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Lighted Tesla T for nosecone

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Making progress toward completion of what I believe will be a successful working prototype that I can display at TESLIVE and install on my car.

I've made up and installed LEDs on two versions, one with clear Plexiglas the other with sandwiched mirrored Plexiglas, which I think will light up even brighter. Here are some photos I've what I'm working with at this stage. The clear Plexi is on he left, the sandwiched mirrored on the right. I drilled holes for the LEDs in the sides of the T's (a tricky job give the very tiny clearances, cut small slices in the Plexi for the LED leads, and epoxied the LEDs in place, all of this so the LEDs will be hidden. A lot of finish work to do before I wire it all up for testing but I expect I'm a few days away for something close to the finished thing.

DSC_3544.JPG


DSC_3546.JPG


DSC_3547.JPG
 
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SCW-Greg

Active Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,842
215
Beaverton, OR
Interesting, are you projecting the LEDs inward? From these pics, kind of looks that way.
Masterful work though. Look forward to seeing it when it's complete (even if I can't make TESLIVE).
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Interesting, are you projecting the LEDs inward? From these pics, kind of looks that way.
Masterful work though. Look forward to seeing it when it's complete (even if I can't make TESLIVE).

Yes, the LEDs project inward so the light projects through the Plexi. Also, the edges of the Plexi are sandblasted to rough them up so the edge light is more evenly distributed and hotspots deduced. Lighting from the bottom does not work nearly as well.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Tonight I was able to test the two versions I've made up. The version with the mirrored Plexi appears to be the best solution. I sandwiched together two 1/8" pieces with the mirrored sides facing each other. This reflects the LED light evenly throughout the T and makes the light much brighter. I should finish this version by the weekend. As this will be shown first at TESLIVE I won't post photos of the finished version until then.
 

irishstoutaz

Member
Apr 7, 2013
304
27
Cave Creek, AZ
Thanks for saving the surprise until Teslive.... Looking forward to seeing it in person!

Tonight I was able to test the two versions I've made up. The version with the mirrored Plexi appears to be the best solution. I sandwiched together two 1/8" pieces with the mirrored sides facing each other. This reflects the LED light evenly throughout the T and makes the light much brighter. I should finish this version by the weekend. As this will be shown first at TESLIVE I won't post photos of the finished version until then.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
I finished the prototype today and lit it up. My first attempt to light it up burned out the 1O LEDS glued into the Plexi T pieces -- this because I misread the resistor rating -- I needed an 82 ohm resistor and mistakenly wired in a .82 ohm. Wanted to tear my hair out for that. So I had to take it all apart, remove all of the glued-in LEDs, drill the glue out of the holes, and start over again. An hour later when I turned it on with the right resistor wired into the circuit I was overjoyed with the results.

I'm eager to post some photos but have committed to showing it for the first time at TESLIVE, a little more than a week away. I've set up a display panel for that purpose and I'll take and post a photo of that later today, but without the T lit up. Photos of T lit up will be posted from TESLIVE next Saturday. When I return from TESLIVE I'll install it on my car.

For one-off versions, this approach requires much hand work -- drilling, soldering, and the like. Commercial production will require a different approach altogether.
 

SCW-Greg

Active Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,842
215
Beaverton, OR
Right on.
I would sooo be there, if I didn't already have a family commitment during those exact days.

Please take a vid of the big reveal, for those of us back home too.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
I just remembered a device I found for remotely controlling LEDs that I'm going to use with the lighted Tesla T. With this device you can remotely (range of up to 90 feet) turn the LEDs in the T on and off, set the brightness to 8 different levels, and put the T in strobe/flashing mode. I've ordered one and hope to have in time to demonstrate at TESLIVE.

Here are a few photos of the display stand for the lighted T that I'll use at TESLIVE. None of these photos show the T lighted (that will come next Saturday) although . The first shows the Plexi T with the LEDs installed in the back the threaded through the stand. All of the wiring is behind the face panel, just as it would be on a nosecone mount. The second shows the the stock chrome Tesla T layered over the Plexi.

DSC_3548.JPG


DSC_3561.JPG
 
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artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Assuming all goes well with the final design, I've been investigating ways to make assembly of this easier for Model S owners with DYI skills or without enough knowledge to do this kind of thing on their own. What I've concluded is that this could be made available in a simple kit form including the Plexi Ts with the LEDs glued in place, a custom printed circuit board that would require some simple soldering on the back side of the nose cone, and the necessary leads for connections to a switched fuse and/or the headlight wiring, so the T would be switched on when the car is started or the headlights are on. The kit would also have an option for installation of the remote control mentioned in an earlier post.

