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06 CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Sorry guys it took me awhile to get the trasformer in, one got lost in the mail so they sent me out another one, i finally got it.
here's the fix for under 50.00.

tools needed

heat gun or large oven
solder gun and or wire connectors
wire 18 or 20g
electrical tape
glue, 3m emblem adhesive, goop, or epoxy
neonxa transformer from amazing1.com http://www.amazing1.com/profneon.htm
silicone
double sided tape
zip ties
wire stripper
torx driver
water proof butt connectors(includes shrink wrap)



after you remove the brake light frome the rear deck panel with a torx driver, carefully heat the back side of the light with a heat gun(oven may work on low heat) gently and slowly pry the lense from the back cover.
careful while prying not to break the cover and be very carefull not to pry on the neon tubes inside ( i broke one) they are extremely thin and fragile.
i had a neon sign place make me another tube to replace the one i broke, he charged me 40.00.
once the lense is off, it's time to remove the old transformer, cut the rires going to and from it. you can reuse the wires going to the tubes if you like.
you need a wire on each side of each tube, neon tubes do not have a negative or positve side so the colors of the wires do not matter.



wire the light in series, don't hook it up to the trasnformer yet, solder new wire to the stock clips, and wire the two inside electrodes together. in series will require less voltage for them to work, hooking them parallel will probably not work with one transformer, you may get dead spots or dim lighting. wire a length of wire to each of the outside electrodes and leave enough wire to feed it through the rubber grommet to the outside of the case.
cut the connection off of the the stock connection, leave some length of wire on it, we will reuse it. feed the 2 outside tube wires through the rubber seal.





now you can glue the lense back together, clamp it and let it sit over night to dry, be sure to remove as much of the old glue as possible before gluing.
after the glue has dried. seall all seams with silicone to prevent water from getting in.



i cut the mounting plate off of the transformer, it fits good in the location in the pics.. i mounted the transormer on the back of the deck panel, so hopefully i'll never have to take apart the lense again. if the transformer fails you can easily replace it. there is only one output power wire on this transformer, hook one wire to it from the tubes, then the ground side you need to do a 3 way, using the negative lead on the input side. so you'll be grounding the other side of the tubes and the negative side of the transformer to the negative on the wiring harness connection. hook the red wire from the transformer to the white wire on the harness connector. use the water proof butt connectors on all wire connections to the transformer and heat seal the connections.



i tested mine before installing it with a variable voltage power supply(just to be sure) if you don't have one don't worry i did all the foot work for ya) if you do, make sure you don't touch any wires one the output side of the transformer if you have any exposed wires left. not only does it hurt you will smell burning flesh.



double sided tape the transformer to the panel and clean up your wiring with zip ties and electrical tape. then install in your car.



here's the finnished product working beautifully.
 

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> BMUU
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14,388 Posts
looks good, tommy :thumbsup:
 

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2013 ATS
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1,059 Posts
What's the chances your Neon guy will ship $40.00 tubes to the rest of us? Your technique vs. ebay replacement = You win.

Thanks Tom
 

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06 CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #7
i don't know, i'm sure i could get him to make tubes. the only problem is shipping them, they are so thin and fragile. that would be a nightmare itself.
however you shouldn't need tubes unless you break one like i did, it's not the tubes that are the problem it's the ballast/transformer.
 

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CTS 05
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716 Posts
tommy

thanks. great write up.

If i was to use LED's would i still need to use the NEONXA transformer?
 

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06 CTS-V
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the transformer that was lost in the mail finally showed up, i phoned amazing1 to be honest and let them know i wanted to keep it and would pay them for it, they said don't worry about it, very nice of them. in the packaged there was a small capacitor
they forgot in the other one i got(they are even sending me the capacitor they missed free of charge, how awesome is that for service). apparently you install it on the negative lead right after the negative on the neon tube.
the capacitor is supposed to make the neon glow brighter and allows for cooling running of the transformers(not that the brake light is on long enough for it to matter) but i decided to add the capacitor soldering it to the negative lead and heat shrink warapping it for water proofing.
i also added the second transformer and hooked it up so i had one transformer per tube. this is how i wired it.


the reasoning was i noticed during testing that the neon tubes became dim at around 12v, also the cold (really cold here) seemed to effect the voltage requirements to keep it brightly lit with no dead spots. during the extreme cold around here lately, and monitoring my battery voltage i noticed my voltage dipping below 12v. that was with both my heated seats, rear defroster, heat cranked, lights on and stereo blaring. with all things running it would cause the brake light to dim greatly.
with 2 transformers the voltage requirement was around 9v before dimming, so now in the cold weather with everything electrical possibly running, it doesn't even phase the brake light one bit. while one transformer does work, i think that 2 is optimal.

i can't say enough for the service i got from amazing1, they even sent me a cool pen, that has a laser pointer and a 2gig usb drive because i ordered around xmas, those guys rock, considering i only ordered a 20.00 transformer.
 

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'06 Z06, '05 CTS-V 453rwhp/434rwtq (sold)
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4,455 Posts
Way to go man, great work.
 

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06 CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #13
thanks (thanks to all) i am very pleased with the results(with 2 transformers). it took me some trial and error to get the right match and set up, but it seems flawlessly figured out. i was very sad when my brake light went out, knowing a replacement wouldn't be cheap and a new replacement would be hard to come by. i knew that i could fix it, mounting the transformers on the outside of the lense only made sense, stupid cadillac, they should have made the unit servicable. even the cost of 2 transformers, and some menial supplies is far cheaper than any other option, and probably a more reliable solution too.
even after buying a new tube and 2 other transformers that didn't work out, and an led attept that i didn't like, it still cost me alot less than buying a used one from ebay. now that i worked it all out, it still shouldn't cost anymore than 60-70 dollars for anyone else to fix.
if anybody needs more help with wiring just let me know, i'll be glad to give back to the community here.
 

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Cadillac
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23 Posts
nice idea... i'm kicking myself for not thinking of this myself when mine went out, I could've saved myself a few hundred... I like your taillight tint btw
 

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03CTS
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25 Posts
Excellent post. I just discovered the wifes CTS third brake light is out so this is a good fix considering the cost of replacing the entire assembly...

Thanks !
 

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03CTS
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Hey Tommy,

I have been reading and re-reading your post just to make sure I have my mind in the right place to do this and I have a question. Your second freehand drawing that includes the second transformer and the resisitor you received with the "Lost" transformer. I intend on using a single transformer so I understand this should not be a problem, however, just to be sure, I wll want to include this resistor, correct ? As long as I mirror your drawing minus the second transformer ?

Thanks !
 

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06 CTS-V
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2,497 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
if you get the same transformers as me, get 2. and you only need to hook up one resistor. i had originally used one transformer but noticed a small dead spot in one tube, and if your battery voltage drops it will get dimmer. 2 is optimal, just a bit of trial and error on my part.
 

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Ok... Where did you get the slotted cover for your reverse lights? I want one! Will it work on an 05? I think my reverse lights are different.
 
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