Custom Third Brake Light (LED) - Reference Pics

Discussion in 'Electrical Systems' started by CDesperado, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. CDesperado

    CDesperado Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    As I get closer to finishing my project, I've noticed far too many "distracted drivers" on the road. Since most people are used to looking for a brake light that is more eye-level, I decided to add a third brake light to my car using an LED strip.

    I did have some specific goals:
    • My overall goal is to make this a very "stealth" brake light - I do not want something big and bulky sitting on the rear deck nor did I want something too big getting "taped" to the rear window. I wanted a professional look that is minimally noticeable when looking inside the car.
    • This strip will not have sequential capabilities or anything fancy - all I want to do is add the extra light.
    • For the wiring, I didnt want to have to deal with Relays or anything too fancy, other than possibly an in-line fuse (which I probably dont really need)
    • Also for the wiring, I want to future-proof this solution to make it easy to remove it in case I come up with a better idea in the future

    I will do a full write-up of what I have done soon, but before I do that, I wanted to get some feedback from you guys and show you some reference pictures.

    For this build, I am using a 4.5" LED strip that is typically used on motorcycles and trailers.

    The item I bought was $10, and you get two strips.
    [​IMG]

    To be blunt, I am torn between two different orientations on this and I thought yall might like to see some of my experiments and weigh in on what you like, or dont like.

    This is Option 1 - It's one strip mounted dead center in the back window (ie, this is 4.5 inches wide). Personally, I liked this the most.
    [​IMG]

    This is Option 2 - It's two strips mounted dead center in the back window (for a total of 9 inches). My friend liked this one the most. And, after looking at most newer cars that have these lights, the light bar itself is usually 8 to 10 inches wide. I am sure there is some logic behind this, because nearly every car I looked at (just walking around a parking lot one day) was roughly the same overall width, regardless of the manufacturer.

    This looks a little wonky because the two strips arent exactly parallel. I was just taping this in place with painters tape.
    [​IMG]


    This is Option 3 - It's two strips mounted with some separation. But it kind of reminds of a cop car light.
    [​IMG]

    This is Option 4 - It's two strips mounted with a lot of separation. This was how I originally intended to do it, but modern cars never have the lights separated like this. I dont know why, but I am sure there is a reason.
    [​IMG]


    One thing I noticed is that the LEDs are so bright, the light reflects off the glass and illuminates the entire rear deck. To solve this, I am creating a 3D custom bezel that I can print, which will keep the light from spilling out into the cabin.
    [​IMG]
     
    berg2695 likes this.
  2. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    When CHMSL's (Center High Mounted Stop Lamps) were first installed on cars... They tended to be fairly small.
    They seem to have gotten much larger/longer since then.

    I definitely like the looks of your first option with the single LED strip.
    You can probably fabricate/print the housing so it can use the two center mounting screws for the rear headliner trim to hold everything in place.

    The wire can be run under the trim edge, to the driver side, and hooked into the brake light circuit where the rear harness connects by the driver's rear wheel well.
    (I'm guessing you've already figured that out. ;) )

    Once you get the mounting bezel created and see the finished product... I think you could sell a bunch of them to members!

    Nice Work!!!
     
  3. CDesperado

    CDesperado Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    It's funny you mention the size. I'm actually creating two different bezels... One for a single strip and one for a dual strip. That way I will have options. I'm working on the final designs this week and should have some test runs within the next two weeks.

    I've definitely had some different ideas for mounting, and whether I will make it sit flush against the window or let it hover a little bit. I will definitely post more pics once I iron out the designs. If other people are interested let me know, I will be happy to help others do this. I have tried to keep my car pretty faithful to OEM, but these lights are just a good safety idea I think.
     
  4. jamieg285

    jamieg285 Veteran Member

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    Personally, I prefer option 2 and don't like 3 or 4.

    I did something similar a few years ago with an older style LED light and preferred the longer look.
     
  5. Budz

    Budz Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Option 2 would be my preference.....
     
  6. DrPepper

    DrPepper Veteran Member

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    Option 3 is my preference as well.
     
  7. dave@ztech

    dave@ztech Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I like 1 or 2 , 2 is better because of the size I think
     
  8. EVILFACE

    EVILFACE Veteran Member

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    1 or 2. 3 and 4 remind me of a trailer.
     
  9. BonzoHansen

    BonzoHansen Administrator Lifetime Gold Member

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    3/4 look bad to me.
     
  10. grzewnicki

    grzewnicki Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I always thought I'd like to see someone mold it into the center of the 3 piece spoiler, that would be clean if it was done so it looked original. Maybe shaped into the Z28 symbol or is that too overboard, could be a bowtie too. May have to buy a center piece and see what I could come up with, being fiberglass it would be easy to mold it in. If in a year I see someone do this I want a $1.00 for the idea, anyone else thought about that?
     
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