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Old 12-22-2010, 07:28 PM   #21
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by themrfreeze View Post
The different generation S-series cars have different cluster layouts, and take different bulbs. As such, these instructions aren't accurate for a '98. I think that if you do some searches though, you'll find threads that talk about the 2nd gen clusters.
FWIW the B8.4d LEDs (and regular light bulbs) used in 3rd gens will also work in 2nd gens (but not vice versa) because they are designed to work with the contacts on the inner (3rd gen) or outer (2nd gen) portion of the circuit board they are inserted into.

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Old 12-22-2010, 08:04 PM   #22
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

The T 1.5 series of LED bulbs work best in the Gen-2 Saturn the base is identical to the OEM bulb you just removed. The B8.4D and B8.5D will also work but they are a bit loose.

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Old 01-07-2011, 08:47 PM   #23
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

I was reading on another thread that the bulbs are #161 t3.25. I was wondering how easy it would be to just buy the bulbs and fit them into the existing bases. It would be a fair bit cheaper for me. I was also wondering what people thought of the idea of upping the wattage just a bit, replacing the current 2.66w bulbs with say #194 3.78w. Thanks!

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Old 01-07-2011, 09:25 PM   #24
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitterlemons View Post
I was reading on another thread that the bulbs are #161 t3.25. I was wondering how easy it would be to just buy the bulbs and fit them into the existing bases. It would be a fair bit cheaper for me. I was also wondering what people thought of the idea of upping the wattage just a bit, replacing the current 2.66w bulbs with say #194 3.78w. Thanks!
It's not a bad idea, but it's not applicable to 3rd gens (2000-2002 years) which use different bulbs than 2nd gens (1995-1999). The bulbs in 3rd gens are about 1.5W and physically smaller than the bulbs in older models.

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Old 01-07-2011, 10:00 PM   #25
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Aha. Thanks. Hmm. Change of plan :-)

I also saw a reference in there to #74 bulbs, which seem to fit your description of sort of a smaller version of the 3.25s. Does anyone know if this is correct, and whether the aforementioned plan might work? A lot of this is just that the shipping rates for bulbs with bases to Canada are much higher than if I just get the bulbs themselves.

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Old 01-07-2011, 11:06 PM   #26
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

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Originally Posted by bitterlemons View Post
Aha. Thanks. Hmm. Change of plan :-)

I also saw a reference in there to #74 bulbs, which seem to fit your description of sort of a smaller version of the 3.25s. Does anyone know if this is correct, and whether the aforementioned plan might work? A lot of this is just that the shipping rates for bulbs with bases to Canada are much higher than if I just get the bulbs themselves.
On 3rd gens the contacts for the bulb bases are on the inner part of the cluster circuit board - not on the outer part like older models. So it would be tough to find bases that would work. It would probably be more cost efficient to install LEDs if brighter cluster illumination is desired.

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Old 01-08-2011, 01:29 AM   #27
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

I had hoped there might be a way to re-use the existing bases by removing the old bulbs from them, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if that was impossible. I don't actually need any brighter than stock, and while I like LEDs, I'm reluctant to use them in this case because of dimming, dispersion, and colour issues. Hmm. I guess I'll keep stretching my crativity :-) Thanks for the continuing advice.

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Old 01-12-2011, 10:33 PM   #28
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Alright so my high power LEDs (B8.5D-BHP) came in today. Installed 6 total, the two opera lights, and the four main illumination bulbs. So far only the opera lights fire up.

I have bent the contacts for a better fit, switched them around, pulled on them, pushed them, etc, tried about everything I can think of or saw on the forum.
If I replace any of the LEDs with the OEM bulb it fires up no problem.

Anyone have any idea what may be going on here?

EDIT:
The only thing I can think of that may or may not have anything to do with it is that I have four small LED courtesy lights wired to the dimmer, which still work with all of the cluster LEDs in...

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Last edited by 547URN PR0UD; 01-12-2011 at 10:36 PM.. Reason: additional info

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Old 01-13-2011, 10:17 AM   #29
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

And here is a picture of what I have installed. I marked all the negative sides of the LEDs but it's kind of faint.
Don't mind the orientation of the far left and right LEDs they are just inverted in this picture b/c that's when I was double checking to see if I had messed .up the +/- sides.
Im stumped
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1318.JPG (190.1 KB, 190 views)

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------Only car I drive and have ever owned to date, would be a Saturn.------
------Car ain't going any faster....Might as well make it look good.------

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Old 01-13-2011, 12:34 PM   #30
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

I noticed on the superbrightled website that the B8.4D model looks more like the OEM bulb assembly, more so than B8.5D. I wonder if the base may have some effect on my circuit board(even though the site lists they have the exact same current draw and what not), just a thought.

In some way or another it seems that any LED on the circuit board isn't able to draw enough power to fire it up, while the opera/stage LEDs somehow do.

...
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Last edited by 547URN PR0UD; 01-13-2011 at 12:40 PM.. Reason: grammar...

