VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner
1 - 20 of 178 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
LED Project #2 - MKIV VW Cluster Upgrade
DIY IS NOW COMPLETE - DIY AWAY!!!!
After many months of R&D and buying different parts, I believe I can call LED Project #2 finished. I have entailed all the details below, and if there are any questions please feel free to PM me (FaelinGL) or Wes (SPKNGRMN) or email me at [email protected]
Before you do, *please* read everything in this document, as your question may have been previously answered. I would like to thank SPKNGRMN, Rob'sVR6, staggered MK4, VgRt6, and everyone who contributed to this project.
Functionality added
This DIY will install LEDs that dynamically track engine speed and vehicle speed. When completed, the install basically looks stock. Click on the pictures/links below to check out the movies(MPEG format). You can download the MPEG codec HERE if you don't have it installed.


LED Project #2 - Shift Light Enabled
LED Project #2 - Shift Light Disabled
COLOR SELECTOR
By popular demand, people want to know what their cluster will look like before they choose to do this. If you do, please click on the COLOR SELECTOR and figure it out.
Preface
If you are using the DIY method, you really do need some experience with soldering, wiring, and understanding circuit diagrams. A couple of legalities:
1)You WILL void your warranty, at least for the instrument cluster.
2)You WILL be taking parts of your car apart, prying them open, and putting them back.
3)The circuit diagram is Patent Pending. I give you permission to make your own circuit, but please do not attempt to sell or otherwise promote it. I'm really not a fan of long, drawn out legal battles

Theory
Rather then fill up this document, if you're going to do this I highly recommend you read THIS PAGE. It will give you some valuable insight as to what exactly you're trying to accomplish.
All right, let's get started. Please be careful. Do this procedure at your own risk, I can't be held responsible if I have made a mistake in the steps. There are MANY steps, so be sure you understand what you are doing instead of following the procedure blindly.
Needed Parts
Kit Method
-Super Glue (not Gel! I recommend "Loctite" Precision Max Superglue)
-Electrician's tape
-2 AA Batteries (optional)
-Thin wire (optional)
-All remaining parts are included in the kit
DIY Method
-Super Glue (not Gel! I recommend "Loctite" Precision Max Superglue
-Electrician's tape
-Thin Wire for jumpers/splices - 30 gauge, single strand, Kynar insulated wire works best
-Applicable parts to build the circuit (see the diagram below)
-2.5mm by 7mm rectangular LEDs of your color choice (you can get these from http://www.digikey.com)
Needed Tools
Kit Method
-10 mm socket
-ratchet
-ratchet extension
-small blade screwdriver
-medium blade screwdriver
-Torx-20 screwdriver
-Torx-10 screwdriver
-Voltmeter (optional)
-Small round file (a Dremel tool works MUCH better)
-Small pliers
-Air source (for cleaning the dust out, a computer dust can works too)
DIY Method
-10 mm socket
-ratchet
-ratchet extension
-small blade screwdriver
-medium blade screwdriver
-Torx-20 screwdriver
-Torx-10 screwdriver
-Voltmeter (optional)
-Small round file (a Dremel tool works MUCH better)
-Small pliers
-Air source (for cleaning the dust out, a computer dust can works too)
-Soldering Iron
-Solder Remover
-Solder
-Applicable tools to build the circuit
-Lots of Time
-Black Spray Paint
-Blue Painter's tape
-Lacquer Thinner
-Small side cutters
Initial conditions - DIY Method only
-You will need a LOT of time to invest for testing and wiring with the DIY method, whereas the Kit method requires only about 3 hours to do the installation.

-You can complete wiring up and testing the circuit board prior to pulling out the instrument cluster.
-You can reinstall the instrument cluster with the gauge faces removed so you can complete installing the LEDs.
The Circuit Board
For the DIY Method, this is the hardest part. You will need to figure out how to wire up the circuit to a breadboard. I really can't explain how to solder, how to read circuit diagrams, or how to understand a manufacturer Datasheet. So if you do not know how to do that then you may want to opt for the Kit method. That being said, if you still want to proceed you may go through many, many circuit changes before the circuit works. As an example, here is a picture of the my original DIY board compared to the Kit Board.
Front

Back

What I have below is a simplified circuit diagram for one side of the circuit (ie, the tachometer). You will need to wire two of these together to power both the Tachometer and Speedometer LEDs. Use this in conjunction with the manufacturer data sheets listed below to design your circuit. Two words of advice - Work Small. Do one piece of the circuit at a time. Test it, make sure it's working, then solder it to the breadboard. It took me the better part of a week to get the circuit to do what I want reliably.

