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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb LED Custom Illuminated Gauges

well we all know that the boring low glowing green gauges just dont do you any justice. and as soon as you get scott's gauges you can really tell those gauges need more lighting on them. i swapped out the old bulbs for the w5w's and they were brighter than stock but i still didnt like the color output i was getting out of them. i then put in those ebay led's that made them look great color wise but those led's only aimed at a 20 degree angle and caused spotting on the faces themselves at night. i believe i read that shadowdragon put these bulbs in as well. me and brian soon found out that this was a mistake and i went back to the drawing board. there are soo many versions of led's out there its silly. but to achieve this non-spotting led cluster i had to search. i found some led's that are 5mm in diameter and shoot out its light at a wide 120 degree angle. halogen bulbs put out light in 145-180 degree angles so this is the closest i could come to. they have 180 degree led's but they arent recommended for gauges or interior lighting. those led's would be for switches or something else.

first i took apart a cluster thanx to a buddy on here o had one laying around ready to become into trash. i removed the delicate circuit board off the back very slowly. i took out all the bulbs for illumination and for the idiot lights. there are metal clips that allow the gauges to connect to the cluster and all you need to remove those are some needle nose pliers. i then marked locations that a led should be placed. of course to deal with clearance and lighting issues i checked each location 3 times to check to see it would fit and provide great lighting. i had 21 led's to play with so why not install 21 leds in the cluster? lol
after some research on putting the gauges on top of those pre-drilled spots i went ahead and drilled 20 holes for the led holders themselve. i made the holes big enough so that the led holder BARELY fits inside. there are 4 prongs that lock it into place to secure it down. then i put in the led's into the holders. they also snap in place and when moving the cluster upside down/shaking it *replicating driving environment* they stood up well and none of them fell out. the led's are soldered and heatshrinked to protect the cluster from heat and to protect the circuit from burning the led's. here are some pics of where i stand right now.









That 2nd pic reminds me of the deathstar as luke skywalker is flying his x-wing through the canal's lol.

My question for you circuit guru's out there is how do i go about connecting all 21 led's together (21+21- wires) so it can be lit up? i know where to find a good 12v source for them to be lit up when the parking/headlight switch is turned on. each resistor is pre-soldered with a resistor to take 12v. should i just connect all wires to one wire making it into a parralled circuit? or should i get some sort of circuit board i can input 12v into and it will send 21 signals out in a parallel circuit? im trying to get ahold of scott or anyone that can give me any advice on how to prep it for illumination.

If you got any suggestions or questions reply.

UPDATE: Parts needed

20+ 5mm Super wide LED's off ebay $32 Shipped

6 X Led Refractor Bulbs for main illumination $36 Shipped

20+ 5mm Led holders $5 Shipped

1 X Gauge Cluster w/ circuit board $??

Plus wires/butane for soldering iron/electrical tape/misc parts.

Also, heres a finished pic

Last edited by Porkchop; 10-11-2006 at 04:47 AM.
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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-28-2006, 07:55 PM
 
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If each LED has a resistor then you can wire in parallel. You should only need one wire coming from the 12v source. Connect to the first LED, then daisy chain it from the there. The total current should be less than an amp. I don't know how much each LED is drawing in your setup. I typically set LED current to about 20 mA.

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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 12:03 AM
 
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I think you have a light fixation.
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aoldenbu
If each LED has a resistor then you can wire in parallel. You should only need one wire coming from the 12v source. Connect to the first LED, then daisy chain it from the there. The total current should be less than an amp. I don't know how much each LED is drawing in your setup. I typically set LED current to about 20 mA.
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what do you mean by daisy chain? and yes each led is rated at 20ma and enough resistance to plug it into a 12v source. if i do it from one led to the other wouldnt that be a series circuit causing the led's at the end to be dim or not lit?

yes i have a light fixation ^_^
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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 07:17 AM
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porkchop...

each LED has a built in Resistor? If so just wire them all in parallel. If not...if you wire 6 LED's in series, then wire each group of 6 LED's in parallel, there is NO resistor needed to hook them to 12 Volts.

Looks good. I'd love to see them lit up with the gauges in place.

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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porkchop2oo2
what do you mean by daisy chain? and yes each led is rated at 20ma and enough resistance to plug it into a 12v source. if i do it from one led to the other wouldnt that be a series circuit causing the led's at the end to be dim or not lit?

yes i have a light fixation ^_^
In series wiring the forward voltage drops are additive, but the current requirement stays the same..........for example, if each red led has a 2 volt forward voltage drop and a maximum 20 milliamps, and you put 2 in series, then you will need 4 volts at 20 milliamps to drive the leds to maximum brightness........If you had 6 red leds in series, then 12 volts at 20 milliamps is required

Series: Power -> LED1+ -> LED1- -> LED2+ -> LED2- (etc) -> Ground

In parallel wiring, the current requirements are additive, but the voltage drop remains the same; for example, if each red led has a 2 volt forward voltage drop and a maximum 20 milliamps, and you put 2 in parallel, then you will need 2 volts at 40 milliamps to drive the leds to maximum brightness........If you had 6 red leds in parallel, then 2 volts at 120 milliamps is required

Parallel: Power -> LED1+,LED2+ (etc) -> LED1-, LED2- (etc) -> Ground

If you had LED's without resistors I would say series them up to 15v (since cars don't always run at 12v and you don't want to blow the whole cluster when it goes above 12v and mine frequently sees 14.8v) then parallel 15v groups together.

