1500 LED Conversions    Last updated 11/18/2007

Top Box Automatic Interior lights mod  


This is a new installation project to add interior lighting to the rear box of most any bike.  It does not replace any existing lighting.  It uses a flexible waterproof strip of LED's encapsulated in a clear rubber like material and the parts are attached to a flexible mylar circuit board iniside.  The project uses adhesives to mount the LED strip along with some doublesided 3M foam mounting athesive in places.  It also uses a special magnetic reed switch to power the LED array when the lid is opened.  This switch can also be used to remotely indicate open door status and signal alarm systems if desired.  We will not address the latter two options in this installation.  Also, some consideration might be applied to having an override switch in case the user desires to have the light off but the door open or to disable the feature all togehter.  That portion will be added at a later time.

Please forgive the quality of some of the pictures and the incomplete wiring clean up and other issues.  They will be updated later once I get a chance to finish the project up and add the override switch.  In any case, you should have NO problems completing this project in an afternoon and an overnight adhesive curing time.  You can always append the features to your installation when I get them done myself and updated here.

Here is a shot of what the interior light bar will look like when finsihed.  It's a shitty one but you get the idea.
Total cost for this additioin is  $16.94 not including shipping  (1 ea @ $10.95, 30  led strip and 1 ea  Normally open magnetic alarm switch @ $5.99)                                                                                                                                   plus supples.  Supplies being adhesive, double-sided foam tape and electrical terminals and ty-wraps.
Current draw for the strip lamp is about 40ma @ 12v.
The parts I used are shown below and as I said the LED strip came from superbrightLEDs.com, but any supplier is fine.:
They are waterproof but that is just a bonus since we will be inside the box..  I got and love the Warm White.   It's color is  VERY much like incandescent.
The Cool white looks like a shop lite flourescent to me.

Plus one of these... Normally Open magnetic alarm switch.  Note: IT MUST BE NORMALLY OPEN TYPE.


You can get the magnetic switch at:  http://www.smarthome.com/7040.html

Other supply items are: 

3M double stick foam mounting tape or squares.  (Don't use anything less)
and this stuff:

Got it at Lowes for $3.99 and it's pretty amazing stuff.  It is what we will bond the LED strip to the inside top of the ABS Honda box lid with.

Getting ready for the install

Now that you have the LED bar in your choice of color and one of the Normally Open 100ma alarm switches lets do some prep.

First and always TEST THE LED ARRAY.  You don't want to find out you can't return a defect as shown below.  LED 3 is very weak.
That one is going back.  Good thing I have 10 more of them. hehe.

Now time to decide where to mount the strip.  In my case it will go just under the upper set of screws holding the trunk handle on.  See the next picture.

It could go along either of the two lips but I didn't want the LED bar to be too close to the trunk lid seal gasket so I chose the upper ridge.

The plan is to use a strip of double stick foam tap along the led edge and to use the adhesive to hold the bottom and outer side to the ABS lid surface. 
This will give me a nice solid but still flexible mount and the foam tape will help to hold it all in place while the adhesive dries.
So first thing is to see where it will go and how much surface I have to adhere with.

Since the LEDs are marked for color with colored dots, they make a great location to pen a line even with the top of the lid ridge so I know the seating depth.
Yellow white is the Warm White designation where just a white label would be a Cool White designation.

Now to measure it and we know how wide to cut the foam tape strip for the side.  Looks like .200" or just under 1/4"

Now I use the locked setting on the dial calipers to mark a scribe dent line on the backing of the foam tape as a guide.

Simply cut it along the dent line.

And apply it to the rear most edge of the side of the LED strip  that will be facing the back of the bike and the bar it will stick to. 
Remember it's hanging up side down and I wanted wires out the left side in my case.

Part 2, Prep is done, ready for some fun...

The adhesive is a contact adhesive.  You apply adhesive to both mating surfaces and wait 5 minutes before sticking them togeher.
Also remember that this doesn't have to be substantially thick and try to keep the adhesive off of the tape as much as possible.
I used the dial calipers to clamp down on the LEDs at the end of the strip to hold everything in place for gluing.  Not actually taking a measurement here.

Cut the tip at an anble at the last section and get ready to apply. 
Here is the URL on the adhesive product: http://www.jasco-help.com/products/other/01/index.html

Make a nice low bead, just enough to cover the surface while avoiding the tape as much as possible.  Then when done, leave it aside to cure the 5 minutes while you do the mating side in the bike lid.

Before you do any gluing here, put down some plastic to catch the drips which you WILL have before you add glue to the lid.

At this end you want to use the tip of the angle you cut to ensure you don't get any glue along the ridge you want to stick the double stick tape to when you seat the LED strip.

Run the thin bead and get out of the way.  As I said it will drip while waiting the 5 minute cure time.

