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Old 10-03-2010, 03:45 PM   Thread Starter #1
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Default How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

I have had quite a few people PM me recently requesting information so they can perform their own LED gauge mod. I refer everyone over to a post I made at Maxima.org, but I figured, I'd just post the information here...so here it is!

Everybody wants a quick/easy/no-nonsense/cheap way to do this mod...it does not exist. Everybody wants to know what LED's to order, and where to get them. I've tried to help everybody that asks me. I cannot do this mod over the phone or internet for you. If you want me to do it, I will, but I have to charge something for my time. I simply don't have the time to do everyone's LED's for free. I have a wife and 2 children, and my spare time is very limited as it is. I'm sure Cory (CoryXavier) feels the same way...not to speak for him though.

Here is the best I can do on the internet to give people the needed info to do this themselves.

LEDs:

Obviously, you need LEDs. They can be purchased on Ebay, but you better know exactly what you are ordering, because in the PLCC-4 package, THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. Also, if you order from Ebay...most of the Ebay vendors are overseas. You will be waiting 2-3 weeks for shipping. Then, if you have any problems with the LED's, good luck in resolving the issue with a company in Asia.

I source my LED's from Mouser.com, and Oznium.com. They are both stateside, and I have my LED's within 3 days of ordering. I've had 2 issues with 2 different orders from Mouser.com. One error was mine, the other error on the other order was theirs. They fixed both problems with no questions asked. This is excellent customer service IMHO...they deal with orders in HUGE numbers, but they looked out for me when I only placed a very small (insignificant really) order. You'll pay a little more using Mouser.com, but I highly recommend them for their quick shipping and excellent customer service.

You will need 4 different types of LED's for the mod. The exact number of "how many" you will need, depends on the year of your car, and exactly what pieces you are modding...can't help you there...it varies depending on the variables I just stated. The 4 types of LED needed are:

PLCC-4 (Mouser.com)

PLCC-2 (Mouser.com, or Oznium.com)

0603/0805 (Mouser.com or Oznium.com)

Some guys use the 0603 LED for these, I used the 0805...the 0805 are just SLIGHTLY larger than the 0603...which is a good thing, because these suckers are TINY!

3mm LED with appropriate resistor. (Oznium.com)

The resistor type depends on the color of the LED being used.

HERE IS SOME EXTREMELY IMPORTANT INFO ON THE PLCC-4 LED THAT YOU MUST READ BEFORE PLACING ANY ORDER:

http://www.mouser.com/Search/Product...E6SCU2AA5K8L1Z

If you click on the link for the data sheet for that LED and go to page 10, you'll see that it shows a top view of the LED. One corner is notched and 3 corners are marked "C", while one corner is marked "A". This is the correct package type that you will need. Others will have 3 corners marked "A", and one corner marked "C"...THOSE WILL NOT WORK!.

If you look at this one:

http://catalog.osram-os.com/catalogu...016cb90001003a

Scroll down and open the data sheet and go to page 11. You'll see that this one has 3 corners marked "A", and one marked "C". Visually, this looks identical to the other one, just the notched corner is on the wrong side. Again, THIS ONE WILL NOT WORK.

OK, now that we have that basic info, let's begin. You'll need to remove all of the pieces that you want to mod, and "breaK" them down to the bare circuit boards. I then plugged my bare circuit boards back into my car and turned my lights on so I could see exactly what LED's I wanted to swap. ****IMPORTANT**** I recommend taking MULTIPLE digital photos along the way so you can document everything should you have any questions, or need a reference.

Once you have all of your bare circuit boards layed out, you can now decide which LED's you want to change, and you can begin counting up how many of each type that you will need in whichever color you choose. You then go to Ebay/Mouser/Oznium and order the appropriate number of LED's needed. I would add 10% to the number of each needed, as you WILL screw up, or drop one or two of them. The 0603/0805 package LED's are so small that if you drop one on the floor, you will NEVER find it.

