VW Instrumentation [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: VW Instrumentation


Airflow
20-08-07, 02:54 PM
Hello all - what do other people think of the current blue instrument and LCD illumination in VW cars? Personally I think it's vile - a few times now I've been in a VW at night and thought "how can the driver stand this?"

It's always been a particularly sickly shade of neon blue - the LCD in the centre console is particularly off-putting, not to mention difficult to read (black lettering against a bright purply-blue background).

If it were light blue it might be better, but as it is, especially combined with illuminated red needles in the dials and red switchgear, it makes my head spin. It would stop me buying a VW when in other regards I think they're pretty good cars.

But that's might just be me.. any thoughts?

DavidMorgan
20-08-07, 03:30 PM
It all sounds too complicated for me to grasp...:)

Airflow
20-08-07, 03:43 PM
It all sounds too complicated for me to grasp...:)

:cheesy: Confused and bewildered was exactly how I felt on getting out of a Passat the other week. I suppose it's the way it is in order to look trendy and appealing to the Playstation/ iPod generation or whatever (although in a Passat or Sharan - you have to wonder..).

Kermit
21-08-07, 03:17 AM
I think it looks really cool tbh. Apparently though VW have had lots of owners compain that it induces headaches.

KSpark
21-08-07, 04:44 AM
Mom's got a new VW...I personally hate it, but it's not painful or anything to look at. Just ugly. For being the sister company of Audi, they really messed the interiors up. Very big disappointment. However, for the record, Saab gauges don't top my list either. Something about the dots/dashes/font that doesn't float my boat. :(

Albert Trout
21-08-07, 04:51 AM
I was unfortunate enough to own a VW Bora (long story), which was fortunately stolen funding my c900, and it was the only thing I liked about the car.

Airflow
21-08-07, 05:58 AM
Mom's got a new VW...I personally hate it, but it's not painful or anything to look at. Just ugly. For being the sister company of Audi, they really messed the interiors up. Very big disappointment. However, for the record, Saab gauges don't top my list either. Something about the dots/dashes/font that doesn't float my boat. :(

That's very interesting KSpark - I like the green dials and orange pointers of Saab instruments very much - but maybe that's because every car I've owned before has had green illumination against a black background with either white or red pointers (a couple of Fords and a Fiat).

I think Audi is a bit better now that its gauges are white with red pointers - the previous cars which had red dials with red pointers against a black background, and all the other switches in the car illuminated red used to make me think of an abbatoir :cheesy: I think red should be reserved for warning lights in a car interior.

BMW's previous incarnation of pinky orange instrument lighting used to make me feel ill as well, although I was fine with the neutral lighting of MB.

Strange..

Jezzadee
21-08-07, 06:06 AM
I like the look of the blue dials but I've never driven a VW with them so can't say how practical they are.

scubasaab
21-08-07, 06:12 AM
I think it looks really cool tbh. Apparently though VW have had lots of owners compain that it induces headaches.
Blue is one of the colors the eye has the hardest time focusing on.
For night driving, red is the color of prefference for me.

3rd stone from the sun
21-08-07, 06:35 AM
Every now and then, in discussions about cars, I find that many a man thinks that the bluish lighting in the dashboard is a +. Especially those who are one step away from buying a VW.
On first sight, this "cold" bluish colour is rather appealing.
But as scuba said, it's eventually tiring to the eye.

nutcase
21-08-07, 07:00 AM
I helped build some of the machines that soldered the PCB's for them, apart from that, I have no opinion as I've only driven a car with one briefly, and that was always daylight.

stalknace
21-08-07, 07:04 AM
I owned one for nearly 5 years with the blue and it didn't bother me. I actually kinda liked it. However, I much prefer the total red scheme of the older Audis. I used to have an A6 before they went red/white and it was by far my favorite. Looks great all red and easy on the eyes too.

Airflow
21-08-07, 08:14 AM
There's clearly a fashion for this sort of thing, the Canadian Ford Focus has gone blue as well (although theirs looks more readable than the VW ones from this photo at least):

http://www.auto123.com/en/info/news/photos,photo,news.spy?artid=74671&imgid=435169&w=860&lng=&make=

:D

Warren Demontague
21-08-07, 09:31 AM
I like the VW blue

SMHarman
21-08-07, 11:20 AM
I think it looks really cool tbh. Apparently though VW have had lots of owners compain that it induces headaches.I'm with them on that had a jetta loaner for a weekend. Night driving was not so much fun and most of my driving ended up being night driving.

Aaron Gilbert
21-08-07, 01:55 PM
Blue is one of the colors the eye has the hardest time focusing on.
For night driving, red is the color of prefference for me.

