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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
During my initial research pinging the knowledge base here, a few forum members mentioned that removing the yellow boots (condoms) alone would not increase the amount of light significantly, and I agree with them. It changes the color and brightens the illumination for the better, but was not enough for my taste. Replacing the original incandescent light bulbs with the little lighting circuits from Black Cat Custom made it right. Replacing the gauge face with the made-for-me Black Cat Custom one was better yet because the thicker graphics lets through much more light right where needed. It is also easier to read without back-lighting on a sunny day.

With all my questions these past few months, it felt good to contribute to the forum for a change.
 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
I was asked a personal question on how to adjust the needles. I am repeating it here for the record.
.......................................................................................................................

This sounds a bit wacky, but it is what worked for me.

The very first thing is to make sure your needles are pressed all the way in. If they are farther from the gauge face, a lot of light will beam out from around the needles, creating a disrupting halo when the clear lens is installed.

The next thing is to spin the needles COUNTER-CLOCKWISE so they are around the zero mark. Precision is not required yet.

From that point, there is only one condition when you can adjust the needles properly, and it is as follows.
  • Get in the driver seat, close the door, and start the car.
  • After a minimum of 10 seconds, turn off the engine, remove the key, open the driver door, and close it again.
  • Then sit in the car and patiently wait and watch for all 3 needles to move. It could take 60 seconds for them to dance for a few seconds.
  • After they are done moving around, they rest more downward. They are now in their official "parked" position.
That is the ONLY TIME to adjust them. Adjusting the needles at any other time will be putting them in the wrong position.

So now it gets more interesting.
The parked position that works for an accurate reading is roughly 5 mph BELOW zero for the MPH and RPM. So you have to fine tune the precise position in that blank space below zero. When you energize the car, the needles will rise to the zero mark. Any further adjustments, you have to repeat all the steps, having the needles dance, then park below zero.

Now to make things harder yet.
Any adjustments to any needle must be done in a counter-clock-wise direction. So if you want to adjust it a tad higher, you have to spin the needle all the way around to get there. The slightest movement in a clockwise direction messes up the whole thing and you have to start all over again from square one.

Now this may or may not apply to you.
My Sky always showed my speed 1.5 mph slower than my actual speed. I learned this when my wife followed me. She said over our cell phones that I was always going too fast. I turned on my phone navigation and sure enough, I was going 1.5 mph faster than my speedometer stated.

So now with everything adjusted accurately, when I am stopped at a red light, my speedometer reads 1.5mph.

About the clear lens.
NOW is your only opportunity to make it clear as glass. I used a fine auto polish (for body paint) that remove fine swirls. My lens is like brand new again. Every tiny imperfection in the lens will be more visible with more light.

I hope this follow-up helps someone.
 

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where is the fog light switch that makes the gauges brighter?
 

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where is the fog light switch that makes the gauges brighter?
The fog light switch is in the knee bolster to the left of the steering wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
The fog light switch and the instrument dimmer-dial are hard to find and hard to see down there. It's too bad they are placed so low.
 

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OK, I found it but either I dont have fog lights or they domt work. Is it push on, push off? But maybe it will brighten the ip anyway? OHHHHH, now I know why I was getting the alarm when I got out of the car!!! Fog lights were turnrd on?
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
Hi BlueRL,

The fog lights are not related to IP brightness. Everyone mentions it only because the fog light control switch is adjacent to the dial that controls the brightness of the IP.


About your fog lights,

The fog lights work when the low beam headlights are on. When you turn on the high beams, the fog lights turn off. So if testing your fog lights, make sure the headlights are on, but are set to low beam. Per the 2007 Sky owners manual on page 283, the fog light bulb number is 898.

The fog lights might also work with just the parking lights, but I have not tried it yet. There is mention of it in the 2007 owners manual, but such manuals are not always completely accurate.

Unfortunately, there is no way to set it so the fog lights to automatically come on with the headlights. You have to remember to hit the fog light switch every time. I live in a dark rural area. It would be nice if I could set them to turn on automatically when the headlights turn on.

rjgramps
 

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OK, I found it but either I dont have fog lights or they domt work. Is it push on, push off? But maybe it will brighten the ip anyway? OHHHHH, now I know why I was getting the alarm when I got out of the car!!! Fog lights were turnrd on?
There is an indicator that looks something like this:
Capture.JPG
that should light up on your instrument cluster when the fog lights are on. As you discovered, it is a push-on / push-off control.

Fog lights are mentioned in regard to brightening the IP becuse turning them on is supposed to also turn on the IP lights, theoretically making the gauges easier to see in daylight. There was also a TSB issued that dealers could reprogram the lights to be on all of the time.

I have never checked to see if this works as i don't, for some reason, have trouble seeing the gauges. I have tried using the fog lights at night and mine at least don't seem to do much for lighting up the road. Of course we don't get much fog here and that could make a difference. The indicator is also quite annoying in the dim IP at night.
 

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There was also a TSB issued that dealers could reprogram the lights to be on all of the time.
Any way to find out what the TSB info is? I’d love to have this done.

I had the pleasure of playing with a Tech2 for about an hour (was looking for key fob reprogramming) and I tried to find the on/off for the daylight driving, with no luck.
 

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Any way to find out what the TSB info is? I’d love to have this done.

