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I Love Hippos.
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Discussion Starter #1
So that blue-on-black color scheme finally got to me, and I decided I want to change the LEDs in the instrument cluster to red. I already tried clear red tape, and coloring the backside of the gauges - no dice.

Has anyone done this before and can point me in the direction of the right LEDs to purchase? I suppose I could just pull the cluster and de-solder one of them as a sample, but I figured I would ask here first.

Thanks!
.addicted2sp33d (Judee's Chauffeur).
 

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So that blue-on-black color scheme finally got to me, and I decided I want to change the LEDs in the instrument cluster to red. I already tried clear red tape, and coloring the backside of the gauges - no dice.

Has anyone done this before and can point me in the direction of the right LEDs to purchase? I suppose I could just pull the cluster and de-solder one of them as a sample, but I figured I would ask here first.

Thanks!
.addicted2sp33d (Judee's Chauffeur).
superbrightleds.com
 

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Senior Member
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1,255 Posts
The LED's in your instrument cluster are surface mount type. One needs to be experienced in removing and installing surface mount components before attempting this replacement. These components are very small and easily damaged if too much heat is applied, not to mention possible damage to the circuit board. This is not to discourage your from changing out the LED's, but just what you may experience. Keep us posted on your outcome.
 

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I Love Hippos.
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the concern. I'll be fine desoldering and resoldering the LEDs.

My problem is the SMD LEDs on the instrument cluster IC board are TINY! They're only 2mm or 3mm at most! I'm having some trouble locating them from any local stores (Fry's electronics, Radio Shack).

I can't even find them on the superbrightleds.com website! I was thinking about using a dome LED instead of an SMD, but the viewing range of the dome LEDs are too narrow for use as backlighting in the instrument cluster.
 

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I Love Hippos.
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
OK Ladies and Gentlemen...

I ordered 20x Red (635nm wavelength) 0603 SMD LEDs. Physical dimensions are approximately 1.6mm x 0.8mm x 0.6mm. If these turn out to be too small, I may move up to the larger 5050 size.

I'll have a better idea this weekend.

.addicted2sp33d
 

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Senior Member
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Super job! Now we know who to send our instrument panels to for modification. Glad you did it.
 

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I Love Hippos.
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305 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I ended up using PLCC-2s. PLCC-4s would probably work too, depending on the polarity of the 4 leads.

Send instrument clusters over! I would be happy to help. It really did not take that long. It took me about 2.5-hours, but I was soldering 3 or 4 LEDs, then going out to the car and plugging everything back in. Then disconnecting everything and soldering 3 or 4 more, then testing again. I must have connected and disconnected everything at least 4 or 5 times.

I must warn you though, these red PLCC-2's are BRIGHT. They have more than twice the MCD output as the stock Blue LEDs (New Red=310mcd vs Stock Blue=130mcd), given the same input voltage/amperage. That's why the Blues are hard to read at night. Almost any other color that you choose will be brighter than the stock blues. I actually thought about changing to white, like the Turbo S... but in the end decided that I didn't want Nubz to look like a poser Turbo S.

Unfortunately I did not snap any pictures... I didn't think about taking any pictures until AFTER I was done (hence the photos you see here) - and then I thought, "Oh, it would have been really cool if I took pictures WHILE I was doing all this stuff". But I'll definitely put up a How-To sometime soon.

In my defense, I was busy figuring out how to do it! I don't think anyone else has done this to a Beetle before... this was one of the few topics where NewBeetle.Org was not helpful.

.addicted2sp33d (Judee's Chauffeur)
 

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New to VDubs, not to cars
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Subscribing for pics!!!

This reminds me of the Star Belly Sneetches.
The Turbo S guys want the blue and the regular Beetle owners want the white. I like the blue like my '01 had. I have a TS now and the white looks like any other car.
The red is super sexy like an Audi.

Same thing with Euro emblems. The Europeans want our chrome emblems and we want their blue ones. :D
 

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treiber gefunden
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882 Posts
Subscribing for pics!!!

This reminds me of the Star Belly Sneetches.
The Turbo S guys want the blue and the regular Beetle owners want the white. I like the blue like my '01 had. I have a TS now and the white looks like any other car.
The red is super sexy like an Audi.

Same thing with Euro emblems. The Europeans want our chrome emblems and we want their blue ones. :D
That's human nature. I for one like my blue and wouldn't change it, though I hate my emblems and plant to replace them with 3D chrome emblems soon.
 
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