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How I installed Speedhut Gauge Faces, lots of pics

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Hey guys,


Here is the process by which I installed the speedhut “reverse el glo” gauge faces. I have to apologise for the quality of some of the pics, I was using my phone camera as my digital is broken. I know that someone reported these gauges in this forum last year, but as far as I know I am the first person from aus to buy and install them. I am really liking them so far. I’m ‘spoon feeding’ the info because I know I would have benefited from some of the basic knowledge that many of you already have.


I had to get to the gauges, so I took off the air vents (4 screws). Also took out the entire glovebox to enable us to reach below the gauges from the side. I found this very useful because I was able to remove the tubes behind the air vents which gave me very good access to the gauges.




Then it was a simple matter of unplugging the gauges and unfastening the brackets which held them in place.


Once this was done, I took out each gauge and undid some little screws on the back which gave me access to the gauge faces themselves.


Then the gauge faces from Speedhut were simply overlayed onto the existing gauges, with a little bit of double sided tape to hold them in place.




To deal with wire you can see coming out of the side I ran it out of one of the holes in the back of the gauge faces that was originally for the old light bulbs. To do this I had to pop out the green lenses on the gauges, and then I removed the old bulbs.


While I was doing this I also replaced my clock with one I bought off ebay, what do you know but when I plugged it back in it started ticking! I'm ecstatic because the replacement only cost me $15.


Once I had replaced the faces I reinstalled the gauges, reverse of removal, and moved on to the taco. By having removed the air vents I could access the Taco through the side, rather than from underneath. I had to pull out a couple of the tubes for the air con, but since they only slide off, this was no big deal. I unplugged the Taco and undid the screw in the top of the gauge, and the screw in the bracket behind it.


Because I have next to no tools at home, at this stage I still had my steering wheel on. Later in the day I borrowed a socket set to take it off, and this made the removal and installation of the Taco and Speedo SO much easier.




As you can see above, to take the taco out the first time I had to remove the black cover first to get it around the steering wheel.

Once out, I pulled off the needle (did it by hand, took a bit of force so be careful, you don’t want to scratch your gauge!), then unscrewed the original face. I proceeded to screw both the original and the new face back onto the gauge.


The cable that runs off the speedo and the taco faces for some reason is connected into a single plug, unlike the other gauges which all have their own plugs. To make it easy on myself, I cut the wire close to where it came out of my Taco, did the speedo and then reconnected the wires once the speedo was installed.




I found it made my life much easier if I left the taco out while working on the speedo. Taking off the speedo was a bit of a challenge for my inexperienced hands, but after a couple phone calls and some sore fingers I discovered that the little nib on the trip meter reset cable (yellow circle) is actually a screw! To take the photo below I stuck my phone in the hole where the taco goes, that’s how stumped I was.



Anyway, once the screw was removed, the big cable unscrewed (blue circle) and the plugs pulled out, I gingerly took out the speedo.




Installation of the speedo face was the same as for the taco, except for one thing which I’ll show you later.


Once the speedo face is installed then remount the gauge, ensuring that the wire you have snipped earlier is coming out of the taco hole so that you can reconnect it easily. You’ll find it a lot easier to reattach the screw for the trip meter reset if you do it while the gauge is out. I couldn’t take it out this way initially because the cable was wrapped around a tube.


I then reconnected the wires I had cut and covered them with lecky tape.


I put some double sided tape onto the little voltage converter that came included, and stuck it just inside below where the taco is mounted.


Connected to this adaptor is the light switch and 4 little plugs that correspond to the plugs coming from the wires on each gauge face. In the picture below I am pointing to this little box.




Below is a picture showing what stage I was at. I plugged in all the cables, and the only loose ends were the whole taco unit, the switch (the black part with the red double sided tape on it) and the red and black wires that connected the whole thing to the cars power. You can see at this stage I finally took off the steering wheel.




Next I took off the wiring cover and ran the black and red cable out.


I borrowed a voltage detector off a mate and found the wires that connected to the lights on the headlight switch. I then slipped the black wire underneath a screw (earth), and the red wire I soldered to a wire that I detected to be connected to the headlights (only had voltage when lights were on).




