ahmed24

VLAND Tail Lights & Puddle Light Activated front and rear running lights

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So I recently managed to source a set of rear VLAND tail-lights for my IS250 for a very reasonable price. I didn't like the idea of how when the parking lights are off and you apply the brakes, only the outer section lights up. This is how the factory connectors are wired up, so it's not really a VLAND issue. On the normal OEM tail lights it's not a problem. But the VLAND design is more of the L shape and it seems incomplete when only the outer part of the L shape lights up. Ofcourse if the parking lights are on then there is no problem. But I cannot be driving around in the daytime with parking lights on and even if I did, that will cause my front LED's to be dim. So I did a 2 part modification. 

Part 1: If parking lights are off, make the inner part of the VLAND tail-lights light up when applying the brakes.
Part 2: Use the puddle light circuit to light up the entire VLAND running lights and the front LED running lights. The puddle lights are powered by a 'square PWM signal'  
controlled by the main body ECU wth a MOSFET circuit that fades the  puddle lights in and out. So it's not as simple as just tapping straight into the puddle light circuit. You can't just put a relay on it either because 1. power draw 2. it will cause the relay to buzz and wear out prematurely because the circuit is a digital ON/OFF signal to the puddle light bulbs without any analog smoothing. I used a logic board with a relay that has 'optically isolated' inputs meaning the current draw should never exceed 20mA so there is no chance of overload.  

Below are a few pics of my VLAND taillights installed and a video demonstrating my 2-part modification. In the two pictures below, the boot is not closed so it may look like the VLAND's are not aliged because of it.

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 Very impressive. 👍🏾 

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Your next MOD should be to wire the door handles with LED's so that they come on like the puddle lights do when you are close to the car with the key.

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Anyone who may be interested in doing either just the rear VLAND full L activation on braking or both including the puddle light activation. I have provided some notes and my wiring diagram for reference below. 

*DISCLAIMER*
Use the guide at your own risk! modifications to any electronic systems that are not done correctly can pose a huge risk, so if you are not confident in electronics please do NOT attempt it. I accept no responsibility for any damage to your vehicle or personal injury as a result of following any guides. 

Important: Make sure you use heat-shrink tubes and insulation tape. Preferably glue-lined heatshrinks.

Below is my diagram followed by some notes.

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  • R1 sends power to front LED when ignition energises the coil. This is because my LED headight is retrofitted so there is no OEM wiring for DRL.
  • R1 is not needed if you already have OEM front LED wiring (only need R2 and R3 for puddle light activation)
  • R3 serves 2 purposes for retrofit and 1 purpose for OEM wiring:
    • 1: to cancel out the rear lights from turning on when ignition is on through R1.
    • 2: to prevent flickering of front LED due to reverse leakage current from signal diodes that is enough to cause the front LED to start flicking on & off.
  • R2 is needed to isolate the dim circuit from the full brightness circuit on the headlight just incase the two lights were on at the same time.

If you have OEM front LED headlight wiring then you only need permenant power going to the COM of the optically isolated logic board. You dont need power to R1 as R1 will not be used.

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This is very interesting. I know it's an old thread. Worth asking. 

I've been in that situation of using a standard relay to provide power to my fog lamps to act as a coming/ walking home lights upon unlocking car on my current vehicle and does exactly what you said, it'd buzz in and out when activated from interior lights. 

I'm looking to buy a Lexus and Stumbled across this mod. 

In order to do the lights coming on when unlocking what module are you using. Is there a part number or link available please. 

Much appreciated

Thanks

Naz

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On 11/10/2019 at 10:39 AM, ahmed24 said:

The puddle lights are powered by a 'square PWM signal'  
controlled by the main body ECU wth a MOSFET circuit that fades the  puddle lights in and out. So it's not as simple as just tapping straight into the puddle light circuit. You can't just put a relay on it either because 1. power draw 2. it will cause the relay to buzz and wear out prematurely because the circuit is a digital ON/OFF signal to the puddle light bulbs without any analog smoothing. I used a logic board with a relay that has 'optically isolated' inputs meaning the current draw should never exceed 20mA so there is no chance of overload

As mentioned above, the puddle lights are powered by a square PWM signal. If you try to energise a relay coil from that PWM signal you will get a constant buzzing sound which is the sound of the metal contact opening and closing at a very fast rate as the pwm pulses. In most cases you may not notice a problem and it may work but it will cause the relay to prematurely wear out. It may cause flicking of the source that you are trying to turn on in the first place and most importantly if the relay draws too much extra power or develops an issue, the body ECU may see it as a problem and you may experience other issues as the body ECU shuts things down because the readings are not within its defined parameters.

I did explain how I did this with a optical logic board. Even with the logic board which is designed to detect voltages from 3v onwards, as the signal fades in and out on the lower end it pulses a lot more and I've had to smooth that out with a diode and big capacitor. It's a fair bit of circuitry involved. My drawing above explains the setup.

