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Old 01-19-2021, 03:44 AM   #1
Chunfin
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Question LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

Hello y'all,

I've been contemplating on changing the bulbs in my Saturn SL2 for quite some time and have done some research to hopefully find a way to replace the bulbs for the gauge, radio, and HVAC module. If there is any other tips or ways to do this process for the interior lights then let me know.

While this is not an instructional thread, I hope this can be helpful to y'all attempting the process as well; I'm only sharing the information I found so I can get some help to change the interior lights of my Saturn to LEDs.

Instrument Cluster Removal:
Thanks to the great efforts of MrRichpin himself; here's a video of the removal process to access the cluster:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ara...nel=richpin06a

I also found this detailed video on converting the gauge cluster lights to LEDs as well to hopefully help provide more instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nnn...nnel=ChrisTodd

Lastly, here's more instructions about the removal for the dash and gauge cluster at this website: http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...02cluster.html

Gauge Cluster:
Found a really nice and detailed thread related to replacing the bulbs for the gauge cluster: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=152386

The original poster recommends LED B8.5D lights from SuperBrightLEDs for the conversion, but I've seen some folks also using B8.4D lights as well so I'm not entirely sure which to specifically use ATM.

The light can be found here: https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...IaAgIhEALw_wcB

I'm only looking to change the back-lights and theater-lights on the cluster, since the rest of the other lights are functioning well. I'm looking to get the LED Natural White color light (3900K) for the cluster to give it a more updated look as opposed to my current dimmed and warmer-colored incandescent lights.

Radio Removal:
Thanks again to MrRichpin work; here is another video by him detailing the removal of the radio for the 3rd Gen models: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqdv...nel=richpin06a
(He also provides an instruction video for the 95 models as well on his channel)

Radio:
Now the radio is more tricky to repair because they're soldered into the circuit board just as they are on the HVAC module. So you'll need some soldering skills to accomplish this task. I've done some work myself so I'll do my best to work with what I got.

I haven't found a precise instructions for the the 3rd gen model radios (Mine is a single-din with the CD input) so I found some references that could be possibly be used in this case:

Radio bulb replacement video reference (Not 3rd Gen model): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWVj...nel=richpin06a

Radio bulb replacement thread for a 95' S-series:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=131125

As for the LED lights; I found this one at SuperBrightLEDs website that could possibly be used for the radio lights although I am not sure if they could work. I have to look more into that before I get anything: https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...mens/341/1288/

Most folks I found have been using some microlamps from Radioshack although some have said they're dimmer than OEM and are also out of stock currently on their site. I'll still list it here for reference though: https://www.radioshack.com/products/...rolamps-2-pack

HVAC Module Removal:
Found this posting about the removal process that provides some good instructions to get to the circuit board on the HVAC:
http://www.cardomain.com/ridepost/63...turn-s-series/

HVAC Module:
Similar to the Radio Controls; the lights on the HVAC module are soldered and will require some soldering skills.

I haven't found many threads about the process for the HVAC module but I did find this post about the bulbs and what the circuit board diagram is so hopefully this can help out: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...4&postcount=24

The poster uses the 12v Radioshack bulbs for their module, but I wanted to see if these LED bulbs (same as the Radio bulbs previously stated) could also work as well although I'm not entirely sure if they could work so I gotta do more research before I get anything:
https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...mens/341/1288/

Conclusion:
To wrap this thread up; I'm looking to convert most of the lights in the interior to white LED's (Natural White preferably) and hopefully I can get this done. I can't certify the information and instructions listed are correct so I wanted to get y'alls input and help to see how I can accomplish this task.
I'll be sure to update the thread with any more information I find.

Thank you all for your help and keep well.
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

Nice job of researching! You hit all the best resources there

I'll just add that since you have a 3rd gen, another option for you are replacing the entire instrument cluster with one from certain years from other GMs.

https://forum.sixthsphere.com/forum/...ster-swap-list

(you might need to register to see the pics, not sure)

I have the Pontiac Torrent gauge in my 2002, and the red glow is very nice.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...postcount=5201

I never got around to putting LEDs into my HVAC panel. Got the LEDs, got a spare panel, lost the motivation. Though, since COVID, been thinking about doing it again.

