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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got the idea from reading the posts about 12V LEDs in headlights. I read the posts and started thinking. You know how BMWs have the red LEDs that cast this cool light over the center console that makes you feel like you're in a dimly light nightclub? (atleast the 5 series has them). I started thinking, that would be a GREAT effect in the gauge cluster, however, you can get some really big LEDs that give off ALOT of light and small ones that only emit a tiny bit, and we still have to see our needles so you have to get a balance between too big and too small.

I went down to radio shack and was looking for blue ones, but they didn't have any, they only had red/orange/green. The only one that seemed feasible to me was the red as the numbers light up red (well kind of pinkish). So I bought 2 red LEDs, in the middle range of the size.

I went home, pulled the lower dash, and "leaned" the gauge cluster out so I could get access to the top. For those of you that have done this, you'll know what I'm getting ready to talk about. You know that white part where the overhead bulbs are located with a circuit board on it and wires coming out? You can remove that from the gauge cluster without removing the entire cluster from the dash. I simply removed the piece, then removed the blue transparent piece (on the underside) from which the light shines through. I drilled holes into the transparent piece for the LED's, drilled holes in the top of the enclosure that was just removed for the wires to come through, wired up the positive lead to the the same spot I wired my indiglot's (one of the wires running from that same part you just removed--I figured out which one was hot, via a volt meter. Actually both of them showed positive readings, but I chose just one), grounded the other wire, took out the original bulbs for the overhead lights, put it all back together, waited until dark, and voila, I now have red LED's lighting up my gauge cluster. The LED's could probably have been a little bigger as they now only light up the speedo and tach, but I'll sacrifice the readibility of the fuel and temp for the look. you can still see the other gauges, but you have to squint to see them.

The overall affect is VERY VERY pleasing. It casts this dim red glow over the tach/speedo. It doesn't light up the gauges alot, and you can see where the needle is. If you are wondering how much light, just think of standing in an alley in NYC, with no overhead white light, but just a neon red sign glowing, just enough light that you can see what's in front of you, but not so bright that it's obtrusive--that's the effect that I have now.

I don't have a digital camera handy so I can't take a picture of it, but if I can find one, I'll take a picture and post it. I LOVE the effect, it looks so cool now. Makes me want to go install more LED's on toggle switches so that I can have the entire interior feel like a club when I'm parked and playing my music...LOL.

The only problem I have is that the lights don't match the green on my Kenwood head unit and Alpine EQ, oh well, it's just christmas time in my car...LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
G Rahn said:
Cool! That's what I am planning to do, but with blue ones. Others have posted that they have purchased blue LEDs at Radio Shack, so if your store doesn't have them mebbe they can order them. I'm gonna check it out tomorrow. My old indiglos are gathering dust somewhere- hope I can find em!
Wow, all of the old board members are finally coming over here :).

G Rahn: I'm glad I chose the red ones because they make the numbers light up more red than without the red LEDs. If you just have white light shining on the gauges, or even nothing at all, the numbers are kind of reddish/pink. Not as desireable in my opinion. I'm curious to see what the blue will look like though. I'll try to get a digital camera and get a picture of the red when I install my HID's this weekend.
 
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