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2009 Subaru Forester XPremium
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a 2009 Subaru forester, silver, where the interior is gray. The dash lights are all blue, and Im going to be installing an aftermarket radio. But what bothers me is the heat and air controls are red. Who decides to put 2 different color lights in the car. Also the little storage area under the radio has a blue light, and the rear cup holder has a blue light.
I really just want the air controls to be blue. Anyone have any kind of a solution for this?
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,523 Posts
Honestly? The trend towards red lighting was (is) due to the way that the eyes receive different colors and wavelengths and the way that those colors affect the human body. It was found that red caused less strain at night and less glare as well. It stared with the Germans and other European makers in the 80s, bled over to the Japanese makers in the 90s and has colonized the rest of the world, spreading just like Corona...

Now we're finding blue light emitted from LED and LCD tech to be another cause of eyestrain and excessive brain activity - which is why they're now suggesting that we stop using our computers, phones, tablets AND tvs before going to bed. The blue light band from mosts LEDs and displays does something to "wake up" the brain and makes it more difficult to sleep...

As for changing the color on your HVAC unit, that will require taking the unit apart and probably removing the red LED and replacing with blue LEDs - which then requires knowledge on soldering and all of that... It used to be that often times there would be a small bulb that you could pull and replace but now...?

And chances are that the blue you see in your dash and other places is not really blue, but a white LED that colors on the blue spectrum - think about how lights are described as "yellow" or "bright white" or "cool blue" or some such...
 

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2009 Subaru Forester XPremium
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7 Posts
The "blue" other places is definitely a blue LED. Im not sure about behind the HVAC controls. Kinda looking for that answer before i tear into it. Im more than comfortable replacing a light or LED. Being a moving light repair tech, im all about that.
My main concern is that it appears to be a red film with a white backlight. Thus meaning I would need to somehow remove the film and either add a blue light or blue film.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,523 Posts
The last time I pulled apart a lit feature on a car - it was the dash display on my late 80s Chrysler... then it was a simple incandescent bulb that fit into a plastic structure that then (much like fiber optic tech) lit up the plastic where it glowed through the openings of the face panel... It was probably pretty hi-tech for the 80s... But some of these bulbs used a colored cover to provide that blue color (or red or whatever)....

With LED tech, as you may know, the LED can shine in any one of a number of colors, all based upon the code being sent to the chip-set. So there may not be a film laid over the LED that provides the color. It would add an extra layer of complexity (pun on layer intended) to the simple LED circuit and diode.

But again, without at least pulling it out of the center stack and "seeing" how it works (if you can even see into the unit) we'll not know. Unless somebody else has pulled one apart or can find it in a service manual someplace....

I would at least guess that it is a replaceable LED, as it would make little sense to have to replace an entire HVAC controller (or radio head unit) when a "bulb" goes bad.... It must be a replaceable part...
 

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2010 Forester X Limited
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57 Posts
LEDs have an extremely long functional life, far longer than the car itself.. so they are not considered "replaceable".

That said, your HVAC module could be opened up and have the LEDs replaced with a different color. It would require full disassembly and some specialized tools, but it can be done. I personally went the other way and changed my cluster to one that was predominantly Red, to match the rest of the dash illumination.

Also, LEDs cannot shine "one of a number of colors, based upon the code". LEDs only shine one color based upon the chemicals used to make the LED chip itself. It cannot be changed without changing the entire LED itself.

Yes, there are "color changing LEDs" aka "RGB LEDs", but those are made up of actually three different LEDs, One Red, One Green, One Blue, sometimes in the same package. These would increase the cost and complexity by quite a bit and as far as I know, no car manufacturer would use them for something mundane line dash illumination.
 
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