did an update on my gauge leds - Page 2 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #26  
Old 07-13-2009
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crucial, you might want to try sanding off the shading that borders the back of the tach needle hole. That seemed to bring it up to the same brighness as my speedo needle. The gas and battery holes have shading too. So if you haven't done that yet you may want to.

I went back to green and got some of these

in cool white and I'm very happy with the result.

These might not give enough output for some people but I hate overly bright gauges. I think these are perfect. 220 degree angle gives no hot spots at all and no sanding necessary. The 8000k white light makes the stock sport trac cluster look really nice and easy on the eyes. The needles light up good too.

Last edited by gts007; 07-13-2009 at 11:40 AM.
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  #27  
Old 07-14-2009
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Originally Posted by gts007 View Post
crucial, you might want to try sanding off the shading that borders the back of the tach needle hole. That seemed to bring it up to the same brighness as my speedo needle. The gas and battery holes have shading too. So if you haven't done that yet you may want to.
thats a great idea :) haven't thought of it myself. The problem is in my case though the speedo needle itself isnt bright enough. In fact the tach needle is brighter for some reason.

I also thought about getting some of those led plugins you have gts007, except in blue but I went with the SMD 360 degree ones instead which was probably a mistake as it doesn't have enough forward pushed light towards the gauge overlays as it only has one SMD on top. Great sideways spread though
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  #28  
Old 07-14-2009
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Now I'm just waiting on my wedge sockets to show up in the mail then I will be doing some playing around with my spare cluster. I have plenty of both 5mm and 3mm blue 13,000mcd components I can use to make my own plugins. I'm thinking either 6 5mm or 12 3mm per socket.

If i don't do that I'm pondering putting them right next and around the SMD plugins on the cluster somehow. This would allow to still use the plugins I bought and keep more even light spread because of the sideways firing smds on the plugins with the additional benefit of more leds firing towards the back of the overlays.

Also got those tiny orange surface mount leds to play with for lighting up my needles as well

Now I just need to wait for the sockets and extra resisters to show up for all this stuff. Hopefully tomorrow...
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  #29  
Old 07-14-2009
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See i have no experience with newer clusters,

I have changed lights in my 78 mustang cluster..but it used bulbs... I am assuming that the new clusters don't use bulbs? haha cause i was thinking i wanted the blue light in there, and was thinking about just replaceing with blue bulbs, but as i think more, i realize i am stupid haha

Its not the bulbs that make the colour is it...?

I am completely lost in my own thought now hahaha

WOW
I want the blue,
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  #30  
Old 07-14-2009
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Originally Posted by crucialcolin View Post

I also thought about getting some of those led plugins you have gts007, except in blue but I went with the SMD 360 degree ones instead which was probably a mistake as it doesn't have enough forward pushed light towards the gauge overlays as it only has one SMD on top. Great sideways spread though
Really. And I was thinking I should've gotten SMD's instead of the ones I got. Mine only have 1 forward firing LED as well...
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  #31  
Old 07-14-2009
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See i have no experience with newer clusters,
I have changed lights in my 78 mustang cluster..but it used bulbs... I am assuming that the new clusters don't use bulbs? haha cause i was thinking i wanted the blue light in there, and was thinking about just replaceing with blue bulbs, but as i think more, i realize i am stupid haha
Its not the bulbs that make the colour is it...?
well it hasn't changed much over the years lol. Ranger still use incandescent bulbs(194 wedge type) which of course burn out(hence good reason for led mod). As far as color it comes from the gauge overlays themselves. You need to strip the backsides and paint them with translucent glass paint which is quite the time consuming task.

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Really. And I was thinking I should've gotten SMD's instead of the ones I got. Mine only have 1 forward firing LED as well...
lol thats weird. Yeah it just seems like for some reason there isn't a good enough light spread towards the overlays. I'm not sure where the limitation is. Maybe its not just having one led on top but a possible low viewing angle on the single SMD. Another possibility I'm thinking is color maybe the wavelength of blue isnt as bright as white.

