73-87 Chevy _ GMC Trucks > Instrumentation

Gauge cluster panel

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Jeff86inMS:
Looking for an opinionů.I am currently restoring my gauge cluster, replacing the housing, printed circuit, cleaning gauges, painting needles, replacing missing sockets and bulbs, etc.  I have watched a few videos that show some folks painting the housing interior with chrome paint or even white to supposedly get more light reflecting onto the gauged, but have not seen before and after results.  In your opinion, does that make a difference to make it worth the effort?  Does it make it any brighter in your opinion?  TIA!

Happy Labor Day!
Jeff in MS


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bd:
The factory cluster illumination of the prior century is notably dim by today's standards.  The pastel green color of the OE cluster and the pale blue coating on the backside of the gauges lend a subdued greenish cast to gauge face illumination.  The cluster interior coloring also absorbs some of the light emitted by the backlighting bulbs.  Although this can be beneficial to diminish eye strain during extended periods behind the wheel at night, dimming dash illumination is the purpose of the dash dimmer rheostat.

Coating the cluster interior with gloss ultra-white paint provides a brighter display.  Coupled with T10 wedge base LEDs, gauge illumination ushers forth to the 21st century.  It is a HUGE improvement!  And, you can change the illumination color as you desire simply by preselecting the appropriate color LEDs from many that are available.  However, converting the cluster from medium-current 194 incandescent bulbs to low-current LEDs will decrease the effectiveness of the dash dimmer rheostat.  But that can be corrected with a series resistor selected (using Ohm's Law) to limit the maximum current delivery to the LEDs.  Of course, my opinion is just one in a sea of many.

Happy Labor Day!

JohnnyPopper:
Great timing, will be digging into mine with the same focus as bd recommends. I may regret boring 2700K warm white LED's but oh well.

One thought on rheostat dimmers being affected by resistance created by OEM bulbs vs virtually no resistance with LED's: it can and does make dimming cranky. 

Here's the work around:

Find one light location that is not as significant as the others, keep your OEM bulb there. It may fake out the rheostat into cooperating in dimming. No guarantees, but we've seen it for may years.

Jeff86inMS:
Thanks for the tip!


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VileZambonie:
All very good advice. In fact same goes with them household LED's flickering and making you buy new dimmer switches that don't work well. One regular old light bulb cures everything.

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