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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've got an idea for color changing gauges for my 2000 SE and I'd like a bit of input or concerns if I'm missing something major. I picked up an SE gauge cluster at a junkyard as a parts/model piece. So my plan is to place LED strips under the clear plastic disk that lies right under the gauge faces. View attachment 80010 View attachment 80002 Theres a solid inch of clearance with a few circuit buses (or whatever they're called) underneath it. Originally i wanted to just glue the LED strips directly onto the plastic disk but I realize light dispersion would be trash, so I'm open to new ideas, maybe fabricating a little plastic base for them. I'll cover the top of the disk/bottom of the gauges with light diffuser film to help the dispersion out a bit. I'll run the power wires for both sets of LEDs through the old light sockets View attachment 80034 View attachment 80018 and solder them into the same soldering points View attachment 80026
I'm going to painstakingly DIY my own custom gauge faces as well. I'll have bezels with glass or acrylic over each gauge face and I'll likely not use the clear plastic cover, partly because it probably won't fit over the bezels without having to cut one or the other and it wont be necessary to seal the gauge faces from dust/a flying object destined to screw your speedometer's day up anymore.

I need a bit of help sourcing color changing LED strips small and flexible enough to fit in the tight space (either a 3in diameter circle or a square ~2.8in on each side)

I'll use the junkyard cluster for fitting and testing of each aspect before I butcher my own cluster (And to retain my odometer). Not a lot of experience with this kind of thing but I like to think I'm mechanically inclined (plus this isn't an insanely hard project) and I have my dad who lives for this stuff.

All else fails, I'll just put all my energy into making some rad multicolor gauge faces and get some LED bulbs for the stock locations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I found a website with programmable color changing LED strips, single LEDs and rings https://www.adafruit.com/products/1463
Thats a link to a 1.75in 16 LED ring (they also have a 24 LED 2.75in ring but I'm starting to get concerned about it being too bright haha). So LED sourcing is no longer an issue (learning how to power and program them still is)

I'm quickly realizing the gauge faces will most likely be the hardest part of this project. My plan at the moment is to buy translucent black acrylic (for the gauge face) such as Translucent Cast Acrylic (Plexiglass) Sheet Delvie's Plastics Inc. Then a thinner opaque plastic sheet which I'll use as a stencil. I'll get in contact with a laser cutting service after I've designed my gauge faces and (If they're willing lol) have them laser cut the design into the opaque sheet. I'll use it as a stencil and spray paint the design onto the translucent sheet, and then glue the stencil onto the back of the translucent sheet. This will then only allow light through the exact shape of the numbering and nowhere else.
The only problem I could see myself running into is it being too thick. The thinnest translucent sheets these guys sell is 1/16th in, and the stock Nissan gauge faces are maybe a millimeter thick, so I may have to grind the screwing points down a bit to get correct clearance so the needles can float and have no resistance from the gauge faces.

This is a ton of work just to make some understated color changing gauges I know, but should it all come together correctly I think my sheer pride will make up for it. And if it does work then all of y'all will know how to do it!
 

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Pretty ambitious project. This is the type of project that will definitely be admired if finished. I just hope it doesn't wind up unfinished, like so many others on this forum. The world has a knack for crushing a man's dreams.

I have no advice that I can offer, but others hopefully do. Do keep us updated, and good luck!
 
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