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How I installed Speedhut Gauge Faces, lots of pics


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#21 stevo_gj

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 10:42 PM

Well, had another crack at running it with UV. This picture with a single UV LED (of 2 possible) in the speedo. To make it work I focused the LED's light toward the top of the gauge. Photo obviously taken in car while driving, I think I may be able to make this thing work! It is MUCH more visible than the photo makes it appear.
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#22 Hunter

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 11:17 PM

Stevo it would be good if you could take a clearer picture.

Is the purple glow on the needle actually the paint glowing or is it just a reflection from the purple light the UV LED gives off?

What colour UV glow paint did you get?

The only reason I ask is I have bought a couple of UV lights in my time and some of them are not true UV as they do not make UV items glow bright fluorescently.

Have you tried your UV LED just with the paint to check for the fluoesent glow?

I just done some reading on this site. http://www.glowpaint...fluorescent.php

"Will glow in the dark, and if placed near a UV Black Light will Fluoresce."

Maybe borrow or purchase a proper UV light and check if the paint works. You could probably have a light set in the cabin that will make your gauges Fluoresce.

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#23 Hunter

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:01 AM

I took this off wikipedia... The LED's you have are not the "NEAR UV" type are they? Your needles should glow really bright being exposed to UV light. I think this is your problem.

Ultraviolet and blue LEDs

Ultraviolet GaN LEDs.Blue LEDs are based on the wide band gap semiconductors GaN (gallium nitride) and InGaN (indium gallium nitride). They can be added to existing red and green LEDs to produce the impression of white light, though white LEDs today rarely use this principle.

The first blue LEDs were made in 1971 by Jacques Pankove (inventor of the gallium nitride LED) at RCA Laboratories.[18] However, these devices had too little light output to be of much practical use. In the late 1980s, key breakthroughs in GaN epitaxial growth and p-type doping by Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano (Nagoya, Japan)[19] ushered in the modern era of GaN-based optoelectronic devices. Building upon this foundation, in 1993 high brightness blue LEDs were demonstrated through the work of Shuji Nakamura at Nichia Corporation.[20]

By the late 1990s, blue LEDs had become widely available. They have an active region consisting of one or more InGaN quantum wells sandwiched between thicker layers of GaN, called cladding layers. By varying the relative InN-GaN fraction in the InGaN quantum wells, the light emission can be varied from violet to amber. AlGaN aluminium gallium nitride of varying AlN fraction can be used to manufacture the cladding and quantum well layers for ultraviolet LEDs, but these devices have not yet reached the level of efficiency and technological maturity of the InGaN-GaN blue/green devices. If the active quantum well layers are GaN, as opposed to alloyed InGaN or AlGaN, the device will emit near-ultraviolet light with wavelengths around 350–370 nm. Green LEDs manufactured from the InGaN-GaN system are far more efficient and brighter than green LEDs produced with non-nitride material systems.

With nitrides containing aluminium, most often AlGaN and AlGaInN, even shorter wavelengths are achievable. Ultraviolet LEDs in a range of wavelengths are becoming available on the market. Near-UV emitters at wavelengths around 375–395 nm are already cheap and often encountered, for example, as black light lamp replacements for inspection of anti-counterfeiting UV watermarks in some documents and paper currencies. Shorter wavelength diodes, while substantially more expensive, are commercially available for wavelengths down to 247 nm.[21] As the photosensitivity of microorganisms approximately matches the absorption spectrum of DNA, with a peak at about 260 nm, UV LEDs emitting at 250–270 nm are to be expected in prospective disinfection and sterilization devices. Recent research has shown that commercially available UVA LEDs (365 nm) are already effective disinfection and sterilization devices.[4]

Wavelengths down to 210 nm were obtained in laboratories using aluminium nitride.

While not an LED as such, an ordinary NPN bipolar transistor will emit violet light if its emitter-base junction is subjected to non-destructive reverse breakdown. This is easy to demonstrate by filing the top off a metal-can transistor (BC107, 2N2222 or similar) and biasing it well above emitter-base breakdown (≥ 20 V) via a current-limiting resistor.