Frequency to Voltage Converter - LM2907 Datasheet
LED Display Driver - LM3914 Datasheet
For the circuit diagram, the pots labeled R1 through R5 control the circuit in the following manner:
R1 - Controls the slope of the Voltage Response
R2 - Controls the initial DC offset of the Voltage Response
R3 through R5 - Fine tune the circuit response per the LM3914 Datasheet, page 16/17.
If you pull the RPM signal from the ECU, you will need to use the 561 pF capacitor. If you get it from the blue connector in the cluster, use the .01 uF capacitor.
Don't get frustrated!! I'll do my best to help you fix your circuit, but I can't really see your breadboard so I can only offer my own experience. Once you are satisfied with your circuit, continue on to perform the installation.
Disconnecting the Battery
Note:You may need the radio code to reset your radio after disconnecting the battery (OEM Radios only)
1.Pull the hood release latch to unlock the hood.

2.Raise the hood by pulling out on the locking tab and lifting the hood.

3.Remove the battery cover by lifting up on the front and pulling it out.

4.Remove the battery clamp for the red, positive terminal cable by loosening the nut with a 10 mm socket.

Removing Interior Parts
5.Open the interior fuse cover with a medium blade screwdriver.

6.Remove the side dash cover by pulling it out and away.

7.Remove all three Torx-20 screws located under the dash. You can see the middle one here.

8.Remove the lower kicker panel by pulling out on the left side. Then, pull out and up on the right side.

9.Remove the flat plastic piece under the dash by pulling the front out and down.

10.Remove the two Philips head screws under the steering wheel on the lower steering column cover.

11.Remove the upper steering column cover by lifting it straight up. Pull directly out on the plastic trim connector to remove it.

12.Remove the two instrument cluster screws with a Torx-20 screwdriver.

13.Work the cluster out of its place by tilting it back and forth.

14.Lift up on the pink tab of the blue connector. You can use a screwdriver to help, but be careful not to snap the plastic lever.

15.Remove the blue connector by sliding it out of the cluster.

16.Repeat step 14 and 15 for the green connector.

17.Slide the instrument cluster out of the dash and set it to the side.

Modified by FaelinGL at 11:17 PM 10-26-2006

Modified by FaelinGL at 6:46 PM 11-10-2006


Modified by FaelinGL at 7:54 AM 11-11-2006
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

Cluster Disassembly
18.Lay the cluster on a soft material and remove the two Torx-10 screws on each side of the cluster.

19.Seperate the halves of the cluster by lifting up on the locking tabs on the top and bottom and pressing the halves apart.

20.Remove the gauge needles by turning them clockwise until resistance is felt. Once resistance is felt, continue to turn the needle and pull out on it at the same time.

21.Remove the tachometer gauge face by freeing the tab in the upper right hand side of the face, and turing the gauge face 45 degrees counterclockwise. Then lift the gauge face straight up.

22.Remove the speedometer gauge face by freeing the tab in the upper left hand side of the face. Turn the gauge face clockwise 45 degrees, and lift the gauge face straight up.

LED Installation
Note: Steps 23 through 33 are ONLY for the DIY method. Steps 34 and 35 are ONLY for the Kit method.
23.Place your rectangular LEDs on top of a strip of blue painter's tape with the sticky side up.

24.Using a straw or other tubular plastic, cut a length enough to cover the leads of the LED so they do not get painted.

25.Spray black paint on each side of the LEDs. I usually give it two coats to guarantee the LEDs get coated.

