There must be someone who likes the green headlights on Disney's monorail models but they have not emailed me yet, everyone I have heard from wants them gone!  Green!  What were they thinking?

It's a good bet the designers were thinking "white LEDs require at least 3.2 volts and we only have 3 or less".  In the 15+ years of monorail production the cost of electronic components has continued to drop to where adding the voltage converter for white LEDs would probably only increase the cost by $0.50 but I understand cost concerns and the manufacturer has to draw the line somewhere.  But we don't.

For about $6 and a little work we can have our white headlights.  The parts are inexpensive and the installation is not difficult (it takes a little soldering). The circuit that powers the green headlights can trigger a step-up converter which powers the white headlights.

*this is for WDW and DL Mark V only.  DL Mark VII is different, everything about Mark VII is more difficult! The remote circuit board headlight output does not provide enough power to run the voltage converter. A different version of converter is required, with different wiring. I will post photos eventually, for now email me for details


    White LEDs x2 - DigiKey 350-2318-ND $0.50

    Pololu 3.3 volt converter #2563 $4.50

    20 - 30 ohm 1/4 watt resistor - DigiKey $0.10

    wire - 28 or 30 AWG will do, we only need a few inches.

Opening the monorail

    turn the monorail upside down

    remove 5 screws - one in front, one on each side behind that, one on each side in the back

    gently pull the upper shell rearwards and up at the rear, a little wiggling will dislodge the headlights from the lower shell

        gently, there is not much slack in the wiring

    rotate the upper shell away from the lower shell on the left side

    with plastic tweezers or ? remove the wires one at a time from the clip on the speaker cover

        *be careful with the wires, they are not of the highest quality or flexibility

    place the upper shell to the left of the lower shell like seen below

Upon opening your monorail this is what you are greeted with. There have been a few iterations of the PC board but the functions remain the same.

The red and blue wires (on the left) carry + and - back to the power switch. The green wire brings power from the power switch to the headlights (in FWD only). The other red wire and black wire connect to the speaker (these are purple in some versions and connect to different places, as on the one in my example).

The black glob on the circuit board provides sounds and blinks the LED on the roof.

*I already had the PC board out of the monorail for other reasons but this can be done with the board in the monorail, you just have to be careful of the soldering iron (I write from experience).

On to the work to be done:

Prep LEDs

    remove the green LEDs one at a time and solder the white LEDs in their place (I remove them by putting a little side pressure on them and heating the joint, they rock out after about two tries).

        keeping the height and all the same as it was

        note the LEDs have a polarity and the anode must go to the + hole. Check the drawing for your LEDs to note the anode. Here is the drawing for the ones I suggested, note the anode lead is longer and has a slightly larger piece cut out just below the base of the LED:


    the original headlights are connected to the power through a 10 ohm resistor (on the power switch)

        there is no need to remove this

    desolder the original (usually green) wire that goes to the headlights

        solder it to the V IN of the converter

    solder a wire from the GND of the converter to the - side of the circuit board

    solder a wire from the V OUT of the converter to a 20-30 ohm resistor

    solder a wire from the other side of the resistor to where the green wire used to go. I usually cover the resistor with heat shrink tubing but tape will do.

Secure the voltage converter to the PC board with silicone adhesive or tape (and tape the back of it so it doesn't touch any bare connections).

and here it is all working. The meter in the distance shows 3.29 V at the output of the converter.

Now all we have to do is put it all back together.