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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost as soon as I got the car, I upgraded all of the interior bulbs to nice bright LEDs as I disliked the OEM "yellow glow" feel. After fitting the LEDs, I really liked the way the front footwells provided a nice ambient 'uplight' effect, especially with the overheads all turned off, and wanted to see if I could reproduce this effect throughout. Unfortunately, with the overheads off the front was quite dark and I couldn't see anything down by the cupholder/handbrake/centre console area.

I'd seen on here that a number of people had added rear dimming footlights under the front seats, so I hooked a couple of sticky-back LED strips off ebay and got to work. I won't replicate that process here as it's well-documented elsewhere, but as I was going I thought it would be cool to add a few additional lights from the same source. First I added a smaller strip of LEDs under the ashtray recess, which lit up the gear lever well, and then I added two single hi-brite LEDs to the underside of the centre armrest, to light up the handbrake and cupholder area.

First up, I recommend following this guide to remove the centre console. I was keen to hide all the wires so I took out the lot and ran the new wires along the existing loom. (Highlighted yellow)

My new motor looking like she's being attacked!
interior1_zpsaa80e938.jpg
interior2_zpsf7581b9e.jpg


With all the gubbins out the way It's much easier to run a branch from the front footwell lights back to the area under the centre console. This also meant that I could spur from this branch for both sets of rear footwell lights, keeping things neat and tidy.

The armrest and hinge arrangement are attached by a couple of obvious torx bolts, and a sneaky 5th that is hidden behind the rear-seat ashtray. Once I had it out of the car, I stripped the plastic tray from the armrest and mounted two white LEDs in the plastic, so they would be hidden (facing downwards) with the armrest down.

armrest_zps8172488d.jpg


Mounting the LEDs is straightforward, and once fitted the trailing wires should be run back across the plastic so they will come out through the hinge holes when the top is fitted. Due to the tails and metal surround blocking the plastic fastener housings (yellow) the top wouldn't slot back over as the tabs couldn't seat. I solved this with some judicious dremel action, cutting a slot in the fitting tabs, which I then didn't take a picture of....(be careful here as the material is very brittle).

Here's a pic with the armrest re-fitted, to give you a better idea of where the bulbs are:

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By threading the wires through the hinge fitment holes in the armrest, you can blacktape them to the outside of one of the hinges and run the wires under the centre well. This is a bit tricky to do but is worth taking your time over. Once this is done you can join these into your new 'rear lights' wire loom (safely, of course) and reassemble the centre well and armrest.

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I also added some lights under the ashtray area, using a strip of high-bright LEDs. Again, all the wires come from the new spur and are taped to the existing loom. These are pretty easy to hide if you remove the little rubber scoop thing that sits int he gap.

frontleds1_zps64787586.jpg
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And that's it! Remember to TEST EVERYTHING before you start clipping and bolting stuff back together. I took the initial feed from the front RHS (drivers) footwell light.

Here's a couple of pics of the lights on, and there's also a (slightly rubbish) youtube vid showing them lit. The overall effect is awesome, with all the footwells and the underlit ashtray and centre console fading up and down when you unlock or open doors etc. I only very occasionally need to turn on the rooflights (mapreading etc).

lit1_zps20a81bc2.jpg
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Any questions give me a shout

Morgs
 

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Is there any reason you chose to use white light?
White light in the cockpit is really bad for your night vision.

Now you have done those lights you can add inner door handle lights and door pocket lights lol. I used submarine lights front and rear to light the gear surround and rear seats. The rear submarine lights have proved the most useful as they allow rear passengers to look for house keys etc before we pull up :)

Edited to add:
Forget the first point. I thought you had wired them up to come on with the rear lights. It makes more sense now.
 

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I definitely like the idea and look of the led's under the armrest, how difficult was it to split the top to gain access inside? I like the idea of having them on permanent, giving a constant low light at night, just wondering if taking a feed from the cigarette lighter would be an option : )

Sent from my GT-I9300 using TalkFord.com mobile app
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I definitely like the idea and look of the led's under the armrest, how difficult was it to split the top to gain access inside? I like the idea of having them on permanent, giving a constant low light at night, just wondering if taking a feed from the cigarette lighter would be an option : )

Sent from my GT-I9300 using TalkFord.com mobile app
From what I remember, the biggest challenges were removing the deep plastic well from the centre console (which is a chuffing nightmare unless you find all the magic screws!), and re-assembling the top/tray part of the armrest once the LEDs were in and the wires were routed. Actual removal/refitting is pretty straight forward.

Once the plastic well is out and you've detached the base of the hinge from the car, you need to remove the hinge assembly from the armrest top. After that, the top parts pop apart fairly easily, as I think the only fixing screws holding it on are those that hold the hinge on at the rear. The front portion is held together by a clip and slot arrangement, and it's this part that gets blocked when you mount your LEDs (yellow, above).

If you wanted permanence, I'd be tempted to break into the 'running lights' circuit somewhere in the overhead light cluster (would mean heading down a door pillar?) or behind the instrument cluster brightness dial (still a pain, and not sure if it just acts as a pot to the circuit), and try and route the wires behind the radio and down. That way you could piggy back to the same loom as I've used above, and they would dim/brighten with your dials and submarines, which would be awesome! Definitely a wiring faff though, and may be easier to take a 12v spur from the socket and just use resistors/a separate pot to set your brightness.

Nice, looks good. I like the led's pointing down under the centre armrest.

Do you have any photos of the lights on under the front seats?
I don't, but they are tucked through some of the metalworking holes and stuck to the underside of the seats, with a nice hidden feed coming from the centre console. They light up the rear footwells with a very similar light to that shown in the front footwells above, and because I used a long strip you don't get any bright spots. I will try and take a few more pics somewhere where it's dark, and maybe a short film from outside the car showing the 'uplighting' thing I was trying to demonstrate.

Also, the pictures/video above don't really do the light quality justice. When you unlock the car it looks awesome, as the white puddle lights come on and the whole car glows from inside, but you can't actually see any of the lights, unlike with the rooflights. Much more subtle effect, and one I haven't really seen on other motors. Plus I've still got 6 super bright rooflights should I drop the keys. With them all on it looks like ET is coming to land!

morgs
 
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