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LED rear reflector turn signals

GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
I was just thinking about this a little more and the idea hit me. Wonder if these would work fully if you unplug the Turn Signal harness and connect that yellow/blue combo wire to the existing wire running the fender side amber turn signal. The fender camera/Turn signal combo is a dedicated turn signal only, so maybe a quick wiretap and run some new wire inside the car tucked along the door sill trim back to the taillights, etc.

Just a thought. This way the Black/REd wire that powers the LED bumper lights will stay lit and a new separate source for signal would be coming from the fender blinker.
Good idea. Yes, I believe that would work. I saw another random, non-rear reflector related YouTube video, where a guy installed one of those aftermarket sequential tail lights from AliExpress. The guy in that video ran across a similar issue with the turn signal when installing the Euro spec tail lights on his US spec Model 3. As a viable work-around/solution, he mentioned doing the same thing… taping into the front fender turn signal. Ultimately, he decided not to do it because it was too much of a hassle to find a good path through the vehicle and run the wiring from his tail lights to the front fender signals/harness.
 

Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Good idea. Yes, I believe that would work. I saw another random, non-rear reflector related YouTube video, where a guy installed one of those aftermarket sequential tail lights from AliExpress. The guy in that video ran across a similar issue with the turn signal when installing the Euro spec tail lights on his US spec Model 3. As a viable work-around/solution, he mentioned doing the same thing… taping into the front fender turn signal. Ultimately, he decided not to do it because it was too much of a hassle to find a good path through the vehicle and run the wiring from his tail lights to the front fender signals/harness.

I believe there's a firewall grommet on the passenger side and can be easily located once the passenger side fender well cover is removed which would need to be done in order to get access to the back of the camera combo.

1620223216723-png.659703


Although I sent mine back already. I did re-order another set at an even better price. $75 vs $129 :) Same exact product. Once I get them I'll do a little experimenting and see if that resolves the issue. I think it has a good chance of doing so.

If you had the time. Here is the video of removing the fender well and how to tap into the signal wire. You could pop out one of your LED lights and make a temporary connection to the yellow wire and give it a test.

Start video at 3:19secs


Video link preset to start at the part on removing the liner and popping out the camera.
 
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GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
Thanks. That may be the same firewall grommet that I used when I installed/ran the wiring for my powered trunk (to connect directly to the 12V battery). Perhaps one day I’ll tinker around with the rear reflectors and tap it into the front fender turn signal.
I’m thinking about getting one of those aftermarket sequential fog light kits. So, I may do everything then.
Let me know how it turns out if you end up tackling it before I do…
 
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SeanSethi81

Member
Nov 15, 2020
67
33
Vancouver
Update: I came back from vacation all ready to install the lights.. but tested positive for covid even after being fully vaxxed :( quarantine ends today so lights this weekend!!
 
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Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Alrighty, guys so I got one side fully functional by tapping into the passenger camera/turn signal on the front fender.

Something to note with these is the video of the Model Y a few pages back has a different sequential pattern than these. The segments on the Model Y video start to fill up the indicator fully as it animates where as these have just one light kind of like Knight Rider. I also was wondering if these had a DIM mode so like when the parking lights are on they would dim down more but that didn't seem to be the case. I went and looked back at the Y model video and noticed those didn't either.

The plan is to finish up the other side tomorrow.

 

hydro 481

Active Member
Sep 4, 2017
1,200
854
USA
Alrighty, guys so I got one side fully functional by tapping into the passenger camera/turn signal on the front fender.

Something to note with these is the video of the Model Y a few pages back has a different sequential pattern than these. The segments on the Model Y video start to fill up the indicator fully as it animates where as these have just one light kind of like Knight Rider. I also was wondering if these had a DIM mode so like when the parking lights are on they would dim down more but that didn't seem to be the case. I went and looked back at the Y model video and noticed those didn't either.

The plan is to finish up the other side tomorrow.

Awesome work! How time consuming was the whole process?
 

Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Awesome work! How time consuming was the whole process?
Well now that I figured out everything I expect the other side will go pretty quickly. This side I did first took me a while because I was double-checking everything before I ran wires, etc.

