Project: Improve Dim Dials

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dan the capri fan
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by dan the capri fan » Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:52 am

hi peers are those better bulbs? :)
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Andrew 2.8i
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i » Thu Dec 25, 2014 7:26 am

dan the capri fan wrote:hi peers are those better bulbs? :)
Hi,
They look like they will fit through the holes in the instrument cluster, and won't require trimming. To be effective, you must ensure that wichever LEDs you buy emit light in all directions, not just a narrow beam from the end.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by dan the capri fan » Fri Dec 26, 2014 9:46 pm

i don't know what LED's to go for now i like the look of the ones you fitted but these other ones might fit better you say oh decisions, decisions. :lol:
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:02 am

Dan,
The ones I bought are perfectly good, and they'll be fine. Whichever LEDs you buy, if they don't fit, be sure to trim the LED cases themselves. Don't be tempted to drill larger holes in the instrument cluster as the bulb holders won't be able to clip into position.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:50 pm

I found this diagram I made once, to show polarities of bulbs if it`s of help to anyone.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by pbar » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:17 pm

I was going to remove the blue covers once when I had the dash out but couldn't stand losing the originality! Might do it next time though. I assume that the blue covers are to simply give a blue hue to the cluster, and thereby changing the bulbs to blue ones would keep the original intended effect?

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:31 pm

Yep, but they just tend to give a dim, greyish hue - especially if the filters have got a bit burnt along the way! Once you take the blue covers off you can put LEDs/bulbs of any colour you like, green, orange, red,...
Don`t forget, if you put a blue filter on a white bulb it`s blocking 80% of the bulbs light, anything that`s not blue. An LED gives light of one frequency only so ALL the energy is Blue (or green/red etc) so it will be brighter.

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:25 pm

stevemarl wrote:Yep, but they just tend to give a dim, greyish hue - especially if the filters have got a bit burnt along the way!
This is a revelation! I always assumed that the dials were supposed to be backlit green, as other Fords from the same era were. Yes, I know the bulb diffuser caps are blue, but the bulbs appeared to emit a dull green light on mine. As you say, must have been the scorched caps I suppose.
What about the illumination for the ring around the cigarette lighter (sorry, 12V socket in today's favoured language) and the clock, are they supposed to be blue as well? If so, does anyone know what type of bulb is required and whether they are available in blue?
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by pbar » Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:52 pm

Thanks for the info Steve, I did reply but it's been deleted somehow, maybe with the unfortunate forum changes? I notice that Andrew's links for the non LED bulbs are 1.2W and he also points Dan to some 5W ones. Are 3W coloured bulbs not available then do we know?

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:31 pm

peers.dupp wrote: I always assumed that the dials were supposed to be backlit green, as other Fords from the same era were. Yes, I know the bulb diffuser caps are blue, but the bulbs appeared to emit a dull green light on mine. As you say, must have been the scorched caps I suppose.
Indeed they are (supposed to be) green - it just never worked very well; I did post something this morning saying that a combination of yellowish 3w bulb and blue filter gives a greenish light, as you say. (Matching the plainly green clock face) Sadly this post has disappeared ???
pbar wrote: I did reply but it's been deleted somehow, maybe with the unfortunate forum changes
As above, I had a longer post which has also disappeared. (Briefly if you take the covers off you can use any colour you wish, LED or coloured bulb. 3W is correct for the wedge bulbs, 5W would burn the covers (if fitted), but will in any case have a shorter life than 3w, all things being equal (and they`re a faff to replace!) I got both green and orange 3w off ebay in the past.

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:55 pm

Andrew, re the clock and the cig. lighter, yes they are definitely green. I know the clock ones are a smaller versin of the bayonets in the front sidelight, 2w maybe? They`re definitely not the 1.2w it says in Haynes, they are only for switch illumination. There`s a green plastic moulding around the inner edge of the clock, inside, so it can only really be green.

I never meant to suggest that the display was blue, just that it was always dim and uninspiring even when new....

