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  #1  
Old 02-18-2001, 01:29 AM
Throttle
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Hi everyone...

I have a 1991 190e 2.6. My car has a blue leather interior, and I just added an aftermarket Panasonic Cd/tuner head unit that glows blue at night. As you can see, I really like the color blue. But I was wondering, is there any way that I can replace the bulbs under the switch lights and cluster (gauges) lights from factory yellow to blue? The light switches I'm referring to are the one for climate control, window switches around the shift knob, and the light that illuminates the shift letters (P,R,N,D...).

Is there any possible way I can do this?!
Please help!
Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-18-2001, 01:34 AM
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You could, what I would do is look for some kind of blue plastic light filters they use in the film/theatre business which are designed for high temps, or some kind of clear plastic that can take the bulb heat.

I recently used some clear red plastic to replace the green lights on my alpine with red. So now all the buttons are red and the display is green because it can't be changed, but it looks 100% better now, actually much cooler than before.

So I would say yes it could be done.

Another thing you can do to the bulbs which I tested was to use a blue permanent marker and mark the bulb blue. I used a blue medium point sharpee on an indicator bulb just to see if it would work, and it did. I of course did not put it in the car, that bulb is used as a discharging bulb for my olf RC car batteries from years ago. since I had the bulb lying around I tried it and it worked.

Hope that helps.

Alon
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  #3  
Old 02-18-2001, 01:39 AM
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Or contact this company http://www.sunraylighting.com/techinfo.htm . They carry all kinds of bulbs, including automotive, and their tech said they did bulb color tinting for interior lights as well. My High Beam indicator has faded to white, and is too bright, so I am going to have them tint the bulb dark blue - cheaper than replacing the dash part!
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  #4  
Old 02-18-2001, 02:15 AM
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It can be done, but I would not do it.

A dash illuminated in the proper color has many benefits. The best color to light up a car is red, because while looking at red light, your eyes are better able to adjust to the darkness, thus you can see better at night with the same amount of light eminating from your headlights. This is why all airplane cockpits are illuminated in red. It enables a pilot's eyes to adjust to the outside darkness, and there is less of a light gradient for the eyes to compensate for between the red cockpit light and the black outside. Pilots can then see other planes and obstacles better. BMW has caught on to this, and all their dashes are red. On the other hand of the spectrum, the light that is the worst for night illumination is blue. It serves the exact opposite purpose of red, and allows for the biggest illumination gradient possible between outside and inside.

When you step outside into the dark night after you have been in a brightly illuminated room, it takes a period of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. This is the same principle that applies. A red dash is like going from a dim room to darkness, while a blue dash would be like going from a very bright room to darkness. Much more time for your eyes to adjust. After being exposed to bright light, it can take as many as 30 minutes for your eyes to completely adjust to the dark.

Try driving with your inside lights on, it would be very hard to see outside, this is an example of how the color of lighting works. Driving with blue illuminated instruments could be compared with having your inside lights on at full intensity, while having a red illuminated dash could be compared with turning your inside lights as low as they can go (if they were dimmable), thus facilitating night driving and making it much safer by allowing your eyes to see clearer through darkness.

Just my 2 cents, I believe in function before looks.

-Ali Al-Chalabi
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2001, 02:21 AM
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My friend has a brand spanking new audi S4 with all the bells and whistles. The car very dimly glos red at night in the interior.

So I think there is truth to what you have said about the red.

But those panasonic radios glow very very bright blue.

I would recommend hooking up the radio's dimmer if it has one so it will dim at night when the lights are on.

Friend has one is his BMW that glows so blue, when driving behind him it looks like an alien space craft opened its doors in his car.

Alon
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2001, 02:35 AM
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I REALLY Wouldn't Recommend Blue Dash Lights...

Throttle,

Trust me, I KNOW what I am talking about!

Blue is a bad light frequency for night vision. It will do you more harm than good. Pilots use "red filtered" lighting to preserve night vision as does BMW, and several other auto manufacturers. The retina does not react well to the blue spectrum of visible light, and will seriously constrict, causing you to have markedly reduced night vision.

I also love the color blau, but not at the risk of having to contend with reduced visibility at night. Blue is on the opposite side of the spectrum from red in terms of visible light! This isn't a disco you're driving, it's a car!

Think of it like this, in terms of optically visible radiation, there are two extremes; Ultraviolet and Infrared...

Keep your vision sharp at night, and if you MUST replace the bulbs, do so with RED ones to help you see better at night! Also, do not look directly at the headlamps of oncoming cars! Divert your eyes to the side of the road furthest from those oncoming lights until the vehicle has passed you.

Night vision is a serious safety consideration!!!!

A dash indicator light, like a high beam indicator, as JCE suggests, is an entirely different matter from the total dash and instrument lighting as I have detailed...

Dig this: http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Cyberia/Bima/spectrum.html

And: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/emspectrum.html

That should be enough from Bill Nye, The Science Guy for now...
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2001, 02:42 AM
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It is not only the intensity of the light that matters, it is the color of the light. Out of the same brightness red and same brightness blue, the red would be much better for your eyes. Very bright red light would even be better for your eyes and safer than comparably dimmer blue light. The light of illumination does not necessarily have to be dim, it can be REASONABLY bright as long as it is of the proper color.

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  #8  
Old 02-18-2001, 03:03 AM
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Rather like the use of red night illumination in submarines and armoured vehicles. I asked the bulb folks if they could do my high beam red instead of blue for these reasons - they said that since the original indicator filter on the panel had been blue, a dark blue bulb would be best, as red might show up as purple (ugh) through the filter. I may try red first anyway - that indicator is faded almost white.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2001, 10:39 AM
Benzman500
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I have seen blue gages at nr auto go to http://www.1985500selbenz.honmestead.com/links.html
click on nr auto
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2001, 02:30 PM
Throttle
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Ok... thanks for all the input guys.

Now, since I have the blue head unit and leather... I decided to make all the bulbs under the all the switches red. But as for the gauges in the cluster, I am not planning to buy the white overlays, but just stay with the stock black. What color should i use to illuminate the gauges in the cluster? thanks.
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