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 Retrofit Possible w/Armrest Interior Lights?

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by glide, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. glide

    glide Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    USA
    I was wondering if anyone had luck installing the LED ambient lights under the armrests in their non-PUP vehicles.

    I saw some older threads where folks talked about attempting but never any final result. My car does not have the required light strips so I am also looking for a source for those. Abstract Ocean seems to sell everything but this piece for the retrofit.

    Any input is appreciated.
     
  2. Mystic

    Mystic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Niagara Falls, NY
    I myself am thinking of attempting this soon on my Non-PUP 2015. If you do a little digging there's 1 or 2 threads on this topic and the key points I've found is this:

    • You can try and get the official parts from a service center, so you can just buy the lights yourself.
    • The required wiring is in all doors, even if it doesn't have ambient lighting from the factory. So in theory, they're plug and play.
    • You'd have to disassemble the door and get access to the upper portion of the door by removing 11 or so screws. You'd have to manually cut a slit out for the lighting. Which again, most doors will have an opening. It won't be "open" but theres an impression that you can cut out for the lights.
    • Your car will not have ambient lighting in the MCU. So plug and play unfortunately wouldn't work. Tesla likely will give you a hard time turning it on.
    • You can try and tap into another power source. The lighting for door button controls are apparently on all the time. So you could tap that wire to get power. But you won't have on/off factory toggle in MCU.
    So basically, with that in mind I'm still not sure how I want to approach it. If I plug them in normally I doubt Tesla will turn it on for me. So I may have to tap into door switches. Obviously I haven't done anything yet but there's very little information online about this which is why I'm hesitant to do it, but in theory, you can retrofit.
     
  3. crmartin9

    crmartin9 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2017
    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Very good and accurate summary by Mystic. I installed the LED ambient lights in under the armrests in my non-PUP. I bought the lights from the SC and installed them myself. I was able to get the SC to turn on the feature in the MCU, but they did it more as a goodwill thing since they felt bad for me that the fabrication date on my MS75 missed the cutoff for uncorking by a couple of days. It may require a substantial donation of donuts and begging on your part. My advice is to go into this with the expectation that you'll end up having to tap into door switches or run some auxiliary wiring to power them while hoping to be pleasantly surprised by a sympathetic employee at a SC.
     
  4. snd92

    snd92 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2016
    Messages:
    219
    Location:
    Norway
    Great summary @Mystic :) For this kind of work Tesla Toolbox is needed. It's possible to get control current from e.g. 12V socket, which will make the lights turn on when car is also on.
     
  5. glide

    glide Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    USA
    I have access to the toolbox in MA
     
  6. Mystic

    Mystic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Niagara Falls, NY
    Ah yes you’re in one of those threads I was referring to! If you could, mind telling me if that was for sure the case with you? That they just felt bad given your situation? Like they were reluctant to turn it on for you?

    How was your install? If I do tap into another source do you know exactly which wire is the window switches?

    Also how long for the parts to come in? I’m on month 2 waiting for a sunroof and it’s getting a bit frustrating. Wondering if it’s because it’s such a big part that’s taking so long.
     
  7. pkodali

    pkodali Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2017
    Messages:
    671
    Location:
    Sacramento
    What can you do with the toolbox?
     
  8. crmartin9

    crmartin9 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2017
    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I had brought in the car for a few things to the Springfield NJ service center, so it's kind of hard to fully separate out cause and effect. One of the things on the appointment punch list was the uncorking, but then they discovered that my build date was just outside the window when they started to dig into the diagnostics to get started. I don't know for sure whether or not turning on the ambient lights was truly connected to their inability to uncork my car, but it certainly was a good customer relations move on their part to prevent me from blowing my stack and screaming bloody hell in front of them. It ended up being a bit of a pyrrhic victory though, because they ran into some issues with the software trying to turn on the ambient lighting which ended up with them having to put in a tech service call with the mothership in CA and I ended up sitting around the SC for an extra two hours while they got it all straightened out.

    Figuring out which connector to use was pretty straightforward. In non-PUP cars, there are a couple of extra connectors floating around inside the door with the same style plug. One of them goes to the puddle lights on the bottom of the door and the other to the ambient lighting. (There might be another connector for cars with the lighted door handles, but I can't remember.) It's pretty easy to figure out which is which by their location and even if that fails, you'll figure out real quick by whether or not the lights go on in response to opening the door.

    Running power off of the window switches was my back-up plan, but fortunately for me it never came down to that, so I didn't start examining and tracing out those wires.

    The parts came in pretty quickly. I got them in about a week shipped to my house from the time I ordered them from the SC, though that was about 9 months ago.

    Overall the install was pretty easy. The hardest parts of the whole install were (1) trying to locate all of the frickin' screws hidden under the insulation in the door panel to take the panels apart, (2) not accidentally kicking over my cup and losing the screws all over the garage floor once they were out, and (3) summoning up the courage to cut the slit into the prestine door panel with a razor blade.
     
  9. glide

    glide Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    USA
    It is Tesla's proprietary subscription-based diagnostic tool.

    No idea what I could do with it in this instance but one of the previous posters mentioned it was needed.
     
  10. pkodali

    pkodali Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2017
    Messages:
    671
    Location:
    Sacramento
    How do you get access to it. I would be interested to see if we could enable some software limited things like self presenting doors using the toolbox
     
  11. Mystic

    Mystic Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Niagara Falls, NY
    Okay awesome thank you so much! Given your story I think I’ve built the confidence to try this myself. :)

    I bought my car as CPO 2015 and it had black Alcantara headliner which at the time, you needed the Premium package to have. Or at least so I thought, because I love the ambient lighting so I thought I was in the clear. First thing I noticed at delivery was no lighting. I was so bummed.
     
  12. glide

    glide Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    USA
    Please post back if you are able to locate parts and perform the install.
     

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