A week or so after I got my R I noticed that the heated seats and defrost buttons weren't backlit. I took apart the console and found the bulb was dead. I order up some replacements along with a red and a blue to test the different colors.
I thought I would do a write up to show how to tear down the center console and replace the bulbs for anyone who needs to in the future. I am sure people will, when I was replacing this one another one burned out on me! Luckily I had extras...
A few things to note:
- I did not disconnect any wiring for this. It would be much easier to disconnect the wires and pull the unit off but I didn't want to mess with the battery. It is very much possible to leave it connected unless you are replacing one of the hard to reach bulbs
- If you are tearing down the whole dash, you WILL need to do the proper battery protocol first so that when you unplug things and plug them back in you don't get error codes
- Be careful not to drop anything down around the gear shifter! See below for consequences...
- It is a very quick job once you know how to take apart the console
Here are the tools:
Start out removing the pen holder (AKA Droid Navigation mount ):
It's easiest to pop up one side and hold it out while popping out the other side. Be careful not to scratch the surround:
Next remove these two torx screws. Again, be careful not to drop them into the abyss!
The bottom of the unit can now be pulled out:
Here it is removed. I left the wiring attached so I didn't have to do the battery dance:
I think there are 6 (at least) backlighting bulbs:
They come out using a regular screwdriver. They lock/unlock with about 1/8th turn. Unlock them, tilt the unit with your hand behind the whole to get it out. Be careful not to drop it! Then pop the replacement in and lock it in:
Here are some pics of the red. It looks almost pink in some, but I assure you, it is REALLY red. It is by far the brightest and almost too bright.
Here are some pics of the blue bulb. I like it the best. Though it is not as bright as the original lighting:
Here I only replaced one for the dial so you can see it changing from the regular backlighting to blue:
Here is the regular bulb (white) with no covering or filter on it. You can move the filter from the old bulb onto it, or buy some that come with the filter. If you don't use it, it looks a light reddish. In the photo it looks almost orange but it is not, it is a soft red. I left it with the filter off because I like how it looks for the "heating" buttons.
When replacing the pen holder make sure the two inner tabs are on the outside of the tabs they are near. Then push the whole thing on, it should snap right on:
If you need to, or just for reference. Here is how to take off the shifter surround. Make sure to pop the two tabs in front first and pull it up a little. Then pop up the side tabs:
And here are the results from my fishing trip! She is a beauty! Took about 40 mins of poking around. BE CAREFUL NOT TO DROP ANYTHING! Haha:
Some closing comments:
- The blue looks REALLY good I think. But is about 60% of the brightness of the original backlighting. It is hard to tell in the pictures but it is fairly dim. I do like the color though.
- The red is by far the brightest and VERY red. It would look better I think if I had put a filter on it to dim it down a little.
- The original without the filter looks good for the "heating" buttons as it has a faint red glow to it. It looks orange in the pics but it is not. I will try to get a better picture in the daylight.
- The bulbs are Neo Wedge T4.
- I got the colored ones from here: http://autolumination.com/74.htm I got the instrument panel ones towards the bottom, not the LED ones. About $8 for 3 shipped (1 red, 1 blue, 1 white)
- I got 5 clear with filters for $1 ($8 shipped! WTF!) from here: http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/LP-70/14V-NEO-WEDGE-BASE-LAMP/1.html
- If you are looking for blue and want brighter bulbs, the LED ones may be worth a try. But they aren't actual "bulbs" so the filters won't fit on them to dim them, so you would have to go another route.
Hope this is helpful! Enjoy!