Passenger Side Window Switch LED Swap Tutorial kidly provided by Lawrence Ostle.
Disclaimer/Comment – Lawrence Ostle: This procedure worked for me, but I guess it may not work for you depending on your car, ability and tools you have available to you, so if your car bursts into flames as result of this tutorial please don’t blame me ;-)
I wrote this tutorial after the fact, so if I missed a few steps - apologies.
I am NOT an electronics technician, and may have got things wrong. However the unit I modified is in my car now and seems to work fine.
Please take this document at face value – I did this for my own pleasure and documented it to give something back to soarercentral which has been a source of education and fun before and since I bought a Soarer.
LED’s LED’s are polarity sensitive, so be aware of this. LED’s in THIS case do not require a resistor as they are replacing an existing LED, and the resistor is built into the circuit board.
What you need is:
Tools: - Screw drivers of various sizes, Philips and flat. - a wide bladed, blunt flat knife x 2 - small side-cutters - small pin-nose pliers - a soldering iron - a hot glue gun - a multi meter is good for checking polarity of LED’s - a ‘Dremel’ or similar fine cutting device (a small hacksaw blade may work too? - Not sure)
Materials: - solder - hot glue sticks - 1 x Jaycar LED 3mm Blue 1000mcd CAT. NO. ZD0130 (Australian reference, www.jaycar.com.au)
You: - Some soldering skills, a bit of electronics know how and common sense - 30 mins undisturbed - A steady hand - Patience – don’t rush this - A workbench and lots of light
SECTION 1 – REMOVING THE PASSENGER WINDOW CONTROL
1. Using the flat, blunt knife, lever the front of the control panel up – it ‘s held in place with clips and kinda hinges from the back of the panel – no screws. 2. Remove the white connector by squeezing the catch with the pin-nose pliers and pulling the switch and the connector apart. 3. The control panel should now be detached. 4. There are three parts to the unit; the inner white housing which holds the LED and the switch mechanism itself, the centre black surround and the exterior grey housing. 5. Remove the grey housing by inserting a flat knife between the middle black surround and the grey housing and depress the catches – there are two, one on each side that must be depressed. 6. Push the window switch out and it comes away from the grey housing.
There may be two options for removing the window switch itself:
- the way I did it (which involves cutting the black plastic surround to gain access to the LED inside)
- the way I THINK it may be done, which involves yanking off the grey plastic switch cover with a pair of pliers, and exposing the works inside BUT I didn’t try this
SECTION 2 – REPLACING THE LED
1. Using the Dremel, carefully cut out a small flap (15mm x 15mm) in the black plastic directly in front of where the factory LED is – the LED lives in an upright position directly below the little window in the grey switch. Remove the flap and retain it for later. 2. Now you should be able to see the silver legs of the factory LED through the window you’ve cut, running from top to bottom inside the housing.
3. Snip the legs of the factory LED near the bottom, leaving 4mm stubs for later use. 4. The legs of the factory LED are held in place near the top by a bit of white plastic with two holes in it. File this away using the Dremel. 5. Using the pin-nose pliers, extract the factory LED. 6. Take your new blue LED, and snip the legs using the side cutters so that they are 3mm longer than those of the factory LED you have just extracted. 7. You have now probably lost track of which leg of the new LED is positive and which is negative. To check the polarity of the LED, set your multi-meter to measure Ohms. Place the positive lead against one leg of the LED, and the negative to the other. The LED will emit a soft glow if you have the polarity right, if not, it won’t.
8. Insert the head of the blue led into the cavity, placing it as close as possible to where the factory LED was located. This may take some gentle persuasion using the pin-nose pliers. Ensure that the positive leg is on the right as you look at it. 9. Solder the new LED onto the stubs of the factory LED once you’re happy. 10. Test by plugging back into the car – you should have a cool blue glow showing up through the window on the top of the switch.
11. Use a drop of hot glue at the top to retain the LED in its new home (replacing the white plastic retainer previously Dremeled away.)
SECTION 3 – REPLACING THE SWITCH
1. Take the black plastic flap removed in section 2 point 1, and place back in the housing. Glue in place using the hot glue gun.
2. If necessary, put a layer of black insulation tape around the black section to add a bit more width and improve its fit, as the clip in the section you cut may not be as effective as before. Looks are not important – you can’t see the black bit once it’s installed. 3. Re-insert into grey housing. 4. Plug back into the car. 5. Bask in the blue glow.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 05:26 pm, by: Mike Triggs(Mikeandimah)
Photos would be appreciated, Tai.
I have just partly done our driver's side. The Auto button was a real bitch. I found it was easiest to just reef the thing off with a screwdriver underneath the front. I botched the first one (trying to lever from the back and sides- the plastic is thin there) and had to glue it back together, I tried again on the '95 model and it was easier. I'll swap buttons
I couldn't find either of my soldering irons (like a lot of other useful stuff, I think they went to store, where most of my furniture is) so have to wait until I go work tomorrow where I'll use the engineer's iron (we have visiting techs with a full set of tools as they have to fly here).
As the panelbeater broke the door switch retaining lug I've had to make up a new one. I wouldn't normally bother, as switches aren't that hard to come by, but '96 and on are slightly different and aren't completely interchangeable (though the earlier switches will work everything but the mirror folding). The late model switches are around $700 by the way. You can't just buy the top piece you have to get the whole assembly.
I had a bugger of a time bending the legs of the LEDs, I hope they end up alright! They look pretty bright, too, I ground them down but may do so more before reassembly- I detest overly bright distracting lights. Mine are 1200mcd from Dick Smiths in NZ.
Looks good, i've found the best thing for diffusing the light evenly is fibreglass tape (or any opaque tape, even scotch tape might do). LEDs are very directional so they really do need it to prevent accidental blindness when putting your windows down... he he. tape is way easier than filing/ sanding. Impressive work though. I'm thinking of going green illumination for my black interior...