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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The inside of my Element was a bit dark, but now I've increased the front lighting with this easy afternoon job. The map lights (or spot lights) now turn on when opening the doors, and if you've done the double dome jumper mod it works with the hatch opening too!

Video demo:

Tools: Soldering iron, stripper/crimpers, 8mm socket, pry tool

Materials: ~2.5 feet of 18 awg wire, T-tap & spade or similar, solder, 2x diodes, ~2A (not LEDs, straight diodes), heat shrink

Step 1: Remove the front dome light and spot lights/cubby. I won't go over it much, there are a ton of videos on how to do this. You pop the lenses off and remove the 8 mm bolts. The dome light drops down, the cubby and map lights drop down and slide back. Unplug the spot lights.

Step 2: Solder the diodes onto the spot light fixture. Attach the side of the diode away from the grey band to the front contact of the map light bulb holder. The front of the map light fixture is the side that faces away from the electrical plug you had to undo to take the cubby out of the ceiling.
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Step 3: Heat shrink the body and exposed legs of the diode. You don't want them shorting off on the other exposed bits of metal in the fixture or ceiling. Twist the ends of the diodes together.
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Step 4: Solder on your wire. Heat shrink again. Rout the diodes through the channels available so they don't get pinched when you re-install it. You can attach the tap now or after fishing the wire through the headliner.
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Step 5: Fish that wire through the headliner. As you push the wire through the hole that the spotlight wiring pokes out of, push down on the headliner from the dome light hole and feel around for the wire, then pull it through. Tap/splice the wire that you have been working with into the green/red wire of the front dome light.

EDIT: for dome light switch control of the map lights (i.e. turning the dome light off will keep the map lights off when the doors are open as well) attach the wire to the switch side of the light bulb feed on the dome light. See my comment below

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Step 6: Test! Plug in both lights. Spotlight functionality (click the lights on at any time) only works if the left side 8mm bolt is through the housing and into the ceiling. Dome light (door open) functionality will now pull a ground from the dome light and illuminate the spotlight/dome light regardless of that previously mentioned 8mm bolt
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Step 7: reassemble. Basically unplug the map light housing, slide it sideways through the cubby, plug it back in, and mount it back in the ceiling with the 8mm bolts. Clip the lenses back on.

Hope this helped the poor elements like me that didn't have dome light functions on this map lights from the factory! According to the manuals I've read, all Es before 09 didn't have that option, so now you do!

Video demo:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: working great, but I leave my doors open when I'm out flying and don't want to kill my battery. Instead of tapping the green/red wire on the front dome light, you can solder onto the switch side of the light bulb and connect the spot lights to that. This will let the front dome light switch also control the spot lights. Now if I switch the front dome light to off, the map/spot lights also stay off. Door and on positions on the dome light also operate the spot light accordingly. The spot lights still maintain their original, on-any-time functionality.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A diode allows power to flow one way, but not the other. In this case, the diode lets voltage flow from the dome light and into the individual map lights, but not from the map lights to the dome. That way the diodes allow the map lights to still function as normal with the dome light off. Without the diodes, clicking one map light on will turn the other map light and the dome light on as well. Then I imagine you'd end up smacking the other map light and flipping the switch of the dome light trying to figure out which caused all 3 to turn on.
 

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That’s really cool. I’ll definitely wait until I get my hands on the diodes. I also want to retain the functionality of the map lights. Thanks for engineering and explaining everything.
Are there different legs on the diodes? Like, do I need to be aware of which way I install then for the flow of voltage ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Are there different legs on the diodes? Like, do I need to be aware of which way I install then for the flow of voltage ?
Yes. The diodes will have a grey band on them. Since these are negative triggers, we need to have the grey band toward the dome light, so that a ground can pass from the dome to the map lights, but the ground of turning on the map light doesn't flow back into the dome light. See step 2, and also my shitty illustration

Also see my first comment, where I solder onto the dome light to get the trigger instead of tap the wire in the headliner. This way the dome light switch also controls the map lights.
 
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