DIY Car Lighting Illuminates Areas The Designers Overlooked


[Dave] just can’t seem to get enough of modifying his new car. Where he lives, it’s typically dark on his ride home from work and he finds himself dropping things on the floor of his car all too often. Nissan decided not to include lighting in the Juke’s foot well or glove box, so [Dave] decided that he needed to rectify the situation.

As you might have noticed by his previous tinkering, [Dave] is a big fan of LEDs and ATTiny microcontrollers. He added some Lego-supported LEDs to the driver and passenger side foot wells, installing an additional light in the glove box while he was at it.

The Juke had a couple of usable blank spots on the dashboard, so [Dave] installed a pair of capacitive touch sensors and a small switch into one of the open slots. When touched, the top-most capacitive pin pair ramps up the foot well lights, while the lower pair turns on the LEDs in the glove box. The switch at the bottom is used to toggle on a light in the back seat which he installed a while back.

It’s a simple addition, but it makes all the difference when he is hunting around on the floor in the dark. We are a bit surprised by how many amenities are missing from the Juke, but tweaking them to his liking seems to keep [Dave] happily occupied.

Continue reading to see a short demo video of his interior lights in action.

26 thoughts on “DIY Car Lighting Illuminates Areas The Designers Overlooked

  1. Ummm…. if you drop something while driving, shouldn’t you PULL OVER before taking your eyes off the road to try to pick it up? What could you possibly have in your hands anyway, that you _need_ while driving?!?

        1. HUH… that’s odd… if you are referring to the xB didn’t it come out in JUNE 2003 while the element came out in SEPTEMBER of 2003?
          also if I remember right… the rear doors can only open if the FRONT door is open. making it more of a 3 1/2 door style or if you prefer to add the 2 sawed off doors together, 4 door. the XB has 5 doors that can open all independantly.
          In closing, techie, doesn’t a copy have to be something of a similar build to the original? and doesn’t the original have to have been released before the copy?

          Not to brag on scion but seems like the XB is still going strong where as hondurr failed to keep up and in 2011 the element, pardon the funny, BURNED OUT.
          The whole copy misconception is common among hondurr fans though. Especially seeing as the element was tied in total sales as of 2011 with the XB. even though the XB is set to be cut this year not only did it outclass and outlive the hondurr element, it also outpaced it.

          Check your facts brah.

  2. I agree Nissan needs to really look into redesign i own a nissan Kcab truck and it’s lighting is a joke.. 1 light mid cab at top behind driver and it so weak that 6 of them might add up to 5 watts. i may do simular lighting.. nice diy setup by the way.

  3. Rolling your own lighting system and hacking it into your vehicles interior and power system. Yes that’s a hack. While simple in concept, routing wires through vehicle interiors can be a real pain.

  4. Except most ricers aren’t able to do it themselves, they (ricers) generally (over)pay professionals to do it for them. While the idea itself is quite simple, actually pulling it off as cleanly as he did is quite difficult, especially tying it all in with the car’s existing electronics/panels when the car doesn’t actually have these options installed in those areas in the first place.

      1. Funny, I was under the distinct impression that the interwebz had made the term “ricer” for men and women of all races and persuasions who like to throw triple deck spoilers and fart cans on their hondurrs along with some stickers and spinner hub caps and think it’s a 500hp increase. silly me, I must be paying too much attention even though I don’t really keep up with all that. Now if the term had been “rice paddy” or “gook” (disclaimer for Furat Al-Samaraie’s sake: THESE TERMS ARE HERE FOR EXAMPLE PURPOSES ONLY. DON’T GET YOUR MY LITTLE BRONY PANTIES IN A TWIST. LOL.) I could see a racist agenda. But m1ndtr1p didn’t. Ergo there is no racist term really…

        obvious troll is obvious. get out. :D

  5. I like the hack, especially the theater-style slow on. That’s a nice touch.

    What I’m wondering about is how the capacitive touch sensors are going to work in Toronto. In the winter. With gloves on. (Ask a Ford customer what he or she thinks of the usability of their 2012 MyTouch button panel.)

    Sometimes, a simple pushbutton is not a bad choice.

  6. the bad thing about capacitive touch sensors is leaving your glove box lights on and not knowing it to run down the battery.
    Replace the foot area with a real switch and remove the microcontroller. Use a push button in the glove box for the door to hold to keep the light off there and on when open.

  7. I can honestly say that i never thought of adding more lights to the interior of my truck for functionality as opposed to decorative (-1 to me). I like it!

  8. I wouldn’t say that the designers “looked over” them. You have to keep in mind that while countries have their own road safety laws regarding vehicle modifications, a country like mine is extremely strict (australia). Then there are state rules that we have to abide by.

    Now, carmakers aren’t going to go to the effort of adding footwell lighting and certain dashboard lighting to accomodate for the countries in which it is allowed. And even then, it would make things a lot harder when importing cars overseas.
    Therefore ambient lighting that would be seen as “distractions to the driver” would generally not be considered when developing a car.

    The reason i wrote this comment, is because you are downplaying the engineers by saying they “overlooked” something when obviously they would have gone through this road many times before.

    I’ve gone to the trouble of replacing my dashboard buttons with cooler, brighter white leds. They were a dull green, and were irritating. But i know that if i get stopped, the police could say something about it if they were going to be complete w*nkers – which most of them are here! haha and then i would have to go through licencing, and it’d be a nightmare.

  9. Its funny how something so pathetic as some footwell lights is moaned about here. The designers didnt “overlook” it, they chose not to waste resources on something so petty.

    Its obvious its americans moaning about the lack of lights here.

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