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I managed to find an OEM lamp/gate/hood unit on ebay for a good price. Had to search specifically for the word "lamp" as well as the other stuff, and it came up. They didn't have a photo, but used the diagram of the part. Should be here in a week. If it's not a drop in replacement, I'll post what I had to do to get everything working and fitting (assuming I can).
 

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It is not likely that the problem is with the LEDs. The problem is likely in the wiring into the rear decklid. Open the decklid. On the top left there is a rubber boot. The wiring harness goes through that. Pull back the boot and inspect the wires. Even with 15,000 miles, the wires are likely damaged and the wire to the license lights is open. I've probably fixed 20 or so with similar issues. No license lights, wipers inoperative or erratic, decklid won't open, etc.
 

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Thanks, I remembered that after I placed the order. Probably why people are selling them on ebay... they're replacing them THEN finding the wires are damaged.
Fortunately, it was only $30.
I'll take a look at the wiring today.
 

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Thanks, I remembered that after I placed the order. Probably why people are selling them on ebay... they're replacing them THEN finding the wires are damaged.
Fortunately, it was only $30.
I'll take a look at the wiring today.
Wires weren't damage on mine. One led lamps was burnt out. Glad it was replaced under warranty.

Wiper work fine. Hatch open too. Bad design, bad LED.
 

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The left one was out in my 500, I got the replacement (part K68212035AA), this one has a round connector instead of the square one in the original light... I trim it to fit (was easy and quick) as I can't get the one with the correct plug in my country!
Seems model 2013+ switched to round connector?
 

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So I too am suffering from this affliction. I have tried replacing the LEDs (I have a 2013 sport) That didn't work. I tried Looking into the wires at the hinge and even replaced a good 2" of wire still doesn't work. Now the real kicker is the license plate lights work perfect when the car is off and in ACC mode. Once I turn the car on they turn off within a couple seconds. When I turn my lights off and on they come on for a second then stay off. This is really getting my goat. Any ideas?
 

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So I too am suffering from this affliction. I have tried replacing the LEDs (I have a 2013 sport) That didn't work. I tried Looking into the wires at the hinge and even replaced a good 2" of wire still doesn't work. Now the real kicker is the license plate lights work perfect when the car is off and in ACC mode. Once I turn the car on they turn off within a couple seconds. When I turn my lights off and on they come on for a second then stay off. This is really getting my goat. Any ideas?
Similar problem here. The LEDs on my wife's 2012 Sport flash when she turns the key to start the motor, but they immediately turn off again. I suspected a broken wire in the rubber boot, as FiatSucks suggested, but the lights wouldn't even flash if that were the case. That is, unless there's a separate sub-circuit only feeding them power during startup. Weird.
 

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Similar problem here. The LEDs on my wife's 2012 Sport flash when she turns the key to start the motor, but they immediately turn off again. I suspected a broken wire in the rubber boot, as FiatSucks suggested, but the lights wouldn't even flash if that were the case. That is, unless there's a separate sub-circuit only feeding them power during startup. Weird.
Update: I pried the rubber boot open at the hatch hinges to expose the wiring. I didn't see any broken wires, although it's pretty tough to get the boot far enough out of the way to really get a good look. It doesn't help that it's nearly freezing here and the rubber boot is pretty stiff.

I also took the handle off and tested the voltage at the connector. I'm getting ~5v. Does anyone know if that's the correct voltage? I would have assumed the LEDs took 12v like the other lamps, but I could see 5v being possible since other things like the cigarette lighter run on 5v. (I tested the outer two terminals, as I've read that the center terminal is for the latch release.)
 

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It doesn't seem like anyone else is watching this thread anymore, but I have an interesting update for anyone who may come along later...

We have the old style of handle, with the non-replaceable LEDs. I got curious and wanted to check the voltage at the LED itself, so I cut the heat-shrink wrap off the base of one LED and found the sort-of-replaceable connector. Turns out there was voltage at the connector, and when I pulled one LED from the connector, the other one turned on. Plugging the first one back in turned off the second one, but I could turn it on by pulling the first LED again and fliping the headlight switch again.

The first LED had that brownish tint mentioned by someone earlier in this thread. I took it apart and it smelled like burnt electronics - probably a blown resistor. Testing the leads for continuity gave me zilch, but when I put my tester on two bare spots on the circuit board, the LED lit up!

At this point, I'm planning to make my own LED circuit to replace the one in the current housing. All it should take is an LED and a resistor. I may even make several and sell them. Screw paying $25-30 for an LED from the dealer on top of the $100+ cost for the new handle. DIY for the win...hopefully.
 

