Changing color of backlight on stock stereo
By Victor Nomura (vnomura), August 12, 2001
Read this first!
Do this modification at your own risk. If you feel uncomfortable doing any type of fine soldering or have never done it before, STOP and let someone else with the proper skills do it! I'm sure doing this will void the warranty on the stereo. This modification was performed on a GTS stereo. Stereo may be different on a GT Celica.
Various screw drivers
10mm socket wrench
46 SMD size 1206 LEDs (pick your own color) (47 if you want to change the LED on the power window button)
2 soldering irons with a fine tip
1 roll of electronics grade solder (don't use acid core!!!)
1 small tweezers
1 solder desoldering bulb (optional)
1 pair of steady hands.
Optional (for lighting behind A/C controls and cig. lighter light)
1 colored transparent paint
1 cotton swab (Q-tips)
The first thing you need to do is to get the stereo out of your car so you can work on it inside your home. Remove the sift knob by turning it counterclockwise. Slowly lift up the shift boot and base to remove section. Don't forget to disconnect the wiring to the cig. lighter socket.
Remove the A/C knobs first. Then remove the 4 screws holding the plastic frame in place. (see picture)
Carefully pull the frame off the dash. Don't forget to disconnect the wiring to the clock.
Remove the 4 10mm bolts holding the stereo in place.
Optional steps to change light from below stereo.
Remove the bulb from the cig. lighter from behind and paint it with a clear orange paint. You will have to remove the green rubber covering.
Do the same for the light bulbs near the A/C control knobs.
You now need to remove the front plastic face from the stereo. You do this by carefully prying the tab with a small screwdriver. Don't bend anything too much or the plastic will break
Unscrew the small screws on the back.
With the front face placed down on a flat surface, bend the metal tabs (yellow circled items) flat so that it will slide out. Using a soldering iron, desolder the red circled posts. You can also just melt the solder on one side and pull from the other side. This will allow the LCD display to be removed.
You can now see the 46 SMT leds on the other side. You will need to use 2 soldering irons to remove the SMT LEDs off the circuit board. Just have 1 soldering iron in each hand and heat both side at the same time and pluck the LEDs off. Once all the LEDs are off, get the ordered SMT LEDs placed on top of the circuit board. NOTE: LEDs only work when they are installed the right way. Make sure the cathode (negative) side of the SMT LED is facing the white silk screened lines on the board. (the LEDs behind the display should have the cathode side facing the right). Use the tweezers to position and use 1 soldering iron to solder only 1 side first. Do this for all the LEDs. The LEDs should now be fixed to the circuit board. Now solder the other side. This is the easiest way to do them. Take your time and don't use too much solder. Use as little as possible.
SMT LED part source (can find them from Digi-Key) www.digi-key.com
Amber as seen in first photo at top. A bit too red #160-1185-1-ND
Green #160-1188-1-ND (same as stock LEDs)
Yellow #160-1189-1-ND (best match for color with speedo)
BLUE #L62206CT-ND (may now work since it needs a higher voltage) There is a photoshoped (fake) image of a simulated blue display in the image gallery. Also these blue LEDs are very expensive!
Make sure that the small black contacts for the LCD display are clean from any dust or dirt. The rubbery strip on the back of the LCD needs to make perfect contact with them. After the LEDs are replace install the LCD display by doing everything backwards. If the holes are plugged up with solder heat it up with a solder iron while pushing the display from the front. You may want to use a desoldering bulb or desoldering braid if you wnat. Solder the 2 pins when you know the display is pushed in as much as it can go. Bend the metal tabs back to make sure the display won't move around.
You are done! (almost)
Install everything back by reversing the procedure and enjoy the new back lighting.
Yellow LCD with Amber LED for the rest picture is here.