Project: Improve Dim Dials

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Andrew 2.8i
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

stevemarl wrote: (Andrew, perhaps you could edit?)
Done. Well done for spotting that, I hadn't even noticed they weren't 501 bulbs myself!
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl »

peers.dupp wrote:
stevemarl wrote:There`s a green plastic moulding around the inner edge of the clock, inside, so it can only really be green.
it conforms to my philosophy of maintaining originallity wherever possible.
Andrew.
Mention of originality is making me regret how extensively I fitted LEDs in mine.... Initially, 10 years ago, I just replaced the brake lights on safety grounds. ( For anyone unfamiliar with the claims, an LED is supposed to light more or less instantly, IIRC 100mS (?) quicker than filament. 0.1 sec may not seem much, but at 60mph it`s worth an extra 10 ft of road in front of you, which I thought a good idea so fitted them to both cars.) Then the green instrument bulbs were a big improvement.....& while dash was out might as well do beam warning, charge etc, etc. And that courtesy light`s a bit dim....
Now only the 21w indicator/rev/rear fog & headlights are filament. But in a way, as some bulbs are becoming harder to get, I`m now starting to think I`ve lost some of the character of the car, it`s no longer pure `old tech.` Apart from the display - which overcomes a design fault IMO, all the others were quite adequate. Do I go back? Decisions, decisions... I think I may.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

stevemarl wrote:Mention of originality is making me regret how extensively I fitted LEDs in mine.
Steve,
Funny how you should mention that. I also intended to exchange bulbs for LEDs in the external rear lights for reliability. However, what put me off is exactly what you have said in your post above. It's the way the LEDs light and extinguish instantly, whereas with a bulb the light fades away gradually. This is most noticeable on the indicators when they are flashing. Although this has a positive safety aspect, I felt that the LEDs just did not look right being fitted to a classic car and they were removed. I also had some high powered ones fitted in the reversing lights to aid reversing at night, although I didn't like the bluish shade of white that a lot of LEDs have so they were also replaced with bulbs. It's funny how the little things matter so much.......
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl »

Agree with all above! I tried LEDs for front sidelight but got rid `cos I couldn`t stand the bluish tint, the yellow seems much warmer. The courtesy lights I mostly made myself as there weren`t suitable ones available at the time, (light has to come out sideways) so I used `warm` white LEDs. They ARE ok, and brighter, but, but.... just not right.
I also agree about flashers, the slow rise/fall time just looks SO much better, in any car, doesn`t it. (Maybe in the future they could get the ECU to give a `softer` switching effect? just like a bulb... :lol: )
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by pbar »

Originality is the exact reason I have kept all of my lights, dash included, just as they are. To be honest, although I know the dashboard illumination will never win a brightness award, it has never particularly bothered me as such, and I do, and have done, plenty of night driving, it was just one of those things I might change, and even then I was only considering removing the covers. Although keeping the correct hue would have been good. I hate originality being lost, think I'll keep the dash just as it is.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

stevemarl wrote:Apart from the display - which overcomes a design fault IMO
Steve,
Agreed. This is the one area where a change to LED is definitely worthwhile and makes a huge difference. I can live with the lack of originality as the benefit is so great.
stevemarl wrote:Do I go back? Decisions, decisions... I think I may.
You know you want to!
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by simon »

hi andrew , what a great subject and illustration you have posted . i was thinking about doing mine again , i changed all the bulbs in mine last year and it didnt make any difference at all ,i put 3 watt clear ones in think there was 8 bulbs in total i did .I didnt know that you had to take the blue covers off and put green 3 watt leds in replace the only thing that i would like to know is did you just do the rev counter and the speedo bulbs or did you do the lot meaning the fuel /temp side and the oil pressure/battery side or is it best to do all 4 bulbs for a better lighting ?
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

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simon wrote: the only thing that i would like to know is did you just do the rev counter and the speedo bulbs or did you do the lot meaning the fuel /temp side and the oil pressure/battery side or is it best to do all 4 bulbs for a better lighting ?
Simon,
Thanks for your comments. I did all 4 of the illumination bulbs for much increased lighting of the dials. While I was there I also changed the handbrake, ignition and main beam warning lights in their respective colour LEDs. The only one I didn't do is the green indicator flasher, because LEDs aren't suitable for that and won't work. Apart from the increased illumination, another reason I replaced them is because LEDs are supposed to have a longer working life than lightbulbs, so they will probably outlive the car and won't need to be changed again!
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Hollyoak »

Hi Andrew, excellent tutorial, I'll do something with mine while the dash is out,
You mention repairs to your circuit board, is this a DIY job or did you get someone to do it,
Mines got a break in it and only one of the dash dial lights is working,

Dave.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

Hollyoak wrote:You mention repairs to your circuit board, is this a DIY job or did you get someone to do it,
Mines got a break in it and only one of the dash dial lights is working,
Hi Dave,
Mine had some tiny breaks in the circuit in a couple of places. One was in the illumination for the dials and the other on the handbrake warning light. I just joined the breaks with a small amount of solder, then protected the repaired area with tape. You can repair longer breaks by soldering in either wire or copper tape, although from some internet research I am led to believe that it's difficult for a beginner like myself to solder copper tape. Mine's probably not the most professional of repairs, but everything works now, so I'm happy enough. It's an easy enough repair to do yourself if you're competent(ish) with a soldering iron. My philosophy is to give it a go. If it's broken anyway, you've got nothing to lose!. If it all goes wrong, you can buy another instrument binnacle and swap over the speedometer so the mileage will remain the same. A professional repair to the circuitry will probably cost the same as working replacement instruments from Martin.
All the best,
Andrew.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

Dave,
If you look at the fifth photo down, you can see where the repair was on the top left( covered in tape). In the centre bottom of the photo you can see the damage to the handbrake warning light circuit, which hadn't yet been repaired. There is also evidence of two previous repairs, which look more professional than mine! So, four repairs in total and now every circuit works perfectly.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Hollyoak »

Well It gives me confidence that a repair is a good option, I'd rather repair if possible at least I know there's just one problem, you don't know what you're going to inherit with an old one,
Mind you I may not have an option, Thanks,

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

Hollyoak wrote:Well It gives me confidence that a repair is a good option, I'd rather repair if possible at least I know there's just one problem, you don't know what you're going to inherit with an old one
Dave,
A very sensible approach, better the devil you know!. As I said, a DIY repair should be possible, although an electronics repair outfit should be able to repair it easily, should you wish to play safe. Let me know how you get on.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl »

Just out of interest, how do they get damaged/fail? I`d have thought they ,just sat there minding their own business, you`d expect them to last fairly well?
Key to soldering is to heat the parts you`re joining so it flows & bonds, rather than just putting molten solder on the joint.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

stevemarl wrote:Just out of interest, how do they get damaged/fail? I`d have thought they ,just sat there minding their own business, you`d expect them to last fairly well?
Steve,
You're right, of course. I suppose the instruments had been removed many times by many previous owners and on occasion they probably weren't as careful as they could have been.
Thanks for the soldering tip, I'll give it a try next time. More often than not I find that the solder just forms a ball and rolls off the wire I am soldering, perhaps that's why.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by stevemarl »

peers.dupp wrote: I find that the solder just forms a ball and rolls off the wire I am soldering
Yep, that`s exactly it. If you heat the wire as well (only for a second or 2), you`ll find the solder will flow onto the joint much better.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Hollyoak »

peers.dupp wrote:
Hollyoak wrote:Well It gives me confidence that a repair is a good option, I'd rather repair if possible at least I know there's just one problem, you don't know what you're going to inherit with an old one
Dave,
A very sensible approach, better the devil you know!. As I said, a DIY repair should be possible, although an electronics repair outfit should be able to repair it easily, should you wish to play safe. Let me know how you get on.
Andrew.
Andrew, had a look at the board and its a bit of a mess, too much for me to tackle, don't know what's happened to it in the past, looks like someone's not taken a lot of care getting it out, however the guy I was talking to says he can repair it ( sent him some photos ) but at a cost of £75-£90 so I'll get a second hand one, on the positive side they can be repaired, there may come a time when you don't have a choice, though as they say you can always get away with paying,

Dave.
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

Hollyoak wrote:Andrew, had a look at the board and its a bit of a mess, too much for me to tackle, don't know what's happened to it in the past, looks like someone's not taken a lot of care getting it out, however the guy I was talking to says he can repair it ( sent him some photos ) but at a cost of £75-£90 so I'll get a second hand one, on the positive side they can be repaired, there may come a time when you don't have a choice, though as they say you can always get away with paying,
Dave,
Sorry to hear that. I can't imagine that there is too much damage to your printed circuit, you said it was only the illumination circuit that wasn't working. However, I think you're making the right decision to buy another second hand unit. I'm sure they can be bought for less than the quoted cost of repairing your existing one, and you would then have the gauges/ rev counter/speedo for spares. Personally, I would try to buy a tested unit from a trusted source, as you don't know what condition an Ebay item would be in!
I think the circuit tracks are easily broken because the plastic protecting the circuits overhangs the instrument unit in a few places, and the actual circuits run close to the edge in those places. I noticed when removing mine that these overhangs catch on the dash if it's not withdrawn carefully. That's probably where the damage is done over time.
All the best,
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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Hollyoak »

I can't imagine that there is too much damage

Yes thats what i thought, you are right about the outside edge getting caught, mines split on the L/H corner accross the outside track dont know if thats something ive done, at the bottom theres a track thats burnt out over a length of about 4in, which although not blown the track next to it is damaged over the same length,

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Re: Project: Improve Dim Dials

Post by Andrew 2.8i »

Hi,
If anyone is thinking of replacing the other bulbs in their dashboard illumination for LED, you will need a T5 wedge for the heater controls, like this one (very bright, a worthwhile improvement).
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251457130070? ... EBIDX%3AIT

And a 7mm bayonette (BA7S) for the cigarette lighter surround. If you want to go the whole hog, these also fit the clock. You will need 2 for the clock.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/191416867228? ... EBIDX%3AIT

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