LED Swap (Guages / HVAC) - Scionlife.com



tC Tech and DIY Info for the Scion tC

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Old 12-09-2004, 10:37 AM   #1  
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Default LED Swap (Guages / HVAC)

I did this a few days ago, but I didn't have the time to write it all up until now. For all you people who are sick of the amber lighting, read on:

Gauge Cluster

1) Remove the stock trim housing. First, move the steering wheel all the way down and move the turn indicator and headlight stalks all the way down. Pry along the bottom edge of the trim until it begins to separate. Once you can get a hold of it, pry along until it comes off.

2) There is one Philips head screw on the top of the cluster, take a screwdriver and remove it. Place the screw somewhere where you won't lose it.

3) The gauge cluster is now held in by two latch mechanisms on the sides. There is no easy way to pry them out. I found that after some time prying, it will eventually come out. Be sure you are removing the whole cluster and not just the plastic exterior.

4) Once out, remove the wire harness from the connection on the top left of the gauge. The cluster is now out.

5) Take the gauge cluster to a nice, clean work area. This is going to get fun.

6) First take off the black bezel. You can keep the clear plastic attached to the black bezel and remove the whole thing as one unit. Press in a few plastic tabs and it will come apart.



7) Mark the area where your gas and temp needles end softly with a pencil to aid putting them back on. The speedometer and tachometer have built in bump stops so that it is easy to find the exact postion to put them back on. You want to put on the needle so the bump stop is just slightly below 0.

8) Remove your gauge needles. Easiest way to do it is to grab two spoons and two pieces of paper towel. Place the two pieces of paper towel down on the gauge to protect it. Then place the head of the spoons on opposite ends of the base of the needle and gently pry upwards. The needles will come off. Gently pry off the gauge faces as well.



9) Once you have the needles off, you want to take off the LCD panel in the gauge cluster. I used a small flat head screw driver to gently pry it off. Keep on moving the screw driver around the LCD to prevent bending the pins.






10) Remove the white plastic base of the gauge cluster by pressing some more tabs. Remove the PCB from the plastic base.



11) Now is the time to desolder the LEDs on the board. My technique is as follows: use a low wattage soldering iron to heat one side of the LED until the solder begins to melt. Quickly use the tip of your soldering iron to flip the LED towards the soldered point. The leads on the LED will bend back. With the LED half up in the air, desolder the other lead. Use a pair of tweezers to quickly grab the LED before the solder solidifies again.

12) If you just want to change the illumination of the gauge cluster, you will have to change 14 LEDs. 2 for the gas gauge, 2 for the temperature gauge, 5 for the speedometer, 2 for the LCD panel, and 3 for the tachometer. The LEDs are PLCC2 sized. You can find them at any electronics supply house. I personally bought mine from www.mouser.com. Look for LEDs that have a luminous flux (brightness) of more than 100 mcd. Otherwise, your gauge cluster will look dim.

13) Solder in the new LEDs paying close attention to orientation. LEDs are dependent on orientation so if you flip one around, it won't work. Use the cutout tab as a visual indication of polarity. There should be enough solder left on the pads to make a connection. If not, you can use some solder to add onto the LED after the intial connection to make a more solid joint. I found that even a little bit of solder on the pad can make the LEDs stick. You can use additional solder to build up the connection.

14) Go back down to your car and plug the board back in. Make sure that all lights are properly lit up. If not, be sure that all LEDs face the right direction and are properly soldered in. If one LED is out, then that particular circuit may also affect other nearby LEDs.



15) If they all look okay, reassembly you gauge cluster. Pay careful attention to needle reinstallation. If you don't put them on all the way, the gauge won't be as responsive. The base of the needle should be nearly flush against the gauge face. Make sure the bump stops are stopping at slightly below zero. Erase the pencil marks you made on the temp and gas gauges.

16) Install your cluster back into your car and enjoy your work.





Excuse the pictures, my camera sucks at night. The gauges turned out red, not pink like in the pictures.


Center Console:

1) Remove the shift **** by unscrewing it.

2) Remove the plastic base around the shift **** by gently prying on it from the edges near the seat. The plastic will eventually come out. Watch out for the cigarette lighter wire, don't yank it out.

3) Remove the center console by prying along the edges. Remember to keep your radio door closed before you do this. The whole console should come out easily. Remove the harness to the HVAC computer. Take the console to your work area.

4) Remove the HVAC **** in the center of the console. The outer metal part can be removed by using a flat head screwdriver to push in 3 tabs along the side of the ****. Once the tabs are pushed in, you can remove the metal ****. There is a clear plastic **** that is beneath the outer metal **** cover. You can use a plier wrapped in cloth to remove this clear plastic ****. Beneath this is a nut and washer. I believe the nut is 11mm. Use a socket to remove the nut. Remember to save the nut and washer in a safe place.

