Kia Optima Forums banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,643 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I thought I would post more info on this and ended up with a DIY. ez2click did this on his car sometime back and didn't provide a whole lot of info on the mod. We'll see if it does any good though since this is an extremely difficult mod for the average person. If you have no soldering experience this is probably not for you. Just go buy an LED strip like the other DIY in this section.

Ok, the reasons I went this route are: One, it's free for me, I stock resistors and electronic components here at the house on a regular basis for different things I do on my cars or customer's cars. Two, I saw ez2click's thread and thought I wanted to give it a shot. Three, this is undetectable from a modification stand point so there are no warranty issues. Someone would have to disassemble them and inspect the circuit board which is not very likely. Four, it would let me use the two red LED strips I have on hand somewhere else.

Required:
1. Soldering iron and appropriate solder
2. 2 510ohm 1/4 watt resistors (available at any electronics supplier, including Radio Shack)
3. Magnifying glass
4. Philips head screwdriver
5. Trim removal tool (plastic is better to prevent scratches)
6. Electric tape
7. Patience
8. Patience
9. 5 hours of time

Step 1: I disconnected the battery's negative terminal. I just do it as a precaution, you can do as you wish. Remove the triangle trim piece in the corner of the door by the A pillar. There are just 3 push pins and a clip holding it on so removal is pretty straight forward.

Step 2: Remove door panel. There are 2 screws (one in the door handle area and one in the arm rest recess covered by plastic "doors") and and a series of 10 push clips holding it on. Releasing those clips can be a bear sometimes. I start on the inside corner of the door on most cars (including the optima) for best results. You can see the pins location below and also on the door picture further below. You will also have to unscrew the door handle and the memory buttons from the back of the door after you pop the door skin off. I believe there are 8 screws total between the door handle and the memory buttons, but could be mistaken. Sorry, no pics of the screws. Do not attempt to separate the cables from the door handle. You will break something.





Step 3: Now the fun part begins. You do not have to get the EL wire out of the door to do this mod. I did that on the first door I did and it was WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY more trouble than it was worth. No need to do this. Look at the back side of the door. You are after the 2 wire harness that supplies the door's mood light. It is a red wire and a black wire I believe. You can see it in the middle of the picture below. It is a grey connector, not white. I removed the wire harnesses (all of them) completely from the door though to give myself more room to work. You will see why if you are attempting this.





Step 3 continued: After you have the other harness out of the way, follow the harness with the grey connector down to a recess. You should BARELY be able to see where it goes. I tried to picture it above but I don't have a macro lens so what you see is what you get. It connects to a black "box" that houses the factory LED. Your goal is to push the black box back away from the EL wire plastic holder. This is simple enough to do with a small flat head screwdriver. You will hear it unclip and then come free of the holder and you can remove it. You can then look at it and see the 2 "hook" type pieces it uses to clip onto the 2 pins of the EL plastic lens.



Step 4: If you end up with the above, you're doing ok so far. Now, peel the foam back down around the wires at least 3 inches. You can now unclip the top of the black "box" thing that houses the circuit board for the LED. You will see how it unclips with a small clip. The top cover comes off... do not lose it. Slide the plastic box down the wires as shown below. You see that TEENY TINY little resistor with the 512 on it? There are 2 of them... and you are removing them both. One on top of the board and one underneath right next to the positive feed wire.



Step 5: Now, get your soldering iron, magnifying glass, and if you are like me soldering iron stand with alligator clip assistants. Desolder those two resistors. Basically heat them up and pry them off with a tiny screwdriver or awl. You will appreciate how small these are once they are off. They are probably a quarter the size of a grain of rice. I used my multi-meter and measured a resistance of 2550ohms from the factory. That is the cumulative resistance of those 2 resistors. We will be replacing those 2 resistors with a single 510ohm resistor. That is how we are achieving the extra light output. The resistor does heat up a bit, but nothing dangerous or too bad. I tested it on the bench for a couple of hours with no ill effects and I could still hold the black box in my hand without a problem.

Step 6: Solder on your 510ohm resistor to the bottom of the circuit board as shown below. Polarity doesn't matter. I am using ez2click's pictures here. I hope he does not mind.



Make sure you solder the resistor close to the board because you are going to be stuffing it all back inside the black "box" thing. I soldered mine even closer than shown and still had to work with the box a bit to get it all back together with the top clicked back on. You saved it right? Now that you have everything back together it's best to test it. I have a bench tester... most of you probably don't. You can use to small wires and your car battery or you can put everything back together and cross your fingers everything is good. Even if you have to do that and plug everything back in at the car, don't put the door back on yet. Try it with the door hanging off first in case you have to fix something.

Below shows the difference:



Step 7: Put everything back together in the reverse order. Getting that box to clip back onto the EL wire lens is fun, trust me. Especially when you are 6'8" and have gorilla hands. Take your time and you will get it back on there. As an added diffuser I taped the back of the lens with electric tape to focus all of the light downwards. There is no trick to putting everything back on the car. If you got it off ok, you can get it back on ok. Just do it in the reverse order.

The end result is a factory looking modification that is a subtle difference in brightness. You will NOT be blinded by this or even be able to see it sometimes (daytime). I did it for this very reason. It makes it a little bit brighter so I can actually see things in the door cubbies but not be overwhelmed by this bright red light on each door.

I realize not many will attempt this but I wanted to post anyway in case someone wanted to. It is doable and it is rewarding. Another subtle luxury touch. Let me know if you have any questions/comments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,643 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I would be cool to actually see these with differing resistors. Its always hard to measure brightness in a picture. The 510Ohm may be too much for some. Would a ~1000Ohm be good and help maintain a longer life of the wire?
Thanks. And no, the 510ohm will not be too bright for you. Trust me. It is a subtle differences from stock. That pic above is not totally accurate as ez2click used 470ohm resistors I think. So they are a little brighter than mine. Either way, it is not very bright at all. Also the wire will last forever... what you may shorten the life span of is the LED. But I would think this would be a minimal amount if at all.