OK, so now you placed your order, and you're not sure what to do while waiting on your new LED's to arrive. Now is the time to remove all of the LED's that you will be replacing. My recommendation is to use Solder Braid to remove the LED's. Others may have other methods, but I've found this to be the safest way.

YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE TO TAKE PHOTOS AND WRITE DOWN A SMALL DIAGRAM SHOWING THE ORIENTATION OF THE LED'S ON THE BOARD. They only go 1 way, if you have them turned aound, they will not work. The PLCC-2 and PLCC-4 have notches on them to denote the proper orientation. the 0603/0805 have markings on the back of them to denote the orientation. If you remove all of the LED's and did not note the orientation for EACH ONE, then you've pretty much screwed yourself.
Onto the next step.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE SOLDERING EXPERIENCE, PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. These are all surface-mounted LED's that were mounted/soldered using computer-aided machines. You will be doing this by hand. A set of "helping hands" with a magnifying lens and light will help tremendously. Also you need to be aware, that if you apply too much heat to the cicuit board when de-soldering/soldering...YOU WILL DAMAGE THE BOARD. Also, If you are not careful when removing the old LED's, YOU WILL RIP THE SOLDER PAD OFF OF THE BOARD. If you do rip the solder pad off, there are a couple of workarounds. First you can run a "jumper" wire off of the previous LED in the circuit, and then onto the next one. Second, you can scrape away the wafer layer of the board next to the damage pad to expose some more foil that you can then use to solder the LED. IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE LAST 2 SENTENCES...PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THIS MOD. Once you have the old LED's removed, use the solder braid to remove all of the old solder off of the pads on the board. I then go over the board with rubbing alcohol to clean off the flux left by the solder braid.

OK, now you have removed all of your old LED's and are ready to replace them with your new ones. I take a toothpick and apply a VERY SMALL amount of flux to each solder pad. This allows for a nice solder flow, and also helps hold the LED to the board as you attempt to solder it on. I then place the LED on the board, position it as square as I can onto the solder pads, and solder it onto the board. You will need to use something to hold the LED in place on the board with one hand, while you solder it with the other hand, otherwise it will slide out of place.

Once all of your LED's are soldered on, I go back over the board with a magnifying lens and check all of my solder joints. If any of them look suspect, I remove the LED and replace it with a new one. Once you are happy with your new LED's, go plug the board back into the car, and turn on the lights to make sure they all work. If you did everything correctly, they will all light, and you can move onto the next step.

I then go BACK over the board with a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol to remove all of the solder paste from putting the new LED's back on. Once the board dries, plug it in again, and make sure all LED's light up. If all is well, you can reassemble your pieces and put them back into the car.

As far as the needles go, if your needles are clear plastic with a red painted strip on the bottom, you can remove the painted strip and replace the 3 LED's on the circuit board at the base of each needle with whatever color you want your needles to be. If your needles are MOLDED red plastic, you're stuck with red, unless you want to hit the junkyard for new needles.

To remove my needles, I used a fork, and gently placed it under the post and pried the needle straight up and off.

***IMPORTANT***

Before removing the needles, go fill your gas tank, and drive the car for a long enough distance to get the engine good and warm. Now, with the engine warm, and the gas tank full...take some photos of where the all needles are positioned with the car idling. When you go to put the needles back on, go fill the car up again, and let the engine get good and warm. With the engine idling replace the fuel needle to where it sat with a full tank. Replace the temp needle where it sat with the engine warm.

Replace the RPM needle wherever it idled before you removed it. It should be in the 800-900rpm range. As far as the speedo goes, I had a co-worker clock me with a radar gun as I drove down a FLAT EMPTY roadway. I placed my needle on as I drove down the roadway...PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL DOING THIS. You could also use a free-standing radar sign to do this if there are any in use near you. A gps could also be used if you have one.

As far as doing a two-toned speedo cluster, there are a few methods.