I reinstalled the taco and was ready to test the system by simply switching on the headlights:





Now, here are the before shots:





Here are the after shots:



What is wrong with this picture?  :P








Now of course you have noticed that you cannot see the needles. I will be getting some paint to make them show up better in the blue light – some kind of highly reflective gloss that the blue light will shine off. To be honest the needles are more visible than the photos make them appear, but I still want them to show up better.


If anyone has any recommendations about what kind of paint I can use, I would love to hear them  ;D


I also was thinking that I need to find some kind of blue globe or blue cover for the light that goes behind my aircon, so that it matches the blue gauges. Just a thought anyway.


Well thats it, I'm loving them so far and I hope this give some people food for thought.  :)


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What about painting the needles in something that will show up under black light (ie UV) then install some black light bulbs in the old holders this is what I was thinking when I was looking at these speedhut faces.

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That's a bloody brilliant idea NZeder!


I'll have a look around for some 12V UV bulbs and paint!  :)


Edit: What do you think of these UV LEDs? :




Thanks for the kind words guys  ;D




I put the car back together this morning so I could get to uni. Afterwards I drove down to Dick Smiths and picked up a blue LED and a 560 Ohm resistor. I connected the 560 ohm in series with the longer (negative i think) terminal on the LED and I was ready to replace the light behind my aircon panel. I have to comment that the 4 young guys at dick smiths were utterly hopeless when it came to resistors, and the old white haired gentleman who served me was fantastic and knew exactly what I wanted.


As you can see in the photographs, even though the LED is fairly bright it still doesn't travel all the way down the aircon panel. I thought that the color matched nicely though. Now just to replace my stereo with the retrosound one to get everything blue!  ;D




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Found this on http://www.superbrightleds.com/ under their car LED section.


BA9s-x-12V LED Bayonet Base bulb

12 Volt 9mm miniature bayonet base bulb with 1 LED - frosted lens

Select LED Color: UV Blacklight BA9s-UV-12V $2.25 each

$ 0.98


Picture Attached.


I'm not at my car at the moment, but I'm assuming the 9mm refers to the diameter of the housing. I'll get a ruler out and confirm whether it fits or not.


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Leds dont have the angle of the light transmission as good as globes.


they are bright but only concentrate on tight angles.


you could improve by sanding that led u installed for the diffused look (this will sacrifice brightness but it will make the angle bit more wider)


other option is to install LUX star led with diffuser in place where the factory globes were. that wil make it bright . but may kill of your EL.


if those gauges dont protrude past the perimiter of originals just install the globes back in if anything should be better than previously.


as for UV light not sure how you guys like your eyes but UV light aint that good for them.  8) it may look cool but not what i want to see in front of me in those long night drives. UV is UV coming from the sun or fluorescent or LED.


easiest is to try and coat the needless with glow in the dark coating and retain the original globe that will keep the needle glow recharged.



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Hey rbz!


Went to a place called Jaycar at the gabba (bris) today and a guy in his 40s gave me a run down that was basically what you said. He mentioned the smaller angle of light and that I could sand it down to spread the light over a greater area.


I did a little research, ie wikipedia  ;D




I know wiki is not %100 legit, but this phrase got my attention: "The strength of a black light in comparison to sunlight is minuscule, so it is doubtful that UVA light poses any significant health risks."


You are correct saying that UV comes from the sun, but you can see that the light produced by blacklights is the 'least harmful' of the UV rays. They do note that it can be carcinogenic however. My thoughts are that since I will be mounting the UV LED in the original light location I will not be getting direct exposure to the light, rather I will just be seeing it indirectly. People work in bowling alleys and night clubs where they have UV lights off the wazoo have never (as far as I know) complained about it so I think I'll be ok.


The other thing about the intensity is that I can vary this depending upon what resistor I use.


Also, I spent $50 on UV LEDs, solder and some other tools to do the job so the stubborn part of my brain is refusing to admit I wasted the money haha.


Once I've done the install I'll do a review on night driving and tell you what its like, and if necessary I'll swap the old globes back in. My plan is to replace the bulb from the old lights with an LED, so that I can still screw them in/out easily if I need to replace them.

