NeoLumn8! Mazda MX-5 ND/ND2 Rear Dynamic LED Running Light Kit
Update: Decided to change the name to NeoLumn8 (was NeoStrip)
I’ve had a fair bit of interest for my NeoLumn8 I originally built for my Mazda MX-5 ND2, and decided to share the love and custom build some for sale. This is a spin-off of my original in that includes many more sequence and brake modes. To make it cost effective and easier to install, this unit consists of a controller and strip that mounts in the trunk. Installation is plug-and-play and takes about 20 minutes.
What is it? In short, it’s a dynamic rear LED running light strip that goes under the trunk (boot) lid and illuminates along the gap between the taillights. It allows different sequences to be selected on start-up, and also has different brake modes (video clips at the bottom). The controller, which is mounted in the trunk area allows to the selection and saving of sequences and brake modes via the button (shown below). The LED strip has a diffuse flexible silicone casing that ensures nice light spread across the strip. Current known fitment is for ND/ND2’s 2017, 2019-2022. As I understand it, the wiring harness is the same on all ND/ND2’s until 2022 and likely 2023+. For 2023 + you should confirm against this pinout.
V3 Usage and Sequence Demo (Nov 2022) Some features / sequences have been updated since this video. Scroll to bottom for videos of each sequence and different brake modes.
How it works: When the taillights come on, NeoLumn8 will play the saved sequence, then revert to running light mode (basically all red). During braking, NeoLumn8 does a red sweep out from the middle to the sides (think Audi). Sequence and brake mode options are shown further down and can be selected on the controller which is mounted in the trunk. The OLED display shows the current sequence & brake mode as well as when changing modes. You can change and save modes by using the button to advance the next mode (which shows on the OLED). Hold the button to saves the selected mode which will become the default sequence and braking mode when the car starts and lights come on.
The NeoLumn8 LED strip is mounted under the trunk lid, with the controller inside the left trunk area. The system is powered by the rear taillights, so it does not draw power when the car / lights are off.
This is based on my Phase I project with tweaks and improvements (it does not use the remote control front console controller). It’s pretty much plug-and-play installation as it comes with a wiring harness that connects between the rear tail light connectors. NeoLumn8 could also work with other vehicles with a few tweaks – drop me note if interested.
How to Get One:
V3 cost is $220 CAD + shipping + 4% PayPal fees.
Feb 2023: I currently have a few kits ready to go. I custom build these in my spare time, so once these are gone, wait time is approx. 2 weeks.
Each kit is custom made with love! I don’t have a storefront, so drop me a note if interested. Fits 19-22 NDs/ND2s. For other model years, you can check your pinouts against this. Installation instructions (with video) are also provided. By purchasing this kit you accept the Limitation of Liability
The following are a list of sequences and braking modes. Sequences start once when the lights are turned on, then the unit falls to whatever the default running light mode is. Brake mode triggers once with braking then again after a delay period (so not to annoy drivers behind you).
Sequences (scroll to bottom to see videos for each sequence):
- Default (red running light mode)
- K.I.T.T. / Larson Scanner (nuff said!)
- K.I.T.T. / Larson Scanner in Colour
- Red Bounce
- Colour Bounce
- K.I.T.T & Red Bounce
- K.I.T.T & Red Bounce both in Colour
- Rainbow Dance (holy colour!)
- Red Outward Sweep (slower)
- Red Outward Sweep (faster)
- Blue Outward Sweep (slower)
- Blue Outward Sweep (faster)
- Plot Outwards Red
- Plot Outwards Blue
- No Running Light with Brakes Only (does not show anything except when braking)
- Demo Mode (all main sequences together – useful to show off at car shows. Not suggested while driving!)
- Sweep Out (from middle to sides – default)
- Fast Flash **
- Fast Flash then Slow Flash **
- ** Note – The flashing brake modes trigger on first brake application, then a 20 second delay prevents it from repeating (instead shows the sweep out). Once the delay elapses, it repeats again the next time you re-apply braking. See the demo video for more info.