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by -JC- » Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:56 am

Totally didn't spot this first time around. Great guide, wish I'd had this when I did mine! B.b. I also put white dials on mine, it's perhaps almost *too* bright now.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:04 am

stevemarl wrote:There`s a green plastic moulding around the inner edge of the clock, inside, so it can only really be green.
Steve,
Thanks for clearing that up. It would appear that some informative posts had gone missing due to the forum software changes, creating a little confusion.
I had a feeling that the clock illumination used a white bulb and green plastic diffuser/surround, but I hadn't taken my clock out of the console to confirm. I can't see that there is means to circumvent that situation, therefore, for me that eliminates the option of changing the colour of the dashboard illumination. In my opinion contrasting colours for the clock and dials won't look right at all. Besides, I rather like the green illumination as it's more subtle than blue or orange, and it conforms to my philosophy of maintaining originallity wherever possible.
Just a quick thought about 5W bulbs. If the blue caps are removed, could green bulbs be used perfectly safely without overheating or melting anything? If not, there's always the dimmer, I suppose.
Thanks for all the info.
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Last edited by Andrew 2.8i on Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:20 am

-JC- wrote:Totally didn't spot this first time around. Great guide, wish I'd had this when I did mine! B.b. I also put white dials on mine, it's perhaps almost *too* bright now.
Thanks for your comments, JC.
I thought I would post a guide as the question asking about solutions to dim dials seemed to get asked often. If I've helped just one person then the time taken to write the guide was worthwhile.
I did, briefly, contemplate installing a white or silver dial kit as it does make a difference. However, it just didn't look in keeping with the general look of the interior, in my opinion. However, it's a personal choice and others most likely will prefer the lighter dials. You've made a good point and anyone changing their bulbs should consider fitting the dial kits at this stage.
By the way, my Toyota has silver dials and they look fantastic in that car.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:12 am

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/13132661 ... 108&ff19=0
These are the correct bulb for the clock, they`re 7mm D cf 9mm for the front sidelight bulb. Not available as readily as they once were.

Yes, the only issue with 5w bulbs is burning the covers; I actually ended up with smoke damage to the acrylic lens cover sheet, grey smoke staining I couldn`t get off - had to buy a new one!
I also considered orange for the display, even had a spare cluster set up with orange bulbs in, but quite apart from not being able to match the clock, I just find green a more pleasing colour. Plus, it does maintain originality.
pbar wrote:Are 3W coloured bulbs not available then do we know?

It seems not any more, only ones I could find were 5w. Mind you, there are a lot of more obscure bulbs which used to be fitted to dashes, clocks etc which I imagine will be completely deleted in a few years... Millions & millions of LED ones in the most common sizes though!
5w is fine if you take covers off.

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:19 am

pbar wrote:Are 3W coloured bulbs not available then do we know?
Stevemarl wrote:It seems not any more, only ones I could find were 5w.
You might get lucky and find some old stock in a local car accessory shop. I couldn't find any at all online.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by pbar » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:12 pm

Thanks for the info. So, I think we have ascertained that if you wish to use 3W bulbs, and keep the use of the dimmer, then white bulbs are the only option really.

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:48 pm

Dimmer will work with 5w bulbs if you wanted colour? It only won`t work with LEDs `cos they have way too high resistance/low current.
Or http://www.conrad-electronic.co.uk/ce/e ... n?ref=list

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by pbar » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:35 pm

Thanks for the link Steve, I was wondering about something like that. Also, I take it that coloured bulbs of a lesser wattage than 3W are available? I'm sure I noticed a link on here to some 1.2W ones. I assume that they would work with the dimmer and also be bright enough (as the bulb covers will obviously be missing), to provide good illumination.

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:40 pm

peers.dupp wrote:
dan the capri fan wrote:could you point me in the direction you found the bulbs thanks peers. :)
I bought my bulbs from a local car accessory shop. I've found these online:
http://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk/R286-D ... Clear.html
If you want to take a chance on 5W bulbs, which get a bit hotter than the 3W versions, try these:
http://www.astraautomotive.co.uk/lighti ... -10mm.html
Hadn`t spotted this, the r286 1.2W bulbs are the wrong type. They are the very thin bulbs, 3-4mm, which go in the HRS / rear fog switches, and illuminate when on. They won`t fit the illumination bulb holders. (Andrew, perhaps you could edit?)

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