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Old 12-22-2004, 10:10 PM   #1
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HowTo 2005 STI Red HVAC Controls

I didn't manage to find this for a 2005 STI, just a statement that it wasn't possible since the control ***** themselves are green plastic. If this is already covered somewhere else I apologize.

1. Remove the shifter tray and remove the two screws underneath it holding in the stereo and ac control trim.
2. Remove the AC control trim carefully. I had to give it a good hard tug and use a plastic spatula to pry it out.
3. for the AC control, remove the hose going into it and the screws holding it to the trim. Unplug it then bring it in the house.
4. On the back of the AC controls on the white plastic cover, unhook the little two wire white plug, then unscrew the screws that hold the white cover on.
5. Unclip and remove the white cover, the controls should pop out and expose a circut board.
6. Remove the ***** themselves, just give a gentle tug and they'll come right off.
7. You'll see three small white squares in the bottom of each control, these are the LED's that light up the ****, they're white by default. I used paint to paint them red.
8. They won't be bright enough alone so you need to add an auxillary led for each control. I simply bought 3000mcd red LED's from radio shack, 3 for 2 bucks each. Be sure to lightly sand each LED to help them difuse the light more evenly. They should look cloudy instead of clear when done.
9. Get some of the thinnest wire you can find, VERY thin, run two leads under the black plastic that holds each of the ***** to the circut board. I had to use a very small screwdriver and gently pry the plastic up high enough to snake a small wire in.
10. Be aware LEDs are directional, hook them up backwards and they won't light.
11. Solder one LED for each **** using the leads you just fished under the black **** holder. Then solder the leads in series, positive to negative.
12. Hook up a resistor to the first led in the series on the positive wire going in.
13. Looking at the circut board from the **** side, you can see the backs of the pins for where the two main plugs plug into the board. Solder the resistor for the positive wire to the bottom leftmost pin.
14. Solder the negative lead coming out of the last LED to the top pin, second from the right on the set of pins for the first plug from the left.
15. Test it before putting it back together, if the leds light up, make sure the buttons push in fine and don't get stuck, I left the LEDs poking up just above the button in the bottom of each **** holder.
16. Put it all back together and enjoy the fact the lighting matches.

This can also be done for the radio and other *****, that's documented pretty well by other people elsewhere.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSC00727.jpg (166.3 KB, 930 views)
File Type: jpg ACControls.jpg (59.7 KB, 1094 views)
File Type: jpg ControlFrontView.jpg (259.0 KB, 1554 views)
File Type: jpg ControlSideView.jpg (168.6 KB, 814 views)
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:44 PM   #2
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One more thing, a handy tool is a resistor calculator to determine what resistor you need. I used the one at this link:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...Bowden/led.htm
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:03 AM   #3
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An update to the process. Using the ground pin directly above the power pin allows for dimming.

I now use two LED's to make the light more even and smooth. A 3000 MCD and an 800 MCD wide angle, both available from any radio shack.
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:56 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info & pictures.
May have to do this mod this weekend.
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Old 03-11-2005, 11:50 AM   #5
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would there be a problem if i used an LED of 10,000 mcd instead of the 3,000mcd as stated?

i purchased a pack of 10 LEDs from Fry's electronics for $3 but it does not say on there what MCD value it has. They had a 5 pack of 10,000 mcd LEDs for around $15 but I thought that it might be too bright. The ones i bought are 3volt and 20mAp, the 10,000 mcd ones wer 3.3 volts and i believe 25mAp.

I used some red oil paints tha had transparent characteristics to pain the original LEDs and they were nice and red but were very very dim.
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Old 03-12-2005, 09:00 AM   #6
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can you elaborate more on the resistor? where do u connect both ends do? You talked about connecting one end to the first wire in the series, how about the other end of the resisotr. Btw, i have a 560ohm resistor, is that ok?
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Old 03-14-2005, 06:13 AM   #7
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A 10000 will probably work but might be brighter than stock by a fair bit. It's all subjective how bright it needs to be.

