If you have installed a set of JDM power folding side mirrors following my DIY guide on a 2012+ 3rd gen Prius, then you are fully aware that one of the trade off is losing your illuminated mirror switch. 2010-2011 owners do not have to worry since the mirror switch isn’t illuminated to begin with. Of course if you’re feeling adventurous, 2010-2011 3rd gen owners can “reverse” wire this mod and add illuminated mirror switch to your dash. Not sure if it’s worth the time and effort though…
Here’s a simple DIY guide on how to retain the illuminated feature of the 2012+ 3rd gen Prius remote control mirror switch and believe it or not, it involves swapping just the control pad from your 2012+ Prius mirror switch into the JDM mirror switch and wiring up a pair of SMD LED chips. The reason we need to swap the control pads is because the lettering on the 2012+ Prius control pad is translucent, allowing light from the LED to shine through and thus creating an illuminated “MIRROR”. The JDM switch on the other hand, is solid plastic and doesn’t allow any illumination to pass through.
The entire project should take between 45 minutes to an hour to complete. The hardest part is probably removing the control pad from the USDM mirror switch, followed by stripping the tiny wires on the SMD LEDs.
For simplicity and ease of direction, I’ve divided this DIY guide into three separate sections. Please note that this mod will require you to sacrifice your USDM 2012+ 3rd gen Prius control pad on the mirror switch. If you are planning to sell your Prius in the future and would like to salvage the folding mirrors, I highly advise against doing this mod and buy a JDM illuminated power folding mirror switch instead. Unless, of course, if you don’t mind buying a replacement USDM mirror control switch to swap back when you’re ready to sell.
2x 560 Ohm 0.25 W resistor
1x Instant Epoxy (I used 5 Minute Epoxy by VersaChem)
2x Pre-wired (with 30 AWG wires) SMD LED color of your choice (I used yellow)
1x “MIRROR” control pad from a 2012+ 3rd gen Prius remote control mirror switch
1x Soldering iron
1x Soldering element
1x Soldering stand
1x 22 AWG wire
1x Heat shrink tube
2x Male 18-22 AWG male quick disconnects
1x Wire crimping tool
1x Micro flat head screwdriver
You can optionally purchase a pair of pre-wired SMD LED chips with a resistor already soldered. This is typically more expensive and sold in a lot of 20 or more. The pair of pre-wired SMD LED without resistor I’ve purchased only costed me $1.50 and free shipping.
Preparing the Switches
You will need two SMD (surface mounted device) LED color of your choice for this project. I wanted to try something a little different and selected amber. The LED chips already come pre-soldered with thin wires. You can purchase these LED chips just about anywhere. I got them from an online hobby shop that specializes in model locomotives, but you can get them easily on eBay. Be sure you get two of a kind.
Remove and disassemble your JDM mirror switch; remove the MIRROR control pad. There are 5 clips that snaps the outer face plate onto the switch housing. Use a micro flat head screwdriver to release the clip and remove the face plate.
There are four clips on the control pad that hooks onto corresponding tabs on each of the outer corner of the control pad. Release two clips from their tabs and pull the control pad straight out:
Follow step 1 to remove the outer face plate from the USDM 2012+ 3rd gen Prius mirror switch. Release the “MIRROR” control pad by release four clips on each corner. At the same time, remove the “MIRROR” control pad from the JDM switch.
Next, remove the inner switch housing from the circuit board by releasing 5 clips that snaps it into place:
You should be able to remove a loose rubber contact pad (gray) with 6 contact points:
You should also see 2 LED chips soldered onto the USDM mirror switch circuit board. Pay attention to its location.
For illustrative purpose, this is what the USDM 2012+ 3rd gen Prius looks like, fully disassembled:
Next, we need to separate the black outer MIRROR control pad from the white plastic contact piece:
This is the hardest step. There are four clips that holds the black outer control pad onto the white plastic contact piece. You’ll need to use a micro flat head screwdriver to lift these clips out of their tabs in the following locations:
Keep in mind that the plastic is very fragile so work with care. Once you have two clips dislodged, the control pad lifts right off the plastic contact piece:
Preparing the SMD LED Chips
Now that we have the mirror switches disassembled and ready to swap, let’s move onto preparing the LED chips for implantation.
