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Model 3 DIY Light kits: Review and installation tips, with pics

Can’t say I’ve had much luck w this install! These AliExpress strips are a PAIN to work with. I taped them down to my center island to “train” them straight.

I used my heat gun on low setting to reheat the shortened end pieces and also to join the provided heat shrink tubing on the end fiber strand, I also put the white grommet on the end and covered it halfway with the heat shrink.

My heat gun stands on its own so I was able to stretch the strip with both hands and gently let the tubing shrink (holding it almost a foot over the heat gun) everything seemed great, looked great until I got in the car and attached the emitter to test and the damn thing snapped right at the end.

These light strips are aesthetically perfect but they are extremely susceptible to a small amount of heat, which leads me to think that hiding these ends in the dash might eventually cause them to melt.

Thankfully Hokie, as always, had us prepared for this scenario, so I redid the strip, being extra careful this time, and got everything looking solid. I checked the emitter, light coming through on fiber on one end, go to the other end, hook up that emitter and I see nada. The emitter is on, but I am not seeing the light passing thru the fiber. I have a feeling the heat shrink caused the fiber to melt again. Will check when it’s dark out tonight to know for sure.

Sorry for the rant lol just anyone doing this with the Ali strips and the heat shrink, be extra extra extra careful!!!! The warm tubing alone can damage the fiber!

Will post pics tonight, only if it looks good tho 😝
 
As John Lennon once famously said, “on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition!”

Guess I doubted myself too much! Looks great, thanks for all the help and input @GreenHokie & @GreatGazoo 😎
 

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As John Lennon once famously said, “on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition!”

Guess I doubted myself too much! Looks great, thanks for all the help and input @GreenHokie & @GreatGazoo 😎

You’re welcome. Glad you stuck with it and didn‘t give up. Looks good and I see you also added a tilting screen, to boot! Well done!!

Yeah, it might take a few tries to figure out the best way to modify & install the AliExpress light strip for the dash. Can be a pain for sure, but once you figure out what to do (and what not to do) then it becomes fairly easy. For me, it was 3 attempts before I got everything just perfect. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine…
 
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is there any reason you dont think to use the aliexpress kit for all of it? it is for ease on install, i.e may be too thin too run in the centre console and other places and fall into the recess, where as the SUMK kits have the light guides which allow it to sit proud.

Thanks
The only issue I foresee is that the SUMK strips are slightly more durable. The AliExpress ones are very very very fragile, When I applied the heat shrink it melted the filament and it snapped. If you’re extra careful you should be fine. On gen 1 console even more so. The bend on the gen 2 would concern me w the Ali kit. YMMV! Good luck!
 
is there any reason you dont think to use the aliexpress kit for all of it? it is for ease on install, i.e may be too thin too run in the centre console and other places and fall into the recess, where as the SUMK kits have the light guides which allow it to sit proud.

Thanks
Good question. I actually did try to install the AliExpress light strip on my center console, but I did not like the result.

While the AliExpress light strip is great in terms of being very slender/thin and emitting a nice/clean/consistent light, it is a little more stiff/brittle than the SUMK light strip and a lot more stiff/brittle than all those other typical round light tubes from Basenor, Nestour and everyone else. This is because the AliExpress light strip is constructed out of acrylic.

Also, the AliExpress light strip can be bent/shaped in only one plane. To better illustrate this, take a look at my photo from below. Here, I’ve shown the AliExpress light strip and we are viewing it directly from the angle/side where the light will be emitted. The blue arrows indicate the direction/plane that you can easily bend the light strip. Unfortunately, you cannot bend this light strip in the other (perpendicular) plane (i.e. towards or away from the current viewing angle in this photo). If you have the older generation (pre-2021) center console like me, then you’ll need to bend the light strip towards you to follow the contour lines of that console... and, the AliExpress light strip is simply not meant to be bent in this direction/plane. You can actually force the AliExpress light strip to bend in this plane/direction, but only by carefully applying heat with a heat gun. What I discovered is, even if you did everything correctly (were careful with the heat gun) and got the light strip to bend enough to match the lines of the console, the bend creates a pinch point in the light strip. As a result, the light output simply does not look good/consistent at this bend. This will not be a problem if you have the re-designed center console found on the 2021 and 2022 Model 3’s, since the AliExpress light strips can easily be bent/shaped in the direction/plane required to follow the lines of the newer console. The gradual/soft 90 degree bends found in the newer consoles are not a problem for the AliExpress light strip.

So, in my opinion, if you have the older generation center console, you’ll get the absolute best result if you use the SUMK strips on the center console and the AliExpress strip on the dashboard.


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Very informative, thanks very much. I will have the latest revision centre console (car not delivered yet) just piling up the mods to blitz it in a week as soon as it arrives.

So far I’ve got, lowering springs, wheels, maxton lip and skirts, Carbon spoiler, 3d mats, interior led puddle upgrades, and now finalising the ambient kit.
 
Very informative, thanks very much. I will have the latest revision centre console (car not delivered yet) just piling up the mods to blitz it in a week as soon as it arrives.

So far I’ve got, lowering springs, wheels, maxton lip and skirts, Carbon spoiler, 3d mats, interior led puddle upgrades, and now finalising the ambient kit.
Don’t forget front and rear wheel spacers (unless your wheels have a large offset).
 
