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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since I had some burned out bulbs in the dash, and had the whole dash torn apart to do other stuff, I figured I would attempt to convert the lighting to LEDs.

So, I bought a stupid LED license plate light with a bunch of LEDs on the strip, thinking that I could somehow use those LEDs in place of the incandescent ones for the instrument cluster.

The pictures will detail the steps involved. Conclusion at the bottom.

Here's the LED bar.


After I broke it with a hammer, I had to de-solder the individual LEDs from the PCB. (with the help of helping hands or course)



Next, soldered resistors to the LED poles. (i know you are jealous of my solder joints. :cool: )



Using a bent nose pliers, bent the metal after the resistor around, mimicking how the incandescent bulbs contact points appear.



And finally, fit the LED into the socket.


Tested the bulb with at the test station to make sure it lit up. Put it back in the cluster.

Turned it on. Looked TERRIBLE. well, not terrible, i guess, but definitely not what I expected.

First, I used white LEDs. When they shine through the green film, the gauges appear a sort of blue/green/teal color. Not even close to the stock green color. I should have snapped a picture, but my camera ran out of batteries. Long story short, it didn't look very good and was WAY different looking than the other green in the car.

I also did not apparently use the wide-angle LEDs. This made the light REALLY bright and concentrated in one spot instead of an overall illumination.

However, the way I seated the LED in the socket worked very well. I'm sure that with a touch of hot-melt, it would be just fine, in fact it would be just fine without.

Now, I'm thinking that maybe using the green wide-angle LEDs that I used in other parts would be the way to go. This would give an intense green glow. I did this in one of the rheostats:



Unfortunately I am out of green LEDs currently.
 

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glad to see you tried it since i mentioned wanting to look into it. i'm still considering buying a set of leds for my dash for the future.

what about the issue with coloring though? you can't use colored leds in say the turbo gauge, since i believe one light accounts for the dial and needle. several warning lights and maybe backlights like in the sid might be able to take colored leds.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, that's a tough one.

I know that the speedo lights, and the tach, you could put green LEDs behind. But you're right about the other gauges and warning lights.

The other thing that I'm thinking about is using higher resistor values to really knock down the output, which may result in the color looking better, and the ability to use the white ones.

I think the biggest mistake was not getting wide-angle LEDs. But I figured that license plate thing would have them.

Huh. Something to think about.
 

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LEDs have such a non-linear light output to voltage response that I would think your dash dimming would essentially be disabled. Does it go from full brightness to off very rapidly?

Also, as I'm sure you're aware, you could use half the resistors by putting them on just one side of the LED.
 

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the ones i've seen claim to be compatible with the dimmers, so who knows. i'd probably pick up a spare instrument cluster to try it out. i would really enjoy having brighter, crisper gauges though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
saabchilten said:
the ones i've seen claim to be compatible with the dimmers, so who knows. i'd probably pick up a spare instrument cluster to try it out. i would really enjoy having brighter, crisper gauges though.
The other ones that I have in my car, door handles, etc, dim really well with the factory rheostat.

i think it was the 4k resistor that did the trick. they go from barely on to full bright.

IMO, getting a spare instrument cluster would be a good way to do some trials.

I would have done more if I didn't need to, you know, drive my car.
 

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my socket is a little different, so its a bit harder to seat the lights, but this is what i have so far!



and so you see why im changing them to blue
 

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thats some good work.

personally though, I wouldn't light your car around any deck (hard to find a classy deck these days...nakamichi?). I dunno about you, but my eyes hate the wavelength of blue...and I'm pretty sure its very distracting by nature to most humans.
 

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here are the climate control done. This is coming out amazing once i got the placement right. now i just need to do the gauges and the SID. The only problem with the SID is it is under lifetime warranty because i bought a replacement and if i take it apart no deal :(



 

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Are you gonna use blue LEDs to remedy that Brake Light Failure?:cheesy:

I really like how that looks. Nice work.
 

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i cant get the break light failure fixed.

it is on and off, i bent the prongs up in case it wasn't making connection, but now i always have a break light failure. The light still works great though.
 

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ohh. i love my deck, the color blue is not my first choice, but i dont find it too distracting.

I do see the reflection in my windows more than the incandescent though.

here is a picture howto

http://picasaweb.google.com/byransays/HowtoLights#
it was a couple posts up man, take a look.

changing the sid is easy. I took the lights out, did the same thing as the other bulbs in the howto, but i bent them 90 degrees so it didnt just put a spotlight on it. The bottem buttons wouldnt glow blue so i switched it up to the display lights under the "circuit door".

i belive it looks better in the picture that in real life, i should have used wider degree LEDS, but i dont think they look too bad at all.

The window control lighting one is a different type of socket, and i couldnt get the solder to attach to the metal clips.
Give it a try!
maybe yours is different and if it breaks just unplug it, you go by feel anyway.
 

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Can you do the same for the A/C led screen? My lights broke in it so it's very dim and i'd rather change the lights than pay 200-300 for a new one.
 

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Just a head's-up about retrofitting LEDs of those type. Those twist lock instrument bulbs can be bought ready to install from www.superbrightleds.com/1157.htm might cost a bit more, but would save quite a bit of time. Plus I believe most (if not all) are available in a wide angle pattern. Might make things a lot easier for someone who doesn't want to mess around with soldering resistors and swapping out the bases and such.

edit: Here's a page the shows most of the selection: http://www.superbrightleds.com/instrument.html
 

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hmm thanks for that, i might buy some for the guages!
slyvania says that mine should be like the guy at the top, those wedge type bulbs, but my sockets are different

does anyone know any good tutorials about removing the dash to get to the guage lights?
 
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