Stealth DRL's on NC

It’s not difficult to overlook a small dark sports car when exiting a junction so I usually drive on dipped headlights, when I remember to that is. The obvious solution is DRLs (daylight running lights) which have been fitted to new cars for several years now. There is a Mazda kit available that replaces the front fogs but these are very expensive so I looked for a cheaper solution that would not mar the appearance of the car. Mounting behind the radiator grille was the obvious answer.

I bought some medium priced metal cased DRLs manufactured by HQ Autolighting, which come complete with a control box and wiring cables. They supply an extension cable for one light only, which would have meant mounting also the control box behind the grille so I extended one of the lamp leads using a 2m length of twin flex and soldered joints protected by heatshrink sleeving. This enabled me to mount the control box on the bulkhead in front of the windscreen. I also bench tested the lamps on the bench for several hours using a spare battery.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/High-Quality-DRL-Daytime-Running-Lights-Front-Daylight-Lamps-4-LED-CREE-HQ-V9-E/311630282756?_trkparms=aid%3D555017%26algo%3DPL.CASSINI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20170912102133%26meid%3Db78a27eeecfb4765884bd428d40dc5f6%26pid%3D100754%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26%26itm%3D311630282756&_trksid=p2045573.c100754.m4842

By far the most difficult part of the job was removing the cover from under the engine to get access to the rear of the grille. This is held in place by nine self tapping screws at the front, two 6mm bolts at the back and under the wing at either side and about eight 8mm plastic expanding rivets. These rivets proved hardest to remove as they are the type that is pushed into the hole and locked with a centre push in pin. These pins fit flush to the rivet head and after several years under the car, are difficult to remove. I broke about half of them and suggest that anyone considering this mod should buy a few spare rivets before starting. There is also a cable clip at either side of the engine cover, which also needs to be unclipped.

With the engine cover removed I tried several options of brackets to carry the lamps but in the end fell back to using sturdy black cable ties. After fitting the lamps I fed the cable up into the engine compartment and refitted the engine cover, minus the plastic rivets which are on order.

The control unit needs two feeds, one from a circuit that is live with the ignition on and one from a sidelamp that switches the DRLs off at night. I picked up the ignition supply using a piggyback fuse holder from the INJ fuse F12. The kit comes with an inline fuse but I discarded that and cut the cable to length. In order to get a sidelight supply I removed the bolts holding the washer bottle and moved this out of the way. This allowed me to remove the sidelight bulb holder with a CCW twist and get access to the loom. A bit of work with a Stanley knife and I had stripped insulation off a 1cm length of the red/green wire. Next I wrapped the stripped end of a piece of wire around the sidelight cable, soldered the joint and insulated it with electrical tape. By crimping female 6mm insulated sockets onto the supply wires and using matching connectors on the cables from the control box, I ensured that these connections could be reused if necessary. All that remained to do was to connect all the wires and tidy the whole job up with a load of black cable ties and switch on – but nothing happened. It transpired that my earth connection on a 6mm stud at the fuse box was not connecting due to paint on the stud thread. Once that was fixed the job was finished, apart from those plastic rivets of course.

 

DRLs ON

 

I like the look of this mod.

6 Months later, how are your lights doing, any problems at MOT insp ?

The lights are still working and are very effective, although they have not had much wet use. I wired the power from the fusebox to a short piece of cable with an insulated 6mm female spade connector on the end and fed the unit from there. For the MOT I disconnected the power to the DRLs.

For less than £6.00, you can get a DRL control module that just takes its power supply direct from the battery +& - terminals. When connected to a sidelight wire as OP has done, it switches the DRL’s on and dims to 50% when lights are switched on, a legal requirement for road use. It’s a voltage sensor unit I guess? An “added” bonus is the DRL’s stay on for approximately a minute as a see you home feature, very useful on a dark driveway when parked. This way, the DRL’s can be permanently connected and MOT compliant  I have this on my current NC2, the DRL’s are incorporated in the front fogs (halo style).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/XCSOURCE-Controller-Daytime-Running-Accessories/dp/B01M26LND1/ref=sr_1_15?keywords=DRL+control+module&qid=1558605834&s=gateway&sr=8-15

Barrie

Just finished mine this afternoon.

