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Old 02-02-2006, 02:37 PM   #351
MarylandEcstasy
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^you should ask Santa Clause.

If you want it brighter, you could always shave the back off, (the green film) and buy green bulb condoms. But that presents the risk of 'hotspots' , parts on the cluster that are brighter than other places without some form of a light diffuser. As for the red needles, I have yet to hear of anyone changing the needle lights, unless you buy the clusters with red needles..like the STI 02-03 km/h gauge cluster. Hope that helps.
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Old 02-02-2006, 02:49 PM   #352
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zerosports gauge cluster for the 02 is probably real close to defi.

for those with knowledge of LEDs and browsing at 50 posts per page, please check four posts back for my questions!

Last edited by Handsdown; 02-02-2006 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 02-02-2006, 04:01 PM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin2.5rs

best ive seen so far. what method did you do?
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:18 PM   #354
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will i need to run a resistor in order to maintain proper dimming function on my LED series circuit?

i'm putting resistors in and it works out on the resistance calculator, but i don't know whether or not to wire them to a seperate switch or in with the stock illumination...

Last edited by Handsdown; 02-03-2006 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:25 PM   #355
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intence
best ive seen so far. what method did you do?

i believe that was the sharpie method
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Old 02-05-2006, 05:40 PM   #356
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well i just made some LED circuits and wired them into the cluster, i now have hotspots instead of dullspots... arrangement of extra leds is WAY harder than one might have thought...

if i did it again, i'd have soldered the led's while i had the cluster open and in front of me.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:48 AM   #357
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okay- so i made an LED circuit to brighten and even out the cluster illumination since the red was faint and blotchy even with the entirely scratched out green film on the back of the faces.

i'll tell you upfront, i failed in my attempt. the placement of my led's along with the craftsmanship of the wiring made my dimspots into hotspots and instead of dim blotchyness i have bright blotchyness.

while i did fail at my goal, it's actually pretty cool and i'm sure with another couple tries i can make this setup pretty sweet.

first off the circuits- i used LEDs from LEDtronics, which were 12.50 plus shipping for a package of 25 LEDs. this isn't a terrible price, but it's not cheap either. the LEDs are 100mcd, "ultra-red" in color, and have 20mA current and 2.0 V forward voltage drop. they have a maximum operating voltage of 2.6V and a viewing angle of 110degrees. they have a flat top of the lens which is better for throwing light, at least i think.

i learned to solder while i did this project, and with the help of a friend who is an amateur(but very good) electrician/tech/computer technician/cool dude, i got pretty damn good at it. using 18g primary wire and my LEDs, i wired up some circuits with 330ohm, 1/4watt resistors in order to make sure the LEDs worked and have a better chance at dimming*(more on that later)

the circuits looked like this:
+12v side-----RESISTOR-----LED----LED----LED---- negative side

it's important to remember that LEDs are diodes and therefore directional- so the anode side, or plus side, must be facing the plus end of the circuit or the led won't light and won't pass current. for more on that, visit the link in my previous post on the last page.

when i finished soldering i insulated the leads with black electrical tape(THIS WAS A MISTAKE!!! use white components so there will be less absorption of light behind the cluster, it really makes a difference.) and made sure to label what side was plus and minus.

i ended up with five circuits of three LEDs- that's 15 100mcd LEDs completely devoted to making sure you can read your gauges



now for the hard part- putting the damn things in the cluster!!!!

here's pics of the cluster being disassembled... be sure to take off the back plastic too, as you'll need to unbend the tabs on the metal needle barrels behind each needle.




once you've unbent the tabs, pull on the clear plastic behind the faces and lift the needles and guages right up out of the cluster. you'll expose the white plastic that covers the circuit board and this is where you'll be positioning the LEDs. you'll also be able to see your existing bulbs/leds in the stock locations- this is a good way to find out how light gets dispersed through the stock cluster.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:50 AM   #358
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you can see how the needle barrels connect on the three posts, with the two tabs unbent from behind you will be able to pull the whole face/clear plastic/needles off from the white circuitry and backing.


the most important part- positioning the LEDs in a way that will make the light even, dispersed, and not hot-spotted. i failed miserably at this.

here it is all ready to reassemble- i highly reccommend not doing it this way- because you will see how uneven the light is with some LEDs facing back, some front, and having black electrical tape that will absorb the light bouncing around in there...

reassembled the faces onto the cluster, with the wires routed out the back through two of the existing bulb holes(i just removed two of the bulbs...)



fully reassembled, now the rest of the wiring-

with five series circuits, only one is soldered parallel into another inside the cluster(be sure to solder them in parallel BEFORE the resistor and AFTER the last LED in the series), leaving virtually four series to be wired into parallel.
i had tested this out to make sure it would work prior to installing the circuits into the cluster.