I totally agree. I always had green instrumentation until I had my last car. It was all red, and SO much nicer at night. Green is ok, but blue is just hideous. It's a fashion trend, prevalent also in stereo equipment, which I sincerely hope vanishes sooner rather than later. My Saab's JVC stereo can change it's display continously between a dozen or so colors. The blue is significantly harder to read than any others, either either positive or negative mode (blue background or blue text).

I can accept a few small compromises in a new vehicle. Constantly dealing with eye strain and/or headaches is not one of them. I'm all for being different, but not at the expense of ergonomics or safety. Now, blue is so common that you can't even make the new/different argument any more. Kudos to all car manufacturers who haven't given in to the blue light special pressure.

awjones
21-08-07, 04:23 PM
As a former VW driver, I liked the dash. A bit on the bright side, it took me a few weeks to get used to the 9-3 green. I understand what you mean about eyestrain, too bright, etc. I feel this way about new Mazdas(very bright red), BMW(just plain ugly).

Eeyore
21-08-07, 06:35 PM
VW Gauges actually annoy me. People say wow when they first see them but it does get grating after a while.

IMHO BMW actually have it right, gentle orange illumination is best for reducing eyestrain, which is why so many aircraft co.ckpits use it. I often drive Dads' 540i and it reminds me how much I like it.

Having said that, the actual Saab guages and ergonomics are clearer. To me, anyway.

(edit. I can't believe the word co.ckpit gets the censorship treatment)

***t

Jubilee Vert
21-08-07, 07:55 PM
The wavelengths of blue light are at the extreme end of short. Red is at the extreme end of long. The longer the wavelength of light, the less assault is done to your eyes.

Blue light at night is the AK-47 of the color spectrum to your eyes because the light comes to you hard and fast unlike the gentle waves of the longer red wave lengths. You will get eye fatigue trying to read gauges that are washed in blue light. Green is middle of the road. Short enough wavelengths to keep you alert, long enough wavelengths to minimize eye strain. Ford did a study many years ago that determined that most people preferred the green light for driving at night. I haven't a clue as to why I know this.

It is not surprising that SAAB uses green as the winter season is long and dark here. I couldn't imagine spending an entire winter season in Sweden with blue lit gauges. I don't ever want to know what it would be like to have blue gauges during the dark months in Sweden.

Eeyore
21-08-07, 08:45 PM
The wavelengths of blue light are at the extreme end of short. Red is at the extreme end of long. The longer the wavelength of light, the less assault is done to your eyes.

Blue light at night is the AK-47 of the color spectrum to your eyes because the light comes to you hard and fast unlike the gentle waves of the longer red wave lengths. You will get eye fatigue trying to read gauges that are washed in blue light. Green is middle of the road. Short enough wavelengths to keep you alert, long enough wavelengths to minimize eye strain. Ford did a study many years ago that determined that most people preferred the green light for driving at night. I haven't a clue as to why I know this.

It is not surprising that SAAB uses green as the winter season is long and dark here. I couldn't imagine spending an entire winter season in Sweden with blue lit gauges. I don't ever want to know what it would be like to have blue gauges during the dark months in Sweden.

Spot on mate. Well said.

KSpark
21-08-07, 08:47 PM
VW - Ugly and painful to look at
http://www.pgperformance.com/old/images/r32/gauges4.jpg

Audi - Simple and easy to read

http://images.forbes.com/images/2001/12/31/gauges_423_193.jpg

Saab - Unique and colorful, not the easiest to read though

http://www.bba-reman.com/images/saab_9-3_9-5_instrument_cluster.jpg

BMW - Plain and ugly

http://www.bmwmregistry.com/faq/E36_M3_Euro_Gauges.jpg

Acura - Whoa, easy on the font size...

http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/images/04tsx_gauges.jpg


Feel free to add on to my little compilation of gauges.... ;)

stalknace
22-08-07, 08:47 AM
Older audi gauges are the best:

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b331/stalknace/gaugeclusterafter.jpg

jglavin
22-08-07, 09:13 AM
I've never really thought about it... we have a vw in the family with blue gauges and one with the older green, never really noticed much of a difference. But I never drove either for more than 1/2 hour ot 45 mins at night.

I will say though that the radio display is hideous and hard to read both in the day and at night, on the newer one.

Airflow
22-08-07, 09:31 AM
Older audi gauges are the best:

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b331/stalknace/gaugeclusterafter.jpg

Aha - but there's a fatal flaw - you can't tell where the redline is!! :lol:

stalknace
22-08-07, 10:31 AM
On the Audi I had, the dashes were closer together or something to differntiate the redline.

nutcase
22-08-07, 12:28 PM
Aha - but there's a fatal flaw - you can't tell where the redline is!! :lol:

When the engine goes bang, you know it was just before ;)

Airflow
22-08-07, 12:44 PM
When the engine goes bang, you know it was just before ;)

:cheesy: I like it!

linearlaunch93
22-08-07, 02:30 PM
Acura - Whoa, easy on the font size...

http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/images/04tsx_gauges.jpg



Ugh...I hate the bright blue and white Acura/Honda gauge clusters. The colors remind me of those cheaper shelf stereo systems you see at the electronics store.