5) Flip over the console to remove the six screws. Four along the edge and two in the center. There may be a few tabs retaining the HVAC computer to the console. The computer assembly will push right out.



6) There are a few tabs holding the HVAC computer together, push them to loosen. After that, the plastic case should separate easily.



7) Remove the small Philips head screws holding the PCB against the case. There are two screws that hold the white housing that surrounds the LCD. You can ignore those for now.

8) The PCB should now be free. Removing and installing the LEDs is the same procedure for the gauge cluster. If you just want to replace the button and LCD illumination, there will be 12 LEDs to be replaced. This does not count the emergency flasher LED, the seatbelt indicator LED, the engine immobilizer LED, or the yellow LEDs indicating that AC / recirculation / defrosters are on. I decided to leave those as is. Also, the LEDs in the center of the **** I left alone. I like how the light changes from blue to amber to red when you use the ****.



9) We will now desolder the LCD panel. THE LCD PANEL ON THE CONSOLE IS NOT SOCKETED LIKE IT IS ON THE GAUGE CLUSTER. I learned this the hard way and cracked my LCD screen. If you screw this up, you will have to purchase a whole other HVAC computer as the LCD is not sold individually as a repair part. If you can find a replacement computer for cheap, please let me know. Anyway, here is the procedure for removing the LCD panel:

First, use desoldering braid to reheat and suck up the solder along the leads of the LCD on the back of the PCB. You'll know you're done when you can see holes around the leads of the LCD on the circuit board.

Second, remove the two screws holding in the white plastic surround.

Third, *gently* pry up on the LCD by lifting the white surround away from the board. You may have to heat up the leads of the LCD on the underside of the circuit board to finally free them from any residual solder.

10) Once done, you can remove and install the three LEDs on beneath the LCD panel.

11) Hook your board back up to the car to make sure all the LEDs works.





12) Go bring the board back to your workplace. Place the plastic housing back down on the board and screw it back in. Insert your LCD panel back in and carefully solder the LCD leads through the holes on the PCB. Go back to your car and plug it back in to make sure the LCD works.



(I drew ^____^ on a piece of paper to take the place of my cracked LCD. haha, no use soldering back on a cracked LCD. I am going to solder on a 1x16 socket just so I can use my partially cracked LCD while I wait for a replacement without having to worry about desoldering and soldering again.)

13) Once finished, reinstallation is the reversal of removal.


Center Console Storage Area

There is an incandescent bulb used to illuminate the storage area. It is possible to change that bulb with an LED. However, instead of soldering a bulb directly to the wire, you can install a replacement LED that has a wedge base and resistor to fit into the stock location. No soldering required. I bought my replacement bulb from www.autolumination.com. It is a #74 LED replacment bulb found under "Instrument Panel & Gauge Bulbs." The only problem I noticed is that I can't dim the bulb with the dimmer in the gauge cluster. It seems to work all or nothing.

Here is how you can replace the #74 bulb:

1) Remove the shift **** and plastic base surrounding the shift ****.

2) Remove the center console.

3) Reach behind the center console and find the grey wire leading to the bulb in the storage compartment. If you pull back on the wire as it enters the storage compartment it will detach from the storage compartment.

4) Remove the incandescent bulb with your fingers.

5) Drop in the replacment LED bulb and reattach the wire to the storage compartment.

6) Reinstall center console and shifter base along with the ****.



Phew, all done. You now have your choice of night time illumination.
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:14 AM   #2  
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That is an amazing how-to. The lights all look great. Good job, man.
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Old 12-09-2004, 12:41 PM   #3  
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Nice write up. Best I've seen so far.
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Old 12-09-2004, 03:57 PM   #4  
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That's a great write up... Now I need to work up the ***** to do it. I do have soldering/electronics experience though (from school). I redid all the electronics in my guitar a year or so ago (installed new pickups, potentiometers, output jack) and I surprisingly did a very good job.
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Old 12-09-2004, 04:02 PM   #5  
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I solder all day, every day. Well maybe not that much but I do a ____LOAD of surface mount soldering. I might do this (cuz I can probably squeeze some free LED's out of work).

You changed from the Amber color to Red in this I see. Correct? Looks nice.

Are they surface mount LED's or Through Hole? And what package are they? If theyre SMD are they 0805?
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Old 12-09-2004, 04:12 PM   #6  
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I added it to the Tech section. It will be in the FAQ forum soon.