After the 5 minute cure times, you are ready to join the gluing surfaces.  Make sure you have it centered and try to get the double stick side to stick as you press the gluing surfaces together.
If you did it right, the double stick tape will hold it all together.  I added a piece of scotch tape across the strip to the lid front to back to keep the middle from sagging in case the double stick let loose for some reason.
I always hate to come back and find that sagging occured before the drying finished.  Looks pretty nice, eh?

As I was saying, I either had a little movement or I never got the near side seated peoperly.  No matter, it will work just as well that way.

Ok, now while that dries overnight, we need to mount our magnetic switch and magnet as well as route the wiring from the LED to the switch and power.
Here is the switch...

Remember that strip of double stick foam tape we cut the slit down for the LED array?  Well now we are ready to use the rest of it.
Stick the bottom of the magnet portion on the end of the strip and cut it off flush at the end. 
Do the same for the switch assembly but this time we also need it on the side opposite it's terminal screws.
When you are done, we are ready to find where we want these. 
It is not my intent to stay with the foam tape permanently but it is ideal for positioning and relocation until you find where you want to be with both parts.
Even so, you will probably never need more if you used the 3M stuff I insist on using.

I chose the left side for everything because that is where I mounted my main power terminal when I did my safe aux power mod on this bike.
Also that is where my amp and equalizer and holes for the new speaker wire enter the box so it is a pretty easy choice for me.
Also, I want my LED illumination system to light whenever I open the box lid, even with the key off,  so I wanted that powered all the time just like your car door light is.
All of that is available to me on the left side terminal strip.  If you have not done my safe aux power mod, you will need to find a power source you can use.
This strip draws so little energy, you can hook it anyplace you have the kind of power you want. to use, such as always on or switched with the key.
This part should be flush at the top with the edge of the box it is mounted to.  Also once I make this permanent, I will add a strip of double stick tape under the lip of the box, aligned even with the tape I already have on the bottom of the switch and stick a small platform of fiberglas to the bottom with a small amount  of extra material sticking out out so I have a place to mount an override switch right there too.  But for now, just stick the switch on using only the side foam tape..

Now we have to determine mechanically the ideal opposite lid spot for the magnet.  The magnet should sit back about 1/8"  (.125") because the lid sits down in the rubber seal lower than the top edge of the box.
Guess where that mating position should be and don't worry about where the double stick tape ends up for now.  After we find the position, we will mark it and remount it more permanently.

Now while almost closing the lid, look through the box from the far side to guage the alighnment and distance of the two parts.
I found it useful to go ahead and temporarily power the LED strip for light inside the box for interior light.

If you have the pieces too close and you close the lid, the magnet side will break free of the sticking point because the surface there is not as smooth as it is on the box rim that the switch half is attached to.
Just re-position it again until you get it right.  Now route the wiring from the LED array.  Start with a trip over to where the outside light bar wiring comes in and use the cable clamps to feed your wiring through.
Be sure to get your new wire between the existing wire and the plastic coated outer or back side of the wire guides.  That way you wont have to worry about the metal rubbing throught our small wires.
When I am done, I'll secure the loose wiring between the light bar and the first wiring clamp.  I will follow the ridge that the LED bar is attached to.

Further down I continue that apporach.  Note the magnet on the left of the lid in position.

At the bottom we follow the other wires through except in my case I  drop below the hinge and share a hole that was drilled for the new speaker/amp system. 
But you can make a small hole there with a drill if you need to from the inside of the box.  It won't leak water there because it's behind the speaker support pod.

Nothing left to do but make the hookups and test the thing.

Your power supply raw (or switched) +12v power goes to one of the two terminals on the alarm switch (doesn't matter which one).
Your LED + wire (copper colored) goes to the other alarm switch terminal.
Your LED - wire (silver colored) goes to the bike's ground someplace (your choice).  My safe aux power mod has both + and ground available front and rear.
Next you test by hooking a voltmeter to the same terminals your LED + and ground wires went.  Then with the meter set to more than +15v DC and on the outside so you can see the readings, slowly close the lid on the meter probe wires. I use alagator clip leads for this since they are much smaller than meter probes.
The voltage should be at +12v dc when the lid is lifted more than shown in the picture below and 0Vdc when the lid is closed more than shown below.
The reason you have to do this is because if you don't have the LED bar shutting off when the lid closes, you will run slowly down your battery.
It is the refrigerator light thing again.
This is one big reason why, later, I will add an indicator LED outside the box and an override cutoff switch inside the box in the near future.

Here is what it will look like after dark when you get into the back box...

Works for me. 
Oh, by the way, in the dark, you can the light leaking out the backof the box just before the lid closes shining on the ground as the light turns on and off so you can tell it's working right without using a meter.

Have fun kids.  I try to.
As usual, let me know if you have any better suggestions or problems with this mod project.  I'd love to hear it.


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