I also went for the behind the grill stealth approach as it looked a bit… gash (to me )  mounting the lights in the gap at the bottom of the bumper.

I used 2 piggy back fuses inside the main fuse box, one was connected to the Window washer circuit, the other sensing line was attached to the left headlight circuit.

I have seen fuses with fly leads coming out of them which would have been neater, however i could only get 10 amp in Halfords and i needed 15 or 20.

 

I mounted my control box on the back of the Fuse box cover to keep the cabling as short at as possible. I might also make the earth switched for MOT time.

 

Thanks to the OP for the inspiration.

 

 

 

can’t see pics !!!

my stealth DLR fitting 

behind the stainless ZUNSPORT 

I used this method, combined with the same DRL “switch” which turns the lights on automatically when the engine starts and turns them off approx 15 seconds after the engine goes off.  Also, spacing for MOT requirements are met.

I have changed my indicator bulbs at the front to be Yellow and White by using a combined LED bulb. 

When you turn the engine on, the indicator light up as bright white.  When you turn the indicator on, the white light goes off for as long as the indicator is flashing.  I couldn’t post a video, but here are a couple of photos.  The pictures were taken in bright sunlight, as usual, the LED bulb is brighter in real life than the camera captures.

These cost under £15 on eBay.

In this picture, you can see the yellow and white LED chips - there are a total of 15 of each colour per bulb

 


The LED’s came with a resistor (if you were replacing normal bulbs) but I have TapaTurn so did not need them as the replacement relay fitted is LED friendly.  I simply cut the resistor off.

 

Side light - note the “real” side light bulbs have been removed as they were different colour white and did not look matched.

 

Here you can see an indicator on and the side light on the opposite side

 

I fitted a relay so that the DRL’s come on with the ignition (engine running) and go off 15 seconds after the engine stops.  This works by monitoring the voltage of the battery and, “at rest” the voltage is low enough to stop the relay switching the lights on.  With the engine running and the battery above the trigger point the DRL’s come on.  This takes about 7 seconds on my fitting to come on, and, as above, about 15 seconds to switch off.  Relay was dirt-cheap.  Benefit - no-thought required.  Don’t have to remember to switch side-lights on etc.  There is a yellow wire which I did not connect.  This goes to the dipped beam and would DIM the DRL’s when the headlights are on.  As the DRL bulbs are not the type you can do laser eye surgery with, I left the yellow wire unconnected.

 

Fitting is easy - the feed to the DRL’s is the red “out” lead.  The black “out” lead is grounded.

I used a fuse doubler and took a feed from the 10 amp STOP fuse to the 12V IN.  The - black lead went to ground.  There is a spare DRL fuse position, but there is only one contact in the fuse holder, so a fuse wobbles about - hence using a doubler.

Here is a photo

There is a massive gap down the side of the fuses, so with everything tie-wrapped, it all tucked away down by the side.

You can see where I picked a - Ground up (yellow ring terminal)

 

Last, but not least, I put a spare one -each of every fuse rating in a ziplock bag and fastened it under the fuse puller.

 

VIDEO of my friends mod as above

https://youtu.be/ycNJrBsaJtM

 

[quote=Jeff - jthspace]

I used this method, combined with the same DRL “switch” which turns the lights on automatically when the engine starts and turns them off approx 15 seconds after the engine goes off.  Also, spacing for MOT requirements are met.

I have changed my indicator bulbs at the front to be Yellow and White by using a combined LED bulb. 

When you turn the engine on, the indicator light up as bright white.  When you turn the indicator on, the white light goes off for as long as the indicator is flashing.  I couldn’t post a video, but here are a couple of photos.  The pictures were taken in bright sunlight, as usual, the LED bulb is brighter in real life than the camera captures.

These cost under £15 on eBay.

In this picture, you can see the yellow and white LED chips - there are a total of 15 of each colour per bulb

 

 

 


these are switchback indicators , i looked at these , and may still fit them 

As the original poster I am surprised at the sudden flurry of interest.

First of all, my DRL job does not look “gash”, using cable ties was a conscious decision after I struggled with making suitable brackets to go behind the grille. However I can see that cable ties on a ss grille would look awful but mine is the original black with black ties.

