Stedi LED headlight conversion installation
I purchased the Stedi Copper Head H1 LED headlight conversion kit to install in my 2006 Subaru Forester. Unfortunately, this did present a few challenges:
- The Stedi harness has negative and positive spade terminal connections for the headlights, but the Forester only has a positive connection (negative via the body).
- The Stedi LED 'bulb' is very long, and only just fits in the Subaru headlight enclosure.
- There is no space inside the headlight enclosure for the driver module.
- Drill a hole through the headlight back cover for cables to allow us to mount the driver outside of the enclosure.
- Coat the inside of the back cover with a conductive material for the negative connection.
First up, remove the air intake and battery so that you can easily access both heatlights. Next, remove the headlight covers. Drill a hole (around 12mm, if I recall correctly) through the centre of the headlight cover:
With a hole drilled through the cover, I then coated the back inside of the cover with conductive copper tape:
You can get copper tape fairly easily from eBay. However, if you are unwilling or unable to get this tape, don't worry, I'll come back to that momentarily.
Feed the spade terminals from the back of the headlight cover through the drilled hole to the front of the cover. Feed the headlight 'bulb' connection from the front of the cover through to the back of the cover:
Connect the positive (red) spade terminal to the car's existing headlight bulb connection. Cover the connection with heatshrink or electrical tape to prevent shorting:
If using copper tape, tape the negative connection to the copper backing. Otherwise, find a method to securely connect the terminal to the braided heatsink of the bulb (e.g. soldering).
Fit the bulb in to the bulb holder, and tuck the heatsink braids down the sides of the bulb:
Re-fit the headlight back cover to the car. The bulb braid should press up firmly against the inside of the headlight cover, which makes acceptable contact with the copper tape (if used). Use strong double-sided tape to hold the driver module on to the back of the headlight cover:
Revisit (April 2021)
I eventually found that this work was largely unnecessary as the Forester did have a negative spade terminal for the headlight, but it was simply hidden inside the headlight body a bit further.
These headlights were pretty great, with good light output, but did eventually run in to a design issue. After a couple of trips on especially rough unsealed roads, I found that the LED component would detatch from the backing plate, which provides cooling and negative connection. This meant that the headlights quickly burnt out.
Following this failure. I contacted Stedi for assistance, who offered a replacement for the faulty headlight. The replacement module they sent then failed in under a month. I questioned Stedi about this, and they said that their lights use a 'propriatery adhesive thermal solution' that should ensure proper performance.
After this point, I started searching for LED headlights where the LED module is attached to the backing plate using a screw. I was able to find some cheap modules on eBay, but regrettably I never found anything that would quite match the light output of the Stedi unit. I have since sold this car on.