With the led's you got your only option is parallel and you'll need 420ma for it to light up fully. I'm sure you could get a circuit board, but you can just go around the cluster connecting all the + with wire and all the - with wire then tapping into the vehicle light source and hope it puts out 420ma.

power -> LED1+ -> LED2+ -> LED3+ -> ... LED21+
LED21- -> LED20- -> LED19- -> ... LED1- -> Ground

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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowDragon
power -> LED1+ -> LED2+ -> LED3+ -> ... LED21+
LED21- -> LED20- -> LED19- -> ... LED1- -> Ground
so are you saying to connect 21 leads of 12v reference to each + led? or do you mean connect the reference to the first led1+ and go from led1+ to led2+? is this pic what you mean by that brian? is that a parr circuit or a series?



the only class i had problems with at school was basic electronics and theory cuz we had a sh!t teacher that no longer works there due to evaluations. but then in advanced electronics i got top of the class for diagnosing electrical problems...hmmm
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porkchop2oo2
or do you mean connect the reference to the first led1+ and go from led1+ to led2+? is this pic what you mean by that brian? is that a parr circuit or a series?
Yes that's it, that's a parallel circuit. The power runs all the way to one end and the ground comes all the way back "parallel" of the power. Series is going from + to - to + to -.

You've installed Dual Voice coil subs haven't you? Same thing, bridge the two + terminals and bring one + in, bridge the two - terminals and run one - out. Series wiring in a DVC sub is a bridge between negative of one coil and positive of the other and a wire at each end bringing in and taking it away.

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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ShadowDragon
Yes that's it, that's a parallel circuit. The power runs all the way to one end and the ground comes all the way back "parallel" of the power. Series is going from + to - to + to -.

You've installed Dual Voice coil subs haven't you? Same thing, bridge the two + terminals and bring one + in, bridge the two - terminals and run one - out. Series wiring in a DVC sub is a bridge between negative of one coil and positive of the other and a wire at each end bringing in and taking it away.
o000oOOOOOOHHHHhhhh...lol alright when you put it like that i understand heheh

thanx brian this is better than looking through my old notes. after this weekend ill bust out the soldering iron and post some pics of it lit with the gauges on it to see if its worth it or not.

btw im using led's off ebay the 180 degree pre-wired ones. they run like 6-7 bucks for 20 and i have led holders that were 4 bucks for 50 . if this drastically changes the light output then it should be a great $10 mod.
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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-01-2006, 03:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Porkchop2oo2
That 2nd pic reminds me of the deathstar as luke skywalker is flying his x-wing through the canal's lol.




You should just name your car "Lite-Brite"
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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-01-2006, 04:49 PM
 
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I suspect your going to have a bunch of visual hot spots unless you put some kind of diffuser in between the LED's and gauges. Guess we'll see soon enough.

I have a pile of RGB LED's and some micro controllers around for my own little lighting project, but I'll be starting with the three knob climate control first. Maybe do all the door switches and defrost switch after that then move on to the dash cluster.

If i ever get it done the color possibilities will be endless. lol
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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-01-2006, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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LMAO SHAWN!! nice

as for the hot spots thats why im going with the wiiidde angle leds so there are little to none. as for the regular illumination im replacing those with led's also and they should blend nicely together
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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-02-2006, 11:46 PM
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I was reading this thread and had a thought if this works you could also buy some of the multi or tri color LEDs and use a switch to change the color whenever you wanted kinda like on the kenwood head units & EQs. It would be a pain in the arse to rig up all of them like that (doors and center console ect) but it would be cool when it was done.

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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-02-2006, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraken2026
I was reading this thread and had a thought if this works you could also buy some of the multi or tri color LEDs and use a switch to change the color whenever you wanted kinda like on the kenwood head units & EQs. It would be a pain in the arse to rig up all of them like that (doors and center console ect) but it would be cool when it was done.
That would look sweet

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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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well they do sell red/blue/green leds and all that controls what color they are is how much current goes through them i believe. ehhhhh color changing led's is too much

lol!! i said too much on lighting heheh
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post #16 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Update: well i wanted to see what a couple of them would look like lit up in the cluster and damn they are brighter than i thought. i think im gonna have to re-think the wiring and get lazy and get a circuit board cuz its getting annoying and difficult to maintain. plus if i used a circuit board it would make a lot more things simple. look at what i mean



And look how the sides of the led's are lit brightly rather than shining at a small 20 degree angle. i am glad i went with wide led's.



Any suggestions?
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post #17 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 06:39 AM
 
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Will be interesting to see how even it all lights up when it's back together! looks promising...

