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Discussion Starter #1
I sent a PM to Sugeray, but while I'm waiting for a response, I wanted to ask how others installed their black HVAC face...... did they:

A.) Install it directly on top of the factory silver faceplate..... basically losing almost all of the illumination AND if you have a newer panel/knobs, preventing the knobs from lighting up?

or

B.) Removed the silver factory faceplate and all the super sticky adhesive down to the orange paint, and installed the black faceplate?

or

C.) Removed the silver factory faceplate and all the super sticky adhesive AND the orange paint layer, and installed the black faceplate directly to the clear EL panel?

Any tips or tricks you can recommend? :grin2:
 

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I did Option C. The EL panel isn't white under the orange, it's more of a "Tron" light with a blue hue. It really depends on your preference. Note if you do choose option B or C, there is a 99% chance you'll damage the silver face plate upon removal regardless of your carefulness.
If you do choose either B or C, goo gone is your friend along with a q-tip and care.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Awesome surferpkt.......thanks for the tips. Sounds like leaving the orange layer is preferred in order to keep the EL light the same color.

However, is removing the adhesive WITHOUT removing the orange paint even doable? Sounds like I'll try for B, but might end up with C.
 

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The problem is, when you remove the OEM face plate, some of the silver backing may get left behind on the EL in all the goop.
 

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The problem is, when you remove the OEM face plate, some of the silver backing may get left behind on the EL in all the goop.
This ^

Here's what the new EL gauge panel / overlay and the option "C" scraped HVAC colors look like... yeah pretty TRON-LIKE :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
DONE.....but EL Panel Doesn't Light Up Anymore

Great success........until~!!

1.) Removed the factory silver face plate and any remaining silver paint that peeled off.
2.) I left most of the adhesive on the face of the orange paint for adhering the new black panel.
3.) Since I have the newer HVAC panel with the (3) knobs that light up, I laser engraved the backside of the black face plate to remove the paint.....same size and location as the clear area on the factory silver face plate. (You can see these areas in the photo below......it shows as orange since it's clear in those rings and showing the orange paint behind)

PROBLEM: I reassembled everything and installed back in the car, only to find out my EL panel is broken/delaminated where the ribbon wire attaches and the electrode(s) are broken inside the EL panel. I'm getting 119vAC coming out of the (2) pins where the ribbon wire attaches by powering the little black transformer on the black ground wire pin and the illumination wire pin with a 9v battery, so I know it's good all the way to the EL panel.

So, should I try to find a replacement HVAC panel and start over, or use an aftermarket EL panel and wire to the same transformer (here is a 6" x 2" white panel that would fit great: http://glowhut.com/electroluminescent-panel-with-leads-and-connector-6-2-inch)?

 

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Ugh... I'm not certain that the EL panel you listed will work. Riceburner98 looked into this and if I remember correctly was informed that if you punch holes in the EL it will no longer light up properly. Sorry about your luck. Sounds like an OE replacement is in order. FYI the connectors can be finicky. If you are certain the wires from the ribbon to the EL are broke, I'd reach out to Bob @riceburner98 to see if he could possibly fix the ribbon/EL.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I thought of reaching out to Riceburner98, but he hasn't logged into the forum since June 20th.

Thanks for the advice on the EL panel. I know you can cut them, as long as you avoid the electrodes, but wasn't sure about punching 5 holes through it.

I think I'll just get another Lotus panel and be more careful in removing the silver faceplate, now that I know EL panels are made up of several layers. I believe my issue started when I first started to peel the silver face plate off.......I started on the corner where the ribbon wire attaches and accidentally got under the EL panel, so that entire corner started to delaminate before I noticed I was inside the EL panel. I spent an hour today trying to repair the EL panel at that corner but I think delaminating is like punching a hole.....you mess with the continuity and it's impossible to repair. If it was just the ribbon wires, I could have repaired those....but messing with the layers of an EL panel is another thing all together.

So, I decided to completely delaminate the entire EL panel to see and show what the insides look like. Might as well do something cool with it before throwing it in the trash. :clap:

 
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