Alarm LED locations and colours

The LED is one of the most basic, yet important components of an alarm system. Not only does it help warn away any potential scum bags from breaking in, but most are used to aid you in entering your over-ride pin number in the event of a lost or faulty remote. Some brands even flash diagnostic codes to inform you if what zone of the alarm has been triggered. I’ll explain those details later.

How tidy the LED looks indicates how tidy the installation is

Let’s face it, on most of my installs it’s one of the few details you get to see and I’m fussy about that. If the LED is on a switch blank then it needs to be symmetrical other wise it suggest that whoever installed it is sloppy and does not care. It annoys me greatly when I see an LED tucked into a gap in the trim or if it is not well centred.

LED with bezel

5mm LED with bezel

Most alarms come with a 5mm LED and a bezel which it clips into. Personally I try to avoid using the bezel as I often find that the LED is easy to push out. This results in the LED being lost being the dash board which renders it useless. I discard the bezel and use a 4.9mm drill bit which allows the LED to be jammed in place so it is a tight fit and stays there.

4.9mm hole with 5mm LED

4.9mm hole dead centre with 5mm blue LED

I also give my customers the option of where they would like the LED to go and let them chose the what colour they prefer. For 5mm LED’s I keep red, white, blue, green, and yellow in stock.

The nice thing with using a 4.9mm drill bit is that you can get a really clean flush look.

Flush fitting 5mm LED located to suit switch pattern

Flush fitting 5mm LED located to suit switch style

What I really enjoy is putting some effort in and making the LED look like it was fitted in the factory.

There are plenty of installs where I have taken the instrument cluster apart to fit the LED behind the glass (clear plastic for the pedantic reader).

Here is a Subaru Impreza instrument cluster which is on the bench displayed as if in exploded view:

Subaru Impreza LED install

Subaru Impreza LED install into instrument cluster

It’s the sort of job I prefer doing in my own garage rather then on the road as it can be a fiddly process. I have an air compressor which is great for blasting any dust out of the way.

Subaru Impreza factory alarm LED

Subaru Impreza alarm LED install completed.

Some cars even give you the perfect location to for an LED. Take this S13 Nissan Silvia for example:


S13 Nissan Silvia with 5mm blue LED in factory light location

SILVIA S13 Alarm

Alarm LED on the far right in the instrument cluster on this S13 Nissan Silvia

Personally I like the look of a red LED in the instrument cluster as it looks like a factory option, but the blue LED shines up well in the dark and reflects off the glass lighting up half the car.

Night shot of Blue LED lighting up the cluster

Blue LED lighting up the instrument cluster at night time

Whilst Blue looks cool it can be annoying if you have an immobiliser LED blinding you when you pull over to take a nap on a long journey. I certainly would not recommend one for a camper van!

Nissan Skyline R34 LED in cluster

Nissan Skyline R34 with solid LED indicating that the immobiliser needs to be disarmed before starting.

Here is another Nissan Skyline where the customer wanted a subtle install so we picked a 3mm LED

Nissan Skyline R34 3mm LED

3mm blue LED above hazard switch is subtle

I wanted the super subtle look on the immobiliser on my Honda Beat so placed the LED in with the park lamp bulb. The beat also has 3mm Blue LED’s for the alarm on the top of both door cards.

Cobra LED

Anyone who has a Cobra alarm should know that the LED is part of the control panel which contains a red 3mm LED as well as a button which is used to enter the over-ride pin number. It is also used or for disabling the Ultrasonics on the AK4615  and AB3868 so needs to be easy to access. For anyone wanting an LED that is more in your face then I can add one for no extra cost.

Again I’ll point out that I’m fussy about how these LED’s are installed, (this is mainly aimed at other Cobra installers in the hope you take note). The LED should be on the top and the button below so you can see the LED when pressing the button (I’ve seen plenty done the other way around and it bugs me!)

Cobra alarm installed in a Toyota

Cobra Control panel LED

The Cobra LED will also flash a number to indicate what zone has caused the alarm to trigger. These can be found in the relevant user manuals.

Viper alarms flash a fault code upon disarming if the alarm is triggered, again this is explained in the user manual.

Autowatch alarm use the LED to display diagnostics codes, details of which can be found here…


About Julian

Owner and Installer at Obsessive Vehicle Security Limited. More details here... Please keep Comments relevant to the post and use the Contact form for enquiry's
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