Cheapest/easiest is to color your gauge overlay with a Sharpie marker. The better method is to use some type of transparency paper/theatre gells glued/taped behind the overlay to change the color. You would have to do all white LED's in the cluster and then use the transparency paper to change the color to whatever you want. If you use a red LED, you can't use a yellow paper and think that you will get a yellow color showing through...doesn't work that way. Also, for the 07-08, the speedo uses a factory "diffuser" plate. This disperses the light behind the gauge overlay to eliminate hotspots. If you have an 04-06, the factory diffuser film is orange, and you will be removing it. If you remove it, you will have to deal with hotspots. You can then purchase some diffuser film from anchoroptics.com and put this between the LED's and the gauge overlay. They come in different thicknessess. A few different guys have used them with success and said that the thickest film worked the best.

Please know, that if you attempt this, you very well COULD destroy your circuit boards. If you do, you will have to fix it or replace it. If you are hesitant about any of the steps I mentioned...PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

Lastly, there are plenty of people here willing to help. There is no EASY way to do this mod...there are a lot of variables involved. THIS IS A VERY TEDIOUS MOD AS THE LED'S INVOLVED ARE VERY SMALL. Good Luck to anyone wanting to attempt this, and again, if you screw up your boards, Cory is willing to fix them for a fee. If you screw up your boards, then I WILL NOT attempt to fix them, you need to call Cory, or you could contact theAlliance to see if he could repair them.

Lastly, I'd just like to repeat...please do not PM me asking "how many LED's do I need?", or "what type do I need to get?". If you read this thread, it will answer those questions for you. There are many variables involved when ordering:
Exactly which LED's are you changing?
Are you chaning the turn signals?
Are you changing the idiot lights?
What year is your car?
What color are you using?
The part numbers for the LED's that I used may not do you any good, as Mouser may not carry that part number any longer. You will have to choose a different LED/part number.
Due to all of these variables, I cannot give you an answer to "how many LED's should I order?", or "what part number should I order?"...you have to figure those answers out on your own. In order to get the correct count of LED's, take your pieces apart, plug the boards in, look at the LED's, decide what you want to change, and count them up. Yes, this means you will have to take your pieces apart twice...once to get the count, and once to do the mod. You need to know how to take them apart anyways, so the first time is good practice. As stated earlier, I would add at least 10% extra of each type when ordering to allow for screwups (ie...dropping them on the floor, and they are so small you can't find them, or applying too much heat and burning them). Don't worry, you WILL screw up...we all do!

Something to take into consideration if you want to do this. I decided to start with my HVAC control board, so I checked Ebay to see if a replacement was available...should I destroy mine. I found a couple on Ebay for around $30. I knew going in, that if I destroyed my board, I'd be buying a new/used one on Ebay for about $30. That being said, you may want to check out what replacement parts will cost just in case you destroy yours...this may be the deciding factor on whether or not you want to attempt this.

If I did, or didn't mention anyone that I should have, I apologize, and if anybody has any questions, or suggestions...feel free to add them, or to ask. Please remember, I will not be responsible for anybody destroying their circuit boards, this information is for informative purposes only.

UPDATE:

The PLCC2/4 LEDs have a notch on one corner marking either the cathode, or anode. You would think that these marks would be universal, but I've recently found that THEY ARE NOT! You will need to do your homework. If you have an LED that WILL NOT work, try turning it around. THEY ARE POLARITY SENSITIVE.

Here are some pics of the boards you will be dealing with:

07-08 Sunroof/Maplight board:
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 Driver info screen:
Click the image to open in full size.

04-06 HVAC Board:
Click the image to open in full size.

04-06 Radio control board:
Click the image to open in full size.

Front driver's door board:
Click the image to open in full size.

Front passenger's door board:
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 HVAC board:
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 Speedometer board:
Click the image to open in full size.

04-06 Speedometer board, it is different than the 07-08 board. Also, this is NOT my solder work on this board, it was sent to me for repair, but the owner decided to just pick up another board from Ebay and I modded the replacement board for him:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 HVAC info display board:
Click the image to open in full size.

Rear door switches:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 Lighted steering wheel switches:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 dimmer switch:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 Rear sonar switch/TCS switch:
Click the image to open in full size.

07-08 Power mirror board w/auto tilt function:
Click the image to open in full size.

