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Old 02-28-2014, 01:44 PM   #1
roeder
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blue to red interrior lighting how-to

Sorry if this is in the wrong spot if it is please move it :)

I had posted in another thread somewhere that I was planning on swapping out all the blue in the car to red, so here is the beginning.
Ive previously done this in the other car I had but the leds used were much easier to work with. All the leds you will find behind buttons, knobs, and gauges in your mk3 are 1206 SMD (surface mounted diode) LEDs. When I take everything apart id like to also verify if the displays are also lit with them. I have the S So its just the basic color of the displays id like to change

anyway you can buy 100 of these little leds for 5 bucks, of which I have already ordered off ebay. Now im not 100% sure that they are all the same so ill check fitment when I get them before I begin this how to. Once I can say that they are correct ill hop right on the detailed steps with a crap ton of pics :)
I ordered these about two weeks ago so im hoping they come soon, ill be starting with the window and mirror switches from the driver door as a test start and any progress I will update on here.

Stay tuned if your interested!


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Old 02-28-2014, 02:01 PM   #2
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Sounds cool. I did this with my MK1 (green to blue), but most of those led's where the standard 3mm.
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverPony2001 View Post
Sounds cool. I did this with my MK1 (green to blue), but most of those led's where the standard 3mm.
Ya thats what mine were too, I had to think twice about starting this because these little leds are a whole new ball game lol
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:11 PM   #4
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Well I got my lights and now I cant find my damn soldering gun so now I have to go out and buy one lol. Ill update as soon as I start the install but here is a few pics of the leds in their packaging and a size comparison.
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Last edited by roeder; 03-10-2014 at 10:41 PM. Reason: moar pix
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:38 PM   #5
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got the gauge cluster and the driver side window and mirror controls done but ill leave the gauges for last.

these are some important notes to read before you decide to take on this project:
I highly recommend that you find a part from a scrap yard or spare part to practice on because with any boards like this you have the potential of damaging what you are soldering, also these LEDs will require good quality tweezers to install and will take about 5-10 minutes to install each light.
I give this time period because everyone will have different soldering irons and different skill sets.

all these lights can be found on ebay and you will find two types of LEDs that you will need to change, the first one is the small ones which are 1206 SMD LEDs which can be found here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-x-SMD-SM...item2a1af5ab84

and the other type are PLCC2 SMD LEDs which can also be found here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151020456357...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
PLCC2's are used for behind the displays in the gauge cluster which i haven't changed yet but ill do an update when i do those.

the tools you will need:
-soldering iron (preferably one with adjustable heat) with electronic's solder and flux found at radio shack or for my Canadian peeps, the source or canadian tire.
-t10, t15, and t25 torx screw drivers (the sizes may be a bit off because i can barely read the numbers on my tools any more lol)
-good tweezers
-flat head screw driver or real pry tool (not improvised)
-well lit working area, with no chance of animals or children around.
-permanent marker and pencil
and a lot of time, patience and a steady hand, so don't do this if your hands are shaking.. and maybe a beer.

If this is your first time doing this stuff i suggest stopping after the first one and checking that the connection is good and then after every four or five LEDS to make sure you have all of them lit before you close everything up.

in the first few pics i will go over the LEDs polarity marking, now you will notice that the LEDs don't look the same these are just the type i found and used, if you can find the same style i suggest you get those. it will make your job a lot easier...


on one of the corners you will notice a notch, that will match the polarity of the leds you get that may look the same or have some sort of mark on them like mine do in this pic. once you identify all positions of all the leds put a dot on the side of the board where they are notched like this




now that we got that aside lets start takin crap apart!
everything i took apart i took pics of you dont have to look through other threads if you dont want to, now we will start with the window controls. (this process go the same for both front doors)

start by removing the door trim piece, you will want to start from the top and move down but remove it carefully so you dont break it. at the bottom it will pivot out


after that pops out you can take out the button assembly starting from the back and lift up, there will be two tabs that may make this difficult, just poke em' with your flat head and out it will come then disconnect the two connectors and take it to your work space.


