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How To: Rear Dome Light LED Replacement

Pete165

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For those wanting to replace the rear overhead dome light with a better looking white LED. I can't recall if there is another how-to thread on this, but here you go.. Sorry there aren't more pictures. I didn't think to write this until half way through.

You'll need a standard 194/168 type LED replacement bulb. I got mine on amazon, but I see them in auto parts stores now too.

I've done this on a 2013 Limited, and 2017 Sport, both with the dual moon roof and a single overhead dome light above the center of the third row seats. I'm not sure if it is different in other years/trims. The light still fades out when turned off or when doors are closed (called theater lighting), and it does turn off completely.

I'm willing to do the conversion for you if you ship yours to me (for a small fee). PM me if interested. I'll answer any questions in this thread if you need help doing it yourself.



1) Pry the dome light assembly out of the headliner. I suggest prying from the forward end of the assembly since the rear end connects to the wire harness. This takes a lot of force. It's going to hurt your fingers and its going to feel like you'll break something, but you wont. Once it's out, unplug from the wire harness.


2) There are 4 tabs holding the circuit board to the plastic assembly. Use a small flat-head screwdriver or two, and pry the circuit board from the assembly. (Circuit board already removed in this picture)
p6udumU.jpg



3) This is the delicate part. You'll see a small white 1/4" square with a yellow dot in the middle. This is the stock LED. I used a small flat-head screwdriver (and I mean very small - think eyeglasses screw size) and a small hammer to chisel out the LED. All it takes is a gentle tap straight down near the edges to break chunks off. You'll be nervous, but it works. Remove all of the LED to reveal the two metal contacts below.
UPCKbVo.jpg



4) Take the new 194/168 bulb and pry back the two wire contacts. Then, cut off the plastic base. You'll need to remove the base in order to solder it easier and allow it to lay more flat once installed.
TndmsBS.jpg



5) The LED needs to be soldered to the correct contacts in order for it to work (Positive/Negative). Take the bare circuit board back to the car and plug it into the harness. Open a door so the dome lights turn on, and touch the two wires from the LED to the contacts on the circuit board. If it lights up, GREAT. If not, reverse the wires. I used a red marker to denote which contacts go with which wire.

6) Take the circuit board back out, and carefully solder the new bulb wires to the contacts on the board. Leave enough room to bend the bulb flat towards the rear of the board (towards the wire harness end)
X8kRCI1.jpg


Th6XHVn.jpg



7) Take the plastic assembly and cut a notch out of the silver shroud that surrounds the LED bulb. This is needed in order to slide the new LED in when clipping the circuit board back to the plastic assembly. I considered just removing the shroud, but it helps direct light downward, and looked better with it in.
HJ3PtWo.jpg



8) Carefully clip the circuit board back into the plastic assembly, and then install back into the vehicle. You're done!
 
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Very useful and clear "how to". Your images that illustrate your instructions do not show on this side (using Windows Explorer if that matters). Do you have any alternative to show or provide your posting's images?
 
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peterk9

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For those wanting to replace the rear overhead dome light with a better looking white LED. I can't recall if there is another how-to thread on this, but here you go..
Well done Pete. There is another 20 page 'How To' thread on changing the interior lights to LED but unfortunately one post detailed with pictures has all the photos deleted due to Photobucket's revised policy. I have PM'd the OP to see if he can restore them. In the mean time, 'you're the man'. :thumbsup:

Peter
 
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XLT16

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Good stuff, thank you for posting that ! Nice to have the pics to work from !!

I did mine this morning as I had some LED bulbs laying around from doing the map lights previously. Took about an hour but I work slowly, stopped for a coffee :)

1) Took a couple of butter knives , one on each side, to pull the fixture out of the roof mount, saved the fingernails and came out easily
2) Used a Dremmel cutting head to take off the old LED, just had my wife hold the circuit board and proceeded slowly, eventually it broke out. Important you work towards the middle as eventually you need to solder the light to the outside metal below the LED. Don't want to damage those. Then also used the Dremmel to trim back the shroud to fit the bulb in after marking it with a Sharpie, this makes a nice smooth edge
3) Make sure you check for polarity before soldering the new bulb in, just slide the circuit board back in the harness and touch the light to the solder locations, if it doesn't work flip it over, mark it to be sure you solder it in correctly

The bulbs I had the base slid off as well so I took it off , made it easier to put the LED in the shroud assembly. Once you peel back the wires off the base to solder them you may find the base slides right off over the wires as mine did. After I soldered the wires I then used some electrical tape over the soldered parts and onto the circuit board to hold them in place and provide some support/insulation as I moved the bulb into the shroud.

All in all not a bad project if you are careful and proceed slowly. Thanks again for those pics !!
 
