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Retrofit Premium Interior Lighting?

jbruce

Member
Does anyone know if its possible to retrofit the "Premium Interior Lighting" to a mid November 2013 P85+? My wife test drove the Model S produced before the premium interior lighting was optional. When we ordered her car it had become an option and she did not understand that it was previously the standard lighting on the car. She thought is was additional lighting to the old standard she had seen. It was one of the few options we did not get on a pretty loaded P85+. She had never really thought at all about interior lights until they were not there in this car. Now she's really unhappy that the car is so dark and that we paid over $100k for such a dark car. As a result she just keeps driving her old Mercedes E350 which we have not yet sold. The Tesla literally has a few hundred miles over the last couple months because she drives the Mercedes all the time.

Does anyone know if I can retrofit the lighting?
 

Gizmotoy

Active Member
Sep 16, 2013
3,671
883
Bay Area, CA
Probably an expensive retrofit given all the panels involved, and since most people don't even consider it worth the current price (let alone the retrofit price), I haven't seen anyone attempt it. I suspect your next step should be to either stop in or get the service center on the phone to see what they can do for you. They might say no, but it's worth asking.
 

gene

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
2,312
12,814
Santa Barbara, CA
Does anyone know if its possible to retrofit the "Premium Interior Lighting" to a mid November 2013 P85+? My wife test drove the Model S produced before the premium interior lighting was optional. When we ordered her car it had become an option and she did not understand that it was previously the standard lighting on the car. She thought is was additional lighting to the old standard she had seen. It was one of the few options we did not get on a pretty loaded P85+. She had never really thought at all about interior lights until they were not there in this car. Now she's really unhappy that the car is so dark and that we paid over $100k for such a dark car. As a result she just keeps driving her old Mercedes E350 which we have not yet sold. The Tesla literally has a few hundred miles over the last couple months because she drives the Mercedes all the time.

Does anyone know if I can retrofit the lighting?

Question is why? I have it in my car. I have it turned off permanently, it is rather distracting, and LED light is rather cold and unpleasant.
 

liuping

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,243
923
San Diego
Does anyone know if its possible to retrofit the "Premium Interior Lighting" to a mid November 2013 P85+? My wife test drove the Model S produced before the premium interior lighting was optional. When we ordered her car it had become an option and she did not understand that it was previously the standard lighting on the car. She thought is was additional lighting to the old standard she had seen. It was one of the few options we did not get on a pretty loaded P85+. She had never really thought at all about interior lights until they were not there in this car. Now she's really unhappy that the car is so dark and that we paid over $100k for such a dark car. As a result she just keeps driving her old Mercedes E350 which we have not yet sold. The Tesla literally has a few hundred miles over the last couple months because she drives the Mercedes all the time.

Does anyone know if I can retrofit the lighting?

It might be worth checking with Ed & Al's Autosound in west Hollywood.

The factory lighting, even the premium package is pretty pathetic really. I'm sure you could get a better and cheaper aftermarket install.
 

jbruce

Member
Unfortunately she's adverse to aftermarket mods. Even tint and wheels are stretch for her. Maybe that's a result of being married to me (the car guy) who has been known to do some pretty extreme things to cars. I look at the car like an engineer, as a system of components that can be modified and upgraded. She looks at it like one big thing that comes from the dealer the way the factory intended her to have it and its not to be messed with. If anything goes wrong, "the car is broken" not "the transmission is failing" etc. and the car is no longer to be trusted. Anyway, she would rather just drive a different car if she's not comfortable with the way it comes from the factory. I thought the lighting retrofit might be the answer since I can reason that its original design and from the factory.

- - - Updated - - -

Question is why? I have it in my car. I have it turned off permanently, it is rather distracting, and LED light is rather cold and unpleasant.

So its not like the nice ambient lighting you get in a new Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Mini etc.? I have not actually had a chance to ride in a Model S with it at night.

- - - Updated - - -

Probably an expensive retrofit given all the panels involved, and since most people don't even consider it worth the current price (let alone the retrofit price), I haven't seen anyone attempt it. I suspect your next step should be to either stop in or get the service center on the phone to see what they can do for you. They might say no, but it's worth asking.

Work has been crazy so I have not had a chance to get to this until tonight and the service center is closed so I thought I would ping the forums.
 
Last edited:

kirkp

Member
May 22, 2013
58
2
Atlanta, GA
I hear ya w.r.t. to spousal preferences. My P85 came w/ the now-optional Premium Lighting at the time of my purchase, and I do appreciate it, as it makes the interior a bit brighter and more comfortable at night (for me, just my personal prefs).

I doubt that it's worth $1K as an option now; but on the other hand, I would miss it if absent, and I would probably bite the bullet and order it for the additional 1% on a new build order.

If I could get it as a $1K factory retrofit on a car not otherwise equipped, I would do it. If more expensive than that, I'd think hard about 3rd-party alternatives.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,002
24,694
Texas
So its not like the nice ambient lighting you get in a new Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Mini etc.? I have not actually had a chance to ride in a Model S with it at night.

