21 December 2013

LED AC Panel Faceplate for the DeLorean

Dave McKeen's LED AC Panel Faceplate (in green), I stole this image from Dave's website
Dave McKeen, aka Bitsyncmaster, has done it again.  His new product is an LED AC Panel Faceplate.  I already have Dave's Dome Light Timer Relay and Solid State RPM Relay.  As you can see, I am a fan of Dave's work.  His new project replaces all seven light bulbs behind the AC panel and lights the faceplate using LED's.

The faceplate is available in green and blue.  Green matches the original look of the DeLorean AC Panel, while blue gives the interior a more 'modern' look.  Since I made blue LED window switches and have a blue lights on my after market radio, I ordered a blue one from Dave.

Before - LED bulbs
One of the first upgrades I did when I got the car was to swap out the incandescent bulbs for LED ones.  This included the seven bulbs behind the AC Panel.  I was already running LED's, white LED's, which meant the panel was still green. 

Preparing faceplate
Installation is pretty simple, thanks to Dave's detail instructions.  I read the instructions before I purchased to make sure I could handle the installation process.  The faceplate needs some prep work so the LED's can shine through.  So, first step is removing the faceplate.  I took it off during the week and did not finish the installation until the weekend.  I drove around a few days without the faceplate on, and boy are those LED bulbs bright.

Sanding off the white paint
The faceplate used a system of 'light channels' to distribute the light throughout the panel.  These channels are painted white so light would not escape.  I assume it also helped with bouncing the light back where it was needed.  We need to remove this paint so the LED's can shine through.

Finished faceplate
It took about an hour for me to sand out the paint.  The instructions call for wet sanding with 320 grit.  I went to 600, just to be safe.  Now, we are ready to install the LED Faceplate.

How many times have I taken out the Center Console?
In order to get to the wiring, we need to take out the Center Console.  This is not the first, and definitely not the last time I have done this.  Once the large Center Console piece is out, the wires can be accessed, this also prevents any damage to the Center Console while I do some wire work.  Not Kung Fu wire work, I am talking about snipping and soldering wires, crimping wires, and heat shrinking tubing. 

Wires crimped and ready for heat shrink tubing
The kit comes with everything you need, including wire crimps and heat shrink tubing.  I am not that familiar with crimping wires, I usually solder them.  Crimping is a lot easier and cleaner than soldering, at least with my soldering skills.  After all the wiring is done, everything get put back together.

LED Panel installed
The new LED Panel looks great.  The lights look brighter than the LED bulbs I had installed before, and they are in blue.

If you are interested in acquiring a kit, you can contact David McKeen at his website.  You may also be interested in his other products.


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