Elantra GT: Addition of LEDs to Hatchback Version I

PROBLEM: The HB (HatchBack) of my Hyundai Elantra GT is entirely too dark! The problem becomes even worse if I have a box or two in there that cover the light source.

SOLUTION: Add two bright white LEDs to the HB that will illuminate from above. They aren’t the brightest solution, but they are small, take very little power, and I just love LEDs!!!

DISCLAIMER: This is a work in progress! With the new baby and my reluctance to punch holes and tear apart my “new” car I did this job pretty quickly.

For example, I was a bit sloppy on the wiring (taped to walls instead of behind the felt) for two reasons:

  1. I may make changes to the LEDs, resistors, etc. and don’t want anything too permanent or difficult to access.
  2. I have no idea how to go behind the felt walls.

This isn’t something you’d see in a showroom, but you’ll get the idea of what I’m trying to do. Also, I am by no means an electrician, so use this as a reference and test out your own schematics / electronic configuration.

2 – bright white 5mmLED’s from eBay: 5mm, 3.6V, 30mA
2 – 5mm LED holders from RadioShack: Item #: 276-079
1 – 330 ohm resistor. (I’m pretty sure this is the one I used).

I hooked up the LED’s in series (see schematics below) and added the resistor to drop the voltage down enough not to fry the LEDs.

To make things easy I wanted to connect to the existing light to provide the power and turn on when the back was open. I tried to solder wires onto the ends of the existing stock bulb (I could have soldered to the socket connectors, but didn’t want to “ruin” them), but the solder wouldn’t stick (stainless steel?) so I just wrapped the wire around the end of the bulb until I find a better solution.

I drilled 1/4 inch holes in the plastic liner (see picture). The position is excellent as it is angled just right, easy to access, up high enough so it doesn’t get blocked, and out of the way. The best part is I didn’t have to pull anything apart to get to the spot and drill the hole, which I really like! I pushed the LED though the back of the hole, attached the LED holder, and pushed it snugly into place!

Now I have cool lighting in the back of my car exactly where I need it! They aren’t SUPER bright, but at night it’s just right!

Before the addition of the LEDs: (pictures are dark, but you should be able to tell the before / after effect).

HB – No LED:

HB – With LED:

HB – With camera Flash

HB – Box without LED (blocks the light):

HB – Box with LED (shines from above):

LED Position: (remember, the tape is temporary!)

LED Position and tie in to existing light source.


Video: 2 mb video. Use windows media player. GT-HatchBack-led-video.wmv

Comments, Questions, Suggestions, (or warnings that something I made is about to blow up) comment below.