Great job, panasoanic! Although, I do recommend that only those who are confident in soldering on a PCB try this modification. You hear that, Kaeon? Also, like panasoanic said, use a low wattage soldering iron. Be responsible with your actions. Scion Life, panasoanic, nor I will be held responsible for any problems that may occur.
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Old 12-11-2004, 07:01 PM   #7  
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Thats an awsome mod/write up! I was wondering how to do that, not that I would ever get the ***** to do it, but thats still so hot. Good job man.
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Old 12-23-2004, 08:41 PM   #8  
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I'm having trouble trying to identify the LED's for this application. What are the measurements? Model number? I'm trying to find blue ones.
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Old 12-23-2004, 08:49 PM   #9  
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I'm having trouble trying to identify the LED's for this application. What are the measurements? Model number? I'm trying to find blue ones.
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:13 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmiller20874
I'm having trouble trying to identify the LED's for this application. What are the measurements? Model number? I'm trying to find blue ones.
Exactly what he said. I am also looking to do this wit a dark/deep blue color led. If you know a size/model number or anything. Greatly be appreciated.. thanx
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Old 01-05-2005, 04:17 PM   #11  
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VERY nice writeup, but I dont have the "kahonees" (sic) to perform all that tiny work.

lets just pray SCion changes the guage cluster color someday., orange SUX
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Old 01-05-2005, 11:12 PM   #12  
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Nice. Thanks for taking the time to write that up.
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Old 01-06-2005, 06:42 PM   #13  
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Default Found LED's !!!!

TimO of ClubtC wrote...
Quote:
This is the info on the LED's. Youve gotta get them at Digikey.com ...

Blue LED's are...

Description: LED BLUE CLEAR 1206 REV MT SMD
Product Number: 160-1454-1-ND

And in case you want red ones, those are...

Description: LED RED CLEAR 1206 REAR MNT SMD
Product Number: 160-1186-ND

The blue ones are way more expensive than the red. The blue ones are about 1.68 each I believe. I ordered 40 total for both the center console and the gauges, that gives me 2 extra in case I messed up or lost one (which I did, I dropped it and couldnt find it cause it was so damn tiny)

When you get the LED's theyve got to be put on a certain way. Next to each LED on the circut board is an arrow pointing a certian way. And on the back of the new LED is also a little green arrow... well ... somewhat of an arrow. Youll get it if youve got common sense lol. Youve got to match the 'arrows' up so they both point the same way. Do one LED then go plug it in to the car and see if it lights up, if it doesnt, desolder it and see if you did the arrows correctly. If not, turn it around and solder it agian. Youve got to make sure that they arent just soldered down to the board, but also soldered on top of the little tab from the LED or they wont line up.

These LED's from Digikey are about 1/3rd the size of the stock LED's... they are EXTREMELY SMALL. So take your time and be careful. Dont get frustrated. And know that whatever you do can always be fixed
Looks like I've gotta new project on hand :D
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Old 01-20-2005, 02:21 AM   #14  
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hehe, if he thought 1206's are small, he should try 0805 or 0603's which are the ones needed to swap the green LED's with amber ones in my Navi system. Hint of advice to anyone who wants to attempt this, get fine point tweezers to manipulate the leds around the board for soldering. It'll get the job done faster and you're sweaty palms and fingers don't have to leave residue all over your PCB.
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:26 PM   #15  
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I've soldered mod chips to PS2's and such its not that hard. The only experience in soldering I have is some in college (I am a ME and it was an ME, intro to EE class) and my PS2 along with my friends. If you have a steady hand and a soldering iron with a variable temperature guage its quite easy. The smaller the tip / pointier makes it a lot easy. Hoping to do this with blue lights.
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Old 01-28-2005, 11:45 AM   #16  
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anybody wanna be paid to do that for me?
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Old 01-28-2005, 05:17 PM   #17  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endlessracingz
I've soldered mod chips to PS2's and such its not that hard. The only experience in soldering I have is some in college (I am a ME and it was an ME, intro to EE class) and my PS2 along with my friends. If you have a steady hand and a soldering iron with a variable temperature guage its quite easy. The smaller the tip / pointier makes it a lot easy. Hoping to do this with blue lights.
If you can do PS2's, then this should be cake for you. The points on the PS2's, especially the older model ones where you had to solder wires directly to the CD/DVD controller legs, are smaller than the soldering pads for a 1206 LED. But as always be patient and be careful. You don't want to ruin a $300+ gauge cluster.
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Old 01-28-2005, 05:22 PM   #18  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER X
anybody wanna be paid to do that for me?
It might cost you a couple of pretty pennys. It's not easy nor is it quick task to solder that many LED's. It took me a couple of hours to solder the 44 LED's for my navigation system and those are smaller than the ones in the tC. I would love to do it for you, However I don't have a tC to test it on to make sure all the LED's are properly installed. I would try PMing panasoanic since he was the one who wrote the tutorial, has the experience to swap the LED's, and has a tC to test it on.
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Old 01-29-2005, 05:17 AM   #19  
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i wish there was sombody on the east coast near me that did this ill pay 500 dollars if i could find sombody who knew what they were doing
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Old 01-29-2005, 02:50 PM   #20  
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Wow! For $500 I would do it, even though I have never done it on the tC, I would be willing to try it for $500 and replace any parts I ruined if I ruined. 5 hours of work, $100 an hour... A collge students dream!
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