LED Brake Light, Turn Signal, and Tail Light Strip

On a recent trip through Las Vegas,  we stayed overnight with Rosemarie's sister and her husband, Delores and Frank.  I was talking to Frank and he told me of a new enterprise of his.  He is selling a light bar to increase the rear visibility of your brake, tail, and turn lights.  It is a string of LED lights mounted in a clear plastic tube on an aluminum angle extrusion.  It comes in a couple of lengths suitable for cars and for trucks.

He showed me his installation on his Chevy Surbaban and it really made it easier to see when the brakes were applied or the turn signals were engaged.

He offered me one if I would install it on my Foretravel to let people see the product in action.  I hesitated at first, as I could not see a good place to locate it without it being an eyesore.  As we continued to look and talk, I got the idea of mounting it at the top of the engine door opening, as there is about a 5/16 gap when the door is closed.  Another idea I had was to mount it in the top louvre opening on the engine door, but this was low enough that some of it would be blocked by my tow car.

After arriving home I took some measurements and did some taping of the LED bar in place to try a couple of mounting systems.  I finally decided that I could just mount it tight in the upper rear courner of the rear cap fiberglass at the top of the door opening.  This puts the LEDs well clear of the door when it is closed, but provides good visibility at normal viewing heights and distances.  An unexpected bonus was that the lights reflect on the top of the engine door and the bottom of the rear cap opening to almost triple the light output!

The strip comes pre-wired with about a 3 foot cable with a standard flat 4 pin trailer connector.  Most installations would include no wiring other than plugging it in.

I wired a harness from my tow car electrical connector to the area where LED strip harness ended.  I had to reverse the left and right turn connections, as I mounted the strip upside down from normal.

Now that the installation is complete, all the LEDs light dimly when the tail lights are on.  They all light up brightly when the brakes are engaged, and either the left half or the right half flash brightly when the turn signals are operating.  The location I chose makes the bar totally invisible when it is not lighted, yet allows the lights to be brightly seen when they are on.

The LED strip I used is 60 inches long.  I think the only change I would have made if it were up to me would be to split the strip so I could move each half out about 10 inches to the edge of the engine door opening.  I don't think this would add to the safety any, but would make it a little more asthetically pleasing.

I really like the final result and the added safety it should afford me.

The LED strip is mounted using pressure sensitive adhesive pads directly to the fiberglass flange at the edge of the engine door opening in the rear cap.
The light bar is an aluminum angle extrusion with the clear tube containing the LEDs as the top edge of the angle.  The strip can be mounted using included pressure sensitive adhesive pads, or can be directly screwed to the mounting surface.
Energizing the LEDs creates a very impressive, and highly visible red strip of light.
The finished installaton gives a suprisingly bright display through the engine door gap.




Dick Mason, Prescott, AZ 9/1/07