F430 Double Tail Lights : Illuminate all rear lights
This page is a chapter in the book F430.
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 because both halves of the inner tail lights are used as turn signals.
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
To understand better how the tail light connectors are wired, I made this document to have a better overview:
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).
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 :
Here is the wire diagram 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.
Here are some pictures of the upgraded wire harness integrating the new switching circuit.
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.
After all bench tests made, the last step is the wrap the entire wire harness with a waterproof cloth tape and the wire harness is ready to go
Now, on the bulb holder side, there is still some work to do because the adaptation of the wire harness isnít 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, thatís all you need to do. No need to change the wire harness. Just put a big drop of solder and thatís it.
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, weíll have to wire it and solder them directly on the bulbs which can then be inserted carefully into the chassis.
Now itís time for a bench test to make sure that all lights illuminate by providing power on the different pins of the main connector. Itís important also to simulate brake + fog light and brake without fog light, and make sure there is no voltage/current leak. Hereís 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.
Here are a couple of pictures with the results:
Upgraded Stop lights
Upgraded Position/Parking lights
Upgraded Position/Parking + Fog lights
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). As for the inner bulb holder upgrade, this part isn't sold separately from the tail light. I'm currently under the way to reproduce these bulb holders and offer an entire "Plug and Play" kit.
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