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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #1
dstek
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: San Tan Valley, Arizona
Posts: 15
My Ride: 2001 BMW 330i
Official gauge cluster led replacement

So I took the plunge last night and thought I would make another LED DIY. This thread shows most of the steps to replace the LED's in your Gauge Cluster. 2001 BMW 330i.



This is not by any means a beginners job. You can very easily break your gauges to the point that you will have to get a new cluster. I take no responsibility in you damaging your gauge cluster or anything that may have to do with.

Continue at your own risk!

Step one, Remove the two screws that hold the cluster in the dash. Once you get the cluster out, remove the screws from the back of the cluster unit. Mine for some reason only had 4. There should be more then this. (I'm guessing).


Step two, Remove the back and flip it over so you can see the gauges. Pull the buttons covers that are attached to the trip and remove.


Step Three, Now you can pull the clear cover off. Lift straight up and remove.


Step Four, The picture below shows the pin buttons that control the trip, remove them by pressing the tabs on the back side and pulling them out.


Step Five, Now that you have the gauge cluster board out, remove the covers that are show in the pic below. You will see the LEDs now. Don't worry about touching the needles, it they move just push them back to the starting position. FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING SURE, DO NOT TURN THE CAR ON WITH OUT THE GAUGE CLUSTER ATTACHED.


Step Six, Now remove the metal display cover. Once you have the cover off gently left the display out. Be careful not to damage the rubber display connectors that are attached to the display.


Step Seven, Remove the orange backing to the Display. Carefully peel the plastic off the back, Make sure not to remove the blue cover that is under the orange, this is part of the display. Now set this aside.


Step Eight, Grab some tweezers and a soldering iron. You should be using a soldering tip that is small enough to fit between the plastic and the LED. If you melt the plastic, it's not that big of a deal. Heat one side of the LED and lift them, once that side is off, heat the other and lift the LED out. Once you have all the LEDs out replace them with the color you prefer. I will be updating this post with the part number and supplier of the LEDs.


Step Nine, Now that we have the LEDs replaced, using 30lb weight copy paper cut out a piece that is the same size as the display and put it behind the display.


Step Ten, Now put the display back in, make sure not to damage the display. do not press hard and make sure the screen is aligned correctly. The picture below isn't very good, It was using my phone. Looks AWESOME in real life.


Now that the Display LEDs have been changed lets move on to the Back Lighting for the Gauges.

We need to start by removing the Needles. This is a very delicate process. I used a fork to get under the black housing on the needle. I started by gently pressing down on the fork. It may take some pressure to get the needle off. I would recommend starting with the mile per gallon gauge, to get a feel for what it takes to get them off.




Once you get all the needles off, the face cover should come off very easily. Then remove the clear cover that is below the gauge cover.




After removing all of the plastic housings and covers. You should now have a bare circuit board with the needle shafts sticking out. Be careful not to hit or bend them (This is important).


Before removing the LEDs around the needle shafts be sure to mark the polarity of the LEDs. Test the LEDs that you are replacing the old ones with. This way you make sure to verify the anode and cathode of the new LEDs.


I used a white LED I had in my pile of LED stock. You can use pretty much any LED the draws about 20mA and runs on 2v - 3v.

ATTENTION: When putting the NEEDLES back on. Make sure to have the needles all the way to the starting position. meaning all the way to the left. Now push the needle back on with it pointing to the left most mark, if it is the gas gauge the needles starting position is the line below the E.

Comments: You can do this same process to the stereo and ac panel. The LEDs are all the same. You do not have to use the LEDs that I used. The voltage will be fine for any standard color LED.

Let me know if you need anything, I am glad to help.

Thanks for reading.

dstek.

Last edited by dstek; 05-23-2013 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:16 AM   #2
dozer1982
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Noosa QLD
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My Ride: 325i coupe
Re: Official gauge cluster led replacement

Thats a great how to bud. Recently did this to a motorbike and looks great with blue leds.

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Old 05-29-2013, 08:12 AM   #3
dstek
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Join Date: May 2013
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Re: Official gauge cluster led replacement

Thanks for the compliment.

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Old 06-03-2013, 03:24 PM   #4
rubinshazi
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Galway, Ireland
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My Ride: E46 320d 136hp yr200
Official gauge cluster led replacement

Can u please let me know which supplier did u find for those led lights. I need a red one to replace the airbag one coz the previous owner did break it
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #5
Drako06
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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My Ride: 330i
Official gauge cluster led replacement

LED supplier and part number please, excellent DIY!!!!


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Old 06-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #6
dirty vert
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My Ride: 2001 330ci
One question. .. are the factory leds orange? I'm also curious about the display leds- is it possible to just use a blue gel (the kind you find for stage lighting)- since you remove an orange piece.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:23 PM   #7
dstek
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: San Tan Valley, Arizona
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My Ride: 2001 BMW 330i
Re: Official gauge cluster led replacement

No. The LEDs are orange.

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