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Old 06-25-2010, 05:05 PM   #1
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DIY: FREE LED Gauge Cluster Swap (Remastered)

i decided to try it myself and noticed that it was hard to follow the DIY since the pictures were separated from the text and it was a bit tedious to go back and forth and lose my place a couple times here adn there and keep messing up so i went ahead and copied his original text and rehosted the pictures on a separate server and put the pieces to the puzzle together. it is at this point completely user and spoon fed friendly. if Ocelaris doesnt approve this thread please contact me and i'd gladly have a moderator trash the thread. good luck modding guys.





RSX LED Gauge Swap DIY

By Ocelaris

Tools Needed:

15w soldering iron
phillips screw driver
LONG phillips Screw Driver
flat head screw driver
solder (small w/rosin core preferrable)
LEDs 35 total (for manual maybe less?), your choice of color, PLCC package type, SMD
FULL tank of gas before you start!!!! 0
Sharpie (for marking needle behinds)

Optional:
12v DC Power Supply (wall wart, wall pack etc...) with 470 ohm resistor (or greater resistance)
Flush Cut Snips

Oky,Basically we're gonna take the gauges out, disassemble them until we get to the PCB where the LEDs reside, and then snip them off, scrap away any junk, and then replace them with new ones, reassemble, calibrate the gauges, done.

Each Step will correlate to a picture:

Step 0) Decisions, Decisions...
Here you see the 35 different LEDs that the RSX has, color coded for your pleasure. You can pick how many, and of which color you will need.



Step 1) Better Decisions
A overlaid picture of Step 10, and Step 1 for a better idea of what lights what up.


Step 2) Take off your hood
Ok, down to business... First, might want to disconnect your Negative Batter terminal before doing any electrical work. Lower the steering wheel as low as it goes, and remove the "hood" from the steering column. There are 3 screws below, and once you have those off, the top can come off. You will also need to remove the fuse box cover to get beneath the gauges (no pic). There are two twist knobs, and pull it off, pretty simple so far eh?



Step 3) Long Phillip
Ok, here's a tricky manuever, there are two screws coming up from below the gauges that hold it in place, you need the long phillips screw driver to undo those, 1 on each side reside inbetween some "rail" like things... flashlight reccomended. Once you have those screws out, it's best to have another person for this, but not necessary, push up where the screws were, and it will wedge the gauges free a little bit, enough for the other person to grab either side.



Step 4) Wiggle me free
As per the picture, Don't pull on the top of the gauges, there are plastic welds which hold it down, and car break, rather wiggle the gauge from side to side gently. Again, a person below pushing up where the screws are helps to move the gauges around.



Step 5) Covers Away!
Disassemble as much as you can of the gauges (snaps and screws) until you get to the needles.



Step 6) Needles in a RSX-stack
Two screw drivers, pry from alternating sides... Make sure to get below the silver "cap" again, plastic welds, don't we not wanna brake em :-)



Step 7) Clear Needles?
If you want, you can sand the red off the needle part with some fine sand paper, 400 grit works well. If you did it correctly, you'll have to break the plastic welds inside the cap to get to the clear/red needle. don't worry, they go back fine if you do break the plastic welds. We used superglue, which never dried, but they work fine, just be careful how they come apart, that metal piece is important.



Step 8) Pop the Cap in the center off
As per the title, the little black things in the center of the gauges pull off, then you can use a flat head, gently as to not mar the plastic, to lift/pop the black plastic off.



Step 9) A full frontal nude - for your viewing pleasure



Step 10) See Through! - you can see what parts are going to stay red...



Step 11) NEEDLE WARNING!!!
BEFORE you take off the needles from the front (two little screws per needle in step 12), put a mark noting which side is up. I reccomend putting it on the top most side, two are like 45* angle, and the others are vertical, so whatever you do, remember which one is which, and which way is up... Else you'll just have to try it until they spin the right way, no biggie, but this saves you a big headache later if your gauges don't turn for some reason (this would be why).



Step 12) Ok, IF you are ready to take the needles off...
Unscrew the two phillips screws that hold the needle windings to the back of the gauges. Once that is done, it will also release the light diffusing shields, AND it will let you undo the middle LCD.



Step 13) Pointy Things
Here is the back of the middle LCD gauge that you removed from the PCB, they just slide out and in, just be careful putting them back in.



Step 14) Odometer taking outing
Pull up gently, there may be plastic latched onto the PCB, if so unhook those and lift up. You need to take this LCD screen off to solder the backlights for it.



Step 15+16+17) Soldering and Removing LEDS
As per title, basically all we're doing is trying to remove the LEDs, check out the ones you purchased, they have metal tabs that solder down to those solder-tabs... I chose to use some flush cut snips (as per pic 16), but any way you can remove them will work. When you get the LED removed, heat up the solder tab, and try and remove the now detached LED-Metal-tab that is probably still in the solder... if not, don't worry, all you have to do is aim the new ones up and make contact.




