F430 Double Tail Lights : Illuminate all rear lights - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 25 Old 02-24-2012, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Double Tail Lights : Illuminate all rear lights

This mod consists in using both inner and outer tail lights for the position/parking and stop lights. Doing this will make your car much more visible especially when youíre braking as all 8 light bulbs (4 halves on each side) will illuminate. Same for the position/parking lights but using a lower intensity. Before going into the details, this mod concerns only the EURO cars. It canít be done directly on the US cars as their tail lights operate in a very different way.

If youíve read my previous post, http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/modern-v8s-360-f430/16267-led-tail-lights-comparison.html, I explained that connecting 8x21W light bulbs would require a total current of 14Amp or 7Amp on each side! This mod can only be done if you consider also to install one of the LED light bulbs. In my case, Iím using the 6W High Power Lights (permalink) which will drain a maximum current of 4Amp for all 8 lights. On each side, that will be a maximum of 2Amp, so weíre safe as it wonít blow the fuses. Remember that with a blown stop light fuse, on a F1 car, you wonít be able to select a gear anymore.

I must say that the initial idea came from my friend Anders because he found out how to connect the internal parts of the bulb holder to make both bulbs working together. As we had to deal with the excessive current needed to illuminate all 5/21W incandescent light bulbs, the only solution was to use LED lights. The other challenge was the fog light. Fog lights are mandatory in Europe and even if there is very little chance weíre going to drive such car in the mist, fog lights have to be operational and are always checked by the inspection services. As the initial fog light was now also used as a stop light, I had to use a SPDT Reed relay between the stop and fog light. A Reed relay was fine as I needed to switch only a couple of 100mA for the LED lights.

Now that Iím using the 6W Led lights, the system must be upgraded because my Reed relays incorporated in the tail light wire harness, wonít be able to cope with such currents. The easy way would be to insert a bigger SPDT relay. As such relays are electromechanical relays, they are prone to failure and sensitive to heat. This is not something I can consider in an area like the engine bay. Finaly, itís quite easy to replace a relay using only passive electronic components. 2 diodes in parallel working as an OR gate and 2 resistors will give exactly the same results as a SPDT relay. This is a very reliable way to resolve situation where both Fog and Stop power inputs must power the same lights.

Here is the schematic of the new solution

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To understand better how the tail light connectors are wired, I made this document to have a better overview

Taillights Connectors.pdf

In the next posts, I will explain how to modify the wire harnesses and how to practically implement the electronic parts but here is already a picture of the final result where all electronic components are integrated in a very small thermal protected and air sealed case.

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post #2 of 25 Old 02-25-2012, 08:05 AM
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You're the Man Stef, looking forward to some final result pictures.

On a side note, how do I determine whether my car was built based EURO vs US configuration?
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post #3 of 25 Old 02-25-2012, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mohammed . Actually all non-US cars are EURO based cars. I think that US cars have a different indicator light (not the small centre light as on non-US cars) as well as their stop light. But I hope a USA F430 owner can confirm this?
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post #4 of 25 Old 02-26-2012, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Just found out that on the US cars, both halves of the inner tail lights are used as turn signals. On EUR cars, the turn signal is located in the orange centre of the outer light (which is empty on the US cars).
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post #5 of 25 Old 02-26-2012, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the wiring schema of the stock tail lights wire harness as well as a picture of this wiring in "real live" (once I've removed all the sticky tapes).

Name:  F430 Stock Taillights Schema.jpg
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As you can see, pin 3 of the inner connector is empty. This is something we'll have to consider in the upgrade as we want to bring the position/parking lights also in the inner tail light.

Corresponding wire harness :

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post #6 of 25 Old 02-27-2012, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the schema of the upgraded wire loom. An extra yellow wire is added to power the position/parking lights of the inner tail light. The swithing circuit as described in the first post, will switch between the stop or fog light of the inner tail light. This upgraded wire loom will allow both half inner lights to be illuminated as parking lights, stop lights or fog lights. Of course, there is still work to be done to make the bulb holders illuminating all lights.
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Last edited by StefVan; 02-28-2012 at 12:19 PM. Reason: updated schema
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post #7 of 25 Old 02-28-2012, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Here are some pictures of the upgraded wire harness integrating the new switching circuit.

Name:  F430 Upgraded Taillights Wiring 1.jpg
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I've protected the soldered contacts with a specific self-fusing butyl rubber tape to avoid any oxidation as this wire loom can potentially be exposed to the humidity of water splash.

Name:  F430 Upgraded Taillights Wiring 2.jpg
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After all bench tests made, the last step is the wrap the entire harness with a waterproof cloth tape and the harness is ready to go
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post #8 of 25 Old 03-01-2012, 05:12 AM
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Well done Stef, can't wait to see the finished product after all you have gone through getting this system to work
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-02-2012, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks mate, we're almost done
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-02-2012, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Now the LHS wire harness is ready too. This one integrates 2 extra wires to power the engine bay lights through a remote controllable unit. Power is provided from the position/parking lights.

Here’s a picture where an identical switch unit is integrated into the LHS wire harness before final wrapping it.

Name:  F430 Upgraded Taillights Wiring 3.jpg
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Now, on the bulb holder side, there is still some work to do because the adaptation of the wire harness isn’t all. The outer bulb holder is very easy. As shown on the picture, you just need to make the link by soldering both sides together. That will illuminate the brake lights on both halves. If you want the brake lights on both halves of only the outer tail lights, that’s all you need to do. No need to change the wire harness. Just put a big drop of solder and that’s it (I should have started with this simple mod in the beginning of this thread ).

