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Discussion Starter #1
The upper edge of my lower grill has the longitudinal single row of smaller holes. I started talking to somebody at the meet, and we thought "hey, it would look really sweet of that ONE row had a white backlight. It's about 28" long (30" is doable if I find a flexible light source). Width probably won't be an issue if it's linear, but its about 3/4" from the top of the grill to the first row of regular holes below. The holes are about 5/16" apart.

I thought about some linear LEDs, but the spacing would never match, and some holes would be brighter. I could build a little channel housing, and put linear LEDs on the channel 'top' (view angle would never allow you to see them directly), but I'm wondering if there is something simpler? Also, it won't look as good as direct light. I could even go with a rigid source since it's not in a bending location.

I would be looking for plain white. No controller necessary. They would come on with headlights.

Suggestions? I'm all-ears.
 

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Epoxy a 3mm LED into each hole and wire them up, then put a piece of plastic channel behind them to protect the leads and wiring. Probably wouldn't be any more work or more expensive than any of the options you already listed and it would get you brighter and more evenly distributed light.
 

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I'd think only a Buddist monk would have the patience (to say nothing of the skill required) to wire close to 50 individual LEDs! I'd begin at a hobby shop, seeking a few rods of fiber optic plastic and some clear vinyl tubing to house it. Mask a 1/4" strip that would face the exterior holes and spray the rest of the exterior of the tube with silver paint, to "focus" the light toward the remaining clear strip. Then, one would only need wire a single LED, or even a low wattage conventional 12 volt light an either or both ends of the tube to provide a light source. Easily mounted with some form of nylon or plastic U-clamps to the grille piece. That's just how I'd approach it, anyway...:|

I guess I'd call it homemade rope lighting.
 

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I'd think only a Buddist monk would have the patience (to say nothing of the skill required) to wire close to 50 individual LEDs! I'd begin at a hobby shop, seeking a few rods of fiber optic plastic and some clear vinyl tubing to house it. Mask a 1/4" strip that would face the exterior holes and spray the rest of the exterior of the tube with silver paint, to "focus" the light toward the remaining clear strip. Then, one would only need wire a single LED, or even a low wattage conventional 12 volt light an either or both ends of the tube to provide a light source. Easily mounted with some form of nylon or plastic U-clamps to the grille piece. That's just how I'd approach it, anyway...:|

I guess I'd call it homemade rope lighting.
Yup, or that :razz:

I never would have thought to hit a hobby shop for the fiber optic rods, didn't realize you could buy those off the shelf. I might have to look into that for some projects I have in mind around the house (under cabinet lighting comes to mind).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Epoxy a 3mm LED into each hole and wire them up, then put a piece of plastic channel behind them to protect the leads and wiring. Probably wouldn't be any more work or more expensive than any of the options you already listed and it would get you brighter and more evenly distributed light.
Good idea, but I don't actually want them poking out. I found a perfect LOOKING neon light at an electronics store, but it doesn't come in the right length, and if I put a few together end to end, I will have dark holes between tubes. =( -see attached picture at end.

I found lots of cheap neon tubes on eBay (they all look like the same item), but they are all 15cm or 30cm. I need approx 72cm for an uninterrupted run. LED "rope" lights come in 72cm as a standard size, but don't have the same nice look, or the correct spacing. I found some more expensive neon tubes on eBay, but these are too long and not flexible, at 36" and 48". Plus it's an entire underbody set (4x tubes, 4x price).
http://cgi.ebay.com/Undercar-Underbody-4-Piece-Car-Neon-Kit-Lights-WHITE-/230326844446?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item35a08cbc1e


I found super inexpensive EL "glow wire" that IS flexible and comes in 7.5'. I only found this right now, so more research is needed. I have no idea how it actually looks. These are cheap enough to TRY, but I'm doing research on the different diameters first. I'll post pics if I buy.
http://cgi.ebay.com/7-5FT-El-wire-glow-wire-cool-neon-battery-driver-White-/110429563810?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19b61d6ba2#ht_1977wt_1064
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd think only a Buddist monk would have the patience (to say nothing of the skill required) to wire close to 50 individual LEDs! I'd begin at a hobby shop, seeking a few rods of fiber optic plastic and some clear vinyl tubing to house it. Mask a 1/4" strip that would face the exterior holes and spray the rest of the exterior of the tube with silver paint, to "focus" the light toward the remaining clear strip. Then, one would only need wire a single LED, or even a low wattage conventional 12 volt light an either or both ends of the tube to provide a light source. Easily mounted with some form of nylon or plastic U-clamps to the grille piece. That's just how I'd approach it, anyway...:|

I guess I'd call it homemade rope lighting.
Okay... Do you have any pictures? When I think of fiber optic rods, aren't only the ENDS the "good" lit part?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
EL Wire

The EL wire comes in a max diameter of 5.0mm (.19"), and my grill holes are .15". I say 5.0mm for sure. It's only $9.00 w/shipping!