I like the lighting in mine. The main problem is that the floor mats and carpet are black so it's dark regardless of lighting. One of these day's I'll get grey floor mats to go with the seats.
 

jcaspar

Member
Aug 19, 2013
834
76
Sacramento
You should probably just sell it and buy another one if it is so important that the car is not being used. Can she at least drive in during the day? You must have got the black interior as my tan is quite light without the premium package. May even want to get her vision checked as night blindness could be an early sign of retinitis pigmentosa.I
don't see why a service center couldn't retrofit it for 3-4,000$ if you could convince them to do it or have an aftermarket place do it and have her just deal with it.
 

jbruce

Member
I'd say grow a mustache, shave your head, and when she finds that you are "broken" then find a new reasonable wife :/ lol

LOL. I'm currently rocking a beard and I have done a mustache for Movember and she's been ok with that. I think its a pretty reasonable request to want lighting in a $100k+ car to be close to that of a $30-50K car.

- - - Updated - - -

You should probably just sell it and buy another one if it is so important that the car is not being used. Can she at least drive in during the day? You must have got the black interior as my tan is quite light without the premium package. May even want to get her vision checked as night blindness could be an early sign of retinitis pigmentosa.I
don't see why a service center couldn't retrofit it for 3-4,000$ if you could convince them to do it or have an aftermarket place do it and have her just deal with it.

We actually have the grey interior and I like the black carpets. She does also have bad night vision. I've thought about seeing if the dealer will buy it back and let us get another one if they can't retrofit the interior lighting. It only has about 600 miles on it as of yesterday.
 

FrederikC

Teslafied.eu
Jan 21, 2014
37
0
Danmark
I spoke with my Service Center Engineer today, he says that the ambient light does not go though the door electronics but directly to the ECU.
Retrofit is possible but you will have to buy 4 new door panels from Tesla at the price of aprox. 600 USD a pcs.
 

WeazL

Moderator - Hawaii
Aug 18, 2013
614
29
Oahu, Hawaii
I spoke with my Service Center Engineer today, he says that the ambient light does not go though the door electronics but directly to the ECU.
Retrofit is possible but you will have to buy 4 new door panels from Tesla at the price of aprox. 600 USD a pcs.

Based on this information, it sounds to me like the wiring is in place in all cars, which would make it possibly to DIY and bypass the ECU for a daredevil. :scared: If so, you could add your own LED strips in the factory locations, identify the wires under the dash (post ECU) and intercept them so you could bypass the ECU and power them via a remote switch or add a relay connected to your headlights or something so that at night they automatically come on. Using an aftermarket solution would even allow you to change the color of the LED's similar to other new luxury models. I would suggest using flexible LED strips with an adhesive backing if you attempt this. You can cut them to the desired length which will simplify the install. Be careful if you attempt this. My words are merely thoughts meant to provoke deeper thought before action is taken. I am not suggesting that you do this mod, but it sounds possible, which was your initial question. Of course you could always run all of your own wiring and perform the connection as mentioned via relay and not tamper with your car's internal wiring or ECU. This would be the safest way.:tongue:
 

kseitzberg

Member
Dec 21, 2012
86
10
Denmark
WeazL:

As you can see on the attached picture, the control of the ambient light is done through the door control module.

This control unit receives a signal via the can-bus, closing the relay inside the door control unit.

If you have the button enabled on the main screen, power will be available on the wire inside the door - otherwise you will need to make a manual switch in the car somewhere.

You will need to run the wire from inside the car, througt the rubber seal in the door, into the doorside.

doorcontrol.png
 

Jason

Member
Feb 6, 2013
149
13
DFW, TX
To make powering it simpler, I would pull power from the illuminated window switch - just as FYI, the strip LED lights don't stick well under the armrest :)
 

Jason

Member
Feb 6, 2013
149
13
DFW, TX
I knew some people with more info would chime in. :tongue: That's what makes this forum so awesome!

I had disassembled the door panel yesterday to look into the same thing - if I come up with good solution I will share.
The blue connector is the window switch one and has 12v

d-panel.JPG
 

FrederikC

Teslafied.eu
Jan 21, 2014
37
0
Danmark
I had disassembled the door panel yesterday to look into the same thing - if I come up with good solution I will share.
The blue connector is the window switch one and has 12v

The window switch's backlight is that controlled by the lightsensor/headlights, or is it always on?

The issue with tapping in on these wires is that you cannot control the led (on/off/dim).
 

Jason

Member
Feb 6, 2013
149
13
DFW, TX
The window switch's backlight is that controlled by the lightsensor/headlights, or is it always on?

The issue with tapping in on these wires is that you cannot control the led (on/off/dim).

It is always on - when car is on.
Personally for me, having the ambient light always on is fine with me, the switch backlights are always and it is not a problem.
 

FrederikC

Teslafied.eu
Jan 21, 2014
37
0
Danmark
It is always on - when car is on.
Personally for me, having the ambient light always on is fine with me, the switch backlights are always and it is not a problem.

I tested yesterday and it is controlled by the screen brightness.
Could be a solution just to tap in there, if the power is sufficient.
 

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