I looked up "Black Light" on Wikipedia and a peak wavelength of 370nm is mainly used in nightclubs, this is probably what you need your LEDS to emmit to make the paint glow bright.

#24 Hunter

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:52 AM

You might want to try these LEDS http://cgi.ebay.com....1QQcmdZViewItem
They have a 390nm to 395nm wavelength.

This is an in cabin black light you could use. There are smaller 6 inch battery powered versions you could hook up to your car electrical system with some extra gear as well.
http://cgi.ebay.com....1QQcmdZViewItem

#25 stevo_gj

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 01:56 AM

Hey Hunter,

Yeah I have confirmed that it does glow when its just the paint, and the wavelength produced by my LEDs is 295nm, similar to the ebay ones.

You're correct in saying that the normal wavelength is 270nm, and that is what the UV paint I bought is rated for. However I have not been able to find any LEDs that produce that particular wavelength.

Its definitely glowing from the light, not just reflecting the purple. The paint was supposed to be blue though, so I don't know why its glowing purple. /sigh

I can make it work, but its just not as bright as I thought it would be.

#26 Hunter

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 02:05 AM

No problems Stevo. I would still be interested at how bright those needles glow with an insect light or other black light source.

Either way the gauges look good and the needle looks to have sufficient illumination for night driving.

LEDS are availible in 370nm as stated in the wikipedia article they must just be special order, from where who knows.

#27 stevo_gj

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 04:28 PM

Well hunter I tested the system with the gauges off and just the LED on, and what do you know it hardly glows at all. Its more just lit up by the purple light. I need to get my hands on either some UV bulbs that fit into these sockets, or some UV LEDs that light up around the 370nm wavelength. So far no one I've called has them in stock so I'm a bit flummoxed.

Edit went to Farnell AU website https://au.farnell.com/

Found a UV LED that is at 370nm wavelength. 20 a pop :(

I bought one to test and if it fixes my problem I'll probably just settle with this expensive solution.

#28 Hunter

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 04:54 PM

Yeah sounds good stevo... Maybe you should drive it into a nightclub and see if the needles glow then?

Does anyone have a UV light you can lend?

I would watch it with those UV light bulbs they heat up lots.

#29 RBZ 260

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:14 PM

just got to catch up on all this.

few things ppl wasting time on but hope i can give few pointers.

1. To get the super bright glow as per new needles simple NO. why: the new needles are transparent plastic usualy clear (some coloured red orange etc...) with bottom of the needle painted as a reflective base usualy bright red colour. they use a hevily engineered light pipe arangement to reflect light to the base of the needle so the needle will glow. also  the bulbs are strategicaly position to take max advantage of this. also on new type facias they have "tinting" at the back of them to match the brightness accross the gauge so that the number show same glow and not some brighter and some dull due to proximity of the globes. now its cheaper using EL. like what most latest cars use.

to do the same on old z gauge is hard. cause the solid brass needles.possibly can find some neeldes ie on top of my head from ef el au falcon as they have small diameter needle hole and make them fit. but obviously u loose the original look.


2. u getting good results with setup you got. just needs small improvments.im using similar technique on mine.

few tips to improve the output of the uv led.

back housing of the gauges u will notice they are painted white. but due to 30yrs of age they kinda gone beige or even rusted on spots. 1. u can re paint it in bright white. but that involves removing the gauges completely.

option 2 is get ur hands on some white vinyl sticker sheet. just go to ur sticker shop and ask for offcuts. and cut it to shape and stick in on the inside of the cups.

also u will notice at the back of the lens its white (prob yellow) carefully touch it up with white paint. as this is used to reflect the light from the cup back onto the face of the guages (this could also improve for the people wanting slightly brighter light output on stock gauges as this is the reason they are not as bright) 

doing this will increase the brightness of the backlight inside the cup.
do not use mirror chrome as this doesnt reflect as well as white but more into a spot. (ie headlight are done for this reason)
hence the reason manufacturers even today use white to reflect the light inside gauge clusters.

