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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
First of all i want to point out that i originally followed the instructions of how to do this from another site and the information goes to the credit of 09xfebalt, i have done this twice now and have enough experience to do a write up of this now

Things you need:

-Soldering Iron with smallest tip as possible
-needle nose pliers
-flat headed screw driver
-12 volt LEDS preferably 3mm in what ever color you want it to be (I used blue and got them from LED-switch.com)
-HVAC unit, i recommend acquiring a second one in case something breaks

1st Step : is to remove the trim around the radio and HVAC, i did not take pictures because there is plenty of pictures of how to remove the trim,

2nd Step : remove the HVAC unit which is held in by two 8mm screws and then unplug the three connectors from the back of the unit



3rd Step : once you have the HVAC unit removed take it to a workplace or in my case the work bench, pull the middle dial out, it comes off with a little force but it does come off, after removing the middle dial then remove the face plate, depending on the year and model it may be silver or black. I have both colors because i have two different HVAC's and was doing two during this lol













4th Step : after removing the face plate there will be a clear plastic piece resting behind that remove that and you should see the circuit board with the four bulbs







5th Step: Now Shown above is the polarity of the bulbs, if you do not have the correct polarity or match up the positive with the positive of the bulb they wont work. To test the polarity of the led bulbs i used a 9 Volt batter i had sitting around.

Now take your solder and on either side of the stock bulbs there will be the connecting metal to the solder pads, touch the tip to them and gently push the bulb with the solder or while touching the solder to the pad use the needle nose pliers and apply pressure, they come off very easily



6th Step : once the stock bulbs are removed and you have the correct direction of polarity you can take your new led bulbs and using the soldering iron get the solder warm and with the needle nose pliers align the bulb in the right place



7th step: Repeat step 6 with the three other bulbs

8th Step: before assembling the unit back together, test the new leds by just plugging in the unit and turn the lights on, if they all work then place the clear plastic piece in place and line up your dials and then place the face plate back on

I have already had LED's in my first HVAC unit and when i used blue the red on the hvac control didn't show up so i keep the bulb behind the heater control stock, i then added a led on the left hand side by simply taking two small wires and soldering them into the solder pads of the bulb on the way on the left

You can swap all the bulbs out and then you could behind the red portion of the heater control you can create a filter so that the blue LED lights up the red, i used an orange post it note on another unit and it worked out well







9th Step : Plug everything back in and put back your interior pieces and test your fan control and make sure the HVAC unit works properly and then sit back and enjoy your craftsmanship





---------- Post added at 09:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:07 PM ----------

Just put this thread together so there may be corrections in the future, feel free to ask questions and/or give opinions or input
 

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Very nice write-up.

I think I might lean towards doing this vs. the sharpie mod.

Plans to do a write-up for the head unit too?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Probably not because I have a jvc deck which you can choose from thirty different colors so and I have not done that lol


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Damn. Cause you should. :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ive read and seen some people have done this but i don't feel comfortable messing with the radio and such there are more components going on and i tried my luck with HVAC units because they are much cheaper and basic at least as the led bulbs goes...

---------- Post added at 12:34 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:32 AM ----------

i need to send you my hvac. im terrible at soldering. lol
its simple enough i did mine in less than ten minutes i taught my self to solder on the first HVAC i had, which came helpful when i did my black cat custom overlay with led kit and the monte carlo mod i solder the wires to the metal housing so it is truly plug and play
 

