Adding footwell illumination

3 05 2011

I like the interior of the TT.  It’s one of it’s best features.  I especially like it at night, when you get the contrast between the crisp instruments and the red background lume to the secondary controls.

The new model TTs have an (expensive!) optional interior lighting pack that adds some nice touches like footwell illumination.

After driving mine at night I decided I’d like something similar…

A quick scan of eBay brought up lots of LED flexible strips that looked like they had potential.  I bought two 30cm strips of flexible, red LED strips for around £10.  These are the low-profile ones, and come with peel-off 3M adhesive on the rear – something similar to the pic below:


I test fired them using a bench 12V power supply – they looked great, with nice, even illumination.  Now to wire them to the car…

First off I needed to identify a 12V supply that turns on with the sidelights, and also dims with the dashboard illumination.  I noticed that the light around the cigarette lighter looked suitable and was nearby to the footwells.

Getting to the wiring for this is pretty easy – open the ashtray and remove the single Torx screw in the middle:


You can then pull the ashtray assembly down and forward – on top you’ll see a small, black plastic clip that covers the earth and live feed for the existing light.

I then tried touching the terminals on the SMD strip to the terminals and turned the sidelights on, and was pleased to see them illuminate.  I dimmed the dash lights and the SMD strip dimmed with them.  Yay.

I took some black twin-core cable, and with the ashtray removed taped the end to an opened-out coathanger, then pushed the wire from the ashtray so it appeared in the footwell at the side of the transmission tunnel.  This was surprisingly easy to do without removing any trim and then soldered the SMD strip wire tails on to the twin-core cable.  I repeated this on both sides.

Next, I soldered the left and right hand twin-core cables to the existing light in the center of the removed ashtray.

If you’re not familiar with soldering, then tinning your joints makes this much easer – twist the end of the multi-core cable into a single wire, dip your soldering iron into a little solder, and run it along the twisted wire end to coat it with solder.  When you come to solder it to something else, it’ll be a much easier job.

Once in, I tested the LED strips – turn sidelights on and both illuminate nicely.  So far so good – that’s all the hard part out of the way.

The strips are self-adhesive so I stuck them out of sight just around the corner of each footwell like so:


It’s not a bad idea to give the surface you’re sticking the strips to a wipe with Meths or IPA just in case the previous owner was a fan of silicon dash polish.

At night they look like this from close up – from above there’ll just be a nice, diffuse red glow that illuminates with the sidelights.


It’s difficult to capture on camera what the result looks like, but it’s pretty spectacular.  It looks like Audi fitted them at the factory, and is nice and subtle.  It doesn’t distract at all during night driving.  It looks exactly the same colour and intensity as the existing factory red glow between the knee braces that shines down from below the ashtray.



Job done – total cost, a tenner.  Happy days.




2 responses

3 05 2011

Good write up matey

4 06 2011
James Junior

Nicely done mate.

Little indie projects like this are hugely satisfying.

Thanks for sharing the process with the rest of us. 🙂

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