Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

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Re: Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

Postby EvilStig » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:34 am

r-town wrote:Maybe this is off topic, but how does one take apart the hvac control unit without damaging the button covers? I want to change the bulbs as well.


very carefully.

It all disassembles from the back. You need to pull the dash and unscrew everything on the back end, and there are some plastic clips holding certain parts in which may take some delicate manipulation to avoid breaking them.

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Here's how mine turned out. The hvac buttons didn't come out great since despite my best efforts I just couldn't get even light distribution using the LEDs that I could fit in the back of the panel.

Hardest part by far though was the cigarette lighter socket. Had to completely dismantle and desolder the OEM bulb and replace the internals with the LED, and find a way to angle the LED at the little window in the corner of its socket.
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Re: Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

Postby Mty Mous » Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:55 pm

Wow that looks great! I didn't have as much luck with my climate control module, but I got my gauge cluster exactly how I wanted … so climate control module will have to be a project for later this year.

Seeing yours gives me motivation to tackle it again.
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Re: Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

Postby EvilStig » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:32 am

Mty Mous wrote:Wow that looks great! I didn't have as much luck with my climate control module, but I got my gauge cluster exactly how I wanted … so climate control module will have to be a project for later this year.

Seeing yours gives me motivation to tackle it again.


if you have any questions let me know. The tricky thing with a lot of them was the bulbs being too tiny to put in a good replacement, and/or having sockets which were odd enough nobody sold a unit made for it. I got most of my parts from superbrightleds.com and assembled the smaller bulbs by soldering together a through-hole LED and resistor in series, then threading the free ends of the contacts into the socket. They're non-reversible so required some trial and error.
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Re: Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

Postby r-town » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:52 am

FC Zach wrote:
r-town wrote:Maybe this is off topic, but how does one take apart the hvac control unit without damaging the button covers? I want to change the bulbs as well.


I had one break into pieces and I wasn't even trying to take it apart, I think I was just removing it from the bezel. . . or maybe I was (I don't remember for certain) but regardless, I can say the buttons are delicate. I ended up gluing it back together.


I tried to put back a re-circulation button and the little white tabs on the HVAC unit gave up, broken into pieces. I simply used some glue to hold it back together. Given the age of the car, everything that I try to remove or reinstall, something break... :cry:
1990 Celica All-trac (Current Project)
1996 Rav4 2-door 4WD (New Project)
1998 Rav4 2-door 4WD (Daily)
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Re: Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

Postby underscore » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:36 pm

EvilStig wrote:It all disassembles from the back. You need to pull the dash and unscrew everything on the back end, and there are some plastic clips holding certain parts in which may take some delicate manipulation to avoid breaking them.


Which clips do I need to undo? I'm just trying to swap the backlight bulbs but the glass for one is stuck in there somehow so I need to get the board out to retrieve it.

I've got all the screws I can find out, the bulb behind the blue holder if the messed up one.

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Re: Gauge cluster bulbs - LED replacements?

Postby underscore » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:24 pm

I got it sorted, the buttons for the fan speed and the position selector need to come off for the board to come out. The clips holding the buttons on are fairly fragile so be careful. As for the stuck bulb, it somehow melted the plastic diffuser piece around itself when it blew.
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