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stevo try it out doesnt hurt i know how you feel im the same. spent lot of money on stubornes and have to get it working with that. LOL usualy it works out but bit more on the pocket than anticipated.


i did use the UV leds on my cousins VL some years ago as the angle is lot wider.

about 8years ago Dick Smith had realy good white leds with 180deg angle which was wicked for lighting up dashes. it wasnt as bright but the angles were good. 2leds to light up entire S14 dash. and still going strong.


pitty these days the brightness has jumped into 5 figures and the angles into 2 or single figures which dont help the lighting effect unless u start using cluster technique.


u can get the strips that have SMD type leds (very small leds that a bright and have fairly wide angles) Jaycar did have some time ago. very flexible but expensive.


in your case try the easy stuff first than try improve things. most times the simpler solution comes out on top.


other than that u may want to try a transparent needle (red or white) replace the factory one and have a single or twin led mounted close under it. it will light up realy well. but removing factory needles on 32yo car may be a challenge.





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Ok well I'm now just waiting for the UV reactive paint to arrive from the states. Under UV light it will glow Blue.


I have been busy taking the glass bits off the old bulbs and mounting the LEDs into the little metal cups, and now I have 8 ready to go. I'll post a couple pics tonight or tomorrow.


I'm wondering how much UV light the paint needs to light up, because when I put the black cover (front) on the gauge there isn't much room for the light to get through. Anyway once the paint arrives I'll do a test run with my 'sacrificial' spare volt/fuel gauge.

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Hey ZD44TT


Simplest suggestion is to simply pop out the little green 'lenses' that turn your nice white light into a green colour. You will notice your gauges are a fair bit brighter. This can be accomplished with a screwdriver and a little tap from a hammer. Be careful.


Alternatively if you wanted to keep the green colour I would suggest trying some LEDs in the place of the original bulbs, but you would have to do some research into getting wide angle LEDs and unless you could get some that fit into the original holders you would need to be doing what I'm doing and soldering the LEDs into the little metal cups.




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Stevo I just noticed before you done the conversion your needle was sitting right on 20 now it sit just above 20. Or was you driving when you took the pic?  :D


ZD44TT does your zed have a dash light adjusting knob on the underside of the dash?

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Well spotted Hunter, I replaced my needle incorrectly and while it should be at 0 in that picture, it is showing 30 km/h.




I'll fix it up soon though.

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Ok here are some pictures of the LEDs that I have soldered into the little metal cups of the original light bulbs. I know the soldering is pretty dodgy but I've had to teach myself how to do it, lol


First had to solder a resistor so that the 3V LEDs could work in the 12V car circuits. The ones I used were 560 ohms, which gave a current of 15 mA when connected to 12V circuits. Considering the ideal operational currents for the LEDs are between 10-20mA this was perfect.



Then, using my nifty new claw holder I put the end with the resistor on it through the metal 'cup', melted the solder on the bottom and resoldered it with the wire in place. I trimmed the cathode (short leg with no resistor on it) and soldered it onto the top of the 'cup'.



Did this 8 times. You can see I've sanded a couple LEDs down and then decided I would see if its necessary before doing the whole batch.



Yay it fits!



Bought a 12V power supply to test them.



Inside gauge.




Fingers crossed that the UV paint will have enough light to make the needles glow when the face is installed  :-X

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Well it didn't work.


The needles with paint do glow, but not nearly as brightly as I had hoped. I painted my sacrificial gauge up and its a very small improvement.


Considering replacing the needles, but I'm not too keen to cut up my original ones.


A bit flummoxed, any ideas guys?

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Yeah thats an option Mr Camouflage, but I'm afraid it will ruin the effect of the EL panel that I have overlayed.


Thanks though!  :)

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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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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.com.au/glow-in-the-dark-pigments-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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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.

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You might want to try these LEDS http://cgi.ebay.com.au/100pcs-5mm-2000mcd-LED-Lamp-Ultra-Bright-UV-Free-Ship_W0QQitemZ350101638260QQihZ022QQcategoryZ105796QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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.


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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.

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