpg

And finally the LED's

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0013.jpg

I went with simple circular layouts for all the red sections. The turn and reverse sections are rectangular.

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0014.jpg

Back of the boards after soldering the LED's. You can also see a few green jumpers which could probably have been avoided with some more meticulous routing of the circuits !

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0015.jpg

This is the controller. Has the input/output screw terminals , regulators/heatsinks , capacitors and resistors (added after the pic). LED's run at reduced current for park lights and full brightness for brakes/fogs. The more elegant way of dimming is by way of PWM (pulse width modulation) but that method has its own complications..

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0016.jpg

This is the other controller which does a little magic with the turn signals

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0017.jpg

Boards put in place

DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet-dsc_0018.jpg

and lit ! Here you see them at full brightness.

Video of the lights in action :



Thanks for reading !

PS - This DIY took around 7 months , with gaps in between. All things considered , I would rate the final output 6.5/10.

I have omitted the minute details above. If you guys have questions , I'll be happy to answer...

Last edited by ZBlue : 25th August 2014 at 00:22.
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Old 25th August 2014, 11:06   #2
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Modifications Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th August 2014, 11:10   #3
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Wow, the turn indicator is fantastic. Ingenious DIY. What the total cost of the mod ?
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Old 25th August 2014, 11:27   #4
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Wonderful D-I-Y, the brake lights remind me of the previous generation's Jetta.
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Old 25th August 2014, 12:29   #5
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Nice work and thanks for posting.

BTW, have you worked out how much the DIY cost you? I'm sure it will work out to be way cheaper than the 15-20k that aftermarket vendors charge for such lamps. Nevertheless, curious to know the final figure.
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Old 25th August 2014, 14:59   #6
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Excellent work! A lot of efforts must have gone into this DIY. Truly appreciated.

I have some queries:

1. Regarding the circuit boards - I am assuming you bought those copper clad boards, transferred the designs to the board, used a solution for etching, drilled the holes and tinning the board.
  • How did you transfer the design to the board? Printed?

  • What chemical solution did you use for etching? Ferric Chloride?

  • How did you have the copper traces on the board tinned?

2. How did you blacken the reflector of the lamp? Was the chrome removed before the process?

3. Surprised that the tail lamp cluster was held together using the rubber butyl glue just like the headlamps. All the headlamps are joined this way but as far as tail lights go, this is something new to me. How did you remove the two parts? By heating them in an oven or using a heat gun?

Please do share the circuit diagram of the controllers (unless it is a trade secret!) so it may be of help to others.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:14   #7
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Excellent work! A lot of efforts must have gone into this DIY. Truly appreciated.

I have some queries:

1. Regarding the circuit boards - I am assuming you bought those copper clad boards, transferred the designs to the board, used a solution for etching, drilled the holes and tinning the board.
  • How did you transfer the design to the board? Printed?
  • The design was printed on glossy paper with a laser printer and then transferred to the boards by ironing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
  • What chemical solution did you use for etching? Ferric Chloride?
  • Yes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
  • How did you have the copper traces on the board tinned?
  • You just cover the board with liquid flux and paint it over with solder with a soldering iron. Expensive tinning solutions are also available abroad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
2. How did you blacken the reflector of the lamp? Was the chrome removed before the process?
I just rubbed them really well with 400-600 grit sandpaper to scuff up the chrome as much as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
3. Surprised that the tail lamp cluster was held together using the rubber butyl glue just like the headlamps. All the headlamps are joined this way but as far as tail lights go, this is something new to me. How did you remove the two parts? By heating them in an oven or using a heat gun?
I think you misread a little What I meant to say was that the tail lights do not have any butyl. The lens and housing are as good as one piece , probably assembled by ultrasonic welding. I just cracked the lens open and dremelled out all of the remaining bits and pieces to form the channels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Please do share the circuit diagram of the controllers (unless it is a trade secret!) so it may be of help to others.
Will do that soon ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by coloneljasi View Post
Nice work and thanks for posting.

BTW, have you worked out how much the DIY cost you? I'm sure it will work out to be way cheaper than the 15-20k that aftermarket vendors charge for such lamps. Nevertheless, curious to know the final figure.
Collectively , the LED's are the most expensive components , totalling about 8K in all (red,amber and white). The white LED's are especially pricey at about a dollar each (Nichia).

Apart from that , the other electric components like regulators , resistors , diodes , etc. are really cheap. I would put the total cost of all components used only for this project at around 10K. Of course , this excludes stuff that will come in handy otherwise as well and are more expensive e.g. laser printer , dremel , soldering station etc...


Quote:
Originally Posted by batterylow View Post
Wonderful D-I-Y, the brake lights remind me of the previous generation's Jetta.
Thanks !

Quote:
Originally Posted by F150 View Post
Wow, the turn indicator is fantastic. Ingenious DIY. What the total cost of the mod ?
Thank you !

Last edited by benbsb29 : 4th September 2014 at 04:57. Reason: Posy edited to include quotes. Plz avoid typing replies in bold within a quoted post. Corrected for now.
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Old 25th August 2014, 17:50   #8
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Default re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Really amazing lighting! I saw your progress on that forum(am a member there too) and knew that it would turn out to be epic!!

The way you designed the boards is very professional!!
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Old 26th August 2014, 11:08   #9
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Talking re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

WOW! Excellent piece of work. Kudos to your patience. 7 months for a mod is too long. But the output is so brilliant. From distance that turn indicator will definitely attract a second or third look, in fact staring.

Cheers!

Vinu
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Old 3rd September 2014, 22:51   #10
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Default Re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

I really cannot believe you did that yourself. Seeing the video, i was astonished at the results. The indicator lights are drool-worthy. Congratulations.
I wouldn't dare do this on my car.
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Old 3rd September 2014, 23:23   #11
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Default Re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Impressive DIY job! Designing to execution, all done nicely. Appreciate the effort and the results. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th September 2014, 08:47   #12
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Default Re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Any warning signals that you might have witnessed on the dash board due to change in current requirements of LED as against the incandescent lamps (original fit).

If none, then the new Punto Evo tail light set should also be a straight fit in the old models.

Clean work I must say.

Cheers !
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Old 4th September 2014, 10:44   #13
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Default Re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
Any warning signals that you might have witnessed on the dash board due to change in current requirements of LED as against the incandescent lamps (original fit).

If none, then the new Punto Evo tail light set should also be a straight fit in the old models.

Clean work I must say.

Cheers !
No warning lights because for most of the sections , the power draw for the LED's is approximately equal to that of the original bulbs.

Only the reverse LED's consume around 1/4 the power of the reverse bulbs , but those are not monitored by CANBUS.
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Old 4th September 2014, 11:15   #14
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Default Re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

quite a good job considering that you dare to try this out with the canbus circuit and managed an error free display. The results are very impressive. T Jet looks have gone to a different level all together.
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Old 4th September 2014, 11:38   #15
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Default Re: DIY: LED Tail lights on my Fiat Linea T-Jet

Very neat job @Zblue!

I got here looking for LED replacement bulbs for my TJet when one has blown and found this treasure.

Really want to see the diagram. I am certain I will be able to do this without much hassle. I've done a fair amount of this in the past.
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