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It doesn't seem like anyone else is watching this thread anymore, but I have an interesting update for anyone who may come along later...

We have the old style of handle, with the non-replaceable LEDs. I got curious and wanted to check the voltage at the LED itself, so I cut the heat-shrink wrap off the base of one LED and found the sort-of-replaceable connector. Turns out there was voltage at the connector, and when I pulled one LED from the connector, the other one turned on. Plugging the first one back in turned off the second one, but I could turn it on by pulling the first LED again and fliping the headlight switch again.

The first LED had that brownish tint mentioned by someone earlier in this thread. I took it apart and it smelled like burnt electronics - probably a blown resistor. Testing the leads for continuity gave me zilch, but when I put my tester on two bare spots on the circuit board, the LED lit up!

At this point, I'm planning to make my own LED circuit to replace the one in the current housing. All it should take is an LED and a resistor. I may even make several and sell them. Screw paying $25-30 for an LED from the dealer on top of the $100+ cost for the new handle. DIY for the win...hopefully.
Please post back if you come up with a solution. I have the same situation. Brown led lenses on the non-replaceable LED fixture.
 

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I'm happy to say I had great success making my own replacement with just a few bucks in parts. I'll post a longer explanation ASAP, but the short version is you can buy a simple 3mm LED (suggest Adafruit.com) and solder a ~450 Ohm resistor to it, then attach it in place of the old bulb. Cheap and easy, and it should clear the warning light without any extra effort.
 

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Make your own replacement for Fiat 500 license plate lights!

Okay, sorry for the wait! Here's the "build" post for the liftgate handle LED replacement. (I can't seem to embed pics for some reason, so you'll have to click the pic links instead of seeing them in-line with the text. Sorry!)

TL;DR version: Pop the blown LED fixtures out of your liftgate handle, test them both for continuity, and replace any busted ones with a 3mm LED soldered to a 470-Ohm resistor.

Long version: If you get the dreaded liftgate light warning in your Fiat 500, it's probable that one or both of the LED fixtures has blown. Yes, that's not supposed to happen, but it does.

In our 2012 Sport, my wife got the warning and immediately started looking for a third-party or OEM replacement bulb. Of course, she soon found out that you can't find them because they probably don't exist. The only "official" option is to replace the entire handle for well upwards of $100 bucks. A better option is to make your own replacement bulbs for $10, and that will provide as many as 25 replacements if you use the parts I did.

Things you'll need: (Don't let this list scare you! This project is super easy.)
soldering iron
solder for electronics (plumbing solder will probably work if that's all you have)
knife or other prying tool
multimeter (optional but helpful)
needle-nose pliers (optional but helpful for holding small parts, especially during soldering)
3mm LED
470 Ohm resistor

First, I'm going to take you through my thought process so you understand how I arrived at a successful replacement. Initially, I suspected a broken wire in the rubber boot running between the body and the liftgate. I pulled the boot back (really tough to do!) and inspected the wires, finding nothing obviously broken. As my wife and I were poking around the car, she happened to turn the key in the ignition while I was looking at the lights. To my surprise, they briefly flashed, meaning they were definitely getting power.


I wanted to test the voltage, but when I inspected the fixtures in the handle, I found that the black plastic bulb cases pop out, but they didn't look removable. It turns out they ARE removable, once you carefully cut away the heat shrink tubing that covers the wiring connector.


Pic: https://imgur.com/uNFVhTR

You'll notice that the passenger side light is on. Clearly, the problem must have been something in the driver's side light. Having access to the wire connector, I tested the voltage. I first got only ~5 volts, which didn't make any sense. (You can see my confusion in a previous post in this thread.) Eventually, I decided to test it again, this time getting ~12 volts, which told me the proper amount of voltage was getting to the LEDs.

Pic: https://imgur.com/GNcdIBt

I was frustrated that a tiny LED, which I knew cost only a few cents, could make the whole liftgate handle useless. I didn't really understand LEDs yet, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to take apart the busted bulb and see what was inside. I used a knife to CAREFULLY pry the clear plastic cover off of the black case, which revealed a brown circuit board, but not much else.

When I tested the circuit for continuity at the lead wires in the connector, I got nothing. However, when I put my testor on two bare metal points of the board itself, the light glowed!