26.Lightly wet a paper towel with lacquer thinner. Remove the LEDs from the painter's tape, and lightly brush the top of each LED across the paper towel. This will remove any bled through spray paint.
27.Tape your tachometer gauge face to your working surface with some electrician's tape. Doing one LED at a time, place an LED over a segment of the gauge face, with the LONG LEG on the outside. Make sure you don't cover any of the numbers.

28.Glue the LED to the gauge face, with just a TINY bit of glue, but enough to hold it in place.

29.Once the glue has dried on a particular LED, clip the leads so you have enough meat to solder wires to, but not too much.

30.With around 2' of thin wire, strip off about 10 inches of the insulation on one end. Solder the bare wire to the outside lead of each LED. Make sure you label this wire as the outside wire.

31.Cut 30 pieces of thin wire, each approx 4' long. Strip one end, and solder the bare wire to the inner lead of each LED. Since you only have 30 power supplies from the circuit, you will need to connect LEDs 30-34 together with one wire. It would be helpful to label the wires as you solder them.

32.Route 20 of the wires and the outer wire through the LEDs on the right, and the other 10 wires to the left. When you are done, your gauge face should look like this.

33.Repeat steps 23 to 32 for the speedometer gauge face. It should look like this when you are done.

34.For the kit method, center the tachometer LED ring over the gauge face so the LEDs most completely cover the segments. Then glue it to the gauge face.

35.Repeat step 34 for the speedometer gauge face.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

36.Using your file or Dremel tool, grind down the white plastic on the bottom right corner of the cluster.

37.Gently mate the top and bottom halves of the cluster, but do NOT lock the tabs together.
38.With a black marker, draw a small notch in each of the gaps where you expect the wires to run through.


39.Remove the bottom half of the cluster, and set it aside. Then grind down the notches you drew in the black plastic of the top cover.

Instrument Cluster Reassembly
40.Set the RPM Gauge face on top of the cluster. Make sure the wires slide between the slots in the white plastic (red arrows). Then lock the tab of the gauge face to the upper corner of the plastic ring (green arrow).

41.Using a small screwdriver, press the inner edge of the gauge face under the notches in the center plastic shaft.

42.Set the Speedometer Gauge face on top of the cluster. Make sure the wires slide between the slots in the white plastic (red arrows). Then lock the tab of the gauge face to the upper corner of the plastic ring (green arrow).

43.Using a small screwdriver, press the inner edge of the gauge face under the notches in the center plastic shaft.

44.To reinstall the needles, use the following steps:
a.Press the needle center onto the metal shaft.

b.Turn the needle counterclockwise. Notice how it is past the lowest mark on the face.

c.Turn the needle clockwise until resistance is felt. Then continue turning gently to the lowest indicated mark.

d.Lastly, turn the needle counterclockwise until resistance is felt. Then continue turning gently to the lowest indicated mark.

e.Make sure that the needle rests at the lowest indicated mark.
45.Repeat step 9 for the other needles.

46.Run the pair of center wires (red arrows) through the locking tabs (green arrow) in the top half of the cluster.

47.Continue working the wires through until you can mate the top and bottom halves of the cluster. Make sure the wires are in their slots in the white plastic.

48.When all the wires are in their appropriate places, press the halves together to lock the cluster tabs.

49.Reinstall the two Torx-10 screws into each side of the cluster.

Prep for Cluster Installation
Note: Locating the proper wires to splice into is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. You may cause severe damage to your cluster, ECU, or vehicle if you tap into the incorrect wire. I highly recommend you have the appropriate wiring diagram for your vehicle prior to proceeding. I have listed the wires below through the research I have done, but yours may be different based on year and model.
50.Unwrap the black tape surrounding the blue connector for the cluster.

51.Locate the SOLID BROWN wire (pin 24). There may be more then 1. Label this wire as the Ground.

52.Locate the BLUE WIRE with a WHITE STRIPE (pin 3). Label this wire as the Speed wire.

53.Locate the BLACK WIRE with a PURPLE STRIPE (pin 1). Label this wire as the Power wire.

54.Locate the tach wire by performing steps 4 through 5.n. of the RPM Wire Tap DIY. Depending on the year of your car, the tach wire may be in the blue connector or you may have to grab it at the ECU.
55.If you decide to install a switch, choose an appropriate location and install the switch along with whatever wiring you attach to the switch.