My partner has a VW Jetta and I'm not a fan of the blue. I feel like I really have to turn the dashlights down very dim to avoid getting a headache.

I'm a fan of the simple white gauges on my '06. It's very easy to glance quickly to see your speed. In addition, I like how you can dim the lights and they're still very visible and easy to read:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/115/305277932_63520ee491.jpg

wtfwill
22-08-07, 03:19 PM
the all green on my '03 is awesome.. can't complain at all. my friends love it too, looks just like a plane ****pit. also with matching green footwell lights and cabin lights.. it's really neat :]

Airflow
22-08-07, 04:55 PM
Ugh...I hate the bright blue and white Acura/Honda gauge clusters. The colors remind me of those cheaper shelf stereo systems you see at the electronics store.

It's funny you should say that - I singled out VW at the start of the thread but I had a night-time ride in one of the new Honda Civic IMAs the other week - the hybrid car.

It has two separate instrument pods - one right above the steering column cowling that contains a big rev counter, and then another further up in the driver's line of sight with a digital speedo and other stuff - both illuminated in a lovely distracting (to me, anyway) shade of .... blue.

The minute the dash illumination went on I thought of one of those stereo systems as well - I just thought how can anyone drive with all this in front of them? I can't find any pictures that reflect just how thoroughly unpleasant a place to be it was.

And I rate Hondas very highly in all other respects.

DanS
22-08-07, 10:37 PM
It looks too trendy. Lately VW has been coming up with good ideas, but age poorly. The market VW has been reaching for are looking for most current styles, unfortunately in two years they will be looking for something new (that is good for VW though).

linearlaunch93
22-08-07, 11:59 PM
It's funny you should say that - I singled out VW at the start of the thread but I had a night-time ride in one of the new Honda Civic IMAs the other week - the hybrid car.

It has two separate instrument pods - one right above the steering column cowling that contains a big rev counter, and then another further up in the driver's line of sight with a digital speedo and other stuff - both illuminated in a lovely distracting (to me, anyway) shade of .... blue.

The minute the dash illumination went on I thought of one of those stereo systems as well - I just thought how can anyone drive with all this in front of them? I can't find any pictures that reflect just how thoroughly unpleasant a place to be it was.

And I rate Hondas very highly in all other respects.

I think this is the photo for which you are looking:
http://www.blogaholics.ca/wp/uploads/civicsedan_06_800.jpg

Yikes!

Saab forever
23-08-07, 05:45 PM
Jubilee Vert has put clearly what I had in mind: Blue is tiring and hard to focus, red is easiest to the eye, but it takes a bit to clearly see what you are looking at, and green is the best compromise. While a bit harder to the eye than red, is faster and easier to interpret. I always turn Night Panel on and lights quite dimmed.

Kermit
23-08-07, 06:08 PM
The new Mercedes instrumentation is nice.

http://www.automobilemag.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/0507_mercedes_benz_s_class_13_445.jpg

Airflow
23-08-07, 06:52 PM
The new Mercedes instrumentation is nice.

We had a W123 series E-Class in the family during the 80s - it had very soft instrument lighting - I think it was the binnacle itself rather than the instruments that was lit. I always wondered why it was so dimly lit compared to other cars, and a few years later found the answer in a Merc brochure or ad - something to the effect that they wanted to keep lighting inside the car as low as possible in order to make it easier for drivers to focus on the road ahead. In effect the same sort of philosophy as the Saab night panel - does that suggest Mercedes and Saab were thinking alike during the 80s at least - or did the night panel not appear until much later?

Aaron Gilbert
23-08-07, 07:08 PM
...We had a W123 series E-Class in the family during the 80s - it had very soft instrument lighting...
... In effect the same sort of philosophy as the Saab night panel - does that suggest Mercedes and Saab were thinking alike during the 80s at least - or did the night panel not appear until much later?

Night panel did not appear on Saabs until the mid 1990s, with the NG900 model - or was it the 9^3? It never was in the 9000 or C900.

900t
24-08-07, 07:07 PM
I find the Saab instrumentation to be the best... very easy to read, well lit (well except on an old C900 when the bulbs go dim), perfect. Seen a lot of GM cars (gasp) with nice lighting too.

alex t
24-08-07, 09:30 PM
My wife thought the blue lights in her passat was just the best thing since the wheel went on sale. Well until the typical vw grimlins showed up. Those pretty little blue lights would turn off and on repeadly with the drivers in tall suvs looking down with a dumbfounded look on thier faces. A new instrument cluster and $700 later has changed her mind. Our lesson learned....vw and those crappy blue lights suck.