on the bottom you will notice 3 black and 7 silver screws remove the black ones first to remove the housing from the trim, then before you remove the silver ones to get to the guts make sure the buttons are face down and stay that way when you take the back plate off. if you don't you'll have to play everyone's favorite game of 101 pickup. not really.. but you'll have a handful of parts fall out and you don't want that to happen because its a pain to piece back together.


so the next step will be to remove the clear rubber transfer pad and mark out the 6 LEDs like i mentioned earlier

once you have done that you can start with the not so fun part. whip out your tweezers and soldering iron, hold your iron to the solder on the side of the led long enough to release it, but dont try and take it all the way off! twist it a few degrees so the led is still flat to the board but just off the contact point then do the same for the other side

you'll be left with this.


the next thing you want to do is take a tooth pick and dip it into your flux and put a small amount on each contact pad and the back of the LEDs contacts, keep the led aside, grab your solder put it on the tip of the hot iron and apply solder to the pads on the board like this


once your done that grab your LED with your tweezers again making sure the mark on the led matches up with the mark that you put on the board, poke the boards soldered pad with the smallest tip of your iron for about 3 or 4 seconds depending on how hot your iron is until it melts the solder then quickly apply the led and make sure its in the center of the two pads then remove your iron and let it cool for a sec, then gently poke the led with your tweezers to verify that its attached if it is then solder the other side.
Do this by firmly (but not to hard) pushing your LED down with the tweezers and poking the other pad to melt the solder, you will be able to tell the led has bonded if it sinks into the solder and once this happens remove the iron quickly so you don't melt the LED. always try and balance the contact between the led and the board, never put more heat on the LED then the board or you will melt them.

Once you have done one go out with just the board and plug it back in, turn your key and make sure it lights up with the stock LEDs if it does then congrats! now you can do it 5 more times lol.
If it doesn't then the LED hasn't made proper contact with one of the pads and if this is the case figure out which pad isn't connected and re-apply heat to melt the solder together.. or is backwards. i haven't had to take any of my LEDs off to re solder them so i'm sure it would just be the same as the stock ones. but just be careful. i'm not responsible for any damage YOU make.


once you are all done and verified that all the LEDs you installed are working, pat yourself on the back and put the stuff back together.. clear rubber pad goes on the board, then that goes face down into the buttons, put the 7 silver screws back in and then the 3 black ones into the button housing and to the trim piece you took it off of earlier.
re connect what you removed and starting from the top pop the trim with the controls back into place gently at first then push once its set in to clip the two clips back into place. once your done that from the bottom push the elbow of the small trip piece back in the bottom and work your way up snapping the clips back into place, again this goes for the other door as well



that's it for the doors next ill be covering the gauges.
i get into a lot of detail not because i dont think people can do it without the in depth step by step but just so that everyone can go back and double check :)

UPDATE: DO NOT attempt to do the HVAC controls unless you know, with out a doubt how to take it apart. i went to take it apart and its a mine field of clips that i haven't figured out how to how to remove in the proper order to prevent damage.

p.s. the led colors vary from deep blue, amber, yellow, green, purple and a few other colors for the 1206 leds but less options for the bigger PLCC2's so just keep that in mind when hunting them down.

hope u all enjoyed and good luck

Last edited by roeder; 03-30-2014 at 06:35 PM. Reason: updates
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:15 PM   #6
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Good write up! But your pictures are all broken.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:30 PM   #7
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fixed the pix..
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:08 PM   #8
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This is awesome. Going to follow this.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:31 PM   #9
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looks good, but to be honest, for the average person, those tiny piece are a PITA to handle and solder. Its much easier to pay $130 for a full LED swap conversion from Starfury in the classifieds. (free plug)
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:47 PM   #10
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That looks good. I like the red lighting over the blue lighting. Can't wait to see the finished product.
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