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Retired 2nd Gen'er.
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Today, I took on the task of finishing blueing out my interior. I did basically the same things that are in the following F.A.Q., some differences, and some things to add on. The F.A.Q. is a very good guide, but I thought I could add to it today. I took pics in the process (not as many as I should/wish I had), and will break a little more down in further detail.

Before I start, I want to mention that if you have little to no install/electrical experience, I wouldn’t attempt this at home.

The original F.A.Q. that started it all...

pictures should speak for themselves...

day –



and night-



Now, how I did it.

Tools needed:

Phylips head screwdriver
Soldering iron (and some soldering skills)
very small screwdriver (phylips or flat, but its gotta be tiny)
Sidecutter
Sandpaper
(useful but not needed) Voltage meter

Stuff needed:

LEDs
LED calculator bit-tech.net | LED calculator
Resistors

(when calculating the resistor values remember that you arent really dealing with 12v. When charging the voltage can go as hight as 13.5 or even 14v. I had problems with LEDs burning out atfirst because of this)


Stereo:
Removing the Stereo: Take out the two screws between the stereo and climate controll. Grab the shifter surround at the back (not sure how it comes out on an auto) and pull up. Should pull right out. Take out the two screws at the bottom of the stereo trim piece. Take out the ash tray. Then pull the bottom of the trim piece out carefully, it should come out without too much trouble. Take out the four screws on the stereo, pull it out, disconnect it.

The stereo: The front should come off pretty easily, just push the tabs down and work it off. You end up with the face with circuit board. The board is held in by about 7 VERY small screws. These where a real pain on mine, i couldnt find a screwdriver that fit them, and there really tight. I ended up taking a small straight screwdriver and grinding it down so it fit just right (this was the only way i could get enough torque on them). Once you have the board out you can start de-soldering the five original bulbs. Now unlike standard lightbulbs LEDs have a positive and a negative side, so it matters how you put them in. Follow the traces from the places you de-soldered the original to the plug on the board where it says "illum +" and "illum cont". On the LED the side with the longer leg is +. Before you install the LED you need to sand it so it difuses the light evenly, instead of in a spot like LEDs normally do. Sand the tip flat (and as far down as you can, just dont get to the metal part inside) and sand the edges. Now the problem is you also have to have a resistor inline with each LED. The way i did this was to solder one leg of the LED into the board like the original bulb was, and bend the other leg so it ran to the closest edge of the board on the surface. Solder the resistor to this leg, bend it arround the board, and solder to the terminal on the other side (just be careful it doesnt touch any contacts on the way arround). Also, it doesnt matter if the resistor is on the positive or negative side of the LED. Last change the "cd in" LED. This was an LED originally, so no resistor is needed, simply desolder the original LED and install your new one. Watch the polarity, if you look inside an LED you will see it has a big side and a small side. The big side is negative, the small side is positive

The Climate control:

It took me quite a while to figure out how the climate control comes out. You have to have the stereo out, and then drop it down and out through the stereo slot. It can be a tight fit, but it will go. Once its out take the three screws off the bottom, take off the cover over the controll arm, unclip the cable, and pull the controll cable out of the arm it attaches to. Pop the knob off of the temp controll arm. Next lift up slightly on the tabs under where the 2 small screws you removed were and the back part should slide out from the front part. Now if you are changing to green, or if you dont mind the lights that come on when you push the buttons staying green you can just untwist the three socketed bulbs from the back of the board. If you want to change the stock green LEDs to something else (like i did) then you will need to further disassemble the climate controll. First you need to pop the buttons off from the front. Just use a small flat screwdriver to pry them off. Then take out the screws that hold the circuit board in, and slide the board out. Be careful to watch where everything goes together, there are ALOT of little parts in there. I found it easiest to simply clip the stock LEDs off and solder on new ones, rather than desolder the stock ones. Again watch the polarity. Now back to the little sockets. Unwrap the leads on the stock bulb. notice how they are wraped. We will be doing basically the same with the LEDs. Sand and flatten the three LEDs you will be using. Slide the Legs through the holes in the socket, and bend one over and arround like the original was. Clip off the extra. Bend the other one over slightly, and cut it off with about 1/4 inch of lead remaining. Clip the resistor to the same length, solder it to the LED, and bend the other end of the resistor arround the socket and trim. When reinstalling the socketted LEDs dont worry about polarity, simply test it before putting it all back together and switch any LEDs that dont light.

