Digi-Tails LED kit

slaby86

New Member
Hey so I just went on a roller coaster ride with this kit a couple of weeks ago. It took me and the guys at RCG over two days to get this kit to function properly. Let me start by saying the LED panels themselves are of high quality and I don't expect to have issues with them. However, the rest of the kit (connectors, plugs, instructions, etc) is trash. Before I go further, I want to be clear that I installed the complete kit, not just the tail lights. I installed the tails, front marker/turn signals, and 3rd brake light. I needed this kit because my tail lights and front markers are tinted pretty dark and regular bulbs were making it unsafe to drive.

With the kit working, it functions great. The lights are super bright and shine through my tint no problem. I have no issues driving it in bad weather or on super sunny days anymore. If you don't have tint on your lights, this kit is obnoxiously bright, which in my opinion is a good thing. Here is where we ran into issues. Keep in mind that all of these cars are different and 30+ years of varying ownership and modifications makes projects like this sketchy because the electrical systems in our cars are not all equal. This kit may be plug and play for some and not function at all for others. I'm of the latter.

Okay so my kit came with 4 LED panels for the rear tails (2 each side), an LED 3rd brake light panel, and two LED panels for the front signal/markers in the front bumper. Installing the rear tails takes a painstakingly long time. You have to go slowwwww when disassembling your tail light housings. The plastic does not hold up well over time and they basically turn into dust when you give them a hard stare so literally dedicate at least an hour or maybe even more just to slowly and carefully separating the lens from the housing. Once that is finished you much drill two pilot holes in each lens for mounting the panels themselves on the lens. Also do this slowly with a quality drill on low speed. Whenever you see plastic coming up the bit, pause and reverse the bit for a second to clear the plastic off of it. This prevents the hole from trying to expand from plastic that may not be clearing the bit and potentially cracking your lens. After this, the physical install is pretty straightforward. Make sure you have the sequential/normal setting on all of the LED panels in the right position before you install the housings because it's just a pain to reach the switches at that point.

Wiring is pretty straightforward. We went a slightly different route than the instructions and we ran our own ground and tapped into the trunk/dome light for a power source. The rest was plug and play. At this point the tails almost worked. Brakes, signals, and running lights all worked, but on one panel the sequential mode was acting funny and not working. I decided to continue the complete install and diagnose problems after the whole kit was in because I was going to further modify the wiring for that system and stopping to diagnose that is pointless when changes were still being made.

3rd brake light is plug and play. Nothing needs to be said about that.

The front LED panels are a different story. These included an electronic flasher, two resistors, and the LED panels. This is where the kit goes downhill in terms of instructions and quality of parts. The panels themselves are of high quality. The method of installation is horrible. Rather than separate the lenses and install them in a similar fashion to the tails, the kit includes paper templates you must cut out and stick to the front housings, and dremel out a slot to drop in the LED panels and secure them with two screws to the top of the housing. First, the templates weren't even close to correct in terms of what we needed to cut out to make the panels fit. And yes, I know how to read and I didn't mix them up. We decided to mill out the slot rather than dremel it, because it's just easier and cleaner to get it perfect. Now, once you get the housing cut open for the panel, the panel just kind of drops in with part of it sticking out the top, and the wiring harness coming out of the top with the exposed panel. I don't understand why they did this. It is a horrible design and great care must be taken to properly seal the housing back up and ensure there's no opening for water to leak in and ruin the panel. This leaves both bulb sockets wide open. The kit utilizes one of the bulb sockets to plug in each panel, so you can't plug the hole with the bulb socket. The kit includes two plugs for the housing, but they don't fit both holes in the housing, only one. The other socket in the housing is left wide open and without a bulb in there the plugs fit pretty loose. I just used some RTV sealer and stuck a bulb socket in there that we stole from another harness to seal it up. It looks sloppy and it is not a good design at all. They could have just utilized the existing bulb sockets on the housing to run the wires and done the install the same as the tail lights, by having you split the lens from the housing. This would have been much cleaner and less issues with keeping it water-tight.

Next issue with the fronts, was the instructions. The instructions say to install the two included resistors basically in parallel with the front headlamp marker lights (the ones on the side of the headlights). It says to do this on the switch side of the bulb, not the power side. This didn't make much sense but I followed the instructions to a T. The purpose of these resistors is to make the dashboard turn signal indicator bulbs function correctly after the change in current from incandescent bulbs in the system to LEDs.

So now the system is entirely installed..... and it doesn't work properly. With the headlights and parking lights off, everything works as it should. Once you turn on the headlights or marker lights, it stops functioning properly. The turn signals don't work in the rear. The light just gets brighter and stays on. When you hit the brakes the lights get bright but don't dim when lifting off the brake. And sometimes the hazard lights would make the windshield wipers turn on (different issue with a different fix). Haha it was chaos.

