How to Install LED Strip Lightsby Emmalise Mac
Custom cars sometimes include custom accent lighting as a final touch to highlight the lines of the grill or headlights or illuminate the foot wells inside the vehicle. Flat LED strips fit easily into gaps between trim panels and are easily adapted for various lighting solutions. You can cut flat LED lighting strips to the desired length for any project and connect them to existing vehicle wiring. By connecting the LED wiring to various auto light circuits, you can control when the lights are illuminated.
Cut LED strip lights to the desired length by cutting between groups of lights, according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Expose and strip the ends of the wires leading to the LED lights.
Identify the wiring circuit you will tap into to power the lights--the circuit you use will determine when the lights are on. For example, you might install LED lights that blink with the turn signal.
Use the voltage tester to identify the correct wire. For example, disconnect the wiring harness for the turn signal, turn on the signal, and probe the wiring harness to identify the wire carrying the current.
Identify the fuse for the wiring circuit you plan to tap into, and remove the fuse. Tap into the wiring circuit, using a pinch-type splitter to connect a length of wire to connect to the LED lights--simply insert the wire ends into the splitter and pinch closed. Wrap the splitter and wire bundle with electrical tape.
Route the wiring to the location where you will install the LED lights, using electrician's fish wire to pull wire beneath carpets. Glue the wiring in place under trim panels if needed. Strip the end of the power wire and solder it to one wire on the LED strip light--cover the soldered wires with electrical tape.
Strip both ends of a length of wire long enough to reach from the LED lights to a bolt or screw on the frame of the vehicle. Loosen the bolt and connect one end of the wire to it. Route the other end of the wire to the LED lights and solder it to the LED ground wire. Cover the soldered wires with electrical tape.
Mount the LED lighting strips in place securely with silicone adhesive or zip ties.
Things You'll Need
- LED light strips
- Double-sided tape or silicone adhesive
- Zip ties
- Utility knife
- 18-gauge sheathed wire
- Pinch-type wire splitter
- Wire-stripping tool
- Socket or crescent wrench set
- Soldering iron and solder
- Electrical tape
- Electrician's fish wire (interior installation)
- 12 V voltage tester
Emmalise Mac has been writing professionally since 2006 and her work has been published online, in newsletters, newspapers and scientific journals and in wildlife guidebooks. She has published on topics including wildlife, pets and pet health, science, gardening, outdoor activities and crafts. She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in biology.