First introduced on BMW's 5 and 7 series luxury cars, angel eyes, or halo, headlights have driven car and motorcycle enthusiasts absolutely crazy in their quest for a unique ride. Today, many aftermarket headlights have been produced to replicate the angel eye effect for other brands of cars and trucks. While these headlights are often well made, they can be quite expensive. For the DIYer, however, lighting up the night can be done on the cheap with a little bit of ingenuity.
Things You'll Need
- 3.6V LED (20mA) x 2 per angel eye ring
- Resistors, 420 ohms (one per LED bulb)
- Soldering Iron and solder
- Wire, 16 gauge)
- Clear acrylic rod (for window blinds)
- Glass jar or can
- Dremel or similar rotary tool
- Cutting wheel
- 6mm drill bit
- Electric drill
- Clear silicon adhesive
- Wire connectors, self tapping (optional)
Remove the headlight assemblies from your car and take out the headlight bubs and wiring harness.
Preheat and to 275 degrees and place the headlight assemblies into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the headlight assemblies and separate the lens from the housing by gently pulling it apart.
Measure and take note of the diameter of the headlight housing.
Solder a resistor onto the positive (longer) leg of the LED.
Solder the wiring onto both legs of the LED bulb.
Cover the legs with black electrical tape to prevent the legs from grounding on each other.
Angel Eye Ring Construction
Determine the length of acrylic rod needed to form one ring by multiplying the headlight's diameter by 3.14. For example: a 4 inch wide headlight would need 12.5 inches of acrylic rod (4 x 3.14 = 12.5)
Cut the acrylic rod to your desired length with a cutting wheel attached to a Dremel or similar rotary tool. Then, cut shallow lines into the top of the ring, spacing these notches about 3mm apart down the length of the rod. These notches will catch the light of the LED, refracting it outward where it will be visible.
Preheat an oven to 275 degrees and place the rod, notched side up, into the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the rod as soon as it begins to soften. Heat one rod at a time.
Select a glass jar or can that has the same diameter as your headlight and place it onto a hard, heat-tolerant surface. Place the jar against the rod and bend the rod around the jar, overlapping the ends. Be sure that one of the flat sides of the rod is against the surface, or facing down. Cut the overlapping portion off with the Dremel after the rod has cooled.
Drill a 6mm wide hole into the ends of the ring, stopping at a depth of 5mm. Insert an LED assembly into each hole and secure with black electrical tape, starting directly over the bulb.
Select an area in the headlight assembly for the angel eye's wiring to exit to connect to the car's electrical system. Drill a small hole into the assembly if needed.
Route the angel eye's wiring through the headlight and secure the angel eye ring to your headlight housing with clear silicone adhesive. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the adhesive to cure.
Seal the headlight lens and housing with clear silicone adhesive and allow to cure before re-installing the headlight bulb(s) and wiring harness.
Splice the LED's wiring into your car's parking lights with self-tapping wire connectors or by soldering.
Re-install the headlight assemblies.
Tips & Warnings
- Take your time. Rushing this project can lead to costly mistakes.
- Have your materials ready when shaping the rod, as the rod will harden within 15 to 30 seconds after being removed from the oven.
- If you are not familiar with your vehicle's electrical system, consult a qualified technician.
- Keep an eye on your acrylic rod and headlights when they are being heated. Remove them immediately if they are showing signs of melting.
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