Ok, howto solder the new ones in. LEDs have polarity, as per pic 17, you will note there is a positive anode, and negative cathode. Your LEDs may have a tab, or indentation or something to tell you which side is up/down... if you have them in wrong, just unsolder and try again. Use a little more solder to get them to connect, but don't leave the heat on your LEDs too long, technically they can burn up, though I've never had any problem.




You can test your LED work one of two ways, you can run back and forth to your car once you get one, two etc... LEDs soldered in, or you can just use a DC power supply and resistor (preferrably soldered to the positive lead) and touch the contacts of the LEDs. This is pretty easy, just get a DC power supply, and then goto and LED calculator page:

http://linear1.org/ckts/led.php

ok, the example will be my own 12v LED tester. I have a 12v 500ma (less milli-amperes is fine), and a couple blue and white LEDs I want to test before I put them in, see which side is positive etc... You plug in 12 as your "Supply Voltage" and blue and white LEDs are ~3.5v Diode Forward voltage (drop) (you may want to check if you have specs for yours), and we run the LEDs at 20mA. Then click the "Find R" button, and you'll get the resistance of the resistor you need (1/4 watt is fine). I personally used 330 ohm, which technically is way too much, but it worked fine, just get close to 470 ohm. Then all you do is solder the resistor to the positive leg of the DC Power supply (usually noted with a white strip/dashed line etc...). Touch the positive to the anode, and negative to cathode to test, that way you can see if they work before you go back to your car. I like to wick solder the ends of my DC power supply so that it makes a solid wire, instead of strands.

Finale:
Ok, So you have all the tools to do the soldering, all that's left is to put it back together and calibrate, but don't put the needles or the clear cover on until you have the gauges back in your car and plugged in (don't actually screw them down until we make sure they work).

Plug the gauges back, and then reconnect your negative battery terminal (we did remember to disconnect it right? if not' that's cool, you just have to reset your SRS light maybe). put the key in, and turn it to right before the starter. Of course you've already turned the lights on, seen how cool it looks etc... If you haven't peeked, DO IT NOW, IT LOOKS COOL. Ok, since your car is cold, full of gas, going 0 mph/kmh, and 0 rpm, you know where the needles go right? The reason the keys are all the way on (but don't actually crank the engine), is that the needles start somewhere different than when the power is off. If you just put the needles on when the gauges were disconnected, they'd be way off.

Ok, calibration done, put it all back together, and wait for night, find a dark road, and turn your music up too loud and love the new gauges. kick ass.






Links:

http://goldmine-elec.com/
-Where I have gotten .45$ LEDs that fit the RSX, blue and white available.

http://www.lc-led.com
- get the "Power Top" SMD LEDs . Good selection, decent prices.

http://www.eled.com/
- Best Selection, good prices, great spec sheets and choices.

More Reading (other DIYs by me):

http://www.k-series.com/tech_detail...._CON_LITE_SWAP
- You can apply this DIY to RSX console gauges.

Copyright (c) 2003 William Gould.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
Texts. A copy of the license is included at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html .
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:19 PM   #2
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Damn nice one 09er.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:56 PM   #3
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amazing job, how long did it take you btw?
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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This is one of the best write ups. Dont take it down!
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:23 PM   #5
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nice job... looks awesome!
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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great write up
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Ok h3y guyz 1 n33dz h3lp r1ght qu1ck! W3n 1 dr1v3 my rsx 1 try sh1ftin and I b3 h34arin th1s no1z3 f0r m4ddd l0ng n0w at 5.5 rpm l1ke 1tz a l0ud s0und and 1m not sure wat it cud b3. L1ke 4real th0 1 b th1nkin 1tz n0rmal l1ke my dud3 t0ld m3 its nuttin but I didnt Bel13v3 h1m kuz h3 b3 ly1ng s0m3t1m3z n shyt 2 m3. C4n u guyz 0n h3re h3lp m3 f1gur3 0ut w4ts my pr0bl3m????:ugh :
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:18 PM   #7
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depending on what lights you choose to change but this took about 1-2 hours from removal to putting the cluster back in
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:13 AM   #8
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wow thanks!
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
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Sweet, I love my stock red gauges though.
Good write up!
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:28 PM   #10
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Awesome write up!

I love the way the red gauges look at night and wouldn't change it.

However, seeing that pic for Step 10 got me thinking. If you could somehow make the gauges look like they do in Step 10 during the day that would look pretty cool. A sort of dark gray/ black gauge face with white numbers and red needles. Then at night everything goes red.

Like this, but with red needles and RSX style:
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:31 PM   #11
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good write up, wrong section
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:21 PM   #12
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you beat me to the writeup. I did this to my RSX about 3-4 years ago. but I have the 05-06 gauge face over my 02-04 cluster.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:30 PM   #13
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Nice write up
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:17 AM   #14
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Nice.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:28 PM   #15
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hey i did this, but for some reason, my speedometer does not work. it works but its at 0 all the time unless im doing what i think is about 80 mph and the speedo goes up to about 20?? and my rpms i thin are up about 500. do you know how to fix that?
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:44 PM   #16
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^


"You know how fast you were going?"
uhh.. 25?

