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Non OEM LED number plate lights without error A3 2009 (59) (cheapest option)

wxc Dec 27, 2013

  1. wxc

    wxc Member

    Sorry for starting a new thread on something that has been talked about, that is installation of LED number plate lights whether it's OEM or Non-OEM that gives bulb error on the DIS. There are currently two ways to negate this error:

    A) Using Vagcom - this simply tells the on-board computer to ignore checking the number plate lights for bulb errors, this means, as I understand, if you do have a blown LED light, it WON'T give you the bulb error message, you only find out by visual inspection. I don't have vagcom so this was not an option.

    B) adding load resistors, the best one one I found online is (someone posted this somewhere from this forum actually): Adapter plate LEDs Audi A4 B6, B7 / Audi A3 8P-39298-1 but this cost around £30.


    C) using your existing Festoon bulbs as 'load resistors', which is what I did, and as the title suggest, it really didn't cost me anything since I had all the material already.

    1) First take your festoon bulbs and 4 pieces of copper cable cut to a reasonable length. The aim is to solder the copper cables to the ends of the festoon bulbs. One tip is to first file/sand the ends of the festoon bulbs in order to roughen it for a better soldering surface. you should end up with something like below:

    2013-12-22 15.21.15.jpg 2013-12-22 16.58.17.jpg

    2) Take the lower boot lid trim off: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/h5djr/elsawin/rear lid trim.pdf
    Basically remove the two torx screws and pull it outwards. The photo below shows the trim removed and inside you will see four clips that hold it in place on each side. Sometimes the clips stay stuck in the boot lid itself so you'll need to use pliers to get them out (photos below).

    2013-12-24 11.24.24.jpg
    2013-12-24 11.26.24.jpg

    3) You'll need to locate the number plate socket that supplies the power.. simply pull lightly and the socket/plug should come out.

    4) Peel back the OEM black tape that surrounds the cable and you will see 4 cables in this order - Brown - Brown/Grey - Brown - Brown/Black. You'd want to tap into the Brown - Brown/Grey wires (photo attached) with your home-made festoon bulb+wires like the second photo. I used Crimp connectors to secure them together. Soldering might have been better but I couldn't do this at the time..

    2013-12-24 11.34.43.jpg 2013-12-24 12.07.42.jpg Untitled.jpg

    5) Then re-insert the number plate socket/plug, hope for the best, and smile when the bulb error disappears

    2013-12-24 12.11.20.jpg 2013-12-24 11.58.17.jpg 2013-12-24 11.41.22.jpg

    In summary this procedure is exactly like fitting in a proper load resister but these can get extremely hot, I suppose the festoon bulbs go quite hot as well but something tells me that they'll be fine; especially because they're not touching anything in its immediately surrounding, its located in a 'pocket' within the boot trim.

    I've had them in for a few days and so far so good. i'm sure this will work with any LED number plate lights, I went for some on ebay as they are a little bit brighter and MUCH cheaper compared to the OEM version.

    2013-11-19 23.57.53.jpg 2013-12-24 11.58.40.jpg 2013-11-28 19.28.jpg

    So if you have an hour or so at hand and can't stand the bulb error any longer, then feel free to give it a shot.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  2. Andy Crooks

    Andy Crooks Well-Known Member

    t8ups has bulbs mate fairly reasonable all you would need is vagcom to clear it as thats what he did for me
    s3_trev likes this.
  3. s3_trev

    s3_trev Northern Ireland Gold Supporter Audi S3 Team Brill Red

    I used these exact same bulbs as you a few months ago, and I had no bulb error on the dash, but I found them much too bright. I am now using the genuine OEM LED units, and yes they are a tad expensive for all they are, but are totally worth the price IMO, rather than doing what you have done here. The main problem I see with LED number plate lights is the brightness. People / suppliers boast about how bright the lights are when in fact this isn't a good thing at all, things like 18 LEDs in a numberplate light...wise up. This is the reason why I like the OEM units, they are just bright enough but not too bright. I think having a floodlight shining down on your numberplate, illuminating a meter of road under the car looks absolutely ridiculous IMO.
    t8ups likes this.
  4. I oOEddOo I

    I oOEddOo I Member

  5. wxc

    wxc Member

    Agreed, i've seen those 18 LEDs that shine like space ship lights, complete overkill.

    I think the photo shot of my car makes it look brighter and bluer than it actually is, ideally I want one that's in between the OEM and my current ones; but you do get use to them.
    s3_trev likes this.
  6. t8ups

    t8ups Site Sponsor Site Sponsor VCDS Map User

    When i get members ask for number plate lights i only sell 1 type for them, they are a 2 led 3528 smd, so the really small LED's. just like it so its as bright as stock just whiter.

    Working on the 09+ lights which alot of members are waiting on as they dont have the tools etc to carry out the mod you have done.


    s3_trev and wxc like this.
  7. Andy Crooks

    Andy Crooks Well-Known Member

    Trups, you fitted mine at aitp in the summer and last night I noticed that they have a faint flicker on both left sides of the bulbs like when a bulb is about to stop working, what could be the cause?

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