also try fit 2 or more led onto same bayonet at different angles. this will increase the light output ie clustered set. issue of LEDs is not wavelnght or brightness but angle of visable light. leds have very tight angles which emit almost like spot light. which is what you dont want. u want wide angle for even dispersion of light.

i can see through the pics that u got a uv bright spot on side of guage.. also prob lightly sand the lens of the led so its fogy. this will further widen the angle.

i think if u do the above it will improve at least 20-50% depending how u end up doing it. and adjusting it.  dont waste money on expensive LEDs. they are brighter but angle is prob around 10deg or less.

long read but hope i gave more insight.

as for led getting hot expecialy uv if thats what is reffered to is not true. Most leds run very cool . only run hot if u exceed their operating current. but if u do they prob die straight after few seconds.

the new lux stars run hot and need a heatsink arangment to keep them operating corectly.

just remembered something else. u prob dont need the glow paint. just repaint the needles in the bright gloss white and let the leds do the work.

another change ill prob do is instead of UV just use White leds or even blue/green to match the EL colour. if your EL colour is adjustable  between green and blue. than u can fine tune. that way even your odo number will light up sam ecolour as the speedo numbers. just my prefferance and idea thrown out there.

#30 Hunter

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:54 PM

All those things will improve the brightness or dispersion onto the needle.

But I think the light the UV LED is giving off is of the wrong wavelength. It needs to be 370nm as the paint is rated for 370nm UV light, not the 395nm the LEDS are currently giving off.

If the UV paint on the needle is activated properly, it should give off a vibrant fluorescent glow. The fluroescent glow is not dependent on the LEDS brightness.

rbz 260
The heat issue I was talking about would arise from INCANDESCENT LIGHT BULBS. As these are usually just painted with a special paint that traps the coloured spectrum of light in the bulb and only lets the UV fraction out.

I like the point about white vs chrome paint, diffussion vs reflection.

Stevo you should have bought the white face dial then you would have no trouble seeing the needle. LOL. I know this is not the look you want though.

P.S. A true UV light is invisible to the naked eye it is just out of our optical range.

#31 RBZ 260

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:16 PM


Stevo you should have bought the white face dial then you would have no trouble seeing the needle. LOL. I know this is not the look you want though.

P.S. A true UV light is invisible to the naked eye it is just out of our optical range.


LOL true for the above. but he will have to paint the needles black or red so he can see them in daylight

as for true UV i know that LOL.

the wavelenght stuff is true as well.

but instead of buying expensive leds i would just use the above technique to get the desired result. or even easier replace it with normal globes with maybe BLUE "condoms"
(trasnaparent silicone boot that goes over the bulb go to wreckers and pinch of nissan 1992 and above cars Dash Baclight Globes, gives white light not yellow from globes.) but prior remove the green plastic from original. u can get also red green or blue boots from Repco Supercheap sprints etc.... in Narva accessories side.

brighten up the white paint inside the cups. and job is done on cheap u will have one bright needle/gauges ;D

no point reinventing the wheel. nissan/datsun spent a fair bit of $$ sorting the backlight. just time and use deteriated it.all we have to do is bring it as it was back in 1970s and it will work great as it did then.

#32 Hunter

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 01:33 PM

Check out these lights. The needle colour has been changed to.

http://cgi.ebay.com/...d=p4506.c0.m245

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#33 stevo_gj

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 01:47 PM

Awesome! Just what I'm looking for Hunter. Even though I have black gauges I'm sure these will look good.

Asking the seller if he'll ship to Aus

#34 NZeder

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 02:46 PM

Funny how he can take a in focus picture during the day but at night with the lights on - it is all out of focus - would be good to see them all in focus.....

#35 Hunter

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 03:18 PM

NZEDER The joys of long exposure and no tripod.

Stevo, ask him about those needles too.

#36 stevo_gj

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 04:38 PM

Well I won the blue bulbs, costing me about $20 landed.

I'll let you know how it looks when I've had some time to install them.

#37 mtopxsecret6

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 08:37 PM

these look pretty good. i think the black guages suit the car more than the white ones. where did you get the guages from? i might put them in mine.

#38 stevo_gj

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:28 AM

http://www.viczcar.c...pic,2900.0.html




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