I'm beginning to think I might have made a mistake going with blue leds & blue painted overlays. It might have been better to go with just the overlays painted blue then white leds. It might have produced a lighter color blue as well that matches my pioneer head unit better. Oh well too late now :(

Last edited by crucialcolin; 07-14-2009 at 07:38 PM.
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  #32  
Old 07-14-2009
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Damn,

thats too bad, i was still hoping, just a little in my head, that i could just swap out the bulbs

but of course that would be too easy right haha,

oh well, i will have to wait till i have a lot of time, so i can do that scraping and painting... BOOOO

Thanks

Oh and also, does anyone have any how to guides for getting there and scraping and re-painting...and where i can get the glass paint?
My real question is, is it hard to get right behind the cluster to the point where i can scrape and paint.

I thank you all in advance

Last edited by Martyr; 07-14-2009 at 09:11 PM.
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  #33  
Old 07-15-2009
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does anyone have any how to guides for getting there and scraping and re-painting...and where i can get the glass paint?
My real question is, is it hard to get right behind the cluster to the point where i can scrape and paint.

I thank you all in advance
I'm sure most people would tell you to use the search button but I'll be nice

few links to point you in the right direction:
How to paint your overlays and convert to LEDs
Gauge Color Change Using Factory Overlays

I used Delta Air Dry PermEnamel Transparent Glass Paint which I picked up at our local Joanns art supply store. Found that the single color bottles work best with the little tips on them over the kit with multiple colors. Then to remove the paint I used 650 grit wet sand paper(think I got it at home depot).

Last edited by crucialcolin; 07-15-2009 at 02:45 AM.
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  #34  
Old 07-15-2009
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oh looking at my gauge cluster driving around again tonight I noticed its not really all that bad minus a few dark spots like the 100 km/h right under the trip odometer(odometer/speed circuit board blocks light path) and most of the tac numbering(should be able to fix with one more section of led strips). Its just as bright as stock as well if not slightly brighter so I don't need to do much.

The real problem is my orange needles as both the long speedo and tac needle are barely visible at the points. Hopefully the tiny orange PLCC-2 SMT LEDs i got from oznium will solve that. Of course i need to figure out how to wire them up/install under needle hubs without getting in the way of needle functionality first.
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  #35  
Old 07-15-2009
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haha

Thank you, much appreciated. And i did try searching, never found an actual how to or guide, i found a forum, with a link to one, and it didn't work. :-)
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  #36  
Old 07-15-2009
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Originally Posted by crucialcolin View Post

I'm beginning to think I might have made a mistake going with blue leds & blue painted overlays. It might have been better to go with just the overlays painted blue then white leds. It might have produced a lighter color blue as well that matches my pioneer head unit better. Oh well too late now :(
white light will absolutely light up your needles brighter. I'm surprised you even got them to light up at all with blue lol. I don't know about using orange....I would think that it would interfere with the blue light that is currently illuminating your gauges....

If those orange ones dont work and you are really regretting it all, I have another cluster I could sell you if you ever wanted to start over...

Last edited by gts007; 07-15-2009 at 10:59 AM.
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  #37  
Old 07-15-2009
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Solid orange needles will not light up good no matter how bright a blue you put under them. This is why I bought aftermarket needles when I did my cluster. I have done a good bit of testing and research on this.
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  #38  
Old 07-15-2009
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I would think instead of going to all that trouble to put more lights under the needle hubs, just replace your blue LEDs with white ones. Either that or put white leds in the oznium strips or something. It would be easier and you're guaranteed the results you're looking for...
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  #39  
Old 07-15-2009
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Solid orange needles will not light up good no matter how bright a blue you put under them. This is why I bought aftermarket needles when I did my cluster. I have done a good bit of testing and research on this.
yeah I looked into them too. Didn't really like anything though except for the intelligent ones(would have gotten orange) and they are quite pricey. I'm not really willing to pay the expense for them.

