My LED taillight panels... which version should I use??


Founding Member
May 4, 2000
Cincinnati, OH
I made a panel of LEDs to go behind my stock lenses on my car, but I'm not sure which wiring configuration I want to use. On the first set of pics, the brightness is varied by just the number of LEDs on at a time. On the second set, the brightness is what varies, not the amount of them turned on.

well here are my choices...

This is of the regular tail lights.

This is of just the brake lights.

This is the tail lights with the brake lights.


Tail lights

Brake lights

In a way I think the first set is cooler since they show off the fact that they're LEDs, but then the second is cool too. I can't decide.

Edited to show original pics. Here are a couple of the finished product too.



The second pic is of the brake lights on. The exposure changed though, that's why they look orange.


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Personally, i don't care for it much myself (wouldn't buy it). But that is pretty sweet what you did with LED's.

I would go with the first one myself, it looks pretty cool. Definetly a trick custom mod.
Damn you beat me, how did you do that I wanted to do something like that with all the lights in the rear. Did you buy them or make them and how did you make them.
Jesse Barratt
I actually made them from just parts. 90 super-bright LEDs in each side.

Some people suggested I make them like the first set, only with vertical bars instead of horizontal. It's tempting, but at 30 cents an LED, I have a lot of money in them to just do experimenting.







Sweet! I've seen a lot of this on the new cars and have been thinking about doing this, but include a third brake light. How much of a draw does a full set pull? I am also worried about the difference between just brake lights and brake lights + running lights in the first set - I think you should just have full brake lights no matter if the running lights are on or not (just my opinion...but if someone rear ends you, watch out...they have a case because you are not DOT approved)
Thanks for all the compliments. I think I'll probably do the second one actually. The first one is kinda cool, but I'm not really sure if it fits very well being a Mustang. Maybe they would look slick behind some cheese graters though.

As far as wiring... I never drew a schematic. I just did the calculations and wired it from some ideas I had in my head. It's a series-parallel thing, with quite a few resistors. If I decide for sure to use the second version, there will have to be another resistor or two and a couple of diodes.

The whole thing has taken a LOT of time, and I only have the one side done. I think I spent about 6 or 8 hours getting things together, and wiring/soldering every connection. It's been pretty fun though. I should be able to pick up the rest of my LEDs Monday, so I can do the left side and a third brakelight.

At full brightness, all 90 LEDs combined draw less than a half an amp of current, and I'm sure they're at least 1.5 times brighter than the regular bulb.
JaysGreenLX said:
Ok through the power of math I figure you have spent $54 on LED's alone. What have you put into this project in total? and what other parts are needed?

The LEDs were 32 bucks for just the one side, circuit boards were 4 bucks each, resistors are really cheap (I think I paid $2.50 for 100) solder I got from an old job. I'd say overall I'll have about 100-120 bucks in a 3 piece set.