So the front wheel has to come out so you can remove a few plastic pins to lift and tuck the fender well liner out of the way. When you disconnect the blinker harness it thankfully has enough length that you can splice a single wire into it. I ran a wire into the firewall grommet and it was pretty easy to tuck that behind all the trim all the way back to the taillight. At first, I was thinking I'd need to run that wire out of the bumper where the other wiring pulls out through that center hole but discovered I could splice my dedicated turn signal right into the aftermarket harness making that much easier to do.

The most time-consuming thing was the number of times I had to run those wires through that center hole with the trial and error of figuring it all out.

If anyone wants a detailed how-to I can provide that once I get the other side done.
 

GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
Alrighty, guys so I got one side fully functional by tapping into the passenger camera/turn signal on the front fender.

Something to note with these is the video of the Model Y a few pages back has a different sequential pattern than these. The segments on the Model Y video start to fill up the indicator fully as it animates where as these have just one light kind of like Knight Rider. I also was wondering if these had a DIM mode so like when the parking lights are on they would dim down more but that didn't seem to be the case. I went and looked back at the Y model video and noticed those didn't either.

The plan is to finish up the other side tomorrow.


Thanks for posting that video. So, after watching your video and comparing it to several other YouTube videos out there which show these LED sequential reflectors on Model 3’s and Y’s, I have noticed the following:

When these LED reflector kits are installed on a Model Y, they definitely behave/operate differently than on a Model 3.
1. The first difference I notice is when you turn on the headlights on a Model Y, these LED reflectors go through a “start-up” animation sequence that simply does not happen on a Model 3. Take another/closer look at the Model Y video I posted a few pages back and you‘ll see that initial animated sequence performed by the reflectors when the vehicle’s headlights are turned on. This definitely does NOT happen on the Model 3 when you turn on the vehicle’s headlights. Instead, the reflectors simply turn ON and there is no ”start-up” animation.
2. The second difference I notice is what you mentioned in your post from above… the reflector sequential pattern on the Model Y is indeed different than on the Model 3.

The above two differences in behavior have nothing to do with the LED reflector kit itself (all these LED reflector kits are the exact same product… at least the current batch of kits that you see out there right now). What is causing this difference in behavior/operation is how Tesla has wired the tail light on the Model Y versus how they have wired the tail lights on the Model 3. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way around this right now.

So, I hope what I’ve observed/reported above helps people understand why they are seeing some of these differences.
Honestly, I prefer the way these LED reflector kits behave/operate on the Y versus the 3. However, not enough to trade in my 3 for a Y!!! :D

Oh, I do have one final observation. In your video, when you step on the brake pedal, your reflector clearly flashes/blinks multiple (looks like 4) times before the reflectors remain on/solid. However, on mine when I press on the brake pedal, the reflectors do not flash multiple times or at all actually. Instead, when I press on my brake pedal, the reflectors will animate once (like it’s going through one turn sequence) and then turn off. There is absolutely no flashing (quick blinking) of the reflectors. The reason for this difference is you decided not to connect the reflector’s yellow&blue combo wiring to the vehicle’s tail light harness. Instead, you tapped the reflector’s yellow/blue wiring into the front fender side turn signal, which allowed you to get full functionality out of these reflectors (turn signal functionality and brake light functionality). However, after seeing the rapid flashing/blinking of the reflectors every time the brake pedal is depressed, I think the repeated flashing/blinking sequence looks a little odd, especially when your turn signals are activated. Imagine what would happen and how the reflectors would behave every time you make a turn. The reflector will go through its turn signal animation. Then, every time you press on the brake pedal (or release the accelerator pedal to slow down), your reflectors will quickly flash 4 times and then the reflectors go back to its turn signal animation. Not sure about you, but when I make a turn, I usually need to step on the brake pedal multiple times in response to what the other drivers in front of me are doing. So, imagine what your reflectors are doing when you have your turn signal activated and are stepping on the brake pedal multiple times before and during your turn. I think you’ll realize the reflectors go through a rather odd sequence of lights and will look a little odd in how it operates, especially when seen by other drivers behind you. So, I definitely will not try tapping into the front fender turn signal with my kit and just live with no brake light functionality on the reflectors. Of course, this is just my opinion & preference. You may like the quick flashing/blinking effect. Certainly nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, good job on the idea (to tap into the fender turn signal) and your install! 👍
 
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Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Thanks GreenHokie!. I too was disappointed it didn't have the same animations as the model Y. Really bizarre to me since I thought for sure with the dedicated turn signal plugged in that it would be about the same.