The Dash:

Finally... the dash. Take out the 2 screws under the top of the dash. The plastic dash surround comes out with a bit of force, but be careful, dont want to break anything. It can be kinda difficult getting it over the steering wheel, but it will come out, and it bends quite a bit to allow this to happen. Unplug and remove the cruise control switch, dimmer switch, and defrost switches. We will come back to those. Take out the gauge cluster, and unplug the wires from the back, make sure you keep track of which go where. On the back of the gauge cluster are 4 socketed bulbs that need to be changed. Take them out, pull the bulb, and solder in your sanded LED with resistor. (i have actually seen 194 LEDs on ebay for a reasonable price, and they come in shapes such as a concave lense that would be good for the dash, however if your cheap and like to do things yourself (like me) then just do it yourself). Now back to the switches. They arnt to hard to take apart and put back together (if you have made it this far you can most likely do it without too much instruction). The last bulb at this point is the light under the "auto" on the window controll. Take the controll unit out (i had to take my door panel off to get it out, but that may not be necessary). Take the 4 screws out, and pop the bottom cover off. Now you have to take the 4 window switches off in order to get it apart. Pry them off of their pivot points, and then pull up with your hand. They take some force, but mine all came off without incident. Be careful not to lose any of the parts from the "auto" switch (and look at how they come out), it comes apart a bit differently than the others. Once you have the circuit board out changing the bulb is the same drill as the previous 20 some bulbs have been. As with many of the bulbs you need to test to find the proper polarity. Also, on the dash it helps elimintate "hotspots" if you sand the LEDs down as far as you can, so there is hardly any plastic above the metal piece inside.

WOW... that got really long. If anyone has any specific questions post them here, or you can email me at [email protected]

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the climate control buttons need to be removed before the climate controll will come apart. Thanks to fritsauce for reminding me.
Thanks to WrymMaster on this guide, and help, because I wouldn't have done it without you. I contacted WrymMaster through e-mail. I asked him where he got the LED's, and what size he used. His reply:

"I used standard 5mm LED's and resistors on my climate control. Its not what you would call a "plug 'n play" mod, but its not too horribly difficult either if you are somewhat handy with a soldering iron. I think now there are actually LED twist lock bulbs available however. Check SUPER BRIGHT LEDS home. I have no idea which ones you would need, or even if they would work for this application, but I think they should."

First, I bought a separate climate control off of ebay, just in case I ****ed up, I still have the one in my car that's perfectly fine. Then, I did some purchasing off of SUPER BRIGHT LEDS home, and got the following:



Bought four WLED-B4 (4 LED 194's), four RL5-B12120 (5mm LED 1200 LUMINOUS
INTENSITY), and four RL5-B5515 (5mm LED 5500 LUMINOUS
INTENSITY).

THE CLIMATE CONTROL

I bought all of the 5mm only for the climate control. There are only 3 bulbs in the climate control:

Back of circuit board in climate control (where the bulbs are, are circled in red)



A bulb from the climate control:







I bought 2 different types of 5mm LEDs with different intensitys, and four of each, just to be prepared, in case anything went wrong. First, I tested the both of the bulbs without any resistors, and both of them fried as soon as I turned the lights on:

Burnt Bulbs



Then I was down to 3 bulbs of each intensity. I used resistors on the 5500 LED, and nothing happened, they didn't come on after a couple variations. Then I used resistors on the 1200 LED, and I got it to work, 1st try. Now, how I did it.
 

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Retired 2nd Gen'er.
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5,476 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
First, I sodered the resistors to the bulb, and went and tested it:

How bulb look for test:



Then, after I confirmed it worked, I shortened the bulb wires and resistors to fit, and electrical taped the bulb:



Then, I sodered it to the circuit board (circled in red):



And determined that it worked:



After that, I did the same thing for the other 2 bulbs, and put the climate control back together, and it worked. It was basically as test of trial and error, and eventually it came out and everything worked fine. Very time consuming though.
 

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Retired 2nd Gen'er.
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
THE SHIFTER
(Auto obviously)

Now for something that wasn’t mentioned in the first F.A.Q., changing the bulb in the shifter. The four WLED-B4 (4 LED 194's) I bought were 4 the glove box, and the shifter.

Torn apart dash pic (glove bulb circled in red)



Previous to the LED bulb in the shifter, I already replaced it with a blue Autozone 194, which looked pretty good (actually planning to put it back in)

The Autozone bulb:



The LED bulb:






To get to the bulb in the shifter, you have to take out the center console.

