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Old 12-27-2011, 01:33 PM   #151
meissen
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Tried to do it today but I goofed and burned two of the LEDs. Should've ordered extras, but didn't tihnk about it. Gotta wait for the extras to show up before I can finish the job. I'm waiting until the extras come in to do the white letters, so all I accomplished was 6 of the 8 ring/halo LEDs. While it's a relatively easy job to do, I'd definitely recommend having a good soldering iron. Mine is old and has a crappy tip on it - a new tip would make the job a LOT easier.

Here's a pic of what mine looks like right now.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:05 PM   #152
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That's actually kind of intersting! I know you're not done and all, but it looks kind of neat having the two colors, though red & white would've been more ideal! lol

Really, though, it'll look great once you've gotten it finished!
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:08 PM   #153
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Thanks! You've definitely inspired me to dive in and give it a try. When I realized how easy it was to get the cluster out, I had to try it. And when I goofed up, I told myself it was too easy to stop, put it back together, and wait until the extra LEDs come in so I'm not doing it while I'm frustrated. With only 4 real bolts, I haven't owned any cars that were easier to remove the cluster.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:16 PM   #154
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Aw. Thanks. I'm glad I was the inspiration for something, lol.. Now, I do cheat, though and someone else changes the actual LEDs for me, but I did the rest. Really, though, I have no talent for this kind of stuff, so I figure if I can do it.. anyone else can too!
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:25 PM   #155
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Thanks! You've definitely inspired me to dive in and give it a try. When I realized how easy it was to get the cluster out, I had to try it. And when I goofed up, I told myself it was too easy to stop, put it back together, and wait until the extra LEDs come in so I'm not doing it while I'm frustrated. With only 4 real bolts, I haven't owned any cars that were easier to remove the cluster.
You'd be surprised how easy a lot of things are to remove in our cars. I gutted out my trunk and removed the rear seat to lay some sound dampening material and hardly needed any tools. Four nuts and one bolt for the seat, everything else just pops off. Removed my rear bumper the other day to install the havoc diffuser. Four screws in each of the two rear wheel wells and, again, everything else just pops off. It feel like a kids toy sometimes....but in a good way.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:47 PM   #156
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Yeah I'm really happy to see GM going in the right direction with these cars. Most of my experience has been with my 1994 Camaro. To get to the cluster in that car, you have to remove the A-pillars, the dash pad (that buts up against the windshield and is notorious for cracking when it's removed), the knee bolster under the steering wheel, and then the gauge cluster surround bezel. In my head I'm counting at least 10 bolts or push screws. My 2008 Trailblazer was much easier to work on, still a handful of screws but more pieces that just pushed into place. I've been reading the DIY on the ABL mods and it seems like most of the dash is just popped into place.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:06 PM   #157
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Yup, the trim pieces you need to remove all pop out and in again. All I pretty much used was a set of plastic dash trim tools. Oh and what you used to take the gauge cluster out too. The ABL mod was easier done than reading about it and over thinking it.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:00 PM   #158
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It's amazing how much easier it is to do this when you have a GOOD soldering iron. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a $10 "5 in 1 Hobby Iron" with 3 soldering iron tips. I used the fine tip and the job was a BREEZE. I was looking at the clock going "Crap, I have 3 hours to get 21 LEDs done..." and I finished in about 45 minutes.

Before:
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After (8 red LEDs for the ring, 19 white LEDs for the numbers and DIC):
Name:  Clifford 005.jpg
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THANK YOU for posting this DIY and inspiring me to tackle the job. This project was the first time I've ever soldered anything on a circuit board and it really wasn't bad once I had the new soldering iron.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:05 PM   #159
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That looks really good! I'm happy that you're happy : )
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:41 PM   #160
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im trying to solder me leds on the gauges but im having trouble doing it.. i put like 8 on and only 3 turns on
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:59 PM   #161
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im trying to solder me leds on the gauges but im having trouble doing it.. i put like 8 on and only 3 turns on
Can you post a clear picture of the leds on the board? I will help as much as i can...

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Old 01-09-2012, 10:49 AM   #162
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lol, the blue faded to red actually looked cool
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:54 PM   #163
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Kumar, I had that problem with a few also -- sometimes it looked like the leds were soldered correctly, but actually one side wasn't connected. Giving the non-working ones another quick solder on each side got things working for me. (But make sure that you don't over-do it by holding the iron on the board too long - you don't want to short the leads on the board...)

I also went slowly, replacing only one at a time. After I got each light in, I took the board to the car and plugged it in to make sure that things were working.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #164
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THose look awesome!
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:26 PM   #165
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Kumar, I had that problem with a few also -- sometimes it looked like the leds were soldered correctly, but actually one side wasn't connected. Giving the non-working ones another quick solder on each side got things working for me. (But make sure that you don't over-do it by holding the iron on the board too long - you don't want to short the leads on the board...)

