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My take on a more subtle LED cupholder mod

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Old 03-01-2013, 05:34 AM   #1
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My take on a more subtle LED cupholder mod

So like everyone else, I feel like my two front cup holders are dark as hell at night. I have came up with an idea for a mod that will subtly illuminate the base of the cup holder while the entire bulb is completely invisible from all angles. I pretty much want to see blue, but not get blinded in anyway when I look down.

I noticed the cup holder divider is hollow underneath for up to an inch in some areas. My plan is to line the interior of the bottom side of the divider with mirror board (reflective cardboard available at craft stores) to better reflect the light down and out. The 2 LEDs will be installed facing up (front center and back center of the divider) and thus the mirror board helps reflect the light.

Thoughts on this - The divider sits just above the base of the cup holder, I think just enough to let enough light out (2 LEDs should be plenty). I mean sometimes I throw change in the there and the coins will slide from one end to the other, so I have almost an 1/8" of an inch to work with after everything is snapped into place. My plan is to give it more of a cascaded light on the bottoms of the cup holders, kind of like standing in a dark hallway outside a bedroom with a light on.

I'm going to tackle this project tomorrow and hope it goes as planned. I hope enough light escapes and everything looks good when said and done. I will definitely upload some picture as soon as I get it going and will post night pictures tomorrow night to see the final product.

Has anyone done this mode? I noticed one similar but little cuts were made on the divider and looked like the bulb was visible from the driver seat. Let me know some thoughts or ideas on this! Any feedback would be great and thanks for making me feel welcome here! Peace. Updates soon!

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Old 03-01-2013, 08:40 AM   #2
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great concept! I would love to see the final product.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:27 AM   #3
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Well the LEDs came earlier than expected and I have the day off so I just tackled this mod. I went with oznium.com 5mm blue LEDs and damn man, they got here in like 2 days from Colorado?! Crazy and awesome.

Anyway, tons of new step by step (day by daaayyy) pictures!!

The lights

Testing a couple on my off season motorcycle battery. Yay they work.

Disassembled console

Trace divider with pencil and center your lights accordingly!

Bulbs measures 3/16" wide

Drill first with pilot bit

Drill holes to 3/16" (I used an actual 3/16" bit and it worked perfect)

Nice and snug

Bottom... SNUG!

All clean!

Locate shifter bulb and turn and remove. Free green wires from clip.

Expose wire!

Testing bulbs! When connecting to the greens, it will only work one way, so connect and turn on head lights...blue? Good. Off? Switch em.

Yup. Good to go.

Tape your wires up (didn't get a picture) and feed them over towards the cup holder. I wrapped around this plastic ducting tube to secure them better in place.

Push the bulbs through the cup holder. A 3/16" hole was perfect for me. The bulbs are snug and I had to really push to get them to sit all the way in. No glue required.

Turn key. We have light!

Install the divider. Because it's somewhat hollow underneath, it clears the bulbs fine. I still need to do the mirror board on the underside to better reflect the light because I don't think it will be bright enough without it.

All clean.


Now we wait for darkness. In the meantime, I will go to the store and get some mirror board to cut out for underneath the divider to reflect the light back down. I will take pictures of that when I do it and upload those pictures and of course pictures of the final product when it gets dark out. Pics will be uploaded tonight. Will update again later. Thanks for watching, enjoy!
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:36 AM   #4
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Ive seen a similar method but the person drilled a few small holes in the sides of the plastic divider to let some light escape from the sides of it.

here are pics from my first cup holder led mod. I didnt want to clog your thread up with my pics so here is the link to my gallery.

Granted the light will be a lot brighter this way.

I got my leds from superbrightleds.com and they included LED holders (little black clips that hold them in place) and longer wire.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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I noticed the 3 holes below the AC controls are you adding LEDs there as well?
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie Runner View Post


Ive seen a similar method but the person drilled a few small holes in the sides of the plastic divider to let some light escape from the sides of it.

here are pics from my first cup holder led mod. I didnt want to clog your thread up with my pics so here is the link to my gallery.

Granted the light will be a lot brighter this way.

I got my leds from superbrightleds.com and they included LED holders (little black clips that hold them in place) and longer wire.
Are those 3mm or 5mm led bulbs you used? The light looks good and I'm hoping 2 5mm bulbs hidden underneath will still work out. I kinda just wanted to avoid the direct beam look and being able to see the bulb. I want it more subtle but obviously visible. Won't know til it gets dark out.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by undecided View Post
I noticed the 3 holes below the AC controls are you adding LEDs there as well?
Haha, good eye! I bought my truck used and unfortunately the previous owner put 3 screws through the face to hold his satellite radio receiver. Kinda bums me out. But no I don't plan for LEDs there. The holes are all off centered and junk and I don't really know what to do to cover them up. Maybe a TRD decal or carbon fiber strip or something.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasnowma View Post
Haha, good eye! I bought my truck used and unfortunately the previous owner put 3 screws through the face to hold his satellite radio receiver. Kinda bums me out. But no I don't plan for LEDs there. The holes are all off centered and junk and I don't really know what to do to cover them up. Maybe a TRD decal or carbon fiber strip or something.
That makes me mad for you I wouldnt have bought the truck just because of that. I try and be careful with mods that involve cutting /drilling. Once you start with the cutting tools, you have to be commited to make sure that part isnt coming out. Ever. just my .02
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:35 PM   #10
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New pictures. This is the method I used to try and reflect some of that light back down. Also, at the end, a couple pictures of the finished product, with the LEDs on... though it's still pretty light outside.