So I have a 2020 Model Y and my current console setup relies on the 12V in the center console. Does an option exist to get it wired into the footwell lights so it’s auto on/off. I rarely use what I have because it’s just annoying to have to turn them on/off all the time.
Based on my experience, and I believe a few others here, I don’t turn the lights off. They will shut when the car goes to sleep (around 10 minutes) the battery drain is nominal, If it’s 1 mile off my SoC it’s a lot.

Tapping the footwells leaves you open to voltage warnings and posible e-fuse resets, which can be annoying. Not saying it will happen, but can’t say it won’t.

The electrical systems are very sensitive, seems even more so in the 21-22 models.
 
So I have a 2020 Model Y and my current console setup relies on the 12V in the center console. Does an option exist to get it wired into the footwell lights so it’s auto on/off. I rarely use what I have because it’s just annoying to have to turn them on/off all the time.

I agree with PauliePucks. No need to turn off the ambient light kit because the vehicle will shut off power to the 12V cigarette plug when it goes to sleep. Also, in one of their recent software updates, Tesla reduced the time required for our vehicles to go into sleep mode. For the past few months or so, my vehicle goes to sleep after 2 min 30 sec of inactivity. I’ve tested/timed this multiple times and it’s very consistent… after 2 min 30 sec, the vehicle goes to sleep (you hear that “thunk” sound from the vehicle disconnecting itself from the HV battery) and everything, including the ambient light kit, shuts off. So, you essentially already have the auto on/off functionality when using the 12V cigarette plug for power.

Now, if you park somewhere where Sentry mode will be active, then your vehicle does not go to sleep while Sentry mode is on/active. So, the ambient lights will remain on during this time. Regardless, you should have no concern about battery drain or range loss due to the ambient lights being on for the entire time, even if it’s on all day. The power draw from most of these ambient light kits is so low, that we are probably talking about a real-world range loss of 1 or 2 miles at the very most from the lights being on all day. How often are you driving around where it becomes critical to save & have that 1-2 miles of additional range?
 
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Interesting perspectives. You see all over YouTube where people are taping into various things w/o issue. It just seems to make sense to tap into the footwell as a source and only come on when those come on. Also, the kit I have now isn’t the best, I think I have the Basenor kit.

Appreciate the sharing of ideas.
 
Interesting perspectives. You see all over YouTube where people are taping into various things w/o issue. It just seems to make sense to tap into the footwell as a source and only come on when those come on. Also, the kit I have now isn’t the best, I think I have the Basenor kit.

Appreciate the sharing of ideas.
The newest SUMK kit is interesting, they actually replace the footwells with their own led which is then split to power the fiber emitter for each side of the dash, so you get both sides lit, which is nicer. Only drawback is I believe it is a separate BT transmitter for each leg, in addition to the center console transmitter, which could leave room for a headache down the road.

SUMK build quality is definitely better than the basenor kit. I had both.
 

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ver found the reflection distracting or objectionable… mainly because the reflection was never in direct line-of-sight of anything on the road ahead that
I'm getting ready to install a light strip across the dash but I've noticed different locations between some of the products.

The one I have depicts an installation across the top of the wood trim and the one in this thread appears to be on a dashboard part above that (closer to the windshield). Then there's the SUMK one that goes even lower near the steering wheel.

What are your thoughts on the various locations for the light strips? Is it purely cosmetic or does one position reflect more/less off the windshield at night?
what kit / where did you get it? i am wanting to install some lighting trim in that location.
 

FLMan

Member
Supporting Member
Nov 25, 2021
68
34
Florida
I used the Kikimo strips from Amazon for mine. I got the console strip on fairly easily by trimming the tab off the light strip where it goes around the curves so that there wasn't anything to "tuck in" along the curve section. People who ride in the car think it came like that from Tesla.

I then got some 3M Adhesive Promoter and some black shrink tubes and put the light across the dash. It stuck to the dash just fine and looked good with no seams visible or light discoloration, but the reflection at night was too much for me and I pulled the dash light off after a week or so. I still have the one around the console and it looks great.
 
I used the Kikimo strips from Amazon for mine. I got the console strip on fairly easily by trimming the tab off the light strip where it goes around the curves so that there wasn't anything to "tuck in" along the curve section. People who ride in the car think it came like that from Tesla.

I then got some 3M Adhesive Promoter and some black shrink tubes and put the light across the dash. It stuck to the dash just fine and looked good with no seams visible or light discoloration, but the reflection at night was too much for me and I pulled the dash light off after a week or so. I still have the one around the console and it looks great.
sweet, ty
do you happen to have a photo of the dash with the glare on the windshield you would be willing to share?
 

FLMan

Member
Supporting Member
Nov 25, 2021
68
34
Florida
I didn't take any pictures of it. I drive to work in the dark and the reflection was in the driver and passenger windows as well as on the windshield. It can be mitigated some by adjusting the brightness down on the light, but I didn't want to have to mess with it that much. :)

I still have a bit of the light strip left and have been thinking about other areas I could put it like under the dash (footwell) or along the seats where I won't see it.
 
The glare is really a personal preference thing. For some it’s distracting, for some it’s not. Pictures won’t help make the determination.

If you’re driving in an area with street lights, it’s diminished greatly in my experience. If it’s a rural/ darker area, it’s more pronounced and could be distracting. Most of these light kits have on/off switch on the end of the cigarette lighter plug, my kit even came with a wired remote power button (SUMK) you could turn it off if it’s one of those areas. I’ve had mine For a few
Months and I hardly notice it anymore.

Just my .02, I say try it in your car and see if it’s bothersome for you. If it’s an Amazon kit you can always return it!

Have fun!!! 🍻
 
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