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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
MG TF Interior LED Lighting How To - in progress

There's a couple of How Tos concerning these popular mods, including the excellent and original Iain R's Guide, but none cover each stage from start to finish specifically for the TF, so I thought I'd consolidate them as I've had a number of messages lately asking for advice. I'll be including additional photos and other useful information and recommendations.



For the LED bulbs required, please see below where I will list suitable items and links - I will update these over time to include a variety of options, and would value your input to help make it a complete resource for anyone looking to do these mods.
  • As always, take precations when working with vehicle electrics. You shouldn't need to disconnect the battery for any of this work (I didn't) but please take care.
  • You only require a screwdriver for most fitment, but soldering will be required for the clock, temperature gauge and switches. If you don't have one you'll need a soldering iron and accessories! Click here for some soldering tips and beware of burns.
  • Remember LED bulbs have a polarity, ie. they can only be fitted one way round. If it doesn't seem to work, take it out, reverse the contacts and try again. Before soldering LEDs in place, you should compare the polarity of the old and new bulbs using a multimeter or 9v battery, so that you can be sure you are putting the new one in the same way.
  • Links below are provided for reference and specification only, you may get cheaper if you shop around (especially with Festoons and 501s).
  • Note that for the switches and gauge/clock I solder resistors to the LED. There isn't a huge range of coloured LEDs available for use with the 12v supply, so the resistor is necessary to protect the bulb if it isn't rated for 12v (the 'frosted blue' I used are rated to under 4v). If your leds are rated to at least 12v, you do not need resistors - good news for those who choose a red or green theme.
Instrument Cluster

2 x 286 (T5) Slim Wedge Standard Blue LED
or
2 x 286x3 Wide Angle blue LED and driver

Follow Iain R's guide

Note that Iain describes soldering LEDs in place, this is not required as the 286 LED bulb is a direct push/pull replacement.

I found that using Standard 286 LEDs, also described for use in the Heater Controls, didn't give as much brightness as I wanted. I tried out the "triple" 286 (T5) x3 LEDs linked above and found these to be much better. If you're doing everything as a set, you might want to trial the different bulbs to see which you prefer.


Clock/ Temperature Gauge

To do both items:
4 x Blue 3mm 8000mcd Frosted Wide Angle LED
4 x 12V Resistor (not required as resistors are built into the board - see below)

Follow Iain R's guide

Iain's guide only goes as far as dismantling the clock/gauge. To continue, check the polarity of the SMDs before removing them, and mark the circuit board as a guide. Then remove the SMDs by levering them from underneath with a tiny flat-bladed screwdriver while applying the soldering iron to the legs.

SMDs are not currently available in as wide a range of colours as normal LEDs, but there is plenty of space to solder a normal led in it's place, as shown in the images below. It isn't essential to use resistors here, however I kept them in as the LEDs were a bit too bright compared to the rest of the illumination - try without the resistors first. Thanks to mitchel1964 for pointing this out.

Clock with new led and resistor soldered in place:-





Temp gauge with new led and resistor soldered in place:-





There is more room to mount the leds/resistors than expected, but I still tried to solder everything on as flush as I could. You can see that, due to the loops caused by adding the resistor, some of the 'welds' come pretty close to each other. I briefly reassembled the clock/guage casing to check whether anything had moved, but everything worked a treat and maintained clearance. Later I also added tiny wraps of electrician tape, just for added insulation and reassurance.


Heater Controls

2 x 286 3x wide angle blue Led and driver

Follow Iain R's guide

As described for the 'Instrument Cluster', I found using standard 286 leds didn't give as much brightness as I wanted, so I used the "triple" 286x3 leds linked above instead.

I also repeat iain's warnings to take care when removing the yellow filter from the decal sheet. I found that using a sharp scalpel blade and very light pressure gave excellent results - take your time and have a black marker pen and some Tippex handy to correct any minor mistakes.


Rear View Mirror

2 x 501 Blue Led bulb

Simple to install. Using a small flat -bladed screwdriver, lever out the clear panels on the underside of your rear view mirror. The old bulbs simply pull out, and your new ones push in.

Test the led bulbs have been installed correctly before refitting the covers.


Footwell Lights

2 x Blue LED 239 37mm 'Festoon' bulb

Simple to install. Using a flat -bladed screwdriver, lever out the clear panels on the kickplates either side of the centre console. The festoon bulbs are held in by springs at either end and simply pull out, and your new ones push in. As always, check that the bulbs have been installed to the correct polarity by testing them before refitting the covers.