Just a couple of things though, Of the blue and yellow wires connected to the LED bar. Only the yellow is tapped into the turn signal from upfront. The blue I discovered is what handles the parking "always-on" light and that remains connected to the included harness. So anyone looking to do this would just need to tap into the single yellow wire on the front fender turn signal.

Once I get the other side wired up I'll make another video of the scenario you described to see how it looks. I know the flickering flash before being solid is supposed to grab the attention of drivers behind you so they know your braking vs just turning off which was one of the reasons I originally decided to give this a try. Perhaps the Turn signal zipping animation won't look that bad with the flicker/solid combo of the other side if additional on and off braking happens. Will see.
 

GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
Thanks GreenHokie!. I too was disappointed it didn't have the same animations as the model Y. Really bizarre to me since I thought for sure with the dedicated turn signal plugged in that it would be about the same.

Just a couple of things though, Of the blue and yellow wires connected to the LED bar. Only the yellow is tapped into the turn signal from upfront. The blue I discovered is what handles the parking "always-on" light and that remains connected to the included harness. So anyone looking to do this would just need to tap into the single yellow wire on the front fender turn signal.

Once I get the other side wired up I'll make another video of the scenario you described to see how it looks. I know the flickering flash before being solid is supposed to grab the attention of drivers behind you so they know your braking vs just turning off which was one of the reasons I originally decided to give this a try. Perhaps the Turn signal zipping animation won't look that bad with the flicker/solid combo of the other side if additional on and off braking happens. Will see.
Cool. Look forward to seeing your follow-up video. I am curious how an individual reflector behaves during a typical scenario where the driver is attempting a turn.
For example, let’s say you want to make a left turn at an upcoming intersection.
-So, you turn on your left turn signal which starts the turn signal animation on your left rear relector.
-During this process of making & completing a left turn, you will definitely need to step on the brake pedal at least once, if not multiple times. So, what happens on the left reflector every time you press the brake pedal? In other words, when you step on the brake pedal (or take your foot completely off the accelerator), does that left reflector suspend its turn signal animation to initiate that quick flickering/flashing sequence and then returns to the turn signal animation? Or, will having your turn signal on to the left rear reflector always override and prevent that same left rear reflector from starting the flickering animation when even it receives a brake command/signal?
 

Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Cool. Look forward to seeing your follow-up video. I am curious how an individual reflector behaves during a typical scenario where the driver is attempting a turn.
For example, let’s say you want to make a left turn at an upcoming intersection.
-So, you turn on your left turn signal which starts the turn signal animation on your left rear relector.
-During this process of making & completing a left turn, you will definitely need to step on the brake pedal at least once, if not multiple times. So, what happens on the left reflector every time you press the brake pedal? In other words, when you step on the brake pedal (or take your foot completely off the accelerator), does that left reflector suspend its turn signal animation to initiate that quick flickering/flashing sequence and then returns to the turn signal animation? Or, will having your turn signal on to the left rear reflector always override and prevent that same left rear reflector from starting the flickering animation when even it receives a brake command/signal?


I can confirm that no it does not suspend the turn signal animation during braking. As long as the turn signal is ON. It has priority over the flickering brake flashing animation. I may have not shown that when I edited my video but I had the wife testing it off-camera for me so I'm certain of it. .
 
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Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Ok, so I finished up the driver's side today and made a video of every scenario I could think of to show these off to everyone. @GreenHokie I do get what you were talking about with having the turn signal zipping in animation and then maybe hitting the brakes once or twice and how that hyper flash could possibly look to others like both turn signals are going at the same time if only looking at the lower LED's. However, I would hope that most people would realize the hyper flash is brake related should this situation happen often and you can clearly see the brake light above the hyper flashing led remains solid. .

I supposed worse case one can simply leave them wired up as is without a dedicated turn signal source and just use them for the turn signals only basically.

