Dash Lights Alternative

Ecky Thump

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2010
1,422
3
36
Reigate, Surrey
Garage
One of the things that has always bugged me about my 80 is that I can't dim the dashboard.
About three months ago I had a wiring fault that torched all the wiring to my side lights and the dash. As a consequence I rewired the side lights but didn't bother with the dash until today.

I have been thinking about alternative lighting and the idea I came up with was blue light. The reason I picked this is, when I was coach driving, the last coach I had I changed all the passenger lights to blue. This was a good look, the passengers could still see at night if they wanted and best of all, the saloon lights didn't glare on the inside of the windscreen thus screwing up my night vision.

So I started to experiment. The first thought was normal blue bulbs and a dimmer switch but blue lights that are truly blue are hard to come by. The second thought was blue LEDs so I started to look round for some.
We have an RS trade counter in Crawley so I went and bought some from there. See this page;

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/search/sear ... 3843&Nty=1

With VAT they cost just short of a quid a piece. You only need four for the dash.
I also decided to do the gear shift lamp whilst I was at it, see here;

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/search/sear ... 3843&Nty=1


Now, it is very difficult to build a circuit capable of dimming LEDs so I thought I would experiment until I got about the right amount of light.
The LEDs on their own are very bright and give four distinct bright spots on the dash that doesn't look good. To solve this I did a bit of school type arty farty stuff. Basically I stuck double sided tape to a piece of silver foil, I then cut out small discs about 7mm across. These discs were then stuck over the top of the LED dome to reflect some of the light out of the side of the LEDs.

Anyway the following pictures are the end result. I have not driven it at night but I think I have it almost right :?:

DSCN3987.jpg


DSCN3988.jpg


Excuse the crappy pictures but I couldn't use the flash and being an old man it's hard to keep the camera still for a long exposure shot. :lol:

So what do you think guys :?:

EDIT; ... forgot to mention, the LEDs come in packs of five. Bit of a sod when you only need one T1 for the gear shift.
 

TonyP

Super Moderator
Supporter
I am in uk
Feb 25, 2010
3,241
556
113
Goffs Oak
Looks quite good, but there does seem to be some bright spots in the pics of the instruments.
 
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Ecky Thump

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2010
1,422
3
36
Reigate, Surrey
Garage
TonyP said:
Looks quite good, but there does seem to be some bright spots in the pics of the instruments.
I don't think it would be possible to get an all over even light with just four LEDs but I can still experiment with the size of the tin foil disc.
 

Crispin

Administrator
Staff member
Guru
I am in great_britain
Feb 24, 2010
5,970
576
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springs, gauteng
Looks good. You could get the multi colour ones. That way you could switch between Coach-Driver Blue and Racing Red when you wanted to race :lol: :lol:

On a serious note..
How much space do you have between the LED and the back of the plate? Could you shoe-horn a piece of frosted perpex in there? That would disperse the light a bit.
Another thing you could try is get the frosted LED. Can't see them in the bulb replacements section though.
 

Ecky Thump

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2010
1,422
3
36
Reigate, Surrey
Garage
Jon

I did research PWM but thought it a tad too technical for the application, plus the fact, when I was doing electronics we still used rheostats and 555 timers so PWM is a bit beyond my scope without a lot more research.

Crispin

The original set up is a shaped piece of perspex that the bulb goes into which disperses the light around the dash. I might simply try rubbing the surface of the LED with glass paper to see what effect it has. There are rubber covers for bulbs, like a mini condom, I wonder if there are frosted ones :?:

Adrian

It was your thread that started me off in the first place. I haven't done the tiny bulbs yet, just the 10mm backlight ones. I have done all the dash switches using your method with blue miniture bulbs but these don't work yet as I still have some more re-wiring to do.
Iv'e also not done the heater control panel as the little green lights in the switches are good enough for me.


I think I will run the truck like this for a while to see if I can live with it. I suspect it will be fine as anything is better than the original in my face glare.
 

dream0460

New Member
I am in scotland
Jun 22, 2018
3
0
1
One of the things that has always bugged me about my 80 is that I can't dim the dashboard.
About three months ago I had a wiring fault that torched all the wiring to my side lights and the dash. As a consequence I rewired the side lights but didn't bother with the dash until today.

I have been thinking about alternative lighting and the idea I came up with was blue light. The reason I picked this is, when I was coach driving, the last coach I had I changed all the passenger lights to blue. This was a good look, the passengers could still see at night if they wanted and best of all, the saloon lights didn't glare on the inside of the windscreen thus screwing up my night vision.

So I started to experiment. The first thought was normal blue bulbs and a dimmer switch but blue lights that are truly blue are hard to come by. The second thought was blue LEDs so I started to look round for some.
We have an RS trade counter in Crawley so I went and bought some from there. See this page;

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/search/sear ... 3843&Nty=1

With VAT they cost just short of a quid a piece. You only need four for the dash.
I also decided to do the gear shift lamp whilst I was at it, see here;

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/search/sear ... 3843&Nty=1


Now, it is very difficult to build a circuit capable of dimming LEDs so I thought I would experiment until I got about the right amount of light.
The LEDs on their own are very bright and give four distinct bright spots on the dash that doesn't look good. To solve this I did a bit of school type arty farty stuff. Basically I stuck double sided tape to a piece of silver foil, I then cut out small discs about 7mm across. These discs were then stuck over the top of the LED dome to reflect some of the light out of the side of the LEDs.

Anyway the following pictures are the end result. I have not driven it at night but I think I have it almost right :?:

View attachment 39301

View attachment 39302

Excuse the crappy pictures but I couldn't use the flash and being an old man it's hard to keep the camera still for a long exposure shot. :lol:

So what do you think guys :?:

EDIT; ... forgot to mention, the LEDs come in packs of five. Bit of a sod when you only need one T1 for the gear shift.
 

dream0460

New Member
I am in scotland
Jun 22, 2018
3
0
1
Hi there
any chance of posting the full url for the bulbs from RS?
I have searched for them in their on line catalogue but could not see anything that made sense
Thanks
Ed
 
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