2003 Ranger Cluster - LED Lighting Project - Page 4 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #76  
Old 10-03-2010
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Its a little different for him, he can only use 04+ Ranger clusters
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  #77  
Old 10-03-2010
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What did you use for gluing the rings to the plastic face?
They fit so tight the didn't really need glue but I think I used high temperature hot glue, I can't totally remember.

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Also where did you find the wire?
I think I used 20 or 22 gauge radioshack speaker wire, can't totally remember
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  #78  
Old 10-03-2010
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Originally Posted by 04blackedge View Post
Its a little different for him, he can only use 04+ Ranger clusters
Ah yeah i see his is an 04. Anyways any old cluster can be used to practice on as they have been pretty similar over the years in a lot of ford vehicles(exp ranger, explorer). That is if you have a power source to hook up to inside for testing. I use an old PC PSU for a 12v supply.

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They fit so tight the didn't really need glue but I think I used high temperature hot glue, I can't totally remember.
Yeah I'm just worried about making it hold in there. It would be bad news if it came loose. Besides the ranger having pretty bumpy ride I have a lot of bass in my truck. I've actually knocked my rear view mirror off a few times from my sub LOL

I came up with the idea of breaking out my rotary tool with a cutting bit then cut a circle out in my spare to fit the ring in making the hole bit small. Then using a sanding bit to enlarge it to just the right size. This method seems to make a pretty good tight fit.


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I think I used 20 or 22 gauge radioshack speaker wire, can't totally remember
thats good news to me then. I have plenty of that stuff It works perfectly for the strip leds. My thinking was smaller would be better for running it along the backside of the gauge face and routing it around areas that light up.

Last edited by crucialcolin; 10-04-2010 at 08:23 AM.
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  #79  
Old 10-04-2010
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I'm highly impressed with these Cree SMDs i got from digikey:
CLM3C-WKW-CWBYA453CT-ND 4LM 1600mcd 20mA 5500K 3.2v 120 2.7mm x 2mm 2-LCC SMD LED
Its incredibly bright with just 4 of them on a ring. I tested them with the lights on in the room at night.




However one problem I'm having is because they are so small they are incredibly difficult to solder. I'm going to need to find some copper I can cut out and adhere to the rings so I can solder the smds to them if I use these. Not exactly sure where i would find something like that.

Last edited by crucialcolin; 10-04-2010 at 08:21 AM.
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  #80  
Old 10-04-2010
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However one problem I'm having is because they are so small they are incredibly difficult to solder. I'm going to need to find some copper I can cut out and adhere to the rings so I can solder the smds to them if I use these. Not exactly sure where i would find something like that.
LEDs look like a good choice, the smart way to do this is simply buy yourself some copper clad and etch a few mini-boards. This is so much easier than fiddling trying to glue things together.

My process for SMD's is this:

1) first wipe the board surface with rubbing alcohol
2) Dab a small bit of flux on the board where you want to solder the component.
3) Place the component on the flux, in proper position
4) Cut a small piece of solder and set the solder near the first terminal
5) Hold the SMD component with a pair of tweezers with one hand, and the other hand heat up the solder and solder the first connection (you should have the solder right near the edge where it would be used)
6) Once the first lead is attached, you don't need to hold the component any longer. Solder the second lead.

I normally don't put the heat right on the component. I heat up the pad right where it touches the board and then "walk" the solder towards the component. It should cover the pad pretty good for it to be a nice joint.
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  #81  
Old 10-04-2010
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My problem is with the method i was using I keep either burning up these cree SMDs or I'm not making good contact with the terminals(they are small). I'm using a piece of stranded wire in between the leds after I have already glued them to the rings. Its incredibly difficult to get the wire to touch the terminals on both leds at the same time thus solder doesn't want to adhere to the leds easily. A lot of the times the wire wants to raise up on me near the top of the leds so I miss soldering the terminals altogether. I've tried using both 40w and a 25w iron with the same results.
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  #82  
Old 10-05-2010
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Originally Posted by crucialcolin View Post
My problem is with the method i was using I keep either burning up these cree SMDs or I'm not making good contact with the terminals(they are small). I'm using a piece of stranded wire in between the leds after I have already glued them to the rings. Its incredibly difficult to get the wire to touch the terminals on both leds at the same time thus solder doesn't want to adhere to the leds easily. A lot of the times the wire wants to raise up on me near the top of the leds so I miss soldering the terminals altogether. I've tried using both 40w and a 25w iron with the same results.
25 and 40 are WAY too much.

You need an adjustable station. Since I know your not a "pnp n00b" Colin: you need the right tools.

Use the PCB method and it will work smoother than silk, plus you will get better results than I did.
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  #83  
Old 10-05-2010
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yeah the irons are crappy radio shack stuff. I know what you mean about an adjustable station. I remember taking some electronics college classes a few years back and the irons they had were so much better then these. I had been planning to get a decent one myself at some point.

Besides some of the trouble being to much heat I actually found out I was getting superglue over the LED contacts as well. Another reason why they don't work.

Not ever having done a PCB before I'm not sure as to what the easiest process might be. It looks like all I need for this project is a single sided board.
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  #84  
Old 10-05-2010
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Originally Posted by crucialcolin View Post
Not ever having done a PCB before I'm not sure as to what the easiest process might be. It looks like all I need for this project is a single sided board.
I bought an adjustable soldering station from jap-shack for 80$. It would work good for you.

you would do yourself a huge favor by registering at hidplanet.com; They have an LED section there and some of the modders make me look like an LED n00b.

There are a number of PCB-"how to" detailed threads.
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  #85  
Old 10-10-2010
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btw Ironicly I used that 40w radio shack iron recently to repair a 3 year old high end AMD computer system. It was a precision job too... replacing every capacitor on the motherboard because they went bad and were starting to bulge or leak. I could only imagine what i could do with an adjustable :D

Actually I do already have an account over there. Haven't had a chance yet but I'll have to search through PCB making threads. I may have to put this project on hold for awhile anyways since I don't really have the time now.

My needles could actually be a lot worse as my back lighting is pretty decent since I used those smd strips and mostly side firing 194s(the 5 chip ones with 4 on the side that feature 3 diodes per chip. The top chip only has 1 diode so no hotspots) . They glow a reddish color at night.

Also bazaarly if I'm up around 60-80mph the speedo lights up pretty well. Its more closer to an amber the red. Somehow more light gets to that particular needle from the blue leds at that position.
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