Went to Michael's craft store and bought a sheet of mirror board. $2.00

Get all necessary shit together! Scissors, pen, razor blade, tape.

Trace.

Cut that bad larry out and tape it to the bottom of the divider.

After taping it to the bottom with some scotch tape, I just followed the inside edge of the divider, slowly carving the mirror board into shape.

All cut out.

Shiny.

Push it into place.

Misc tools and junk.

Installed, lights off.

Installed, lights on.

A little further back.


It's not quite dark enough yet. When it's completely dark outside, I literally cannot see anything in the console area. I will get some real, final finished product pictures in a couple hours or so. The light seems really tame so far, but I do like the way it kind of lines the inside of the divider. What do you guys think?
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:37 PM   #11
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Here we go. Finished product in the darkness.























I think it came out pretty good. It's a bit brighter in person than what the pictures depict. Anyway, this idea came to me while checking out the other cup holder mods and looking around my own truck. I just wanted to be able to see my cup holders at night and not be blinded or see any kind of bulb. I think this looks pretty good for the time being and serves it's purpose quite nicely. Lemme know your thoughts on the mod and pictures and ask away if you have any questions. Thanks for checking my work out and sorry about the huge pictures!
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:16 PM   #12
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Looks great. I actually have all the stuff to do my truck and plan on doing it this weekend or next. I have been thinking of how to do a more subtle lighting like you have. My wife has a 2010 Venza and the lighted cupholders are very subtle but have the perfect amount of light.

One question for you though. As you said it is brighter in person. I purchased two orange leds from the same site. I went with orange to match the rest of the lights. How well do you think the orange will reflect?
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qckslvr2234 View Post
Looks great. I actually have all the stuff to do my truck and plan on doing it this weekend or next. I have been thinking of how to do a more subtle lighting like you have. My wife has a 2010 Venza and the lighted cupholders are very subtle but have the perfect amount of light.

One question for you though. As you said it is brighter in person. I purchased two orange leds from the same site. I went with orange to match the rest of the lights. How well do you think the orange will reflect?
I'd say it's only a bit brighter in person. You can kind of relate the amount of blue to the orange on the radio. Everything was at full brightness. So if the orange seems a little dim, then the blue will look a little less dim. Also, I should add that the mirror board in the divider tends to come loose going over bumps and stuff so I'm gonna have to super glue the edges into place so it stays put.

I have not seen Venza interior in person so I'm not really sure how similar it would be, but this mod lighting I would say is very subtle in person and you can make out the rims of the cup holders just fine.

It seems like orange lighting may be a bit less reflective and bright but I'm sure it would look great in person. Very subtle. Let me know if/when you install it and if you use this method, I'd like to see it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:54 PM   #14
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I like it. I may have to do that to mine. Subtle is much better than obnoxiously bright. I like how dim the light inside the truck is for driving st night, but dislike how its hard to see where cubbies and other things are.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:50 PM   #15
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looks great! now put a bottle of water in there and see if it will make it glow! haha
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:51 PM   #16
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #17
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Nice. Wish I had thought to do it that way.
Same place I got power for mine.
I just used 1 LED and cut a notch in the middle of the divider. The way it is in this pic was too bright so I just pulled the LED up into the hollow of the divider and turned it to shine downward.
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My take on a more subtle LED cupholder mod-09-cup.jpg   My take on a more subtle LED cupholder mod-fin.jpg  
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:31 AM   #18
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looks great! now put a bottle of water in there and see if it will make it glow! haha
Haha I have one up there. If you missed it, then I guess that means it doesn't light up the bottle too well.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:38 AM   #19
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Nice. Wish I had thought to do it that way.
Same place I got power for mine.
I just used 1 LED and cut a notch in the middle of the divider. The way it is in this pic was too bright so I just pulled the LED up into the hollow of the divider and turned it to shine downward.
I thought about doing it this way, I figured I could get the best use of the light like that but didn't want to have to deal with the wires and moving the bulbs every time I needed to remove the divider or clean in there. I went with the mirror board cut out to reflect the light and try and avoid all that.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:27 AM   #20
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Got me excited, just ordered LEDs going to try this next week!
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