I also went slowly, replacing only one at a time. After I got each light in, I took the board to the car and plugged it in to make sure that things were working.

In addition to that, make sure that you have the polarity correct. If you mess up the polarity, it will make downstream LEDs stop working too, from what I noticed. I had one LED polarity wrong and a few of them wouldn't turn on.

I didn't take this picture for showing the polarity, but it just so happens it's in the pic. There's the "arrow" next to the LED on the circuit board. I'm not up to snuff on my electrical markings, I just noticed that the LEDs have one corner that's angled compared to the rest and on the circuit board the "arrow" was pointing to the positive side. So make sure you have the polarity of the LEDs correct to match the picture.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:44 PM   #166
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hi what sizes led did u get for ur window switch, ratio, and autio.. i got my guages done blue and im doing everything else blue.. but i know that the window switch led is smaller.. so can u tell me what size and where u got them from?
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:47 PM   #167
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and thanks guys i got my leds working after i checked them one at a time
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:52 PM   #168
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hi what sizes led did u get for ur window switch, ratio, and autio.. i got my guages done blue and im doing everything else blue.. but i know that the window switch led is smaller.. so can u tell me what size and where u got them from?

Is this what you're looking for?

This is what I have so far:
4 Gauge Console
Stock: 8 PLCC-2 (ice blue)
Stock: 4 PLCC-2 (red)

Door Panel
Stock: 2 5mm (ice blue)

Window up/down switches
3 0805 Surface Mount (ice blue)

Headlight Switch
5 0805 Surface Mount (ice blue)

HUD
3 0805 Surface Mount (ice blue)

Steering Wheel:
Stock: 10 PLCC-2 (ice blue)


Also, I got all of my LEDs from Oznium. Though I'm sure there are other places as well, that's just who I've used.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:36 AM   #169
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I am thinking of doing this mod. The only thing really stopping me from attempting it is that idk how to solder. Any ideas on how to learn? It could be one of those skills that is useful for me to learn. Or one of those strange secret things I know how to do. haha
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:20 AM   #170
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Maybe take apart something you don't use anymore? old remote? old clock? i don't know really. The only thing I actually soldered was the leds in the ABL on the doors, but those are different. they look like little light bulbs and were easy in the fact that they weren't so tiny, but still hard as I really needed about 4 hands.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:45 AM   #171
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I am thinking of doing this mod. The only thing really stopping me from attempting it is that idk how to solder. Any ideas on how to learn? It could be one of those skills that is useful for me to learn. Or one of those strange secret things I know how to do. haha
YouTube is your friend.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:17 AM   #172
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There's a few videos on YouTube, but its best to just find something laying around that doesn't work anymore, or get something cheap on CL or a pawnshop and try it there first, nothing beats hands-on experience...

Although, when i did these leds for the first time 6 years ago, I just started right out on my own cluster, with no experience at all...I got a 15 watt iron from radio shack and I've never had to replace to it...I did however get another 45 watt for the jobs that require a lil more heat...and make sure you get the correct solder, I use silver bearing solder, has a good melting point to it...I've done a few repairs that ppl tried doing themselves and the solder they used was like melting steel, I would have to use the 45 watt iron with some desolder braid to remove the bad stuff...

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Old 01-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #173
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Yup, when I jumped in and did the soldering on my gauge cluster, I had never soldered on circuit boards prior to that - only soldered wires together. It's pretty easy to do, just take your time.

FWIW - I bought a "Hobby Kit" from Harbor Freight for like $20, it was a soldering iron with 3 soldering tips and 5 woodworking tips. The brand new soldering iron with a fine pick tip makes the job pretty easy.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #174
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Okay thanks everyone! Yeah youtube seemed like a good place to look. I don't imagine it being too hard. I will probably try to do this sometime in the near future then, maybe a slow weekend at school.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #175
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Okay thanks everyone! Yeah youtube seemed like a good place to look. I don't imagine it being too hard. I will probably try to do this sometime in the near future then, maybe a slow weekend at school.
You'll just want a low wattage solder iron. I found that a screwdriver-shaped tip works well for getting the old LEDs off. Just don't leave the iron on the part or board for more than a few seconds at a time to avoid overheating. I also use a multi-meter that has a diode/continuity tester built in. When testing these small LEDs, they will light up dimly when you have the polarity correct. That is how I always checked them. Also get more LEDs than you plan to use. The parts are pretty inexpensive compared to shipping and waiting. You may break/burn a few if you are new to it. Also, a good pair of tweezers is a must. Especially with the 0805s. Oh, and if your eyesight isn't the best with very small stuff, the magnifying head visor is a plus.
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