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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, this is a cheap mod and I know a lot of ppl would just buy LED bulbs but the local CanadianTires don't have the LEDs map light for Mazda 3 in stock. So I decided to make my own. This is really nothing special but since I did it, might as well post it. This would also work with taillights if you can figure out how to solder those LEDs.

This is what I used for tools
Soldering Iron
Swiss Army Knife
Cable cutter

This is what I used for material
Solder
white LEDs x 4 (2 in each bulb)
Resistor x 2 (I used 1/4w 220 ohm)
Silicon
Heat shrink
Tape
Printed Circuit Board

Cost
4 LEDs = $0.80
2 Resistors = $0.07
All the solder, silicon, heat shrink & eletricity used to produce these 2 bulbs are probably less than $1
Total Cost comes to less than $2 for a pair of LED bulbs and of course about 30 minutes of my time

I first used http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz to figure out the numbers for resistors but I didn't quite like it because it wasn't pushing the limit. Map light is something you only turn 'em on once in a while and few minutes at a time. With my setup the LEDs are probably running on 3.5V but I tried 4.5V and they didn't burn.

I first wanted them blue but then my girlfriend was against it. Maybe I should try that somewhere else.

This is how I took the map lights out by pushing the tab in the red circle on one side then just pull real hard. I don't know if this is the "correct way" of removing that sucker but this worked for me.


In the red circles there are two sockets for the bulbs, just turn 'em and they'll come out.


Determine the size of board I need by comparing it to the original bulb. I tried using 3 LEDs but the result isn't the best because it's hard to fit 3 LEDs in the housing.


Make sure that the board fits into the socket.


This is what I had before I started soldering anything.


I soldered one side first, with the LED's positive leg on the side facing the camera. It's hard to keep it aligned so I just tape 'em together first.


Then another, but this time with the LED's negative leg on the side facing the camera.


On the other side of the board, I put a resistor inbetween the 2 LEDs. Again, I taped them first so they align. Once done, cut off the legs that are sticking out.


This is what it looked like on one side.


This is what it looked like on the other side.


Put some silicon & heat shrink on


Tested it and it didn't explode.


Put 'em back into the car


I should try using LEDs with wider angles next time...
 

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Must be like the lights on the the plane when you're trying to sleep... they are just so bright.

Good job, I think most people would just pay the $5 or so to get the bulbs. I congratulate you, I would never think of making my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, but when you have like 300 LEDs and 200 resistors sitting around it's just a waste not to use 'em
 

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Discussion Starter #5
[quote author=ebhcr link=topic=65715.msg1126084#msg1126084 date=1167499771]
:shock:

Wholesale?
[/quote]

no, I bought a whole bunch off ebay cuz they're dirt cheap. They're left overs from making my 3rd brake light because I thought I'd screw up pretty bad but I didn't :lol:
 

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Leftovers are usually less than how much you actually used. :wink:

But you're finding ways to use 'em, more power to ya.
 

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I bow before your DIY prowess! Nice job, and it's a bonus to be able to tell ppl that you really did it yourself!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
[quote author=ebhcr link=topic=65715.msg1126799#msg1126799 date=1167543986]
Leftovers are usually less than how much you actually used. :wink:

But you're finding ways to use 'em, more power to ya.
[/quote]

I bought the LEDs off eBay and the resistors from a local store. It cost $1 to get 5 x 1/4 resistors but only cost $3.60 to get 100 of them. So I always buy 100 at a time although I'll never use them up. It's cheaper this way so I know there is always spares. :klavergreg:

I guess having spare parts sitting around helps give incentives on doing things yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
[quote author=kendalf link=topic=65715.msg1126821#msg1126821 date=1167545641]
I bow before your DIY prowess! Nice job, and it's a bonus to be able to tell ppl that you really did it yourself!
[/quote]

Thank you, but I'm not that good, yet, since I just started learning not too long ago. I'm still too chicken shxt to take out my center console and mod the surface mounted LEDs. That'd be pretty bad if I screw that one up lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
[quote author=eiquilla link=topic=65715.msg1128393#msg1128393 date=1167690316]
Wow - this and the 3rd brake light DIY - great job!
Thanks for the detailed instructions and the link too.
I may start doing this...

You noted that you wanted to use blue LEDs.
Perhaps you can look into blue ambient lighting that are independent of the maplights:

http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=50c66731de0d92a4e10f563a315a036a&topic=5963.0
[/quote]

Maybe, but instead of putting a bigger resistor in to make the light dimmer I'd be more curious about how to control the brightness of the light. Maybe tap into the dimming control by the steering wheel? I have no clue where to find those wires.

Yes, I do want to try those blue LEDs that I have but I don't think I can use it as exterior lighting; otherwise I'd like to do this with my license plate lights since it's the same bulb as the map light. I think I'll probably try green cuz I have bunch of those sitting around, too. Hoepfully I don't get pulled over by cops.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
[quote author=TEXAS2LO link=topic=65715.msg1128426#msg1128426 date=1167693226]
anybody knows the real way to take off the map light plastci thingy ??

or is just by pulling it hard ?
[/quote]

In the first picture there is a tab and has another on the other side. I think they're the secret to it.
 
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