Now, what's confusing me is that it comes in 3 different kinds of plugs:
-battery
-cig lighter
-usb

I'm going to chop this up and go to an under-hood power source. The image LOOKS like it includes an in-line fuse. But which plug type do I go with?

Wire:


Plugs:
 

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I have this sick feeling that after you spent all that money and time, the cord will be too dim to see.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have this sick feeling that after you spent all that money and time, the cord will be too dim to see.
Possible. But it's only $9, and I will be able to see it function before I even attempt an install. I can live with a $9 loss.
 

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Okay... Do you have any pictures? When I think of fiber optic rods, aren't only the ENDS the "good" lit part?
No pics because I was only helping you brainstorm. It's not something I've done. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that a fiber optic stick will glow, but does not provide technically useful light except at the end. It's not as if you need the end light for data transmission or anything; just a "glow".

The lighting strip you've stumbled on is what I would have suggested in the first place, but I didn't know if they were available in 12 VDC. Choose the lighter plug version and simply cut it off, since I'd think you would just be going to tap into the parking light circuit, no?

I agree, that for $9.00 and some change, it's a great place to start. I suspect you will still have to deal with "stray" light emitting from the strip in all directions, when you really only want it facing the holes in the grille part. In that regard, I might still consider the painted vinyl tube from my first comment.

Looking forward to your progress. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The lighting strip you've stumbled on is what I would have suggested in the first place, but I didn't know if they were available in 12 VDC. Choose the lighter plug version and simply cut it off, since I'd think you would just be going to tap into the parking light circuit, no?

I agree, that for $9.00 and some change, it's a great place to start. I suspect you will still have to deal with "stray" light emitting from the strip in all directions, when you really only want it facing the holes in the grille part. In that regard, I might still consider the painted vinyl tube from my first comment.
I'm going to tap a line so it will stay on with headlights. I'll put some kind of tube/channel/backing on to restrain the glow.

I just noticed the largest 5.0mm doesn't offer WHITE. I emailed the seller to see if it's available. Forgot to ask about connections (cig lighter) at the same time.

I checked out some EL vids on Youtube. It might actually be about 90% of the brightness I want (almost perfect).
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Ok, I finally ordered EL wires in 5.0mm white, and a 2.3mm white. They just arrived. They make a 3.2mm that I tried to order, but couldn't get without a huge quantity. I ordered both of mine with cig lighter adaptors. Delivery was about 7 business days from China to California.

I tried a duct tape install just to see how it looks before I go wiring anything. I think the pictures actually look better than they do in person. They aren't bright enough to see in the day (where I put them), and at night they could pass for just a reflection.

5.0mm video
http://homepage.mac.com/scott_bernard_is/Element04/video/el50.mov
2.3mm video
http://homepage.mac.com/scott_bernard_is/Element04/video/el23.mov

2.3mm lit, 5.0mm unlit underneath:


5.0mm lit:


Bumper/Grill backside installing:


Duct Tape install:


Bumper, light off:


Bumper, light on:


Light on, closer:


Light on, closeup. Full line peeking out behind grill:


Extra wire, loose for now:


(continued...)
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
(...continued)

The wires (unlit) look clear, with copper center. Allegedly, the smaller diameters look brighter, but I haven't compared yet. The thinner diameter MIGHT actually look better behind the grill. I haven't decided yet if I will leave them in. The El wire clearly looks better in a CONTINUOUS application, not the way I used it.

FYI, if you use them while the cord is still bundled, or the cord comes back near the in-line fuse(?), the L wire will send out a high-pitched whine. The farther away than better.
 

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I like it. I say keep it. I think if you get anything brighter, it would
detract from the look of the front end.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I like it. I say keep it. I think if you get anything brighter, it would
detract from the look of the front end.
I think I have decided to take it out. I'm still going to compare brightness with the other diameter just to make sure the smaller one isn't brighter.

I think the wire would still look great in a 'linear' use, just not something that looks 'discontinuous' like I tried.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
update

There's a little inline box on the cord. On one of my sets, the cable just fell out of that box (disconnected). I'm not sure if I will be able to fix it, as the little box shows no obvious way to open it. So product quality may be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There's a little inline box on the cord. On one of my sets, the cable just fell out of that box (disconnected). I'm not sure if I will be able to fix it, as the little box shows no obvious way to open it. So product quality may be an issue.
I finally had time to look at this closer. The little box is not openable. It's a plastic outer shell on 5 sides, and the entire inside was filled with a hardened liquid. I smashed it open with a hammer for kicks, and destroyed a tiny circuit board in the process. However, it doesn't look repairable anyway. The second set is still fine. I guess I just had a bad one.
 
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