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Jim85IROC

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Jim85IROC last won the day on February 8

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  1. Unless I got enough people interested that I could justify having somebody cut the letters on a CNC, it's not something that I'd want to do. This was a very tedious build. Soldering the LED segments is tedious, hand cutting the plexi then sanding & filing the hell out of it is tedious, gluing it & trimming the glue is tedious, etc. If I could get the letters cut on CNC, I could design them from 1/4" plexi with a 1/8" rabbit all the way around so that they'd drop right into place, as well as a mild indentation for the red letters. I wouldn't have to deal with cutting them out, and the glue-up would be way easier too because I wouldn't need to worry about the plexi or the letters shifting when I clamped it. The only tedious part would be soldering the LED segments. Even with all of that streamlined, it would probably end up being $300-400 per unit to justify it, which I doubt many people would consider. In terms of a status update, I haven't done much, but I did hook a small segment up to a DC power supply to stress test it. I've had it running for a couple days now at just a hair over 15V. The segments are warm to the touch, but not hot, and they seem to be holding up OK. Running the LEDs on the truck at around 14V should prove to be durable if this section is doing OK at 15v. I also connected the finished light to the power supply and measured about 1/2A of current draw. That's low enough that I may be able to tap into the DRL or parking lamp circuit without a relay. I'm going to have to investigate that. Now that it's starting to warm up a bit, I'm hoping to get out there and check out the wiring for the headlights and see if I can figure out what connector & receptacle style the headlamps use so I can see if I can get a connector & receptacle to make my adapter harness from.
  2. Over the last week or so I had time to move this project on a bit more. I sprayed the clear plexi with a matte clear that was advertised as non-yellowing in hopes that it will provide some UV protection for the plexi itself, plus the matte will help dissipate the LED hot spots a bit. After that, it was time to glue the plexi into place. I had originally thought of using super glue, but I wanted something that was going to be waterproof, so I ended up using Shoe Goo. This is a fantastic all purpose glue that I use for a lot of things. Here's a close-up after they're glued into place. After this pic I trimmed more of the squeeze-out away: Letters glued in place. After this pic I added a couple clamps to help keep some problem areas from lifting: all glued together! When illuminated it looks pretty much exactly like the previous illuminated pictures, but I guess that's a good thing since now it's all glued up. The next step is the wiring. I need to look at the factory wiring and see if I can figure out what the headlight plugs are so I can buy a plug and socket in order to make a short extension, then I can "T" off of that extension. If that turns out to be too difficult, I'll pull the signal from the fuse box. One other thing that I also need to figure out is how well these LEDs put up with 15V. I'm going to wire a small section of my left over strip to a 15VDC power supply and let it hang out and see how the LEDs tolerate it. If they end up burning up, I'll need to install a buck converter or a resistor to bring the voltage down a bit.
  3. All 3 plexi pieces are cut and painted with matte clear. For now they're just sitting in position for a photo op. Next step is to glue things together.
  4. More progress! Today I got the other letters cut, I got the lights all soldered up and installed into the chrome. I used shoe goo to seal up all of the openings in the plastic and cover the soldered connections. I used my silver paint pen on the edges of the plexi and was going to sand and coat them with matte clear but the nozzle broke when I popped the cap off, so that'll need to wait. Plexi cut: Soldering the LEDs together: Installed: They work!
  5. Today I made version 2. This one is thinner and sits on top of the chrome. This one looks much better when lit up. I'm going to make V3 the same way but narrower.
  6. I really like how the illuminated GMC emblems for the front grill look for the 2019+ models, but since GM doesn't offer it for the 16-19 style, I decided to try making my own. Right now I only have the "C" because I wanted to see how well it worked. I picked up a spare emblem on Ebay, and removed the red inserts: I bought some 1/4" Plexi and cut out a piece that matched the "C": I soldered up some segments of an LED light strip: I put it into the chrome emblem, stuck the plexi over it, then put the red emblem over it. I brought it out to my truck and tried it out after it got dark: Here it is with a darker exposure, which is a bit more realistic: I'm not completely thrilled with how it looks, so I think I'm going to experiment a bit more. What I don't really like is that because the plexi is exactly the same size as the red emblems, the light shines out to the sides more than forward. I think I need to try a different approach by using a thinner piece of plexi and making it larger than the red emblem, then blacking out the sides of it so that it only shines forward. I've got some 1/8" plexi so I think tomorrow I'm going to give that a try. Overall though, I think this looks promising!
  7. Morimoto has full LED headlamp assemblies if you want to cough up the $1600 for them. I have no experience with the factory HID setup, but I just picked up a 17 SLT Premium that has the LED headlamp assemblies. Guys seem to love these, but I'm underwhelmed with them. My last truck was an 08 Silverado. On that truck I replaced the stock bulbs with LED bulbs that were able to be rotated inside the housing so that they could be installed perfectly vertically, and the light from those was just amazing. Moving from that truck to the 17 with the LED lights has been a big disappointment. My low beams give a nice even distribution of light, but they don't have as much of it as the old truck. The real disappointment though is the high beams. With the 4 headlight system, the high beams gave me more light everywhere. The road was brighter, plus the long distance lighting was significantly improved. With the 17, the high beams just add light above the low-beam cutoff. It doesn't add any light to the low beam area, and in fact, there's still a dark zone right above the low beam cutoff, which is exactly where I need the extra light the most. long story short, I can't really say that moving to the OEM LED headlights is a worthwhile upgrade. I can't really imagine a bulb upgrade in your current assemblies being any worse than the OEM LEDs, and in all likelihood, with the right bulb, should be better than the OEM LEDs.
  8. I just put the roll-style cover on my 17 Sierra also. My father has had a Truxedo roll-style tonneau for over 15 years, and other than needing to sew new velcro onto the sides, it's been rock solid. A buddy of mine bought the no-name version from Amazon for less than half the cost of the Truxedo, and he was really happy with it, so I decided to give it a try. I just put on the truck on Tuesday, and I'm mostly satisfied. It's virtually identical to my father's Truxedo, with the only real difference being that the Truxedo has metal pieces where the back of the cover cams into place, and this has plastic. My only real complaint is that I don't feel like the back of the cover comes down quite far enough, so there's not a good seal on the tailgate. I'll have to see if I get any water that leaks in through that spot.
  9. This illuminated emblem looks ridiculously good! I wish somebody offered one for the 14-18 model year trucks. I'd love to add this to my '17.
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