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Nice writeup. did this exact same thing a little over a year ago with mine. I hate working with those types of LED's though, they don't have a wide enough angle of light and I don't find you get clean, uniform light (there are some spots on the dials that are a tad darker then others) but I know that i'm just being a bit anal and I think I've just gotten used to mine the way they are and too lazy to change them lol. The best thing would be the LED's that are like square and have no clear plastic, like the ones black cat customs use in their kits. At the time I don't think you could get that style anywhere though. And again I'm too lazy to buy those style LED's and swap em out :p
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nice writeup. did this exact same thing a little over a year ago with mine. I hate working with those types of LED's though, they don't have a wide enough angle of light and I don't find you get clean, uniform light (there are some spots on the dials that are a tad darker then others) but I know that i'm just being a bit anal and I think I've just gotten used to mine the way they are and too lazy to change them lol. The best thing would be the LED's that are like square and have no clear plastic, like the ones black cat customs use in their kits. At the time I don't think you could get that style anywhere though. And again I'm too lazy to buy those style LED's and swap em out :p
I hear ya dude yeah the LED's in black cat customs kit would be ideal but they are hard to find and i just kinda make up for the lack of the angle for the LED's but adding that one in the pictures on the left and maintaining the stock bulb all the way to the right
 

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^yeah I noticed you did that, it was a good idea
 

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Discussion Starter #10
you have to be careful when your adding the bulbs i added two many the first time around, i think i had like 7 or 8 leds and some were in parallel and i overloaded the resistance i think because the HVAC controls were stuck on defrost and then driving when the bulbs were on i fried part of the circuit board lol but like i said i had like 8 leds running so i clearly overloaded it, i ran the 4 leds on the circuit for over 8 months with out a single problem so as long as you do not go crazy your fine
 

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you have to be careful when your adding the bulbs i added two many the first time around, i think i had like 7 or 8 leds and some were in parallel and i overloaded the resistance i think because the HVAC controls were stuck on defrost and then driving when the bulbs were on i fried part of the circuit board lol but like i said i had like 8 leds running so i clearly overloaded it, i ran the 4 leds on the circuit for over 8 months with out a single problem so as long as you do not go crazy your fine
lol that must have sucked :p also I added resistors to each individual LED. wasn't sure if I had to or not but I don't think I had to. better safe then sorry though I guess
 

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Discussion Starter #12
well i had a spare hvac at my house so when i came home from school for the week i just swapped that one in and turns out it had a blown bulb, but thats what i get for dealing with a .net regular lol, so i ended up swapping the leds into that one which is pictured above, but i got my LED's from a dealer online and they are 12 volt leds so it might not be necessary for the resistors
 

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No, it just means they're made for 12V systems, they still likely have a lower resistance than the incandescents that were in there originally.
 

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well i had a spare hvac at my house so when i came home from school for the week i just swapped that one in and turns out it had a blown bulb, but thats what i get for dealing with a .net regular lol, so i ended up swapping the leds into that one which is pictured above, but i got my LED's from a dealer online and they are 12 volt leds so it might not be necessary for the resistors
yeah mine are 12v also, got them off eBay for cheap. they work well. They came with a bag of resistors that could be soldered on or wtv so I just used them anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
good call, well like i said i used 4 LED's for over 8 months with no problems its when i added a bunch more that i had an issue and you know rather quickly if you have overloaded the circuit board because i added all the others and then a day or two later it got fried lol...good news is people like burnt and others have plenty of cobalt parts laying around for cheap
 

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Discussion Starter #17
yeah i have yet to see how they look with white LEDS i do know however the red will be a pain in the butt but its worth a try atleast
 

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LEDs should use less current than the current bulbs that are in there right now, therefore even when you added had a total of 8 led's, that should not have caused it to burn up. A regular LED only takes about 30mA of current, where I am sure that the lightbulbs that are currently in it use a lot more. Once I get my second HVAC control, I will measure the current and document this here so people can now. I think the issue may have been with the cheap LED's that burned out or shorted and that caused your circuits to get fried.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay sounds good! Anything to make this mod even better!


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LEDs should use less current than the current bulbs that are in there right now, therefore even when you added had a total of 8 led's, that should not have caused it to burn up. A regular LED only takes about 30mA of current, where I am sure that the lightbulbs that are currently in it use a lot more. Once I get my second HVAC control, I will measure the current and document this here so people can now. I think the issue may have been with the cheap LED's that burned out or shorted and that caused your circuits to get fried.
Yes, the incandescent will pull more current.

The lack of resistance was probably part of the problem.
 
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