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How to Improve Trunk Lighting

: Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S trunk has a black interior which makes the lights inside seem dim. To add more lights just below the parcel shelf mounting brackets takes around 60 to 90 minutes and $45.

Tools and Materials

Electrician’s Fish Tape: Use to pull wires.
Pliers: To close solderless connectors.
5050 warm white LEDs waterproof, 60 LEDs/m, 12 VDC (x2): You will need 2 six inch segments of warm LED lighting. This can be done by buying a larger strip and cutting it in half or into two six inch sized segments. Tesla uses cool white (5000k) lights but warm white (3000k) is an option to consider based on personal preference.
Solderless Wire Quick Splice Connector – 18-22 Gauge – 25 Pack
6′ Male 2.1mm Plug to Female 2.1mm Jack CCTV Power Cable: Note that the wire needs to be a zip-cord style wire and not a shielded round cable. This will be used to provide the wire and barrel connector pair.
Heat Shrink Tubing (x2): This will need to be 5/8″ long and 1/2″ in diameter. This is optional if soldering is required.
Single Color LED strips Quick Connector to DC (x2)
Small, black zip ties (x2)
Optional Soldering Gun

Installation

1. Cut the power cable with the female end having 3″ of length to connect the wires and connector to the LED strip.
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Determine which connection method you will be using and follow those directions for connecting the wires to the LED strip.
2a. Pre-wired Method
If LED strip is pre-wired, use the solderless connectors to join the wires. The red wire will go to the white wire and the black wire will match with the black.
2b. Quick Connector Method
I. Determine which end the connector will attach to as only one side will work due to polarity.
II. The positive connection, which connects to the center pin of the barrel connector, attaches to the plus “+” marking.
III. The negative connection, which connects to the outer sleeve of the barrel connector, connects to the minus “-” marking on the strip.
Note: Before attaching the quick connect, remove at least 1/8″ of the adhesive tape from the end and remove any adhesive residue from the copper dots. This will prevent connection failure.
2c. Solder Method
I. Carefully remove the silicone waterproof coating from the top of the LED strip about 1/8 of the way from the end of the strip.
II. Remove all the silicone coating from the copper to enable soldering to it.
III. Solder the red or white marked connector wire to the “+” dot on the LED strip.
IV. Solder the black wire to the “-” dot.
V. Cover the connection with the heat shrinking tubing and shrink the tubing with a heat gun or lighter. Do not melt the wires of LED stripe.
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Note: While working on the car, do not have the charger plugged in.
3. Remove the bottom Tesla LED Assembly by snapping it out with your fingers. There are two wires attached and it will only come out about 2″. You can disconnect it from the wires by depressing the locking clip and sliding the connector out from the assembly.
Note: Cars built roughly after August 2013 only have LED assemblies if the premium lighting package was purchased. See troubleshooting for further instructions if side LED is missing.
4. Mark about 2′ on the electrician’s fish tape so you know when the end of the wire is roughly in the right location.
5. Starting between the carpet/plastic liner and the metal frame, feed the wires, using electrician’s fish tape, through the LED mounting hole up to the large hole in the carpet/plastic liner.
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6. With the tape passed through, knot the wire end of the connector cut earlier to the tape end.
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7. Pull the tape and wire back so the barrel connector is left hanging out of the large hole near the parcel shelf rail and the wire end is ready to be connected to the existing LED assembly. Extra wire may be cut, but leave 4-6″ extra.
8. Using the wireless connectors, connect the white wire to the red Tesla wire and the black wire to the black Tesla wire. Leave at least 1/2″ of wire so the LED assembly will fit back on.
9. Reconnect the Tesla LED assembly to it’s black connector.
10. Turn the Tesla lights back on by moving the car key back towards the driver door if the lights are off.
11. With the Tesla LED lights on, connect the new LED strip light to the connector to verify that it is working.
Note: If it is not working, visit troubleshooting.
12. With the LED strip confirmed working, push the wireless connectors and Tesla LED assembly back in the hole until it clicks in place.
13. Disconnect the strip and remove the backing tape from the LEDs and attach the strip to the bottom of the parcel shelf rail. Do not cover the single screw.
14. To secure the wire, drill two holes (one on each side of the wire from the LED strip) and fit a wire wrap around it.
15. Follow the directions for the other side. Then both sides will have the LED lights installed.
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Troubleshooting

No LED Assembly

If the car has no LED Assembly, the connector for the LED lights is behind the cutout imprint. To find the wires, remove the well cover and remove the plastic carpet tacks that hold the carpet in place. Then, the LED light connector will become visible and able to be pulled out.
Cut the cutout imprint and pull the connector up and through the cutout. Then attach quick-connect patch wires. This provides power source for the wires.
Left side: Tuck extra wire up around the inside plastic frame of the trunk until the plastic of the parcel shelf rail is reached. With wire tucked in, pull the tape and mount the LED strip.
Right Side: No LED connector, so tuck two new wires around 4′ long under the plastic lip inside the trunk from the left to the right side. Use the same barrel connectors and connect to the other LED strip from the left.

LED strip not lighting

If the new LED strip does not light, pull lightly on your new wires attached to the red quick-connector. If the wire was not fully pushed in before clamping it closed, it may pull right out. This indicates a bad connection. If so, redo the connection.
If the connection seems good, verify the polarity by checking the wire colors and/or using a meter up at the connector near the LED strip. If two strips were prepared, try the 2nd strip as one of the LED strips may be wired backwards.

References

Tesla Tap

Updated on January 31, 2017

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