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2017 Abarth 124 Spider AT
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've seen this thread discussed many times, but with no precise conclusion. So I'm gladly sharing some useful information I unwillingly got with my Abarth purchase.

TL;DR + Disclaimer
It is feasible, even from NA-spec to EU-spec. It will definitely void your warranty and enabling DRL may require some advanced electrical engineering skills.


For the brave ones, read further.

My NA-spec Abarth was initially equipped with halogen lights, but after a minor crash it was imported to Europe where both headlights were replaced with LED.

What works:
  • Low Beam
  • High Beam
  • Parking lights — segmented halo is lit discreetly
  • Auto lighting
  • DRL (ignores CMU setting)
  • No error messages on the cluster, none seen via OBD scanner, including proprietary ones.
What doesn't work:
  • DRL setting in the CMU due to a custom wiring applied (see below)
  • Adaptive lights and related functionality (lights aren't following the steering wheel and don't make a "calibration dance" when turned on). This requires a separate ECU which I don't have.
  • Automatic leveling: possible in theory, but too much hassle to wire imho.
The biggest challenge was wiring of the DRL. The custom shop I asked to deal with that spent a full day trying to make it work, and eventually found an elegant workaround.
My DRL is currently wired through an additional relay they installed in the hood fuse box, so they disregard the CMU setting and are always on, but turn off whenever any other headlight is on (parking, low or high).
I'm absolutely happy with the outcome now.

Some video of the result:
 

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, fully loaded from the factory, with just a wee bit of aftermarket mods.
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My vehicle has the OEM LED headlights, with auto-leveling and lateral movement with steering. I'm unsure about being able to flick them on when the lights are completely turned off, as it's something I've never tried. I leave them in "auto" mode, so when I start the car, and if it's dark enough, they do a quick little up and down levelling dance ( literally a couple of seconds), and then it's all good. As for the DRL's, it's illegal for cars in Canada to be without them, unless they're old enough that DRL's was not original standard equipment when the car was manufactured. Although I personally won't need to do what you're attempting, I'll be watching the thread as it sounds like an interesting experiment and there are quite a few folks on here who've been trying to figure out how to do a halogen to LED conversion for their spiders.

I "think" (and I stand to be corrected), that if the LED headlight dies, you have to replace the entire headlight assembly, not just replace bulbs as you would with the halogen units. That's why there's only one electrical connection to the LED housing.
 
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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, fully loaded from the factory, with just a wee bit of aftermarket mods.
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my thoughts exactly. On the other hand, LEDs are almost everlasting, so I don’t worry about that too much.

as for the “initialization dance”, mine don’t do that. Just light up and stay static all the time. Guess that is enabled in some external ECU, linking the headlights adjustments with CAN data from steering wheel angle
Yes, I suspect the auto-levelling dance and the slight sideways movement during steering wheel turns are both tied to an ECU. When I get a moment I'll check the electrical service manual information I have and see if I can find anything that relates to it.
 

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My friend had a VW Passat and he had to replace the head light assembly, $1,000 bananas. If ever happens, I'll drill a hole and put a LED bulb and socket.
 
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Yes, I had wondered about swapping the wiring for the DRL and the "halo" but the "halo" is really not very bright, acting effectively like a "sidelight" or "position indicator". Turning the lighting switch to the first position switches on the "halo" and the DRL comes on with the ignition. Not sure what you mean about "keeping high beam on the DRL segment" I thought it was only on the halogens that the DRL and high beam were combined?
 

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2017 Abarth 124 Spider AT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, I had wondered about swapping the wiring for the DRL and the "halo" but the "halo" is really not very bright, acting effectively like a "sidelight" or "position indicator". Turning the lighting switch to the first position switches on the "halo" and the DRL comes on with the ignition. Not sure what you mean about "keeping high beam on the DRL segment" I thought it was only on the halogens that the DRL and high beam were combined?
Hmm, i thought on LED headlights the inner corner is DRL and high beam.
Then I guess i double my request of photos in different modes on stock LED lamps :)
 

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, fully loaded from the factory, with just a wee bit of aftermarket mods.
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Need help from LED users — can you pls guys shoot a video/make a series of photos of every front lighting mode on your car?
I want to see what lights and when to check how my headlights should be wired.

this includes:
  • DRL
  • stop lights
  • low beam
  • high beam


I also absolutely love the lit halo look, so I’m wondering if I could map the halo on DRLs mode, but keep the high beam on the DRL segment of the headlight, as it’s supposed to be
I think this covers most of what you're looking for as it both describes the function from inside the car (using the stalk to select the various modes), as well as showing video of the light assembly from the front so you can see what it does. The video does not speak to DRLs, but I believe they are just the mian headlight running at a lower intensity level. Also, the DRL's don't turn on until the car is moving. In Canada, DRL's are mandatory and cannot be turned off, but I "believe" in the US that they can be enabled or disabled by the driver.

Anyway, here's a video that covers it for you (created by MOPAR no less): Headlight Controls
 

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The DRL is the innermost (separate) light outside of the halo, and is never on in the video because the car is not moving, whereas the main beam ("brights" in the video, never heard of that term) is to the side of the dipped LED projector.
 

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2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, fully loaded from the factory, with just a wee bit of aftermarket mods.
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The DRL is the innermost (separate) light outside of the halo, and is never on in the video because the car is not moving, whereas the main beam ("brights" in the video, never heard of that term) is to the side of the dipped LED projector.
Slightly off topic, but brights is a fairly common description in Canada... perhaps in the US as well. We would most often refer to it the "high beams" though. Age old story... two countries separated by a common language. lol
 
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Indeed, but having spent 2 years living in the US I'm surprised I never heard it before, I guess the Chevy Beretta and other cars I drove at the time never had a problem with their "brights"
 

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Indeed, but having spent 2 years living in the US I'm surprised I never heard it before, I guess the Chevy Beretta and other cars I drove at the time never had a problem with their "brights"
But you likely heard reference to "giving someone the high beams" though, right?
 

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Sure, and we call them high beam or main beam in rhe UK, it was just the term "brights" (from bright lights I suppose)

And over here, we just "flash" people :D
 

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I finally got to my electric car shop and they managed to fix everything to operate.
Turned out the wiring was done by some ***-engineering standards, even without using the original harness sockets.
Anyways, updated the first post and added a video in case someone finds that useful.
Congratulations on getting this mostly working for you. One quick question... you mentioned the electrical shop wiring it into the fuse box in the boot? I'm not aware of one in that location. Did you mean under the hood/bonnet?
 
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