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Originally Posted by gts007 View Post
I would think instead of going to all that trouble to put more lights under the needle hubs, just replace your blue LEDs with white ones. Either that or put white leds in the oznium strips or something. It would be easier and you're guaranteed the results you're looking for...
Actuality it doesn't look all that difficult to add those plcc-2 leds into my cluster under the needle hubs. I was looking at my spare cluster and found I should be able to easily mount them to the plastic supports for the motors right below the overlays where the clear circles are that allow light through without getting in the way of anything. I'm thinking with orange it will produce this halo ring effect at the same time lighting up the needles better. I'm planing to test my theory after dinner in the spare

Hopefully I can make it work without buying white leds since I've already completely blew my budget investing about $120 or so worth of LEDs so far. Next time I would definitely go with white.
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  #40  
Old 07-15-2009
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yeah I looked into them too. Didn't really like anything though except for the intelligent ones(would have gotten orange) and they are quite pricey. I'm not really willing to pay the expense for them.
If you call Rusty @ usspeedo he will get you a set for 65$ i think?

Those are what I run.

65$ isnt that pricey.

My set was twice as many needles as I needed, so i already have a backup set painted sonic blue.
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  #41  
Old 07-17-2009
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If you call Rusty @ usspeedo he will get you a set for 65$ i think?

Those are what I run.

65$ isnt that pricey.

My set was twice as many needles as I needed, so i already have a backup set painted sonic blue.
yeah i think i saw that awhile ago in a thread. I do have a spare set of clear needles but I doubt they would be visible enough/look all that good during the day on a silver cluster.

meanwhile my idea of mounting those tiny plcc-2 smds is falling apart. I cant seem to get superglue i bought to stick to the plastic(tried hot glue as well). Maybe the glue i bought at walmart just sucks(Loctite precisions max).

I'm curious as to how you got your 360 degree leds to stick to the backside of your overlays JP7 on your 2004 cluster?

Besides that I'm having a hell of a time keeping the things from falling apart after soldering them to wire since they are very fragile and any little movement might break the terminals off.
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  #42  
Old 07-18-2009
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Well here's my experiment with my spare cluster.

Instead of using the little plcc-2 smds I went and used 3mm blue 13,000mcd components instead. I put them on both the speedo and tac needles. The tac has two(one on each side near the mounting point). Then the speedo has a single right in the middle.

Picts probably do a beter explanation:

The tacometer module removed from the gauge face with leds glued in.

shows the led on the speedometer module.

The final product with both speedo and tac needles illuminated fully.

Also the rest of the back lighting is using Trevors/shanes method in the how to ie: 6 13,000 5mm component leds per light socket hole.

It came out pretty well as you can definately tell the needles light up. The shorter ones would be even brighter. The only real problem is where to put the wires so they dont get in the way of the backlighting(blocking light), etc. I'm also not sure about the longevity of hot glue i used to mount the leds.

Now I just have to decide which LED route i want to go on my silver cluster as I have plenty of options
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  #43  
Old 07-18-2009
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thats sick,ill ship you mine and you can do the same
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  #44  
Old 07-18-2009
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DAMNIT!!! You ripped my idea off me!! damnnnnnit!!!



lol..no big. I'm just glad someone else did it before I did. lol. Confirms it'll do what I want it to do! lol.
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  #45  
Old 07-18-2009
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I'm kinda getting tired of my blue.....anyone wanna buy me a bunch of ultraviolet 5mm and 3mm's?
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  #46  
Old 07-18-2009
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shane, i want your old cluster... regardless of price.. well there is a limit lol
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  #47  
Old 07-18-2009
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Gimme a lil while....I made an offer at a local yard for one of their two '03 silver 4x4 clusters. They've had those trucks in inventory for MONTHS. Wait....what am i thinking...i've got 4 total clsuters here that I can start soldering onto. Then i can whenever pickout if i want expo faces or '03 silver faces. hmm...decisions decisions...
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  #48  
Old 07-18-2009
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well regardless of your ideas and wishes.. i need a cluster with a friggin tach lol
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