- What’s included? Microcontroller w/enclosure, wiring & mounting clips, NeoLumn8, zip ties, and a inline harness connector for ND/ND2 rear taillights (plug-and-play).
- What installation is required? Installation is easy and an instruction page with video is provided. Estimated time is about 20 minutes. It comes pre-wired with an inline wiring harness and connectors that plugs between the rear tail light connector. The NeoLumn8 wire is routed inside the trunk lid and through 2 rubber grommets. Mounts and zip tiles are also provided. The hardest part is cutting the holes in the grommets!
- How do I change modes? Modes are changed via the button mounted in the controller. Click the button to advance the next mode (shown on the OLED), then push and hold the button to save it. That will become the default sequence. The same can be done for changing brake modes. Where you mount the controller depends on how often you expect to change modes and how accessible you want to make the controller. You can see some of the creative installations below. One user cut a hole to access the controller/button. You may also be able to secure the controller on the top underside of the left area so it’s exposed.
- How fast does it start or “boot up”? It uses power from the running lights and starts in the last saved sequence mode. Start-up time to “play” the sequence is ~1 second. Once powered, braking is instantaneous so it lines up well with existing brake light timing.
- Is it a 3rd Brake Light Flasher? It’s a rear running light first, and has different braking modes (including flashing). Just keep in mind that sequences always play first on startup. Currently, there are 3 brake mode options including the original sweep out option.
- What about the red / brightness? I have a CRM ND2, and the red matches perfectly to the lights. It is also bright but not excessive. Your mileage may vary depending on your paint colour. One customer has a black RF and says it’s slightly washed out due to reflecting off the black before existing the trunk area. He put reflective tape to help with this.
- Is it legal? I can’t advise on legality either way, so can only share an opinion. Given sequences only run when lights come on, risk is limited. As a running light, it’s no different than any other red running light on many modern cars, or those you can get aftermarket. Playing any of the colourful sequences could draw attention – but again, that’s only when starting the car. The flashing brake modes could draw attention, but you can choose the sweep mode if there’s concern. Either way, check your local laws.
- Does it void my warranty? Don’t know really. I suggest if you are unsure, check with your local Mazda dealer.
- Is it Open Source? For reasons that are hopefully obvious, no. However, the controller can be re-programmed to whatever you want, but you do so at your own risk. Happy to guide on pins used etc. This can be done with the Arduino IDE. V3 uses the SEEED XIAO SAMD21.
- Can I control it from my phone? No. It can be done, but after doing this sort of thing many times before, and later not really playing with it, I took the direction of not doing this. Additionally, it would add significant cost and limit interest. For the most part, buyers find 1-2 sequences they like and don’t mess around with it. This project took the path to keep costs limited and remove possible failure points (think app versioning, phone hardware/software changes).
- Power Requirements: 12V power (from the running lights), 12V brake (as a signal) and GND. Controller components run at 5V and 3.3V. The unit only powers on when the running lights are on, so no need to worry about draining the battery. As long as your lights are off of course!
- Current Draw: Maximum draw is ~580mA (0.5A) when the Rainbow Dance sequence is running as it’s the most demanding sequence (uses RGB LED elements in each pixel). Normal running light mode (red running light) draw is ~146mA and rises to ~410mA during braking (red pixels all at 100% duty cycle).
- Import Duties? Possibly. I can’t tell you if, or how much, but you should assume you may have to pay import duties and local taxes.
- Have another vehicle? With a few mods, these could easily adapt to other vehicles. Want to be a guinea pig and save a few $$ on a kit for your vehicle type? Currently looking for folks who have other vehicles that could be of interest. Also looking for a 2023 Miata owner who can share pinout info of the connector. Drop me a note if interested. Ideally, someone located in the GTA near Burlington ON. Need to figure fitment. Connections can be changed to t-taps or similar for other models.
Kit Sample (subject to change):
Customer Demo Videos and Installation Images
Videos of Sequences and Brake Modes in V3: