Change the speedometer to LED lighting: Step by step (2022)

13 Min Read
Speedometer to LED lighting

It is common for older vehicles to have a flaw that only becomes apparent after some time. The lights on the speedometer get dimmer and dimmer over time.

This is because many cars are still equipped with incandescent lamps in their dashboards in the modern era.

Speedometer to LED lighting

LED bulbs are the solution to this problem; they are a type of light source gradually getting ready to replace traditional light bulbs.

What exactly are LED light bulbs?

LED stands for “light-emitting diode.” It is a component of electronic equipment that is responsible for producing light.

On the other hand, compared to the incandescent bulb, it possesses a very different set of qualities.

“Semiconductor” is another component that makes up the diode. This indicates that the current can only flow in one direction through it.

However, this does not matter for the normal process of replacing filaments with LED lighting.

Replacement bulbs already have the appropriate polarity built when they leave the factory.

However, if you want to change the lighting on your instrument panel using a soldering iron, you must pay attention to the markings.

Always clearly marked are the LEDs as well as the printed circuit board. Later, instruction will be provided on correctly identifying the polarity to avoid making any mistakes while soldering.

Advantages of using LED bulbs

When compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs, LEDs offer several significant benefits.

The following describes each of these:

– Longer service life

– Decreased production of thermal energy

– More light output

– More comfort

In most cases, LED lights can last for the entirety of a vehicle’s lifespan and even beyond that if proper care and attention are paid to their installation to ensure that they are of acceptable quality.

Before bringing the car to the junkyard, it is prudent to re-disassemble the LED speedometer lights, increasing the likelihood of finding a working speedometer light.

They are in a condition to be reused in the next vehicle with no issues whatsoever.

LEDs consume a significant amount less energy than that required by incandescent lighting.

They can convert a more significant amount of energy into visible light than other lights. While simultaneously producing less heat than before.

When there is a restriction on the amount of space behind the dashboard, this becomes an advantage.

LEDs light up a room much more effectively than traditional incandescent bulbs, but without producing as much heat.

In addition, the brightness of LED lights can be adjusted to precisely the required level.

In addition, the most recent generation of LEDs, known as RGB LEDs, can produce some exciting lighting effects.

RGB stands for “red, green, green, blue.” These are the actual colors, which can be mixed to create any conceivable shade of light.

Therefore, RGB LEDs can be adjusted to a color that is aesthetically pleasingAlternatively; the speedometer could be illuminated with an exciting play of light.

Making the switch to LED lighting for newcomers

The transition from incandescent to LED bulbs for a speedometer should not be too difficult. The only things you will require for this are the following:

– Specifications and instructions for disassembling the instrument cluster

– Suitable tools

– Light material that has received approval

– An steady heartbeat and a calm demeanor

  1. The incandescent light bulbs have swivel connectors attached to the back of the frame panel so they can be mounted. To get to them, the instrument panel has to be taken off.

This is potentially a very complicated matter, but it all depends on the kind of vehicle you have. In any event, you should try eliminating the instrument panel without touching the car’s wheel.

The airbag is located on the steering wheel itself. It takes a significant amount of technical expertise to get rid of it.

2. When removing the instrument panel, two things need to be kept in mind: The Plexiglas cover is susceptible to damage.

It is not difficult to fracture. In most cases, an accidental twist performed incorrectly is all that is required to cause a crack in an instrument.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to order just one of these items in most cases. Going to a junkyard or looking through the advertisements in the classified section is the only way to find a suitable replacement.

3. To replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs, removing the cover is unnecessary, at least not in and of itself.

  • To avoid accidentally damaging them or dropping them, you should never touch the instruments directly with your hands. This is especially important if they are broken.
  • The matte black coating does not react well with sweat from the hands.
  • The stains caused by this are now impossible to remove. “Retrofit LEDs” are another name for replacement LEDs and are also available. This indicates that they can be installed in preexisting housing without additional work.

Because of this, the procedure that follows is strongly suggested:

1. Remove each component from the speedometer.

2. Make sure you use a spotless surface, such as a table, to operate the speedometer.

3. When handling the speedometer, you should always do so while wearing cotton gloves.

The light lamps can be retrieved using pliers with pointed ends after the speedometer has been taken out.

The protruding bases are taken and rotated at an angle of ninety degrees. After that, they can be eliminated.

The ready-made LED lights have been installed in the backward position, and the speedometer has been reinstalled and is now ready.

Change the speedometer to LED lighting

Changing LED bulbs

But nowadays, a lot of cars come equipped with LED speedometer lights as they leave the factory.

For financial reasons, a lot of manufacturers will use light sources that are not of sufficient quality. Because of this, it is fairly uncommon for LEDs, which are known for their durability, to lose brightness or completely fail.

It takes considerably longer to change them, and it requires extensive practice beforehand.

There are two different approaches to customizing the speedometer:

– Replacing components that have been soldered
– Using light strips that contain LEDs

If one has sufficient experience, replacing the LEDs that have been soldered in place is the method that should be followed because it is both correct and risk-free.

Whoever fiddles with the disassembled instrument panel with a soldering iron will immediately cause substantial harm to whatever they are working on.

The most important thing to perform when soldering new LED lights is to pay attention to the polarity of the wires.

It is crucial to keep in mind that even if the polarity is reversed, the wires won’t catch on fire; however, the diode won’t operate properly.

If you don’t notice this until after the speedometer has been mounted, all your hard work will have been for nothing.

Find out which way the polarity of the LED lights should be oriented

Already exclusively SMD LEDs, the LED lights that illuminate the speedometer were chosen for their low power consumption.

The abbreviation “SMD” refers to a “surface mounted device,” also known as a “surface mounted device.” This indicates that the component is soldered directly onto the top layer of the circuit board.

Many electronic components have legs that need to be placed through board holes before being soldered from the back in the layout and construction that is typically used.

This design is quite difficult and, more importantly, it cannot be produced automatically.

However, It works out much better for construction using manual labor. LEDs can still be purchased with the legs attached for DIY projects.

Polarity is differentiated in this case by the length of the leg:

  • The longer of the two legs serves as the anode or positive pole. The shorter leg is the cathode, also known as the negative pole.
  • On the board itself, the slots that correspond are marked with either a plus sign (+) or a minus sign (-), or “A” or “C.”
  • After the soldering process, the legs of these LEDs are cut off, so they cannot be used again.
  1. Soldering is still an easy method for removing SMD LED lights, so don’t let that scare you off. It is recommended that you use two soldering irons in this scenario. After a brief period of warming up on each pole, the SMDs start to move.

2. Soldering components into place adds a layer of complexity to the mounting process. The SMDs’ polarity is clear to see because one of its components is missing a corner.

On the board is a symbol representing the missing corner that you can see here. The SMD has been mounted so that the minus corner points in the character’s direction.

A speedometer’s surface-mount devices (SMDs) may require several hours to be completely replaced with LED lights.

However, to do so successfully, you will need access to high-quality tools, a steady hand, ideal working conditions, and significant experience.

On the other hand, another option takes more of a do-it-yourself approach but still has the potential to produce satisfactory results.

Changing to LED lighting that makes use of luminous strips

There is also the option of purchasing LED lights in the form of “luminous strips,” particularly RGB LEDs.

These strips already have many SMD components soldered onto them and can be cut at any point along their length.

As a result, there are a significant number of hobby tuners who carry out the LED light change in the following manner:

– Remove the instrumentation control panel.

– Take off the cover for the control panel

– Attach the glowing strips to the sides with glue.

– Attach the luminous strips to the lighting on the dashboard. luminous strips

– Reconstruct everything that was taken apart

  • Cotton gloves must be worn as a precaution to prevent harm because removing the instrument panel’s cover is necessary.
  • Therefore, the instrument panel has complete indirect lighting throughout the entire space. This solution is appropriate for exciting illumination of the rev counter, clock, speedometer, and engine temperature gauge. Interesting description and any other instruments that are held in hand.
  • However, this solution does not accomplish the illumination of the signal fields. The ‘check engine light, the engine’s temperature, the voltage of the battery, and the lights for the ABS and the airbags are not included in this solution.
  • Traditional methods of illumination are still required to be used when working with these instruments.

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