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rmkilc

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Has anyone measured the voltage at the pads for the LED being removed? Most LEDs like this are around 3 volts I thought. But your 194/168 automotive LED bulbs are going to require a 12 volt input. They get each LED in the bulb to have around 3 bulbs by either putting them in series, using resistors, or having a voltage regulator of some sort. If this is the case, I'm wondering how this even works. Otherwise, they must be 12 volt LEDs being used on the OEM PCB board.
 
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peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum rmkilc.:wave:

Peter
 
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san~man

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Anyone have a pic of the dome lights that have 2 buttons?
 
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rmkilc

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Has anyone measured the voltage at the pads for the LED being removed? Most LEDs like this are around 3 volts I thought. But your 194/168 automotive LED bulbs are going to require a 12 volt input. They get each LED in the bulb to have around 3 bulbs by either putting them in series, using resistors, or having a voltage regulator of some sort. If this is the case, I'm wondering how this even works. Otherwise, they must be 12 volt LEDs being used on the OEM PCB board.

So my suspicion was right that the LED package runs at about 3 volts. As you can see here, it runs at 2.747 volts and draws 2.31 watts of power. But after removing the LED package, the voltage at the PCB solder pads is about 11 volts so this means the LED package is probably current controlled.
IMG_20181121_231145.jpg

When I used a 12 volt 194 LED bulb that draws about 1 watt, the voltage still stays around 11 volts which is just fine for this bulb. I'm guessing a bulb that draws closer to 2 watts will cause the voltage to drop but I did not test that.
IMG_20181122_020154.jpg

Here is my bulb installed in the housing.
IMG_20181122_020407.jpg

Much brighter and the 5500K color matches the other LEDs I put in the car!
IMG_20181122_020928.jpg
 
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Exploder82

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Thanks for the write up and how to. I just did this last night after coming across this post. I’m not the best at soldering, but I got it done and didn’t have to trim the shroud because of the led I used.
 
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Stephen Cannon

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Silly me, I just went ahead and purchased a 2018 Sport that has every interior light except for the cargo area corner that is LED. :banghead:
 
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peterk9

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Silly me, I just went ahead and purchased a 2018 Sport that has every interior light except for the cargo area corner that is LED. :banghead:
According to the Manual, the rear dome lamp is LED as is the luggage compartment light.

Peter
 
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greg9933

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Mr. Cannon is partially correct. Regardless of what the manual says, the lamp in the left rear cargo area, near the bottom of the panel, is a 211 incandescent. Mr. Cannon is incorrect, however that every other interior light is LED. The front console overhead map lights are incandescent. A 194/168 will easily correct the map lights, the left rear cargo area requires a festoon or, having looked at the assembly, one could easily splice in a different LED housing. The wiring is readily accessible once you have the assembly out of the panel.
 
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Ediberto Reyes

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Would anyone here be willing to do mine for a small fee? I can provide the bulbs and pay for shipping. Pm on here or Facebook Ediberto Reyes. TIA
 
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Barry Trobaugh

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It's actually not that hard.

My goal was to get MUCH more light in the cabin by changing EVERY bulb in the interior to LED, including map lights, second-row lights and of course the third-row dome light. The OEM dome light (though an LED) was designed to give off a yellow glow rather than the 6000K color I was looking for. This mod was necessary to finish things out.

The most difficult part for me was to disconnect the wiring harness in the roof as the leads were very short. Finally it just worked its way off and in my hand it was.

As the OP pictures depict, I used a Dremmel on the fixture, but ended up just completely removing the "reflector" part of the fixture. This also allowed more light to shine through the lens. Win, Win.

Now to the circuit board. You now have to chisel.....that's right.....chisel the old emitter off of the board. This was the scariest part but just spend some time and bravery and it will eventually snap off. In hindsight, I probably could have just hit the (in tact) OEM emitter with the soldiering iron and pulled off the entire unit without the chiseling.

The next step is to take a soldiering iron and remove the remaining emitter contact from the actual circuit board. Just heat the small square piece and it will slide right off.

I then cleaned up the actual contacts for re-attachment.

Dissimilar to the OP, I used a 624 lumen bulb such as this from Amazon as all the emitters fire in the intended direction rather than a typical 360 design. Seemed to me the 360 was wasted light:

61JK7RXHskL._AC_SR160,160_.jpg


After straightening the contact wires of the new emitter, you can slip off the plastic 194-style blade connector. This leaves you with just the two lead wires to power the light. I pre-fit the wires and the fixture to determine the length of contact I needed to leave in order to make the electronic connection and position the new emitter exactly over the opening in the fixture. I cut about half of the lead off to make things neat.

I then soldiered the leads back to the contacts on the board and began to position the new emitter in the correct location to allow the most light to come into the fixture. I noticed that a small capacitor on the bulb was going to come in contact with the circuit board. Not knowing whether it would short things out, I placed a small piece of electrical tape on the board where it made contact to the capacitor just for insurance.