SnowgodCCR
24-08-07, 09:57 PM
Green is the best color for guages because green is the color that the human eye is most responsive to. Ever see a BRIGHT green fire truck? How about the Hi-Viz jackets for cyclists/runners? You notice it, and quick. Red is very soft and doesn't destroy your night vision, blue is terrificaly bright and intense, to the point of being very fatiguing.
My jeep has a stupid bright blue highbeam indicator that wrecks my outside vision, I can't imagine driving with a blue DASHBOARD. That's just nuts. My porsche has very very subtle yellowish lighting that illuminates the whole guage from the base. Very easy on the eyes, makes for quick scanning to boot. I still loved the dash in my 9-3SS the best of all though.

DanS
25-08-07, 10:21 AM
Nice thing about Saab lighting now that GM owns them is that it works. The old Saab designed models tend to fail and be difficult to replace. Don't know if it was Saab's light connection or bulb vendors problem.

The colors faded on panel in our 2001 model. The red line was a pasty orange and it didn't have much distinction.

The older orange SID lights were pretty dang ugly....when they worked. The 2003-on lighting/instrumentation is much better.

boon94
25-08-07, 10:27 AM
Jubilee Vert has put clearly what I had in mind: Blue is tiring and hard to focus, red is easiest to the eye,

red? Seriously? I agree with orange in my personal oppinion, or green. The ONLY thing i liked about our old CR-V is that the radio and instruments lit up in a nice soft orange hue, very undistracting.

I feel that blue and red fill my peripheral vision, and i have a really hard time on focusing on it, unless its an OLED red or blue. LED reds and blues or ones like in audis, and the typical car stereo blues are aweful for me.

I love my 9000 dash at night, Green AND Orange :cheesy: best combination IMO, and illuminated perfectly so that the black background is invisible, like the numbers and needles are floating.

Airflow
25-08-07, 01:13 PM
As some of you have hinted, there's a whole science to this as to what colours are the most easily received and processed by the eye and the brain and how the car should present information to the driver - it's something that Saab paid great attention to in the past (as witnessed in Anders Tunberg's book "Saab 9-5 A Personal Story" as one example). They grouped controls with similar functions together in the same place and gave them similar lighting. They chose particular typefaces for the dials and switches to enhance readability.

But many carmakers now seem to be abandoning the principles of good "human interface" design in favour of what looks "cool" or futuristic. They seem to be forgetting that the primary purpose of any instrument is to convey information clearly - IMO you shouldn't have to think about what a readout or dial is telling you, a fraction of a second's glance should be enough for you to be able to assimilate the information and tell whether you're going 30mph or 35mph, or whatever. Too many cars out there have dashboards that are a complete dog's dinner with a mish-mash of LEDs/ LCDs/ filament bulbs - one switch of one colour here, another of a different seemingly random colour next to it, an LED display of a different hue from the others, etc.

But maybe my perspective is skewed from driving a Saab and the drivers of other cars don't care about this stuff? I know I never gave it much thought until I got my Saab.

earthworm
25-08-07, 01:51 PM
Problem - childishness, no standards, no values, on the parts of many manufacturers.

Solution - do not buy
or employ greater tolerance
or buy Saab and use their Night Vision -which is a good idea.
.

Saab forever
25-08-07, 03:24 PM
red? Seriously? I agree with orange in my personal oppinion, or green. The ONLY thing i liked about our old CR-V is that the radio and instruments lit up in a nice soft orange hue, very undistracting.

I feel that blue and red fill my peripheral vision, and i have a really hard time on focusing on it, unless its an OLED red or blue. LED reds and blues or ones like in audis, and the typical car stereo blues are aweful for me.

I love my 9000 dash at night, Green AND Orange :cheesy: best combination IMO, and illuminated perfectly so that the black background is invisible, like the numbers and needles are floating.

Agreed. What I meant is you look down to a red lighted dash and your eyes donīt feel assaulted by the light at all. In fact, they feel quite comfortable, but it is more difficult to actually interpret what you are seeing than one in green, which, while a bit more intense than red (or orange-red), is the easiest. To me, that is.

DanS
25-08-07, 05:14 PM
Yes there is a science to gauge packages. I studied how gauges effected workers through positioning, backlighting, needle angle, etc. There were studies indicating the preferred placement is just out of the operators line of sight with gauge needles pointing to 12 o'clock tdc when in their normal operating range. A speedometer would be at 45-55 mph tdc, tach at 3K rpm, fuel guage at 1/2 full tdc, etc.

If all manufacturers applied the theories of industrial psychology, dashboards would be pretty boring. Most of the studies were done during WWII.

There is a combination of art and function for gauge packages. I think the new Saab's are more functional than the older versions. The older models did have a nice european styling.