Pic: https://imgur.com/Quv7oEz

Another shot of the board inside the case. You can see the bare metal points better in this shot: https://imgur.com/M8iF63I

I clearly needed to see the other side of the board. I couldn't get the board out of the black case at first, so I decided to desolder the board from the wire leads. That actually heated up the glue and/or plastic enough to free the leads from the case. Turning the board over, I found a scorch mark where something obviously blew up - probably a resistor.

Pic: https://imgur.com/Eb3jGis

At that point, I really wanted to make my own replacement bulb rather than pay a bunch of money for an entirely new handle. As I said earlier, I didn't really understand LEDs, so I started reading. This fascinating article/tutorial gives an overview of how LEDs and resistors work and how to understand what you're buying. It's not high-level stuff, and anyone with even a basic understanding of electricity should be able to get the gist. I highly recommend checking it out to give you some foundational knowledge and peace of mind if you take on this project. https://learn.adafruit.com/all-about-leds/

The TL;DR version of the article is that LEDs make light efficiently, and their output depends on voltage. They're sensitive to too much power, though, so the resistor protects them by absorbing excess voltage. I did the math as outlined in the article and determined my Ohm requirements.

Here's what I bought:
3mm LEDs, white, diffused: https://www.adafruit.com/product/778
Resistors, 470 Ohms: https://www.adafruit.com/product/2781

(These may not be the optimal components for this application, but they worked pretty well. If anyone has better options, feel free to speak up! Feedback is definitely welcome.)

A note on these LEDs: I LOVE THEM! Really bright for their size. They have accepted way more power than they were rated for, and I kept escalating the voltage with stronger batteries until I finally burnt one out with no resistor on my 18v cordless drill battery. However, three of these wired together (again, no resistor) easily handle the voltage from the cordless drill battery. (I haven't tried only two.)

Now for building the replacement. It's pretty straightforward once you have the brown circuit board out of the black case. I just soldered the neutral (shorter) lead of an LED to one lead of a resistor, then put the free leads of the LED and the resistor through where the old wires stuck out of the black case. Of course, I was excited and in a rush, so I didn't realize I had reversed the leads in the case. If you read the article, you learn that LEDs only work when current flows the correct direction, and I had put the positive LED wire in the hole where the neutral (red) wire sits within the connector. Let my mistake be a lesson to check your work! (Don't worry, the LED won't blow if current is reversed. It will just sit there not doing anything.)

Once you've put the LED and resistor in the black case, you can pop it back in the liftgate handle. It's honestly that easy. The warning on your display should disappear without any other steps.

Here's a pic of the replacement in the handle: https://imgur.com/z2uxKj7

And here's how it compares to the original. (Left is new, right is old.) While the old one appears brighter in the picture, the new one is actually just as bright to the naked eye. It's also a bit more blue in color than the old one. https://imgur.com/iVVstAP

Final notes:
-You could probably step up to a brighter 5mm LED and possibly even skip the resistor, depending on the power rating of the LED.
-If you're feeling particularly crafty, you can find a piece of clear plastic to glue back over the black case to protect the LED and resistor. I've been meaning to do that myself, but it has been a few months through rain and snow, and it still works fine.
-If you're really uncomfortable with a soldering iron, you could probably just twist the LED and resistor leads together with the pliers, as long as you do it securely enough that they won't wiggle loose.
-You could probably skip using the black case entirely and just plug the free leads into the connector on the car. I used the case because I wanted everything to stay in place within the handle. Your call.
-The leads are stiff enough to not move a lot, but it wouldn't hurt to use some electrical tape to make sure they don't cross. Nothing bad will happen if the leads do cross, but the bulb may stop working until the leads are uncrossed.

Any questions or thoughts? Feel free to ask or respond. This project was really easy and satisfying, and I think if you stretch yourself a bit to try it, you'll be pleased with the result.
 

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Thanks for your information about this subject. Just got myself a second hand one owner 2012 Sport model with only 65k to use as a 'toad' behind my motorhome. I discovered the same problem during "certification" process. Both license plate lamps not working. One side burnt out and very little voltage at the connection. I open the wiring boot between the hatch and body and also discovered the wire insulation broken. This is a bad wiring problem it seems with most, if not all Fiat 500. It reflects a very poor cable insulation compound in their manufacturing process. The company who produced these wiring harnesses should have tested their wiring to withstand the movement in cold and hot temperatures extremes. I wish someone would start a Class Action Suit, since this represents not only a danger to the drivers of these car (car fires), but also a considerable expense to have these electrical problems fixed. I am a retired licensed Auto Electrician.
 
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