I checked alignment of bulb and fixture one more time and then re-installed the modded circuit-board back into the fixture.

Back to the Explorer, I plugged the harness back into the modded fixture, checked operation of the new light and then reinstalled the light fixture back in the ceiling.

To be honest, it took me longer to write this post than to actually make the mod. Go for it !!


PS I also used one of the same bulbs in the glove box. It fires right into the desired area and gives off so much more light.
 
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Dprestidge

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It's actually not that hard.

My goal was to get MUCH more light in the cabin by changing EVERY bulb in the interior to LED, including map lights, second-row lights and of course the third-row dome light. The OEM dome light (though an LED) was designed to give off a yellow glow rather than the 6000K color I was looking for. This mod was necessary to finish things out.

The most difficult part for me was to disconnect the wiring harness in the roof as the leads were very short. Finally it just worked its way off and in my hand it was.

As the OP pictures depict, I used a Dremmel on the fixture, but ended up just completely removing the "reflector" part of the fixture. This also allowed more light to shine through the lens. Win, Win.

Now to the circuit board. You now have to chisel.....that's right.....chisel the old emitter off of the board. This was the scariest part but just spend some time and bravery and it will eventually snap off. In hindsight, I probably could have just hit the (in tact) OEM emitter with the soldiering iron and pulled off the entire unit without the chiseling.

The next step is to take a soldiering iron and remove the remaining emitter contact from the actual circuit board. Just heat the small square piece and it will slide right off.

I then cleaned up the actual contacts for re-attachment.

Dissimilar to the OP, I used a 624 lumen bulb such as this from Amazon as all the emitters fire in the intended direction rather than a typical 360 design. Seemed to me the 360 was wasted light:

61JK7RXHskL._AC_SR160,160_.jpg


After straightening the contact wires of the new emitter, you can slip off the plastic 194-style blade connector. This leaves you with just the two lead wires to power the light. I pre-fit the wires and the fixture to determine the length of contact I needed to leave in order to make the electronic connection and position the new emitter exactly over the opening in the fixture. I cut about half of the lead off to make things neat.

I then soldiered the leads back to the contacts on the board and began to position the new emitter in the correct location to allow the most light to come into the fixture. I noticed that a small capacitor on the bulb was going to come in contact with the circuit board. Not knowing whether it would short things out, I placed a small piece of electrical tape on the board where it made contact to the capacitor just for insurance.

I checked alignment of bulb and fixture one more time and then re-installed the modded circuit-board back into the fixture.

Back to the Explorer, I plugged the harness back into the modded fixture, checked operation of the new light and then reinstalled the light fixture back in the ceiling.

To be honest, it took me longer to write this post than to actually make the mod. Go for it !!


PS I also used one of the same bulbs in the glove box. It fires right into the desired area and gives off so much more light.


Thanks for the help. Dillard
 
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MiaMaui

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For those wanting to replace the rear overhead dome light with a better looking white LED. I can't recall if there is another how-to thread on this, but here you go.. Sorry there aren't more pictures. I didn't think to write this until half way through.

You'll need a standard 194/168 type LED replacement bulb. I got mine on amazon, but I see them in auto parts stores now too.

I've done this on a 2013 Limited, and 2017 Sport, both with the dual moon roof and a single overhead dome light above the center of the third row seats. I'm not sure if it is different in other years/trims. The light still fades out when turned off or when doors are closed (called theater lighting), and it does turn off completely.

I'm willing to do the conversion for you if you ship yours to me (for a small fee). PM me if interested. I'll answer any questions in this thread if you need help doing it yourself.



1) Pry the dome light assembly out of the headliner. I suggest prying from the forward end of the assembly since the rear end connects to the wire harness. This takes a lot of force. It's going to hurt your fingers and its going to feel like you'll break something, but you wont. Once it's out, unplug from the wire harness.


2) There are 4 tabs holding the circuit board to the plastic assembly. Use a small flat-head screwdriver or two, and pry the circuit board from the assembly. (Circuit board already removed in this picture)
p6udumU.jpg



3) This is the delicate part. You'll see a small white 1/4" square with a yellow dot in the middle. This is the stock LED. I used a small flat-head screwdriver (and I mean very small - think eyeglasses screw size) and a small hammer to chisel out the LED. All it takes is a gentle tap straight down near the edges to break chunks off. You'll be nervous, but it works. Remove all of the LED to reveal the two metal contacts below.
UPCKbVo.jpg



4) Take the new 194/168 bulb and pry back the two wire contacts. Then, cut off the plastic base. You'll need to remove the base in order to solder it easier and allow it to lay more flat once installed.
TndmsBS.jpg



5) The LED needs to be soldered to the correct contacts in order for it to work (Positive/Negative). Take the bare circuit board back to the car and plug it into the harness. Open a door so the dome lights turn on, and touch the two wires from the LED to the contacts on the circuit board. If it lights up, GREAT. If not, reverse the wires. I used a red marker to denote which contacts go with which wire.

