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Old 03-15-2008, 09:35 PM
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Default Indiglo needles, the secret revealed!!!

Indiglo needles, the secret revealed!!!

Originally Posted by poisonfist

I have gotten numerous mails inquiring about the "home-brew indiglo needles" so I'll attempt to do a reasonably easy-to-follow write-up. This is more advanced than installing indiglo gauges and require soldering so if you're not sure of my instructions, you should not attempt this. Also it's a pain in the ****in' a$$!

Things you'll need: needle nose pliers, phillips head screw driver, Exacto-knife, soldering iron&solder, wires (something equivalent or bigger than 18 gauge), and paint( depends on what you want but I used white/florescent blue mixture), a rotary tool (dremel or the like), drill bits, an assortment of sandpaper,and (4)660ohm resistors, (6) blue LEDs (Radio Shack part #276-316)

After you disassemble your gauge cluster, the first thing you'll need to do is to take note of the calibration point of your needles. If you do not do this, you wouldn't know where the correct point you need to put your needles back to. For the tach and speedo, you should push the needle ever-so gently over the "stopper" that keeps the needle from going under "0". I kept track of this by taking photos before I took them off, here's the pic.

You have to take note of where the red line is, this is where you put the needle back after you finish all the steps. Now, all the gauges are built differently, for the fuel gauge you have to take the calibration point on the clockwise position like this.

Next comes the delicate part of removing the needles. You have to take different precautions for each needle. The speedo, you can pretty much just yank it out but I would still recommend turning and pulling at the same time. By turning, I mean by forcing it to turn past the point where it stops. Just keep turning in one direction while pulling and eventually the needle will come off. You should repeat the step with the tach and the temp needles but be very careful with the tach, it's a lot more delicate than the others. If you do break the tach by pulling too hard please refer to "how to fix your tach" <http://www.altimas.net/forum/showthr...threadid=16327> ATTN do not attempt this method with your fuel gauge! You will end up breaking it (sort of). For the fuel needle, you shoud take the assembly out of the cluster (it's held by 3screws) and get a good grasp of the center "stem" (which the needle is attached to) with a pair of needle nose pliers and pull the "stem" out of the needle rather than the other way around like the others.
This pretty much covers the First step, now to the actual work...

Next, you'll need to grind the LED flat so it will level with the acrylic piece that the gauge face lies on like this. (Be careful as not to grind through to the diode elements!) After grinding, I used sand paper going from rough to fine grit paper to re-surface the area I ground

Then, you need to drill and grind a hole to accommodate the LED. Try to make the LED element to hide entirely under the needle when it's all put back together. I place the LED for the fuel and temp at the 1 o'clock position and for the speedo and tach at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. I then glued the LEDs in place with cyanoacrylate a.k.a. super-glue.

a view from the back...

Here's a pic of the wires going to the back. I drilled one hole for the tach, and found a convenient hole for the speedo. The red spot indicates the other place I ground for the second LED.

Here's a simple schematic of how you should wire these LEDs. Now these LEDs are rated as 3.7V typical forwarding voltage and 4.5V max at 20mA typ. 30mA max. current so according to Ohm's Law, wiring from a 12V rail <12V=0.02A*R>, R=resistance in ohms BTW, you get 600ohms. Just to be on the safe side I decided to use 660 ohm resistors for this application. Also, remeber that LEDs are Diodes,, they are direction sensitive! Always make sure you wire them correctly(the longer lead is the positive!)

This is how I wired mine from the back.

1. these are the spots I found suitable to feed the wires through.
2. This is where I got the 12v rail feeding from, it's marked ILL+ there, it's right under the chime.
3. This is where I grounded all the wiring.

A close-up view of the positive 12V rail under the chime(the silver box) just loosen the screw to get a better access.

and a close-up view of the ground.

After all this is done, you can paint your needles. You need to remove the orange paint from the needles first though. I scraped the paint off using an exacto-knife. You don't necessarily "carve" it, you just lay the knife edge perpendicular to the surface and run the blade along, this will scrape the paint off. After you've taken all the paint off, you now are ready to paint. The color is ultimately your choice, if you're not planning to go indiglo gauge or reverse inglo gauge, you can just paint them white, it's very visible against the black stock gauge face. I painted mine white first, before I got my reverse indiglos, this is what it looked like during the night.

Then I got reverse indiglos shipped the next day and I was like ****! Cause it looked like this.

So in the end I repainted them with a mixture of white and florescent blue, though it didn't change the color of the needles during the night by doing so.

Finally, you can reinstall your needles to the calibration points you've marked. You can gently push them in until it has a decent grip, then turn it to the calibration point gently, then pushing it all the way in. It is actually wise to install your fuel gauge needle after you top off the gas tank and then install it at the "full" position.

Now, I have heard that the direct replacement LEDs for the 194/168 bulbs have good results as well(I haven't seen any pics of these so I really don't know), but it may be worth a shot if you don't want to go through all the trouble I went through. Here's a pic of the 194/168 blue LEDs, click on it and it'll take you to the site.

Apologies for no images. They were lost when the old system went down.
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