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View Full Version : Why no AC panel blackout



Bitsyncmaster
08-14-2013, 06:02 AM
As pointed out many times, the car was intended to have a blackout AC panel so it always was to have backlighting. My guess is they could not get enough backlighting to make it work or the heat from the bulbs was causing problems.

Now with LEDs, I think both those problems could be solved. I'm still not sure if there would be a problem with sun shining on the AC panel. That may wash out all the backlighting. The new window switches will wash out the light they produce in daylight.

In any case, when I order my new LED panel circuit boards, I have built it so it could be used with a blackout decal just in case anyone ever produces such a decal.

Greasy DeLorean Mechanic
08-14-2013, 07:02 AM
Blackout A/C panel is described and pictured in the July 1981 Car & Driver review (obviously written months before its actual publication), found on page 52 of the Gold Portfolio.

Bill Robertson
#5939

stevedmc
08-14-2013, 09:30 AM
Frankly, I wish I had a stainless panel with a small LED strip mounted above it. I could care less about having functioning lights for stuff like the fan indicator.

Greasy DeLorean Mechanic
08-14-2013, 09:37 AM
Can't do stainless but I could make you an aluminum one (basically a truncated version of my door edge lights):

138

Bill Robertson
#5939

stevedmc
08-14-2013, 02:26 PM
Can't do stainless but I could make you an aluminum one

I would say yes in a heartbeat but I've got no clue how to get the little icons and numbers printed on it. Perhaps an iron on transfer like people used to make tshirts with would work.

Greasy DeLorean Mechanic
08-14-2013, 03:33 PM
Just take your current panel to the same decal shop where you got your back window decal. They should be able to put it on a flatbed scanner and make a working image from it.

You do realize downlight LED's would protrude from and overhang the console face?

Bill Robertson
#5939

stevedmc
08-14-2013, 05:16 PM
I'm game for giving this a try. Now that I think about it, it might be best to eliminate the lights completely. There is a certain elegance in simplicity to me.

Bitsyncmaster
08-14-2013, 05:41 PM
I'm game for giving this a try. Now that I think about it, it might be best to eliminate the lights completely. There is a certain elegance in simplicity to me.

You won't see the knobs or switches at night.

stevedmc
08-14-2013, 06:23 PM
You won't see the knobs or switches at night.

I will still have limited visibility due to my dome light. There aren't many selections to make. My mode switch stays in the max position. The knob on the right controls blower speed. The knob on the left controls temperature. Usually the only knob I ever adjust is the fan speed so operating the thing by braille should be pretty easy.

What I am proposing probably wouldn't work for everyone but for me it will do just fine and will be so pretty. Sorry about hijacking the thread. I keep wondering when Chad is going to split this off into a new one.

Greasy DeLorean Mechanic
08-14-2013, 06:50 PM
Are you thinking of a black background decal? In that case the panel itself could also be made of plastic.

If you're thinking of a clear background decal, make a mockup from aluminum foil -- you might not like the way a silver panel looks all by itself.

I don't use any of the idiot lights across the bottom of my panel (lock module, fan fail, and the world's most useless defroster are gone).

Bill Robertson
#5939

stevedmc
08-14-2013, 07:01 PM
Are you thinking of a black background decal? In that case the panel itself could also be made of plastic.

If you're thinking of a clear background decal, make a mockup from aluminum foil -- you might not like the way a silver panel looks all by itself.

I don't use any of the idiot lights across the bottom of my panel (lock module, fan fail, and the world's most useless defroster are gone).

I'm thinking of a cut out decal with black letters/symbols against bare metal. I'm not sure if my idiot lights have ever worked. My defrost light is pointless since I don't use the defrost function, the lock light is pointless since I removed my lock module, and I don't need my fan light. Most of my driving is on the highway and I make it a habit to monitor my temp gauge when I am on the road.

stevedmc
08-14-2013, 07:05 PM
I make it a habit to monitor my temp gauge when I am on the road.

Sorry for the off topic rant, but I just had to mention you can even diagnose car problems if you know how to read your gauges.

For example, last year I was driving across Kentucky and suddenly my temp gauge was starting to rise. My volt gauge showed low voltage. Without stepping outside of the car I knew my alternator belt had popped.

Before I even went to the engine bay, I had a spare belt and tools in hand to do the job. Less than 15 minutes later I was back on the road. The job would have gone by quicker but I had to refuse help from two people that pulled over and I needed to pee on the side of the road.

Greasy DeLorean Mechanic
08-14-2013, 07:14 PM
If you have removed the fan fail module, and have not replaced it with a Fanzilla like unit, the fan fail light will never illuminate anyway.

Anyone still running a plastic T Panel hold down piece should think twice before using the world's most useless defroster -- heat from the grid melts and deforms it.

Definitely make a silver mock up to see if you like the appearance. You may need to add some more silver accents -- radio faceplate for example, maybe even painted vents -- to make it look right.

Bill Robertson
#5939

Farrar
08-15-2013, 03:04 PM
The "lock doors" light should still illuminate when your doors are closed and unlocked and the key is on, even with the lock module removed.

stevedmc
08-15-2013, 03:23 PM
The "lock doors" light should still illuminate when your doors are closed and unlocked and the key is on, even with the lock module removed.

Things are starting to make sense now. One of my bulbs is missing. This must be the one.