As for multi-color LED's, I've got a whole bunch of the true RGB ones that have a lead for each seperate LED and I have the micro-controllers and a BASIC langauge compiler to go with them. So if I ever get to start and finish the project I'll be able to program limitless lighting colors and patterns, change them on demand, have different profiles etc.

I'll be starting with the the standard climate control head, them maybe move on to the illuminated switches, leaving the cluster for last. the climate control should take about 18-20 LED's, one for each individual position on the controls plus one for each knob.

Last edited by Southpaw; 10-03-2006 at 06:45 AM.
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post #18 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porkchop2oo2
well they do sell red/blue/green leds and all that controls what color they are is how much current goes through them i believe. ehhhhh color changing led's is too much

lol!! i said too much on lighting heheh
Yea whats going on man you woosin out on us J/k what a PITA that would be to wire up think about doing the entire car not just the cluster that way eak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw
Will be interesting to see how even it all lights up when it's back together! looks promising...

As for multi-color LED's, I've got a whole bunch of the true RGB ones that have a lead for each seperate LED and I have the micro-controllers and a BASIC langauge compiler to go with them. So if I ever get to start and finish the project I'll be able to program limitless lighting colors and patterns, change them on demand, have different profiles etc.

I'll be starting with the the standard climate control head, them maybe move on to the illuminated switches, leaving the cluster for last. the climate control should take about 18-20 LED's, one for each individual position on the controls plus one for each knob.
Yea all the muti leds I've run into have seperate leads on them for each color thats why I was saying a switch if u just wanted to change everything to individual red green or blue. But yea a controller would be very cool you could use it to mix the three and make diffrent colors.

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post #19 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be starting with the the standard climate control head, them maybe move on to the illuminated switches, leaving the cluster for last. the climate control should take about 18-20 LED's, one for each individual position on the controls plus one for each knob.
cool im working my way from the cluster to the center dash to the switches. it would be cool to see some progress and pics on that upgrade

Quote:
Yea whats going on man you woosin out on us
did you see those wires?! lol
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post #20 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 11:16 PM
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did you see those wires?! lol[/QUOTE]

Yea lol you got a good rats nest going lol

-94 T-bird 4.6L SOHC "Driver"
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-92 Firebird 5.0 TBI, 4L60 "Project"
Accel / Holly Annihilator ignition, Dynomax cat back, adj. panhard Bar & T/A Sways, Formula 17x8 Rims, LT1 4L60 conversion, rear disc w posi conversion.

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post #21 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 11:39 PM
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Dude porkchop I've been making a list of things I wanted to do to my car for the last month... I just checked out your cardomain page... You suck my list is what you've already done to your ride lol. Man those carbon volvo HIDs are freakin awsome do you have a thread on here showing how you did it? My car is a light blue and I was gonna paint it black and tint the windows, true dual with chrome tips, simple chrome intake tube, paint the rims black and I was gonna clear the headlights too. You beat me to it lol. Guess I'm gonna have to come up with something to give it a twist huh lol. O well back to the drawing board.

-94 T-bird 4.6L SOHC "Driver"
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-92 Firebird 5.0 TBI, 4L60 "Project"
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post #22 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 12:22 AM
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pork i hate you!!! i want those damn HID's please tell us how you did it

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post #23 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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lol its called search fella's, and if you dont use it here before asking people are gonna eat you alive

follow the link:
http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=72751
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post #24 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 02:44 AM
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hey pork is the custum shroud needed?

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post #25 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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the shrouds are to help keep the projectors in place and make it blend in with the headlight. makes it look more stock that way. i guess you can mount projectors without those shrouds but it will look wrong without them. and dont post questions in this thread about the gauges lol. ill answer your questions in the other thread that i posted a link before your last messege.
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post #26 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 05:29 AM
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can we get back to the thread at hand, I would like to see the gauges on the cluster, and then lit up.

Ya, its funny, Funny like a Clown.
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post #27 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 05:40 AM
 
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hey pork is the custum shroud needed?
Quit jackin' the thread...

re my plans for the RGB leds, if I ever get the time to get started on the project I'll be documenting it with photos and post them up here. given the # of LED's and wires I might just have to get a circuit board fabbed up. I'm getting to old for soldering up a gazillion wires in tight spaces.

So porkchop, do you have some custom gauge faces, or are you using the stock ones with the green tint layer or what? I've heard people talk about lightly sanding the tint off the back of the stock ones but I've yet to look at them first hand...
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post #28 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
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roger the cluster will be done shortly just need a different soldering iron seeing how it ran out of gas and when i go to refill it *butane* it doesnt seem to hold it. your supposed to fill it with the bottle upside down tip facing down right? lol i might just get an electric iron then ill start on it.

and yes i have custom gauge faces already on made by scott
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post #29 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 07:46 AM
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Yeah, butane is a liquid under pressure, liquids pour better when you pour them down.

I would have bent the legs of the LED's and used just enough wire to make them touch, you used a lot of wire! lol

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post #30 of 80 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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yea well these led's were pre-wired, theres this red nipple that sits on top of my butane bottle. do i take that off? looks like its leaking when i pour it without it.

time to get a new iron and circuit board
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