For the radio - I think it might make more sense to go with an aftermarket unit than spend the time/money on the OEM one.

Stock, might be worth selling for the money. I think there is a thread about adding a 3.5mm aux jack to certain models, or swapping one in from an Ion for an OEM saturn look

I installed a mechless unit, was $18 or so new, and will take an SD card or USB stick for a ton of music.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

The Size of the bulbs in the instrument cluster is different in gen2
vs gen3; gen2 bulbs similar to GM from '80s-Large.
Gen3 bulbs smaller.

The OEM lighting has soft/warm colors to preserve 'night vision', which
can have survival value in night driving in rural areas without street lighting.

In bright densely developed areas with street lighting, no harm in cranking up the lumens.
.....................
Aircraft instruments lighting WWII-1960s was red, for night vision.

More recently, they transitioned to yellow....
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:02 AM   #4
Chunfin
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

Also something important I forgot to mention.

I have no idea if the LED lights I mentioned in the thread are able to be dimmed with the stock dial switch. I don't believe so but I've never seen anyone on the forums mention if they are able to.

Not only that but I don't know what resistors or other components would be necessary to solder into the circuit board for the HVAC and Radio module.

If anyone has any idea on where to get this information of if there would be a way to test if an LED on the circuit board before installing back inside the module then please inform me about it.

I know how to solder, but I'm not that experienced with circuit board soldering and the requirements needed to prevent a shortage or damage to the board/assembly
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

I used these bulbs when I upgraded my radio to LEDs. They do also work with the factory dimmer
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074SL9N29..._xDydGb5RJ22P6

My radio was from a second gen, but I would imaging that third gens would use the same size.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho....php?t=266312&
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

Quote "The original poster recommends LED B8.5D lights from SuperBrightLEDs for the conversion, but I've seen some folks also using B8.4D lights as well so I'm not entirely sure which to specifically use ATM."

The only difference between B8.5 and B8.4 LEDS is the diameter of the base. One is 8.4mm, the other is 8.5mm.
I used B8.4 's in the dash of my 02 L300 per superbrightleds website. But I believe B8.5's would have been a better fit

I dont believe you can dim the LEDs. They are very sensitive to voltage.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeebins View Post
I used these bulbs when I upgraded my radio to LEDs. They do also work with the factory dimmer
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074SL9N29..._xDydGb5RJ22P6

My radio was from a second gen, but I would imaging that third gens would use the same size.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho....php?t=266312&
Great find with the LED lights! Might give them a shot.

As for your radio process in your 2nd gen; you did a really great job explaining the process. I wanted to ask if you used the same LED light you mentioned in your post for your HVAC module? Either way the end result of your work came out great
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

I did not use them for the HVAC lights. 2nd gen uses replaceable 74 bulbs for light.
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

> "I have no idea if the LED lights I mentioned in the thread are able to be dimmed with the stock dial switch. I don't believe so but I've never seen anyone on the forums mention if they are able to."

> "I don't believe you can dim the LEDs. They are very sensitive to voltage."

They dim nicely, either via rheostat of PWM, BECAUSE their response
to voltage variation.

The speedo illumination, in gen3 is OEM LED ... dims fine.
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: LED Gauge Cluster, Radio, and HVAC Control Module Bulbs Replacement

@ chunfin


On my 2000(gen3) i initially thought the heater/A-C lights were burnt out --
as were some of the InPanel bulbs (and, as Is the radio freq readout/clock).

I discovered a thin/non-descript wire with a terminal eyelet, attached with a tiny threaded fastening to the drivers-side "H bracket" (said to support the
InPanel/Console junction box relays/fuses).

The screw was not secured, which intermittently disabled the radio, and
prevented illumination of the heater/A-C controls. When snugged, the
heater/A-C lights worked fine.
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