LED Vehicle Brake Lights Into LED Case Lights.

    Automotive LED brake light strips are a cool way to add red lighting to your mod and since most things automotive run off 12v DC, including rear window brake lights and they require minimal work to adapt them for use within a PC.  This guide will show two different ways of using two different types of LED 3rd brake light strips to create your own home made super bright red case lighting.  Below shows the 40 LED brake light strip (95/04 GMC mini-van/blazer led third brake light) along with most of the materials and some of the tools used to perform this mod... and yes, cold heat soldering irons truly suck but will work well enough for mods this simple.  

  The red lines below show where I marked and cut the light strip, I cut mine into fourths but you could cut it in half if space within your case permits, but as is the LED light strip at 16" is too long to fit comfortably within most tower cases.

    In the picture below the arrows point to where the strip would be cut, the traces on the PCB can also easily be seen and wiring it up is as easy as using an X-Acto knife and scraping at the traces on the cut edge until the copper shows through.  Once that is done it is just a matter of soldering lengths of wire in between the edges of two pieces to reconnect it all, I did not take pictures of this step but it is just what it sounds like anyway.

    In the following picture you can see what it looks like all cut up with the wiring reconnecting the points on the PCB.  I used a couple of coats of Liquid Electrical Tape on the back side to hold the four pieces together and also to prevent the lighting from shorting out if it were to come in contact with the case metal.

    Below shows the hookup points for the 12v positive and negative wiring on the bare light strip, nothing was marked + or - on these light strips, but there is a resistor on the PCB that let me know the forward direction.

    The following shows the backside of the LED light assembly with the liberal coating of liquid electrical tape, the items circled in red are the same spots as the arrows point to in the picture above, the wiring to the the molex connector will be soldered on after a bit of cleaning.

    Leap of faith... the wiring and molex are connected, for this I used a 4 pin Molex pass through cable that has a female 3-pin socket off the 12V side, they are cheap and common.  I use them a lot in wiring different things for PC use, in the picture below the top wire is unmodified and the one below is the part of it you will need.

    After wiring everything up I had to test fire it so I plugged it into my test PSU and was almost blinded, forty red brake light LED's are intensely bright and headache inducing if you look at them straight on.  The liquid electrical tape on the back makes them flexible so you can make a curve of the strips to light the entirety of a mother board and components.

    Below is the forty LED lighting mod glowing inside the project I made it for, it is far brighter than the picture makes it out to be but you can see how well it lights up every bit of the mother board side of the enclosure... super bright and seriously sweet.

    Next up are some 12 LED brake light bars, they are small enough to fit into any case, really bright and easy to wire up for computer use.  If you are only using a single light bar you simply clip a power connector (as shown 3 pics up) and solder the wiring to the LED bar where it is marked + and -.  The project I was using them in required wiring two of the 12 LED light bars together as accent lighting outside the case.

    The picture/diagram below shows how to wire the two bars together, again a very simple task to perform

    The following picture shows how I went about attaching two LED bars together, some electrical tape and door edge molding hold them tight.  If I were going to build them for a project where they would show through a window I would have made it look better, but for the way I used them it didn't really have to look as good as it does.

    Hooking the light bars up to the test PSU to make sure they work, shown below.  As is they could easily be tucked away within a computer case, but as previously mentioned I had other plans for them.  

    The following picture shows the bare modified LED light bar in the center, the Plexi-glass that I cut, sanded and glued together on the left, with the light bars attached to the Plexi and entirely ready to rock on the right.

    Finally, a picture of what the 2x 12 LED light bars look like installed into the project and they look awesome... I'm not just saying that because I built them either.

    Automotive LED rear window or third brake lights are easy to mod into a PC, they are a bright and reliable lighting solution that can't be beat... the above mods are super simple and entirely worth doing, if red fits within the case lighting theme you really can't go wrong.  I bought both types of LED brake lights for $4.00 each from AllElectronics.com (sadly they are no longer available), but there's always ebay, JCWhitney or auto salvage lots and junk yards where they can likely be had cheap.

Happy Modding

- Guide written by ARTbyTROY

Disclaimer: This how-to guide is presented for informative purposes only.  CaseModGod.com can not and will not be held responsible for damages to or resulting from anything that you may decide to do to your case or hardware. We also can not and will not be held responsible for injury to your self or others as a result of attempting any of the things that are shown on this site.  Basically you are responsible for your own actions whether said actions were based on information garnered from this site or elsewhere, learn to deal with it.