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Wouldn't it be nice if the temp/mileage readout numbers were some other color than black, maybe orange. bright blue. I have to put my glasses on to see the numbers but I cannot drive with them. Kind of a pain, middle age I guess....
 

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What a great thread...... Glad you brought up the fact your eye sight sucks... Thanks!
 

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Anything can be changed!

Former EE here.. I've taken the cluster apart, and the LCD screen is replaceable. (it plugs into a socket) You can buy many different color combinations to replace it. I haven't decided if I want red text on black background, or black on red background. I need to finish the rest of the cluster lighting upgrade before I change though... FWIW, the display is just a standard 2x16 character display, 80mm x 36mm, standard Hitachi chipset with 16 pin header. I'm probably going to use this one -> NHD-0216K1Z-NSR-FBW-L NHD-0216K1Z-NSR-FBW-L [80.0mm x 36.0mm] - $11.10 : Newhaven Display International, Inc., High Quality Standard and Custom OLEDs, LCDs and VFDs.



Newhaven display has a bunch that should work (look for 80.0mm x 36.0mm) -> 2 x 16 Characters

That being said, I make no guarantees, your results may vary, etc, etc... :) I did plug a 4x40 display in, it worked but did some strange overlapping stuff since the cluster is spitting out data formatted for a 2x16 display. The down-side of course is you have to take apart your cluster which means you need to carefully re-zero your needles afterwards, before gluing the clear face back on.

Here's a picture of the factory LCD, raised up on some longer sockets (don't mind the extra ones, didn't feel like cutting them shorter..)

 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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^wow. What year is your car?
 

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2005.. I'm 99% sure the cluster in the picture is from an '05; I bought a couple spares to have for 'experimental' purposes....... Can't remember exactly what year they were, but mine looked the same when I opened it up. :)
(tried to fix the "turns off when you hit a bump" issue, turned out it was the connector pins on the back..)
 

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2007 Lotus Exige S
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Former EE here.. I've taken the cluster apart, and the LCD screen is replaceable. (it plugs into a socket) You can buy many different color combinations to replace it.
I suddenly don’t like you. I was completely happy with my display until now. I don’t want to open up the gauge cluster to replace such a trivial item that works perfectly fine already. Thanks for making me spend yet more time envisioning modifications to my car and researching all the available color combinations for the display. Would be so kind as to show me the link on how to remove the cluster and replace this, I’m too busy looking at LCD screens right now.
 

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LOL I'm not sure if there is a link to a how-to, though I might have seen one somewhere along the way.. I just started removing screws until it came out. :) I think you take the cowl / covers off, then a couple screws in the side brackets that hold it to the dashboard.. It's not too terribly hard, though one of the covers is stuck down there pretty good with push-in metal clips and I partially separated the cover from it's frame trying to pull it off the dash.... Then you have to pry off the front face of the cluster (yikes!) which isn't that hard - it's just silicone glued in place. The back of the cluster unscrews, then the pieces all come out. But you have to pop the needles off unfortunately to remove the board from the housing, which is never thrilling.. (where do you find just a needle if one breaks???)

I'm sure it voids the warranty for sure! :) I had my Scion tC about a week before I ripped the cluster out and figured out how to replace the sickly amber-ish LEDs with blue. I just can't leave stuff alone..
 

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LOL I'm not sure if there is a link to a how-to, though I might have seen one somewhere along the way.. I just started removing screws until it came out. :) I think you take the cowl / covers off, then a couple screws in the side brackets that hold it to the dashboard.. It's not too terribly hard, though one of the covers is stuck down there pretty good with push-in metal clips and I partially separated the cover from it's frame trying to pull it off the dash.... Then you have to pry off the front face of the cluster (yikes!) which isn't that hard - it's just silicone glued in place. The back of the cluster unscrews, then the pieces all come out. But you have to pop the needles off unfortunately to remove the board from the housing, which is never thrilling.. (where do you find just a needle if one breaks???)