The kits could easily installed by a shop or owners with the requisite skills. Basic steps would be removal of the nosecone (very easy), removal of the stock chrome T (glued in place at the factory with double sided tape, but also easy), drilling of 10 small holes in the nosecone for the LED leads, placement of the Plexi T on the nose cone and the stock chrome T on top (glued with small dabs of Goop), soldering of the LED leads to the PCB, and connection of the power leads from the fuse box or headlamps.

This would require about two hours of work at the most. Although I haven't done the calculations, the kit would be relatively inexpensive, I'm guessing $150 - $200 at the most.
 

zax123

CDN Model S 100D
Jun 4, 2012
915
101
Candiac, QC, CAN
As an avid DIYer, I would be all over this. :)

I was wondering -- have you found an easy way to to get access to a switched power source at (or near) the nose cone? And by switched I mean on when the car is on. I'm thinking that would be the easiest as opposed to finding a circuit that is live only when the headlights are on.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
As an avid DIYer, I would be all over this. :)

I was wondering -- have you found an easy way to to get access to a switched power source at (or near) the nose cone? And by switched I mean on when the car is on. I'm thinking that would be the easiest as opposed to finding a circuit that is live only when the headlights are on.

The only switched power supply I'm aware of is in one of the fuse boxes, #3 if I recall correctly. It would be very easy to use Tap-a-fuse to use this to power the T and run the leads to the nose cone. Of course, the headlight power is switched as well -- off when the car is shut down and on when lighting conditions require (if in auto). So if you want the T to be lit when the headlights are on, tapping into the headlight power makes sense.
 

aaron.s

Member
May 31, 2012
999
36
Assuming all goes well with the final design, I've been investigating ways to make assembly of this easier for Model S owners with DYI skills or without enough knowledge to do this kind of thing on their own. What I've concluded is that this could be made available in a simple kit form including the Plexi Ts with the LEDs glued in place, a custom printed circuit board that would require some simple soldering on the back side of the nose cone, and the necessary leads for connections to a switched fuse and/or the headlight wiring, so the T would be switched on when the car is started or the headlights are on. The kit would also have an option for installation of the remote control mentioned in an earlier post.

The kits could easily installed by a shop or owners with the requisite skills. Basic steps would be removal of the nosecone (very easy), removal of the stock chrome T (glued in place at the factory with double sided tape, but also easy), drilling of 10 small holes in the nosecone for the LED leads, placement of the Plexi T on the nose cone and the stock chrome T on top (glued with small dabs of Goop), soldering of the LED leads to the PCB, and connection of the power leads from the fuse box or headlamps.

This would require about two hours of work at the most. Although I haven't done the calculations, the kit would be relatively inexpensive, I'm guessing $150 - $200 at the most.

Me thinks you may be getting a lot of requests to do this artsci!

:rolleyes:

artscimodkits.com - I see a business model forming!

Aaron

- - - Updated - - -

The domain is available!
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,234
Timonium, Maryland
Today I spent some time examining the back of the nose cone and and how it mounts to the nose of the car. The way it's set up will make the installation of the lighted T more complicated than I thought. First, there's a plastic tab with a spring clip on the back side of the nose cone right behind the vertical part of the T. The spring clip snaps into a vertical slot on the aluminum frame for the nose cone and the frame itself will be a barrier for any electronics extending in that direction. What this means is the the plastic tab will have to be removed and part of the aluminum frame behind the nose cone T cut away to provide clearance for the electronics/wiring. This should not be difficult but it will involve more work than I had first thought. And it will mean cutting away a few things that many owners would be reluctant to do, even though they won't be seen and should not effect the reliability of the nose cone attachments.

Just thought everyone should know. This will not deter me -- full speed ahead!
 

npiwovar

Member
Jan 20, 2013
55
1
Florida
This is a great idea.If Mercedes can do it, why not Tesla. You are da man!
Today I spent some time examining the back of the nose cone and and how it mounts to the nose of the car. The way it's set up will make the installation of the lighted T more complicated than I thought. First, there's a plastic tab with a spring clip on the back side of the nose cone right behind the vertical part of the T. The spring clip snaps into a vertical slot on the aluminum frame for the nose cone and the frame itself will be a barrier for any electronics extending in that direction. What this means is the the plastic tab will have to be removed and part of the aluminum frame behind the nose cone T cut away to provide clearance for the electronics/wiring. This should not be difficult but it will involve more work than I had first thought. And it will mean cutting away a few things that many owners would be reluctant to do, even though they won't be seen and should not effect the reliability of the nose cone attachments.

Just thought everyone should know. This will not deter me -- full speed ahead!
 

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