RWD - Revisiting My Inadequate Instrument Lighting - LED Conversion?

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Revisiting My Inadequate Instrument Lighting - LED Conversion? 1800 1973

Sorry this is somewhat lengthy - I didn't want to eat up your entire Saturday reading it. But I’m in need of a sanity check here…..

Several months back we were discussing the weak instrument lighting in my 1800ES. I don’t know if I mentioned at the time, but I have verified that the dimmer is NOT introducing any noticeable resistance when it is turned to full speed. I asked about the possibility of converting to LEDs and a couple of you responded that would likely be the way to go. Then I dropped the ball, thinking I would just live with it as-is. Also, I wasn’t sure I could find an LED dimmer that would fit in the same position as the original. But since I still have the steering column, seats, center console, etc out of the car I’m rethinking the whole thing and the fact that it would be much easier to do now rather than later. (I’m 6’-3”, 225 lbs.)

So I’ve located a couple different 12v LED dimmers that should fit nicely in place of the original dimmer. I’m leaning toward one in particular as it incorporates a small heat sink and more circuitry than the other one. (Chris’ theory: More circuitry equals better switch. Lol.) I think I can mod an original knob to fit the new dimmer’s knurled shaft.

Researching data on the original 3W incandescent bulbs, it looks like they produce anywhere between 12 and 25 lumens, depending on who you believe. I’m thinking about doubling, tripling , or even quadrupling the lumens and let the dimmer do the limiting. Maybe something like 50-75ish lumens on each LED bulb? Looking at all of the bulb choices out there it appears that 2W per bulb would be the max wattage I would ever incur, and that’s a bulb that produces up around 100 lumens. So I theorize that even if the lumens were up in the 50-100 range, the level of heat produced would be = or < the incandescents. I would bench test them for a couple hours just to see how hot they get. The dimmer I’m considering says it can handle up to 6 amps. One consideration is that I need to be cognizant of the bulb’s overall length so that it doesn’t bottom out inside the instrument. Another issue I see is that many of the bulbs I say “non-dimmable”. Hmmmm.

Possible Dimmer Switch:

Another Dimmer Switch (questionable?)

Possible LED Bulbs:



So what do all of you electronically savvy folks think? Am I even close to being on the right track?

Current rides: 2005 Volvo S80 2.5T, 2003 Volvo V70 2.4NA, 1973 Volvo 1800ES (STILL not road worthy!)


New 1 Revisiting My Inadequate Instrument Lighting - LED Conversion? [1800][1973]
posted by  Chris Mullet  on Sat Sep 15 09:59 CST 2018 >

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