How-To: Install LED Lights In Switches/Handles/Overhead Lights - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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How-To: Install LED Lights In Switches/Handles/Overhead Lights

Multiple posts due to picture limitations.

Warning: If you don't know how to solder or have little practice, find some parts and wire that can be practiced on before attempting this. The circuit board in the driver window switch is easily damaged, and will have no light if it is damaged.

Tools Needed: Digital multimeter (voltage and ohms at least)
15 watt soldering iron with a fine point tip
Alligator clips (work well as a heat sink too)
De-soldering vacuum or braid
Solder assist tool set (not necessary, but helpful)
Wire Strippers




Parts Needed: LED's of choice (3MM size is easier to work with, 2 5MM for the overhead lights and 2 5MM LED's for the door handles)
Resistors (calculated later)
Heat shrink tubing
Solder (I used 0.559 MM diameter)

Notes: LED's are sensitive to polarity and will not work if backwards. The positive side is generally the longer wire, but may vary so pay attention. http://encyclobeamia.solarbotics.net/articles/led.html

Removal: Door panel removal can be found in DrivenDaily's thread here How-To LED blinker installation in mirror housings
Overhead console removal is easy. Just pull it down carefully, and disconnect the connectors above. There is two screws holding the LED sockets in place.
The door handle lights twist out of the handles counterclockwise and disconnect for the harness.

Calculations: This is one part to pay close attention and double check your work. I calculated all the lights at a 13 volt source (running), but resistance will vary depending om the LED. Check the ratings of the LED's forward current and forward voltage. Use the typical forward voltage for the calculations. Use the series parallel calculator for the overhead lights and single LED calculator for the switches.
http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz
http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz

Overhead lights:Use the two 5MM LED's here. After removal the LED's are enclosed in a socket. This socket needs to be split open. The wiring is red is positive and black negative for one LED and black is positive and green is negative for the other LED. There will only be one resistor used.

First, remove the old LED's but cutting them off close to the bulbs. Then, strip the wire to expose some wire for soldering. Solder the new LED in place, but do not solder right at the base of the bulb as it may damage it. After the two LED's are soldered in place them back into the housings.

Now, remove the heat shrink by the connector exposing the factory resistor. The terminal will need to be removed on the resistor side for soldering. There is a tab inside the connector to release it. Cut out the old resistor, place some heat shrink over the wire, solder in the new resistor, slide the new heat shrink down and heat it to shrink it. Plug it in and check it before reassembly.




09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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Last edited by chevyguy8893; 01-23-2011 at 05:59 PM.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Door Handle:
Use the multimeter to figure which side is positive and which is negative before proceeding. A 5 MM LED will be used in the door handles.

First, remove the door panel. Then, twist the socket out of the handle and disconnect the connector. Third, push the existing bulb out of the socket by pushing on the terminals in the base.

To remove the old light heat the solder at the terminals to remove them. Solder the terminals onto the new LED making sure the terminals face the same way. After completed, reinstall the LED into the socket.

Now for the resistor. Due to size the resistor does not fit in the socket. The resistor will need to be installed in the harness on the panel. Cut one point in the harness and strip the ends. Slide a piece of heat shrink on the wire. Then, solder the resistor in place an slide the heat shrink down and heat it. Be careful not melt anything else.

I'm sorry but I did not take any pictures of this point.

Lock switches, passenger window switch, and trunk button:
3 MM LED's will be used here.

Remove the switch from the bezel by pushing in on the holding tabs. After removal, split the case apart carefully with a small pick or tool. The case can crack easily. Once split open, plug the switch back in to determine polarity.

Next, remove the old bulb. Take the new LED and solder a resistor to the bulb. Install the new LED into the switch and bend the leads into place and solder them. Plug the switch in and verify the light works. Trim the blue cover in the middle to allow the LED to pass through. Reassemble the switch and check the light output. If the bulb is off center remove the toggle cap and center the bulb.

The trunk button is the same process, but will need to be removed from the door panel. Again be careful, the case can break easily.

Sorry again, I was not able to get any good pictures of the trunk or door lock buttons. It is straight forward after they are disassembled.


09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Drivers Switches:
Warning again, the circuit board is easily damaged by heat, so be very careful!
3 MM LED's will be used here.

First, split the case open by using a straight tool and working around the switch.


Next, the board will need to be removed from the case by gently prying it up around the edges. Move the buttons on the other side to help release the board. There will be a metal tab the will fall out from the window lockout switch, so watch out for it.


After the board is removed the fun can begin. I marked in this picture the polarity on the board.


Remove the old bulbs from the board. If you use the desoldering vacuum here be very careful, the contact pad can be sucked off the board very easily. Desoldering braid may be better for this, it is your choice in the end with what you feel comfortable with. Desoldering information can be found easily on the internet if it is needed.

After the bulbs are removed the LED's can be made ready. Both LED's are on their own circuit here and each will need a resistor. Solder the resistor to the LED. Then slide the LED into the board. It will stick up higher, but some adjustments can be made to bring it back down after soldering. Flip the board and be sure the LED stays in place. Use care and solder the bulbs into place. After they are cooled down check to make sure they are in tight.

Do not reassemble the switch yet, plug it in and make sure the lights work. If they work bend the wires on the LED's to bring them down some. Be careful to not break the legs.

There may be a better place to put the resistor, but I am not sure of that yet. I am guessing it could be placed in the illumination wire and calculate for two LED's in the LED calculator, but I am not sure.

Remove the switch covers themselves to expose the lights and reassemble the switch. This is so the lights can be accessed from above to center them. Once everything is centered pop the covers back into place.


09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

That's all there is to it. I am sorry that I did not take more pictures during the process though. I was too focused on the project at hand. It really isn't that bad to do in the end, and it just looks so much better than the green. Eventually I will do some more of them, but this is enough for me right now. Here are some more pictures that may be of some help.








09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Here are some pictures of what it looks like finished.





09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Here's a couple more.






It takes time and patience to do all of this. It is a fun experience though. It took a lot of trial and error on my part (more errors than trial), but it came out nice in the end. If there are any questions or suggestions let me know.
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09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 06:19 PM
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Great write up man.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 06:21 PM
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Nice write up! Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this and share it with all of us. This is part of what makes this forum so great!


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 07:13 PM
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

An excellent article, as usual. I appreciate it but I'm getting cross-eyed just thinking about all the soldering and desoldering, though.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-23-2011, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How-To: LED lights in switches, handles, and overhead lights

Thanks for the comments guys. I did the best I could to put this into words that weren't confusing. Hopefully as more people do this it can become more refined and maybe someone will find some ways of doing something easier. I am afraid to attempt the surface mount LED's in the radio and steering wheel controls.

09' Malibu LTZ with brick leather interior
4 cyl w/6 speed auto
Silver Ice Metallic paint

Mods: PTM bow ties, grill, washer nozzles, and fog light trim
-20% tint
-MTX600XD, 2 12" Infinity Kappa Perfect 12.1, 4 gauge stinger wire, Pioneer 7800MP CD player
-5000K HID headlights and 3000K fog lights
-White LED's in the switches and handles
-Blacklight overhead console LED's
-Painted and polished factory aluminum wheels



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