I'll skip right to the end result and how we fixed it. Basically we took the resistors off of the front marker lights because common sense told us that wiring them to the switch side of the bulb didn't make sense. We took them and moved them to the rear of the car and we ran them in parallel with the signal wires for the rear turn signals. Basically we T-ed into the yellow and green wires (signal wires for turn signals) in the harness along the left side of the trunk, and ran each T through the resistor and grounded it on the rear bumper. The resistors get hot so we also secured them to a big aluminum heat sink, then tucked it all away behind the driver's side of the rear bumper. This made all of the lights and turn signals function correctly, except for the dashboard indicator lights. No problem. Next we hooked up a variable resistor to the front marker lights, and ran in parallel to ground on the POWER side of the bulb, not the switch side. Once we reached 12 ohms of resistance, the dash lights began to function correctly. We found a couple of 13 ohm resistors and wired them in, and viola, the whole kit functions as it should.

I don't really know the best avenue to express my dissatisfaction with this kit. It looks great, but the install was awful. They cut so many corners. They could have easily built resistors into the rear tails to mitigate that whole trial and error process of getting the signals to work. Providing the wrong size plugs for the bulb sockets is just sloppy. The installation method for the front panels is just terrible and doesn't make sense. You have to remove the housings anyway to cut them apart I don't know why they wouldn't engineer it to install the same way as the rear tails rather than the sloppy chopped up housing. It just seems lazy. And of course, they need to get the instructions right for wiring in the resistors up front.

Anyway, I hope everyone who buys this kit has great success and it is plug and play with no issues. However, I hope this explanation of my issues and how I fixed them can help someone down the road who goes through the same issues I did. I apologize I don't have pictures of this stuff. That was the last thing on my mind while troubleshooting and trying to fix the issues I had. If anyone has any specific questions and needs some help with this kit, I'm now intimately familiar with it so if you are stuck and other suggestions haven't worked, shoot me a PM.
 

wb_7354

Active Member
Hmmm. I also installed the complete setup. Cutting the front parking light housings was probably the hardest thing. I don’t recall any resistors having to be installed. I did have to change my flasher though. I plugged everything in and they all worked fine. After a couple days I had a few of the led’s on the driver side that stayed on all the time. The boards had to be replaced. Been trouble free for about 10yrs now.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

1952ray

Scrambled Dog
Hey so I just went on a roller coaster ride with this kit a couple of weeks ago. It took me and the guys at RCG over two days to get this kit to function properly. Let me start by saying the LED panels themselves are of high quality and I don't expect to have issues with them. However, the rest of the kit (connectors, plugs, instructions, etc) is trash. Before I go further, I want to be clear that I installed the complete kit, not just the tail lights. I installed the tails, front marker/turn signals, and 3rd brake light. I needed this kit because my tail lights and front markers are tinted pretty dark and regular bulbs were making it unsafe to drive.

With the kit working, it functions great. The lights are super bright and shine through my tint no problem. I have no issues driving it in bad weather or on super sunny days anymore. If you don't have tint on your lights, this kit is obnoxiously bright, which in my opinion is a good thing. Here is where we ran into issues. Keep in mind that all of these cars are different and 30+ years of varying ownership and modifications makes projects like this sketchy because the electrical systems in our cars are not all equal. This kit may be plug and play for some and not function at all for others. I'm of the latter.

Okay so my kit came with 4 LED panels for the rear tails (2 each side), an LED 3rd brake light panel, and two LED panels for the front signal/markers in the front bumper. Installing the rear tails takes a painstakingly long time. You have to go slowwwww when disassembling your tail light housings. The plastic does not hold up well over time and they basically turn into dust when you give them a hard stare so literally dedicate at least an hour or maybe even more just to slowly and carefully separating the lens from the housing. Once that is finished you much drill two pilot holes in each lens for mounting the panels themselves on the lens. Also do this slowly with a quality drill on low speed. Whenever you see plastic coming up the bit, pause and reverse the bit for a second to clear the plastic off of it. This prevents the hole from trying to expand from plastic that may not be clearing the bit and potentially cracking your lens. After this, the physical install is pretty straightforward. Make sure you have the sequential/normal setting on all of the LED panels in the right position before you install the housings because it's just a pain to reach the switches at that point.

Wiring is pretty straightforward. We went a slightly different route than the instructions and we ran our own ground and tapped into the trunk/dome light for a power source. The rest was plug and play. At this point the tails almost worked. Brakes, signals, and running lights all worked, but on one panel the sequential mode was acting funny and not working. I decided to continue the complete install and diagnose problems after the whole kit was in because I was going to further modify the wiring for that system and stopping to diagnose that is pointless when changes were still being made.

3rd brake light is plug and play. Nothing needs to be said about that.

