TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

LED Headlight RetroFit on Older Cars

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Mike K, Aug 10, 2016.

Tags:
  1. int32_t

    int32_t Tesla Spotter

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Calgary area, AB, Canada
    Cool thread! I'm a fan of LED headlights and can't wait to get them on my 3. I didn't realise adaptive headlights weren't all created equal, either ... hope the lights on the 3 are more like the X and less like the S. :)
     
  2. All-black-P85

    All-black-P85 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    JAX
    So, did you ever get them working?
     
  3. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    No, it's not close and don't waste $700 on a light only to discover it won't work easily because it won't. The LEDs are controlled via an in-car network whereas the older HID headlights are dumb in the sense that they just rely on power to be applied to various components for them to work. The harnesses are similar but that's it.

    I sold my 2013 and now have a leased P85D and I'm not really enticed to spend money modifying a leased car. I also never heard back from ingineer who offered his services. I sent a couple emails when we agreed I'd follow up and never heard back. I don't take it personally. I assume he's being harassed with requests for stuff often.

    If anyone wants my headlight they can have it for $300 shipped.
     
  4. paul.scott

    paul.scott Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    The Karstyle nose upgrade does leave the AP Radar at the bottom of the car. The downside to that is I have had large bugs disable my Autopilot. I think it is safer behind the T but Tesla would have to do that because the AP software would have to be modified.
     
  5. Victor M

    Victor M New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Canada
    Are you still selling your headlights?
     
  6. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    6,053
    Location:
    Timonium, Maryland
    Why would you want to do this? As the IIHS test and other threads suggest, you're spending money on compromising the performance and safety of the headlamps. I know they look cool but I would never trade off looks for performance in a safety feature like headlamps.
     
  7. shrink

    shrink Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Huh. I wish I read this thread earlier.

    I have an older 2013 Model S, non tech-package. I had the halogen lights, but my car did have DRL's. I installed aftermarket HID's, but they were a little too blue for my tastes and I was getting a little upward reflection that must have annoyed a lot of people.

    I called my local SC about upgrading to the HID's that came with the tech package enabled cars. They ended up putting in the current adaptive LED's earlier today. The headlights themselves actually work well - nice wide beam and sharp horizontal cutoff point. Hi beams and lo beams work just fine. Turn signals are fully operational. I'm not noticing any adaptive features, but wasn't expecting any with my older model car.

    However, to my dismay, I lost DRL functions and the outer strip of the headlights do not work at all, even when the headlights are on. That's kind of a signature Model S look. The tech even had a software update pushed to the car and my DRL button disappeared.

    Not happy about this. When the SC told me the retrofit was possible, I was expecting full functionality. They oddly took my old headlights, too.

    I'll have to call them in the AM and get this fixed. If the retrofit is indeed not possible, I'm just going to ask for the older tech package HID's as originally requested. I honestly wasn't expecting them to try these new LED's. I think there a miscommunication somewhere.
     
    • Informative x 1
  8. Kristoffer Helle

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Norge
    I`m sure someone can get the DRL to work. good old jump wiring :)
     
  9. EcoBruin

    EcoBruin Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Pasadena, Ca
    Do you mind disclosing how much this retrofit cost you? I had my non-tech DRL halogen headlights replaced with DRL HID headlights under warranty for condensation since they stopped making the halogen headlights.
     
  10. shrink

    shrink Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I actually still haven't paid. I'm heading back to the SC tonight so they can check out the issue, but I was quoted $1600 installed.

    Will keep you posted on the final tally and final resolution.
     
    • Like x 1
  11. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    You're not noticing them because Tesla's definition of adaptive is different than pretty much everyone else's. In the world of BMWs and Audis adaptive headlights move with the steering wheel. You turn left, the headlights aim left. Turn right... You guessed it... Headlights aim right. In addition to this there are low speed "parking" or "city" lights that illuminate around slow speed turns. Most cars have this function in addition to true adaptive lights. Tesla considers this function alone "adaptive". It's a load of bull. The headlights look much nicer than the older style but are practically no better.

    They should be able to fix this. This was a common issue with the early facelift cars. They didn't have any DRLs and they didn't have the button either. It's a bug I'm sure. For those saying to run a jump wire, you can't do it on these lights like the older ones. They are networked.

    Would you mind shooting a picture of the lights on your car? I'd love to see them. Can you ask the tech if they changed the headlight harness at all? The harness in your car is not compatible with those lights. So I'm curious to see if they're providing a retrofit harness that ties the lights into the bus.
     
  12. shrink

    shrink Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks for the reply.

    Well, this has been a bit of a fiasco. I took my car to the SC yesterday. The tech plugged in the laptop and messed around with some programming for about 30 minutes.