A couple of thoughts though, I use two LED's now instead of one for more complete coverage, if it's a 10000 mcd LED, it will probably be a narrow angle LED and won't fully illuminate the ****, just the middle leaving a dark rim around the edge. Also at 3v, you have 3 of them, for 9v, add 3 more LED's at say 1.7v, you have 14.1 v. You probably could get away with a very small resistor. Check the normal voltage on the HVAC control to figure out what you need.

You have to calculate the resistor, no way around it. Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:18 PM   #8
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actually found this helpful, but modified it a bit. while painting the stock lights red maintains the original equipment untouched persay (cept some paint) and adding an led to assist in lighting all are nice, i removed the original lights by desoldering them, then soldered in led's (3 to each circular control). This maintains the dimmer function as well and really prevents the pcb from looking moddedwith wireing runing all over it. the led's i used where the same led's mentioned in the tutorial. all in all great info in original post. thanks
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Old 04-08-2005, 06:41 AM   #9
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I don't see why that was not done in the first place. In reference to the above post about de-soldering the original LEDs and replacing them with red LEDs.
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Old 04-08-2005, 07:28 AM   #10
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This wasn't done for a good reason. I tried something similar with the drivers side door window switches and it didn't work. I ended up having no success getting them to light and I couldn't figure out why.

Also I wanted to be able to return it to bone stock by just desoldering the wires and removing all the LED's and paint. Having had a warranty claim denied and having had to deal with all the BS of them cataloging everything that wasn't stock down to the tires and the radar detector, the easier the car can go back to bone stock the better.
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Old 04-08-2005, 10:26 AM   #11
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When you tried that on the door how did you desolder the LED, desolder wick or desoldering tip on an iron? Perhaps you held the soldering iron the board for too long? Did you make sure to match the specifications with the LED you were replacing it with, volts & amps? If you were just using Ratshack LEDs then I'm almost sure they didn't have an exact match. For odd valued LEDs your best bet is to go through a on-line LED shop.

Anyway, your method works for you and that's all that matters.
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Old 04-10-2005, 06:16 PM   #12
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It didn't work for me on the drivers side door I think because of voltage. I didn't have a way to test the green LED's I took off on the drivers side door for amps and voltage. I don't even know if the little LED's had built in resistors or the resistors were on the board. I tried putting a red LED in hooked up where the green one was, it didn't work, I didn't push it. I was already pissed when I realized I crunched one of the green LEDs when I took it off and there would be no way to return my door switch to stock.

So I came up with a different method, leave the stock stuff, solder around it.

It's not incompetence, it's choice.

An LED has a voltage rating, for red LED's it's usually 1.7-2V for Blue it's 3.2 to x I forget.

Anyways to go back to the HVAC controls, if you just solder in LED's without checking what the specs were on the ones you pulled out, expect to burn out the new LED's that you just put in there that are supposed to last 50000 hours in about 1000th of that time.

So the white LED you pulled from the bottom of the HVAC control, it may be a 4v at 40 ma LED, you put in a 1.7v at 20ma LED, you will burn out the 1.7v at 20ma LED. Worse still, it could in theory burn the board if done wrong and then you buy a new control. I put that as unlikely but if I'm doing it for someone else, as I have for many people, the last thing I need is someone telling me my mod killed their HVAC controls.
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Old 04-11-2005, 08:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
It's not incompetence, it's choice
I never said it was. I even said; "Anyway, your method works for you and that's all that matters." in my previous post.

Last edited by silentbob343; 04-11-2005 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 04-12-2005, 10:44 AM   #14
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My apologies, the web comes across as harsh, it's a bit different when you talk to someone face to face. Inflection can make all the difference in the world. I understand you're not calling the way I did the mod incompetent and what I wrote comes across as a bit defensive.

When I first did the mod I would have loved for a cleaner way, but I wanted the least risk method. This was it in my opinion.
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:08 PM   #15
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edit to everyone....
you do not have to pry the black plastic up to get a wire underneath...
instead unsolder the two metal tabs you see holding it down...that gives you MUCH more freedom to mess around...they do not come off but open up a lot of room
then just press them down again to resolder them
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:08 PM
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05, 2004, 2005, change, changing, color, control, havc, hvac, light, lights, mod, red, removing, sti


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