Comments
  
  Great effing write up.
  
  Great write up
  
  great write up!
  
  excellent
  
  Fantastic write up. Exactly what I was looking for. I hope I can find the time. BTW what would you charge todo the cente...
  
  Fantastic! Very detailed!!
  
  Good Write up
  
  Love this write up,...
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

That is some excellent info sir. Thank you very much.

Sticky anyone?
(Sorry, mobile right now)
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Jus curious,might b a stupid question but how do u remove the stock led.Very nice write up
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

NICE WRITE UP BRO..........this should definitely be stickied for the people that are daring enough to do this mod.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Stickied it as soon as I saw it.

Please give thanks and rep points to Don for this wonderful write-up.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

How would I give rep points?


And congrats 1hawaii50
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by craze View Post
Jus curious,might b a stupid question but how do u remove the stock led.Very nice write up
a soldering iron
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Hey Don.... can you post some pics/info/price on the soldering gun you use. Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Don FTFW!! Thank u sir! Maximus, There's a check mark under where his current status is. Click to repppp!!
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Might sound like a silly question, but non the less, How would you figure out where
the plcc4 and plcc2 leds go ? don't they look very similar in size to one another ?
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

there is a post somewhere listing witch are witch but they are similar but plcc-2 have 2 leads and the 4s have 4 leads dont remember if its here or maxima.org just do a search or if someone can chime in and give you the exact page
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by 06blckmax View Post
there is a post somewhere listing witch are witch but they are similar but plcc-2 have 2 leads and the 4s have 4 leads dont remember if its here or maxima.org just do a search or if someone can chime in and give you the exact page
Yeah it would be great if someone here can help me out with that question,
This thread is reallllyyy Great though,, Awesome advice and detailssss....
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:40 PM   Thread Starter #13
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by craze View Post
Jus curious,might b a stupid question but how do u remove the stock led.Very nice write up
Stock LED's are removed using soldering braid. You lay the braid over the OEM solder joint and heat the braid with the soldering iron. When the braid heats up it will draw the OEM solder into the braid. You do both sides. There is also some type of adhesive used along with the OEM solder. You then have to alternate heating both sides of the LED with the iron while lifting with SLIGHT pressure on the LED. Here is your biggest chance of screwing your board. If you lift with too much pressure, you WILL lift/rip the solder pad off of the board. As you are heating/lifting, you will hear a very soft click as the edge of the LED finally releases from the board. Once you have both sides free, or all 4 contacts free (in the case of the PLCC-4) you can pull the LED free.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:43 PM   Thread Starter #14
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by EddyMaxx View Post
Hey Don.... can you post some pics/info/price on the soldering gun you use. Thanks.
Eddy, I picked up a nice digital soldering station from Radio Snatch, but I've found that the tip of the iron does not stay hot enough, so I end up just using my $15 Weller iron that I got from Home Depot. This is the iron I use. I've done it with a 40w iron, but you DO NOT want to heat the circuit board too much, or you WILL lift the solder pad. Heat is NOT your friend here...you have to keep alternating sides of the LED so you do not damage the board.

http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brand...c=037103200600

You can get this iron at Home Depot for $10-$15.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by Caster Troy View Post
Might sound like a silly question, but non the less, How would you figure out where
the plcc4 and plcc2 leds go ? don't they look very similar in size to one another ?
http://forums.maxima.org/6th-generat...-revealed.html

here is the page of the gauge cluster opened up all the orange except a few are pllc-4 and the red is plcc-2
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:45 PM   #16
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

^^ Photo

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:49 PM   Thread Starter #17
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by Caster Troy View Post
Yeah it would be great if someone here can help me out with that question,
This thread is reallllyyy Great though,, Awesome advice and detailssss....
C'mon guys...don't make me hold your hands totally here...simple google search will answer your questions. The PLCC-2 and the PLCC-4 are identical in shape and size...roughly 1/8" square. The difference being that the PLCC-2 will have 1 contact pad on two opposing sides for a total of 2 contact pads. The PLCC-4 will have 2 contact pads per side, on 2 opposing sides for a total of 4 contact points.

