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Upgrades (non TDI Engine related) The place of handling, lighting and other upgrades that do not relate to the performance or economy of the TDI engine. In other words upgrades to your TDI that don't fit into TDI Fuel Economy & TDI Engine Enhancements.Please note the Performance Disclaimer

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Old March 1st, 2018, 20:48   #1
BeetleDragon737
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Default Swapping LEDs in Autometer Gauges

I'm looking to install these two gauges (boost + EGT) before I get RC3 on my Beetle:

https://www.egauges.com/30-inHg-30-P...p/atm-3803.htm
https://www.egauges.com/1600F-EGT-2-1-16-p/atm-3844.htm

Only problem is, these gauges come with a green LED backlight which doesn't match the blue in the car. I'm curious whether anyone has had luck removing the colored LEDs from Autometer gauges and putting in different ones.

For the standard bulb gauges, the lights can apparently be swapped for various color LEDs. However, I emailed eGauge customer support, and they gave a very short reply saying that it's not possible for gauges that come standard with LEDs. I am doubtful of that though. Surely there must be just a few screws to undo in order to access the circuitboard in the gauge, right?
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Old March 2nd, 2018, 09:46   #2
hey_allen
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Based on the information in the instruction manual linked on the first egauges link, it appears that they have a replaceable bulb in a holder.

If it's anything like the older AutoMeter gauges that I worked with years back, it likely just has a green colored boot over the light source.
Even if it isn't, you could probably replace the green LED with a blue LED from somewhere like Superbrightleds.com once you identify what the socket looks like.

If this is actually an internal light source, it would involve disassembling the gauge, desoldering the LEDs from a circuit board, and replacing them with blue LEDs of the appropriate size and voltage. Still not an issue if you're skilled with a soldering iron, but a lot more involved.


Simpler by far would be to take a look at the AutoMeter Cobalt series of gauges, which are blue to start with.
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Old March 3rd, 2018, 07:06   #3
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Installing LEDs requires much care, correct polarity is one. Too much heat can blow a LED, so ideally a heat sink is required along with a low 20W soldering iron. A heat sink can be as simple as a small alligator clip on the LED leads.
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Old March 5th, 2018, 14:21   #4
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Like stated the color used to be achieved by crappy colored sleeves over an incandescent bulb. I bought green led replacement bulbs straight from autometer and they were simply a short 194 bulb. Took two seconds to take the gauge apart and replace. Those were ford factory match gauges but assuming autometer is consistent along different platforms?
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Old March 5th, 2018, 17:04   #5
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I switched out all the gauges in my Vanagon to Autometer and then switched the bulbs to blue LEDs. The version of gauge I had allowed for a bulb replacement so I got some little push in bulbs (not too sure of the size) from the local auto parts store.

If you want to change the color of the bulb, look for a gauge that takes replacement bulbs.

I have digital blue gauges in the Beetle with a 2 pod housing.
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Old March 5th, 2018, 23:09   #6
BeetleDragon737
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I know with these specific gauges, there is no incandescent bulb that can be simply swapped out. I'm fairly certain these LEDs are soldered to the board directly. That instruction manual seems like a generic one for all Autometer gauges. I chose these gauges because the styling looks nice and matches with the interior, and they're priced well. Some other ones are more than twice the price for the boost gauge.

The Cobalt ones would definitely be a good other option, but I don't like the styling on them too much.

I'm fine with a soldering iron. The question is whether these LED gauges can be disassembled easily. Does Autometer typically do a good job with making their gauges easy to disassemble? I don't want to buy the gauge and find that I have to break it in half to get at the circuit board.
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