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The silver bullet now sports a solid state LED domelight. Aside from looking very "cool", it has the advantage of 80 percent lower current drain. If I work on the car during the day and don't notice that it is on, it doesn't drain the relatively small 12 volt battery. The standard 5 Watt dome light draws about half an Ampere, the LEDs draw about one twelfth of an ampere.

The light is made up from 3 white LEDs obtained from 3 UFO style keychain flashlights. (5 dollars CDN each) The leds are connected in series and mounted on a small piece of double clad fibreglass board. A 47 ohm resistor and a blocking diode limit the current and prevent reverse voltage damage. Two leds are pointed at the seats and one is pointed at the dash. The inside of the car looks like it is lit by moonlight. 8)

Note the light level varies slightly when the motor is running due to the setup's sensitivity to voltage variations. Of course if the motor is runnig you can turn on the other two "map" lights.

An interesting variation on this would be to use coloured LEDs.
 

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Sounds cool, how about some pics? I wish I knew something about electrical stuff, at least in a practical way...

Hey, mine has 100% less drain. I leave it off . :p
 

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Well my OEM dome light uses ZERO current draw. I keep it turned off, as I've done will all the cars I've ever owned. I hate being blinded by car dome lights at night and it isn't needed during the day.
 

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I have kept mine in the off position myself for years, mainly because I've had to jump too many cars (mine included) where the dome light has been left on. Sounds like red LEDs would solve the night blind issue for you.
 
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I replaced mine with red LED's. Map lights are white LED's. I also ran wires down to under the dash where I put one red LED on each side pointing at the floor. Red doesn't screw up one's night vision the way white and other colors do. I also put red LED's in the rear hatch light. I bought all the LED's from superbrightleds.com. I'm quite pleased with the results.
 

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Thanks for the tip on superbrightleds. Sounds like a really nice installation! Do you use a resistor in series to control current? (I'm working on an active current limit circuit now.)
 
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b1shmu63 said:
Thanks for the tip on superbrightleds. Sounds like a really nice installation! Do you use a resistor in series to control current? (I'm working on an active current limit circuit now.)
Yes. I started out with pre-made "bulbs" that are plug-in replacements, which already have resistors built in. But that wasn't bright enough, so I added bare LED's and resistors. I'd have to check the values I used, but it depends on current draw of the individual or cluster of LED's and the input voltage (12-14v). A single super bright LED generally consumes about 20 milliamps.
 

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Ma wee bit O Scotish blood sayd dunna dooo it ladee......Then in a moment of weakness, realising it was three and a half hours driving to the nearest electronics wholesaler.......I gave in.

Next time I'll order a bag of them online. 8)
 

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If its at all possible, can someone post a schematic of this little baby? I've been wanting to get rid of the incandescents but I don't quite have the knowhow to throw one together without instructions.

TIA,
Joe
 

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Ceiling Light Schematic

1st generation Insight interior lights: in the technical information I downloaded (see this thread), on page 60 of wiring.pdf, there is a diagram for the interior lights wiring.

A quick summary: Fuse 19 under the dash powers a white/blue wire that supplies power to the dome light and the cargo area light. The door switches provide a signal to the gauge cluster CPU, as well as the keyless door lock control unit. The dome light itself is switched on/off by a green/red wire from the keyless door lock unit that is grounded when the doors are open, or for a few seconds after you unlock the doors or after you turn off the car. And, a black ground wire allows for the dome light to be on when switched on, regardless of the state of the keyless door lock control unit. It is also the ground for the map lights.

Now, for the confusing part. The actual interior wiring of the Ceiling Light/Spotlights assembly is shown on the diagram, but it is wrong:!: If you know anything about electricity, you don't have to look at it for too long before you realize it can never work correctly, wired like that.

So I took my dome light out to check how it is really wired. As I started to take it out, I almost stopped, thinking it is obvious how it must be wired, to work correctly with the three wires I just described going to it. But, there was one more intriguing thing - a fourth unused terminal shown with a blue wire connected to it inside the assembly. With a good part of the ceiling light/spotlights assembly diagram being incorrect, it was not completely obvious what this fourth terminal might be used for. So, I proceeded.

What I found (image attached):
terminal 1: white/blue power wire connected externally, red internal
terminal 2: unused externally, blue internal wire, described below
terminal 3: ground, black wires both inside and outside the assembly
terminal 4: green/red wire from keyless control unit, green wire internal.
Wire colors in the assembly in my 2002 Insight are red, dark red, green, black, blue, yellow, and beige as shown on the attached image, or at Ceiling Light Assm circuits share, the site I used to draw the schematic.

The unused connector (terminal 2, blue wire in the assembly) can be used for powering other lights that you would like to be switched along with the dome light, such as footwell lights or additional ceiling lights. This is assuming you can manage to get a wire all the way from the dome light location down to the footwells - it might be easier to use the signal wire from the keyless door lock control unit and run power from somewhere else.

Note that the cargo area light is already separate, switched by the door switches directly instead of by the keyless door lock control unit. So, it shouldn't come on unless the doors are open.
 

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I used a 48smd panel in my domelight. It came with an adapter, so I didn't have to do any wiring. It's significantly brighter than a standard bulb. :)

 

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I used a 48smd panel in my domelight. It came with an adapter, so I didn't have to do any wiring. It's significantly brighter than a standard bulb. :)
Same, was sure someone else had the same SMD as me.. lol.

Why are we even worried about current draw from a dome light in the first place? A few seconds of full assist will use more power than those incandescent dome light bulbs would use over the entire course of ownership of the car.

I swapped out my dome light for more brightness when I actually need/use the light.
 
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