putting it back into the car, with the final + lead and - lead running to the stereo harness-
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:50 AM   #359
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i didn't get pictures of it, but by far the coolest, nicest, and most fulfilling and happy part about this whole thing was finding that there was an unused COMPLETELY DEVOTED illumination plug that was UNUSED on my single-cd single-din stock head unit... the violet and orange/white wires going to the stereo are the illumination and by using two male quickconnect spades i was able to just use that plug for the wiring. so if i decide to uninstall my LED illumination, all i have to do is pull out my wires from that plug and then pull them from the cluster(the soldered ends of the four circuits that make an effective parallel of series will need to be cut, but that's better than having to desolder everything while it's behind the dash)
off:

on:

notice the hotspotting!!! it's worse than before but at least it's true HOT spotting instead of DIM spotting! with better arrangement and using more diffused light i'm sure this kind of setup could be very successful... alas, mine freaking sucks. here's more dusk pictures, blurry but whatever...




as you can see, the output is really blotchy and hotspotted, but it's a lot brighter than before and the best part-

IT DIMS USING THE STOCK LIGHTING STALK!!!!

now this is completely dependant on the kind of LEDs you get and what kind of circuit you put them in, but the kind i got with the 330 ohm resistors dim beautifully over the full range of the dimming ring- i haven't tried it for an extended period, so i don't know if it will shorten the lifespan of the led's or not(a possibility) but i'm just happy it works at all!

if you're thinking of doing this, i suggest you think about the placement of the LEDs more than anything else- making circuits, learning to solder properly, and finding out what kind of resistor to use is CAKE when compared to guessing how to position the leds. if i did it again, i'd face ALL my led's backwards(away from the faces) and use ALL white for the wires, tape, and anything else i put in there. the black is probably absorbing a lot of the light and making it more blotchy than if i had used white tape to insulate the LED leads.

also, don't be afraid to cut off long leads that you don't think you'll be using. for the majority of my circuits i had way more wire than i needed and it got in the way- you can see how crowded the wiring was in the guages in the picture before i put the faces back on.
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Old 02-06-2006, 03:01 AM   #360
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I got the best results from my extra leds when placed to shine at the back of the gauge face at a shallow angle. I think your setup will work with a bit more tweaking, so don't give up now!
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Old 02-06-2006, 10:35 AM   #361
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Lightbulb Idea

Im thinking about using some black marker behind the hot spots
I'll try it tonight, hope it works

EDIT:not really.


OK paint does not work on the bulbs. so thats what that smell was

After scraping the burn paint flakes off I put the smaller covers on the
3 larger bulbs. It was not easy but i got them on there
now hopefully they'll stay on there this time
Sharpie on the front & back + small bulb covers = the best results for me yet

Last edited by kevin2.5rs; 02-14-2006 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Smaller bulb covers
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Old 02-06-2006, 01:23 PM   #362
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What if you stuck the LEDs alittle closer to the center and aimed the outward?

Im really debating on doing this with my car but Im selling it in 2 months so I dont know if I want to go through the effort. I might just do it for ****s n giggles.
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Old 02-07-2006, 02:20 AM   #363
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I read this entire thread, great info.

I have an 04 TS and it seems that two of my LEDs on the far right of my guage cluster have burnt out. The tach is totally dark and half of the speedo is dark on the right side. The tach needle is dark and the speedo needle only lights up when it gets over 60 mph.

I don't think I'm overly interested in modifing all my LEDs right now until I get a little experience with it. So how do I replace these LEDs with stock or aftermarket LEDs of the same color? Do I just pull the cluster out, take out the LEDs and replace them?

I see they have a screw in base, when you purchase replacements do they come with this screw in base all in once piece and you just pop it in and go. Or do you have to buy the LEDs and pull the old ones out of the base? Do I just try and find #74 LEDs?

If I can fix this problem myself I will be extremely happy, it seems to be as easy as everyone says, so I'm hoping it is.
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Old 02-07-2006, 09:26 AM   #364
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sampson,

if you haven't changed them, they are bulbs and not LEDs. if i were you, i'd just go ahead and replace all of them with #74 bulbs. the LEDs are a hassle and if you're not comfortable with them they probably won't be worth the extra trouble.

you can get glass #74 bulbs from autolumination.com, but you should feel more than free to search for #74 bulbs elsewhere, as autolumination is not my favorite online vendor. also, your subaru dealership will probably be more than able to help you out on this one.

just unscrew the cluster surround and cluster, disconnect the three plugs and then you will be able to unscrew the little locking bulb base/carriages from the back, replace the bulb, and put them back in. it will be very simple, you won't have to open the cluster or anything.
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Old 02-07-2006, 10:56 AM   #365
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Handsdown,

Ok, I figured they were blubs stock from the factory. This should make it a cake walk to fix then, 15 minute job.