The front LED panels are a different story. These included an electronic flasher, two resistors, and the LED panels. This is where the kit goes downhill in terms of instructions and quality of parts. The panels themselves are of high quality. The method of installation is horrible. Rather than separate the lenses and install them in a similar fashion to the tails, the kit includes paper templates you must cut out and stick to the front housings, and dremel out a slot to drop in the LED panels and secure them with two screws to the top of the housing. First, the templates weren't even close to correct in terms of what we needed to cut out to make the panels fit. And yes, I know how to read and I didn't mix them up. We decided to mill out the slot rather than dremel it, because it's just easier and cleaner to get it perfect. Now, once you get the housing cut open for the panel, the panel just kind of drops in with part of it sticking out the top, and the wiring harness coming out of the top with the exposed panel. I don't understand why they did this. It is a horrible design and great care must be taken to properly seal the housing back up and ensure there's no opening for water to leak in and ruin the panel. This leaves both bulb sockets wide open. The kit utilizes one of the bulb sockets to plug in each panel, so you can't plug the hole with the bulb socket. The kit includes two plugs for the housing, but they don't fit both holes in the housing, only one. The other socket in the housing is left wide open and without a bulb in there the plugs fit pretty loose. I just used some RTV sealer and stuck a bulb socket in there that we stole from another harness to seal it up. It looks sloppy and it is not a good design at all. They could have just utilized the existing bulb sockets on the housing to run the wires and done the install the same as the tail lights, by having you split the lens from the housing. This would have been much cleaner and less issues with keeping it water-tight.

Next issue with the fronts, was the instructions. The instructions say to install the two included resistors basically in parallel with the front headlamp marker lights (the ones on the side of the headlights). It says to do this on the switch side of the bulb, not the power side. This didn't make much sense but I followed the instructions to a T. The purpose of these resistors is to make the dashboard turn signal indicator bulbs function correctly after the change in current from incandescent bulbs in the system to LEDs.

So now the system is entirely installed..... and it doesn't work properly. With the headlights and parking lights off, everything works as it should. Once you turn on the headlights or marker lights, it stops functioning properly. The turn signals don't work in the rear. The light just gets brighter and stays on. When you hit the brakes the lights get bright but don't dim when lifting off the brake. And sometimes the hazard lights would make the windshield wipers turn on (different issue with a different fix). Haha it was chaos.

I'll skip right to the end result and how we fixed it. Basically we took the resistors off of the front marker lights because common sense told us that wiring them to the switch side of the bulb didn't make sense. We took them and moved them to the rear of the car and we ran them in parallel with the signal wires for the rear turn signals. Basically we T-ed into the yellow and green wires (signal wires for turn signals) in the harness along the left side of the trunk, and ran each T through the resistor and grounded it on the rear bumper. The resistors get hot so we also secured them to a big aluminum heat sink, then tucked it all away behind the driver's side of the rear bumper. This made all of the lights and turn signals function correctly, except for the dashboard indicator lights. No problem. Next we hooked up a variable resistor to the front marker lights, and ran in parallel to ground on the POWER side of the bulb, not the switch side. Once we reached 12 ohms of resistance, the dash lights began to function correctly. We found a couple of 13 ohm resistors and wired them in, and viola, the whole kit functions as it should.

I don't really know the best avenue to express my dissatisfaction with this kit. It looks great, but the install was awful. They cut so many corners. They could have easily built resistors into the rear tails to mitigate that whole trial and error process of getting the signals to work. Providing the wrong size plugs for the bulb sockets is just sloppy. The installation method for the front panels is just terrible and doesn't make sense. You have to remove the housings anyway to cut them apart I don't know why they wouldn't engineer it to install the same way as the rear tails rather than the sloppy chopped up housing. It just seems lazy. And of course, they need to get the instructions right for wiring in the resistors up front.

Anyway, I hope everyone who buys this kit has great success and it is plug and play with no issues. However, I hope this explanation of my issues and how I fixed them can help someone down the road who goes through the same issues I did. I apologize I don't have pictures of this stuff. That was the last thing on my mind while troubleshooting and trying to fix the issues I had. If anyone has any specific questions and needs some help with this kit, I'm now intimately familiar with it so if you are stuck and other suggestions haven't worked, shoot me a PM.
What kit is this. It doesn’t look like W/O Richard no one could do this install. As he is the only one that I know of that has more heat sinks, resistors, transistor’s then any store I know of.
 

slaby86

New Member
It's the kit that GNS Performance sells. Again the kit may work great for some people as is. But seeing as all of these cars are old as heck and have varying levels of electrical system and wiring functionality, I just wanted to share my experience as well as highlight some of what I perceive to be design flaws. The kit looks fantastic, especially with my tinted tail lights housings. And yes, having Richard's help was fantastic. However, it was just a matter of reviewing the wiring diagrams and adding resistance to the signal wires and the marker light circuits in order to make the dashboard function properly. Thankfully Richard has some large variable resistors we were just able to hook up and turn the knob on until we had proper functionality, then replacing the variable resistors with resistors of the proper size. The resistors we utilized can be found on the internet for cheap. I utilized digital flashers for both the turn signals as well as the hazard lights. There still wasn't enough current to trip the flashers when the headlamps were on. Really I hope I'm the only one who has had this much trouble with them. But just in case I'm not, maybe my post will help others diagnose their issues.
 

Fatpig

Member
I am having the exact same issue with the kit I got as well. I got all 3 and same issue with headlights on. I pulled the bulbs out of the marker lights and it functions properly. I think I'm just going to wire the marker lights as running lamps and leave it at that. The front marker lights are so bright I don't think it will matter.
 
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