Trim the two resistors so you have about 2 mm of lead wire on each end. If your SDM LED chip is pre-wired, you may need to trim the wires too. If you trimmed the wires, you’ll need to strip the wires. Understanding how tiny these SMD LED lead wires are, if you don’t have a 30 AWG wire stripper, you’ll need to use a utility knife and carefully scrape off the insulation to expose the actual wire:
If you want a 20-30 AWG wire stripper to have around for future LED projects, you can purchase one for $5.00 at Sparkfun Electronics. They are based in CO and are super cool to work with:
I am wiring up the SMD LED chips in parallel instead of in series so that each LED chip receives full voltage and thus uncompromising light emission (i.e. no dimming due to division of voltage when wired in series).
Solder one end of the resistors together and the other ends each onto the power wire of the SDM LED chip. Trim lead wires from the SMD LED chips and resistors as needed:
The resistor doesn’t have a directional polarity, so you can solder it as you see fit. But to conform to electrical standards, the silver or gold band should be facing the right. Resistors are needed to “slow down” the high voltage of the 12V battery to a sustainable level that won’t surge and burn through the LED.
Solder a 22 AWG wire at other end of the resistor lead, creating a 3-way power lead:
To make your life easier, solder the ground wires from each SMD LED chip onto a single 22 AWG wire together, forming a 3-way wire:
Be sure that each SMD LED chip gets its own resistor! In the photo above, I soldered two resistors onto one common power wire, but also soldered the power wire from each of the two SMD LED chips onto its own individual resistor. Click on the image to enlarge it.
Insert the spliced LED wires through a heat shrink tube and then apply a heat source to shrink and secure it; be sure to separate the power and the ground wires into their own shrink tubes:
Attach an 18-22 AWG male quick disconnect to the end of each lead wires you’ve just soldered onto the LED chips:
This is what the completed LED wires should look like so far:
Before putting everything together, I like to test if the LED works.
Tap the power wire from the LED chip to pin #6 (GRN) of your (now unplugged) OEM 16-pin female mirror switch connector from the vehicle harness.
Tap the ground wire from the LED to pin #16 (WHT/BLK) of your (now unplugged) OEM 16-pin female mirror switch connector from the vehicle harness.
Turn on your parking lights. The LED chips should light up:
If both LED chip lights up, let’s secure them onto the JDM mirror switch housing.
Attaching the LED into the JDM Mirror Switch Housing
Recall the position of the LEDs on the USDM OEM mirror switch circuit board:
You’ll need to attach the two SMD LED chips into the JDM mirror switch at approximately the same location. If you need help, you can always use the plastic contact piece from the USDM mirror switch as a template.
Prepare your instant epoxy agents as instructed on the direction.
Route the wires through two available openings on the JDM mirror switch:
My particular epoxy kit begins to set in 5 min. I wait 4 minutes until the solution became thicker and stickier, making application easier. Apply the epoxy solution to the back of each SMD LED chip and then place them on the JDM mirror switch housing in the area where the LEDs are located in the USDM mirror switch:
Press down on the SMD LED chips firmly with a toothpick or narrow object.
Wait for the epoxy to cure per instruction.
Next, compare the back surface of the JDM and USDM mirror switch control pads:
You will notice that the rectangle lining on the back of the JDM mirror switch control pad is “sunk” while the same rectangle lining on the USDM mirror switch control pad is “raised.” You’ll want to file down the USDM pad so it is level as the JDM control pad. If you do not do this, you will not be able to swap the control pads. The plastic on the rectangular lining is very weak. I recommend using a rotary tool with a grinding or sanding bit to grind down the lining until it is level with the JDM control pad. Take your time as you only have one shot and also rendering your USDM switch unusable at this step. If you over file and subsequently make the rectangular lining too low, you risk disabling the control pad’s contact points and at the same time rendering it useless. If you made this mistake, you have no choice but to abort mission and reinstall your JDM control pad.
Once the correct level is achieved, re-install the USDM control pad onto your JDM mirror control switch assembly:
Snap the surface plate back in place, ensuring that it clears the two new LED wires:
Test the new switch out by turning on the parking lights. Your JDM mirror switch should now illuminate in the color choice of your SMD LED chips:
Make sure the directional key on the control pad corresponds to the movement on the mirror actuator when you press it. If you trim down the rectangular lining down to the exact level (or slightly higher) as the one on the JDM control pad, then your mirror control should work normally. If it doesn’t work, check that it’s attached correctly and that the linings are correctly aligned with the movement contact points. If it still doesn’t function, then you may have over trimmed the lining, making it too short to make contact with the movement contact points.
Since the USDM control pad lacks a center plastic support structure in the middle of the rectangular lining, it might be advisable to attach something of similar length. I trimmed down a clear push pin and attached it to the base of control pad and it works like factory. It also works without the push pin, but feels a lot more “loose”.