I might read up more on changing the cluster colors and go for it some day, just for the hell of it.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-09-2006, 07:27 PM   #366
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Haha oh man. I hate this mod. Despite my better judgement, I tried it and in doing so opened up a whole can of worms. Without flooding the entire area behind the gauges with light, which I am not inclined to do, removing the green diffuser will net you hot and dim spots 100% of the time with #74 wide angle LEDs in the factory holes. I've also lost function of my needles at night, since the blue LED light I have going on doesn't transmit too well though the clear diffuser. Otherwise, it actually looks ok.

My experiments for the weekend:
1. Hack some flourescent light diffuser to sit behind the gauge numbers.
2. Wire additional white focused beam LEDs up into the back of the needles.
3. Maybe stick some reflective material to the back of the gauges where there are no numbers.
4. Remove that stupid green film behind the odometer.
5. Cross my fingers and hope for the best.

If all else fails, I will just go back to incandescent lighting and throw on some red condoms. Maybe lick a bulb or two.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:12 AM   #367
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I tried replacing the bulbs with blue LEDs from autolumination.com on my 05 WRX (green film is still on)


http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...1&page=9&pp=20


I posted on the bottom as "vicwrx".

As far as my experiences today... on my 05 i cannot get the twist caps to fit my LEDs all the way in (I DONT know if having it all the way in will make it brighter or not - can someone please tell me if it does???). Yes I bought LEDs instead of bulbs (that tutorial said so) and I also thought it'd be brighter, but look at my picture. It's not that bright at all, and the needles definitely dont show.

Im pondering if i should look for bulbs or not. Because if it still is dim then ti's pointless.

Any ideas/suggestions?
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:47 AM   #368
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bulbs will be more light than LEDs, but it will be spread out more evenly so it will be less hotspotting but also slightly dimmer at the brightest places.

i too have trouble with the autolumination LED fitting the wedge bases. a few have fallen out.

"can of worms" is echoing in my head. it's an accurate description.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:51 AM   #369
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Have you been able to get the gauges to be brighter than what i have?


Any idea if the fitting needs to be snug in order for the LEDs to be more lit? Or as long as there is contact to the metal then it will be fully lit? I am kinda annoyed in that those LEDs cost me 2.50 per and they dont fit at all.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:58 AM   #370
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oh my guages are bright alright

i have 15 extra LEDs soldered in directly behind the faces. it's bright but still blotchy and i think i'm gonna add more
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:17 AM   #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyosho
Have you been able to get the gauges to be brighter than what i have?


Any idea if the fitting needs to be snug in order for the LEDs to be more lit? Or as long as there is contact to the metal then it will be fully lit? I am kinda annoyed in that those LEDs cost me 2.50 per and they dont fit at all.
My first go around, my gauges looked pretty similar to yours. After I shaved off the green film, they got a lot brighter but I still couldn't see the needles. 74 LEDs in the stock locations are totally not worth it IMO. I have no idea how Salty got his so bright.

I've since pulled the LEDs and am running the ugly stock yellow incandescent bulbs until my red bulb covers arrive in the mail. Once they arrive, I'm going to mount just one more incandescent bulb behind the dimspot on the tach after 4k, lick some bulbs and call it a day. They won't be striking LED red, but anything will look nicer at this point. My gauges with no green film or bulb covers are butt ugly.

For reference, I used the "wide angle" blue 74 LEDs from superbrightleds.com. They did fit perfectly, but meh. I just can't deal with the hotspots and invisible needles at night.

Can of worms indeed. Getting this mod to turn out just right is enough drive a person insane.

Last edited by twentynine; 02-12-2006 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:50 PM   #372
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Okay, I spent the better part of the day reading this thread. I feel up to doing it since I have a bulb that burned out and need to replace it anyway. Here's my question, since I haven't changed my bulbs to LED and don't really plan on it, can I just by red incandescent bulbs? I found some on superlumination.com for $.99/bulb (size #74). Is it hard to replace the bulbs? They don't look like they come with the base thingey (technical term). Seems like it would be a better option to the condoms, to me

Here's a link to the site. They are about 1/3 from the top.
http://superlumination.com/74.htm
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Old 02-13-2006, 09:14 PM   #373
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yeah that site is the same as autolumination, i got those red bulbs they give good color but i have doubts about their lifespan.

they'll fit in the stock bases though.
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Old 02-13-2006, 10:04 PM   #374
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I think I may just buy one clear bulb and go the condom route. I just realized the price for ten covers is cheaper than two bulbs. If I don't like it, I can always buy the bulbs later.
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Old 02-13-2006, 10:19 PM   #375
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As far as colors go, I really don't think you're going to get much different a color if it's still incandescent. Perhaps a slightly different shade, or consistent color, but not any more intensity, or less hot-spots.

The only way, I think to get light, uniformly, without some sort of special blocker or diffuser, would be a shape-able light source, such as a cold-cathode, or neon

Hmmmmmmm.....

RD
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