Convert positioning lights to DRL - Kia Forum

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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-17-2017, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Convert positioning lights to DRL

I'm going to be adding a circuit to have my LED positioning strips stay on whenever the engine is running. I've ordered a PowerProbe III that should arrive tonight. It should allow me to probe all the headlight connector pins and figure out which wire(s) power the LED strips. From that point, I'll probably use one of those add-a-circuit fuses, or simply wire in a fused circuit right from the battery. Eventually I would like to add a switch on the dashboard somewhere, but for now I could just leave it all under the hood.

I have seen a thread or two with people complaining about this issue. I'm hoping I can come up with a safe and cheap solution that almost anyone could follow.


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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, so that was pretty darn easy. There are two ways to do this: one way illuminates the rear parking lights as well as the front positioning lights (LEDs), the other way illuminates the front only. Both ways only turn the lights on with the engine running.

So after some testing, I found which wires from the headlight wiring harness power the LEDs. Turns out it's the yellow wire on the passenger side and green wire on the driver's side. At first, I tapped into the wire using one of these wiring clamps. That allows you to connect another wire without cutting the original wire. More on that later.





Then I bought one of those Add-a-circuit fuses and ran power wires from that to each of the tapped wires. I found a 10A fuse for Cruise Control Radar in the engine compartment fuse box. It powered on with the engine, and since I don't have radar cruise control on my SX, it would be perfect.




So what I discovered is that by not cutting the yellow and green wires, I was actually powering the entire parking light circuit, including the rear parking lights. While that might be OK for some people, my goal was really to only have the front LEDs on all the time.

To fix this, I simply cut the yellow and green wires near where they were tapped. That way the front LEDs are separated from the rest of the lighting circuit(s).

Now all the other lights function as normal, including the Auto-on headlights, except now the front LEDs are on whenever the engine is running.

Not too bad for about $10 in parts!

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 09:02 AM
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Nice write up. I'm sure a lot of people on this forum have wondered how to do this. Two suggestions though: 1) instead of electrical tape, get some of the corrugated plastic tubing to cover and hold the wire on to the loom - more factory looking and 2) solder and shrink tube is always better that a blue crimp connector, FYI there is some amperage running through that connection. Just aesthetics but always looks less add-on than factory. Good job!
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I do plan on cleaning it up with solder. Since the add-a-circuit had a crimp connection already I took the easy route.

Also, I figure the circuit is only pulling 3 or 4 amps. Those LEDs are so efficient

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 01:39 PM
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Are you sure these are not going to burn the LEDs out. On Sorento forum one guy tried this out and turns out the LEDs take 9v and 12v from the battery will burn them out.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mletchworth View Post

To fix this, I simply cut the yellow and green wires near where they were tapped. That way the front LEDs are separated from the rest of the lighting circuit(s).

Now all the other lights function as normal, including the Auto-on headlights, except now the front LEDs are on whenever the engine is running.

Not too bad for about $10 in parts!
While I do commend your bravery and I think you just voided your warranty. Reason I hadn't done to my Sorento.

To achieve what you intended, you could have used a inline diode...cutting the wiré was a must but then you had to place the diode in between (before the wire tap). That would have kept the current from returning to the other parking lights and to the car's computer, which you could have been damaged when initially connected.

Look up the diode thing to bring your lights back to stock functioning. Led strips will keep working as desired.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Are you sure these are not going to burn the LEDs out. On Sorento forum one guy tried this out and turns out the LEDs take 9v and 12v from the battery will burn them out.
I checked and there was 12v going to the LEDs originally. Most LEDs have an operating range between 9 and 14.8 volts. So anything in that range should be fine for most LEDs.

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While I do commend your bravery and I think you just voided your warranty. Reason I hadn't done to my Sorento. To achieve what you intended, you could have used a inline diode...cutting the wiré was a must but then you had to place the diode in between (before the wire tap). That would have kept the current from returning to the other parking lights and to the car's computer, which you could have been damaged when initially connected. Look up the diode thing to bring your lights back to stock functioning. Led strips will keep working as desired.
Thanks for the suggestion. I don't think a diode is necessary - the lights function exactly how I want them to right now. As far as the warranty is concerned, I haven't read it (I doubt anyone really does), but I don't think I voided any part of the warranty except maybe the LED lights. One could argue that they weren't designed to be on all the time and might burn out faster. Here's a good read on the (Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which states among other things "If it turns out that your modifications are the cause of the problem, the dealer has every right not only to charge you for the diagnosis and repair, but to also void the portion of the warranty that has been compromised by the use of those aftermarket parts".

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 09:55 AM
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I don't think a diode is necessary - the lights function exactly how I want them to right now. As far as the warranty is concerned, I haven't read it (I doubt anyone really does), but I don't think I voided any part of the warranty except maybe the LED lights.
It turns out that modern vehicle's wiring isn't as straight as it was in older years. When you cut a cable you aren't just cutting it, you are also altering the current/voltage/resistance balance of the electric system.

I could bet that nothing will happen in your case, yet I believe the risk and consequences outweigh the outcome.....IMHO.

I don't think I'm in a position where I can preach anyone as I've done mods to my car that could be easily deemed warranty-voiding...I guess it freaks me out cutting any OEM wire LOL.


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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.I guess it freaks me out cutting any OEM wire LOL.
Agreed. It freaked me out too. That's why I originally went in hoping to not cut any wires. This is the first new vehicle I've owned, but I've always been a modder, and I can't help but make my car/truck/van better in a way that suits me.

I hope I can be a guinea pig of sorts and report back with any problems (hopefully none) that arise as a result of this modification. So far, so good!
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-10-2017, 02:42 AM
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Hey mletchworth, hows the converted DRLs holding up? Thinking of doing the same to my van too.

Another issue is that these position lights are not designed to be DRLs, so they are not as bright as DRLs are. Are they that noticeable during broad daylight? Actual LED DRLs are easily visible when say reflected in the rear hatch of the car you are stopped behind, for instance.

I'm still kind of mystified why these lights are not DRLs for the American market, since I'm pretty sure in other countries where DRLs are mandated, the LED strips would act as DRLs. So KIA actually did extra work to engineer the DRLs out of the US market vans for some reason!
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