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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Folks,
I have really disliked the dash on my '06 since day 1. That 1980's era green color stinks.
Recently I had a boost gauge installed. A Prosport Premium Series. The green on that is super bright. (don't know if it is LED or not) I could actually live with that green. (Though blue or red would be so much nicer) Now with that gauge installed my dash color looks eve more drab.
I was wondering if anyone has converted their dash cluster to green LED's? There are some bright LED's out there such as the 4 + 1 HP wedge bulbs. (Such as those from SuperBrightLED's, a sponsor) I'd like it if I didn't have to experiment with various different bulbs if someone else has already done so. I have some bulbs to test with. (5 LED radials but not HP) My other hobby is pinball and I've converted all my my pins over to LED's so I have some 12V bulbs laying around. (though most bulbs on pins are 6V of which I have tons)
My big concern with LED's will be light dispersion.

Thanks,
 

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Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
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18,745 Posts
I've got pix of LED replacements for the ignition ring light at this post. I'm not sure how they would work in other locations due to the greater length, though it's nothing that I've yet tried to do.

Superbrite LEDs is a good outfit, but they aren't a sponsor here. We don't have any LED companies as sponsors. I've also been happy with V-LEDs and Autolumination.
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I've got pix of LED replacements for the ignition ring light at this post. I'm not sure how they would work in other locations due to the greater length, though it's nothing that I've yet tried to do.

Superbrite LEDs is a good outfit, but they aren't a sponsor here. We don't have any LED companies as sponsors. I've also been happy with V-LEDs and Autolumination.
Thanks Bruce.
I assumed SuperBright was a sponsor because I saw their banner ad.
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
Joined
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13,008 Posts
The banners are probably from people who are sponsor of the parent site.

There is a guy hee is the Seattle area that does LED swaps for people. He Generally does full amber swaps for STi guys so everything matches, but he has done some Forester stuff too. http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1508542
 

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Registered
2003 Forester 2.5X
Joined
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25 Posts
Just curios - anyone know what bulb numbers and how many are needed for the cluster? (Specifically for a SG, but I'm not picky)
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
OK...So I was bored this evening and decided to experiment (why do I torture myself so). I had some 5-led 12V bulbs laying around. I found that Green wouldn't work in this dash. While it did a great job of making the green background pop on the dash....it would not illuminate the needle. So the only option was white LED's. I only had cool white so they made the background more aqua than green. So if I decide to do this, I would have to try warm white.

I also tried swapping some of the small wedge bulbs. Two behind the left most gauges (fuel level and engine temp), two behind the odometer and one behind the battery light. When I decided to finish up with my testing, I put all the incandescent bulbs back in and then I lit up the dash to check it. Smoke started coming out....oh...oh. After I cut the ignition I noticed that none of those 5 incandescents would illuminate. The two bulbs behind the leftmost gauges had a red base. Now, when the LED's were in there, they all worked fine. I pulled those 5 small incandescent wedge bulbs and tested them (with a 9 volt battery). They worked fine.
I have no clue what smoked up. The 2 bulbs in the red bases were a little dark but I am not sure that it was them that smoked. But they did light when I placed them on the 9-volt battery.
Does anyone know what the red wedge base signifies for those bulbs? Is it a different bulb?
I am hoping that the problem is just a fuse, but I am worried that it is not. It is too cold and dark for me to work out there, will wait till morning, plus I started my engine once or twice to re-charge the battery and my wife came out gave me crap for waking her up. (The Cobb exhaust is at fault)

Here is a funny thing that also happened to me. When I was putting things back in, I noticed that my parking lights were on and I could not turn them off. I was pretty peeved and thought that this was related to the smoke that came out. I was double checking everything. After about 15-20 minutes, I noticed the parking light switch on my steering column was on....grrr!!!! I didn't look at that since I have never ever used that switch and frankly didn't know about it. It was pretty funny.





Thanks,
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Ahhh...found what I think is the problem. I found a burned trace on the back of the board. I can solder in a jumper wire. I think I also found what caused it. I pulled the small wedge bulbs to inspect them. When I pulled one of them, its "leg" was horizontal rather than vertical. So it may have been the short.

I will take pics to document my carelessness.
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
OK...fixing that burned trace fixed the problem.
I was inspecting the bulbs. I noticed that 2 of the bulbs were totally clear and 3 had some writing on them. I took a shot and put the 2 without writing into the red base and the 3 with writing into the black base.
Also when I was testing the bulbs with a 9 volt battery, I noticed that the 2 w/o writing seemed to get hotter. (maybe it was just my imagination). If so, my guess is that the red base bulbs may be 6V bulbs.
I had such bad luck tonight, that I used my soldering station to solder in the jumper. (rather than a cheapo radio shack iron)
I know that the right solder joint looks iffy and quite possibly a cold solder joint, but it is the camera angle. That joint is good.

Enjoy my misfortune.
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I will also post this in a new thread...

Well, I went to my car this morning and it started right up. I let it run for a while, because I figured that the battery was pretty low with all of the things I was doing last night. I noticed that the brake light was on, so maybe something else had also fried that I couldn't see. I am not too worried about this light at the moment.
After about 15 minutes the car stalled. I went to check and the battery had died. I plugged in a battery charger and it read that there was a battery fault. Since this was the original 4 1/2 year old battery, I decided to replace it. With the new battery in, the car started up, but now the battery light was on. Crud!!!! So I plug in my battery charger (which has an alternator check) and it reads that the alternator has a fault.
Now I am really bummed. Do you guys think that this is coincidental, or could it be something related to the dash cluster? To me it sounds like a real stretch to say they are related, but the timing is odd. I don't know what to do regarding the dash cluster. I am hoping to get it to a shop on Monday. Should I leave the cluster out?
Is it possible that the battery charger did something? Before I swapped the battery, I attached the charger and set it to 35Amps and I started the car. Could this have caused the alternator to crap out? I am not sure that this could be the case because the car started up with the old battery and seemingly the alternator did not charge it since it eventually died. (Unless the battery developed a fault and could not be charged)
Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry about being long winded. I am really bummed right now. If it is just the alternator, I could live with that. Just pay to have it replaced and be along my way.

Thanks,
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I think that I may be on to something.
I found a site which states emphatically that the alternator is not a battery charger (they refer to it as a battery maintainer). They go on to say that running the car's engine in an attempt to charge a battery that is low will overtax/overheat the alternator and cause pre-mature failure. Ok...this sounds completely plausible and if this is true (no reason not to believe this) this is what happened to me. It is also news to me. All my life, I was under the impression that you run the car to charge the battery. You live you learn.
I feel better after reading that.

What do you guys think?

Dino
 

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Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
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18,745 Posts
I think that's a bit extreme. There are shades of gray here. There have been times when for one reason or another my battery ran out when I was away from my charger. I jump started, made sure not to shut it off till I was home, tried not to stall, and everything worked out great. But if it happened to me at home, I'd go for the charger.
 

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Premium Member
2006 Forester XT 5-Speed Manual
Joined
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379 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I think that's a bit extreme. There are shades of gray here. There have been times when for one reason or another my battery ran out when I was away from my charger. I jump started, made sure not to shut it off till I was home, tried not to stall, and everything worked out great. But if it happened to me at home, I'd go for the charger.
Yeah...I hear you. I am hoping that my alternator may have been on its last legs. When I left the car idling for 30 minutes (while I shoveled more snow) maybe it overtaxed the alternator since it was only at idle speed. Had I driven it maybe the results would have been different.

Dino
 
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