6) Take the circuit board back out, and carefully solder the new bulb wires to the contacts on the board. Leave enough room to bend the bulb flat towards the rear of the board (towards the wire harness end)
X8kRCI1.jpg


Th6XHVn.jpg



7) Take the plastic assembly and cut a notch out of the silver shroud that surrounds the LED bulb. This is needed in order to slide the new LED in when clipping the circuit board back to the plastic assembly. I considered just removing the shroud, but it helps direct light downward, and looked better with it in.
HJ3PtWo.jpg



8) Carefully clip the circuit board back into the plastic assembly, and then install back into the vehicle. You're done!


Are the two metal contacts flush with the circuit board? or are they small square pieces?
 
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Barry Trobaugh

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Are the two metal contacts flush with the circuit board? or are they small square pieces?

Flush on the board.

The silver "box" left from the OE emitter must go. A soldiering gun will take care of that.

Good luck
 
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MiaMaui

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Flush on the board.

The silver "box" left from the OE emitter must go. A soldiering gun will take care of that.

Good luck
I've tried soldering it off but it just doesn't seem to work for me. I'm having a lot of trouble with it. Just hoping I didn't just ruin my light trying this.
 
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MiaMaui

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For those wanting to replace the rear overhead dome light with a better looking white LED. I can't recall if there is another how-to thread on this, but here you go.. Sorry there aren't more pictures. I didn't think to write this until half way through.

You'll need a standard 194/168 type LED replacement bulb. I got mine on amazon, but I see them in auto parts stores now too.

I've done this on a 2013 Limited, and 2017 Sport, both with the dual moon roof and a single overhead dome light above the center of the third row seats. I'm not sure if it is different in other years/trims. The light still fades out when turned off or when doors are closed (called theater lighting), and it does turn off completely.

I'm willing to do the conversion for you if you ship yours to me (for a small fee). PM me if interested. I'll answer any questions in this thread if you need help doing it yourself.



1) Pry the dome light assembly out of the headliner. I suggest prying from the forward end of the assembly since the rear end connects to the wire harness. This takes a lot of force. It's going to hurt your fingers and its going to feel like you'll break something, but you wont. Once it's out, unplug from the wire harness.


2) There are 4 tabs holding the circuit board to the plastic assembly. Use a small flat-head screwdriver or two, and pry the circuit board from the assembly. (Circuit board already removed in this picture)
p6udumU.jpg



3) This is the delicate part. You'll see a small white 1/4" square with a yellow dot in the middle. This is the stock LED. I used a small flat-head screwdriver (and I mean very small - think eyeglasses scr7ew size) and a small hammer to chisel out the LED. All it takes is a gentle tap straight down near the edges to break chunks off. You'll be nervous, but it works. Remove all of the LED to reveal the two metal contacts below.
UPCKbVo.jpg



4) Take the new 194/168 bulb and pry back the two wire contacts. Then, cut off the plastic base. You'll need to remove the base in order to solder it easier and allow it to lay more flat once installed.
TndmsBS.jpg



5) The LED needs to be soldered to the correct contacts in order for it to work (Positive/Negative). Take the bare circuit board back to the car and plug it into the harness. Open a door so the dome lights turn on, and touch the two wires from the LED to the contacts on the circuit board. If it lights up, GREAT. If not, reverse the wires. I used a red marker to denote which contacts go with which wire.

6) Take the circuit board back out, and carefully solder the new bulb wires to the contacts on the board. Leave enough room to bend the bulb flat towards the rear of the board (towards the wire harness end)
X8kRCI1.jpg


Th6XHVn.jpg



7) Take the plastic assembly and cut a notch out of the silver shroud that surrounds the LED bulb. This is needed in order to slide the new LED in when clipping the circuit board back to the plastic assembly. I considered just removing the shroud, but it helps direct light downward, and looked better with it in.
HJ3PtWo.jpg



8) Carefully clip the circuit board back into the plastic assembly, and then install back into the vehicle. You're done!
Also, I have the light with two buttons and 2 LED's. Does anyone know how to do that one?
 
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Dprestidge

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Also, I have the light with two buttons and 2 LED's. Does anyone know how to do that one?

Haven’t done that one. But the metal pieces left after braking the led off must be removed. I tried to solder to them. Could not. You need to heat up till they turn loose. They will come loose. Then it will be easy to solder. Had me worried too, but it worked out ok. Good luck.
 
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