    They came to the conclusion that they would be unable to get the lights to work. They were unable to get the DRL functionality back and could not get the outer LED strip to turn on with the headlights. Funny thing is, when I first drove the car after installation, I noticed the DRL option on the touchscreen was off. I turned it on, and the outer LED strip illuminated (per both the car display and the shrubs in front of my car). But the strips then went out once I started driving and never came back on. When the software update that was pushed to the car installed later that evening, the DRL button disappeared.

    I remember asking the tech prior to installation if any modification was required and he said, "per my research, these should be plug and play."

    Mike K, it sounds like you know a little more about this particular issue than the SC and technicians!

    Now here's where it gets even better. They threw out and destroyed my old headlights. My service advisor said that since the parts are no longer in use, they didn't think they had any need for them. They also destroy their trash - apparently to discourage looters from rummaging through it after hours.

    So, it looks like once they can locate some, I'll be getting the gen 1 non-LED HID headlights, presumably at no cost. I'll update the post once I know for sure, though.

    This is really odd on multiple levels. I don't know why they didn't just leave my old parts in the trunk or frunk. I was surprised when I did not seem them in there after initial service. I'm sure it'll work out somehow and it might just work out for the better for me. Will post a final resolution once I have one.

    Mike K, I'll take some pics later. Let me know if there's any information I can pass along to my SC that might help them get the LED's working. If we can get those working, that'd be option 1. They're really nice looking lights.

    Stay tuned.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  13. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    If they just put them in plug and play that's your problem. First off, there's two versions of the lights: air suspension and non-air suspension. One has self leveling; the other does not. I'm not sure sure if there is a difference practically speaking between the two harnesses. I suspect there isn't.

    So that said, if they're just plugging the lights in to your existing harness that's 100% your problem. They won't work. I too suspected they'd be plug and play so I asked my service advisor to order one up so we could take a look. It arrived and had the same plug on it so naturally we both thought it would work. If you take a look at my previous posts in this thread (I started this thread with my experience) you'll see where I ended up. If you're looking for a quick version, the lights don't work because the old light uses a common ground and then simply has voltage applied to each component when they need it to light up. So when the DRLs are on the car is sending voltage to that pin. When you want the low beams on the car sends voltage to that pin.

    The new lights don't seem to work that way. They have common ground and common power. So the light capsule is always "on" and when you want your low beams on the car sends the light capsule a signal that says to turn them on. The one exception to this is the turn signals which are still signaled to turn on with voltage from the car.

    Here's where it gets confusing. If you apply power to the new lights they will turn on. When they have power applied to them their default status is to illuminate the low beam. And the main power pin for the new lights is the low beam pin for the old lights which means when you plug them into the car and the car tells the low beams to turn on, it's applying power to the light capsule, the capsule turns on and defaults to the low beam on mode. So initially you might think it's working fine. You'll only be confused further when you try the turn signals and they work because that pin is the same between the two harnesses.

    Now what confuses me here is that you say you had high beams. If you truly did/ do have high beams then I suspect they were under the impression they could simply tell the car you had the LED lights and everything would work. A tech can tell the car it has a certain component configuration and then it will act appropriately but because I suspect these lights need to be tied into the network, that won't work. But if you have high beams you're one step ahead of me because that's functionality I never got. Likewise with the DRLs. I never got them to illuminate.

    Come to think of it, I still have the headlight. The car I originally put it in was an air suspension car and my current car is a coil spring. Given there are different versions of the light, I'll probably try plugging it in to the new car to see what happens.
     
    • Like x 1
  14. Zaphod

    Zaphod Galaxy President (former)

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2015
    Messages:
    2,164
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Is the part in bold really true? Haven't heard that before. If so, seems pretty silly on Tesla's part to make two versions. Just make them all self-leveling and be done with it. I can't imagine cost savings is that substantial to justify that.
     
  15. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I'd never heard of it either. I believe it applies to the HIDs as well as the LEDs but it definitely applies to the LEDs. My SA asked a tech who told us that the air suspension cars would simply level themselves whereas since a coil suspension car can't, they added leveling.
     
  16. Zaphod

    Zaphod Galaxy President (former)

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2015
    Messages:
    2,164
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ok, but I'm still skeptical. I guess a tech should know, but seems really odd for them to do it that way. I guess we'd need to compare part numbers to confirm.
     
  17. shrink

    shrink Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just in case anyone is curious: ModelS Headlight Retrofit.jpg
     
  18. shrink

    shrink Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    As requested:

    [​IMG]

    Lo Beams:

    [​IMG]

    Hi Beams:

    [​IMG]

    Turn signals do, indeed, work.

    Mike K, do you mind if I forward some of your comments to my service advisor?
     
  19. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Sure! If you've got high beams either it's a different part number or the tech is doing some sort of official retrofit because I understand it, you shouldn't have high beams at all.
     
  20. Kristoffer Helle

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Norge
    Awesome! Wil buy these and make the DRL work with a hot wire :)
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC