Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When I bought my '05 OBXT a few months ago, I quickly came to find out, as many of you know, that the interior lighting is abysmal at best.

For a vehicle which cost north of $30k when new, I find that unconscionable. My previous vehicle, a 2000 Grand Prix, had terrific interior lighting and was around $29k when I bought it new.

So I've set out to improve the interior lighting of my OBXT but without visibly modifying it. The most obvious starting point would be the front map lights, but I didn't want to just modify the wiring to make the puny little lights come on and shine through the little opening.



I noticed that there was a lot of wasted space around the lens opening like it should be open but they chose to block it all off. So I started by cutting the plastic shield to what it should be.





And now to the hard part: redesigning the lights. The existing single light just won't cut it. So I am working on designing a new light fixture to fit in the opening.

I started by measuring the opening and found that there is a perfect ledge about a half inch inside that a board of some type would fit on.

This is the prototype that I have come up with.





The big black marks on the left side are to indicate obstruction behind, not burns. The spot on the right side is a burn. First time working with SMD components. :cool:

The finished product:




The LED's are a deceptively bright warm white that mimics the incandescent bulbs they are replacing rather than that crisp white that most LED's are. The map light portion will be the bright crisp white.

I have also wired it for the map light button to work the separate map lights.




However, the white LED's in this size are too big and it causes the lens to not secure properly. But that's why this is a prototype.

I will be wiring the negative from the warm white LED's to the output from the BIU that runs to the dome light above to back seat to have them all come on at the same time. I also plan to install a switch somewhere so I can turn them all on from the front instead of having to reach all the way back to the overhead light.

My next step is designing a printed circuit board to have manufactured that will fit perfectly and have everything surface mounted and pretty. But those aren't cheap to have custom made. Around $100 a pop. So $200 for both left and right side not including components (LED's, resistors, etc.). But the price goes way down if you order in multiples of 10 or more. So if I get the design perfect, I might sell them if there is a demand.

Let me know what everyone thinks. :D
 

·
Registered
2011 Outback Premium AWP Silver
Joined
·
4 Posts
When you say "'05+" are you saying that this design of yours would work in the 2011 OB? I'm thinking of going with custom LED lighting and may just be interested in yours if you start to produce. Any thoughts on the other lights in the vehicle?
 

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
When you say "'05+" are you saying that this design of yours would work in the 2011 OB? I'm thinking of going with custom LED lighting and may just be interested in yours if you start to produce. Any thoughts on the other lights in the vehicle?
Sorry, probably should have qualified it a little more. I think it would only fit 05-09, but I think they corrected the non-working domelights in the 07 model year. But I haven't looked at one to verify.

Maybe someone else can chime in on that?

The basic design I'm using can be changed to fit just about any light fixture.

The LED's I'm using I sourced them from some generic dome lamp replacement bulbs I got off Amazon. I simply unsoldered the individual LED's and used them.

I did use the actual replacement bulbs in the rear dome light without modification.



 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,366 Posts
There's a thread on LGT for adding the map lights to the dome when the doors are open. I haven't done it yet but it doesn't look too bad.

I put LEDs in the dome & doors and it made a nice improvement.
 

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
There's a thread on LGT for adding the map lights to the dome when the doors are open. I haven't done it yet but it doesn't look too bad.

I put LEDs in the dome & doors and it made a nice improvement.
Yeah, I read through that thread. It gets the job done, but I wanted a little more functionality without the possibility of sending 12+ down the negative line to the control module. If I'm going to do something, it's going to be over the top. :D

I'm also putting LED's into the foot wells because those are extremely dark. So far I've only put one on the driver's side and tied it to the door light. But I think when I do the passenger side, I'm going to tie it to the dome light circuit so that it comes on even if it's only the driver's door that's opened.
 

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Update time:

I know not many people are super interested in this, but I wanted to at least show my progress.

After sourcing all the parts and such so that I could do these proper, here is what I've accomplished.


I originally wanted to get the highest density of LED's on the board as possible. I found that I could fit around 40 of the LED's that I had sourced, but after fitting just 9 on a board I found that it was first incredibly difficult to get them soldered on and second, they were incredibly bright.



Plus it was going to make mounting and wiring resistors and such just impractical.

So I decided that 12 of them would be perfect.

Here's some shots of the final prototypes. I have both wired up and working in the car right now.





Left:

Right:


I removed most of the pre-existing molded metal wiring for the original maplights and I soldered directly to the remaining ones for power and ground to maplights.





I made it so that only one new wire would have to be ran to the lights. The wire that runs to the existing overhead dome light. That completely useless one that is over the back seat.

The green wire in the photos is the single new line. The original power plug is used and not altered.



