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#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:16 AM

We had several problems with the instrument cluster, most important of which was that the tail lights and instrument panel did not illuminate when the headlights were on. We disassembled the gauge cluster, and found out what the problem was.

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this was the first thing we saw when we pulled out the headlight switch module.

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some rather explosive electronics, there was a ball of solder embedded in the molten plastic.

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pulled off the plastic cover and found the pcb in terrible condition.

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the socket had melted, and one of the pins had disintegrated.

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another view of the fried socket

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the plug was in no better condition

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two of the pins were in terrible condition, and the wires in the back of those pins were corroding

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I needed to trace the tracks on the pcb in order to restore function...

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it was severely carbonized around the area of the short however, and I needed to scrape off a lot of the charred board that was useless. I ended up taking out the pin to the left of the hole as well, since whatever trace it had been connected to had evaporated, and was floating on a lone pad.

While we were testing which pin was assigned to where, we blew the 15A fuse in the fuse box, which means that the headlight switch actually switches the bulbs. No wonder it blew up in such a fashion, this was just a bad design on Mazda's part. In order to fix this, I decided to use a relay to switch the bulbs rather than the switch unit, which means with any luck our headlight switch will live longer.

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Wiring up the relay, a 30A one I bought on eBay a year ago

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heatshrunk and ready to go. I initially thought I would use this to switch the headlights and tap into the ILLUM wire to drive the instrument panel backlighting, but I figured it would be easier to just wire both of them in. I spliced them into some shielded 4mm bullet plugs made for RC (good to 100+ amps) and it does work. The extra stress on whatever circuit we're drawing from will be minimized in a couple of weeks however, when I will be doing an LED replacement in the instrument panel. I apologize for lack of pictures, but I will put up a schematic later.

The previous owner(s) of the car had also broken off the mounting tabs for both the turn signal controls and cruise control. We removed the cruise control as Zetsu and I agreed that it doesn't suit an RX-7 at all. That left us to creatively mount the turn signal switch, we decided to use hot glue.

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put a heavy amount on the contacting surface on the front, and then covered the would-be tabs and the would-be standoffs with them.

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closeup on one of the tabs.

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and over the wiring I had to tap in, as stress relief.
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#2 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

http://fc3spro.com/T...HL/hswitch.html
^ for future reference, Ted took some photos of the circuit boards
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#3 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:11 AM

Did more work on the instrument panel, this time with the failing wiper switch assembly.

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accidentally pulled a trace while desoldering the switches

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fortunately, it's very easily repairable

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removing the relays from the pcb

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sneaky Mazda covering up the relay's schematic

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relays decased

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cleaned and reassembled

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ready to resolder.

I admit that I forgot to solder in a jumper for the trace I pulled, and either as a result of that or swapping relays around, the rear wiper works again and the front ones don't. I will pull it out again soon and confirm whether or not the relays have been fixed, or simply the faulty one has been swapped.
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#4 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:50 PM

Did more work on the instrument cluster yesterday.

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I didn't like the fact that you had to pull off the entire PCB (desolder the switch) in order to access our broken wiper relays, so I desoldered it one last time and cut a hole

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dremel work cleaned up with a razor blade

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also regreased the wiper switch

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looking down into the switch's guts

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old earwax-looking grease

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reassembled the switch, and soldered LEDs onto the pads.

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pulled out the dash to do an LED conversion as well

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looking at the dark side of the board

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gauge cluster without the rear pcb installed. I was wondering what that array of holes was in there for, until I realized that's where the automatic had its gear select indicator.

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blue LED for high beams, noticeably brigher than the original

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green LEDs for turn signals. now you can actually see that you're turning!

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after I installed the first three LEDs, I stuck the dash back in with the incandescent bulbs for a 'before' pic.

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after an hour of forgetting to take pictures, here's the 'after'.

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So much brighter in full darkness, and the light is much cleaner.
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