Switches (per switch)

1 x Blue 3mm 8000mcd Frosted Wide Angle led
1 x 12V Resistor

Follow Iain R's guide

When it comes to doing the switches, remove the centre console for ease of access to the switch connectors at the rear.

With the switches it's easy to get confused regarding the LED polarity. Keep yourself right by comparing polarities of the old and replacement LEDs. As they only work 'one way', I could identify the current flow through the existing leds and mark the positive contact with a felt-tipped pen. This removed any ambiguity surrounding which way round the new LEDs would go.

There's not a lot of space to play with inside the switch casings to mount the new LED with resistor. My advice is to attach the LEDs and resistors as shown in the configurations below. There are cavities in the casing where the resistor will not obstruct the mechanism or otherwise get in the way.

Note that the switch contacts can be quite challenging to solder on to due to a coating, so be careful not to melt the plastic holding the contacts, or drag solder across multiple contacts. Kameleon recommends using a small scraper or screwdriver to prepare the surface before soldering.

Window switch interior:-



Switch interior (Heated Rear Window) note the 'P' to help with correct polarity:-



Checking polarity of bulb to be replaced:-



New LED and resistor soldered in place:-



While doing your switches, it's an ideal time to remove the 'keying' that prevents you rearranging the switch locations in the console. You can remove the key strip on the switches and blanks to allow you to position them wherever you like. The keys are very slight raised strips on the switch casing, and can easily be removed with a sharp blade, as shown below.




Finished Result



Other Useful Links



Discussions:-

Broon's How to: change MGF dashboard lights to coloured LED in 10 mins in the car

Suppliers:-

Ultraleds
Lightec Autostyle
 

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great guide

great guide, one point to make things easier is you don't need resistors for the clock and oil temp gauge, you only need them for the switches.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
great guide, one point to make things easier is you don't need resistors for the clock and oil temp gauge, you only need them for the switches.
Thanks, this was pointed out to me afterwards - however it was worth doing in the end as I found the LEDs I used were a bit too bright.

Will add a note to the above :)
 

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oh you horrible man!!!!!!

i keep putting this off, the excuse being there wasn't a good guide, now i've no excuse........ :D

oh yes i have.......... never soldered before!!!!!!!! gotta start practicing

well done Jamie on a great how to :broon:
 

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I have the leds (blue, but a few reds if you want red for the "on and off" leds on HRW/FOG switches), resistors and slim wedges if anyone wants them cheap ;)
 

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Jamie,
if you are going to our techday (April or May TBC), i may get you to help me with my clock, oil temp and switches. Im out of my depth when it comes to elect or electronic stuff. I'll clean your car.

Glenn
 

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Sweert thanks for all the information on the site haha after hours of fustration i finally got my blue LED dash haha funny is i thought the Gauges was gonna be the hardest yet was the easiest and thought the heater controls would have been the easiest tho was the hardest as i scratched a crap load off then freaked out cause all the permanent markers i had was fail and you could still see through with streakyness which i fixed by using a Posco black marker.

haha after 2 burns and few cuts later it all works =D

ps those lil switches are a pain in the [email protected]@
 

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Repositioning resistors on switches

There's not a lot of space to play with inside the switch casings to mount the new LED with resistor. My advice is to attach the LEDs and resistors as shown in the configurations below. There are cavities in the casing where the resistor will not obstruct the mechanism or otherwise get in the way.
New LED and resistor soldered in place:-



After following the excellent guides above I had a crack at this last night when I got back from the bar - looks like a few pints of carling does help the grey matter!

I found soldering the resistors into place was extremely difficult without obstructing the operation of the switches, especially if replacing the 'on' led with red.

If you turn the switch over, cut out a small V in the plastic housing and mounting the resistors on this side there are also almost pre made holes to feed through the legs to the LED's. This also sped up the process on subsequent switches.
 

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hi
why is every one using 1/2 and 1/4 watt resistors
these are massive
you can use 1/8th watt resistors

saves space and are easier to put on the pcb whithougt fouling any part of the switch ect
 

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thanks to everyone for the hints, tips and how to's.......... first time i've ever attempted soldering and even i've managed to change all the lights to red following these guides :broon:

whats with all the resistors?????? i did mine red and got the LED's with built in resistors..... job sorted!!!!! :rofl:
 
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