Balancing Act

Review: exLEDusa custom Acura RSX interior map and dome light replacements

I received a complimentary set of custom-fitted LED replacement interior lights from Anthony at exLEDusa for the Acura RSX a few days before I embarked on my end of 2011 road trip to the northern California coast. Prior to being introduced to exLEDusa's customized interior LED replacements, I've used Putco PURE LED lights by Xenon Depot / KBcarstuff for about two years as of this writing.

While the Putco LED lights served me well and were brighter than any replacement lights I've ever seen, the Acura RSX-specific replacement LED lights from exLEDusa trumps the light output even from the Putco LED I've used. And the best part is it is 100% customized for the Acura RSX for a complete plug and play installation. Let's take a look at what the package includes.

exLEDusa ships the LED replacement lights in anti-static bag, bubble wrapped and by USPS. The lights are actually LED waffle boards machine-peforated so that each piece may be broken off from the main board with ease and installed into their respective lighting compartment. Each piece maximizes the surface area of each lighting compartment with a whopping 9 LEDs for the map light replacement LED and 15 LEDs for the main dome light replacement. The LEDs on each replacement board are evenly spaced out to ensure maximum light coverage.

Unlike the Putco PURE LED which are strictly manufactured with universal plug-n-play in mind (i.e. each LED replacement kit comes with an adaptor for an array of lighting connectors to ensure indiscriminate compatibility), the LED from exLEDusa are custom machined to fit the Acura RSX application only. Because of this, you can expect a 100% guaranteed plug-n-play fitment without the need to deal with various connectors nor the use of double sided tapes to adhere the universal LED board onto the lighting compartment. The exLEDusa replacement LED snaps right into the power connector and the LED board fills up much of the surface area of its respective lighting compartment.

The set I've received are cool in the color spectrum because they are designated as 6000K output. If you prefer something a little more subtle, exLEDusa offers the LED in warmer outputs, such as 5000K white or 3500K white (for an additional $5.00). If you want to customize your interior to match a certain color scheme, LED outputs of red, blue and yellow are also available as an option.

To give you a general idea of how these replacement LED lights illuminate your cabin, I've taken a series of photographs of several settings, all on Av (aperture) priority at 4.0/f stop. I took the photos around 7:30PM PST at a semi well-lit garage with fluorescent lights.

Here is a shot of just the exLEDusa dome light illuminating the cabin. It's pretty bright as it is:

Here is another shot of just the driver side map light on; no other lights are on in this photo:

Similar to the previous photo, the proceeding photo depicts the interior with just the passenger side overhead map light on and no other lights on:

This photo demonstrates the lighting capacity of exLEDusa (3x3)x2 LED boards installed into the Acura RSX's overhead map lights; both turned on:

Finally, this is how bright the interior is with all three exLEDusa replacement lights turned on (i.e. dome and two front overhead map lights). It is so bright you can see the foot well of the passenger side and even see the debris on the all-weather floor mat:

From the hatch area, the cabin looks like this with all interior lights switched on:

The exLEDusa replacement LED lights are so bright it literally illuminates the interior and immediate surrounding, as illustrated in this photo:

To compare the Putco PURE LED lights from KBcarstuff versus the customized Acura RSX LED replacement lights from exLEDusa, I've cropped up a side by side comparison:

The top photo depicts LED from KBcarstuff's Putco PURE LED series while the lower picture depicts the Acura RSX-specific LED replacement lights from exLEDusa. At first glance, the Putco LED lights may appear brighter, but it falls short in terms of overall surface area illumination in comparison to the LED replacements by exLEDusa. Just look at the foot well of the passenger side on both photos. How the individual LEDs are positioned on their respective circuit board affects its illumination . The map lights from both brands, for example, employs a 3x3 LED configuration. However, the Putco series LED squeezes these 9 individual LEDs within a 1.5"x1.5" square waffle board while the exLEDusa replacement LEDs space out the 9 individual LEDs onto a 2.5"x2.5" waffle board. The result is a concentration of light akin to a spot light (Putco) vs. a floodlight covering a wider surface area (exLEDusa). The comparison photo above clearly illustrate the aforementioned analogy.

Everybody can use a little boost in cabin lighting, especially when it comes to fumbling for items in the dark. I'll be the first to vouch for that. Just two weeks ago when I was on a road trip to the northern tip of California where everything was black at night (i.e. Del Norte county and Humboldt county), the LED lights came in handy when I tried looking for my phone in the dark, which fell out of my pocket and went MIA in the cabin. To make matters worse, I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. With the illumination provided by exLEDusa's LED replacement, I was able to find the phone with ease. After going through all sorts of interior lights, I can tell you that the OEM interior lighting just won't cut it. I've gone from OEM, to Polarg Hyper Whites, to Putco and now exLEDusa. I have to say the exLEDusa provides sufficient amount of bright light without compromise - i.e. blinding you. Unless of course, if you stare directly at the light itself.

At the price tag of $54.99, it is a win-win situation. To get your hands on your own set, order it directly by clicking on the following link:

http://www.exledusa.com/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=179

4 thoughts on “Review: exLEDusa custom Acura RSX interior map and dome light replacements

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