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Old 01-13-2011, 10:45 PM   #31
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by 547URN PR0UD View Post
The only thing I can think of that may or may not have anything to do with it is that I have four small LED courtesy lights wired to the dimmer, which still work with all of the cluster LEDs in...
This could cause an issue if they are tapped into the PPL or BRN/WHT wires going to/from the dimmer knob. They should be tapped into one of the grey output wires for a (+) feed. A couple places where this can be found is at location B4 in the radio plug/harness and at location A8 in your cluster plug/harness.

What you need to remember is that the dimmer knob itself is not directly connected to the lights that it controls in 3rd gens like it was in older cars. The dimmer knob is only connected to the BCM and the BCM actually controls the brightness of the I/P illumination based on the setting of the dimmer knob.

Also, did you have the dimmer knob plugged in while you were testing the lights? If not, then the I/P & cluster lights will remain at the last selected brightness until the dimmer knob is plugged back in.

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Old 01-13-2011, 11:45 PM   #32
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

I checked the back of the dimmer and my 4 wires (coming from the 4 separate LEDs) were connected like so: two connected to the grey port on the black assembly, and the other two connected to the brown/white port.
I unplugged all of them to test the dash LEDs and still no dice.

And yes the dimmer was plugged in while testing the LEDs each time I plugged the Instrument cluster back in.

Also I still am puzzled as to why the two opera lights operate at any of these configurations. The only difference I see is that the contacts are on the top of the opera light circuit film, whereas the circuit boards contacts are on the backside.

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Old 01-14-2011, 12:56 AM   #33
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

So I bought a small blue LED from an electronics store and wired up to one of the blue OEM bases after taking out the incandescent bulb, marked the Negative side, inserted it into the circuit board, plugged in into the car, and boom, light. Tried the odometer port and a backlight port, both lit up (very faintly though, it was a very weak LED to begin with).
But when I went to adjust the dimmer the LED fried.

This leads me to believe that maybe the base and contacts have some effect on my board. So maybe ordering some B8.4D LEDs could solve the issue, there shouldn't be any difference but it's worth a shot...

Don'f know if it's worth mentioning but I do have other LED accessories hooked up to the car besides the courtesy lights: one indoor trunk light LED, one license plate LED, one dome light LED, and 4 LED strips on the front (two hooked into each of the orange side lights). All of these work with no problem, wondering if they are somehow connected to the dash lights.

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------Only car I drive and have ever owned to date, would be a Saturn.------
------Car ain't going any faster....Might as well make it look good.------

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:29 PM   #34
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Has anyone ever tried doing the cluster lights white, and theater lights a different color? I'm thinking of trying red theater lights with white behind the gauges...

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Old 02-21-2011, 08:52 PM   #35
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

The cluster white LED's will give of a blue-ish tint to them, but I don't see why not. And as for the opera lights, I believe that would work fine. I finally got all of my lights to work and my opera's are the HP-purple UV LED's. I was hoping they would light up the needles better, but it's really only noticeable when there it's really dark and not too many urban lights around. If you could find a way to get rid of that blue film that the opera lights have to shine through you would have a better lighting effect I would think.
I'll post a picture of my finished product.
Side note: I did the odometer blue too and I think it looks pretty good.
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------Only car I drive and have ever owned to date, would be a Saturn.------
------Car ain't going any faster....Might as well make it look good.------

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:23 PM   #36
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Looks cool, but the theater light seems nonexistent. Maybe I'll stick with the white opera lights, blue lights sometimes mess with my eyes. Red was my other thought. Maybe I'll just get two extra red and blue bulbs and see what works best

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Old 02-21-2011, 10:30 PM   #37
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

What I found out when I used the same blue LED's for the opera lights, it washed out the whole face of the cluster, probably because most of the plastic is black. I think red will look better since it won't be as bright at the blue and you'll get a better light effect.
Also that picture is pretty terrible on my part since it came from my phone

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------Car ain't going any faster....Might as well make it look good.------

2000 SL
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:41 PM   #38
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

So my plan is to get 6 white hp bulbs, and 4 regular white bulbs since I don't think the turn signal lights and such need to be the high power ones. I'll probably get a few colored bulbs as well, just to play around with it.

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:25 PM   #39
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

Sounds good, but with the turn signal lights and such. If you want them to retain their color I would buy that exact color, because I bought some blue one for the green turn signal lights and they only shine blue when on, they just blast right through that colored film.
Oh and be sure to order the B8.4D model LED's because those work for sure in every socket (I ordered the B8.5D at first as described earlier in the thread).

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------Only car I drive and have ever owned to date, would be a Saturn.------
------Car ain't going any faster....Might as well make it look good.------

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Old 02-24-2011, 04:46 AM   #40
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Default Re: The definitive guide to Gen3 S-series instrument cluster bulb replacement

I hope to find a VUE dash cluster at a junk yard to put in my 2001 SL2. Those look a lot better and the needles glow. Hopefully they use all LED's.

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