Here is a plcc-2

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...:0&tx=89&ty=24

Here is a plcc-4

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...:0&tx=97&ty=88
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:49 PM   #18
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

the braid that 1hawaii50 is talking about is called wick you can also use flux to melt the solder faster but you really dont need it. i also used a weller iron to the way i did it is to get a tip that will melt one side but both leads at once so you can lift one side at a time with just a little bit of pressure and the other side will just fall off once you heat the 2 leads. same for the plcc-2 but a lot easier as theres only one lead on each side.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:50 PM   Thread Starter #19
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by 06blckmax View Post
the braid that 1hawaii50 is talking about is called wick you can also use flux to melt the solder faster but you really dont need it. i also used a weller iron to the way i did it is to get a tip that will melt one side but both leads at once so you can lift one side at a time with just a little bit of pressure and the other side will just fall off once you heat the 2 leads. same for the plcc-2 but a lot easier as theres only one lead on each side.
Using a broad, flat tip will allow you to heat both pads on one side of a PLCC-4 at a time, you need to be careful not to lift the solder pads though...DO NOT GET IN A HURRY.
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by 1hawaii50 View Post
C'mon guys...don't make me hold your hands totally here...simple google search will answer your questions. The PLCC-2 and the PLCC-4 are identical in shape and size...roughly 1/8" square. The difference being that the PLCC-2 will have 1 contact pad on two opposing sides for a total of 2 contact pads. The PLCC-4 will have 2 contact pads per side, on 2 opposing sides for a total of 4 contact points.

Here is a plcc-2

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...:0&tx=89&ty=24

Here is a plcc-4

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...:0&tx=97&ty=88
LoL,, Thank you for holding my hand and walking me across the street...
No i have alot of downtime when i'm not working and i actually just started to
attempt to do this to spare parts that i have, I actually had this mod done
a while back by the alliance, but this is just a hobby of mine now that i'm
trying to get better at... but I Thank you again for answering my question,
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:02 PM   #21
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Great Thread. +1 for Don
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:35 PM   Thread Starter #22
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by Caster Troy View Post
LoL,, Thank you for holding my hand and walking me across the street...
No i have alot of downtime when i'm not working and i actually just started to
attempt to do this to spare parts that i have, I actually had this mod done
a while back by the alliance, but this is just a hobby of mine now that i'm
trying to get better at... but I Thank you again for answering my question,
No problem man...sorry if I came across wrong. Here's a photo from a 04 speedo cluster to help you out:

Click the image to open in full size.

Here's my 07 speedo cluster...I didn't highlight/circle anything, but you can clearly see the PLCC-2 vs the PLCC-4:

Click the image to open in full size.

The white lens LEDs are PLCC-2, and the yellow lens LEDs are PLCC-4...see the contacts?

Be sure to use flux when you are soldering on your new LED's...otherwise the solder will not flow smoothly and it will end up very fugly!
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:44 PM   #23
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

DON, WOW!!!! GREAT WRITE UP! just typing that must have taken all day. Im with you. I randomly sell modded speedometers on craiglist or ebay and get ask the same question all the time. especially from youtube cause i have videos of the blue led mod on there and get asked all the time. And i want to help out but there just to much to say about it.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:48 PM   Thread Starter #24
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

Originally Posted by wolf040882 View Post
DON, WOW!!!! GREAT WRITE UP! just typing that must have taken all day. Im with you. I randomly sell modded speedometers on craiglist or ebay and get ask the same question all the time. especially from youtube cause i have videos of the blue led mod on there and get asked all the time. And i want to help out but there just to much to say about it.
Thanks! I've had 3 people in the last week PM me asking me "how many LED's do I need to order?", and "what exact LED's do I need?". I figured this would get anybody wanting to do it themselves well on their way.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:12 AM   #25
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Default Re: How To Perform Your Own LED Gauge Mod (Important Information)

awesome but i'll leave this to the specialist...

I rather swap your headers or pull your motor out before I even imagine tackling this project !


Awesome work man !
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