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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 05-19-2013, 11:48 PM   #1
dstek
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: San Tan Valley, Arizona
Posts: 16
My Ride: 2001 BMW 330i
2001 330i Gauge Cluster LED Change.

I thought I would try and give back to the community and make a DIY.

Here is a link to my most current DIY that shows the gauge cluster back lighting replacement. It includes removing your gauge needles.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...690&highlight=

I recently posted some pics of my Business CD and AC LED Change, you can find it here:http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...558&highlight=

Here is some of the steps that I did to change the back light LEDs in the display of the Gauge Cluster.

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 tracing paper and regular weight copy paper cut out pieces that are the same size. 2 pcs of tracing paper and one pc of copy paper. Put the pieces in, put the copy paper between the two tracing pieces. The image below does not show the tracing paper, I was experimenting with what looked best.


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, I was using my phone. Looks AWESOME in real life.


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.

Edit: Thank you sillieidiot, You need to make sure to mark the polarity of the displays and the LEDs. If you put them back in wrong they will not light.

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

Next will be the speed and RPM gauge back lighting, once I figure out how to get the needles off.

Thanks for reading.

dstek.

Last edited by dstek; 05-23-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
sillieidiot
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good job, you should make a note that you need to make a note of the orientation of the LCD that you're taking off. if it's put in the wrong way, the display looks all messed up.

to take the needles off, you can use a fork and pry it up slowly.
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:05 AM   #3
dstek
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Thank you, I added an edit.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:29 AM   #4
blakxr
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Melbourne
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My Ride: 2001 325i
Sweet, how many new leds did you use for the dash? Oh and the stereo and AC combined?
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:56 AM   #5
casino is no lie
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My Ride: M54B30
I respect the workmanship but I am not a fan of blue interior lights.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:00 PM   #6
dstek
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: San Tan Valley, Arizona
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My Ride: 2001 BMW 330i
You know, I didn't count them. Just for the dash LCD displays took 16 combined. The deck and stereo took about 50 together. Just to be safe I would buy 80-100 leds.
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Old 09-13-2014, 04:18 AM   #7
330 ftw
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Hey where did you get the LED's at? I want to do this to mine.
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