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The inner bulb holder transformation is a much bigger job and requires some dexterity. The existing fog light bulb holder must be removed (the other half is empty). As there is no way to insert new BAY15D bulb holders, we’ll have to wire it and solder them directly on the bulbs which can then be inserted carefully into the chassis.

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Now it’s time for a bench test to make sure that all lights illuminate by providing power on the different pins of the main connector. It’s important also to simulate brake + fog light and brake without fog light, and make sure there is no voltage/current leak. Here’s a picture with all 4 position/parking lights on. In the foreground, you can see my remote controllable dimmer unit for the engine bay lights on which I improved the electronics, rewired it and added superseal connectors.

Name:  All tail lights on test.jpg
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Alright, tomorrow, time to put it all back in the car

For those who are interested, I can make the entire wire harnesses so that they can replace the existing one without having to cut a single wire (I have the specific connectors so that it can be directly plugged into the tail lights and the main connector). But for the moment, I haven't found a way to replace the inner tail light bulb holder by an upgraded one. This part isn't sold separately from the tail light and making a mold of it would be very expensive unless thousands of them can be sold.

Last edited by StefVan; 03-03-2012 at 01:30 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #11 of 25 Old 03-03-2012, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a couple of pictures with the results. The brake lights are so so bright that my iPhone couldn't handle so much red light. Sorry for the quality of these pictures. I'm very very happy with the result of this upgrade as well as these 6W LED lights! The next guy who is tailgating me (and this happens all the time) will have a good flash in his eyes as soon as I step on the brakes (or he'll have to deal with this DONT TAILGATE PEOPLE!!!! - YouTube)

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post #12 of 25 Old 03-04-2012, 08:05 AM
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Thank for the shots Stef, do you think they turned out too bright? was someone holding the brakes when you took these shots or are these while stationary?

I think there is some sort of camera option on the iphone for shooting bright objects, ill look it up.
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post #13 of 25 Old 03-04-2012, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Yes Mohammed, my wifey was holding the brakes while I took the pictures (look at the centre stop light). They aren't too bright, but for LED lights, they are truly the best I even seen and much better than classical bulbs. I agree, the quality of the pictures is horrible. I wasn't able to make a clear picture with the brake lights on. If you know an option on the Iphone to take such picture, I'll take with great pleasure
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post #14 of 25 Old 03-04-2012, 01:25 PM
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Thanks for the info Stef, the whole thing looks different now. They look great IMO. Let us know if you still like them within a couple of days of running it like that.

Many manufacturers are going brighter on tail lights as they release newer models, the 458 single tail lights are pretty bright, and big.

The pics might have been better with stationary lights I guess.
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-06-2012, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again Mohammed for your support . I took a couple of more pictures so that you can have better idea of the parking lights and fog lights. I took these pictures with a sunny day light.

Position/Parking lights
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Position/Parking + Fog lights
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I'm now studying how to "3D Laser Scan" the light bulb holder plastic part to get it reproduced and offer the modified version of it without having to alter the original parts.
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post #16 of 25 Old 03-09-2012, 05:07 AM
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Stef, WOW, that looks just great ....... Thank you!
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post #17 of 25 Old 03-10-2012, 08:01 AM
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Amazing...as always. This mod I can never do. Seriously...I'll probably set the car on fire.
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-10-2012, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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That's why I'm now working out an entire plug & play kit so that buddies like you can also enjoy such mod
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post #19 of 25 Old 08-02-2012, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Just a little update on this project . I'm now in contact with several companies to specify the production of the bulb holder mold (2/3 plate mold) as well as the modified metallic insert. Once the process and cost (massive...) of the mold (200kg to 300kg depending on the number of plates/cavities/cores) has been fixed/agreed, the production itself of the parts is very straight forward.

One of the two wire harnesses (LHS) will also have an optional position/parking light power output for those who are interested in installing an engine bay light. This option will come with a remote control unit to power on/off or dim the engine bay light.
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-18-2012, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Some update on this thread too as I’ve made huge progress on this project. It does take a lot of research up to the smallest details to allow a perfect fit while the bulb holder has been considerably redesigned. Thus, I re-engineering the tail light bulb holder and the final prototype is now perfect. The bulb holder will integrate also all the needed electronics. The creation of the injection mold is now progressing and I will be able to launch soon the production of the new bulb holders.

I’ve also specified and designed new LED light bulbs which are now very very bright, well brighter than a normal light bulb or a 6/7.5W LED light. The challenge was to combine an extreme high level of luminance, two independent current drivers, a maximum rated current of 300mA and a specific designed heat sink + special silicone to dissipate the heat. All this must fit in a normal 1157/1156 light bulb! I did the same for the center signal lights which will also be LED based but using the same high technology. I will launch soon the production of them too. I designed also the 4 and 6 way boots/sleeves which are also ready to be launched for production. Same for the super seal connectors and bulb holder seals. All in all, all the different components are now very ready to be produced. As always, the system will be entirely plug and play and will considerably improve the tail lights but keeping the look 100% stock. Clients will be able to specify their custom configuration like all 4 taillights parking/stop or any other combination like for instance outer full parking lights and inner full stop lights and why not, half left outer and half right inner stop or parking lights I can’t post pictures yet, secrecy obliged but will as soon as the kit is ready.
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