I had the pleasure of playing with a Tech2 for about an hour (was looking for key fob reprogramming) and I tried to find the on/off for the daylight driving, with no luck.
It is not an on/off selection, it is a program that has to be downloaded from TIS2WEB. I will see what i can find, but you may be able to find it with a search, either here or in Solstice-land.
 

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I found the text of the notice, but not a reference number:

Subject: Instrument Panel Cluster (IPC) Backlighting Inoperative During Daylight Hours (Reprogram BCM)

Models: 2004-2006 Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu Maxx
2005-2006 Chevrolet Cobalt
2006 Chevrolet HHR
2005-2006 Pontiac G6, Pursuit (Canada Only)
2006 Pontiac Solstice

Condition

Some customers may comment that the backlighting on the IPC does not illuminate in the daylight hours. They may further state that the backlighting does function at night, but not in the day time.

Cause

On these vehicles, backlighting for the IPC is not enabled unless the vehicle's lighting photocell determines that there is a nighttime ambient condition. Backlighting is not controlled through the use of the park lamp or headlamp switch. The conditions under which the photocell activates the backlighting may not satisfy each particular customer’s personal expectations, or the customer may simply prefer to have the backlighting always illuminated on the IPC.

Correction

For customers who wish to have the IPC backlighting always illuminated, a new service calibration is now available that will activate the backlighting to full intensity during daytime hours. Reprogram the BCM using SPS.

GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a "do-it-yourselfer". They are written to inform these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Properly trained technicians have the equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know-how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin applies to your vehicle, or that your vehicle will have that condition. See your GM dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from the information.
 

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With my 09', the dash lights seem dim day or night, and the dimmer switch is at maximum. From what I've read its typical, but wondering if its at its true max.

Where is the photocell located? I'd be curious to see if its obstructed or dirty. Also, do the dimmer switches go bad?

Thanks!
 

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With my 09', the dash lights seem dim day or night, and the dimmer switch is at maximum. From what I've read its typical, but wondering if its at its true max.

Where is the photocell located? I'd be curious to see if its obstructed or dirty. Also, do the dimmer switches go bad?

Thanks!
The photocell is in the center of the dashboard at the base of the windshield. It is a small dome-shaped thing. If it gets obstructed or dirty the headlights would turn on in brighter than normal light, or would stay on all the time. It is an analog device, but the function of the lights is on or off. The photocell has nothing to do with the brightness.

Dimmer switches can go bad, but it is much less likely now than it used to be since the dimmer is an input to the BCM, and does not directly carry the current of the instrument lights.
 

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@JohnWR - Thanks for the reply. I would like to brighten the dash lights at some point. Reading older posts suggests LEDs are the way to go. Not looking forward to taking the dash apart, so its a low priority for now. 🙂
 

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When I wear sunglasses, I can't read my instrumentation. Keeping the instrumentation stock (not changing the face) I want to greatly increase the back-light intensity both for daytime and night driving I hope to replace standard incandescent light bulbs with bright dimmable daylight-colored LED bulbs. I am sure I am not alone facing this issue. I hope someone here has found great bulb replacements. I am not afraid of taking apart the dash board to get the job done.
Im late to the party here so im sure someone has given this info already. Ive done one of the most extensive LED color swaps on these cars ive found though, so ill weigh in.
Ive changed all of my interior lights to purple LED's. There are a couple brands on amazon that i like for micro LED's. T1's are what you are looking for for the back of the A/C unit. takes 3 of them. They are really easy to do.

Those same bulbs, most of them, can be taken apart(remove the plastic piece) to use in other places you need solder in LED's.
Such as, the instrument cluster, door locks, airbag, steering wheel lights, other buttons.

The ones on the instrument panel are VERY easy to do. door locks would be one of the hardest.
But as a heads up, these are all solder connection bulbs. No easy doing it.
 

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Think the dealer would do this free of charge? I see there’s a warranty protocol at the bottom.
No, this is a TSB not a recall, you'll have to pay.

The Warranty info was only there if your car WAS under warranty, then it would be covered. But those days are long gone for our cars :(
 

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Ok! I've managed to dissassemble everything in order to change the cluster bulbs with leds. Unfortunately Black Cat Led kit will take forever to be delivered here in Greece so I decided to make a custom PCB. Does anyone knows the voltage on the bulbs? Is it 6V or 12V? And also has anyone changed the light on the fog light switches? I've managed to get the switch out but I can't seem to be able to figure out how to dissassemble the switch and expose the bulb base? lol
 

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Discussion Starter #60 (Edited)
emik14,

I can't offer any sound advise with either of your questions.

I don't know the operating voltage for the IP LEDs, but if I were a betting man, I would say 12V. If you have 12V LEDs, try touching the LED leads to the PCB contacts and see. If nothing happens, reverse the leads.

I don't know how to access the bulb in the fog light switch, hoping you could share how when you figure it out. A donor switch to experiment with would be nice to have right about now.

Were in Greece do you live? My wife's mother is from Volos and her father from the hill country to the east. Her aunt is the famous Greek chef and cook book author Vefa Alexiadou. We were in Halkidiki for 3 weeks last year with Vefa. She is up in the years today age 85. I helped with repairs around her house. I got her kitchen illuminated well again so now she is doing YouTube videos on-line in her well lit kitchen. CLICK HERE for one of her recent videos. BTW, I am not Greek, I don't speak the language.
 
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