Can you show us some night & day time glow shots after reassembly?

Thanks
I can try but as stated above, ACTUAL brightness is very hard to capture on a camera. I won't even bother with daytime pictures because you can't see them at all during the day, which is good... would be waaaayyy to bright for me if visible during the day. I'll try to get some night time shots up later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
I can try but as stated above, ACTUAL brightness is very hard to capture on a camera. I won't even bother with daytime pictures because you can't see them at all during the day, which is good... would be waaaayyy to bright for me if visible during the day. I'll try to get some night time shots up later.
CW, Any night shots yet?
 

·
Registered
2012 Optima SX-T
Joined
·
711 Posts
OK... call me nuts, but I believe there's enough of a market for this to have it made in to PNP item. If one of the vendors did this exact mod and sold us the individual harness with the new resistors already installed, I would be more inclined to buy it. I'm no pro when it comes to soldering, so I would rather buy prefabricated.

If I was a vendor looking for easy sales, this would be one. Buy OEM wire harness, modify, sell. Of course they would have to test it "ON" for like a week or so to make sure they're not setting cars on fire. We're talking about a cheap harness and a $0.25 resistor. I think there's a profit to be made.

Great write-up. I would LOVE to see this in blue mood lighting, considering the little dome LED is blue/hyperwhite.
 

·
KDMnation Chicago
Joined
·
780 Posts
I would love to do this but im with bonswa, I'd rather buy something thats just plug and play.
 

·
Registered
2012 Optima SX-T
Joined
·
711 Posts
OK... so I see that, OF COURSE, Chan and the guys at Jayongmall are half way there already. They already sell the stock replacement for the mood lighting here:

KIA 2011 All new Optima 2.4 GDI Rear EMBLEM

If they simply did this resistor mod, they could sell this same part for twice as much. They could also give a discount if you send in your core for them to mod again.

Man, I'm in the wrong business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Thanks for the write-up. I am going to try this soon. Now for the question..Have you tried this with the DRLs? I was a little disappointed with the brightness so I'm thinking of doing something like this to help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
No joke, this is a very difficult mod, especially for someone with shakey hands. I attempted this and ended up destroying the circuit board, and I am now waiting on a replacement from jayongmall. That was a twenty dollar mistake. I went by the ezclick thread and he left out slot of essential info, but if you are going to attempt this, I would definitely recommend using this thread.he's not joking about getting that box out either, and I have small hands.
 

·
Registered
2019 Kia Optima
Joined
·
76 Posts
i'n in the same boat as SickBMW. the thing is, if it were plug and play [and affordable] i would like to do it. i have three years on this lease and i think the mood lighting should be a cool look. i'll keep hoping for an easier fix. btw, CW, great tutorial. i just don't have the you-know-whats to try it myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Nice DIY. I just did this today. It isn't too hard, but it does take a steady hand and 2-3 hours. A couple of notes from my experience:
1: The hardest part of the whole thing for me was getting the original resistors off. I didn't know the best way to do it and I made a couple mistakes (see #2) but I still got it working.
2: Be careful when you're pulling off the resistor that you don't pull off the copper contact plate. If you do that, there's no way you will be able to get a new resistor to solder on. I did that once or twice. Fortunately, I was able to work around it.
3: You can have the new resistor attached on either side, if necessary. When I pulled off one of the contact plates, I had to route my resistor to the other side and make a bend in the casing in order to make it possible for the wire on the resistor to wrap around the circuit board. Not recommended to do it on the outside spot, but it is possible.
4: One of the earlier pictures showed the resistor horizontal. I figured out that if you put it vertical, it fits better, like in this picture.
2012-06-16_11-52-03_413.jpg
The trick is that you have the bend the wires as close as humanly possible to the resistor in order for it to fit. If you do that, it slides back in nice and easy.
5: The extra light is perfect. Someone asked about doing a 1k ohm resistor instead of the 510. Don't do it. Go with the 510. It won't be too bright. Since the OP said he tested it for hours straight with no problems, I trust it. Like he and I said, it emits the perfect amount. It's not quite as bright as the under-radio light, but bright enough to see into the door cubbies.
I tried it in my garage, with the garage door closed, car doors closed, but garage lights on, and I could actually see it. I'm happy. I was always concerned that they weren't even working, but they most definitely.

Side note: These are some of the easiest door panels to take off. I've taken off a few panels, mainly Hondas, and the way Kia did it is genious. Very easy to disconnect wires and the door handle cables. I was afraid of breaking those, because I've had that happen to me on the first door panel I ever took off. Thank you Kia!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
Was the dimensions of the resistor about 3.2mm x 1.6mm??? That would appear to be about right comparing to the standard resistor size compared to the board in the picture.

Any thoughts on replacing the SMD resistors with one 510ohm SMD resistor? I was just wondering if heat might build up more with the SMD since air cannot flow completely around it like the standard resistor? It would just be super easy to put another SMD on and I have access to some of the 510ohm SMD resistors (marked with a "511" on them, of the 1206 size mentioned above), I just dont have much experience with surface mount components.

If I had a laser heat tester, I would just test it out and see how hot it would get compared to stock, but I do not have one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Heat dissipation should not be a problem in this case and I do not think there will be sufficient air flow for cooling in either resistor case; SMD or axial. If the rain stops here, tomorrow I will be replacing the factory SMD resistor with a 620 ohm 1/4W 1206 (3216) resistor; as I happen to have some laying around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
Let me know how it works out... Possibly some before and after pictures? I won't be able to tear into it for a few weeks.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top