I created the diagrams above originally for User @G10RRE (John - hope you don't mind me mentioning you here) He successfully did the mod on his ISF. Below is a video link to John's amazing ISF with this mod. 

 

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24 minutes ago, ahmed24 said:

As mentioned above, the puddle lights are powered by a square PWM signal. If you try to energise a relay coil from that PWM signal you will get a constant buzzing sound which is the sound of the metal contact opening and closing at a very fast rate as the pwm pulses. In most cases you may not notice a problem and it may work but it will cause the relay to prematurely wear out. It may cause flicking of the source that you are trying to turn on in the first place and most importantly if the relay draws too much extra power or develops an issue, the body ECU may see it as a problem and you may experience other issues as the body ECU shuts things down because the readings are not within its defined parameters.

I did explain how I did this with a optical logic board. Even with the logic board which is designed to detect voltages from 3v onwards, as the signal fades in and out on the lower end it pulses a lot more and I've had to smooth that out with a diode and big capacitor. It's a fair bit of circuitry involved. My drawing above explains the setup.

I created the diagrams above originally for User @G10RRE (John - hope you don't mind me mentioning you here) He successfully did the mod on his ISF. Below is a video link to John's amazing ISF with this mod. 

 

Thanks for the reply. 

Surely using just the capacitor and diod would sufficient enough for a standard 12v relay. 

I've seen some logic boards on Ebay:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/183885784662

Item number: 183885784662

Would this work. 

I can work with rest of the relays that's not a problem

 

Thanks

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Yes that's the board you want. I didn't post link as links to that auction site if I'm not mistaken are not allowed on the forum (I could be wrong 🙂 ) but they are out of stock of the 12V version at the moment it seems. If you get that, you can ask them to sell you the version without the LEDs on it, this will reduce the current draw. It will require constant power but without the LED the current draw when I did a bench test was very minimal 1 or 2mA if I remember correctly. I've had my car sitting for 3 weeks at one point during the lockdown and no issues. The board will need to be housed in a abs plastic project box.

Regarding just using a relay and using a capacitor and diode to filter and smoothen out the curve, yes in theory that's possible. Either with the board or without the board you will need to create this filter. The difference is with the board without a filter the buzzing will only occur for a split second as the voltage fades in and out between the 3-5v range and doesn't buzz on the higher voltage. With a relay without a filter it will buzz all the time. If you use a relay and make the filter, yes in theory it's fine but your relay will only kick in when the puddle light circuit reaches closer to the 12v. Because the filter has a big enough capacitor it will keep the relay on for about 20-30 seconds even after the puddle lights go out. With the board, it is activated as soon as a signal is detected and also stays on for the 20-30 seconds after the voltage is completely gone. So I find the duration of how long the lights stay on with the board much better overall. 

Hope that helps

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8 hours ago, ahmed24 said:

Yes that's the board you want. I didn't post link as links to that auction site if I'm not mistaken are not allowed on the forum (I could be wrong 🙂 ) but they are out of stock of the 12V version at the moment it seems. If you get that, you can ask them to sell you the version without the LEDs on it, this will reduce the current draw. It will require constant power but without the led the current draw when I did a bench test was very minimal 1 or 2mA if I remember correctly. I've had my car sitting for 3 weeks at one point during the lockdown and no issues. The board will need to be housed in a abs plastic project box.

Regarding just using a relay and using a capacitor and diode to filter and smoothen out the curve, yes in theory that's possible. Either with the board or without the board you will need to create this filter. The difference is with the board without a filter the buzzing will only occur for a split second as the voltage fades in and out between the 3-5v range and doesn't buzz on the higher voltage. With a relay without a filter it will buzz all the time. If you use a relay and make the filter, yes in theory it's fine but your relay will only kick in when the puddle light circuit reaches closer to the 12v. Because the filter has a big enough capacitor it will keep the relay on for about 20-30 seconds even after the puddle lights go out. With the board, it is activated as soon as a signal is detected and also stays on for the 20-30 seconds after the voltage is completely gone. So I find the duration of how long the lights stay on with the board much better overall. 

Hope that helps

That's explained very well. 

Thank you very much. 

 

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No problem. Sorry I think I said that using the only relay method with the capacitor and the diode filter gives you about 20-30 seconds of the relay staying on after the puddle lights turn off when in fact it's much less. It's probably more like 3 to 5 seconds. So just to summarise: with the relay method the relay will activate only when the pwm voltage gets closer to the 12v so you miss out on the few seconds when the puddle lights are fading in. When the puddle lights start to fade out the capacitor will allow the relay to stay on for about 3-5 seconds but it won't be the 20-30 seconds that I quoted. The 20-30seconds is for the board method and that's 20-30 seconds after the puddle light completely fades out. So overall the board method you get a much more reasonable time delay that the lights stay on for.

Also, the fact that the capacitor drains it's charge much quicker on the relay method compared to the board method demonstrates that the board is drawing much less power than the relay.

Hope that helps.

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Again thanks very much. 

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