I really wish they were more like the Model Y though. No Hyper flash just 2 fast blinks and then solid and the animation of the turn was nicer looking. I just can't figure out how drastic the wiring of the Model Y would have to be to actually alter the animation. Typically you just supply power to the Yellow wire and the circuit board in the LED triggers its animation. I honestly think the Model Y has a different effects Chip. Even the start-up animation, etc.


 

Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
I had some leftover Luxe matte light smoke taillight tint from a previous project and tinted the LED stripes to help tone them down just a smidge. Can still see the flash and turn signal effects no problem but they at least appear a tad dimmer than the upper lights.

IMG_3922.jpg
 

GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
Thanks @Dysan911. Great video.
Yeah, the hyper flashing sequence that is initiated with every tap of the brake pedal (or release of the accelerator) just doesn’t look good/right to me, especially when one of the turn signals is also activated/running. I think I’ll just leave mine fully connected the way it was intended (no tapping into the fender turn signal).

I thought about buying and testing out the reflector kit meant for the Model Y (to see if it would result in the same type of animations that we’ve seen on the various YouTube videos of Model Y’s with these reflectors). However, when I look at all the various photos of the wiring harness that is supplied with the reflector kit marketed for the Model Y, that wiring harness looks identical to the wiring harness for the Model 3. So, I don’t think it would make any difference.

You read my mind regarding applying some type of tint on the reflectors. I was thinking about doing the same, but have not found a tint that will not darken the reflectors too much for my taste. I was thinking a 90% tint (like the one that is designed for the front windshield) would provide just the right amount darkening on the reflectors. However, I don’t think those 90% windshield tints are meant to be applied on surfaces exposed to the elements. Did you have any trouble getting the Luxe tint to lay down properly (no wrinkles or fingers) around the curved edges of the reflector?
 

Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Thanks @Dysan911. Great video.
Yeah, the hyper flashing sequence that is initiated with every tap of the brake pedal (or release of the accelerator) just doesn’t look good/right to me, especially when one of the turn signals is also activated/running. I think I’ll just leave mine fully connected the way it was intended (no tapping into the fender turn signal).

Yep, I figure I'll leave it for now with the option to easily restore it to how you have yours one day. Question, do you feel like the fact that at night when you're driving down the road and folks behind you see the lower led's illuminated. You apply the brakes and both of those go off? Every time you use the brakes or slow down they consistently go off and on as if you have a short in the wiring For me that wouldn't be a good/right look either. I do wish I could change the hyper flash to maybe 2 instead of 4. I think the sequence is just way too long.

I thought about buying and testing out the reflector kit meant for the Model Y (to see if it would result in the same type of animations that we’ve seen on the various YouTube videos of Model Y’s with these reflectors). However, when I look at all the various photos of the wiring harness that is supplied with the reflector kit marketed for the Model Y, that wiring harness looks identical to the wiring harness for the Model 3. So, I don’t think it would make any difference.

You read my mind regarding applying some type of tint on the reflectors. I was thinking about doing the same, but have not found a tint that will not darken the reflectors too much for my taste. I was thinking a 90% tint (like the one that is designed for the front windshield) would provide just the right amount darkening on the reflectors. However, I don’t think those 90% windshield tints are meant to be applied on surfaces exposed to the elements. Did you have any trouble getting the Luxe tint to lay down properly (no wrinkles or fingers) around the curved edges of the reflector?

I believe the sequential animation is the result of the chip/controller on the internal board within the lens. They use the exact same wiring but the board must be different on the model Y version. Unless the manufacturer no longer offers these with the original animations.

Is the Model 7 LED strip the same as ours fitment-wise or a different length and curvature?

The tail-light tint I had leftover is a light smoke with a matte finish so it's not shiny and doesn't pick up any reflections making the light shining through even harder to see. It looks way better in person IMHO and was extremely easy to lay down with zero wrinkles or fingers and all edges were tucked perfectly. They do use a quality film. I'm just glad I had some leftover.
 
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Delray

Member
Jul 11, 2020
23
3
South Florida
There was another offering with only the upper lights, using dynamic amber turn signals in place of the existing upper turn signals. I recall the cost being around $700.
 

GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
Question, do you feel like the fact that at night when you're driving down the road and folks behind you see the lower led's illuminated. You apply the brakes and both of those go off? Every time you use the brakes or slow down they consistently go off and on as if you have a short in the wiring For me that wouldn't be a good/right look either.
Good question. I think because my reflectors don‘t actually quickly flicker multiple times, but instead perform a single turn signal animation, it is less confusing for other drivers behind me. So, when I step on the brake pedal, the reflectors behave exactly like I’ve temporarily turned on the emergency hazards (i.e. both reflectors perform one single sequential animation) and then turn off. No constant flickering. Personally, I think this looks better and is also less confusing for other drivers (compared to the hyper flashing, which does look like a short circuit to me).


I believe the sequential animation is the result of the chip/controller on the internal board within the lens. They use the exact same wiring but the board must be different on the model Y version. Unless the manufacturer no longer offers these with the original animations.
Is the Model 7 LED strip the same as ours fitment-wise or a different length and curvature?
I’m not sure about the dimensions of the Model Y reflectors. I thought I read somewhere that they are slightly different/larger, but not sure. I’m tempted to order/test out the one linked below from Amazon for the Model Y. Unfortunately, Amazon does not offer free returns on this particular item. I think this one is supplied by and ships from China. Not sure if this seller’s product descriptions are accurate, but their stated reflector dimensions are exactly the same as the one I ordered/installed from Amazon for my Model 3.
So, perhaps the Model 3 and Y reflectors are identical after all…

 
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Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
Good question. I think because my reflectors don‘t actually quickly flicker multiple times, but instead perform a single turn signal animation, it is less confusing for other drivers behind me. So, when I step on the brake pedal, the reflectors behave exactly like I’ve temporarily turned on the emergency hazards (i.e. both reflectors perform one single sequential animation) and then turn off. No constant flickering. Personally, I think this looks better and is also less confusing for other drivers (compared to the hyper flashing, which does look like a short circuit to me).

Gotcha, quick question just so I know in case I decide to go back to the stock wiring. If you're approaching a turn with the signal going and this fires up the zipping sequential turn signals. Then you brake a few times or regen brake to slow for the turn, wouldn't your other side do at least one sequential animation for every time the brakes are triggered?
 
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GreenHokie

Member
Sep 26, 2019
438
517
central Virginia
Gotcha, quick question just so I know in case I decide to go back to the stock wiring. If you're approaching a turn with the signal going and this fires up the zipping sequential turn signals. Then you brake a few times or regen brake to slow for the turn, wouldn't your other side do at least one sequential animation for every time the brakes are triggered?
I’ll have to test & confirm this tomorrow, but pretty sure every time I step on the brake pedal or regen brake during the process of making a turn, the other reflector that is not actively signaling a turn, will initiate one sequential animation and then turn off. So, if I press and release the brake pedal two separate times during a turn, then the other reflector should perform two separate single sequential animations.

Your reflectors should behave in the same way. The only difference being your reflectors will do the hyper flashing and mine will do a single sequential animation (for every press and release of the brake pedal).
 
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Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
29
7
Callahan, FL
I’ll have to test & confirm this tomorrow, but pretty sure every time I step on the brake pedal or regen brake during the process of making a turn, the other reflector that is not actively signaling a turn, will initiate one sequential animation and then turn off. So, if I press and release the brake pedal two separate times during a turn, then the other reflector should perform two separate single sequential animations.

Your reflectors should behave in the same way. The only difference being your reflectors will do the hyper flashing and mine will do a single sequential animation (for every press and release of the brake pedal).

I think either way you set these up with the wiring as is or running a dedicated turn signal all comes down to personal preference on how you want to perceive or interpret the end results. I would prefer the model Y double brake flash and the sequential pattern but since ours don't have that we'll just have to go with what we got.

Personally and this is just me. If I have a "Left to right or Right to Left" animation LED in progress depending on which turn I'm making. I do not want the exact opposite side to initiate the same animation each time I hit the brake or regen brake because during that moment it looks like you turned on your Hazard lights. At least the Hyperflash is a different animation than the one in progress (Turn signal).

I wonder if I leave the dedicated turn signal connected but unplug the black/Red connector if that would disable the hyper flash brakes altogether and retain the Sequential turn signals. Hmmmmm

I bet the black wire is ground and would need to stay but the red one is what triggers the brake flashing.
 

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