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    Thread: Ambient Lighting in New Cars

    1. Member
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      08-09-2018 05:18 PM #1
      Does anyone know what type of lighting manufactures are using in newer cars to create this wall washing effect? Is it just an LED with a light pipe or something different?





      I believe this is a newer 5 Series with the light element exposed.



      These are parts to add the lights to a C class Benz but I'm not sure if it is factory.


      I'm thinking of adding something to the dash of a Bronco where the soft pad meets the metal dashboard to light up the controls a little but I want it to be a subtle as possible.

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    3. 08-09-2018 05:38 PM #2
      The only thing I can say having had many cars with adjustable color ambient lighting is that it never looks as good as it does in those photoshopped pics. They always change the exposure to make it seem that it is glowing when in reality you can barely see the light unless it is pitch black out. There is usually too much real ambient light in the city to even see the "ambient lighting" in the car.

    4. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:05 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      The only thing I can say having had many cars with adjustable color ambient lighting is that it never looks as good as it does in those photoshopped pics. They always change the exposure to make it seem that it is glowing when in reality you can barely see the light unless it is pitch black out. There is usually too much real ambient light in the city to even see the "ambient lighting" in the car.
      Strongly disagree. Have you been in any luxury car within the last 2 years with the expansive lighting seen in the OP? If you turn the brightness is up it’s very visible starting at sunset.
      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
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    5. 08-09-2018 06:10 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by TangoRed View Post
      Strongly disagree. Have you been in any luxury car within the last 2 years with the expansive lighting seen in the OP? If you turn the brightness is up it’s very visible starting at sunset.
      I have not only been in, but have owned many. And I stand by what I say.

    6. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:14 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      The only thing I can say having had many cars with adjustable color ambient lighting is that it never looks as good as it does in those photoshopped pics. They always change the exposure to make it seem that it is glowing when in reality you can barely see the light unless it is pitch black out. There is usually too much real ambient light in the city to even see the "ambient lighting" in the car.

      I disagree, too. My neighbor's S class is bright as hell inside. And our '14 MINI Cooper had it, set to purple, and it was also bright enough even at dusk.
      "Like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to budgetary perfection"

    7. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:16 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      I have not only been in, but have owned many. And I stand by what I say.
      I guess you’re just extra special then. This is pretty much the norm with the lighting turned to full brightness:

      Quote Originally Posted by Doug Butabi View Post
      And on the tenth day of the two thousand fifteenth year, TCL finds out about rich people.

    8. 08-09-2018 06:17 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris_V View Post
      I disagree, too. My neighbor's S class is bright as hell inside. And our '14 MINI Cooper had it, set to purple, and it was also bright enough even at dusk.
      Funny, I had a 2015 F56 miniyours and I felt the ambient lighting was terrible save the stupid center ring. The older gen had it on the b pillars and it was much brighter.

    9. Member Chris_V's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:24 PM #8
      This is very much how bright ours was, and this is daylight. At dusk to full night time, it was brigher yet:



      But yeah, the center dial was silly bright...

      "Like a fine Detroit wine, this vehicle has aged to budgetary perfection"

    10. 08-09-2018 06:27 PM #9
      Without reading the whole thread I disagree with the whole concept of ambient lighting. Mainly because I'm the type who dims his dashboard to the lowest visible setting without losing sight of what's going on

    11. 08-09-2018 06:29 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Chris_V View Post
      [/img]

      But yeah, the center dial was silly bright...

      The ring of death. The only thing worse was disco mode where it kept changing. Idk how i didn't crash from epilepsy.

    12. 08-09-2018 06:30 PM #11
      I think that's an LED connected to a fiber optic cable. Here's a cheap kit I found, googling the right search terms might find you a nicer kit

      https://www.aliexpress.com/item/inte...607314591.html

    13. Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:31 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      The only thing I can say having had many cars with adjustable color ambient lighting is that it never looks as good as it does in those photoshopped pics. They always change the exposure to make it seem that it is glowing when in reality you can barely see the light unless it is pitch black out. There is usually too much real ambient light in the city to even see the "ambient lighting" in the car.
      Also have to disagree. The lighting in my Mustang is just single bulbs and it is still pretty bright.
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    14. Member David9962000's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:33 PM #13
      I turn them off. I like it dark.

