LED Lights

When you turn the lights on on your car, the dashboard light to illuminate the speedometer, temp gauge, voltagegauge and clock also switch on. The speedomoter has 2 bulbs, and the tempgauge, voltage gauge and clock have one each. These bulbs are 2 Watt bulbs, so that’s 10 Watt. During the day this is a waste of energy. So I decided to replace them with LEDs also.
I believe there are LED raplacements for sale that you can just put in the place of the original bulbs, but they are quite expensive. At least, a lot more expensive that some LEDs and resitors and old bulbs…
So, I decided to make my own (this is my second attempt, my first attempt was partially succesful).

I took some 8 mm 1200 mcd (1.2 times a candle light) 3500K nm LEDs with 180 degree projection angle. These LED’s have a nice “yellow-ish” light, and spread the light around, just like a normal light bulb.

Now, most LEDs can’t handle 12-14 volts directly. Usally they can take around 3 Volts. This means a resistor should be used to bring the voltage down.

 LED 180 degree 1200mcd 8mm with resistor


I soldered the resistor to one side of the LED, it doesn’t matter to which connection it is soldered. BUT, pay attention to this: a LED has a plus and minus side. To the plus side the 12v of the car has to be connected, the minus side has to be connected to a ground. If you switch these around (ie plus side to the side of the bulb houding and the minus side to the bottem) the LED will not work!

After this I soldered wires with connectors to the LED and put some heatshrink around the exposed areas. Then I put a little piece of fuel line around it and secured it with a tie wrap. The fuel line is cut open and trimmed so it fits nicely in the former speedo light hole.

LED with resistors and wires connected


It now fits snugly in the speedo light hole:

LED in the speedo


The result:

LED in VW beetle speedo



LED in VW speedometer installed


I really like it, it looks just like the original light bulbs. Smile The voltage gauge and temperature gauge allready got these 180 degree LEDs in them. I will still have to sort out the clock (it’s also running a bit slow).

The only “downside” is that the dimming functionality hardly works anymore. I can dim it a little bit, but I cannot dim it to black anymore. But I don’t care about that, I always have these lights at it’s brightests.

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