Mounted in car:




Domelights


Maplights


The maplights use very directional LED's so that they have a narrow beam and won't blind me.

Additionally the maplight portion work exactly as they did before and work with the car off. But even if I somehow accidentally leave both on, it'll probably take weeks to run my battery down to the point where it won't start. Both maplights together pull about 360 milliwatts. Compared to 8 Watts each for the original light bulbs.

Only thing that I didn't get right was the color temperature of the domelight LED's. The LED's that I put in the rear domelight are a much more yellow color. The LED's that I bought were 4000k, but probably should have gone 3500k. But, it's not that big of a deal. I wanted a more natural lighting color to simulate incandescent light bulbs rather than that super bright 6000k hyper white that most LED's are.

A previous mod I did was add LED's to the foot wells but the seats were still very dark, so now with the addition with the overhead lights, it's very bright in the front now.

It's so much brighter now. No more stepping into a well.

I bought a spare maplight fixture just in case I screwed my original one up. I plan on modifying this one as well and will probably offer it for sale if anyone is interested.
 

·
Registered
built 98 volvo s70 turbo r.i.p. 05 obxt limited 5eat
Joined
·
35 Posts
To turn them on without opening the doors, you could simply wire a switch to interrupt the door ajar switch circuit. Sure the vehicle will chime, but how long would u have it on for? Surely not more than 30 seconds while driving
 

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
To turn them on without opening the doors, you could simply wire a switch to interrupt the door ajar switch circuit. Sure the vehicle will chime, but how long would u have it on for? Surely not more than 30 seconds while driving
I actually found that I can simply tie into the wire that is running to the BCU and pull it to ground to light them, since that's all the BCM does anyway.

I am planning on actually putting in a three way switch of some sort. First will be normal operation with doors, second will be instant on, and third will be completely off, similar to the way the switch in the existing dome works. But that's too far back to reach.
 

·
Registered
built 98 volvo s70 turbo r.i.p. 05 obxt limited 5eat
Joined
·
35 Posts
please tell me what wire it is at the bcu.. Ive been wanting the same thing but don't have any of the wiring diagrams. figured it would be super easy 10min job the way I suggested, but I like your way better. I also upgraded my lights. mine is much simpler but with admittedly less light output. I gives off an rgb white with the intensity of what you would expect from a factory light. hope you don't mind me sharing
 

Attachments

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
please tell me what wire it is at the bcu.. Ive been wanting the same thing but don't have any of the wiring diagrams. figured it would be super easy 10min job the way I suggested, but I like your way better. I also upgraded my lights. mine is much simpler but with admittedly less light output. I gives off an rgb white with the intensity of what you would expect from a factory light. hope you don't mind me sharing
Hey, that's pretty nifty. It looks like you have those in the small space at the front of the fixture, right? I thought about doing something with that, but couldn't figure out what. That RBG idea might be pretty cool.
Can you control the color, or do you have it just steady white?

I don't have the wiring diagram in an uploadable image just yet, but I know if you search around on here there's links to downloads of it. I didn't find those until after I paid $5 to get a pdf of it on ebay.

But I can show you a couple pictures of where I tapped into the wire and how I ran it.

The wire comes up into the headliner in the passenger pillar.

CAUTION!
If you run wire here, be aware of the airbag. Take care to route any new wires exactly along the same path other existing wires run. And secure with ties.



I chose to tap in here so it was easy to work on. The wire you are looking for is brown. This is the negative to the rear domelight. This goes to the BCU.




The blue and red one that I've tapped into is the positive that goes to the dome lights. I ran that to a light I put in the wheel well.

I ran the line up into the headliner following the other wires.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
I put LEDs in the dome & doors and it made a nice improvement.
what place did you source out the lights and what color did you go with? I'm looking to do the same but dont want that horrible white/blue color. want something closer to stock color but not yellow either. thanks for all your help, i really appreciate it.
 

·
Registered
Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
Joined
·
2,926 Posts

·
Registered
2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
While you guys are at it you should also update the trunk lights.

Trunk and interiour lights in the Outback - Imgur
I did something similar to this when I repaired the tailgate wiring on my XT.

I swapped out the light bulb in the trunk for one of the LED light arrays very similar to the ones in those pictures.

I also added lights into the tailgate as there were none and I found it very inadequate.





Now there is plenty of light when I open the tailgate both in and around the back of the car.
 

·
Registered
2001, European Outback, H6
Joined
·
150 Posts
Very nice. They look very bright.
To me the ones most usefull are the ones I added underneath the tonneau cover. Is is nice to be able to see things without removing the cover all the way.

I still have some of those lights left over but I am not sure where to mount them. I might just keep them for a future car.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top