Vanagon – heater control light, LED hack

Years ago I made some LED lights for the instrument clusters before they were commercially available. They didn’t look pretty, but they worked. On my old neglected website I have some pics and text.

I still have those early models.

If you want to see how to make a much neater version, check out this German site. Don’t miss his clock lighting fix either.

I also hacked up a heater control bulb/socket to take an LED. I am embarrassed to show this effort, but as ugly as it is, it does work.

So embarrassing that I had to have a go at it again. Here is a burned out stock bulb/holder.

If you look closely at the slot in the plastic you can see a thin copper wire attached to the silver spade connection. Right adjacent to the “step” in the plastic the spade has a bent inward tab that secures the bulb and the spade in the holder. Bend up that tab (one on each side of the holder) and the bulb and spade will pull out.

I clipped off the bulb and then soldered on a resistor. Btw, you can decode that resistor value yourself 🙂 and there are online calculators to determine what resistor to use using led voltage rating and supplied voltage.

Then the spades were soldered on.

And the whole shebang pushed back into the holder. The resistor prevents the led from being inserted fully, but it is pretty secure as is.

Not perfect, but a whole lot better than that early mess. I’ll take some pics at night to compare with the stock incandescent.

Update Nov 28 2011 – being absent minded, I installed the led modified lights in the heater controls and the rear heater fan switch without taking pics of before swap. To be honest, it is a bit of a “meh”. It does match the rest of the dash now, but I can’t help but wanting something better, brighter. It was a 10,000 mcd LED in the heater control light, pretty bright I thought, but not as bright as I want.

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