Take the needles back out and put them back in the way they were before you first took it apart, this is why he said to use a red sharpie
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:46 PM   #17
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^


"You know how fast you were going?"
uhh.. 25?

Take the needles back out and put them back in the way they were before you first took it apart, this is why he said to use a red sharpie
lol should have kept it like that. i got it fixed. the rpms were fairly easy, i just let it idle and while it was on pulled the pin off and adjusted it that way, but the speedo idk i just got lucky i took it apart and it started working.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:01 PM   #18
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Let me just get this out there before I start - I'm a newbie on this modding thing.

Now maybe my questions won't sound quite as dumb I am wanting to change the colors to where the gauges are white but leave the needles red and pretty much everything else as is (turn signals green, brake red, etc). Since I haven't disassemblied this unit yet I only have the pics to go by. I can't tell which led is lighting up what. I see 2 leds in the center of the speedo. Is one for the needle and the other for the numbers? On the RPM gauge there's an led below the 8, is that to make the redline red?

If I were changing everything to the same color this would be much simpler. Since I am only changing out some, I'm trying to get a count. Also, any suggestions on what size led? I know they are smd but aren't there different strengths as far as brightness goes?

Please help out the new guy. A lot of great ideas on this site.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:29 PM   #19
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Look at step one pic...the two red ones in the center color the gauges and the needles. If you change them both to white, the needles will still appear red because the plastic is red. To have different color needles you need to actually remove the red coating on the needles. The redline is red from the overlay, not an LED.

You need about 30 SMD LEDS to do the whole cluster with no mistakes.

check out this thread:
http://forums.clubrsx.com/showthread...=611838&page=4

On that page i have pics of what my cluster turned out like (I replaced with all green, and DID NOT remove the red from the needles). I also listed what I bought for LEDs, where I bought them, and what I actually used.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gopherboy6956 View Post
Look at step one pic...the two red ones in the center color the gauges and the needles. If you change them both to white, the needles will still appear red because the plastic is red. To have different color needles you need to actually remove the red coating on the needles. The redline is red from the overlay, not an LED.

You need about 30 SMD LEDS to do the whole cluster with no mistakes.

check out this thread:
http://forums.clubrsx.com/showthread...=611838&page=4

On that page i have pics of what my cluster turned out like (I replaced with all green, and DID NOT remove the red from the needles). I also listed what I bought for LEDs, where I bought them, and what I actually used.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for the info and link to the other page. The only part I'm not clear on is the need for resistors (7, you said) for the speedo gauges. I thought that cluster already had led's and this would be just doing a direct swap. I understand the need for resistors on the AC cluster because that had incandescent bulbs originally. Other than doing the initial test to determine polarity of the new led's, what are the 7 resistors for?

Thanks again for the response.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:05 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utvolfan67 View Post
Thanks for the info and link to the other page. The only part I'm not clear on is the need for resistors (7, you said) for the speedo gauges. I thought that cluster already had led's and this would be just doing a direct swap. I understand the need for resistors on the AC cluster because that had incandescent bulbs originally. Other than doing the initial test to determine polarity of the new led's, what are the 7 resistors for?

Thanks again for the response.
I assume you mean this post:


"I bought:
40 EA3528VGC-Z (needed 36)
20 E7104SGC (14 needed)
14 470ohm Resistors (7 needed)
10 330ohm Resistors (3 needed)

I wanted to get extra incase i lost/broke/etc some of them, which did happen.

All in all, that only cost me like, $24.00

I did also get these, for experimentation with different wavelengths of color and viewing angle.
E934SGD12V 10
E7104ZGC 20
E1154PGD 20
E7104VGC-Z 20


That was my entire purchase for the whole Dash LED swap, not just the Speedo. You do not need any resistors for the Speedo, unless you want to attach one to your test power supply while you work on it.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:25 PM   #22
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wowow. good job.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:36 AM   #23
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Great write up, I like seeing a different color in the RSX gauge cluster.

But personally I wouldn't change the red, looks so bad ass at night. Lol
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:07 AM   #24
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Hey very helpful guide. I just got my gauges done..looks amazing..except for one small problem.

For some reason the airbag light wouldn't turn off. It's supposed to turn on for a brief second when you start your car and go away..but it's not going away. This only happened after i did this mod. It makes sense if it didn't turn on at all (that would make it my bad soldering job) but this?? :s Anyways any of you guys have similar problems?
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:19 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $$GAB$$ View Post
Hey very helpful guide. I just got my gauges done..looks amazing..except for one small problem.

For some reason the airbag light wouldn't turn off. It's supposed to turn on for a brief second when you start your car and go away..but it's not going away. This only happened after i did this mod. It makes sense if it didn't turn on at all (that would make it my bad soldering job) but this?? :s Anyways any of you guys have similar problems?
My guess is that you are shorting out the light on your PCB. The only way to tell is to pull it apart and apply voltage to the LED and see what happens.
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My Thread
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DIY - Custom 12" Fiberglass Sub boxes:
http://forums.clubrsx.com/showthread.php?t=719401
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