You are basically going to go thru the steps to get to the radio, in order to remove the center console. Here's my guide on how to remove the woodgrain trim around the shifter and the radio:

http://www.supernissans.net/forums/1993-2001-1st-2nd-gen-nissan-altima-faq/600-radio-removal-2nd-gen-98-01-a.html

Pop the woodgrain trim around the shifter.

Remove the two screws exposed.

Pull the ashtray out.

Remove the two screws located on the slant underneath of the climate control.

Pull the woodgrain trim around the radio out, and pull the harness off of the cigarette lighter.

Then to remove the center console, remove the two screws exposed after you remove the radio trim, located at the bottom, where the first two screws were located. Remove the screw in the cup holder, and remove the screws on the side (toward the back of the center console) and work the center console over the E-brake, shifter, and take it out.

You WILL have to fiddle with the e-brake and the shifter in various parts of this process in order to remove certain things. Not hard at all tho.

Once the center console is out, you have to take the 2 screws out of the shifter (screws facing dash), and pull the shifter up. The push knob and spring will most likely pop out when you pull it up. After you loosened the shifter, pull up on the gear console:





It should pop out without much force.

After removing the gear console, you will then see the bulb (bulb circled in red):



Pull it out, and replace it with your new bulb.

One thing to know and keep it mind when putting the shifter back together, when to shifter is pulled up, put the spring and push knob back in, and then pull it down and screw it back in place. If you push the shifter down, screw it in, and then try to get the spring and push knob back in, it will never happen.
 

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Retired 2nd Gen'er.
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Discussion Starter #4
Now some pics of the finished product, and my blued out interior:

Dash shot:



Dash shot with double-din dimmed:




Interior shots (I have 4 LED tubes in under the dash, and under the front seats for the back)





Gauges:



Domelight:



Shifter:



I’m actually going to go back to the Autozone bulb, which was the color of the inner circle in the gauges. Reason because the LED’s coloring throughout the shifter console is uneven, where the Autozone bulb’s color is consistent all the way down.

I also did some custom work to my rear deck. I cut a hole out of the metal of the rear deck for a sub port into the car. Also, I cut the rear deck, cut a hole where the hole underneath is and put a Nissan sign there, and cut out the speaker holes and put the grills over them. Also have a blue tube coming through the Nissan sign in the rear deck that lights up the trunk. 2 pics that I have of the rear deck when I did it, the day before I got the car tinted:

Light:



Dark:



Feel free to copy.
 

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Certified lunatic
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1,822 Posts
good job man! new sticky time. Gauges look just like the new TL ones, thats hot. It's ironic that I literally just contacted WrymMaster 2 days ago asking him where he got his LED's too!

*edit: a coworker of mine that owns an Evo (a lot of trash talk in this office) saw these on my screen and wanted to know who sold em ;)
 

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Retired 2nd Gen'er.
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks man. I've been planning that for a while now lol. It was nice out today though, and my bulbs just came in, they didn't take to long to ship. I needed some pics just to have for all of my progress pics, so I figured I would make a guide. Superbrightleds.com has a lot of good shit on there tho.
 

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july notm winner!
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6,366 Posts
i love it...i hvae the led's under my seat and dash and some more hidden around the car, ive always wanted to do the gauges and climate control but im just a big sissy when it comes to electronic's
 

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PureDenizenCitizensBand
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132 Posts
Good job on the write up! I feel like adding some technical information for anyone going to attempt some truly DIY work like this. Disclaimer: there are many users on this board that know more than me about this subject but information herein will give someone just starting out/playing around with this kinda stuff a good idea of what to expect.

Buy and use a multimeter/volt meter. They're cheap ($20 at RadioShack) and they are very very useful.

Buy and use a soldering iron. I tried making circuits with those stupid strips before and boy did that ever turn out crappy.

Electrical tape and shrink tubing are always good ideas when covering up joints like the above.

Use a resistor calculator like the one Wyrm linked to in his post. This will help you buy the correct resistors as to prevent your LEDs from blowing out. Using the specs from the RL5-B12120 LED I popped those numbers in to get a recommended resistor value of 470 Ohms. Keep in mind that assumes 12V will always come across the line. As Wyrm suggested, you may want to bump up that number to 13V which gives you a resistor value of 560 Ohms. Can't tell what the value of the resistors that you used are as the colors are kinda grainy. Also, in this case I don't think you need to add a resistor on the trailing lead, just the one that sits between the power supply and the light source.

For those projects where you'll be pulling right from a power source (ie, tapping into the cig lighter) place a fuse between the power source and either the switch used to turn your new component on/off -- or if there is no switch -- the component itself. It might not be needed but I'm the kinda dude that wears a static band when working on computers.
 
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