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Old 03-11-2006, 05:46 PM   #1
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How To : Cup holder LEDs

I finished doing this earlier today, but wanted to get some night shots before I posted the thread. Mods feel free to use this in the How To section if you would like.

How to make LED lit up cup holders


- 4-8 prewired LED's (depending on how many you want to use). Prewired are not necessary, but make the job much faster and easier. I got mine from for $1.19 each, with resistor already soldered on. I only used 4 in my install.
- Equal amount of LED holders, also available at
- Approx 5 feet of wire, 18-20 gauge is fine
- Wire strippers, wire crimpers, crimp locks
- Dremel (or similar cutting device)
- Drill with 15/64" drill bit

This is actually a fairly easy mod to do. It takes just a basic knowledge of wiring.

The first thing you need to do is remove the center console. There are other write ups on how to do that, so I'm not going to explain it here. Next, take your center console to a nice work area.

This is how I did the cutting. At the time, i didn't even think about it, but if you don't want to do all of the cutting I have listed in the next step, simply take about a 1/2" drill bit and make a few holes instead.
Remove the plastic cup holder inserts (these may only be present in older model Foci, I'm not 100% sure). Take your dremel with a cuting disc attachment and make a cutout in the bottom of the cup holder that looks similar to this:

Leave a strip of plastic in the middle as seen in the picture. This will be strong enough to still hold a bottle no problem. Here is another picture :

Next step is to put the plastic cup holders back in the center consoles. In the freshly cut openings, take a marker and mark where you want your LEDs to go. I used only two in each cup holder, and it is plenty bright, but use as many as you want. Mark the spots, then remove the plastic cup holder.

The following steps are assuming you purchased the LED holders and prewired LEDs from If you didn't, your directions may differ slightly. Take your drill and get each opening up to 15/64" (this is the bit I ended up using, yours may differ if you use different LED holders). I suggest starting with a small bit and working your way up to the 15/64", this will help prevent the center console plastic from cracking.

Drill all of the marks you made, then from the top, slide in a LED holder into each hole. It will look something like this:

Now take an LED and, through the bottom of the LED holder, push it up until you feel it sort of click into place. Do this for each hole. Next comes wiring. For ease of wiring, we are going to wire in series. View the picture below, then continue reading :

Starting with one LED, leave the red wire untouched. Take the black wire and crimp it together with the red wire of the next LED. Now take the black wire from this LED and crimp it together with the red wire from the next LED. Continue this process until, like you see in the picture above, you are left with one "loose" red wire at the beginning of the chain, and one "loose" black wire at the end of the chain. Now, leave your center console here, and head back to your car.

Now you will need a way to power the LEDs. I have mine wired so that when the radio is on, the LEDs light up. You can add a switch if you would rather have that, but honestly the soft glow from the cup holders looks good even if there is no beverage in it.

Get a piece of your 18-20 gauge wire approx 5 feet or so. Run this wire from where your cup holders will be all the way to your fuse box, which is in the dash by your left knee (at least in the 00 Focus it is). Check your owners manual for the fuse that is listed "Radio". In my Focus it is fuse #50, and is rated at 7.5A. There is a radio fuse that is always hot, and one that is only hot when the car is on. The always hot one is around 15A, so don't use that one. Strip some of the wiring and wrap it around one prong of the fuse, I used the top prong in my install. Reinsert the fuse. If you do not want your LEDs on all of the time, this is the wire you will want to install a switch in. It will look something like this :

Now, cut another piece of wire and find a nice grounding point for it, Any one of the bolts near where the cup holders usually are should work, just make sure it is one that will touch metal. Strip the end of the wire and tighten the bolt down onto the wire, this is your ground wire.

Go grab your center console. Before reinstalling it, hook up the wire from your fuse box to the red wire, and crimp them together. Do the same for your ground wire and the black wire. Turn your key and confirm that everything works. If the LEDs are on without the key turned, choose a different fuse. Reinstall the center console, and enjoy the light show!

A top view of the bottle and the LED lights :

Last edited by DetroitBass; 03-14-2006 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:46 AM   #2
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Thanks for the write up! I was thinking about doing this someday soon!

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Old 03-12-2006, 11:42 PM   #3
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nice job looks good!
why be normal, different is good
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Old 03-12-2006, 11:53 PM   #4
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Scion owners, eat your heart out.

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Old 03-13-2006, 12:06 AM   #5
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Now that is Cool... Good Job
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:51 AM   #6
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WOW thats cool! Thanks for writing up a HOW TO :)
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Old 03-13-2006, 01:24 AM   #7
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nice work man!!
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Old 03-13-2006, 01:37 AM   #8
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Hey detroit! Great job man, it looks INCREDIBLE! Could you post up a pic of it off during the day so I can see what the remaining cup holder looks like?
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:04 AM   #9
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Couldn't you do this with just a simple battery and LED? I mean, you could somehow do a pressure-sensor with that too.. have the bottle press down on the wire which connects it to a ground or power or something.. right?
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:23 AM   #10
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wow very very nice! wheres the sticky @????
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