56.Splice the appropriate wires together from your circuit board and switch to the wires you have labeled in the cluster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,178 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

Cluster Reinstallation
57.Set the cluster on top of the dash, and run the wires from the cluster down through the firewall.

58.They should hang down below the dash.

59.Place the cluster into the dash, gently tugging the wires from under the dash so they remain straight. Then install the green connector into the cluster. Push it fully into the cluster (red arrow), and then lower the pink locking tab (green arrow).

60.Install the blue connector into the cluster. Push it fully into the cluster (red arrow), and then lower the pink locking tab (green arrow).

Note: You may want to put off screwing the cluster in place and installing all of the trim pieces until you are satisfied that the circuit board works and that the LEDs illuminate properly. Otherwise, you may have to pull the whole thing apart again.
61.When you are satisfied that the cluster is installed and none of the cables are crimped, Install the two Torx-20 screws into the cluster.

62.Slide the top steering column cover (red arrow) over the steering column and press the plastic trim piece (green arrow) into place.

63.Install the two Philips head screws under the steering column cover.

64.Connect the wires from the cluster to your circuit board. Hopefully you used some sort of connector, because it is a pain to get a soldering iron underneath the dash (ask me how I know).
Note: The following step will apply power to the vehicle.
65.Slide the red, positive terminal back onto the battery. Tighten the terminal nut to 6 Nm or until tight.

66.Reinstall the battery cover by snapping it over the battery.

Calibration Procedure
Note: Once the circuit board is connected to the LEDs, you will need to calibrate the board, matching the needle on the gauge face to the LEDs. This is accomplished by changing the resistances of the pots in the circuit. Unfortunately, since your board will be very different from the Kit board, I will explain using the potentiometer nomenclature in the simplified diagram. For space concerns, click on THIS DOCUMENT for the full calibration procedure.
Reinstallation of Various Interior Components
Note: At this point, your LEDs should be responding properly to the needles. I recommend only doing the first step until you are happy with the calibration. Then, complete the rest to install the rest of the parts.
67.Place the circuit board on top of the under-dash panel. Tuck the cables up, and then install the panel by sliding it into the two white clips on the firewall.


68.Install the lower kicker panel by pressing the clips into the holes in the dash.

69.Reinstall the three Torx-20 screws under the dash.

70.Install the side dash cover by pressing the clips into the applicable holes.

And that's it! Count the beers you have drunk and post it. I finished at least 3 cases through the duration of the project.
Mike
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,683 Posts
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss finallllyyy,omg i have been waiting for this since i was born!!!1111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


DIY fo sho
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,436 Posts
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

Well there it is folks, have at it!!!!!! http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif





Modified by SPKNGRMN at 11:29 PM 10-26-2006
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

What a DIY!
Longest I have seen yet!http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,436 Posts
Re: LED Project #2 DIY - MKIV Instrument Cluster Upgrade-FINALLY!! (FaelinGL)

Quote, originally posted by FaelinGL »
I'm so tired. Good god, wes come over here with a 6 pack

Mike

On the way!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,818 Posts
wow i don't think i would ever have the balls to try that but good work and really nice writeup http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif

i noticed your methods for removing the needles from the gauges are reversed from alot of other diy's that ive seen, but yours also seems to be alittle more logical
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,818 Posts
i just saw the videos and i have to admit it looks awesome....in the pictures i was like ehh rainbow colors but after seeing it working its definitely impressive
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,297 Posts
Re: (Sealab2k21)

how easy is your kit to install, im really not that great with electronics
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,128 Posts
Re: (tvarmy04)

Un-freakin'-believable! Fabulous work. I'd do this, but my wife would kill me as I wouldn't see her for days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
Awesome, looks crazy. i really like the shift light too.
Too bad there is no way i'll have the patience or ability to do that.
Good work
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,068 Posts
Re: (VgRt6)

Quote, originally posted by VgRt6 »
Un-freakin'-believable! Fabulous work. I'd do this, but my wife would kill me as I wouldn't see her for days.

No excuses. DO IT
!!
 
1 - 20 of 178 Posts
Top