I'm sure it voids the warranty for sure! :) I had my Scion tC about a week before I ripped the cluster out and figured out how to replace the sickly amber-ish LEDs with blue. I just can't leave stuff alone..

Have you thought about swapping out the EL display backlight to a different color? I would pay someone to swap both these. Money. American currency. Or assassination trade, whichever one has more value to you.
 

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Have you thought about swapping out the EL display backlight to a different color? I would pay someone to swap both these. Money. American currency. Or assassination trade, whichever one has more value to you.
Personally I'm not a fan of EL.. Degrades too quickly, and isn't all that bright. I have seen at least 1 person here change theirs out for another color though, and it was definitely better than faded orange. (mine is kind of a very dim greenish yellowy orange now?)

I'm going with LED's (probably red, or white with a red underlay / filter sheet), but I'm going to use the backlight sheets from an iPad screen instead of EL. They use a strip of edge-lit LEDs and some very thin sheets of plastic to very brightly and evenly light a good size screen. I've taken one apart and it looks doable. LED lit LCD screen backlight material would also work (where I got the idea, and successfully demo'd..), but iPad screen material is much thinner. (.6mm vs 2mm or so? Also LCD backlight plastic is generally tapered from one end to the other to aid in light dispersion while iPad screen material is flat) The only (only? LOL) tricky part is making room in the plastic housing (ie: machining a slot) for the LED strip to feed the plastic some light. Then I'll have a custom top sheet printed, probably very similar to the '08+ cluster with the black background. Not sure if I want white marks with red numbers, or red numbers with white marks, or some combination.. Considering I have no idea when I'll ever have time to get to the project, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for me though... :) Too much work, no time for fun stuff..

LOL - meant "white marks with red numbers or red marks with white numbers"
 

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Personally I'm not a fan of EL.. Degrades too quickly, and isn't all that bright. I have seen at least 1 person here change theirs out for another color though, and it was definitely better than faded orange. (mine is kind of a very dim greenish yellowy orange now?)

I'm going with LED's (probably red, or white with a red underlay / filter sheet), but I'm going to use the backlight sheets from an iPad screen instead of EL. They use a strip of edge-lit LEDs and some very thin sheets of plastic to very brightly and evenly light a good size screen. I've taken one apart and it looks doable. LED lit LCD screen backlight material would also work (where I got the idea, and successfully demo'd..), but iPad screen material is much thinner. (.6mm vs 2mm or so? Also LCD backlight plastic is generally tapered from one end to the other to aid in light dispersion while iPad screen material is flat) The only (only? LOL) tricky part is making room in the plastic housing (ie: machining a slot) for the LED strip to feed the plastic some light. Then I'll have a custom top sheet printed, probably very similar to the '08+ cluster with the black background. Not sure if I want white marks with red numbers, or red numbers with white marks, or some combination.. Considering I have no idea when I'll ever have time to get to the project, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for me though... :) Too much work, no time for fun stuff..
Yes, you are EE for sure. Lol. Well , is be really interested in a white, blue, or red EL conversion with a red LCD display. I'm no engineer, but I think this looks doable. Someone savvy needs to do step by step instructions!
 

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Do I need just the new LCD screen or do I alo need the pin header/s?
Depends on the screen, but most will require pins since they leave 'em empty so you can install whatever you need. One thing to note - the sockets on the circuit board are made for pretty small diameter pins.. I'll have to take a look on Digikey to see if I can find the same type as on the OEM screen. Forgot that detail... :)

--> Ok, so the OEM LCD screen uses Mill-Max pins (or equivalent), manufacturer P/N 350-10-116-00-006000, Digikey.com P/N ED6816-ND ($3.57 each + shipping). They are .019" in diameter, and .394" in total length.

They look something like this ->


Really, any pins .019" in diameter would work (round is best), but that Digikey P/N should be a direct replacement of what's on the OEM screen. Mill-Max headers are machined from solid metal and gold plated, so they are quite nice..
 
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