    15. 08-09-2018 06:33 PM #14
      Maybe i need to get checked for glaucoma. Seems like my eyes are blocking out the light! Fine you guys all win this one.

    16. Senior Member
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      08-09-2018 06:43 PM #15
      First I agree I think they are brighter than someone claimed above

      Second from what I have seen apart it is almost always a light at one end going through a plastic tube, even cigarette lighter circular lights were doing it like this decades ago and they just kept that low tech design but went with LEDs and better plastic forming technology.

      That method while simple is a little more application specific and probably a littler harder to source/ and more expensive. I'm not sure how much room you have to hide it but those cheap strips of leds you can cut to any length if used with a dimmer could work very well. Some are stupid bright, a friend used them to light his garage attic! And some might be spaced too far out to get a good glow. But since they are cheap on amazon and run off DC anyway you can quickly test and if you don't like it probably at least re purpose it vs the glowing plastic tube kind.

    17. Member Mr Miyagi's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 06:51 PM #16
      I like the look of it when parked. I think it'd be cool to have different settings depending on different gears/modes. I wouldn't be able to drive with it very bright, so would dim it when driving, but brighten it when parked.

    18. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 08:41 PM #17
      Glow sticks?
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    19. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 08:45 PM #18
      How distracting are those lights while driving? I have no idea why these are even legal, but understand they are.
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      08-09-2018 09:14 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by LT1M21Stingray View Post
      Glow sticks?
      I can't find one long enough. Symptoms of owning a brodozer I suppose...

      I found something called el wire that might work but it is a single color. What if I want to change it depending on my mood?


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      08-09-2018 09:20 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      How distracting are those lights while driving? I have no idea why these are even legal, but understand they are.
      Not distracting at all. No one has any idea why you think they should be illegal.

    22. Member mikegilbert's Avatar
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      08-09-2018 10:35 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      The only thing I can say having had many cars with adjustable color ambient lighting is that it never looks as good as it does in those photoshopped pics. They always change the exposure to make it seem that it is glowing when in reality you can barely see the light unless it is pitch black out. There is usually too much real ambient light in the city to even see the "ambient lighting" in the car.
      Nah, my coworkers brand new E Class is bright as hell.

    23. Member HaterSlayer's Avatar
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      08-10-2018 12:51 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      How distracting are those lights while driving? I have no idea why these are even legal, but understand they are.
      Not even a little bit and they help you see stuff in the car at night without turning on the map lights.

    24. 08-10-2018 02:06 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      The only thing I can say having had many cars with adjustable color ambient lighting is that it never looks as good as it does in those photoshopped pics. They always change the exposure to make it seem that it is glowing when in reality you can barely see the light unless it is pitch black out. There is usually too much real ambient light in the city to even see the "ambient lighting" in the car.
      Pictures are not photoshops however all cameras do make things look very vibrant and colorful in twilight lighting. Check any night or "rich blue sky" photography. Such blue sky doesn't exist, yet it's featured in all cityscape photography extensively and photographers wait for those magic 1/2 hour at certain time of the day to capture it. It's just a sunset, but in pictures it's vibrant blue. Car ambient light is there and I had E-class briefly with that lighting and no it didn't look half as good as in those pics, but it looked good nonetheless. No it wasn't that crazy bright either, it was just there. I personally prefer "pooled" lights where they illuminate spaces or walls rather that just being strips doing nothing but creating lighted strips of nothing. For this reason I love Ford Fusion use of LED and don't care one bit about any of MB.

      As far as strings go I believe they're just regular LED strips with high diod density... when they tucked away behind something they created pooling light effect that makes light look continuous.
      Last edited by chocofrappe55; 08-10-2018 at 02:09 AM.

    25. You can't look at my avatar for just a second, can you? Just another GTI's Avatar
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      08-10-2018 02:16 AM #24
      I turned my car's ambient lighting off, I just don't like the interior illuminated at night. My 2012 GTI had just two overhead LEDs which lit the center console that I liked better.

    26. Member Zembla's Avatar
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      08-10-2018 04:25 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by HaterSlayer View Post
      Not even a little bit and they help you see stuff in the car at night without turning on the map lights.
      This and typically you can set them to a color which doesn't harm your night sight anyway - think of the type of ambient light found in jet fighter cockpits/navy ships. Most of them have options to dim darker during night time so they wouldn't oversaturate your vision.

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