The last two posters seem to have ignored the need for DRLs to extinguish when sidelights are switched on and I am dubious about the legality of an indicator that flashes white/yellow. Probably as confusing as a US red turn indicator light. It seems to me that messing with the car’s original lighting is treading a dangerous path in terms of insurance and MOT.


The last two posters seem to have ignored the need for DRLs to extinguish when sidelights are switched on and I am dubious about the legality of an indicator that flashes white/yellow. Probably as confusing as a US red turn indicator light. It seems to me that messing with the car’s original lighting is treading a dangerous path in terms of insurance and MOT.
[/quote]

 

tyke,

 

why assume this .       

my DRL’s are properly wired , so they come on when car starts and dim as required when other lights are turned on  …just like yours 

using this,

https://www.amazon.co.uk/XCSOURCE-Controller-Daytime-Running-Accessories/dp/B01M26LND1/ref=sr_1_15?keywords=DRL+control+module&qid=1558605834&s=gateway&sr=8-15

 

 

I think you’ve all done a wonderful job with these mods, I’m think I need some of these on my car. The only immediate thought is with the latter post which it seems doesn’t have any side light facility when the ignition is switched off. Most cars I’ve owned do have this and I would worry re Mot time they will tell me your parking lights don’t work as that’s what there function is I guess.

Still hooked on getting something fitted.

 

Hi Yorkshire Tyke,

You have misunderstood my post. I have used exactly the same fixing method as yourself, black nylon ty-wraps to attach the DRL’s to the back of the grill, they blend into the mesh quite well. I just used a slightly different wiring arrangement at the fuse box.

I was going to attach the lights using the supplied metal brackets in the open space under the Plastic grill, however this didn’t look right to my eyes, so your method of behind the grill with ty-wraps won the day…

Look at Audi and a plethora of cars that have front indicators that operate the same as the lights above.

I originally took my “parking” lights out as they were dim in comparison to the LED’s but subsequently changed them for LED to match.

See the following advice from the AA . . . 

Quote

Daytime running lights (DRLs) are designed to make your vehicle more visible in bright, daytime conditions. They should come on automatically when you start your engine.

  • Bright enough to be seen clearly in daylight, DRLs are too bright to be used at night when they would cause dazzle
  • They go off automatically when you switch your headlights on
  • They don't have to be separate lights and are sometimes combined with the front position lamps (side lights). If this is the case, the DRLs dim when the headlights are turned on
  • If your daytime running lights are very close to your indicators, the DRL will turn off while the adjacent indicator flashes
  • Performance requirements for DRL are defined in UN ECE Regulation 87
  • Operating requirements are defined in UN ECE Regulation 48
Unquote

The lights I purchased have a white lead that connects to the headlight and extinguish automatically when the headlights are on (dipped or main).

 

 

 

mick,   

where is it stated that i have no side light facility when ignition is off 

 

[quote=Jeff - jthspace]

I used this method, combined with the same DRL “switch” which turns the lights on automatically when the engine starts and turns them off approx 15 seconds after the engine goes off.  Also, spacing for MOT requirements are met.

I have changed my indicator bulbs at the front to be Yellow and White by using a combined LED bulb. 

When you turn the engine on, the indicator light up as bright white.  When you turn the indicator on, the white light goes off for as long as the indicator is flashing.  I couldn’t post a video, but here are a couple of photos.  

 

video link      Jeff…i think this shows your set up (hopefully ) 

 

That was me - I retrofitted LED sidelights afterwards!

 

 

[quote=bally3]

Thanks for fixing the link, links for me are greyed out.

 

There seems to be some confusion between sidelights and daylight running lights. If DRLs are combined with sidelights then the sidelights need to be available as parking lights and certainly not as bright as DRLs in this mode. If DRLs are combimed with indicators then they need to extinguish while the indicator is in use and the Youtube video in an earlier post shows this clearly. I am not sure about combining sidelights with both indicators and DRLs and still meeting all the criteria. The issue of positioning has been cleared up in other threads, the position of factory fitted DRL’s must follow the position guidelines but there is no such guidance for retrofit. Of course there are rules about the brightness of both sidelights and indicators.

When I lived in the US in the early 90s lots of cars combined stop lights with red turn indicators. The stoplight would go off if the turn indicator was in use. If someone pumped his brakes or just touched the pedal the lights would flash at either side in no particular pattern.